July 2020 Clarke-Washington

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Stories | Recipes | Events | People | Places | Things | Local News July 2020



Skygazing in Alabama: The sky’s the limit Quirky statues Why I love my hometown


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Manager Steve Sheffield Co-op Editor Sarah Hansen ALABAMA LIVING is delivered to some 420,000 Alabama families and businesses, which are members of 22 not-for-profit, consumer-owned, locally directed and taxpaying electric cooperatives. Subscriptions are $12 a year for individuals not subscribing through participating Alabama electric cooperatives. Alabama Living (USPS 029-920) is published monthly by the Alabama Rural Electric Association of Cooperatives. Periodicals postage paid at Montgomery, Alabama, and at additional mailing office. POSTMASTER send forms 3579 to: Alabama Living, P.O. Box 244014 Montgomery, Alabama 36124-4014. ALABAMA RURAL ELECTRIC ASSOCIATION

AREA President Fred Braswell Editor Lenore Vickrey Managing Editor Allison Law Creative Director Mark Stephenson Art Director Danny Weston Advertising Director Jacob Johnson Graphic Designer/Ad Coordinator Brooke Echols Graphic Designer Chyna Miller

At the helm of a living memorial

As executive director of the USS Alabama Battleship Memorial Park, Janet Cobb brings the experience of a 42-year military career as she navigates a major state tourism attraction through the uncertain seas of the coronavirus.


VOL. 73 NO. 7  JULY 2020

F E A T U R E S made a mess! 9 IEveryone makes a mess now and then. Sometimes we even take photos of them!

statues 16 Quirky How many of these unusual Alabama markers have you seen? One of them might be in your hometown!

Worth the drive 26 Visitors to Bama Bucks in Boaz can

enjoy delicious wild game on their plate, and visit the exotic animal park out back.



340 TechnaCenter Drive Montgomery, Alabama 36117-6031 1-800-410-2737 For advertising, email: advertising@areapower.com For editorial inquiries, email: contact@alabamaliving.coop NATIONAL ADVERTISING REPRESENTATIVE:

American MainStreet Publications 611 South Congress Ave., Suite 504 Austin, Texas 78704 1-800-626-1181 www.AMP.coop www.alabamaliving.coop USPS 029-920 • ISSN 1047-0311


D E P A R T M E N T S 11 Spotlight 30 July Crossword 34 Cook of the Month 40 Outdoors 41 Fish & Game Forecast 46 Hardy Jackson’s Alabama ONLINE: alabamaliving.coop ON THE COVER

Look for this logo to see more content online!

A stargazer surveys the night sky at Cherokee Rock Village in Leesburg, Alabama. Read more about studying the stars on Page 12. PHOTO: Ron Burkett



www.alabamaliving.coop letters@alabamaliving.coop Alabama Living 340 Technacenter Drive Montgomery, AL 36117

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Office Locations Jackson Office 9000 Highway 43 P.O. Box 398 Jackson, AL 36545 (251) 246-9081 Chatom Office 19120 Jordan Street P.O. Box 453 Chatom, AL 36518 (251) 847-2302 Toll Free Number (800) 323-9081 Office Hours 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday - Friday (Drive-thru Hours)

Payment Options Mail P.O. Box 398 Jackson, AL 36545 P.O. Box 453 Chatom, AL 36518 Office During normal office hours at our Chatom and Jackson offices. Phone (855) 870-0403 Online www.cwemc.com Night Deposit 24/7 at Jackson & Chatom CWEMC App Available from the App Store and Google Play Bank Draft CheckOut Pay where you shop at any Dollar General, Family Dollar and CVS Pharmacy. 4  JULY 2020

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First half of 2020 has been interesting It’s been an interesting year, to say the least. We started the year with perhaps the greatest economic times our country has ever experienced. Things were humming along at an unbelievable pace. And then, we were reminded of how quickly things can change. This past hunting season, I was sitting in a stand scrolling through news articles on my phone as I usually do and picked up on a very small story about a new virus in China. I don’t know why but I seemed to have a particular interest in it and searched for more information. There wasn’t a lot but I did manage to gather additional information over the next few days and weeks and became concerned that this could really be a problem. As it turns out, it really was a problem. A big one. A new strand of the virus had developed. It transferred from an animal in a wet market in China to humans. Still following the story, I didn’t realize the impact it would eventually have on us. As time moved along and the virus made its way to the U.S., I was attending a statewide manager meeting in Birmingham when rumors started to spread that there were cases of the virus at UAB. The next day, the rumors were confirmed and it really was the beginning of real change for us. I came home from the meeting and started contemplating what changes we would have to implement to deal with the unprecedented times. The utility industry is known for being resilient and going to work when other industries shut down. Our employees are used to working nights, weekends and holidays. They are used to missing church and important family functions like birthdays and anniversaries. They are accustomed to working long hours in very difficult weather conditions and dealing with very unexpected changes. But the changes we have made to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic are different than any we have made in the past.

We closed our lobbies, implemented a workfrom-home plan for many employees, adjusted crew schedules and implemented social distancing as much as our jobs allow. My thoughts were, we will just run two-men crews and catch trouble as we normally do and as long as we avoid any major weather events, we’ll be ok. Lo and behold, Easter weekend marked the beginning of a series of weather events. We had three weekends in a row where we dealt with severe weather. And as I write this column, we are dealing with the impact of tropical storm Cristobal – the third named storm of the 2020 Hurricane Season. And, it’s only the beginning of the season. I’d like to express my sincere appreciation to our membership for the patience and understanding you have shown while adjusting to the necessary changes we made during these unprecedented times. I’d also like to tip my hat to our employees for the way they have continued to work hard through these times to deliver the service you have come to expect from Clarke-Washington EMC since 1936. What does the future hold? As the young people say -- IDK. But one thing you can count on is our commitment to delivering the best possible service we can, even in the most difficult circumstances. We’re halfway through 2020 and I hope you’ve had a good year so far and I pray the second half is even better.

Steve Sheffield General Manager



From acco Your to ass


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| Clarke-Washington EMC | POWER BILL

For your convenience, another payment option is now available.

PAY YOUR POWER BILL WHERE YOU SHOP Participating retailers include


Get Your Barcode

From there, enter your CWEMC account number and click “Find Your Account” (You will be asked to verify the street number associated with the account.)

https://cwemc.sedccheckout.com on browser of choice.

Beginning soon, your account barcode will be printed on the back of your bill.

Account Number example: 123456001 (enter without a dash)


Visit CWEMC online



Find Nearest Location

Scan Barcode at Register

Participating locations are listed on the back of this page.

Have the cashier scan the barcode and tell them how much you would like to pay to the account. It’s that easy

For more information, call Clarke-Washington EMC at (800) 323-9081 or visit cwemc.com. The store will add a $1.50 convenience fee. The payment is posted immediately to your account.

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Jackson 813 College Ave.

425 Foster Ave.

4107 N. College Ave.

138 Alabama Ave.

25 Church Street Fulton


1300 Highway 178

803 College Ave.

Grove Hill

1127 College Ave.

270 S. Jackson St. 184 S. Jackson St.

WASHINGTON COUNTY Chatom 13485 St. Stephens Ave. Fruitdale 38 Courtney Ave. Leroy




7835 Highway 43

486 W. Claiborne St.

N. Highway 43

1886 Highway 21 BYP

Millry 30023 Highway 17

40 Palmer Circle

WILCOX COUNTY Camden 22 Camden BYP 13 Camden BYP 7 Camden BYP

NEARBY LOCATIONS Beatrice 1198 Main St. Citronelle 19625 N. 3rd Street 19535 N. 3rd Street 19215 N. 3rd Street

Mt. Vernon 7835 Highway 43 19160 Highway 43 Pine Hill 3831 Broad Street Silas 8181 Highway 84

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| Clarke-Washington EMC |

Summer Heat Remember:

• Extreme heat can occur quickly and without warning. • Older adults, children and sick or overweight individuals are at greater risk from extreme heat. • Humidity increases the feeling of heat as measured by a heat index.

If you are under an extreme heat warning: • Find air conditioning.

• Avoid strenuous activities. • Wear light clothing. • Check on family members and neighbors. • Drink plenty of fluids. • Watch for heat cramps, heat exhaustion and heat stroke. • Never leave people or pets in a closed car. Heat related sickness can range from mild to life-threatening. It is important than any heat related symptom is not ignored. During heat waves people are susceptible to three heat-related conditions. Here’s how to recognize and respond to them.

Heat cramps

Heat cramps are muscular pains and spasms that occur in the legs or abdomen. Heat cramps are often an early sign that the body is having trouble with the heat. • Get the person to a cooler place and have him or her rest in a comfortable position. Lightly stretch the affected muscle and gently massage the area. • Give and electrolyte-containing fluid, such as a commercial sports drink, fruit juice or milk. Water may also be given. Do not give the person salt tablets.

Heat exhaustion

Heat exhaustion is a more severe condition than heat cramps. Heat exhaustion often affects athletes, firefighters, construction workers and factory workers. It also affects those wearing heavy clothing in a hot, humid environment. • Signs of heat exhaustion include cool, moist, pale, ashen

Alabama Living

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Extreme heat is a period of high heat and humidity with temperatures above 90 degrees for at least two to three days. In extreme heat your body works extra hard to maintain a normal temperature, which can lead to death. In fact, extreme heat is responsible for the highest number of annual deaths among all weather-related hazards.

or flushed skin; headache; nausea; dizziness; weakness and exhaustion. • Move the person to a cooler environment with circulating air. Remove or loosen as much clothing as possible and apply cool, wet cloths or towels to the skin. Fanning or spraying the person with water also can help. If the person is conscious, give small amounts of a cool fluid such as a commercial sports drink or fruit juice to restore fluids and electrolytes. Milk or water may also be given. Give about 4 ounces of fluid every 15 minutes. • If the person’s condition does not improve or if he or she refuses water, has a change in consciousness, or vomits, call 9-1-1.

Heat stroke

Heat stroke is a life-threatening condition that usually occurs by ignoring the signals of heat exhaustion. Heat stroke develops when the body systems are overwhelmed by heat and begin to stop functioning. • Signs of heat stroke include extremely high body temperature, red skin which may be dry or moist; changes in consciousness; rapid, weak pulse; rapid, shallow breathing; confusion; vomiting; and seizures • Heat stroke is life-threatening. Call 9-1-1 immediately. • Rapidly cool the body by immersing the person up to the neck in cold water, if possible, or douse or spray the person with cold water. • Sponge the person with ice water-doused towels over the entire body, frequently rotating the cold, wet towels. • Cover the person with bags of ice. • If you are not able to measure and monitor the person’s temperature, apply rapid cooling methods for 20 minutes or until the person’s condition improves.

For more information about extreme heat check out the Centers for Disease Control at cdc.gov/disasters/extremeheat. JULY 2020  7

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| Clarke-Washington EMC |

Energy Efficiency Tip of the Month Spending more time at home? Try an online energy audit to assess the overall efficiency of your home. Visit www.energystar.gov, then enter “home energy yardstick” in the seach box to get started


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WE SELL: Steel Trusses • Hay Barns Lumber • Equipment Sheds Building Material Packages Painted Metal • Work Shops Insulation • Kneebraces Galvalume Metal


256-747-8178 • FAX: 256-747-8760





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10:30 - 12:30 11:18 - 1:18 12:06 - 2:06 NEW MOON 12:54 - 2:54 1:42 - 3:42 2:30 - 4:30 3:18 - 5:18 4:06 - 6:06 4:54 - 6:54 5:42 - 7:42 6:30 - 8:30 7:18 - 9:18 8:06 - 10:06 8:54 - 10:54 PM

9:42 - 11:42 10:30 - 12:30 12:06 - 2:06 FULL MOON 12:54 - 2:54 1:42 - 3:42 2:30 - 4:30 3:18 - 5:18 4:06 - 6:06 4:54 - 6:54 5:42 - 7:42 6:30 - 8:30 7:18 - 9:18 8:06 - 10:06 8:54 - 10:54 9:42 - 11:42 10:30 - 12:30 11:18 - 1:18 11:42 - 1:42 12:06 - 2:06 NEW MOON 12:54 - 2:54 1:42 - 3:42 2:30 - 4:30 3:18 - 5:18 4:06 - 6:06 4:54 - 6:54 5:42 - 7:42 6:30 - 8:30 7:18 - 9:18 8:06 - 10:06 8:54 - 10:54 9:42 - 11:42


