Celebrate Earth Week with Cullman EC, April 21-25 APRIL 2014 • POWERING YOUR COMMUNITY
Cullman Electric COOPERATIVE
Co-op Report Card
Members give Cullman EC’s service high marks on national survey
Playoff report Cullman County teams shine in state, regional tournaments
Spring cleaning Simple steps to make your
home more energy efficient
VOL. 67 NO. 4 APRIL 2014
Grady Smith CO-OP EDITOR
Brian Lacy 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. AREA cooperative member subscriptions are $3 a year; non-member subscriptions, $6. 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 Melissa Henninger CREATIVE DIRECTOR Mark Stephenson ART DIRECTOR Michael Cornelison ADVERTISING DIRECTOR Jacob Johnson ADVERTISING COORDINATOR Brooke Davis RECIPE EDITOR Mary Tyler Spivey ADVERTISING & EDITORIAL OFFICES:
340 TechnaCenter Drive Montgomery, Alabama 36117-6031 1-800-410-2737 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org www.areapower.coop
6 Member satisfaction Cullman Electric Cooperative conducts a survey of its members every other year to measure member satisfaction. The results help the co-op board and employees measure how well members are being served, and make plans to improve. See how the coop fares in the most recent survey.
26 A brunch to write home about
ON THE COVER Seth Swalve (3) and the Cullman High School boys were one of nine local teams to reach the state’s regional tournaments. See how they fared on page 8.
The talent and innovation of Chef Rob McDaniel make dining at SpringHouse on Lake Martin definitely worth the drive.
PHOTO BY BRIAN LACY
34 A great time to be a turkey hunter
Forty years ago, seeing a turkey track was cause for celebration, but thanks to conservation efforts, today’s Alabama turkey hunters are blessed with an abundance of birds to hunt.
When you see this symbol, it means there’s more content online at www.alabamaliving.coop! Videos, expanded stories and more!
NATIONAL ADVERTISING REPRESENTATIVE:
National Country Market 611 South Congress Ave., Suite 504 Austin, Texas 78704 1-800-626-1181 www.nationalcountrymarket.com www.alabamaliving.coop
DEPARTMENTS USPS 029-920 • ISSN 1047-0311
9 26 30 35 40
Spotlight Worth the Drive Alabama Gardens Fish & Game Forecast Cook of the Month
Printed in America from American materials
APRIL 2014 3
Cullman Electric Cooperative
Board of Trustees
Why climate regulations matter to you
District 1 Grady Smith
President & CEO, Cullman Electric Cooperative
District 3 (Chairman)
James Fields, Jr.
J. David Hembree
4 APRIL 2014
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently released regulations to limit carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions at new power plants that will lead to more expensive electricity for members of electric cooperatives, including Cullman Electric. That’s why we’re asking everyone to send comments to the EPA through www.Action.coop. This easy-to-use online tool directly sends your thoughts to Washington so regulators understand the potential harm of these rules. We’re concerned because the EPA has chosen to write regulations that rely on technology for reducing CO2 emissions that has not been proven at commercial power plants. This “carbon capture and storage” method might look good on paper or in the lab, but unlike Washington, we’re not willing to take the risk with your electric bills. In case you’re wondering whether the EPA actually will read these comments, consider this: by law the EPA is required to ask the American public how a proposed rule would affect costs to consumers, the quality of life and the economic future of their communities. That’s why electric cooperatives are leading the charge with the 42 million members nationwide to raise our voices collectively so we’ll be heard loud and clear. Already, tens of thousands of folks from across the country have shared their concerns. The country has not
yet climbed out of the recession; many Americans are hurting financially. We need to tell the EPA that cost matters. Anyone can send a comment at www. Action.coop – even if they don’t live on co-op lines – so please encourage your family and friends, regardless where they live, to join us. No matter where our energy comes from, we all have a responsibility to keep electricity reliable and affordable. Like energy policy itself, the regulations proposed by the EPA are technical, but an increase in your electric bill is personal. That’s why we need you to speak up. We care about the price of electricity because we’re a cooperative and we look out for you, our members. We think about our members with every decision we make. And we’re concerned that the EPA is making a decision that will force an increase in what we have to pay for power. That’s why we all need to take a stand and urge our families and friends to join us. Please visit www.Action.coop. Just as important, get out and talk to people about what we’re doing and why we care about electricity prices. Your electric cooperatives in Alabama are powering the future, driving economic growth and fostering innovation. And we won’t stand for ill-considered regulations written without regard to your economic well-being. Please join us in this important fight today. A www.cullmanec.com
Cullman Electric Earth Day is April 22, and Cullman Electric Cooperative is helping members recycle and conserve the week of April 21-25. Look for details on our energy efficiency seminar, document shredding, electronics recycling and sustainable landscaping seminar.
