May 2020 Clarke-Washington

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Stories || Recipes Recipes || Events Events || People People || Places Places || Things Things || Local Local News News Stories May MAY2020 2020



Planting a raised garden Stepping up, lifting spirits Appetite for avocados



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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 ADVERTISING & EDITORIAL OFFICES:

340 TechnaCenter Drive Montgomery, Alabama 36117-6031 1-800-410-2737 For advertising, email: For editorial inquiries, email: NATIONAL ADVERTISING REPRESENTATIVE:

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


Recreating history

Friends of Army Aviation board member Art Morris with his dog Winston, after completing a ride on a Vietnam War era-Huey helicopter. With its collection of working and non-working aircraft at its hangar in Ozark, FOAA provides education and history about historic wartime aviation.





Alabama is home to some of the most beautiful waterfalls around, as our readers’ photos reveal.

Lifting spirits 22 From teachers to church members

to sports figures and more, all across Alabama people have stepped up to help others during this unprecedented time of crisis.

Appetite for avocados 34 Avocados are one of the more

nutritious fruits you can choose and the good news is they’re in season now through late summer.

Printed in America from American materials

11 Spotlight 24 Pet Health 34 Cook of the Month 30 Outdoors 31 Fish & Game Forecast 42 Hardy Jackson’s Alabama ONLINE: Clarke-Washington EMC recently sponsored a group of local high school juniors to attend the Montgomery Youth Tour. PHOTO: Mark Stephenson


ONLINE: EMAIL: MAIL: Alabama Living 340 Technacenter Drive Montgomery, AL 36117

Get our FREE monthly email newsletter! Sign up at May 2020  3




ON THE COVER Look for this logo to see more content online!

VOL. 73 NO. 5  May 2020


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OFFICE LOCATIONS Jackson Office 9000 Highway 43 P.O. Box 398 Jackson, AL 36545 251-246-9081

we are ecided demic.

Chatom Office 19120 Jordan Street P.O. Box 453 Chatom, AL 36518 251-847-2302

I grew oing to

Toll Free Number 1-800-323-9081.

make it hought rs, I’ve would

Office Hours 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday - Friday (Drive-thru Hours)

d have th sick celled, weeks l work


oo late u need as you. nd help

Mail P.O. Box 398 Jackson, AL 36545 P.O. Box 143 Chatom, AL 36518 Office During normal office hours at our Chatom and Jackson offices. Phone 855-870-0403 Online Night Deposit 24/7 at Jackson & Chatom CWEMC App Available from the App Store and Google Play Bank Draft




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There’s never been a better time for a garden I was going to write a column this month about some new really convenient things that we are rolling out to make it easier for you to do business with Clarke-Washington EMC but I decided to go in a different direction this month given the current status of the COVID-19 Pandemic. Hopefully, we’ll get back on track with those things soon. I love to garden and work outside and this is one of my favorite times of the year. I grew up working in a family garden and at times used it to make a little extra money while going to school. And, I always thought if something really bad were to happen we would be able to make it because we always had a garden and a lot of great food in the freezer. Growing up I thought everybody did this but I learned later in life that this wasn’t the case. So, in more recent years, I’ve often wondered how people who lived in cities or those who weren’t able to make a garden would survive in a situation like we are currently facing with the COVID19 Pandemic. As I write this column, the virus has caused a level of uncertainty that I never could have imagined, at least in the United States. The medical facilities have become crowded with sick folks, grocery stores are low on supplies,

many events including church have been cancelled, communities are under stay at home orders, many businesses have been closed for several weeks and industrial facilities are starting to shut down. We have made changes to our normal work schedule to try to protect our employees but continue to provide service to our members. It may just be the year of the garden. I hope you have yours planted and if not, it’s not too late to plant some really good stuff – especially okra. And hopefully, you’ll have more than you need and will be able to share with friends, neighbors or strangers who may not be as fortunate as you. I pray things improve in the near future and hopefully our gardens will get us outside and help take our minds off the current crises.

Steve Sheffield General Manager

CWEMC offices will be closed Monday, May 25 for Memorial Day. Clarke-Washington EMC extends our appreciation to all those who have given their lives in service to our country.

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| Clarke-Washington EMC |

Electrical Safety Month Safety Starts with You

Electricity plays many roles in our lives, from powering baby monitors, cell phones and lighting, to running HVAC systems and appliances. No wonder we get so comfortable with its instant availability that when we flip a switch, we expect most systems or devices to do the job. May is National Electrical Safety Month, and here at Clarke-Washington EMC, we think it’s a great time to look around your home and check for potential safety hazards. Remember, every electrical device has a purpose and a service lifespan. While we can extend their operations with maintenance and care, none of them are designed to last or work forever. When electricity is involved, failures can present electrical hazards that might be avoided with periodic inspections.

Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters

Outdoor outlets or those in potentially damp locations in a kitchen, bathroom or laundry room often include GFCI features. They are designed to sense abnormal current flows, breaking the circuit to prevent potential electric shocks from devices plugged into the outlets. The average GFCI outlet is designed to last about 10 years, but in areas prone to electrical storms or power surges, they can wear out in five years or less. Check them frequently by pressing the red test button. Make sure you hit the black reset button when you are done. Contact a licensed electrician to replace any failing GFCI outlets.

lenging. Remember, extension cords are designed for temporary, occasional or periodic use. If an extension cord gets noticeably warm when in use, it could be undersized for the intended use. If it shows any signs of frayed, cracked or heat-damaged insulation, it should be replaced. If the grounding prong is missing, crimped or loose, a grounded cord will not provide the protection designed into its performance. And always make sure that extension cords used in outdoor or potentially damp locations are rated for exterior use. According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, approximately 51,000 electrical fires are reported each year in the United States, causing more than $1.3 billion in annual property damage. Electricity is an essential necessity for modern living, and Clarke-Washington EMC is committed to providing safe, reliable and affordable electricity to all of our members. We hope you’ll keep these electrical safety tips in mind so that you can note any potential hazards before damage occurs.

Loose or Damaged Outlets or Switches

Unstable electrical outlets or wall switches with signs of heat damage or discoloration can offer early warnings of potential shock or electrical fire hazards. Loose connections can allow electrical current arcing. If you see these warning signs, it may be time to contact an electrician.

Surge Protectors

Power strips with surge protectors can help safeguard expensive equipment like televisions, home entertainment systems and computer components from power spikes. Voltage spikes are measured in joules, and surge protectors are rated for the number of joules they can effectively absorb. That means if your surge protector is rated at 1,000 joules, it should be replaced when it hits or passes that limit. When the limit is reached, protection stops, and you’re left with a basic power strip. Some surge protectors include indicator lights that flicker to warn you when they’ve stopped working as designed, but many do not. If your electrical system takes a major hit, or if you don’t remember when you bought your surge protector, replacement may be the best option.

Extension Cords

If you use extension cords regularly to connect devices and equipment to your wall outlets, you may live in an underwired home. With a growing number of electrical devices connecting your family to the electricity you get from Clarke-Washington EMC, having enough outlets in just the right spots can be chal-

Alabama Living

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| Clarke-Washington EMC |

Students wrapped up the first day with a fun night at the bowling alley.

Montgomery Youth Tour In March, Clarke-Washington EMC sponsored four local high school juniors on an all-expenses-paid trip to Montgomery as part of the 2020 Alabama Rural Electric Youth Tour. The goal of Youth Tour is to help educate the students about electric cooperatives and Alabama’s history. Youth Tour also gives the students an opportunity to interact with elected representatives while making 150 new friends from across the state. “We are excited to sponsor our local students again this year for our Montgomery Youth Tour and also award them a $500 scholarship,” said Steve Sheffield, Clarke-Washington EMC General Manager. “It is an amazing opportunity for our students and allows them to learn about electric cooperatives and gain valuable insight into our state government and history.” This year’s youth tour delegates included Shelby Baggett, Fruitdale High School; Lindsey Bolen, Jackson High School; Haas Flowers, Leroy High School; and Macy Jordan, Millry High School. Each student will receive a $500 scholarship to the college of their choice, courtesy of Clarke-Washington EMC. The students arrived on Tuesday, March 10 and started with many interactive games allowing students 6  MAY 2020

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to learn about electric cooperatives followed by dinner and a night of fun at a local bowling alley. Guest speaker for the event was Cea Cohen-Elliot, who shared stories with the students about the importance of leadership and how the students can be leaders in their community. “Youth Tour showed me that to be a leader, you don’t have to act like you are so much bigger and better than everyone else,” said Haas Flowers. “The best leaders see eye to eye with the people they are leading.” Macy Jordan agreed, “This opportunity not only gave me more confidence as a leader, but it also humbled me. Every brain thinks differently and the opportunity to be in a room full of leaders, enabled me to hear other opinions and ideas more than usual. I wanted to do Youth Tour because I saw it as a chance to further come out of my shell and mold me into the young lady that I am ever becoming.” On Wednesday, the students participated in leadership and team-building activities during the morning session before splitting into groups for the tours around Montgomery. Clarke-Washington EMC students joined a group that visited Dexter Avenue Baptist Church, the first White House of the Confederacy,

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| Clarke-Washington EMC | the Civil Rights Memorial and the Capitol. Students returned to hear from Hope Johnson, the 2019 Alabama YLC delegate before ending the day with dinner and dance. “The whole Youth Tour overall was an awesome experience but I’d have to say that my favorite part was the ‘say something nice’ cards. While at the dinner dance, we had the opportunity to write down something nice about someone on a note, and then give it to them,” said Lindsey Bolen. “I gave out several and received several and it made me feel good to not only get one, but to see how others reacted when I gave them theirs.” To conclude the trip, students visited the State House where they met with legislators and had the opportunity to ask many questions about current issues impacting our state.

Due to the pandemic, the Washington D.C. Youth Tour has been canceled for this year. The students selected were Shelby Baggett and Lindsey Bolen. We are working to make sure these students are rewarded for their accomplishments. Shelby Baggett said, “If you are even thinking about doing Youth Tour, go for it. It is an amazing opportunity to learn about Alabama and you get to meet some amazing and inspiring people along the way. Thank you Clarke-Washington EMC for giving me this chance.”