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3:45 - 5:15 4:33 - 6:03 6:09 - 7:39 6:57 - 8:27 7:45 - 9:15 8:33 - 10:03 9:21 - 10:51 10:09 - 11:39 10:57 - 12:27 NA 12:33 - 2:03 1:21 - 2:51 2:09 - 3:39 2:57 - 4:27 3:45 - 5:15 4:33 - 6:03 5:21 - 6:51 5:48 - 7:18 6:09 - 7:39 6:57 - 8:27 7:45 - 9:15 8:33 - 10:03 9:21 - 10:51 10:09 - 11:39 10:57 - 12:27 NA 12:33 - 2:03 1:21 - 2:51 2:09 - 3:39 2:57 - 4:27 3:45 - 5:15


4:57 - 6:27 5:45 - 7:15 6:33 - 8:03 7:21 - 8:51 8:09 - 9:39 8:57 - 10:27 9:45 - 11:15 10:33 - 12:03 11:21 - 12:51 12:09 - 1:39 12:57 - 2:27 1:45 - 3:15 2:33 - 4:03 3:21 - 4:51 PM

4:09 - 5:39 4:57 - 6:27 6:33 - 8:03 7:21 - 8:51 8:09 - 9:39 8:57 - 10:27 9:45 - 11:15 10:33 - 12:03 11:21 - 12:51 12:09 - 1:39 12:57 - 2:27 1:45 - 3:15 2:33 - 4:03 3:21 - 4:51 4:09 - 5:39 4:57 - 6:27 5:45 - 7:15 6:11 - 7:41 6:33 - 8:03 7:21 - 8:51 8:09 - 9:39 8:57 - 10:27 9:45 - 11:15 10:33 - 12:03 11:21 - 12:51 12:09 - 1:39 12:57 - 2:27 1:45 - 3:15 2:33 - 4:03 3:21 - 4:51 4:09 - 5:39

The Moon Clock and resulting Moon Times were developed 36 years ago by Doug Hannon, one of America’s most trusted wildlife experts and a tireless inventor. The Moon Clock is produced by DataSport, Inc. of Atlanta, GA (www.moontimes.com), a company specializing in wildlife activity time prediction. Alabama Living

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Spotlight | July Auburn student interns for Alabama Living

Prevent illnesses caused by tick and mosquito bites

Jack West, a senior at Auburn University, is working this summer as an intern with Alabama Living. West, a native of Madison, is studying journalism and history and is the editor-in-chief of The Auburn Plainsman, the award-winning campus newspaper. West will assist the magazine staff by writing a variety of stories on topics of statewide interest. As the editor-in-chief at the Plainsman, West oversees all content and business decisions for the paper, but his passion lies with finding and telling stories about people doing essential jobs that too often go unseen. Last summer, he interned at The Jack West Elba Clipper, a weekly newspaper in Elba, as a part of Auburn’s Living Democracy Program. There he covered everything from the City Council to car crashes and from Fourth of July celebrations to summer band practices. Aside from writing, he enjoys reading short stories, gardening, and watching cooking videos. “This summer is certainly going to be unique,” says West, “and I am excited that I get to work and tell stories for Alabama Living. Reporting and storytelling has to go on during this pandemic, and I’m grateful for the opportunity to get experience in working under these circumstances.”

The summer months and social distancing practices mean more time spent outdoors and having fun in the sun for the entire family, but warmer months also bring unwanted visitors – ticks and mosquitoes. While most people think of ticks and mosquitoes as being only a nuisance, they can also transmit diseases. West Nile virus, Eastern equine encephalitis and Zika virus are diseases that mosquitoes can carry while Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain spotted fever are tickborne diseases that pose a threat to Alabama residents. The Alabama Department of Public Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention offer the following recommendations: ■ Use insect repellents with ingredients registered by the Environmental Protection Agency such as DEET, Picaridin and oil of lemon eucalyptus. ■ Always follow instructions when applying insect repellent to children and do not use repellents on babies younger than 2 months or oil of lemon eucalyptus on children under 3 years old. ■ Wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants and use permethrin to treat clothing and gear. ■ Make sure window screens are in good repair. ■ Conduct a yard inspection and tip or toss anything that holds water to reduce mosquito breeding. Fill holes and depressions in your yard where water tends to collect and repair leaky pipes and faucets. ■ Walk in the center of trails and conduct a tick check upon returning indoors. ■ Remove ticks immediately and correctly. Visit cdc.gov/ticks/ removing_a_tick.html to learn how to safely remove ticks.

Find the hidden dingbat! We might have hidden the June dingbat, a striped bowtie, in a place that was tricky to find, judging from the number of entries we received. But nearly 500 of you (including one of our youngest readers, eight-year-old Amelia Moon of Wetumpka) guessed correctly that it was on Page 20, decorating the side of a barn in a photo of the “Glory Train” in Arab. Several readers wrote poems to announce their findings, including Franklin EC member Randi McMickin of Russellville, who decorated the cat on her St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital notepaper with a cut-out of the tie. Father’s Day was nearing As I began fearing, I would not find that special tie. I went to the barn to feed, So hot I thought I would die, I know my daily deed. As I opened the doors to the barn, I thought.. I’ll be darned, There’s the dingbat, You know, from Alabama Living. My dad regifted it to the cat, He’s always been so giving, If I win, don’t mean to be rude, I will regift it to St. Jude.

By email: dingbat@alabamaliving.com By mail: Find the Dingbat Alabama Living PO Box 244014 Montgomery, AL 36124

Sorry you didn’t win, Randi, but maybe next time! Congratulations to our winner, Lindia Jenkins of Vinemont, a member of Cullman EC, whose name was drawn from the correct entries. This month, we’re in a patriotic mood for the 4th of July, so look for a red, white and blue burst of fireworks in these pages! Deadline for entries is July 8. 10  JULY 2020

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Letters to the editor

E-mail us at: letters@alabamaliving.coop or write us at: Letters to the editor P.O. Box 244014 Montgomery, AL 36124

Hogs need humane treatment

I agree that having these hogs invading one’s property would be a big problem. The problem I had with this is the part about the dogs used to hunt them and how the dogs were allowed to torture them after they were corralled. This should not happen; if they are a problem they should be killed in a humane manner. We have enough torture of animals in this world without any promotion. These animals are in the wild because of mismanagement of someone. Don’t take it out on the animal. David Moore Cullman

Enjoyed Hardy Jackson column

I always look forward to receiving my Alabama Living magazine and enjoy your stories and now I know why: I believe you and “Cousin Kathryn” are more closely related than you put on - ha! You have a folksy, easy style - as she did - that draws people in and it makes for a pleasure to read. I have a copy of Common Threads that she wrote with Chip Cooper doing the photographs, and it’s one of my “Southern” favorites! Keep writing, and I’ll keep reading! Debbie Cochran Daphne www.alabamaliving.coop

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July | Spotlight Don’t forget to vote in July 14 runoff election After the COVID-19 pandemic emerged in March, Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey announced the postponement of the March 31 runoff election to July 14. On the ballot are the runoff elections for U.S. Senator, between Republicans Jeff Sessions and Tommy Tuberville; U.S. Representative, District 1, between Republicans Jerry Carl and Bill Hightower, and Democrats James Averhart and Kiani Gardner; and U.S. Representative, District 2, between Republicans Jeff Coleman and Barry Moore. There also local runoffs in some Alabama counties. Download an absentee ballot application from www.sos. alabama.gov, or call the Secretary of State’s office at 334-242-7210. You also may request an application from your county absentee election manager, who is often the circuit clerk. The general election remains scheduled for Nov. 3.

Take us along! Thanks to all our readers who’ve sent us photos of their travels. We realize due to the pandemic, no one’s doing much traveling these days due to the statewide “safer at home” orders, but we enjoy seeing your pictures from past travels. We’re including several on this page. If you have any past photos send them to mytravels@alabamaliving.coop. We also want to see where you’re reading Alabama Living at home! Send us photos of you or a family member reading the magazine in your favorite home location. Send to athome@ alabamaliving.coop. We’ll draw a winner for a $25 prize each month, so let us hear from you!

Whereville, AL Identify and place this Alabama landmark and you could win $25! Winner is chosen at random from all correct entries. Multiple entries from the same person will be disqualified. Send your answer by July 8 with your name, address and the name of your rural electric cooperative. The winner and answer will be announced in the August issue. Submit by email: whereville@alabamaliving.coop, or by mail: Whereville, P.O. Box 244014, Montgomery, AL 36124. Contribute your own photo for an upcoming issue! Send a photo of an interesting or unusual landmark in Alabama, which must be accessible to the public. A reader whose photo is chosen will also win $25.

Robert and Chery Williams of Elberta took their magazine to Sydney, Australia. They are members of Baldwin EMC.

Lisa Peasant of Montgomery, a member of Dixie EC, traveled in March with not one, but two magazines on an Evangel Church mission trip to Sucua, Ecuador.

Sand Mountain EC member Sarah Blalock of Mentone and her mother, Sharron Hatfield, took some good reading material when they traveled to Five Oaks Farm in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee.

Drew Thompson of Baldwin EMC went almost “out of this world” with his copy, when he traveled to Mars, Pennsylvania, where he visited the town’s flying saucer sculpture.

At home: Lonnie Phillips took time to do some reading after lighting the grill at his home in Barnwell. Social distancing at its best in the backyard!

Earlier this year, Lonnie’s wife, Candi Wynn Phillips, took her copy along on their honeymoon to Disney’s Hollywood Studios in Orlando. They are members of Baldwin EMC. JULY 2020  11

June's answer

This little chapel in Clayhatchee, Ala., served as the sanctuary for Providence Baptist Church for many years. In 2010, the Old Providence Foundation was created to preserve and maintain the building as a venue for weddings and other celebrations. All donations and usage fees go to support the ongoing maintenance and improvement of the venue. Learn more at oldprovidencechapel.com (Photo submitted by Christine Childree of Pea River EC) The randomly drawn correct guess winner is Jessie White of Pea River EC.

Alabama Living

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Skygazing in Alabama:

The sky’s the limit By Katie Jackson

Looking for something to do this summer? Look up.

Whether viewing it from a blanket in the back yard or through a high-powered telescope, there’s as much to see in an Alabama sky as there are stars (and other celestial objects) in the heavens. Just be forewarned, looking up may keep you up at night. Stargazing is one of humankind’s oldest activities, and is the basis for our oldest science, astronomy. Since ancient times, humans have looked to the skies for navigation, inspiration, edification and relaxation. And stargazing — or “skygazing,” which encompasses both day and night viewing opportunities — is a safe, free and soothing activity to help anyone, anywhere navigate these uncertain times. Within the skygazing community are many amateur astronomers, people who don’t make their living as astronomers but

have developed exceptional skills and knowledge, often focused on a particular branch of astronomy. Some are interested in as-yet undiscovered or hard-to-find celestial objects and events, such as fuzzy nebulae or planetary conjunctions. Others are fascinated by the science and math of astronomy or are focused on photographing the cosmos. And, yes, some are looking for signs of extraterrestrial life. All can and will share their knowledge and appreciation of the universe. They will not, however, interpret your horoscope.

In addition to star parties and other public viewing events, many astronomy groups, planetariums and observatories provide opportunities to view special celestial events. This gathering, hosted by the Von Braun Astronomical Society in 2019, drew many eyes to the sky to see the Mercury transit of the sun. PHOTO COURTESY OF VBAS

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Alabama’s undeveloped and rural areas, which are less affected by light pollution, can be good examples of “dark sky” locations ideal for nighttime sky viewing.

“People do confuse us with astrologists, which is how astronomy got started, so they are our distant cousins,” said long-time Birmingham Astronomical Society of Alabama member Fred Rains, “but we won’t tell anyone’s fortune.” Instead, he and his fellow BAS members swap knowledge, stories and maybe a few exaggerations. “We’re just like a bunch of fishermen,” he laughed, though astronomers’ fish stories likely relate to the constellation Pisces. What they really love to do is introduce new folks to skygazing, a pastime that can be enhanced with a telescope or binoculars but is equally gratifying without magnification. “All you really need are your eyes, a star chart and a clear sky,” Rains says. Why a clear sky? Because clouds block the view from Earth to the sky, ruining many a skygazer’s best-laid plans, which is why astronomers wish one another “clear skies” instead of “have a good one.” Dark skies are also important for nighttime viewing because the darker the sky, the more vivid its objects. Unfortunately, in many places light pollution is diluting the darkness, which adversely affects both recreational viewing and astronomical studies. Undeveloped and rural areas, however, are less affected by light

pollution. “Alabama is a good dark sky place,” said Auburn Astronomical Society president Allen Screws, who noted there are a number of official “dark sky” sites in the state, including both public and private locales, many of them protected and managed by amateur astronomy groups and individuals.