Prepare for summer heat, increase energy savings Adding a few items to your list of spring chores can help make your home more energy efficient and deliver electric bills that won’t make you sweat when temperatures soar. Air conditioner Spring and early summer are good times to make sure that your air conditioning unit is ready to work when you flip the switch: • Get help from a professional who can inspect and service your unit. • Give your air conditioner a do-it-yourself cleaning. Shut the unit off, and clear away leaves and yard debris outside.
Inside the unit, clean or replace filters that can restrict air flow and reduce overall efficiency by making the air conditioner work harder on hot summer days. • Check weather stripping. When using window units, ensure that weather stripping is in place. Check out your roof Few things can shorten the life of your home faster than a roof leak. Even a minor one can damage your attic insulation before you know it. A roofing professional
can assess and repair things like loose or missing shingles, repair leaks, and clear gutters. Make your electric co-op a resource The energy advisors at Cullman Electric Cooperative can help you determine the right steps for your home, including whether an energy audit will help find more savings. You can also visit TogetherWeSave.com to find out how little measures around the house can add up to big energy savings as temperatures outside climb.
Cullman EC’s Dennis Reid, right, reviews electricity usage statistics with a co-op member.
Contact Information Office locations Cullman - headquarters 1749 Eva Road NE Cullman, AL 35055 Addison - branch office 31132 US Hwy 278 West Addison, AL 35540 Phone 256-737-3200 or (800) 242-1806 Website www.cullmanec.com Find Cullman Electric Cooperative on Twitter (twitter.com/cullmanec) and on Facebook
Payment Options Draft Pay your bill by automatic draft from your checking account or credit card. Online Payments may be made 24 hours a day by check, credit card or debit card on our website at www.cullmanec.com Kiosks Payments may be made 24 hours a day at Cullman EC’s offices on Eva Road and in Addison. The kiosk located at Hopper’s Family Market in Fairview is available during regular business hours By Mail Cullman Electric Cooperative Dept 3155 PO Box 2153 Birmingham, AL 35287-3155 Night Deposit Available at both office locations
APRIL 2014 5
MEMBER Satisfaction 2013
In 2013, Cullman Electric Cooperative surveyed its members to measure their satisfaction with the co-op’s service. The answers provide the board, management and employees valuable information about how well the co-op runs, areas it can improve member service, and how it compares to other utilities and businesses across the country.
Overall Member Satisfaction 10=very satisfied, 1=not at all 10. . . . . . . 45% 5. . . . . . . . 1% 9. . . . . . . . 27% 4. . . . . . . . <1% 8. . . . . . . . 19% 3. . . . . . . . 0% 7. . . . . . . . 6% 2. . . . . . . . 0% 6. . . . . . . . 2% 1. . . . . . . . <1%
Percentage of “somewhat or very satisfied” members since 2003 100%
80% 70% 60% 50%
6 APRIL 2014
10=exceeds, 1=falls short 10. . . . . . . 9. . . . . . . . 8. . . . . . . . 7. . . . . . . . 6. . . . . . . .
41% 24% 23% 6% 3%
5. . . . . . . . 2% 4. . . . . . . . <1% 3. . . . . . . . <1% 2. . . . . . . . 0% 1. . . . . . . . 0%
% say Cullman EC greatly exceeds expectations
Would you choose Cullman EC again today? 10=very likely, 1=not at all likely 10. . . . . . . 9. . . . . . . . 8. . . . . . . . 7. . . . . . . . 6. . . . . . . .
% are somewhat or very satisfied with Cullman EC
Member Satisfaction Trends
How well does Cullman EC meet your expectations?
59% 19% 14% 2% 2%
5. . . . . . . . 3% 4. . . . . . . . <1% 3. . . . . . . . 0% 2. . . . . . . . 0% 1. . . . . . . . 0%
% are very likely to choose Cullman EC again today
Is Cullman EC the ideal utility company?
10=very close to ideal, 1=not close to ideal 10. . . . . . . 9. . . . . . . . 8. . . . . . . . 7. . . . . . . . 6. . . . . . . .
42% 23% 23% 7% 3%
5. . . . . . . . 2% 4. . . . . . . . <1% 3. . . . . . . . <1% 2. . . . . . . . 0% 1. . . . . . . . 0%
% say Cullman EC is the ideal utility company www.cullmanec.com
American Customer Satisfaction Index What is it & why does it matter?