Lindsey Bolen and Macy Jordan enjoyed a fun night at the bowling alley.

Lindsey Bolen, Shelby Baggett and Macy Jordan step in the bucket photo booth.

Alabama Living

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Haas Flowers and Shelby Baggett with the best speaker, Cea Cohen-Elliot.

Photo op with delegates from other Alabama electric cooperatives.

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Energy Efficiency Tip of the Month When the weather is nice, put your grill to use! During summer months, cooking outdoors is a great way to save energy and eliminate unwanted heat from cooking indoors. Source:

CWEMC Statement of Non-Discrimination In accordance with Federal civil rights law and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) civil rights regulations and policies, the USDA, its Agencies, offices, and employees, and institutions participating in or administering USDA programs are prohibited from discriminating based on race, color, national origin, religion, sex, gender identity (including gender expression), sexual orientation, disability, age, marital status, family/parental status, income derived from a public assistance program, political beliefs, or reprisal or retaliation for prior civil rights activity, in any program or activity conducted or funded by USDA (not all bases apply to all programs). Remedies and complaint filing deadlines vary by program or incident. Person with disabilities who require alternative means of communication for program information (e.g., Braille, large print, audiotape, American Sign Language, etc.) should contact the responsible Agency or USDA’s TARGET Center at (202) 720-2600 (voice and TTY) or contact USDA through the Federal Relay Service at (800) 877 8339. Additionally, program information may be made available in languages other than English. To file a program discrimination complaint, complete the USDA Program Discrimination Complaint Form, AD-3027, Found online at complaint_filing_cust.html and at any USDA office or write a letter addressed to USDA and provide in the letter all of the information requested in the form. To request a copy of the complain form, call (866) 632-9992. Submit your completed for or letter to USDA by: Mail: U.S. Department of Agriculture Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights 400 Independence Avenue, SW Washington D.C. 20250-9410 or Fax: (202) 690-7442 or Email: USDA is an equal opportunity provider, employer, and lender. 8  MAY 2020

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| Alabama Snapshots |

Waterfalls Mardis Mill Falls (also known as Graves Creek Falls) near Oneonta off Highway 231. A scenic cascade just over 10 feet tall but very wide.SUBMITTED BYKeith Cain, Arab. Hodge Mill Fall in the Bankhead Forest, March 2020.SUBMITTED BY Debbie Boyd, Addison.

Eagle Creek falls, Sipsey Wilderness Area. SUBMITTED BY Cody Hood, Addison.

A spring day in Hampton Cove, Alabama. SUBMITTED BY Sandra Kipinger, Union Grove.

Arts and craft projects and even eating meals can be a mess for some kids (and adults)! Send us photos of your biggest messes! Submit “I made a mess” photos by May 31. Winning photos will run in the July issue. Alabama Living

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Stephens Gap is a large cave in Jackson County (near Woodville) with 3 waterfalls inside that can be rapelled down to a pillar in the middle, or you can walk over to it with a little climbing. SUBMITTED BY Jason Hepler, Hollywood.

SUBMIT and WIN $10! Online: Mail: Snapshots P.O. Box 244014 Montgomery, AL 36124

RULES: Alabama Living will pay $10 for photos that best match our theme of the month. Photos may also be published on our website at and on our Facebook page. Alabama Living is not responsible for lost or damaged photos. Send a self-addressed stamped envelope to have photos returned.

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Spotlight | May

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 May 8 with your name, address and the name of your rural electric cooperative. The winner and answer will be announced in the June issue. Submit by email:, or by mail: Whereville, 340 TechnaCenter Drive, Montgomery, AL 36117. 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.

April’s answer

The Flomaton Area Railroad Museum serves as the city’s welcome center and includes exhibits on the area’s history as a railway junction. It’s housed in a historic 19th-century home on Sidney Manning Boulevard, named for the World War I Medal of Honor recipient. A monument to Manning stands in front of the museum. (Information from the Encyclopedia of Alabama). (Photo by Allison Law of Alabama Living magazine) The randomly drawn correct guess winner is Teresa Kite of Southern Pine EC.

STAR ID deadline extended to 2021 The U.S. Department of Homeland Security, at the direction of President Trump, is extending the REAL ID enforcement deadline to Oct. 1, 2021, in response to the Coronavirus (COVID-19). Alabama’s version of the federal REAL ID program is STAR ID, which stands for Secure, Trusted and Reliable Identification. STAR ID is a step beyond an ordinary Alabama driver license or non-driver identification card, and meets all the requirements of federal law. For first issuance of a STAR ID, customers must visit one of ALEA’s Driver License Examining Offices across the state, but the agency closed all locations March 27 to combat the spread of the virus. The agency will resume operations when COVID-19 is under control. The STAR ID deadline extension should relieve wait times when driver license offices reopen. For more information on STAR ID, online renewals and other services, please visit 10  MAY 2020

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Maintain the battery life on your devices Adults and kids are always having to manage battery life on their smartphones and wireless devices. From Batteries Plus Bulbs, here are some tips for maintaining that precious percentage: • Charge your battery to 80% and don’t let it drop to zero. If you let the battery discharge completely and leave it uncharged for a long period of time it will eventually become incapable of holding a charge at all. • When charging your device, make sure to use the correct adapter. Batteries have different power outputs and using the improper output will result in a slower charge. • Update your apps. Most often, apps get updated to use less battery power and turn your device on a power saving mode. • Don’t let the device overheat! Not only will most devices not let you fully charge when they are overheated, but they will also power down if they reach an unsafe temperature.

Find the hidden dingbat! Some of us didn’t have that much rain in March, but it didn’t stop hundreds of our readers from finding the hidden umbrella in the April magazine. It wasn’t that hard, we admit, as it was hanging on the top of the vinyl window on Page 48. Thanks to those who wrote in with some poetry, including Marjorie Wynn of Frankville, a member of Clarke-Washington EMC, who wrote: I wish some rain would come, So we could use an umbrella some. We need a good little rain, To wash that pollen down the drain. Eleanor Madigan of Dothan, member of Wiregrass EC, wrote (with tongue in cheek, we sincerely hope): Oh dear, these dingbats hasten my demise The pressure on the brain, the strain on the eyes. To search for a bumbershoot That might protect a roach, it’s so minute. And with my last breath I do state It sits on a window frame on Page 48. Phyllis Fenn of Dixie EC put finding the dingbat on her to-do list, right up there with social distancing, washing your hands and paying your power bill. Glad you’ve got priorities straight, Phyllis! Congratulations to our April winner, Joy Boutwell of Red Bay, a member of Franklin Electric Cooperative. This month we’re hiding a red jalapeno pepper to help you celebrate Cinco de Mayo! Deadline is May 8. Good luck! By email:

By mail: Find the Dingbat Alabama Living 340 TechnaCenter Drive Montgomery, AL 36117

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May | Spotlight Online resources to help parents and children While most parents have by now found all sorts of resources online to help their children learn, we’ve found a few other Alabama-based websites to check out. NewSouth Books has posted some free sample coloring pages from Amazing Alabama and Amazing Georgia, the first installments in Laura Murray’s “Amazing States” coloring book series. (The third installment, Amazing South Carolina, will be available May 12.) Visit to make printouts of the pages for free. The Alabama Department of Archives and History has launched, which allows users to explore the state’s history through online resources and virtual opportunities. The Alabama Farmers Federation is hosting Virtual Field Trips through Facebook Live on the Alabama Farmers Federation Facebook page every Friday at 10 a.m. through May 22. Topics for May are May 1, catfish; May 8, greenhouse and nursery products; May 15, forestry; May 22, cotton and other row crops. And don’t forget about Alabama Public Television’s Digital Library, which contains thousands of videos, online lesson plans and learning resources. Visit

Tips on keeping food clean and healthy Now that many of us are staying home and cooking more, the Alabama Cooperative Extension System offers some tips on keeping both the kitchen and prepared food safe. For more helpful tips and ideas on home and garden, visit • You’re already doing it anyway, but wash hands before starting food prep. • Don’t allow animals in the kitchen when food is being prepared. They can carry bacteria that could get onto food contact surfaces and into the food. • All meat, poultry and fish should be defrosted in the refrigerator. Allow 24 hours for every 5 pounds of meat you want to thaw. • Don’t use disinfecting wipes for cleaning kitchen surfaces. Many such wipes are not labeled for use on food-prep surfaces. • When sampling food, use a utensil, step away from the food, sample, re-clean and sanitize the utensil, then wash your hands.

Take us along! Thanks to all our readers who’ve sent us photos of their travels. We realize no one’s doing any traveling these days due to the statewide “stay 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 We also want to see where you’re reading Alabama Living at

On their February tour of the Holy Land, Dennis and Nancy Abney of Mentone took the magazine to the top of the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem. They are members of Sand Mountain EC.

Letters to the editor

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

Heartwarming photo

The picture of Kendyll Eaton and Ryan Fultz on page 15 of the April issue is a heartwarming classic! Should have gone viral. A story of love and human compassion all wrapped up in a single photo. Thanks for sharing this with us. Charles Duckett, Minter

Alabama Living

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home! Send us photos of you or a family member reading the magazine in your favorite home location – a recliner, under a tree in your back yard, on your porch or deck, wherever. Send to We’ll draw a winner for a $25 prize each month, so let us hear from you!

Kimberly Smith of Grant, a member of North Alabama EC, took her two grandsons, Abram and Max Stewart, both of whom were out of school due to the coronavirus pandemic, to get some fresh air at Guntersville State Park.

Laney Few & Crispin Hallford of Southern Pine EC took a copy of the magazine to Ice Castles in Midway, Utah, on Crispin’s make-a-wish trip to see snow.