Eyes toward the skies

But even if you’re standing under a streetlight, there are plenty of things to see in a night sky, and plenty of astronomy experts around to help you find them. One of the primary missions of amateur astronomy clubs and societies is to offer educational outreach to schools, civic and youth clubs and others in their communities. Staff members at the state’s numerous planetariums and observatories, those domed buildings focused on learning and teaching about the cosmos, are also there to help. According to Dr. Mel Blake, associate professor of physics at the University of North Alabama in Florence and director of UNA’s recently renovated observatory and planetarium, “Astronomy is one of the most accessible sciences. And anything that gets people curious and learning about science is good for all sciences, not just astronomy.”

Sea oats frame the Milky Way as seen from Fort Morgan in Gulf Shores. PHOTO BY WINSTON JERROD MCQUITERY

Alabama Living

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Skygazing 101 Tips Though cooler months tend to offer the best skygazing weather, there’s much to see right now. Here are a few tips to get you started, and possibly keep you up past your bedtime. Get a sky guide (paper, digital or an interactive mobile app) to help identify visible celestial objects. (Remember, they change with the seasons.) Find a location with a good view of the sky and as far away from artificial lights as possible. While the best viewing occurs on clear nights with the least amount of moonlight, don’t wait for perfect conditions. Once outside, give your eyes time to adjust to the dark, which can take up to 30 minutes. Get started by orienting on a bright, obvious object in the sky, such as Venus or the Big Dipper, then let your gaze wander. You can find lists of local experts and facilities at www.seasky.org or by searching web and social media sites.

There’s much to see in our southern skies, from our own Milky Way to this far, far away galaxy known as NGC 1300. PHOTO COURTESY OF NASA/ESA/HUBBLE HERITAGE TEAM

This Astronomy Day event, hosted last October by the Von Braun Astronomical Society, provided activities and presentations aimed at “bringing astronomy to the people.” Among the presenters was Lonnie Puterbaugh, creator of The Astronomy Channel (AKA The Awe-stronomy Channel), who brought a van retrofitted into a mobile observatory and display center that Puterbaugh takes to places “no van has gone before.” PHOTO COURTESY OF VBAS

Walking home one evening after staying late at school to practice In fact, astronomy is great tool for educators trying to introduce his spelling, Blake noticed a “really bright object in the west.” school-age children to science, technology, engineering and math Curious, he stopped in at the library where the librarian (her (STEM) careers. Beth Bero, president of the Von Braun Astroname was Mrs. Skinner) helped him find books on the sky and nomical Society in Huntsville, has used astronomy in her elemenidentify that bright object. “It was Venus,” tary school classrooms for years. She’s also he says. “I have been a big fan of public written curriculum to help other educalibraries ever since.” tors do the same, and her award-winning Bero’s interest was sparked by her fawork has introduced many a youngster to ther, who taught her the constellations the beauty and science of the cosmos. and showed her such wonders as Jupiter’s But astronomy education isn’t just for moons and Saturn’s rings through his own kids. It’s for anyone who will stop and take small telescope. Early in her teaching caa gander at the sky, which is why many of reer in Florida, Bero had a chance to use these groups throw some stellar parties — telescopes at her school, which garnered star parties that is. These events are held her an award from NASA in 1988. regularly at observatories, planetariums One evening while she was in Huntsand public dark sky sites in the state, and ville to accept the award, Bero met “two of also on city streets, parking decks and the most important things in my life.” One anywhere amateur astronomers can set was the VBAS observatory, built in 1956 up their telescopes and invite passersby to under the direction of the famous rocket take a gander at the sky. scientist Wernher von Braun. The other “The most fun thing to do is to show was her future husband. When the two people Saturn for the first time,” says BAS married in 1990, Bero moved to Huntspresident James Moore. “Without fail, you ville and immediately volunteered with get a reaction, because people realize how the VBAS. Three decades later, she’s still special it is to look at objects like that.” Astronomy is a great way for educators to enamored of both. Seeing objects like those is what introduce kids to the study of science and The stories of how astronomers, both turned many an ordinary earthling into a science-related careers. PHOTO COURTESY OF FRED RAINS amateurs and professionals, became skysky-smitten astronomer. Take Blake’s career for example, which gazers are as varied as their interests, but got its start when he was a middle schooler in Newfoundland, Canthey share one common experience. They all looked up. ada. “I liked school and space, but I was a terrible speller,” he says. You can too, and here’s wishing you clear skies. 14  JULY 2020

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Alabama Living

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In praise of

roosters, a monkey, a meteorite and more Statues commemorate the quirkier parts of Alabama’s history By Emmett Burnett


labama’s statues inspire us by recognizing events, people and places commemorated in stone. Other such markers are unique, thought-provoking head turners shrined in unfamiliarity. Here are six monuments of the latter, cast in quirky while marching to the beat of a different chisel.

Space Monkey

On May 28, 1959 an explorer boarded a Jupiter Rocket, launched into space, and returned safely to earth. She was courageous; she was bold; she was a squirrel monkey. Miss Baker paved the way for human astronauts soon to follow. Retirement was well deserved. “Miss Baker and husband George (also a squirrel monkey) moved to the Huntsville Space and Rocket Center in 1971,” recalls Patricia Ammons, the Center’s director of communications. “Children loved her and many wrote her letters.” Sadly, the cosmos explorer, obtained by NASA from a Florida pet shop, died in 1984. Her memorial stone is at the entrance of the Rocket Center’s main museum. Visitors pay respects and leave her monument adorned with bananas. The marker honoring Miss Baker, the squirrel monkey that became the first U.S. animal to complete a successful flight into space and return alive. PHOTO COURTESY THE HUNTSVILLE SPACE AND ROCKET CENTER

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The Bamahenge fiberglass art installation in Baldwin County. PHOTO BY EMMETT BURNETT


Stonehenge fascinates us. The mysterious formation is possibly a portal to time and space, the key to early man, or a road map to other worlds. The one in England is cool, too. But we are talking about the one in Josephine, Alabama, also known as “Bamahenge.” The original required 1,500 years to build. Baldwin County’s, not quite that much. “We installed ours in about four days,” said creator Mark Cline, owner of Enchanted Castle Studios in Virginia. “Like England’s, Bamahenge aligns with the solstice and the blocks are the same distance apart as the real one.” Built in 2012, the fiberglass rendition was commissioned by businessman George Barber and is on the Barber Parkway, near Elberta, and it may be a public service. Cline notes, “Returning aliens may confuse the two Stonehenges - England’s and Baldwin County’s. I probably saved the planet from being taken over.”

Sylacauga’s Falling Star

On Nov. 30, 1954, a grapefruit-sized meteorite crashed through Ann Hodges’ Sylacauga roof. She is the only known person in the world to be injured by a space rock. Sylacauga’s Falling Star Monument is the only statue in the world commemorating such an event. “The statue is based on what appeared in the sculptor’s dream,” notes Dr. Ted Spears, founder and chairman of the Sylacauga Magic of Marble Festival. Artist Don Lawler of Stephensport, Kentucky, was fascinated by Hodges’ story. Purchasing a slab of Sylacauga marble, he returned to Kentucky and chiseled “Falling Star.” “The creation garnered little interest in Kentucky,” Spears says. “Lawler inquired if we would like to buy it and we did.” In 2009, the artist returned and erected “Falling Star” at the SylaB.B. Comer Memorial Library cauga Municipal Complex. Director Tracey Thomas stands with the Falling Star Standing about 8 feet tall, Statue. it reminds us of the wonPHOTO COURTESY OF SARA OSBOURN ders of space, the beauty of stars, and the night our universe opened over Talladega County and deployed a rock to attack Sylacauga.

Dothan smallest block

The “World’s Smallest City Block” in Dothan, which is actually a triangle. PHOTOS BY EMMETT BURNETT

This marker states it is the “World’s Smallest City Block.” Alabama Living

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If a Dothan resident says, “Meet me at North College and Appletree Streets,” leave the Garmin at home. You won’t need it. The Wiregrass city has the smallest city block on earth – about 12 by 20 feet. “In the 1930s it was much larger,” recalls Dothan Mayor Mark Saliba. “Through time the block became smaller as surrounding roads grew larger.” But the tiny lot offers a lot. The diminutive plot, complete with a street and stop sign almost within arm’s length of each other, has a huge social media following and is a favorite for Facebook selfies. An onsite marker was placed by Dothan’s Camellia Garden Club on May 1, 1964, noting the block’s “World’s Smallest” status. It is listed in the Guinness World Book of Records – a big award for a tiny place. JULY 2020  17

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Icarus and the Guardian Angels

Y’all remember Icarus, the mythological Greek with homemade wings? He flew too close to the sun, discovered gravity is real, and crash landed in Tuscaloosa. You heard me, T-Town, home of the Crimson Tide, Denny Chimes, and “Icarus and the Guardian Angels.” The latter includes three, 10-feettall figures gazing from Hackberry Lane and University Boulevard while standing before the fallen Icarus. Onlookers gaze with curiosity and few know how it got here. “The exhibit by artist Be Gardiner was part of the Alabama Biennial sculpture competition and purchased by the University of Alabama in 1991,” recalls Rachel Dobson, of the University of Alabama’s Department of Art and Art History. It was placed on site the same year. Icarus’ angelic Tuscaloosa security team is just that, cerebral beings watching over the body of a man who flew too close to the sun. They are his guardians – albeit too late.

Icarus and the Guardian Angels. PHOTOS BY EMMETT BURNETT

Rooster Bridge

Necessity is the mother of invention, and in Demopolis, so were chickens. For in 1919 when Marengo County’s largest city needed a bridge over the Tombigbee River, the town cried fowl – roosters to be exact. Demopolis would build its bridge through the fundraising power of poultry. The city hired Sumter County auctioneer Frank Inge Derby Sr., who theorized more money would be generated from celebrity donated roosters. But how? “It was a matter of, someone had a friend who had a friend who knew someone,” says Kirk Brooker, operations director of the Marengo County Historical Society. Chicken donors included President Woodrow Wilson (who personally chose his bird), the President of Belgium, and prime ministers of England, France, and Italy. Other contributors in-

cluded Mary Pickford, Roscoe “Fatty” Arbuckle, and U.S. Gen. John Pershing. Helen Keller donated a hen. The bridge on U.S. Highway 80 was built in 1925 with federal money added to rooster revenue. A Demopolis Public Square marker installed in 1959 notes the Aug. 14-15, 1919 auction. According to records, crowds cheered as 600 roosters paraded through downtown Demopolis. May they roost in peace. In a 1961 photo, Sumter County’s Frank I. Derby poses with the Demopolis Rooster Bridge Monument honoring him for his contributions to making the rooster auction happen. PHOTO COURTESY OF

Marker in Demopolis Public Square commemorating the 1919 rooster auction.



U.S. President Woodrow Wilson, center, selects his rooster to be sent to Demopolis for the rooster auction. PHOTO COURTESY OF MARENGO COUNTY


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Alabama Living

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7 86


Why I love my

hometown Readers share what makes small-town life special


n the February and March issues, we asked you to tell us what makes your hometowns special, and you gave us some great responses. It may be the generosity of the people, the appreciation for history, the spirit of community, or the heart of its leaders. In this time of uncertainty, our hometowns ground us and help us feel safe and hopeful. Enjoy what these readers had to say. Some responses are edited for length or clarity; unfortunately, we weren’t able to use all of them. But you can read all the entries at alabamaliving.coop. Want to highlight your hometown? Email Allison Law at alaw@areapower.com, and we may use your comments in a future story.

1 Moulton

Red Land Cotton anchors a corner of the town square in Moulton.


As the spread of COVID-19 consumes our lives and workplaces, it is during a time of crisis such as this when angels appear out of nowhere and answer the call for help. The town of Moulton, with a population of roughly 3,200, is home to two locally-owned businesses that have teamed up to do something incredibly worthy for health-care professionals. Red Land Cotton, manufacturer of bedding and towels from cotton grown on the family farm, and Southern Sewn partnered to produce face masks for the University of Alabama at Birmingham. Six years ago, International Paper shut down its operations. The ramifications of the closure affected not just the 1,100 displaced workers, but was a blow to the school system and the local government that relied on IP for revenue. Today, the town still struggles, but as Alabama’s health care system is stretched to its limits, these two Moulton businesses have stepped up to help in the COVID-19 fight. Tami Reist

2 Trinity My husband and I both grew up on a farm and have always been country at heart. We had a handicapped child who could not attend school where we lived because she had to have help that was not offered in the small school at that time. My husband got a job in the city where they had a small class for handicapped children. We moved and stayed in the city until he retired. We moved to the town of Trinity and love it. My husband has since passed away, but I feel safer and more a part of the community here. It’s very quiet and peaceful. Even the police and maintenance services are better. The real bonus is having an amazing church family and good caring neighbors. So blessed to live here. Trinity’s Caboose Park PHOTO BY MICHAEL CORNELISON Dolores Boyles 20  JULY 2020

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3 Red Bay

Our city of Red Bay has much to brag about. Located in northwest Alabama, it’s named for its red clay banks and its bay trees. It’s a special place to live, work and play. Arbor Day is celebrated annually, and Red Bay’s Garden Club members take pride in the beautification of our city. One member of the club has transplanted bay trees from the woods for special occasions. Visiting Red Bay, you’ll meet the nicest people. You’ll be treated like somebody. We believe and know that everyone is somebody. Wherever you reside in Alabama, it will be worth your trip to visit beautiful downtown Red Bay! Mae Jean Hastings

Flags celebrate patriotism at Bay Tree Park, former location of the Blue Bell garment manufacturing plant.