The American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) is the only national cross-industry benchmark of customer satisfaction in the United States. This strategic economic indicator is based on customer evaluations of the quality of goods and services purchased in the United States and produced by domestic and foreign firms with substantial U.S. market shares. This consistent, reliable, and precise approach means ACSI results are comparable across all sectors, industries and companies. No other measure in the United States offers both competitive and cross-industry customer experience benchmarking. (Source: www.theacsi.org) Cullman Electric Co-op received high scores for professionalism (96%) , friendly and knowledgeable employees (93%) and member service (93%).
Cullman EC’s 2013 ACSI satisfaction score is its highest ever, and exceeds the national average for electric co-ops.
Trends in ACSI Response x =2007 x =2009 x =2011 x =2013 100% 90%
70% 60% 50% Overall satisfaction
Older co-op members (age 45 to 65+) had slightly higher overall satisfaction with Cullman Electric Co-op than younger members (92% vs. 88%)
CEC exceeds expectations
CEC is ideal utility company
Would choose CEC again
Overall satisfaction increased over time, from 85% for newer members (5 years or less) to more than 90% for all members with service more than 6 years.
Comparing ACSI Scores
88 87 84 83 81 80 79 80
Did you know? Cullman EC’s ACSI score of 88 exceeds the national average for: • Electric co-ops
• Southern Company 77 (includes Alabama Power)
• Municipal utilities
• Cell phone industry 72 • Cable/satellite TV
This survey was developed and conducted by Inside Information, Inc.®, Smithville, Missouri, as a customer research project commissioned and coordinated by Cullman Electric Cooperative. The results of this survey have a margin of error of plus or minus (+/-) approximately 5.6% at a 95% degree of probability.
APRIL 2014 7
Harmony Pre-K and Head Start
The Holly Pond girls basketball team won the 2014 Northeast Regional Class 3A championship on Feb. 22, at Jacksonville State University. For the second year in a row, the Lady Broncos advanced to the Final 48 in Birmingham, where they again played in the state championship game and finished as the state runnerup. Congratulations, ladies, on another fantastic season. Pictured in the front row, from left, are Violet Adams, Sarah Finley, Abby Gambrill, Kristen Sparks, Taylor Tankersley, Ruth Horton, Adair Gillilan and Molly Gambrill. Back row, from left, are head coach Scott Adams, Kaitlin Stephens, Rachel Finley, Megan Gamrbill, Natasha Holcombe, Melissa Clingman, Taylor Rowell, Cydney Rowell and Dale Gambrill.
Cullman Electric Cooperative was proud to support area schools, coaches and student athletes by sponsoring the Northwest Regional Tournament at Wallace State College. Congratulations to all our local teams that qualified for this year’s regional tournaments: Cold Springs boys Cold Springs girls Cullman boys Cullman girls
8 APRIL 2014
Good Hope girls Hanceville boys Holly Pond boys* Holly Pond girls*
Vinemont boys * - Northeast Regional at Jacksonville State University
Harmony Pre-K and Head Start is now accepting applications for the 2014-15 school year. For more information, or to set up an appointment, please call 256-7478502 or 256-747-8503.
Alumni and Service Awards luncheon
The Cullman City Schools Foundation will host its 6th Annual Distinguished Alumni and Service Awards luncheon on Friday, April 4, 2014, at St. John’s Church in Cullman. Doors open at 11 a.m. and the program begins at 11:30 a.m. The 2014 Distinguished Service Award will be presented to Billy Coleman, and the Promising Alumni Award will be given to Robbie Laney (’02). The Cullman City Schools Teachers of the Year who will be recognized are Jennifer Calahan, Renata Puckett, Joseph McPhillips, Branch Whitlock and Anita Moore. Distinguished Alumni Awards will be given to Col. Eric E. Thomas, USA, Retired (’64), Dr. Mitzi Danker Groom (’68), Michael Waters (’68), Dr. Jeanne Reeves (’82), Larry Taunton (’85) and Jamie Luker Troutman (’96). Tickets are $25 each and include lunch catered by Freddie Day. To order tickets, call 256590-3159. www.cullmanec.com
APRIL 5 & 6
Thomas and Friends return to Calera Thomas and Friends will be visiting the Heart of Dixie Railroad Museum in Calera April 5 and 6 with trainloads of fun. Enjoy a train ride with Thomas, meet Sir Topham Hatt, and have fun in the Imagination Station, Putt-Putt Golf, Bubble Station, Maze, storytelling and more. For information and tickets, visit www.HODRRM.org or call 866-468-7630.