Says feral hog hunting ‘cruel’

I enjoyed the article, “Delivering on the River” (April 2020), but I’m a little confused. Why wasn’t the mail route established on the land side of the homes? Mishaps happen…I’m wondering how many pieces of mail are on the bottom of the river? The picture of Kendyll Eaton and Troy University baseball player Ryan Fultz is adorable! Ah hah… Mr. G. B. Gay may be right after all. My Webster dictionary defines “ad” as a public notice. Should he receive an apology? I look forward to Alabama Living every month! Wauneace J. Fikes, Red Bay

Referencing the March article, “Growing feral swine population difficult to control”: This is hardly “hunting”, and certainly not humane - to bait “sounders” and point blank shoot helpless feral hogs. Very disturbing, but as an animal advocate, I and many others are aware of the cruelty in this practice, as well as the horrendous cruelty by “feral hog hunters,” who use and train their dogs to attack, terrorize and mutilate. Shame on Alabama. Sandra S. Nathan, Gulf Shores

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Taking flight Friends of Army Aviation re-create history FOAA’s Huey 123, viewed from above. Riders learn about the history of the aircraft that was extensively used in Vietnam.

By Pamela A. Keene



etired U.S. Army Lt. Col. John “Doc” Holladay isn’t about what it feels like to fly in a UH-1H Huey helicopter with its doors to give up his love affair with Vietnam-era Army helicopopen,” he says. “It’s not your normal vanilla ride, with its ups and ters. After all, he comes by it through years of experience. downs and turns. It’s an exciting ride and that’s a bold understatement.” After enlisting in the Army at age 17, he found his place flying The group gives rides to visitors at airshows, veterans events and working on choppers from that era until he retired in 1990. “I spent my 27-year career flying just about every helicopter and and festivals throughout the eastern United States. Members inaircraft the Army has except the Apache, and there’s nothing like teract with visitors who come to see the static displays and learn these aircraft,” says Holladay, president of Friends of Army Aviaabout Army aviation. tion, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that provides education “We’re keeping the legacy of Army aviation in the forefront as and history about the Vietnam-era Army aircraft. “Today through we travel around to various events, showing honor and respect to Friends of Army Aviation those Veterans by helping we’re keeping these aircraft them tell their stories to the alive and reminding peopublic.” ple of what it was like to fly An educational mission them. We’re also reminding people about the honor Holladay served three and sacrifice of the veterans combat tours in Vietnam, who flew them and flew in was appointed a warrant them during wartime.” officer, received a combat Friends of Army Avidirect commission, and ation has a collection of later was a general’s aide to working and non-working two generals at the Army aircraft at its maintenance Aviation Systems Comhangar, located in Ozark, mand. After his retirement Alabama, as well as other as a lieutenant colonel, items and artifacts highhe worked in trucking lighting Army aviation. and transportation in the FOAA members hold regular meetings for members at their hangar, where The FOAA is known in the Southeast and moved to they also store their aircraft. business as a “Flying MuseDothan. um.” As president of Friends “It’s where we bring dead things back to life, including aircraft,” of Army Aviation, Holladay leads a group of 270 members and Holladay says. The organization takes its helicopter and fixedvolunteers who help maintain the organization’s aircraft and supwing aircraft to airshows around the Southeast and gives event port its educational mission. Qualified volunteers help restore attendees a chance to ride in its UH-1H helicopter, also known helicopters, fly the aircraft to events, and provide information to as a Huey. This helicopter was the workhorse of the Vietnam War the thousands of visitors who come to airshows each year. era. A Huey can carry up to 10 passengers who fly in the cargo FOAA has events scheduled in Florida and Georgia for May, compartment with the doors open. including the week-long Melbourne, Florida, Vietnam Veterans “So many people just don’t know about these aircraft that flew Reunion from May 6-10; a fly-in in Sylvester, Georgia, on May missions during the Vietnam era, and they certainly don’t know 16; and a fly-in in Ellijay, Georgia, on May 23. The Annual Do12  MAY 2020

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Doc Holladay, president of the FOAA, takes a break from a flight.

than Remembers event is slated for June 13. (Scheduled events are subject to cancellation or postponement; please check the website for information.) Holladay says the organization is always looking for more Vietnam-era equipment to add to its museum and its flying fleet. “Some of the aircraft we get are just junk, but we find a use for them, at least in the museum,” Holladay says. “And we have a motto around here: ‘We’re bringing living history to life, and with our aircraft, some of it actually flies.’” Aircraft used in flying must pass rigorous inspections and scheduled checks by the Federal Aviation Administration. Many of the pilots who fly for FOAA flew missions in Vietnam and are willing to share some of their stories. Rides last between 10 and 12 minutes. Riders who are minors, aged 14 and under, must be accompanied by a parent or guardian. All riders must sign a waiver of liability. “Safety is our No. 1 goal,” Holladay says. “Everything revolves around it. Bringing these legacy aircraft representing Army aviation to the public comes at a great cost to our organization, but one that we readily accept.” Annual membership is open to the public at $50 per person and a lifetime membership costs $150. Membership fees, along with sponsorships and donations, support the organization’s museum, educational mission and equipment costs. “Between 80 and 85 percent of the people who take a ride have never even been up in a helicopter,” Holladay says. “It’s a thrill for us to see the faces of the people who ride. It also helps the family members experience what their loved ones did daily during war time. It is also another way to support our military and all they do for our country.”

• The Friends of Army Aviation (FOAA) is available to bring aircraft to events in the Southeast. • For more information, call 334-445-0008, or email • The website is • To join the group, dues are $50 per year, and $150 for lifetime membership. Alabama Living

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Group helps veterans transition to life after the military By John N. Felsher


any military veterans struggle to adjust to civilian life, hidden wounds the warrior way – alone. particularly after returning from a war deployment. All Sometimes, coping with problems alone ends in tragedy. The must change their entire way of life, find homes, new empeople with the SSSVP want to help smooth the transition of vetployment and make other adjustments, but some veterans struggle erans to their new civilian lives. more than others as they return with horrific injuries. But some “Our mission is to foster independence and model sustainable wounds cannot be seen and will never completely heal. living habits for veterans,” says David J. Flounders, SSSVP pres“Many veterans feel different and ident, who spent 31 years in the military including tours in both Iraq and don’t think they fit in with civilian Afghanistan before retiring as an Army society,” says Kathleen Saucier, who captain. “Through independent livis the case manager for Samson’s ing and job skills training, connection Strength Sustainable Veterans Project with community and veteran resourc(SSSVP) and has considerable experies and transitional housing, veterans ence dealing with mental health and will be provided with opportunities to trauma issues. “Our first priority is to assess their re-engage and reintegrate back into the needs and get the veterans whatevcommunity.” er support they need. Everyone has A ‘tiny’ idea different needs, whether it’s medical, On his 115-acre farm near Lineville mental health, vocational training or in Clay County, Flounders began something else. We want to intervene building small houses where veterans early to get them back into civilian Kathleen Saucier, case manager, and David J. Flounders society by helping them with the dai- Sr., president of Samson’s Strength Sustainable Veterans can live for up to 18 months as they ly struggles they encounter when they Project. PHOTO COURTESY MORGAN MCGUE transition to civilian life. The first five come back from overseas. We don’t tiny homes are near completion, with want to wipe away the warrior part of their lives, but we want to a total of 30 houses planned. “Our target population is single men who went into the military help them maintain who they are and add to that so they can fit after Sept. 11, 2001,” Flounders says. “We don’t have the capabilback into civilian society.” ity of putting families up. Each house is only 20 feet by 17.2 feet Some returning veterans think they don’t deserve help from the and about 256 square feet. They are about the size of an efficiency Department of Veterans Affairs or other organizations because apartment, but all are actually individual houses. Each house will they didn’t lose an arm or a leg. They often try to deal with their 14  MAY 2020

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be equipped with a full kitchen, small appliances, bed and bathroom. Each house will be a cozy little home for one person.” Once the first five veterans move into their houses, they will help build the other houses and a community center. This will give them skills they can use later in life or help them get a job in construction. The second group of guys will then build the next set of houses and so on. “We want to move five veterans into the houses at the same time so they are not alone,” Flounders says. “It’s like a squad in the military. We’re also planning a community center with some activities to keep them busy. We don’t want the veterans sitting around by themselves moping. We are also working with the Ashland Housing Development Corporation so that after all 30 houses and the community center are built, we can help build affordable housing elsewhere in Clay County.” The planned community center will have laundry facilities, a large commercial kitchen, fitness center, a computer lab, a place where community residents can watch movies and socialize. Veterans will also be able to take advantage of a maintenance center where they can work on their cars. In addition, various experts will periodically come to the community center to teach classes on such topics as starting a small business. “Originally, we planned to let one veteran come here after the

Samson’s Strength Sustainable Veterans Project always needs more donations and volunteers. For a list of needed items, see To make a taxdeductible donation or obtain more information, call 860-861-6747 or see first home was built, but we realized that goes against our model,” Saucier says. “We want to make a community in which they are all a part. We want to keep the veterans busy and teach them about the importance of getting out of their houses and not isolating themselves. We need to get more people involved so the project is sustainable.” Contractors, businesses and individuals donated money, time and materials to help build the first homes. Periodically, groups hold work days where they gather to help with the construction. “The volunteers are a mix of professional contractors and other people,” Flounders says. “Some are very skilled at building homes and some just want to help in any way they can.”

Team Depot, The Home Depot Foundation’s associate-led volunteer force, participated in a project at Samson’s Strength Sustainable Veterans Project in August 2019. PHOTOS COURTESY OF SAMSON’S STRENGTH SUSTAINABLE VETERANS PROJECT

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| Gardens |

Photos by Brooke Echols

Social distancing in the garden?

Build a raised bed


n this new world of social distancing, many of us are finding that our personal outdoor spaces offer many opportunities for safely releasing pent-up energy and anxiety. Regardless of the size and shape of your outdoor space, there are ways to transform them into beautiful and productive garden sanctuaries. You can create a garden in any sized space by using pots and other containers to grow lovely flowers, handsome shrubs and trees, Katie Jackson is a freelance writer and editor based in Opelika, Alabama. Contact her at

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nutritious and delicious fruits and vegetables and flavorful herbs. If you want to take that idea a step further, though, consider building a raised bed. Raised beds offer us the chance to create better soil, increase plant productivity and make gardening more accessible, especially for folks with mobility issues or who have trouble bending and stooping. What’s more, the concept of a raised bed can be used in almost any situation, from a tiny apartment balcony to a large yard. Here’s a step-by-step guide to get you started with your own raised bed project.