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ay Tree ue Bell


4 Mentone

I am often reminded of the value of living in a small town. Last February I ordered some Alabama softball tickets as a surprise wedding anniversary gift for my wife. Not wanting to take a chance that she might intercept the tickets at our mailbox, The Mentone I had them mailed to my good friend Ropostmaster’s message to Charlie Runnels. land Hendon’s post office box number but addressed to me. The following week, I was collecting the mail from our mailbox and noticed an envelope with a hand-written note at the bottom corner. It read: “Please correct your address. Signed, Postmaster.” In the envelope were the softball tickets. In my little town of Mentone, the postal workers know their customers as well as their addresses. This is the kind of thoughtful attention one can expect in small town America. Charlie Runnels

5 Malvern

Editor’s note: The most humorous submission we received was from Robert Quattlebaum of Dothan, who included a photocopy Malvern Town Hall. PHOTO BY ALLISON LAW of an old letter to the editor in the local newspaper. Quattlebaum writes: “My hometown, written many years ago. Don’t know the author but it’s an interesting read. Funny too!” The unsigned letter was apparently a response to a previous article that poked fun at the little town of Malvern, and the writer was suitably aggravated. He or she noted several points that prove Malvern was superior to Dothan, its larger neighbor to the east: “Malvern has less juvenile delinquency than Dothan. … No infringement of the law was existent during the Christmas holidays, and none is expected for the remainder of the year. … Malvern has produced three professional prize fighters, all having fought in Madison Square Garden (names on request) … Malvern is in the process of paving the main street, and citizens there have not experienced any difficulty in getting to and from their homes and businesses. Compare this, Mr. Editor, with Dothan. … Malvern has had no lawsuits, or any pending, caused by hazards and unsafe condition on streets and sidewalks.” “So you can observe from these facts that Malvern is not as small as it once was and considerable credit should be given.” No doubt, the editor was suitably chastened!

The Jim Folsom Bridge spans the Tombigbee River in Coffeeville.

6 Coffeeville

My hometown of Coffeeville is special because what it lacks in population, it makes up for in courage, character and hospitality. The relaxed culture can be a welcome change for some, while also being a humble beginning for others. I am grateful I had the opportunity to grow up there, surrounded by family who instilled values such as integrity, accountability and respect that I can now pass on to my children. Coffeeville is located in the southwest corner of Alabama. It is known for its hunting and fishing and has the third largest lake in the Black Warrior and Tombigbee system. It’s on the state birding trail, and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers operates and maintains a modern campground located just two miles west of town. About 25,000 campers from all over the U.S. visit the park each year. No matter how far I may travel, Coffeeville will always be “home.” Liza Pugh-Nicholson

7 Union Springs

To those who call it home, Union Springs is the center of the universe. Not only is it geographically located among some of Alabama’s best cities, people everywhere seem to be connected to it by relatives, friends or events. Union Springs is located in Bullock County, whose history is rich in hunting and outdoor activities. It’s home to two national bird-dog field trials and is a mecca for hunting and fishing. The area also offers theatre and art. In its 17th year, the Red Door Theatre produces multiple shows a year, all Southern in nature. The theatre annually welcomes over 2,000 guests. The city’s Door Theatre downtown is home to five original murals cele- Red PHOTO BY ALLISON LAW brating the area’s history and culture. History lovers will find 45 buildings located on the National Register of Historic Places, as well as one of the first public gardens in the U.S. This center of the universe is my hometown, loved by its residents and welcoming to its visitors. Midge Putnam

8 Leroy My hometown is the unlikely place named Leroy, in Washington County. It is a spread-out community (if it was all pushed together it would be much more impressive looking). It has a lot of farming area, but most people work in the nearby chemical plants and paper mill. Most importantly, it has some of the most wonderful people you would ever want to be around. When anyone loses a family member or has any kind of trouble, so many people are there to be with you. Our school’s sports teams have won numerous state championships, of which we are very proud. We have churches that are blessings to our area. I love Leroy, and anyone would be lucky to live here. Mary Bowling Glover Alabama Living

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Leroy High School


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ALABAMA BOOKSHELF In this periodic feature, we highlight books either about Alabama people or events, or written by Alabama authors. Summaries are not reviews or endorsements. We also occasionally highlight book-related events. Email submissions to bookshelf@alabamaliving.coop. Due to the volume of submissions, we are unable to feature all the books we receive. Alabama Noir, edited by Don Noble, Akashic Books, $12.57 (mystery anthology) This book, an addition to the publisher’s Noir series, is an anthology of short stories covering the entire state. It features stories diverse in subject matter and influence by Ace Atkins, Tom Franklin, Anita Miller Garner, Suzanne Hudson, Kirk Curnutt, Wendy Reed, Carolyn Haines, Anthony Grooms, Michelle Richmond, Winston Groom, Ravi Howard, Thom Gossom Jr., Brad Watson, Daniel Wallace, D. Winston Brown, and Marlin Barton. Editor Noble says, “fans of noir should all find something to enjoy.” The Edge of Everywhen, by A.S. Mackey, BH Publishing Group, $14.99 (juvenile fiction/ Christian fantasy) Piper is a 13-year-old self-proclaimed book nerd, who has a little brother, Phoenix, who has autism. When their life is turned upside down with the death of their mother, they must begin a new chapter with an unknown Aunt Beryl. Eventually, they experience the power of family, trust and love, and how to depend on God. The author lives in Florence, Alabama. The Summer House, by Lauren K. Denton, Thomas Nelson publishing, $24.29 hardcover (women’s fiction) Lily Bishop wakes up one morning to find a good-bye note and divorce papers from her husband. She builds an unlikely friendship with Rose Carrigan, who built a small retirement village just before her husband ran off with his assistant. Neither woman is where she expected to be, but the summer makes them both wonder if there’s more to life and love than what they’ve experienced so far. The author was born and raised in Mobile and now lives in Homewood. Gravedigger: The Rayburn Mysteries, by CeeRee Fields, Soul Mate Publishing, $8.30 (romantic suspense) Homicide detective Josephine “Jo” Rayburn has no luck with, or use for, love – until she’s assigned to work with Rhysian “Rhys” Harrison, the coroner’s assistant. Jo’s prickly personality interests Rhys, but it’s her hidden romantic side that captivates him. The book is set in Birmingham and the surrounding areas, and the author was born and raised in Alabama. Boyington Oak: A Grave Injustice, by Mary S. Palmer, Universal Publishers, $19.95 (historical mystery) In 1834, unqualified jurors and circumstantial evidence determined the fate of journeyman printer Charles R.S. Boyington, a 19-year-old hanged for the murder of his best friend and roommate. As he predicted would happen to prove his innocence, an oak tree grew from his gravesite in Mobile’s Church Street Graveyard. It still stands 185 years later. Like Nothing Amazing Ever Happened, by Emily Blejwas, Delacorte Books for Young Readers, $15.93 hardcover (children’s fiction, for ages 9-12) A poignant story of a boy picking up the pieces of his life after the unexpected death of his father, and the loyalty, concern and friendship he finds in his small-town community. Set during the Gulf War era, it’s a story about learning to go on after loss. The author lives in Mobile and previously wrote The Story of Alabama in Fourteen Foods, which Alabama Living profiled in September 2019.

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CALL FOR ENTRIES Alabama Rural Electric Association’s

11 Quilt Competition th

Our 2021 theme is: First responders

Mail, or E-mail form below for your entry package. Deadline to submit quilt square is January 29, 2021.

Name:_________________________________________________ Address:_______________________________________________ City, State Zip:___________________________________________ Mail to: Linda Partin AREA E-mail:_________________________________________________ 340 TechnaCenter Drive Montgomery, AL 36117 Phone:_________________________________________________ Cooperative:____________________________________________ or Phone: 334-215-2732 E-mail: lpartin@areapower.com (The electric cooperative name on front of this Alabama Living.)

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| Alabama People |

Janet Cobb

At the helm of a living memorial As executive director of the USS Alabama Battleship Memorial Park, Janet Cobb’s occupation is unique. How unique? Your worksite has a water cooler. Hers has anti-aircraft guns. Baldwin County raised and retired from a 42-year military career including leadership roles in Kuwait, the Netherlands, and Washington D.C., Army Reserve Major General Cobb was named the park’s executive director in December 2015. In the days of COVID-19 her leadership skills were put to test like never before. Cobb took time to discuss the ship she loves, the business of running a major tourist attraction, and navigating the “Mighty A” through coronavirus seas of uncertainty. – Emmett Burnett What were your impressions when boarding the USS Alabama the first time? I am from Elberta, graduated from Foley High School in 1974, and frequently saw the ship as I traveled to and from Mobile. But it was 1995 before actually walking on board. I escorted a friend’s grandson for a tour. My first impression was about the same as everyone else’s. The ship is much bigger up close. It is massive. They don’t call it a battlewagon for nothing. It felt like we were walking on a movie set. With 5 years’ experience as director, what are your impressions today of the USS Alabama? Every day, when I drive down “the hill” from Spanish Fort, I look for the ship. It is like coming home to friends. The intricacies of the vessel, the detail, and preservation still amaze me. Knowing I walk the decks where 2,500 men were tightly packed and the sacrifices they made to live that lifestyle, while other people were shooting at them, is still incredible. I have met some of those crewmen – not many are left. But they left a lasting impression on me.

Describe a typical day at the office. Every day is different, and I enjoy every day. I check email before arriving at the park then tend to daily matters – personnel issues, the gift shop, maintenance, and things that pop up. Fortunately, we have excellent people working here. I do a lot on the financial side of the business, engaged with state agencies, and funding. One of the most rewarding parts of the job is walking the deck, mingling with visitors, and interacting with them. The day is never boring. What is the number one question children ask you about the ship? Can I climb to the top? On the day of this interview, Battleship Park has been closed for over a month. How has the coronavirus affected you and operations? This is the first time the park has ever shut down for a non-hurricane related event and it has been the biggest challenge in my tenure. Other than an occasional memorial gift and private donations, we have no income (Battleship Park receives no federal or state funding). Fortunately, we have always practiced sound fiscal planning which started under the direction of my predecessor, director Bill Tunnel. We continue to pay our bills and have kept our staff working. They have plenty to do. On the positive side, we are almost a year ahead in our maintenance schedule and are completing projects and restoration work that would have taken months, perhaps years to do if the park was open. Currently our priorities are paying our bills and protecting our people. We run a tight ship. What will Battleship Park look like in a post-COVID 19 world? (After this interview, the Battleship Memorial Park reopened to the public. Keep up with updates at ussalabama.com). Visitors would be good to go on the grounds. It is wide open 40 acres. The ship, submarine, and other facilities have reopened with new safety features in place. Plexiglass barriers will be added as needed and staff will be in masks and gloves. Social distancing will be practiced between visitors as needed. Most guests stick together with the people they came with such as families. They will use common sense. Finally, what is the take-away you want Battleship Park visitors to have when they leave? I want them to remember not just the park, but those who served. This year marks the 75th anniversary of the end of World War II. Of the thousands who manned this ship only a handful are left. Soon they and their stories will be gone. That generation is leaving us and I am concerned our memories of them are fading too. This ship represents those who sacrificed, not just aboard the USS Alabama, but all military in all branches. This ship is a memorial to those who served and those who continue to do so. I hope it always will be. PHOTO BY EMMET BURNETT


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Alabama Living

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| Worth the drive |

Feeling a little wild? Make the trek to Bama Bucks for artfully prepared wild game