In April ‘Mockingbird’ play expected to sell out once again The 24th annual production of “To Kill a Mockingbird” at the old Courthouse Museum in Monroeville opens April 17 and runs through May 17. The two-act play, based on Harper Lee’s Pulitzer Prizewinning novel, will be performed by the Mockingbird Players on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays at 7 p.m., and Sundays at 6 p.m. Before the opening performance April 17, there will be an unveiling of a specially commissioned sculpture of the three children’s characters, Scout, Jem and Dill, by internationally known sculptor Branko Medenica of Birmingham. The sculpture was commissioned by the Monroeville Chamber of Commerce.
Frank “Doc” Adams signs copies of his book, Doc: The Story of a Birmingham Jazz Man, during the 2013 festival at the author signing table at the Alabama Book Festival. At left is Burgin Mathews, co-author.
Alabama Book Festival will feature more than 50 authors The ninth annual Alabama Book Festival will be in historic downtown Montgomery at Old Alabama Town on Saturday, April 19, with approximately 50 authors and more than 40 vendors and exhibitors. This free public event is the state’s premier book festival, with some 5,000 people from around the state and the southeast converging in the capital to meet with and hear from their favorite authors and scholars. A children’s activity area is sure to make this a day of fun for the entire family. The 2014 Festival will continue the tradition of promoting reading and literacy to Alabamians of all ages and backgrounds while helping to continue celebrating the Year of Alabama Parks. Authors scheduled to appear include Cassandra King, Sena Jeter Naslund, William Cobb, Robert Inman and Clifton Taulbert. Find more information at alabamabookfestival.org. Alabama Living
Thirty thousand people from throughout the world visit the historic courthouse in Monroeville each year in search of the roots of “To Kill a Mockingbird.” The Mockingbird Players, an amateur theater group, have performed the play to sold‐out crowds each May since 1991. The production’s popularity has grown largely because it offers the audience the unique experience of an authentic hometown cast performing in the very courtroom where Harper Lee’s father practiced law. The Monroe County Museum, whose offices are housed in the Old Courthouse Museum, offers four special performances geared toward those studying “To Kill a Mockingbird.” Following the performance, students are able to meet the cast, discuss the book and play in more detail, and visit several points of interest off the Courthouse Square to get a feel for Harper Lee’s fictional “Maycomb.” These already sold-out Young Audience performances will be held during the school day in April. Tickets are available by calling 251-575‐7433. Reservations will be taken by phone or walk in only. There is no reserve seating. Production takes place during rain or shine. Subject matter is recommended for ages 12 and up. Each attendee must have a ticket. Ticket price is $50 each. CORRECTION: A typographical error in the article, “Teaching children history through travel,” in our March issue incorrectly stated the year Jefferson Davis was inaugurated as president of the Confederacy. The correct year is 1861.
APRIL 2014 9
Fraud and Social Security
pril is Stress Awareness Month, but one thing that should never cause you stress is doing business with Social Security. However, if you fall victim to fraud, it can really stress you out, not to mention damage your credit score and wallet. We encourage you to be cautious of suspicious email, letters, and phone calls or any time someone asks for your personal information. Generally, Social Security will not call or email you and ask for your personal information, such as your Social Security number or banking information. If someone contacts you and asks for this kind of information and claims to be from Social Security, do not give out your personal information without first contacting us to verify the validity of the request. It could
Kylle’ McKinney, Alabama Social Security Public Affairs Specialist, can be reached in Montgomery at 866-593-0914, ext. 26265, or at kylle. email@example.com.