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Start with size

Raised beds should be no more than 4 feet wide to ensure you can reach all areas of the bed from the sides without stepping into the bed itself. They should also be at least 6 inches deep to ensure plants have ample room to put down roots. If you want to grow more deeply rooted vegetables such as tomatoes, melons and potatoes, aim for at least 8 to 12 inches deep. Other than that, raised beds can be as large or small as your tastes and space allow, and they can be custom built to accommodate any physical needs, such as access from a standing or sitting position. Be aware that the deeper the bed, the more soil material is needed to fill it, which can add to the expense. Another option to increase the height for accessibility by placing the raised bed from on legs or on a tabletop.

Pick a site

Since most raised beds are permanent structures, it’s vital to locate them in a spot with the access to the appropriate amount of sunlight for the plants you want to grow — six to eight hours of sunlight is needed for most fruits, vegetables, herbs and many flowers, though you can create a shady raised bed filled with impatiens, hostas and ferns or with edible crops such as leafy greens, cool-season herbs (cilantro, parsley and dill), carrots, beets, potatoes and garlic. The site should also afford plenty of room to navigate around the bed once it’s in place and have access to a water supply. In fact, one of the biggest drawbacks of raised bed or container gardening is the need for added irrigation during hot and/or dry periods, so make sure you can get a hose to it or consider installing an irrigation system in the bed.

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Frame choices

A raised bed can be created by simply making a mound of soil in a garden bed; however, without an enclosure around it, the mound will likely erode during the first growing season and you’ll have to start all over next year. If you want a raised bed to last season after season, you need to contain the soil in some kind of frame, the likes of which depends on your budget, building skills and design tastes. Bricks, cinderblocks, rocks, metal sheeting, metal stock tanks and a variety of recycled or repurposed items can be used to frame your bed, though the most common choice is a wooden frame, which includes a variety of options. For a long-lasting, attractive and truly organic-friendly wooden frame, use cedar, redwood or fir lumber, all of which have a natural resistance to rot. However, these woods tend to be expensive, so pressure-treated lumber and landscape timbers are effective and affordable options. (Today’s pressure-treated lumber is deemed safe to use for growing food crops.) If you’re using repurposed materials, such as old railroad ties, shipping pallets, barrels and buckets, make sure they do not contain chemicals or substances that could be toxic to your soil, plants or, especially with food crops, to you. Experts differ about the safety of railroad ties, but if that’s your best option make sure they are not still oozing creosote.

Preparing the site

Once you’ve chosen a frame, make sure to prepare the ground where it will sit with care. If you plan to erect the frame directly on the sod, place landscape cloth or a thick layer of newspapers or cardboard on the existing vegetation to keep it from growing up into the bed from below. If you want to ensure the site is as weed free and well-draining as possible, take some time to remove all surface vegetation and dig down three or so inches to create a trench for the frame. Doing this allows you to level the site, remove future weed problems, improve drainage below the bed area and give greater support and stability to the frame if you sink it into the hole.

Creating soil

Once the frame is in place, it’s time to create the best growing media possible. You can do this by using any existing soil removed in the digging process, but only if it’s healthy (no nematodes or contaminants that might harm your crop — get a soil test for it if you’re not sure). If it’s clean, this soil can be mixed with potting or high-quality topsoil and other amendments. If you’d rather create brand new soil, aim for a blend of 60 percent topsoil, 30 percent compost and 10 percent potting soil (soilless growing media made from a mix of peat moss, perlite and/or vermiculite). The best recipe for your needs depends on the crops you want to grow, so find a recipe that best matches your plants’ needs.

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Learning more

Needless to say, this just scratches the surface of information about raised bed gardens, but more detailed information is available from many expert sources. One great place to start is on the Alabama Cooperative Extension System’s website at, where you can find an in-depth article on raised bed gardening (use their search engine to find it or go to aces. edu/blog/topics/lawn-garden/raised-bed-gardening/) as well as information on many other gardening projects you may want to try during this era of social distancing and for years to come.

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This month’s tips are timely for the season but may also give you additional ideas on ways to focus pent-up energy and reduce anxiety in this time of social distancing.

• Weed, even those areas you usually neglect.

• Take a soil test to find out ways to improve your soil.

• Plant early-season summer vegetables

such as tomatoes, eggplants and peppers. • Sow seed for melons, cucumbers, corn, squash and other heat-loving vegetables. • Make plans for the future of your garden. • Start a compost pile. • Cut flowers and bring them inside to brighten your day. • Get some houseplants, too. • Build birdhouses, trellises, window boxes and other garden DIY items. • Sit still and enjoy the sounds of your garden growing. • Feed the birds. • Build a water feature. • Take an online garden class. • Support local garden centers and other small businesses by using online ordering and pickup services.

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| Alabama People |

Jacqueline Trimble

Educator, poet, essayist, sharer Jacqueline Allen Trimble, an award-winning poet and educator, understands the power of language. It’s integral to her work as a professor of English and chair of Languages and Literatures at Alabama State University. It’s what she uses to wrap her head and heart around the world and to channel her innate wit, humor and sense of irony into works of poetry, fiction, essay, television shows and scholarly articles. Trimble, who was a 2017 Alabama State Council on the Arts literary arts fellow, also understands the importance of supporting other writers, which she does through her volunteer work with the Alabama Writers’ Forum and other literary organizations. She recently took a break from working on her latest collection of poems and a new television project she’s developing to talk about the importance of literature to her and to society. — Katie Jackson When did you first know you were a poet? I’m not sure I know I’m a poet yet; there is still so much I have to learn. Fiction was actually my first love as a writer. I devoured novels and short stories, and I wrote stories. But I gravitated toward poetry. I think it was the immediacy of poetry, that connection between sound and sense, or seeing how much you could say in three words rather than three hundred. Plus, poetry is such a fluid genre. I can do anything with it — prose, conversation, narrative. It appeals to my desire not to be constrained by a particular form. What does writing do for you personally? Writing helps me figure out a world that doesn’t make sense to me. My poetry is full of questions. I don’t always know what the answers are, but I think it is important to explore the questions. Writing also helps me deploy my sense of irony, which can be rather sardonic. What’s it like writing across such a range of genres? I’m not wedded to genres. They are madeup categories, and they are all just different formats for communicating ideas. All writing is about communicating an idea or structure or feeling. All writing incorporates play. I love writing across genres, and I plan to do more of it. Plus, each project — poetry, television, fiction, critical essay — feeds all the others. It’s very freeing. 20  MAY 2020

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How has your personal experience as a black woman growing up and living in Alabama informed your writing? Oh my! Everything I write comes out of my experience of being black and female in Alabama. More and more I realize the truth of this statement. When I wrote an essay for the anthology Southern Writers on Writing, I realized how much I was influenced by so many things: my mother and I making up words when I was a kid, the sound of gossip in the beauty shop, my mother’s friends telling stories while they played Pokeno, grownups discussing politics and strategies of revolution — it all undergirds my writing. The other thing is Alabama is such fertile ground for material because it’s a state of contrasts; a representation of the ironic in American history. Any place that has the White House of the Confederacy and the Civil Rights Memorial on the same street is a writer’s gold mine. The irony of the place is in its DNA, and in its geography. Plus, my experiences here have been so strange, there’s endless material. How do teaching and writing work together for you? Teaching, for me, is about learning new things. Perpetual curiosity is necessary to be a good teacher. As soon as you think you know, you are done. I try to instill in my students a desire to question — question me, question the text, question everything. Only through asking questions can we discover. Writing requires the same of us, to be curious about the world, to ask questions, to learn. Can the literary arts — and arts in general — help us navigate today’s challenging times? Yes. I don’t know what I would do without art. Art is our response to chaos. It’s our outlet for frustration and joy and heartbreak. It’s a way of ordering our thoughts and our environment. It gives us a kind of control that we don’t really have. Why are you so involved with and supportive of Alabama’s literary community? Even though it seems as if writing is a solitary act, writing actually takes place in community. Writers (and other artists) need the support and encouragement of other writers. I want to be there for others because so many people have been there for me. Look, I am a teacher at heart. That’s my legacy, so it comes naturally to me to share what I have learned with others. How can others support the literary world? Go to readings. Buy books. Buy books and leave positive reviews on Goodreads and Amazon. Support your local, independent bookstore.

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Lifting spirits Stories of hope and inspiration amid a crisis The times we’re in are uncertain, and the constant barrage of news is often dark. With the isolation of quarantine, the bleak financial picture and the struggles for parents who have become full-time teachers and caregivers, the need is great for relief, and for even brief glimpses of hope. Thanks to the ingenuity and dedication of Alabamians of all ages and backgrounds, such glimps-

es are all around us, and getting brighter all the time. Alabama Living wanted to find some of the good things happening amid the COVID-19 pandemic, and to highlight some of the warmth, creativity and goodness that continues to emerge in our state. If you have a story to share, email Allison Law at

Helping to feed children

Mask makers

When Alabama schools were ordered closed on March 18, the first question from many parents was, “what will we do about meals?” School systems handled the situation differently, but many groups – public, private, grassroots, non-profits – stepped in to help. In DeKalb County in northeast Alabama, a group of teachers and volunteers worked together to pack food for families. The area is DeKalb County Schools personnel came together to pack thousands of meals for large and very rural. children after schools were closed following Teachers called their spring break. homeroom students to PHOTO COURTESY TARA KIRBY ask who needed meals. Then Tara Kirby, parent and family engagement specialist with the school system, and superintendent Jason Barnett helped implement a plan to pack meals – breakfast, lunch and a snack for five days, per child. The first week, they packed 18,000 grab-and-go meals, and within 45 minutes the food was gone. “We realized the need was much higher,” Kirby says. So the second week, volunteers and teachers packed 27,000 meals, and within 45 minutes, it was gone again. “It’s been a huge undertaking,” Kirby says, “but the people that have been contacting me, wanting to help, has been unreal.” Not just teachers, but businesses and community members. After Gov. Kay Ivey issued a “stay at home” order to begin April 4, many school systems struggled to find ways to continue feeding their students while keeping families as well as volunteers safe. DeKalb County had to suspend its program, but hopes to start again in May. 22  MAY 2020