By Jennifer Kornegay


lli-GADOR! Yum!” My four-year-old niece shoves yet warm wood everywhere, a massive stone fireplace and taxideranother golden-brown nugget of surprisingly tender mized animals anchoring the decor. And while the food is great, fried gator in her mouth, still professing her love for the the service attentive and the atmosphere welcoming, the restauappetizer that she has almost single-handedly finished as she chews. rant at Bama Bucks is only part of its appeal. The real attractions “Catherine Barrett, close your mouth,” my mom says. are out back, grazing and strolling among the 25 acres of Bama “But I vuuuuuv this!” she protests. Bucks exotic animal park, some of which you can see out the large “We know, but tell us once you windows forming the back wall of swallow,” my mom pleads again. the dining room. On a Friday evening – before the Now home to elk, antelope, COVID-19 pandemic – my family camels, kangaroos, bison, alligaand I are having dinner at Bama tors, ostriches, black bears, falBucks in Boaz, in Alabama’s northlow and whitetail deer, turkeys, east corner. It’s just about 6 p.m., owls and more, the foundations and despite the restaurant’s someof Bama Bucks were laid in Turk’s what out-of-the way location plus heart decades earlier, when he was the dark clouds and high winds of a kid making pets of possums and the severe weather threat headed raccoons and birds he’d round up our way, the dining room is almost and adopt. packed. “Sometimes, the wait for a “I’ve had a love of the outdoors table on a Saturday night hits three and of animals all of my life,” he hours,” says owner Terry Turk, says. His affection for wildlife who I’m chatting with while we eat. From left, owner Terry Turk and his wife, Jennifer Turk, with their didn’t fade as he grew, and in 1998, They come for expertly prepared children, Jay, Josie and Cody. the operations superintendent for and artfully presented dishes of Marshall-DeKalb Electric CooperPHOTOS COURTESY OF BAMA BUCKS wild game, including selections ative got his first whitetail deer. “I like the afore-mentioned gator bites, sausage trio (elk, bison and was in Florence, Alabama, doing restoration work after a storm, wild boar), grilled red stag venison and roasted pheasant breast and I met a guy who had a game farm up there. He had deer, and drizzled with raspberry reduction, as well as more traditional I had helped a friend take care of an injured deer a while back and proteins such as angus sirloin and pecan-bourbon chicken. thought it would be nice to have one, so he set me up,” Turk says. All of these items are enjoyed in lodge-like surroundings, Then he got a few more. Soon, he had 250. 26  JULY 2020

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Guests can pet some of the smaller animals, like this baby kangaroo.

The Wild Game Sausage Trio, served with pimento cheese, onion mustard marmalade and naan bread.

Then in 2006, he branched out and got an elk. Not long after, he added a kangaroo, and his menagerie kept growing from there. At some point, he and his wife realized others might enjoy their animals too, so they created Bama Bucks, which opened to the public in late 2018. “We know we are so blessed to be the caretakers of all these animals, and so we wanted to share them,” Turk says.

wild,” Turk says. But he rescued the baby deer, and after several surgeries, his legs were fixed, and he grew into a healthy adult. He’s now a guest favorite, and one of the first animals most visitors see, often walking to the fence of the enclosure he shares with a few kangaroos when people approach as if to say “hi.” “Charlie’s a sweetheart, and he gets along good with the kangaroos,” Turk says. “Bo the camel also really loves folks.” Up-close and personal Another facet of the operation, one visitors don’t see, is Turk’s The response was huge, and up until March, Bama Bucks drew deer breeding program, which began when he got his first deer approximately 1,200 to 1,500 people each weekend to view the armore than two decades ago. He’s now a licensed game and exhibit ray of animals, most in large, fenced pasture-like enclosures, and breeder, and his program brings about 100 whitetail deer fawns to have pretty personal encounters with a few of them, including into the world each year. the opportunity to pet some of the smaller animals (like the wideTurk remains invigorated by the thousands of guests who come eyed ring-tailed lemurs) to see his animals every or to sit atop a camel month, and he relishnamed Bo and take a leies the reviews he gets surely ride. on the restaurant, too. Friendly staff mem“We worked hard on the bers are ready and able menu, and our kitchen to answer all kinds of team is top-notch, so questions, and educating it’s great to know peovisitors is a key piece of ple really like the food,” Bama Bucks mission. he says, “and looks like (As is making sure peothat’s true of this one ple know that the anihere.” He points to my mals in the park never nephew, who’s fast digend up on the menu; the ging into a 12-ounce wild game at the restaubison ribeye resting on rant comes from game creamy mashed potatoes farms that raise meat and crowned with fried specifically for eating.) onions. The welcoming outdoor area reflects the restaurant’s lodge-like atmosphere. Turk admits he gets But praise isn’t what he just as much out of guests’ experiences as they do. “I love seeing most likes to hear. “It’s the stories,” he says. “Being here, around people have real ‘firsts’ here, like their first time seeing a bull elk our animals, always gets people talking. They’ll tell me about the up close or their first time holding a baby kangaroo. I love seeing time they saw an albino deer, or when they were a kid, fishing their faces light up,” he says. He also gets a kick out of meeting all with their dad and reeled in a giant bass. That’s the real fun of this. of his guests, and they come from all over. “We get people from Sharing experiences from the outdoors and about the wonders of across the state and all over the Southeast and beyond,” he says. nature with others.” Making new friends out of visitors is a definite work perk, but Editor’s note: Bama Bucks was set to reopen after the COVID-19 the animals are Turk’s true love; he considers them family. Almost shutdowns on June 18, before this issue went to press. Bama all of them have names, and one special deer is even named after Bucks has and will continue to follow all current guidelines for his dad, Charlie. Charlie the deer is mostly white with a few bits of safely conducting business. a whitetail’s brownish-grey coat peeking through. His interesting Bama Bucks Restaurant appearance often draws questions, giving Turk the chance to tell  his story. and Exotic Animal Park Boaz One day a few years ago, Turk’s dad got some good news: He’d 292 Bryant Road be able to undergo the surgery needed to remove his brain tumor. Boaz, AL 35956 That same day, a severely deformed deer was born at Bama Bucks. 256-281-9234 “The fawn was a piebald (a genetic mutation causing white spots Hours: 4 to 9 p.m. Thursday; 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday; on the coat) and had multiple leg abnormalities, and his own 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday; 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday father was trying to kill him. That’s the way things work in the Website: bama-bucks.com Alabama Living

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Preventing common infections goes beyond COVID-19

Know the difference between disinfecting and sanitizing

By Jerome Houser At perhaps no other time in history is the topic of infection prevention as important as it is today, thanks to COVID-19, the viral respiratory illness. But the common cold remains common, and common sense infection prevention is always relevant. Infections are caused by four agents: bacteria (Strep infection), fungi (athlete’s foot), parasites (Lyme disease, contracted from infected ticks) or viruses (such as COVID-19). The length and severity of any infection varies with the type and aggressive nature of the causing agent. Additionally, a person can have more than one kind of infection. The focus of this article is to examine potential risk factors in acquiring infections and how to prevent them. Risk factors for developing infections are numerous. The first factor is age, which refers to lifestyle, typically. Alcohol and cigarette consumption can impair the body’s immune systems. The second factor is suppressed immune systems from diseases (such as AIDS), clinical treatments (chemo and radiation therapies) and repressive drug therapies for auto-immune diseases (rheumatoid arthritis or systemic lupus erythematosus). These types of diseases and treatment regimens limit the production of white blood cells and other defensive protein factors. The third factor deals with major systemic diseases (those of the heart, kidneys and lungs) and diabetes (Type 1 — also an autoimmune disease). These conditions weaken the body’s defenses. The severity of the immune system compromise will be determined by the acuteness and kind of disease. The fourth factor is improper food preparation and storage. This is a real problem in the summertime. Food not properly cooked or stored can easily attack the digestive system with bacteria or parasites. Additionally, some raw foods can infect the liver and cause Hepatitis A. The fifth and final factor is eating disorders and nutritional deficiencies (such as 28  JULY 2020

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Vitamin D deficiencies). Without proper nutrients, the body will lack the materials to form antibodies and other immune components. Sometimes, healthy individuals take their fully functional immune system for granted. But infection prevention becomes critical for individuals with lower immune defense systems, especially chemotherapy patients. The acronym “B, C, Ds” provide the foundation for practical infection prevention. These letters represent “B” for physical barrier, “C” for clean and cover, and “D” for personal distance. The physical barrier prevents contact with potential infected surfaces. For instance, a towel is a great barrier on hospital wheelchairs or doctors’ office seats or personal car seats. Also, towels can be placed on patients’ beds, during visits from clinical personnel or visitors. The letter “C” stands for clean and cover. Clean refers to sanitizing touchable surfaces (cellphones, cooking surfaces, TV remotes, etc.) and washing your hands. Cover denotes placing some bandage or gauze over an open wound or broken skin. These actions work together to limit access of infectious agents to the body. The letter “D” is a reference to personal or social distancing. It simply means that you limit your time near a sick person and give them a little space away from you. Many items are useful in infection prevention: aprons, bandages, cleaning agents (disinfectants, soap and water), goggles, gloves, and mosquito repellants. To be proactive in infection prevention, it becomes a lifestyle and not just a seasonal activity (like spring cleaning). This is very important concept for people who live with loved ones in high-risk situations. Infection prevention programs help validate the old maxim “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” Jerome Houser, BSc., M.A., D.C., is the author of “A Clinician’s Guide to Caregiving” and cared for his elderly parents for 10 years.

When it comes to cleaning, not all jobs are created equal. When you’ve got a big mess in the kitchen – do you clean, disinfect or sanitize? These terms are often used interchangeably, but believe it or not, each are different. Cleaning dirt or food from a surface, for example, doesn’t necessarily kill germs and bacteria that can cause us to become sick. That’s why it’s important to know the difference between disinfecting and sanitizing. The CDC offers the following guidance. Disinfecting kills germs on surfaces or objects. Disinfecting works by using chemicals to kill germs on surfaces or objects. This process does not necessarily clean dirty surfaces or remove germs, but by killing germs on a surface after cleaning, it can further lower the risk of spreading infection. Hospitals, for example, disinfect areas that have come into contact with bodily fluids, and parents typically disinfect areas where a baby’s diaper is changed. Sanitizing lowers the number of germs on surfaces or objects to a safe level, as judged by public health standards or requirements. This process works by either cleaning or disinfecting surfaces or objects to lower the risk of spreading infection. Most people sanitize kitchen surfaces that come into contact with food. Pay close attention to hazard warnings and directions on product labels. Cleaning products and disinfectants often call for the use of gloves or eye protection. For example, gloves should always be worn to protect your hands when working with bleach solutions. Visit cdc.gov/coronavirus for more information on how to protect yourself and your family. www.alabamaliving.coop

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Alabama Living

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Qualifying for supplemental security income with Social Security


e pay monthly Supplemental Security Income (SSI) to people with disabilities who have low income and few resources, and people who are age 65 or older without disabilities who meet the financial limits. Income is money you receive, such as wages, Social Security benefits, and pensions. Income also includes things like food and shelter. The amount of income you can receive each month and still get SSI depends partly on where you live. Resources are things you own, including real estate, bank accounts, cash, stocks and bonds, which we count in deciding if you qualify for SSI. You may be able to get SSI if your resources are worth $2,000 or less. A couple may be able to get SSI if they

Kylle’ McKinney, SSA Public Affairs Specialist, can be reached by email at kylle.mckinney@ssa.gov.


have resources worth $3,000 or less. If you own property that you are trying to sell, you may be able to get SSI while trying to sell it. We will not count economic impact payments, also known as coronavirus stimulus payments or CARES Act payments, as income for SSI. These payments will also not count as resources for 12 months. You can read more about qualifying for SSI at ssa. gov/pubs/EN-05-11000.pdf. If you’re an adult with a disability intending to file for both SSI and Social Security Disability Insurance, you can apply online for both benefits at the same time if you: • Are between the ages of 18 and 65; • Have never been married; • Aren’t blind, • Are a U.S. citizen residing in one of the 50 states, District of Columbia, or the Northern Mariana Islands; and • Haven’t applied for or received SSI benefits in the past. We’re here for you. You can find more information at ssa.gov/ benefits.