be an identity thief phishing for your personal information. Contact us at our toll-free number, 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778). Report suspicious calls to our Fraud Hotline at 1-800-269-0271 from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Eastern Time, or online at http://oig.ssa.gov using the “Fraud, Waste, and Abuse” link. When making a report, please include as many of the following details as possible: u The alleged suspect(s) and victim(s) names, addresses, phone numbers, dates of birth, and Social Security numbers; u Description of the fraud and the location where the fraud took place; u When and how the fraud was committed; u Why the person committed the fraud (if known); and u Who else has knowledge of the potential violation. Identity theft is one of the fastest-growing crimes in America. If you or anyone you know has been the victim of identity theft, you should contact the Federal Trade Commission at www.idtheft.gov, or call 1-877-IDTHEFT (1-877-438-4338); TTY 1-866-653-4261. Misleading advertisers may victim-
ize people who receive Social Security and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits. Such companies offer Social Security services for a fee, even though the same services are available directly from us for free. Especially upsetting are ads that make it appear as though they came directly from us. By law, such advertisements must indicate that the company is not affiliated with Social Security. If you see what you believe to be misleading advertising for Social Security services from a company that fails to say it is not affiliated with Social Security, report it to us at: Office of the Inspector General, Fraud Hotline, Social Security Administration, P.O. Box 17768, Baltimore, MD 21235. This goes for advertisements in print, online, or on television or radio. Also, advise your state’s attorney general or consumer affairs office and the Better Business Bureau. You can visit the Office of the Inspector General online at http://oig.ssa.gov and select the “Fraud, Waste or Abuse” link. Learn more about identity theft and misleading advertising by reading our publications on the subjects at www. socialsecurity.gov/pubs. You may have enough stress already. Don’t get stressed over fraud. A
Rock Bridge Canyon Equestrian Park welcomes horse riders, hikers Equestrians, rejoice. Rock Bridge Canyon Equestrian Park in Hodges has opened to the public, and features some 27 miles of trails winding through acres of woodlands, canyons and waterfalls. The Franklin County park is the result of a 2011 economic development study that concluded that an equestrian park would be a good addition to the area, highlighting its natural beauty and resources. It’s also proving to be a boon for tourism. “We have had a very positive impact in tourism for Franklin County. We have campers from as far away as Indiana, Missouri, Florida and New Mexico,” says Tina Lawler, the park’s activities director. Trails of varying skill levels are located throughout the park, and each rider 10 APRIL 2014
is provided with a color-coded trail map that coordinates with the signs, flags and markers used to designate each trails. Hiking trails are also available for all age groups and skill levels that twist and turn through the Rock Bridge Canyon with picturesque sights and rock formations. Visitors can swim in pools at the bottom of the many waterfalls or eat lunch underneath the shelter of the Rock Bridge. The park offers 34 campsites ranging from full hook up to primitive as well a camp store that offers toiletries, arts and crafts created by local artisans, Rock Bridge Canyon merchandise and a small
selection of tack. The park offers a full bathhouse, a pavilion, restrooms and a day use area. RBC also features a professional-sized outdoor arena with scheduled events throughout the year, including the 3rd Annual Rock Bridge Canyon Pro Rodeo on June 20 and 21. Grants from the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs, the Resource, Conservation and Development Council, Rep. Johnny Mack Morrow, and Sen. Roger Bedford helped make the project a reality. Local farmers and landowners donated land to build the trails. For more information, visit www. rockbridgecanyon.com or call 205-9353499. www.alabamaliving.coop
Looking forward to Easter… and what comes after
rowing up in mid-century South Alabama, Easter was anticipated almost as much as Christmas. Like Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny added an element of mystery to the day. Of course we knew that rabbits don’t bring colored eggs, even to good little girls and boys, any more than fat, bearded, pipe smoking old men slide down chimneys, but we also knew that to say this out loud might give parents an excuse to chunk the whole thing, and we would be left without chocolate bunnies and those colorful marshmallow, sugar-encrusted chicks that rot your teeth. So we went along with it. My school got into the act as well. Now I understand and appreciate the care schools must take today to avoid appearing to push a particular brand of religion to impressionable young minds. However, I seriously doubt if any souls were saved the year that my elementary school sponsored a schoolwide Easter egg hunt with real eggs. Some organization – maybe the Lion’s Club, maybe a church – supplied the eggs. Dozens of them. Hard-boiled. Teachers let the children color them and then high school students took them out to the football field and hid them. From this I learned two things.
First, not all my classmates were as affluent as solid-middle-class-me and my town-boy buddies. My friends and I hunted eggs for sport. But some of our classmates, kids from hardscrabble farms at the far end of the school bus route, hunted eggs for the table. At the end of the day they took their prizes home for supper. The other thing I learned was that eggs not found and left out in the spring sun quickly turned bad. Some of the high school kids took hiding seriously and many eggs were never found until days later when the sour smell of sulfur led teachers to them. That was the last school-wide realegg Easter egg hunt. Today churches have pretty well taken over Easter, which, now that I think of it, is the way it should be. Some churches have even co-opted the Easter Bunny with church-sponsored egg hunts (with plastic eggs, of course), preceded by the obligatory reference to eggs and resurrection and the real meaning of Easter. For we kids, Easter also had a special meaning because we used it as reminder to our Mothers that:
Harvey H. (“Hardy”) Jackson is retired professor emeritus of history at Jacksonville State University whose most recent book is The Rise and Decline of the Redneck Riviera, featured in the January 2013 Alabama Living. His work appears in the Anniston Star and Northeast Alabama Living. He can be reached at hjackson@ cableone.net.