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While surgical masks remained in short supply, sewing guilds and home seamstresses took action, using their skills and whatever materials they had at hand to create cloth face masks, which the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends for people to wear in public settings where social distancing is difficult. At the end of March, Red Land Cotton, a member of Joe Wheeler EMC, started making masks for the University of Alabama at Birmingham, as well as for any others who requested them. The company, which makes linens, towels and loungewear made from the cotton from the family farm in Moulton, Alabama, partnered with Alabama wedding dress designer Heidi Elnora to provide fabric, stitching and a team to help in the effort. Red Land Cotton donated over 800 yards of fabric to home sewers in the Birmingham area working with Heidi Elnora and Church of the Highlands, and as of early April had sent 1,000 masks to UAB. And while onstage productions were on hold, the costume department at the Alabama Shakespeare Festival got to work, producing hundreds of simple cloth face masks for Montgomeryarea hospitals. “This is our home,” says Ahkim Church, ASF’s director of production. “We will do anything we can to help our friends and family in Montgomery and in the state to stay safe.” PHOTO COURTESY ALABAMA SHAKESPEARE FESTIVAL

Red Land Cotton, based in Moulton, Alabama, mobilized a team of sewers to create face masks to help the community. PHOTO COURTESY RED LAND COTTON

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‘Ribbons of Hope’

On April 7, Gov. Kay Ivey announced her ‘Ribbons of Hope’ campaign, which encourages the people of Alabama to tie ribbons around a tree or pole in their front yard as a reminder to pray for medical personnel, first responders, and for one another. Ivey also announced the launch of altogetheralabama. org, a resource to aid in navigating all issues related to the COVID-19 response. Individuals and business owners can seek help and identify state and federal resources.

‘Reading with the Trojans’

Davis Dorrough, 2, and Olivia, 4, were happy to receive a yard sign from PHOTO COURTESY ALLY DORROUGH their church, First Baptist Gulf Shores.

Church engages youngsters

Churches across Alabama have been embracing new and different ways to keep in touch with their members without gathering in person. First Baptist Church Gulf Shores delivered personalized signs in the yards of its youngest members, and the reaction has been overwhelming for the organizer, children’s minister Cindy Chandler. “I had been praying about ways I could engage the kids and let them know I was thinking of them,” she says. “I wanted to do something they could visibly see, not just a video.” She found a sign company that could order the signs, and she and her daughter decorated them for each family. “We made 57 signs to deliver to our families. Honestly, the response floored me. I had no idea I would get the response I have received. I know at least 30 of our families posted a picture of their signs with their kids on Facebook. I was truly blessed.” The church has also posted Facebook videos of Chandler in different parts of the church, asking children to guess where she is. Student ministry pastor John Yates also has posted devotions and videos to engage older students. See more at FirstBaptistGulfShoresKids. Tell us what your church is doing to keep in touch these days! Email

Teachers reach out

They may have been struggling with how to continue instruction after school closures, but many teachers felt moved to try to brighten the days of their students, even if from afar. An story that was widely circulated early in the crisis was that of Merideth Lett and Hollie Nelson, who teach at Huntington Place Elementary School in Northport. They drove around Tuscaloosa County delivering “care bags” to all 25 of their fourth-grade students. The teachers gave each student a recyclable grocery bag filled with math and reading workbooks, writing notebooks and mindfulness lessons, as well as Post-it Notes, highlighters, pencils, crayons, snacks, photos of their fellow students and personal notes from the teachers. Another idea that caught on quickly through various social media platforms: Teacher parades. Educators and school support staffers dressed up their cars with inspirational signs and drove parade style into their students’ neighborhoods, honking and waving to appreciative families who maintained a safe distance. Alabama Living

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Troy University’s Athletics Department has given its radio and TV announcer and its coaches a new role during this time of at-home quarantine. They’ve become online story readers for children. Their “Reading with the Trojans” on social media has been a big hit since it began in March. Barry McKnight, Troy’s longtime play-by-play announcer, credits his wife, Dee, with the idea. “I’ve always been a voracious reader, and I always made it a habit to read to my son Jack (who’s grown now) every night I could when he was growing up,” he says. “I’ve read once a week to elementary school classes for about 30 years now. When some of the early COVID-19 cancellations began last month, I told my wife Dee how I’d really hate to miss time reading to the kids, and it was her idea to get some down on video and get them to the school. McKnight’s debut book was If You Give a Mouse a Cookie, followed by baseball Coach Mark Smartt reading Caps for Sal. Volleyball Coach Josh Lauer recently read The Legend of Rock, Paper, Scissors, while women’s basketball coach Chanda Rigby read a book she wrote, #OneTroy, about the hashtag used to unify the online Troy community. McKnight is hopeful the outreach can continue “after the world returns to normal and will involve not only our coaches and staff, but our student-athletes as well, and we’ll be looking for all the suggestions our fans can give us.” “Reading with the Trojans” is released each Wednesday at 10 a.m. on Troy Athletics Facebook page, Twitter and YouTube. Episodes are archived at

Barry McKnight reads “The Wonky Donkey” from the Trojan Arena as part of the “Reading with the Trojans” webisode. MAY 2020  23

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2019 First Place: Jenna Adaway Wiregrass EC

photo contest

Do you enjoy photography? Can you capture the essence of Alabama and its people in a photo? Enter your best, original pictures in our third annual photo contest. Entries will be accepted May 1-31 only.

Photos will be judged on quality, originality, creativity, photography skill and content. Each photographer is limited to TWO submissions per category. (If we receive more than two photos in a category from the same photographer, only the first two received will be entered into the contest. Additional photos will be disqualified.) Winning photos will be published in the August 2020 issue of Alabama Living, and periodically on our social media sites. The first-place winner in each category will receive $100. Photo submissions will be accepted online ONLY through our website, Please do not send hard copies. No watermarks on photos. Full rules for entries can be found on our website, Rules for entry: Read and follow all rules carefully or your photo may be disqualified. Entries must be the original work of the photographer making the submission. Two entries per category per person, age 18 and older. See the entry form at By submitting to us your photographs, you represent to us that you are the sole creator and owner of your work and that it is original, does not infringe the rights of any other person or entity, does not defame or invade the privacy of any person, and that you have the right and the authority to grant to us the following right of use. You agree that Alabama Living magazine and the Alabama Rural Electric Association may publish, post online, edit, revise and otherwise

There are four photo categories: Discover the past Capture the beauty Rural landscapes Making memories make unrestricted use of part or all of your work for commercial or non-commercial purposes, including, without limitation, publishing all or part of your work in Alabama Living magazine, in print or online, shared on social media, in a calendar or other works, or in advertising for the same or for Alabama Living publications. You agree that this grant of use is royalty-free and perpetual. Contest is open to persons 18 or over in the U.S., except for employees or immediate family members of the Alabama Rural Electric Association, Alabama Living, Alabama’s rural electric cooperatives and their respective divisions, subsidiaries, advertising and promotion agencies.


Kidnap, ransom and rescue, part 2

Editor’s note: Part 1 of the pet vet column ran in the March issue, which described the author’s adoption of his family’s new puppy, Anandi.


o, we are wallowing in the warmth of new love with our 10-week-old Anandi, our little rescue dog who came at just the right time to fill the emptiness left when we lost our old girl Delilah. Anandi continued to recover from her perilous beginnings with only a small cough remaining from her battle with pneumonia. She enjoyed traveling everywhere with us as the mascot of our mobile veterinary service. One mild afternoon we were at a client’s house, parked beneath a shade tree, windows rolled down just a bit to let in the breeze. We left Anandi snoozing on the front seat and went in to see our patient. Returning just 15 minutes later, there was no Anandi! It seemed impossible, but she was gone! We searched the streets calling her name and knocked on every door late into the evening! We went back to town and made flyers and posted everywhere. Despair set in as the days rolled by without any phone calls. Our hearts ached, not sure if we should give up hope. Four long days later the call came. A female voice on the line said that she had seen our puppy with some nefarious people who dealt with drugs, and the world’s oldest profession. She understood our sorrow as a dog person and wanted to help. However, she was afraid to be recognized. We picked her up from her house and she hid in the back of our van. 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

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We drove through a couple of miles of unlit, unpaved roads winding through very dark woods. Our anticipation and nervousness grew as we approached a small house, the entrance surrounded by a large fence. We were worried about getting shot. We called out our greetings very loudly so as not to startle anyone inside. Our hollering went unanswered, but we saw a flickering light from a TV. After coming this far, we couldn’t leave without our little girl! We took a deep breath, entered the gate and made our way to the front door. We kept yelling “hello,” and knocked at the door. A minute later, a confused but curious young woman came to the door. After seeing our flyer and hearing our plight she said she didn’t have Anandi. We told her that our little pup was very sick and has been without her medications for 4 days now. Suddenly concerned, she asked if the puppy was contagious. We had to think on the spot. We rolled with the moment and we alluded that she just may be contagious. The young woman said her daughter had our puppy and she would have to go get it. We were discussing how to retrieve her when a tall, very angry man in a black trenchcoat shoved his way to the front door. Jerking the door wide open, spittle flew as he yelled that there was no way they were giving back the dog without the reward money! Somewhat shocked, we assured the man that although we didn’t have the cash on us, he would certainly get the reward when we got our puppy. After exchanging phone numbers and calling to make sure they were legit, we agreed to meet in 2 hours. The adventure continued! Read about the happy conclusion of this story in the July issue.

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Alabama Living

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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 Due to the volume of submissions, we are unable to feature all the books we receive. Hard Road South, by Scott Gates, Blue Ink Press, $14.99 (historical fiction) After the Civil War, Union Army veteran Solomon Dykes hopes to make a fresh start in Virginia. He settles near Jeb Mosby, a Virginia native farming his family’s land. Under different circumstances, the two men, both trying to rebuild their lives in the divisive aftermath of the bloody conflict, might have been friends. But both men learn even the smallest actions can carry far-reaching consequences. The author is a native of Montgomery and editor of Carolina Country magazine. His father, Darryl Gates, was the editor of Alabama Living magazine for nearly 30 years.