Across 1 The Tigers’ winningest coach 4 All-time great coach for the Crimson Tide 9 ____ Bridge Rock, in Winston County 10 “Well, I come from Alabama with my _____ on my knee” Stephen Foster lyric 11 Alabama city known for its fine white marble bedrock 13 Silvery gray color 16 Basilosaurus cetoides is Alabama’s state ____ 18 ____ Caverns in Childersburg 19 Family tree word 20 Snap shots 21 Alabama’s boiled ____ 23 Symbol for iron 24 Oregano is one 26 One of Alabama’s U.S. senators 28 Note for a debt 31 Mobius is a famous one, in the Alabama Hills - in California 32 Alabama speedway 33 Prosecutor

26 Convene as a board 27 Python’s cousin

by Myles Mellor 29 S.American tuber 30 Exist

Down 1 One of Alabama’s U.S. senators 2 “Timber” or “Pigmy”- Alabama reptile 3 Melody 5 ____ Bridges, celebrated civil rights activist 6 Alabama’s “Model City” 7 Home of the artist Jean Lake 8 Alabama’s features a crimson cross 12 Goodbye in French 14 Montgomery avenue famous for being the end of the Selma march 15 National Forest in southern Alabama 17 Cap. Hill figure 18 Lady __ (British princess) 20 Letter addendum 22 Attempt 25 Yellowhammer, for example Answers on Page 45 30  JULY 2020

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Alabama Living

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| Gardens |

Friendly ways to manage wildlife in the garden


ildlife-friendly gardening is a splendid way to preserve and protect nature, but if they plunder our gardens, dig up our lawns or move into our houses, wildlife can seem more like foes than friends. Luckily there are ways to manage this conflict without unfriending nature. According to experts, habitat loss drives much of the conflict between humankind and wildlife — and is a primary reason to embrace wildlife-friendly gardening. When natural ecosystems are destroyed, wildlife must look elsewhere for food, water, shelter and safe places to raise their young and they often find those in our landscapes and homes. That interaction can be a good thing, or not. Occasionally wildlife species pose a threat to humans, pets and even other wild species, but usually they become nuisances by damaging plants, crops or structures. According to Bence Carter, a regional agent with the Alabama Cooperative Extension System’s wildlife and forestry team, how we react in these situations varies from one person to the next. “When it comes to wildlife damage, everyone has their own threshold of damage before it warrants taking action,” Carter says. For some, a nibbled tomato plant is too much damage. Others are willing to share the entire landscape with wildlife but draw the line when they move into the attic. Whatever the trigger, Carter says it’s important to take stock of the situation before taking action. “Knowing what’s causing the problem is the first step to any management plan,” he says. It can also save time, money and frustration. “You don’t want to build a six-foot fence for a rabbit.” Katie Jackson is a freelance writer and editor based in Opelika, Alabama. Contact her at katielamarjackson@gmail.com.

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Short of catching a critter in the act — which can be difficult, especially with nocturnal species — the best way to make a proper ID is through detective work. Study tracks and signs of damage, such as feeding or burrowing habits, for clues. Or skip the guesswork by using a wildlife camera or other surveillance device. Once the problem animal is identified, there are a number of ways to address the situation without evicting wildlife. It may be as simple as keeping tight lids on trash cans, not leaving bowls of pet food outside or reducing the amount of wildlife-friendly habitat, such a brush piles and tall grass, in the yard. Creating a natural-looking landscape using curved, rather than straight, lines for garden beds and mixing a variety of different plants in each bed can mask damage. Choosing plants that are resistant or tolerant to wildlife feeding is also helpful. For a more assertive approach, try harassing the culprits away using scarecrows, motion-activated lights or sprinklers and the like. Commercially available repellents made from foul tasting or smelling substances can also be effective as can some nontoxic home remedies, like the aftershave-soaked cloths that Alabama Living reader Martha Dooley uses to control deer. However, Carter noted that the efficacy of these methods varies depending on the wildlife species and other factors, including whether wildlife becomes habituated

to the deterrent. Exclusion devices such as fences, netting and chimney caps can be quite effective at keeping critters out of gardens, yards and structures. Choosing the right kind of fencing is important, though, and these strategies can be expensive. If all else fails, removal (live-trapping and relocation) and extermination (poisons, lethal traps, shooting, etc.) are also options, however they pose some challenges. For example, it’s illegal in Alabama to relocate most wildlife species, and some extermination methods can pose risks to people, pets and other wildlife species. In these cases, it may be best to hire a certified wildlife removal specialist. One thing is for certain: wildlife are important members of our world so the more we know about them, the less likely we are to come in conflict with one another. Information on living with wildlife is available from the Extension System (aces.org), The Internet Center for Wildlife Damage Control (icwdm.org), many state and federal wildlife and conservation agencies and also from organizations such as the National Wildlife Federation (nwf.org).

JULY TIPS • Plant seeds for late summer and early fall vegetables and flowers.

• Plant pumpkins now for an October harvest.

• Divide overcrowded irises and other perennials.

• Keep an eye out for insect and disease problems.

• Harvest summer vegetables and fruits frequently.

• Keep outdoor container plants wellwatered.

• Pulls weeds regularly and before they go to seed.

• Keep bird baths and feeders full. www.alabamaliving.coop

6/29/20 10:59 AM


Kidnap, ransom and rescue, Part 3

Editor’s note: Parts 1 and 2 of the pet vet column ran in the March and May issues. They described the author’s adoption of his family’s new puppy, Anandi, and her abduction. Her captors demanded a ransom for her return.


e were about 10 miles from town and did not have that much cash on us. There was no time to go back to the town, so we called a friend who lived nearby. They loved Anandi and had a puppy of similar age. We briefly told them what was happening. They were stunned but volunteered to accompany us in this crazy rescue mission. After several destination changes over the phone and feeling like contestants in “The Amazing Race,” we met at a closed convenience store. There was a dim mercury light in the parking lot. The captors pulled up in an SUV. Trench Coat Lurch got out of the car along with a stocky young guy and the young lady we had met earlier. (This was the woman who had originally denied knowing anything, but when she thought Anandi might be sick and contagious, she admitted her daughter had the dog.) But there was no Anandi. I asked her, “Do you have our dog?’’ A little girl then got off the back seat and Anandi was hanging from her arms. She had Anandi grasped around the chest and the rest of her body was dangling, like a stuffed doll. This made us very uneasy, but we decided to ignore the situation and keep talking to the adults. Goutam Mukherjee, DVM, MS, Ph.D. (Dr. G) has been a veterinarian for more than 30 years. He works at his home as a holistic veterinarian and is a member of North Alabama Electric Cooperative. Send pet-related questions to drg.vet@gmail.com.

The young woman asked us a very peculiar question. “You are not going to do experiments on this puppy?” I was shocked but said of course not. The negotiations began, and we promised the young woman to pay for any medical bills if her daughter caught Anandi’s cough as she tried to write our phone number on the top of a plastic soda lid. Trench Coat angrily paced, rifle peeking from his coat, raging “just get the Anandi with a favorite toy. money!” Anandi was exchanged for a wad of bills like a movie scene and we moved quickly towards our van. Trench Coat grumbled, “You could have been shot!” Then his last words as we accelerated out of the parking lot were, “Hey, how did you find us?” We did not slow down. I remember the moments of driving home like it was yesterday. It was pitch black outside, Anandi was in the middle seat, almost unresponsive. It took us a long time to come down from the high anxiety and tension, but we were flooded with great peace. She recovered completely from her ordeal and we never heard back from the folks – I guess they lost their soda lid! Anandi is now 8 years old, sleeping deeply under a blanket on our bed as I write this.

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Alabama Living

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| Alabama Recipes |



f you’ve ever grown squash, you probably know that it’s one vegetable that can be quite prolific, and you might end up with plenty of extra to go around. The upside is that summer squash can be cooked in many different ways, from pan-fried, sautéed and grilled to boiled and layered along with onion and butter in a casserole, or cooked, mixed with breadcrumbs, eggs and flour and shaped into croquettes. Or you can enjoy it raw, washed, sliced and munched along with your favorite dip. 34  JULY 2020

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a versatile veggie

While most of our readers sent in recipes calling for the yellow, crookneck squash so plentiful in the summer, some also included recipes using zucchini, another type of summer squash that can often be substituted or combined with its yellow variety. Our cook of the month, Betty Sparks, loves to cook spaghetti squash, known for its long strands that resemble pasta noodles. Technically classified as a winter squash, spaghetti squash is usually available year-round. Other varieties of squash include pattypan or scallop, acorn, butternut, Hubbard and pumpkin. www.alabamaliving.coop

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Superfluous Squash Casserole 2 pounds summer squash, chopped into 1-inch cubes 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided 1 cube vegetable bouillon ¾ cup shredded mozzarella cheese 2-3 pieces whole grain bread Sage, to taste Dill, to taste 1 cup cremini mushrooms, chopped Heat 1 tablespoon oil and a hearty dash of sage in a large saucepan. Mix bouillon with 2 tablespoons water and add to pan. Add chopped squash, more sage, dill, and mushrooms. Cook, covered or uncovered, until the squash is soft. There should still be some liquid, but it shouldn't be too watery. Rip bread slices into 2-inch pieces. Mix bread in a bowl with shredded cheese and the other tablespoon of olive oil. Put the squash mixture into an 8x8-inch glass baking dish. Sprinkle the bread mixture on top. Bake for 20 minutes in a 350-degree oven, until the bread starts to brown a bit. Robin O’Sullivan Wiregrass EC

Mexican Squash 1 medium sweet onion, chopped 2 cloves garlic 2 tablespoons vegetable or canola oil 1½ pounds yellow squash, cut into ½-inch slices 1½ cups tomatoes, peeled and chopped ½ teaspoon cumin seeds ½ teaspoon each salt and black pepper 2 jalapenos, seeded and minced Sauté the onion and garlic in hot oil until tender; add the squash and next 4 ingredients. Cook on low for 15 minutes, stirring frequently. Add jalapenos and cook an additional 15 minutes until the squash is tender. Sarah R. Terry Joe Wheeler EMC

Alabama Living

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Photo by The Buttered Home

Southern Squash Casserole

Vegetarian Squash Dressing 11/2-2 pounds mixed yellow squash and zucchini squash, sliced 1/4 Vidalia onion, finely chopped 1 stick butter 4-5 green onions, chopped 1 can cream celery soup 2 packages Martha White Mexican Style Cornbread and Muffin Mix 21/3 cup milk, divided 2 eggs, beaten 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper Prepare Martha White Mexican Style Cornbread according to package directions by combining both mixes, 11/3 cup milk and 2 eggs, beaten. Bake in a heated and greased cast iron skillet at 425 degrees for 16-18 minutes. Set aside. On the stove top, stew in water the sliced yellow squash, zucchini, and 1/4 chopped Vidalia onion until very soft. Drain water. Mash squash and onion mixture and set aside. Simmer butter and chopped green onions until onions are soft and set aside. In a large mixing bowl, break and mash cornbread and add squash mixture, butter and green onion mixture, cream of celery soup, 1 cup of milk and pepper. Stir until mixed thoroughly. Add additional milk if needed. Pour batter into lightly greased baking pan and bake at 350 for 30 minutes. This dish is perfect for a summer side dish with squash right out of the garden or for the holidays. Ginger Scarbrough Wiregrass EC

There aren’t too many things better than taking a fresh vegetable and turnBrooke Burks ing it into a wonderful, comforting casserole. Yellow squash can be found all year round. Now, don’t get me wrong. Fresh, homegrown summer yellow squash is the best, but if you don’t have it, this casserole won’t tell on you! For more great recipes like this, head on over to thebutteredhome.com.

Southern Squash Casserole 4 cups yellow squash, peeled, cooked and mashed 3 eggs, beaten 1/2 cup chopped yellow onion 1/4 cup buttermilk Salt and pepper to taste Dried parsley 1/2 cup to 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese, divided 1/4 cup melted butter 1 sleeve of butter crackers, crushed and divided Peel, slice and boil the squash with a little salt. I boiled mine in the Instant Pot at four minutes and it was perfect! Mash and drain all the water out. After thoroughly removing excess water and mashing, add eggs, onions, buttermilk, salt, pepper, parsley, half the shredded cheddar cheese and half the crushed butter crackers. Spread in a lightly greased casserole pan. Mix butter with other half of crackers and cheese and spoon over the top. Bake at 375 degrees F for one hour or until top is browned and bubbly. JULY 2020  35

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Mexican LaSQUASHIA (Vegetable Lasagna) 6 medium squash or zucchini, sliced ¼-inch thick lengthwise 1 large onion, sliced thinly into rings 1/2 cup sliced jalapenos, optional 1 pound smoked sausage, out of casing, browned and drained 1 pound ground beef, browned and drained 1 jar salsa, any heat level 1 15-ounce jar queso sauce, any heat level 1/2 cup Monterey jack or cheddar cheese, shredded In an 8x10-inch or larger casserole dish, layer squash, meats, onion, peppers, queso. Pour salsa over this. Repeat and top with shredded cheese. Cover with foil and bake at 325 degrees for 30 minutes. Remove foil and brown cheese on top. This can be made as hot or mild, to taste. Salsa and queso temperature can also be modified to taste. Becky Chappelle Cullman EC

Deb’s Squash Casserole

Zucchini-Pinia Casserole

5 ¼ ¼ 1 4 1 ½ 1

6 whole zucchinis, round sliced 2 cups fresh pineapple, coarsely chopped 1 13-ounce can cream of chicken soup 1 8-ounce package sour cream, room temperature 1 stick margarine, melted 1 8-ounce box Pepperidge Farm Seasoned Stuffing Mix