Although spring may have already warmed the air and stirred in us the youthful desire to cast off our winter garments, Mothers held us off with “wait until after Easter.” So it followed that when the appointed day arrived, we held them to their word. Even if Easter came early and the ground was still chilled, we did what we had been promised we could do. Thus out into the world we went on an unshod sugar high, knowing summer could not be far behind. A
Lo the winter has passed The rains are over and gone The flowers appear on the earth And it’s time to take off our shoes.
APRIL 2014 11
Hummingbird in flight.
Star trails shimmer over Bald Rock at Mt. Cheaha.
Osprey nest makes a dramatic silhouette.
PHOTO BY JOHN DENNEY
PHOTO BY JOHN DENNEY
PHOTO BY JIM DENNEY
Double Exposure Double Exposure Twin artists capture Alabamaâ€™s wildlife
By Nick Thomas
12 APRIL 2014
The wildlife oasis area of Lake Martin is the setting for much of the Denney brothers’ art and photography.
s children, John and Jim Denney were captivated by a cousin’s artwork of medieval knights. During youthful summer vacations, the brothers soon began creating their own drawings and paintings of comic book heroes and dinosaurs. As the boys matured, so did their art and the pair blossomed into first-rate artists who now specialize in wildlife paintings, photography, and commercial graphic art. But even more remarkable, the brothers are identical twins with near identical careers. John and Jim were born, raised, and still live (five miles apart) in Alexander City, near Lake Martin – a wildlife oasis in south-central Alabama, just north of Montgomery. It remains the setting for much of their art and photography. “ Yo u n e v e r seem to run out of subjects to photograph,” says John. Winter sunset on Lake Martin. “There’s anything from wildlife in the winter and fall, to fireworks on the 4th of July, and concerts at the amphitheater.” “Many consider Lake Martin one of the most beautiful lakes in the South,” adds Jim. “One end has great tributaries flowing in for moving water photos, while the other has rocky cliffs and vast open bodies of water for stunning sunsets. The water clarity makes it an excellent area for photographs.” After studying art and graduating from the University of Montevallo, the brothers worked as graphic artists for the Russell Corporation. While it paid the bills, the pair became progressively more involved in painting, which led to an interest in photography. “After I became a graphic designer, it made sense to take my own photographs rather than buy stock photos,” says John. “It also helped us as painters,” adds Jim. “Finding good reference material to paint from – photos that show animals in detail – was difficult. This is important when submitting work to contests because they are judged on accuracy and detail.”
The Denneys have entered and won many art competitions, including the highly competitive Alabama Waterfowl Art Contest. The winning design is used each year for the state waterfowl hunting license stamp. Between them, the brothers have won four of the last seven contests. “We’re extremely competitive,” says John. “When Jim won (for the 2008-09 hunting season), I was determined to win the following year, which I did. Being so competitive has driven each of us to do better.” The Denneys sell their work around the country through their websites, but many clients live in the Lake Martin area. “People from all over the region have homes at the lake and want paintings and photos that relate to the area,” says Jim, who is occasionally contacted by locals when they stumble upon interesting fauna. “I remember a call from a man who found a fox PHOTO BY JIM DENNEY den, so I went up and constructed a blind,” recalls John. “Finding dens is not easy, so this was a great opportunity to photograph these beautiful animals. Over a period of days I photographed them, but some days I’d sit there for six hours and never see one.” Great photo opportunities are elusive. “One time I was out photographing wood ducks and saw a mink coming out of a creek,” says Jim. “Right in front of me it attacked a snake. The battle only lasted a few seconds, but I had the wrong lens on my camera for a close-up. It would have made a great shot.” Birds, however, remain the brothers’ favorite subjects. The Lake Martin area is especially rich in waterfowl and raptors, including bald eagles. The majestic birds – symbols of the nation – were nearly wiped out in the 1960s due to the widespread use of agricultural pesticides (DDT), but made a dramatic comeback through aggressive conservation efforts. “Bald eagles are now found throughout the state, but I photograph mostly at Lake Martin,” says John. “I first started seeing
“Being so competitive has driven each of us to do better.”