The Life and Death of Rising Star Steve Ihnat – Gone Too Soon, by Linda Alexander, Bear Manor Media, $21.95 paperback (TV history) In 1967, Steve Ihnat was on top of the world in Hollywood, an actor on the precipice of true stardom. He was seen as both a heavy and a leading-man type, an actor who could fit into any role that came his way. Five years later, Steve Ihnat was suddenly, and curiously, dead. The author lives in Wetumpka.

Trees of Alabama, by Lisa J. Samuelson with photographs by Michael E. Hogan, The University of Alabama Press, $34.95 (biology) The book offers an accessible guide to the most notable species occurring widely in the state with straightforward descriptions and vivid photographs. The book also features a map of forest types, chapters on basic tree biology and terminology, a spotlight on the plethora of oak species in the state, and a comprehensive index.

Pensters Anthology, Volume One, by the Pensters Writing Group, Intellect Publishing, $14.95 (literary compilation) Pensters Writing Group is celebrating its 55th anniversary with this collection of prose and poetry penned by its members over the past three years. The Pensters, founded in 1965, is Baldwin and Mobile counties’ oldest writing group.

The Key to Everything, by Valerie Fraser Luesse, Revell Publishing, $15.99 (fiction) After World War II and a family tragedy, Peyton Cabot seeks connection with his troubled veteran father by retracing the trip he’d taken from Savannah to Key West at the same age. The adventure forces Peyton to come to terms with his identity and decide how much he’s willing to risk for the girl he loves. The author lives in Birmingham.

Coffee with God, by Becky Alexander, Bonita Y. McCoy, Suzanne D. Nichols, Ginger Solomon and Lisa W. Smith, Kerysso Press, $7.97 (Christian living) The book celebrates new life with 30 devotions about birds, babies, butterflies and flowers. Each devotion includes a scripture, personal application, prayer and places for personal notes. Five north Alabama authors collaborated to write and publish this devotional book.

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COVID-19: Important information about Social Security services


e recognize that you may have questions about how the Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) will affect Social Security services. The first thing you should know is that we continue to pay Social Security and SSI benefits. Also, beware of scammers who may try to trick you into thinking the pandemic is stopping your Social Security payments. This threat is not true. Don’t let the scammers fool you. We want to share other important information about our services during this pandemic. To protect you and our employees, and help stop the spread of COVID-19, we cannot accept visitors in our offices at this time. We provide many services online and limited, critical services via phone and email. During the pandemic, we are dedicating avail-

Kylle’ McKinney, SSA Public Affairs Specialist, can be reached by email at


able staff to serve people in most critical need of our services. Need help from Social Security? Many of our services are available online at, including: • Applying for benefits. • Setting up or changing your direct deposit. • Changing your address, if you get benefits. • Getting proof of your benefits. We strongly encourage you to try our convenient and secure online services before calling us. Please be aware that our call wait times are much longer than normal. Save time and go online. For more information, please visit our COVID-19 page at ssa. gov/coronavirus. There you can find out what limited services we can provide by phone, and important information about deadlines we are extending to ease the burden on you and medical providers during this pandemic. You can also subscribe to get an email or text message notification when we update the page so you stay informed. Please share our COVID-19 page with your friends and family.


Across 1 Alabama writer won the 2020 Truman Prize for non-fiction, Charles 4 Alabama writer with 15 NYT best selling novels, ___ Henry 8 First name of a US soccer great born in Selma 9 NFL QB who was born in Decatur, Philip 11 For a long time this was the main Alabama business 13 Hero sandwich 14 First African-American to hold the position of Secretary of Labor, born in Mobile, Alexis____ 18 Email address intro 19 “Friday Night Lights” score 20 Bessemer native who sang “Sweet Blood Call”- Louisiana ___ 21 Former Sec. of State born in Birmingham 25 Soldier 26 Grayish-brown steed 27 You could hear a solo like this during an Alabama Symphony Orchestra perfomance 28 Alabama’s neighbor, famous for peaches, abbr. 29 Clean form of energy 31 Chief Examiner for the Alabama Department of Examiners of Public Accounts, Rachel 32 Large ecosystems 34 Henley of The Eagles 35 Best-selling novelist Roberts 36 Legume farmed mostly in southern Alabama

by Myles Mellor

22 Wedding words 23 Alabama town famous for its made-to-order pizzas at the Carlton restaurant 24 Heavyweight boxing champ born in Tuscaloosa 27 Big home run hitter born in Mobile 29 Feral pigs that have spread throughout Alabama 30 Kind of fishing 32 Style of jazz 33 Tennis match segment Answers on Page 41

Down 1 19th century lawman who came from Alabama 2 Put money into 3 Help request 5 One of the Choctaw words that came to form the name Alabama 6 Small song bird 7 Famous actor born in Cullman, Channing ____ 10 Former Lakers star who won the Naismith Player of the Year award while at Andalusia High School, first name 12 Baseball team minimum 15 Be mistaken 16 Legacy ___, Birmingham 17 Premier bakery in Birmingham, ____’s 28  MAY 2020

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MAIL TO: Alabama

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4/13/20 11:46 AM

| Outdoors |

Anglers ready for snapper season to open May 22


he annual recreational red snapper season begins May 22 in waters off Alabama. The season will continue every Friday through Monday until anglers meet the established federal quota of 1,122,662 pounds. “The snapper season looks really promising this year, as it has for the past several years,” says Kurt Tillman, who runs Captain Kurt Charters out of Dauphin Island. “We don’t have any problem catching a limit of red snapper. I know hundreds of spots and we catch quality fish every time.” Red snapper and other bottom fish congregate around hard structures like reefs, rigs and wrecks. Thanks to a very aggressive artificial reef program, Alabama offers anglers some of the best snapper fishing in the nation. The reefs stretch across more than 1,200 square miles off the Orange Beach-Gulf Shores area and near Dauphin Island. For more information on reefs and reef locations, see “At the beginning of the season, people can catch a lot of snapper at the close rigs and reefs,” Tillman says. “People in small boats can fish some of these and catch a good limit of legal-sized snapper. One of my favorite spots to fish at the beginning of the season is the bridge rubble reef. It’s a big public spot about 14 miles south and a little to the west of Dauphin Island. It usually holds some big fish on it, especially during the first few weeks of snapper season.” Besides red snapper, the artificial reefs and other structures form habitat for various snapper species, such as gray snapper, also known as mangrove or black snapper. Anglers might also catch vermilion snapper, commonly called beeliners, and lane snappers. In addition, anglers fishing for red snapper might hook into amberjack, triggerfish, several grouper varieties and other species. Check the season dates and limits before keeping any fish. “I like to fish a little farther out,” Tillman says. “When people run a bit farther out than most other people, they usually catch bigger fish because fewer people fish there. The pyramid reefs about 30 miles from Dauphin Island can produce a lot of good fish.” Reefs also create hunting grounds for roving predators like

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

sharks, cobia, king mackerel and barracuda that feed upon reef dwellers. While bottom bouncing for snapper, anglers might want to set a drift line baited with a live fish or other tempting morsel. Toss the bait on an unweighted line behind the boat. Stick the rod into a holder and wait for a passing predator to grab the bait. A struggling live fish might even call a giant snapper up from the depths. In deep enough water, a drift line could attract wahoo, blackfin or yellowfin tuna, possibly sailfish. “Frequently, the bigger snapper come up near the surface,” Tillman says. “Sometimes, we chum fish up to the surface and catch them on a drift line. When we chum up fish, they get in a feeding frenzy. It’s always fun when people can see the fish they’re trying to catch.” Over a good spot off the Alabama coast, anglers seldom need to fish very long to land a limit of red snapper. After catching their snapper, many anglers look for other fishing opportunities. Offshore anglers can troll an assortment of spoons, deep-running plugs, jigs or natural baits to entice king mackerel, cobia, wahoo, dolphin, also called mahi or dorado, tuna and other species. Some anglers maximize their time offshore by trolling when transitioning from one spot to another. Trolling can also reveal a new secret honey hole. “There’s a lot of other fish to catch off Alabama besides red snapper,” Tillman says. “In 2019, we caught a tremendous amount of cobia. We often see cobia coming up to the boat when snapper fishing. It’s always a good idea to keep a line ready to cast a bait.” While moving from place to place, watch for targets of opportunity. Cobia, mahi and tripletail regularly hide under floating debris, weeds, channel buoys and other flotsam, sometimes as small as a drink can. Anglers might see something that they can add to their fish boxes. After spotting a fish, approach quietly. Whenever possible, let the wind or currents push the boat toward the object to avoid spooking the fish. During the season, every recreational angler can keep up to two red snapper per day with a minimum size of 16 inches in total length. Anglers must report their red snapper catches through Snapper Check. For more on Snapper Check, see outdo mrd-fisheries-section/redsnapper-faqs. Tommie Werneth shows off a red snapper she caught while fishing in the Gulf of Mexico south of Orange Beach, Ala. PHOTO BY JOHN N. FELSHER

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

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7:42 - 9:42 8:30 - 10:30 9:18 - 11:18 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


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 Tu

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7:42 - 9:42 8:30 - 10:30 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



8:06 - 10:06 8:54 - 10:54 9:42 - 11:42 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 PM

8:06 - 10:06 8:54 - 10:54 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


2:09 - 3:39 2:57 - 4:27 3:45 - 5:15 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 AM

2:09 - 3:39 2:57 - 4:27 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


2:33 - 4:03 3:21 - 4:51 4:09 - 5:39 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 PM

2:33 - 4:03 3:21 - 4:51 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

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 (, a company specializing in wildlife activity time prediction. Alabama Living

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| Consumer Wise |

Five steps to a clear decision on new windows

Outward-opening casement windows like these give this room a classic charm. PHOTO COURTESY THE SASH WINDOW WORKSHOP

The ENERGYSTAR® logo is known worldwide as a symbol for greater energy efficiency and quality.

By Pat Keegan and Brad Thiessen


Thanks for answering the question last month about replacing older windows. Clearly there are benefits in addition to energy savings, so we’ve decided to go ahead with replacing our windows. Can you offer any tips on deciding which new windows to purchase?