1/3 2 2

yellow medium-sized squash cup red onion, chopped cup green bell pepper, chopped pound ground chuck slices bacon, fried egg, beaten stick butter cup sharp cheddar cheese, shredded cup plain Greek yogurt or sour cream cups breadcrumbs or cracker crumbs tablespoons Worcestershire sauce Salt and pepper, to taste

Wash and chop squash, boil until tender in a large pot. Drain well and mash in the pot they were cooked in. Brown the ground chuck and drain off grease. Add ground chuck, onion and bell pepper to the squash. Add butter, egg, breadcrumbs, Worcestershire, salt and pepper to the mix. Stir well and put in a prepared 9x13-inch baking dish. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Remove from oven and sprinkle cheese and bacon on top. Return to oven for 5 more minutes or until melted. Debby Boyd Cullman EC

Mail order form and payment to: Best of Alabama Living Cookbook P.O. Box 244014 Montgomery, AL 36124-4014



COOKBOOKS @ $19.95 EACH: (Shipping included)


Barbara Frasier Marshall-DeKalb EC

Spicy Squash Soup 3 medium yellow squash, sliced 1 pound ground turkey, 85% lean 1 cup onion, chopped 1.2 ounce package fajita seasoning mix 1 quart chicken broth 1 10-ounce can diced tomatoes with green chilies 1 10-ounce can cream of mushroom soup 1 8-ounce package cream cheese, softened Cook squash in boiling water for 10 minutes, drain. In a large dutch oven, brown turkey and onions together, drain if necessary. Add fajita seasoning, stir well. Add broth, stir, add tomatoes and mushroom soup and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat and simmer 12 minutes. Stir in cream cheese, serve. Teresa Hubbard Franklin EC

Address: City:

Boil zucchini rounds 5 minutes. Drain and cool 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Mix pineapple, cream of chicken soup and sour cream in a large bowl. Melt butter, add all of stuffing mix and combine well. Line the bottom of a 9x12-inch baking dish with half of stuffing mixture. Mix zucchini and pineapple mixture. Spread in baking dish. Top with remainder of crumb mix. Bake for 35 minutes or until lightly brown.



Phone Number:

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Cook of the Month

Betty Sparks, Franklin EC Spaghetti Squash and Bacon Fritters 1 2 1/2 1/2 5 1/4 5 2 1/4


f you’ve never cooked spaghetti squash before, don’t be afraid to try it. That’s the advice from our July Cook of the Month, Betty Sparks of Russellville. “Being country, we eat all kind of squash,” she says, but most folks may be familiar with only the yellow summer squash so plentiful this time of year. But several years ago she perfected an old recipe for “Spaghetti Squash and Bacon Fritters” that opened up her kitchen to a whole new variety of the popular vegetable. Spaghetti squash is so named because of the long pasta-shaped strands that can be scraped out once the squash has been cooked in the oven. “It’s unreal how easy it comes out,” she says. “You just take a fork and rake it out.” Betty is especially fond of this recipe, as are her two daughters, because she’s recently been eating a plant-based diet due to some health concerns. The small bit of bacon the recipe contains isn’t enough to make much difference, she says, as it’s mostly for flavor. “The girls and I love it,” she says. -Lenore Vickrey

medium or large spaghetti squash eggs cup all-purpose flour cup Parmesan cheese green onions, chopped and divided plus 1/8 teaspoon salt strips bacon, cooked and chopped tablespoons olive oil cup sour cream (optional)

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Cut squash into halves, scoop out seeds and fiber. Spray the cut side of each half and a baking sheet with cooking spray and place the squash on the baking sheet, cut-side down. Bake until cooked through and soft, 30 to 40 minutes. Cool cut-side up. Scrape squash with a fork to remove the flesh in long strands. You will need 3 cups of the cooked squash; reserve the rest for another use. Place strands in several layers of paper towels and wring out as much liquid as you can. It will be easier to do this in several batches. At this point, the squash may be refrigerated for up to 5 days. In medium to large bowl, beat eggs, add flour and beat until blended. Add squash, Parmesan cheese, 3 of the chopped green onions and salt. Beat very well until the mixture has a uniform consistency. Add chopped bacon and mix to combine. Heat large skillet on medium-high until very hot, almost smoking. Add oil. Drop about 3 tablespoons of the batter into the oil for each fritter, flattening with a spatula; make 4 fritters at a time. Cook until the bottom is golden brown, about 1 to 2 minutes. Flip and cook until bottom is golden brown, another 1-2 minutes. Remove to paper towels to drain. If desired, mix sour cream with remaining 2 chopped green onions and serve on the side.

Themes and Deadlines: Oct.: Traditional Southern Recipes | July 3 Nov.: Pies | August 7 Dec.: Cinnamon | September 4



prize and title of


of the


3 ways to submit: Online: alabamaliving.coop Email: recipes@alabamaliving.coop Mail: Recipes, P.O. Box 244014 Montgomery, AL 36124 Alabama Living

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Please send us your original recipes (developed or adapted by you or family members.) Cook of the Month winners will receive $50, and may win “Cook of the Month” only once per calendar year. JULY 2020  37

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| Consumer Wise |

Five home energy hogs By Pat Keegan and Brad Thiessen


Our family has been trying to reduce our monthly expenses. The other day, my sister-in-law and I compared our electric bills. I was surprised to find out her energy costs were significantly lower than mine, even though our homes are similar in size and built around the same time. What could be causing my bill to be so much higher?


You are certainly not alone in these trying times as you search for ways to cut costs, and your energy use might provide some potential opportunities for savings. Even though you noted the similarities between your home and your sister-inlaw’s home, you may have a hidden energy hog causing your bills to be higher. Here are five energy hogs that may be increasing your energy use.

Old fridge or freezer in the garage

That second fridge or freezer may be costing more than you think. If the model was produced prior to 1990, it’s likely using twice as much energy (or more!) than a newer ENERGYSTAR®-rated model. If it’s located in the garage, it may run constantly in the summer, which could lead to higher electric bills.

Cooling or heating an uninsulated area

Cooling or heating an uninsulated workshop or garage can be expensive. To give you an example, during a past energy audit I conducted, I found that the homeowner heated an uninsulated shed to keep several Heating and cooling an uninsulated shed, garage half-empty buck- or workspace can increase energy bills. PHOTO COURTESY TINO ROSSINI ets of paint from freezing. So, he was paying more to keep his paint warm than the paint was even worth. Pet owners have been known to heat and cool an uninsulated garage to keep pets comfortable, not realizing that this might be costing more than heating their actual home. If you really want to heat or cool these types of spaces, they need to be well insulated and heated/cooled efficiently, perhaps with a ductless mini-split system. Patrick Keegan writes on consumer and cooperative affairs for the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association, the Arlington, Va.-based service arm of the nation’s 900-plus consumer-owned, not-for-profit electric cooperatives. Write to energytips@collaborativeefficiency.com for more information.

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Before buying a hot tub, make sure you’re ready to pay to operate it. The average annual energy cost for a hot tub is $250 a year. PHOTO COURTESY ANDREW HOLMES

Hot tub

The average operating cost of a hot tub is $250 per year. But that amount may be higher if your hot tub is an older, less efficient model, or if you live in a colder climate. A smaller hot tub with better insulation, a cover and a pump that runs on a lower voltage will use less energy than other models. In the end, getting a ‘good deal’ on a used hot tub may cost more in energy bills in the long run.

Swimming pool

If you have a swimming pool, consider installing a smaller, more efficient pump and reducing how often it runs. You can also look at installing a larger filter and maximizing the flow of water through the pipes by making them larger and reducing how sharply the corners turn. These measures could cut your electric use for the pool pump by as much as 75%. Consult with a pool installation specialist to find the most efficient setup that will still keep your pool clean.


If you live on acreage or on a farm, you probably have several pumps, including irrigation, well, septic and sump. If you’re like most of us, you use those pumps until they break down. Consider replacing the oldest and most-used pumps over time with new, more efficient ones that are sized correctly for their task. Also, make sure you’re eliminating leaks in the water lines, which make your pumps work harder and longer. If one of these five energy hogs doesn’t explain the difference in energy use between your home and your sister-in-law’s, there are many other possibilities. I recommend conducting an energy audit, which should give you the answers you seek. This column was co-written by Pat Keegan and Brad Thiessen of Collaborative Efficiency. For more information on surprise energy hogs, please visit: collaborativeefficiency.com/energytips. www.alabamaliving.coop

6/29/20 10:59 AM

STOP THROWING GOOD MONEY AFTER BAD! There’s a reason so many of our advertisers are still on our pages, month after month, for more than 40 years. Year after year, Alabama Living remains the best value for your dollar.

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| Outdoors |

When the sun goes down and the lake becomes quiet, fish start feeding more aggressively. PHOTO BY JOHN N. FELSHER

Glowing fishing

Lighted docks can create great action at night


uring summer swelter, armadas of jet skis, boats and other recreational craft churn the waters of practically every lake in Alabama during daylight hours. To escape whirling propellers, fish might go into a kind of shock. They drop into deep holes and come down with a severe case of piscatorial lockjaw. At night, however, fewer anglers and almost no recreational boaters venture out. In the cool, quiet of the evening, giant bass lose some of their wariness and start feeding more aggressively. Many property owners install lights that shine over the water at the ends of their docks. Light gathers plankton. Plankton attracts shad, minnows and other small creatures. In addition, lights attract insects. Inevitably, some bugs fall into the water where fish devour them. Largemouths, hybrid striped bass, white bass, crappie and other predators gather in lighted areas to eat the small fish. “Lights kickstart the whole food chain,” says David Pair, a fisherman from Abbeville. “Bass are more nocturnal by nature anyway. Those lights always have minnows, shad or some other kind of small fish around them.” Pair frequently fishes Lake Eufaula. Often called the “Bass Fishing Capital of the World,” but officially dubbed Walter F. George Reservoir, the impoundment covers 45,181 acres along the Chattahoochee River spanning part of the Alabama-Georgia border. For decades, Lake Eufaula produced uncountable numbers of one- to four-pound bass, many in the five- to eight-pound range and some bigger ones. A few top 12 pounds. “Lake Eufaula is well known for producing big bass and big stringers of bass,” says Jack Tibbs, mayor of the town of Eufaula and owner of Strikezone Lures. “Sometimes, it takes more than 26 pounds with five fish to win a tournament.” Most nocturnal anglers naturally gravitate toward docks with lights hanging over the water. Those highly visible lights can produce excellent action, but anyone can spot them from miles away. Anglers can’t spot underwater lights as easily, but fish find them with no problem. Since fewer people can locate underwater lights,

John N. Felsher lives in Semmes, Ala. Contact him through Facebook.

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they don’t attract as much fishing pressure. During the daylight, nobody even knows those lights exist unless someone snags one. “Sometimes, I fish lights hanging over the water, especially if they are down close to the surface, but I usually prefer to fish underwater lights,” Pair says. “I do fish one overhead light where we sometimes catch fish on every cast for 10 to 15 minutes. One time, I might catch all two- to five-pound hybrids. The next time, I might catch all five-pound largemouths.” Lights shining on the surface from above don’t penetrate the water as deeply. They also create glare on the water. In addition, overhead lights attract more bugs, the bane of all nocturnal fishermen. Underwater lights don’t attract nearly as many mosquitoes. “Underwater lights are sealed, weighted on the bottom and shining upward toward the surface,” says Pair, who not only fishes around underwater lights, but sells them. “Most underwater lights are green, but some are white. With the lights shining upward, bass and other fish can see their prey a little better. People can watch the water and see a lot of fish activity around the lights.” Since largemouth bass and hybrids routinely feed upon shad, any lures that resemble baitfish should work around the lights for either species. Crankbaits closely resemble shad or other baitfish. Use lures in white, pearl or similar colors to mimic threadfin shad. Throw crankbaits that run five to 10 feet deep, depending upon the water depth. Some soft-plastic baits, such as swimbaits or fluketype lures, or topwaters can also work when bass attack shad. “When I want to catch big bass, I look for shad about the size of my hand swimming around the lights,” Pair says. “A girl fishing with me one night caught a bass weighing 11.25 pounds. We lost some fish that made that one look small. I’ve caught numerous 10-pounders and even some nine-pounders on back-to-back casts by the lights.” When specifically fishing for white or hybrid bass, move lures a little faster. For largemouths, fish baits more erratically. Concentrate on the transition zone where light fades to darkness. Predators frequently lurk in the shadows, dashing out to snatch anything tempting they see in the light. What works at Lake Eufaula could also work around any docks, boathouses, industrial wharfs, bridges or similar places with either overhead or underwater illumination. Look for flashing baitfish about around glowing orbs. www.alabamaliving.coop

6/29/20 10:59 AM


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Sa Su Mo Tu We Th Fr Sa Su Mo Tu We Th Fr