APRIL 2014 13
‘You never seem to run out of subjects to photograph.’ them on the lake around 2002 and they were a very rare sight. These days I see them on a fairly regular basis.” For amateurs hoping to photograph bald eagles, John says fall is the best viewing time, since they may venture further from their nests in search of food during the breeding season. He recommends early morning or late afternoon surveillance, when they are more active, and using a minimum 300 mm good quality lens and a heavy tripod. “You also need patience to be a wildlife photographer,” says Jim. “It helps to be a good woodsman and to learn the animals’ habits. For example, ducks will often come to the same area at the same time of the day. Studying animal behavior and their patterns can save a lot of time. And get the best equipment you can afford.” Not surprisingly, perhaps, John and Jim even use the same camera model. “We both have a Nikon D300,” said Jim. “It just
made sense to get the same brand so we can swap lenses back and forth.” They also both have near-identical websites (www.johndenney. com and www.jimdenneyart.com). “I told John we can’t have them exactly the same, they’ve got to be slightly different,” says Jim. “So mine has a black background and his is white!” Despite the incredible similarities in their lives and careers, there is one area in which the brothers will never agree. “John is an Alabama fan, and I’m for Auburn,” says Jim. “Our mom went to Alabama and dad graduated from Auburn, so we think it’s only fair to split the loyalties!” A Auburn University at Montgomery professor and freelance writer Nick Thomas has written for more than 300 magazines and newspapers. Contact him at his blog: getnickt.blogspot.com.
Clockwise, from left, Jim Denney’s artistic talent is evident in his painting of an owl; a fox pup looks docile enough to pet (photo by John Denney); bald eagle in flight (photo by Jim Denney); Turkeyfoot Falls in the Sipsey Wilderness of Bankhead National Forest photo by Jim Denney); the Denney brothers aim their lenses at a feathered friend, Nova, a 13-year-old golden eagle (photo by Nick Thomas).
14 APRIL 2014
APRIL 2014 15
Hunting, fishing, golfing and chef-driven cuisine big draws at this family-owned and operated getaway By Jennifer Kornegay
he gentle rolling hills and quiet countryside on the borders of Sylacauga are no real surprise; our state is rife with similar rural scenery. But the luxury of Pursell Farms, the 3,500-acre resort sprawling across this landscape, comes as a revelation. There’s nothing opulent or over the top at this family owned and operated escape, but by making its guests feel almost instantly and continually at home and relaxed, it lives up to the definition of luxurious nonetheless. From the professional, yet friendly service and the world-class golf to the chef-driven cuisine and rustic elegance of the accommodations, a weekend (or longer) at Pursell Farms is a getaway in every sense of the word. Grass roots Pursell Farms began not as a resort, but as a marketing tool to sell Pursell Technologies Inc.’s controlled-release fertilizer process. It was a “If you show them, they will buy it,” kind of idea. “Most of our competitors were well entrenched, better known and outselling us by a large margin. Their marketing strategy was pretty institutional, just using outside salesmen and trade advertising to try to get their story out. Our strategy was totally relational,” CEO and co-founder David Pursell explains. Pursell Technologies flew their target market — golf course superintendents and ornamental nursery growers — in for a show and tell called “The Experience at FarmLinks.”
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The drive into Pursell Farms is picture-postcard worthy.
The mostly male groups spent three nights and two days learning about the somewhat complicated product and having fun, eating fabulous food, sleeping in beautiful rooms and playing golf on what’s been hailed one of the finest courses in the Southeast. Using the golf course as an outdoor classroom to demonstrate their product usually sealed the deal. “Each golf hole had our products used in a real-world working environment. Some holes had our products side by side versus our competitors,” Pursell says. “By the end of their visit, most of these prospects would make up their minds to give our products a try on their course, which was our main objective. The product’s performance would do the rest of t he selling.” I n 2006, Pursell
Technologies was sold, but the Pursell family couldn’t bear to part with the property. They still run the research and education arm of FarmLinks and teach course superintendents the latest in agronomics, course care and more. But today, they’re also in the process of recreating the experience at Pursell Farms, transforming it into a pastoral playground that caters to the leisure traveler. “Planned expansion in 2014 will add new amenities that will help us attract more guests, including females and couples, to come spend a few days here,” Pursell says. True Southern living While it is a work in progress, there is already a lot to love at Pursell Farms, most notably beautiful natural surroundings and, no matter the weather, warmth in the form of welcome. It begins with your drive in. A picture-postcard-perfect scene, a sea of grass dotted with plump, round hay bales and resting longhorn cattle, greets you when you turn off the county road. You’ve only driven two miles into the property when you arrive at check in, but
Cottage guests can gather around a cozy common area for conversation; owner David Pursell, inset, says the complex is a reflection of his family.