Here are five tips I’ll offer as you think about the types of new windows you should purchase. Think beyond windows. Sometimes home improvement projects can grow into something bigger. And that’s not necessarily a bad thing. There are advantages to replacing windows and siding at the same time, for example. You could consider adding rigid foam insulation to the exterior wall before installing siding. You could also pump some additional insulation into the wall cavities. These measures will reduce heat loss through the wall and make your home more comfortable. Another advantage of replacing siding as you replace windows is to make it easier to install flashing around the window. Flashing is what prevents water from making its way into the wall from the outside. Are you replacing doors, too? Maybe you’d like to reduce or increase the size of one or more windows. A larger window 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.

32  MAY 2020

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can let in more light and transform a room. A smaller window that lets in less sunshine can make a room less likely to overheat in the summer. Remember that high-efficiency windows are less efficient than a well-insulated wall, so increasing or decreasing window area can impact heating and cooling costs. What is your type? Do you want fixedpane units that don’t open at all? Or casement windows that open with a crank? How about sliders, or double-hung windows that open from the top and bottom? Maybe awning-style options that open out from the bottom? A bay window can add extra space and light. There are so many options that can fit many different situations. I recommend a thorough search online, or visit a local window store to see examples of these styles. Frame the issues. If the number of styles wasn’t bewildering enough, now you get to choose the frame and sash (the inner frame that holds the glass). Vinyl is the least expensive and most common option; it can also be quite energy efficient and does not require painting. Vinyl frames vary greatly in quality and the less expensive models may be susceptible to warping. Aluminum is an affordable option, but if the frames don’t have a thermal break, they can lose heat and cause condensation. Wood windows offer high quality – but the biggest drawbacks are the price and maintenance requirements. There are wood options with vinyl cladding that never need painting. Fiberglass and composite windows are a newer option that fall between vinyl and wood in quality and price. Also, you may be able to save money by

not doing a full window replacement. If your existing frames and sills are free of rot and in good condition, and you aren’t looking to make any alterations to the walls around them, you could look into replacing the glass and keeping the existing frames. Glass assemblies. Single-pane windows no longer meet building codes. Your two choices are double- and triple-pane. An add-on that is often well worth the price is a low-E coating that reflects heat back into the room. You can also boost energy efficiency with windows that have either Argon or CO2 gas between the panes. Compare the numbers. Fortunately, there’s an easy way to compare the efficiency of windows. Almost all windows are independently tested and rated by the National Fenestration Rating Council (NFRC). The most important number on the NFRC label is the U-factor. The lower the U-factor, the more efficient the window is. It’s best if the window has an ENERGY STAR® label, but the NFRC label will tell you which ENERGY STAR® window is more efficient. I hope these tips help in the decision of choosing your new windows. Remember, you’ll have to live with them for several years, so be sure to do your research and consider all options. And because new window installation is a complicated process, it’s best to have them installed by a qualified professional with solid references. This column was co-written by Pat Keegan and Brad Thiessen of Collaborative Efficiency. For more information on choosing windows, please visit:

4/13/20 11:46 AM


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| Alabama Recipes |

Suzie's Salad recipe on page 36!

Avocados Appetite for

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I love a good BLT sandwich, but let's be honest. When we’re trying to eat a tad better, we have to be creative. Aside from taking the bread out of the equation, there are only so many ways a BLT can be made better. But do I have a surprise for you! We got creative and used the freshness of avocado to add to the BLT mixture, and combined it with a baked base that results in a buttery-smooth goodness.

Baked BLT Avocados 2 large avocados, halved and seeded 4 strips of bacon, cooked and crumbled 1/2 cup grape tomatoes, halved 1 teaspoon lime juice 1/2 cup green leaf lettuce, chopped 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder 1/2 teaspoon salt, divided 1/8 teaspoon pepper 1 tablespoon olive oil

Brooke Burks

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Carefully cut the avocados in half and remove the seeds. With a spoon, scoop out half the flesh of the avocados and place in a bowl. Drizzle avocado boats with olive oil and sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon of the salt. Bake for 10-20 minutes until remaining flesh is soft and browned. In a separate bowl, mix the scooped avocado with bacon, tomatoes, lettuce, remaining salt, garlic, pepper and lime juice. When avocados are done, spoon BLT mixture into each avocado boat.

Photo by The Buttered Home


vocados are one of the more nutritious fruits you can choose and the good news is that they are in season now through late summer. California is the main source for these popular berries (yes, they’re a real fruit because they meet the criteria of having a seed and fleshy pulp), where more than 3,000 growers supply fans with this green, and sometimes black, fruit. One-third of a medium avocado has 80 calories and contributes nearly 20 vitamins and minerals, according to the California Avocado Commission. They also act as a “nutrient booster” by helping increase the absorption of fat-soluble nutrients like vitamins A, D, K and E.

Is it ripe? The best way to tell if a California Avocado is ripe and ready for immediate use is to gently squeeze the fruit in the palm of your hand. Ripe, ready-to-eat fruit will be firm but will yield to gentle pressure. Color alone may not tell the whole story. The Hass Avocado, for example, will turn dark green or black as it ripens, but some other avocado varieties retain their light-green skin even when ripe. •To speed up the process of ripening avocados, place the fruit in a plain, brown, paper bag and store it at room temperature (65 F to 75 F) until ready to eat (usually two to five days) •Including an apple or a kiwi fruit in the bag accelerates the process, because these fruits give off ethylene, a natural hormone that promotes ripening. When the avocados yield to gentle pressure, they are ready. Tip: The more apples or kiwi fruit you add, the quicker your avocados will ripen. Soft, ripe fruit can be refrigerated until it is eaten and should last for at least two more days. -California Avocado Commission Savory Tart of California Avocado recipe on page 36. PHOTO COURTESY CALIFORNIA AVOCADO COMMISSION

Alabama Living

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Suzie's Salad

Avocado Deviled Eggs

2 1 ½ 1

6 1 1 1

ripe avocados, mashed tablespoon lemon juice cup onion, chopped cup tomatoes, chopped (cherry or grape tomatoes work well) 1 16-ounce carton cottage cheese Salt and pepper, to taste Mix ingredients in order. Serve or store in an air -tight container. This is best eaten the day it is made. Cook’s note: can remove the cottage cheese and substitute lime juice for lemon juice for a rustic guacamole dip. Karla Boling Central Alabama EC

Addictive Avocado Tacos 2 large ripe avocados 2 tablespoons olive oil 2 tablespoons almond milk ¾ cup breadcrumbs ½ teaspoon cumin ½ teaspoon garlic powder Optional toppings: Shredded cheese Black beans Tomatoes, chopped Preheat oven to 450 degrees and line a baking sheet with foil. Whisk together almond milk and olive oil in one bowl. Mix breadcrumbs and spices in another bowl. Cut avocados in half and remove the pits. Lay avocado halves skin side down and cut into 3 equal parts. Gently peel away skin. Dip avocados first into almond-oil mixture, then transfer to the bread crumbs-spice mixture. Use a spoon to coat. Transfer to foil-lined baking sheet and repeat until all avocados are coated. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until lightly browned on the exterior. While avocados are baking, prepare toppings. When avocados are done baking, remove from oven, place in tortillas, and add toppings. Robin O'Sullivan Wiregrass EC

eggs, hard-boiled avocado, peeled and mashed teaspoon salt teaspoon white pepper

Boil 6 eggs in 2 inches of barely boiling water for 6 minutes. Turn off the eye of the stove but leave the pan on the eye for 4 more minutes. Cool and split the 6 eggs into halves. Scoop the yolks into a mixing bowl. Mix 1 well-mashed avocado with the 6 yolks, salt, and white pepper. Fill the 12 egg white halves with this mixture. You will not need mayonnaise because the mashed avocado replaces it. May garnish with parsley, cilantro, pimento, olive slices, snipped chives, etc. Place in the fridge until time to serve. Glenda Weigel Baldwin EMC

Avocado Pickles 3 underripe avocados 13/4 cup white distilled vinegar 1/2 cup water 1/3 cup sugar 1 tablespoon salt 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper 2 cloves garlic, cut in half or sliced Sliced jalapeno, optional (remove seeds for less heat or leave them in for more heat) Add vinegar, water, sugar and salt to a saucepan and heat to boiling. Allow it to boil until the sugar and salt dissolve. Turn off the heat and allow to cool completely. When the vinegar mixture has cooled, cut the avocados in half and remove the seed. Cut each half into 3-4 pieces (the slices need to be kind of thick, about the same as sliced peaches). Add red pepper, garlic, and jalapeno to the bottom of a quart sized jar. Pour the cooled vinegar mixture over the top of the avocados and fill to the top (if more liquid is needed, add more vinegar/water mixed 50/50). Refrigerate for at least three days before eating. Store in the refrigerator. Sandra Rhodes Central AL EC

AL STATE MAY20.indd 36

Savory Tart of California Avocado

Recipe created by Chef Charleen Badman of FnB Restaurant for the California Avocado Commission

1 4 1 2 1 2 1/4 1/4

frozen puff pastry sheet tablespoons honey teaspoon tamarind paste teaspoons white wine vinegar Ruby Red grapefruit, peeled ripe, fresh California avocados, seeded and peeled teaspoon salt, or to taste teaspoon pepper, or to taste Sprigs of mint, lavender or marjoram for garnish (optional)

Thaw the puff pastry in the refrigerator or on the counter overnight until pliable. Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees. Once the puff pastry is thawed, unfold or unroll it, removing any packaging papers or liners. Cut and shape puff pastry into four 2x4-inch rectangles. Place the rectangles between two layers of parchment paper and two half sheet trays, with one on top as a weight. Place the pastries in the pre-heated oven, and bake until brown and crisp, about 12 minutes. An additional 2 minutes with the top sheet tray and parchment paper removed may be needed to finish even browning and crisping. Set aside and let the pastries cool. While pastries are cooling, create honey sauce by heating honey, tamarind paste and white wine vinegar until warm. Set aside and cool before using. Using a sharp knife, cut between the grapefruit’s membranes to release the segments. Be sure to remove all of the white pith. Set aside. In a mixing bowl, use a fork to mash the avocado with salt and pepper to taste. Spread evenly mashed avocado onto cooled pastry sheets. Top with grapefruit segments, then honey sauce. Garnish with herb of choice. **Large avocados are recommended for these recipes. A large avocado averages about 8 ounces. If using smaller or larger size avocados adjust the quantity accordingly.