18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31

10:06 - 12:06 10:54 - 12:54 NA 12:30 - 2:30 1:18 - 3:18 2:06 - 4:06 2:54 - 4:54 3:42 - 5:42 4:30 - 6:30 5:18 - 7:18 6:06 - 8:06 6:54 - 8:54 7:42 - 9:42 8:30 - 10:30


Sa Su Mo Tu We Th Fr Sa Su Mo Tu We Th Fr Sa Su Mo Tu We Th Fr Sa Su Mo Tu We Th Fr Sa Su Mo

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31

9:18 - 11:18 10:06 - 12:06 NA 12:30 - 2:30 1:18 - 3:18 2:06 - 4:06 2:54 - 4:54 3:42 - 5:42 4:30 - 6:30 5:18 - 7:18 6:06 - 8:06 6:54 - 8:54 7:42 - 9:42 8:30 - 10:30 9:18 - 11:18 10:06 - 12:06 10:54 - 12:54 11:18 - 1:18 NA 12:30 - 2:30 1:18 - 3:18 2:06 - 4:06 2:54 - 4:54 3:42 - 5:42 4:30 - 6:30 5:18 - 7:18 6:06 - 8:06 6:54 - 8:54 7:42 - 9:42 8:30 - 10:30 9:18 - 11:18



10:30 - 12:30 11:18 - 1:18 12:06 - 2:06 NEW MOON 12:54 - 2:54 1:42 - 3:42 2:30 - 4:30 3:18 - 5:18 4:06 - 6:06 4:54 - 6:54 5:42 - 7:42 6:30 - 8:30 7:18 - 9:18 8:06 - 10:06 8:54 - 10:54 PM

9:42 - 11:42 10:30 - 12:30 12:06 - 2:06 FULL MOON 12:54 - 2:54 1:42 - 3:42 2:30 - 4:30 3:18 - 5:18 4:06 - 6:06 4:54 - 6:54 5:42 - 7:42 6:30 - 8:30 7:18 - 9:18 8:06 - 10:06 8:54 - 10:54 9:42 - 11:42 10:30 - 12:30 11:18 - 1:18 11:42 - 1:42 12:06 - 2:06 NEW MOON 12:54 - 2:54 1:42 - 3:42 2:30 - 4:30 3:18 - 5:18 4:06 - 6:06 4:54 - 6:54 5:42 - 7:42 6:30 - 8:30 7:18 - 9:18 8:06 - 10:06 8:54 - 10:54 9:42 - 11:42


4:33 - 6:03 5:21 - 6:51 6:09 - 7:39 6:57 - 8:27 7:45 - 9:15 8:33 - 10:03 9:21 - 10:51 10:09 - 11:39 10:57 - 12:27 NA 12:33 - 2:03 1:21 - 2:51 2:09 - 3:39 2:57 - 4:27 AM

3:45 - 5:15 4:33 - 6:03 6:09 - 7:39 6:57 - 8:27 7:45 - 9:15 8:33 - 10:03 9:21 - 10:51 10:09 - 11:39 10:57 - 12:27 NA 12:33 - 2:03 1:21 - 2:51 2:09 - 3:39 2:57 - 4:27 3:45 - 5:15 4:33 - 6:03 5:21 - 6:51 5:48 - 7:18 6:09 - 7:39 6:57 - 8:27 7:45 - 9:15 8:33 - 10:03 9:21 - 10:51 10:09 - 11:39 10:57 - 12:27 NA 12:33 - 2:03 1:21 - 2:51 2:09 - 3:39 2:57 - 4:27 3:45 - 5:15


4:57 - 6:27 5:45 - 7:15 6:33 - 8:03 7:21 - 8:51 8:09 - 9:39 8:57 - 10:27 9:45 - 11:15 10:33 - 12:03 11:21 - 12:51 12:09 - 1:39 12:57 - 2:27 1:45 - 3:15 2:33 - 4:03 3:21 - 4:51 PM

4:09 - 5:39 4:57 - 6:27 6:33 - 8:03 7:21 - 8:51 8:09 - 9:39 8:57 - 10:27 9:45 - 11:15 10:33 - 12:03 11:21 - 12:51 12:09 - 1:39 12:57 - 2:27 1:45 - 3:15 2:33 - 4:03 3:21 - 4:51 4:09 - 5:39 4:57 - 6:27 5:45 - 7:15 6:11 - 7:41 6:33 - 8:03 7:21 - 8:51 8:09 - 9:39 8:57 - 10:27 9:45 - 11:15 10:33 - 12:03 11:21 - 12:51 12:09 - 1:39 12:57 - 2:27 1:45 - 3:15 2:33 - 4:03 3:21 - 4:51 4:09 - 5:39

The Moon Clock and resulting Moon Times were developed 36 years ago by Doug Hannon, one of America’s most trusted wildlife experts and a tireless inventor. The Moon Clock is produced by DataSport, Inc. of Atlanta, GA (www.moontimes.com), a company specializing in wildlife activity time prediction. Alabama Living

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ALABAMA GARDENER’S CALENDAR Information provided by The Alabama Cooperative Extension Service. Find more at www.aces.edu/

July Fruits and Nuts

• Protect figs and other ripening fruit from birds.


• Continue to root shrub cuttings until late in the month and mulch to keep soil moist. • Remove faded blooms promptly from crape myrtle and other summer-blooming plants.


• Watch for diseases. • Mow regularly • Water as needed.


• Keep roses healthy and actively

growing. • Apply fertilizer. • Wash off foliage to prevent burning if any fertilizer falls on plant.

Annuals and Perennials

• Water as needed to keep plants active.


• Iris and spider lilies may be planted late this month.

Vegetable Seed

• Plant beans, fieldpeas, rutabagas, squash, New Zealand spinach, and Irish potatoes. • Plant cabbage, collards, broccoli, cauliflower, Brussel sprouts, and celery for the fall crop.

Vegetable Plants

• Plant tomatoes in central and north Alabama.


• Keeping flowers, shrubs, trees and lawns healthy is a major task this month. • This demands close observation for insects and diseases. • Water

August Fruits and Nuts

• Cut out old blackberry canes after fruiting and then fertilize and cultivate for replacement canes. • Remember to order new catalogs for fruit selection.


• Layer branches of hydrangea.


• Watch for diseases. • Mow regularly • Water as needed.


• Keep roses healthy and actively growing.

Alabama Living

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• Hybrid teas and floribundas may need slight pruning to prevent scraggly appearance.

Annuals and Perennials

• Water as needed. Plant perennials and biennials.

Vegetable Seed

• Plant turnips, rutabagas, beans, and peas in South Alabama.

Vegetable Plants • Plant cabbage, collards, cauliflower, Brussel sprouts, broccoli, and celery


• Divide old iris plantings and add new ones.


• Keeping flowers, shrubs, trees and lawns healthy is a major task this month. • This means close observation for insects and diseases. • Water

JULY 2020  43

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| Our Sources Say |

The man in the arena I

wrote this article exactly 90 years to the day after Teddy Roosevelt gave one of the most widely quoted speeches of his career. The former Rough Rider and U.S. president—who left office in 1909—had spent a year hunting in Central Africa before traveling to Northern Africa and Europe in 1910. In those days, it was usual for ex-presidents to travel the world and be recognized by other countries. After leaving office, President Roosevelt attended events and gave speeches in Cairo, Berlin, Naples and Oxford. He stopped in Paris on April 23, 1910, to address a crowd at the Sorbonne that included ministers in court dress, army and navy officers in full uniform, 900 students, and an audience of 2,000 ticket holders. He delivered a speech called “Citizenship in a Republic,” which, among some, would come to be known as “The Man in the Arena.” In addition to touching on his own family history, war, human and property rights, and the responsibilities of citizenship, Roosevelt railed against cynics who looked down at men who were trying to make the world a better place. He said, “The poorest way to face life is to face it with a sneer. A cynical habit of thought and speech, a readiness to criticize work which the critic himself never tries to perform, an intellectual aloofness which will not accept contact with life’s realities—all these are marks, not ... of superiority but of weakness.” In the midst of the coronavirus shelter-in-place, there is little to do except watch the news and listen to everyone expound on their view and opinion of COVID-19. Public officials, from the president and his COVID-19 Task Force, to governors, state officials, state task forces, and even local officials, are attacked for not ordering “stay-at-home” orders quickly enough, for not closing enough businesses, for not reversing the stay-at-home

orders quickly enough, and for closing too many businesses. In short, no one can do anything right. This is the first pandemic in more than 100 years. Circumstances change every day. There is no roadmap for what to do. There are no lessons learned from past experiences because there are no past experiences. The officials in charge appear to be trying to do all they can to help the people who are at risk or sick and the businesses that are shut down. However, in this era of social media and relentless anonymous electronic criticism, it is difficult for anyone to do anything without being attacked. And the attacks are not just limited to COVID-19. Possibly, things were contentious 90 years ago. Maybe President Roosevelt was tired of the criticism. Maybe there was partisan politics and political correctness in his day as well. Maybe, Teddy was just tired of listening to all the crap. Whatever his reasons, his impassioned message drew huge applause. I hope you find it as pertinent today as I did. “It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.” -Theodore Roosevelt I hope you have a good month.

Gary Smith is President and CEO of PowerSouth Energy Cooperative.

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6/16/20 1:00 PM

| Classifieds | How To Place a Line Ad in Marketplace Closing Deadlines (in our office): September 2020 Issue by July 25 October 2020 Issue by August 25 August 2020 Issue by June 25 Ads are $1.75 per word with a 10 word minimum and are on a prepaid basis; Telephone numbers, email addresses and websites are considered 1 word each. Ads will not be taken over the phone. You may email your ad to hdutton@areapower.com; or call (800)410-2737 ask for Heather for pricing.; We accept checks, money orders and all major credit cards. Mail ad submission along with a check or money order made payable to ALABAMA LIVING, P.O. Box 244014, Montgomery, AL 36124 – Attn: Classifieds.

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Answers to puzzle on Page 30

Alabama Living

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| Hardy Jackson's Alabama |

Everyone needs a ‘poutin’ house’


y Daddy had a Poutin’ House. Like so many institutions of this sort, the Poutin’ House was not created, it just evolved to meet a need. We trace its origins to the late 1950s, when Daddy built a top-of-the-line storage shed out back -- complete with running water and electricity. In it he put gardening supplies, tools and a deep freeze for last year’s harvest. He also installed a refrigerator for his beer and a cabinet to hold a bottle or two. He put the liquor out there because Mama was the granddaughter of a teetotaling Methodist minister. Daddy, whose genealogy included a grandfather with his own personal bootlegger, belonged to the other camp. But Mama and Daddy were a reasonable, loving couple, so they struck a “bar out back” compromise, and everyone was happy. In the months that followed, friends were invited out from time to time and it wasn’t long before the “greenhouse” (the Harvey H. (Hardy) Jackson is Professor Emeritus of History at Jacksonville State University. He can be reached at hhjackson43@gmail.com

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shed was painted green) became known to a small circle as a place to relax and talk politics. It was a lively group, especially during campaigns. Meanwhile, the greenhouse was filling up. A child of the Depression, Daddy could not bring himself to throw away anything, so shelves were piled high with jars and bottles, boxes of various sizes, pieces of rope and string, rusted tools and half-empty cans of dried-out paint whose resurrection was doubtful at best. Before long, the only way to get to the refrigerator was by a narrow path that wound its way through the overflow. Finally, Daddy realized he had to either clean it up or build another. So he called the carpenter. The result reflected the man. Daddy’s new retreat included a stove, sink, refrigerator, satellite connection, lots of cabinets for books and bottles, and no telephone. He brought in chairs and a sofa so folks could sit. He also added a bathroom. Then the AREA man arrived to hook it up, and Daddy learned he had a problem. “What’s the address?” Asked the man. “We need an address for the meter.” “Same as the main house,” Daddy replied.

“Can’t be,” was the response. “Separate meter needs its own designation.” Daddy looked confused so the technician tried to help. “What do you call this place?” “This is my Poutin’ House,” Daddy answered. “When Mama chases me out, I’ll come here to pout.” Pretty soon the regulars, who included the editor-publisher of the local newspaper and a smattering of political junkies, began gathering every Wednesday night. They chose Wednesday because the editor would have just picked up the weekly paper for its Thursday distribution, and they could get the news before the rest of the country. When all were assembled, Mama brought out snacks. And being Wednesday and all, they called it “prayer meeting.” That was 1986, and for the next decade or so, prayer meeting was the highlight of the week. But good things don’t last forever. Years passed. Time and circumstance weeded the membership. Then Daddy died in 2010, and it was over. But the memories remain, and will till the last of us are gone. Maybe longer. www.alabamaliving.coop

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