Access seasonal recipes like this and more at Follow on Facebook at, and on Twitter and Instagram at @ca_avocados

4/13/20 11:46 AM

Cook of the Month Deanna Eckenfels Baldwin EMC Chicken Tacocados 3-4 avocados ½ lime, juiced 2 tablespoons olive oil ½ cup red pepper, seeded and diced ½ cup green pepper, seeded and diced ½ cup onion, diced 2 cloves garlic, pressed or grated 2 teaspoons ground cumin ½ teaspoon coriander ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper 1 tablespoon Sazon seasoning Salt and pepper, to taste 1 pound ground chicken 2 tablespoons flour 1 cup chicken stock

Heat olive oil on medium high and sauté onion and peppers until almost tender. Add garlic and stir. Add spices and stir. Add ground chicken and salt and pepper. Stir and cook thoroughly. Add flour and stir until chicken is coated. Stir in chicken stock. Reduce heat to medium. Simmer for 15 minutes. While chicken simmers, cut avocados in half and remove pit. Use 3-4 avocados depending on how stuffed you like them. When chicken liquid is gone from chicken mixture, stuff avocados. Squeeze lime juice over top of chicken. Add your favorite taco toppings.



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Aug.: Pound Cake | May 8 Sept.: *Bar foods | June 5 Oct.: Traditional Southern Recipes | July 3 (*Taco bar, baked potato bar, etc.)


(Shipping included)

of the

the best of


3 ways to submit: Online: Email: Mail: Recipes, P.O. Box 244014 Montgomery, AL 36124 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.

MAY 2020  37

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38  MAY 2020

LOCAL ADS MAY20.indd 10

4/9/20 11:31 AM

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

May Fruits and Nuts

• Continue spray program. • Keep grass from around trees and strawberries. • Peaches and apples can still be budded.


• Newly planted shrubs need extra care now and in coming weeks. • Don’t spray with oil emulsions when temperature is above 85 degrees F.


• Now is the best time to start lawns from seed. • Water new lawns as needed to prevent drying. • Keep established lawns actively growing by watering, fertilizing, and mowing.

• Spray weeds in lawns with proper herbicide.


• Spray or dust for insects and diseases. • Fertilize monthly according to a soil test. • Container-grown plants in flower may be planted. • Prune climbing roses after the first big flush of flowering.

Annuals and Perennials

• Late plantings of bedding plants still have time to produce. • Watch for insects on day lilies.


• Summer bulbs started in containers may still be planted.

flowering bulbs. • Do not let seedheads form on tulips and other spring flowering bulbs.


• Mulch new shrub plantings if not already done. • Avoid drying out new shrub, tree, and lawn plantings.

Vegetable Seed

• Plant heat-loving and tender vegetables. • Start cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, and celery in cold frames for the fall garden.

Vegetable Plants

• Plant tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, and sweet potatoes.

• Do not remove foliage from spring

June Fruits and Nuts

• Layer grapes and continue spray programs. • Thin apples and peaches if too thick.


• Lace bugs may be a problem on azaleas, pyracanthas, dogwoods, cherry laurels, and other shrubs.

• Lawns should be mowed weekly. • Planting may continue if soil is moist. • Continue weed spraying if necessary.

Annuals and Perennials

• Keep old flower heads removed to promote continued flowering. Plant garden mums if not already in.

• Water as needed. Fertilize now.

• For compact mums, keep tips pinched out.

• Keep long shoots from developing by pinching out tips.

• Watch for insects and diseases.

• Take cuttings from semi-mature wood for rooting.


• Follow a schedule of fertilization and watering.

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• Foliage may be removed from spring bulbs if it has yellowed and is becoming dry.


• If scale insects continue on shrubs, use materials other than oils. • Set houseplants on porch or outdoors in shade and pay close attention to the need for water. • If desired, air layer houseplants.

Vegetable Seed

• Plant beans, fieldpeas, pumpkins, squash, corn, cantaloupes, and watermelons.

Vegetable Plants

• Plant tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, and sweet potato vine cuttings.

• Watch for aphids and thrips on summer bulbs. MAY 2020  39

4/14/20 1:21 PM

| Our Sources Say |

Just asking for a friend A

friend told me Joe Biden said on Face the Nation the Russians interfered in the 2016 presidential election and continue to try to interfere in U.S. politics to influence the 2020 presidential election. The Washington Post and other media outlets report U.S. officials have told Senator Bernie Sanders that Russia is attempting to help his presidential campaign as part of an effort to interfere with the 2020 democratic nomination. My friend asked me, “If the Russians could influence a presidential election, could they also influence public opinion on global warming?” The Mueller Report found Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election was illegal and occurred in a sweeping and systematic fashion. It also states Russian interference deserves the attention of every American. The Report determined Russia employed tactics during the 2016 election that it has used closer to home to cause disruption among its democratic neighbors in the Balkans and to expand its influence. Before Russia annexed Crimea from Ukraine in 2014, for example, it launched a cyber campaign in eastern Europe, flooding news websites in Ukraine with tens of thousands of comments during unrest there, according to a report by the non-profit Rand Corporation. Additionally, the Report found Russians bought at least $100,000 of Facebook ads before the 2016 presidential election and bombarded Twitter accounts that boosted Trump and disparaged Hillary Clinton. The Russians unleashed another weapon in their unconventional arsenal: cyber espionage, stealing emails and disseminating them to embarrass Democrats. The Report cited an anti-Clinton ad from March 2016 with a caption that read in part, “If one day God lets this liar enter the White House as a president – that day would be a real national tragedy.” The Russian campaign began in 2014, according to the Report, when the Internet Research Agency (IRA) mimicked Americans on social media. “Using fictitious U.S. personas, IRA employees operated social media accounts and group pages designed to attract U.S. audiences,” the report says. “By early-to-mid 2016, IRA operations included supporting the Trump campaign and criticizing Hillary Clinton.” The operations seized on social divisions and showed a clear bias toward Trump, said Young Mie Kim, a professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, whose research analyzed 3,500 Facebook ads bought by Russia and released last year by the House Intelligence Committee. “If the goal was to simply sow the division, then you should see voter suppression targeting likely

Trump voters,” Kim said in an email. “We found ZERO voter suppression targeting likely Trump voters.” The Wall Street Journal recently reported on China’s reaction to Walter Russell Mead’s article, “China is the Real Sick Man of Asia,” about the Chinese government’s management of the coronavirus epidemic. The Journal reports the Chinese government initiated a public campaign against the article. Its mailbox was flooded with complaints about the article, all containing similar language demanding an apology. A campaign was orchestrated to get Mr. Mead banned from Twitter. The Journal states, “If you think this was spontaneous outrage, you don’t understand how China’s government works to influence public opinion home and abroad. Beijing knows how to exploit America’s identity politics to charge racism in the article in service of its censorship.” Democrats and Republicans, liberals and conservatives all are of the opinion that foreign governments or agents are actively involved in influencing or disrupting U.S. opinion on certain issues that could be advantageous to their interests. Democrats are convinced Russians contrived to influence the 2016 election. It is apparent Chinese are active in influencing reporting to build opposition about government management of the coronavirus and other issues. My friend raises an interesting issue. If the Russians could throw a presidential election, could they or China, or both, be active in influencing the U.S. debate on climate change? The cost of all U.S.-produced goods and services would be increased if the U.S. adopts even moderate action to mitigate climate change. If the cost of U.S. goods is increased, Chinese goods and even Russian goods become much more competitive and could result in China replacing the U.S. as the global economic power. China has made no commitment to cut its carbon emissions. Can we trust the Chinese or the Russians to accurately report carbon emissions? There is an energy cost component in every product or service. If our cost of production, while today threatened by Chinese goods, could be displaced as the world leader with an increased cost of energy, could the Chinese or Russians be using fictitious U.S. personas, American-appearing social media accounts and group page audiences to influence U.S. opinion on climate change? Could foreign interests be exploiting American free speech to become the leading world economic power? Not that I believe that the Chinese or the Russians could be that smart or strategic. Just asking - for a friend. I hope you have a good month.

Gary Smith is President and CEO of PowerSouth Energy Cooperative.

40  MAY 2020

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MAY 2020  41

4/13/20 11:46 AM

| Hardy Jackson's Alabama |

Laughing through tough times


ow, I am not gonna make light of the coronavirus pandemic. It is bad, disruptive, and for many, tragic. However, I think it is worth noting that despite the seriousness of what is taking place, we continue to find ways to laugh in the face of the virus and make the best of a bad situation. For example, some folks discover things that under normal circumstances slipped under their radar. Just the other day the story reached me that a man who was confined to his home with no sports on TV, found that there was a woman living with him. Not Harvey H. (Hardy) Jackson is Professor Emeritus of History at Jacksonville State University and a columnist for Alabama Living. He can be reached at

42  MAY 2020

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only that, she cooked, cleaned, and took care of the children. “She is really nice,” he told his friends. “Who knew?” Meanwhile, a group called the Pentecostal Pew posted that “the Rapture has taken place and we all missed it. TP shelves are empty because ‘the Roll’s Been Called Up Yonder’.” The site also noted that though many churches were holding services on-line, some members still won’t be on time because “the traffic was bad.” I’ll bet the late Jerry Clower, Baptist layman and country comedian, is right now up in Glory collecting stories for the next time he entertains the Saints assembled. To the delight of the Labrador retrievers that live with us, the World Health Organization has announced that dogs cannot get or spread the virus. Therefore, it recommended that all the dogs held in

quarantine should be released. Or as the headline should have read, “WHO let the dogs out.” (Sorry, I just couldn’t help it.) Naturally the internet is full of all sorts of ways to keep Corona at bay, none approved by the FDA – credit cards accepted. As for those of you who are concerned about the kids banished from their schools, stuck at home watching TV. Don’t worry. As one teacher advised parents, put the TV on “mute,” turn on the subtitles and guess what? They’ll be reading. Meanwhile, from those parents who have themselves become teachers, I understand that as a result of the rise of at-home-instruction, prayer and spankings are back in school. All is not lost.

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