you’re 1,000 miles away from whatever stresses, worries or responsibilities were occupying your thoughts mere moments ago. Whether you’re staying in a cottage, a cabin, the lovely Hamilton Place (built in 1854 and listed on the National Register of Historical Places) or the handsome Parker Lodge, you won’t be disappointed. “Everything we’ve built to date has been very high quality and memorable. We didn’t cut many corners. Since we live out here and work here every day, everything is a reflection of our family,” Pursell says. “Our staff here is also an extension of the Pursell family. They care a lot about everyone’s experience here.” This commitment to service and quality is proven by Pursell Farms’ inclusion in the Southern Living Hotel Collection; the resort is a charter member. And if you happen to be a man, Pursell Farms is practically nirvana. In addition to the world-renowned golf course, activities at the resort include fishing in stocked, sparkling lakes; hunting turkey or quail;
or clay target shooting using a state-ofthe-art five stand. The cottages and cabins are set around a private putting green and are specifically designed for a golf foursome, with four bedrooms and four private baths in each clustered around a den with a large flatscreen TV and a full kitchen (cottages) or
Clay target shooting is a popular pastime.
kitchenette (cabins). The den in the cottages is complete with a massive stone fireplace. Each is named for famous names in golf like Jones, Hogan and Snead and includes personal Clubcar golf carts for use on the course and for driving around the property.
Fore! The main draw at Pursell Farms is undoubtedly its 7,444-yard championship golf course, FarmLinks. Once used primarily for research and demonstration purposes, it’s now the No. 1 public golf course in Alabama according to GolfWeek and is consistently ranked among Golf Digest’s top courses in the nation, two designations that speak volumes. “We are very proud of that,” Pursell says. The course is wide open, with scenic vistas that can prove distracting to even a seasoned player. The tee box on hole No. 5 sits high atop a hill overlooking one of the area’s marble quarries, and a historic marker explains how a member of General Andrew Jackson’s militia actually discovered the deep vein of milky white marble while on their way to the Battle of Horseshoe Bend. This rare stone was used in the Lincoln Memorial, the Washington Monument and many other significant structures and is still prized today. Markers at other holes tell bits and pieces of the Pursell family’s story and point to the golf
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Hole Number 9 at the FarmLinks Course; the course itself is 7,444 yards and is among the top courses in the nation.
course’s environmentally friendly design. Pursell bragged on the course’s par-3 holes. “Most say that we have the most incredible collection of par-3 holes of any golf course they have ever played,” he says. “They are all very picturesque and very fun to play. For instance, hole No. 5 plays over 200 yards from the tips, but due to the elevation drop, I’ve seen some people hit no more than a 9 iron.” He also praised his personal favorite, the par-5 No. 18. “It sits alone in a field of over 250 acres of land. Some entire 18-hole golf courses are built on less than that!” he says. “The hole is 615 yards long, and the fairway is comprised of Zorro Zoysia Grass. It plays a little uphill and is very hard to get to the green in two shots. The two giant oak trees have to be considered when one hits their tee shot.” Many players call it a “magnificent finish to a challenging but fun round of golf.”
bites of spicy Conecuh sausage resting in rich cheese grits and finished with a few drop of hot sauce made from peppers picked straight out of resort’s garden. “Others seem to like it too,” she says. “I’ve had folks from Louisiana tell me they are the best shrimp and grits they’ve ever had.” Griffith considers this praise a huge compliment, especially since she didn’t know what a grit was until a few years ago. “I was born in Philadelphia, but I married a Southern boy and learned real quick,” she says. She gets her grits from McEwin Grits in Wilsonville (about 20 minutes away) and cooks them low and slow for about four and a half hours. To enjoy her creations, you can grab a table at The Grille, which boasts an appetite-enhancing view of the 18th green, or guests of the cottages, Parker Lodge or the Hamilton House can arrange to have a gourmet meal cooked to order in their kitchen. Cabin guests have access to full-service catering from The Grille.
A feast for the senses As a full-service resort, Pursell Farms has Coming soon Pursell Farms has long been a haven for put as much thought into feeding its guests as it has everything else and recently brought in men, but the plan to increase its appeal to classically trained Chef Andrea Griffith to head women and families while polishing its current up its dining options. She was awarded the dis- offerings is in its finishing stages, according to tinction of Certified Chef de Cuisine, the third Pursell. More guest rooms, a full-service spa, a level of achievement at the American Culinary new dining experience, a pool, tennis facilities Federation, among other honors, and has put and more meeting space are just a few of the her passion for food to good use at the resort. additions on the horizon. “Our goal is to attract The result is an ever-changing menu focused a much wider demographic of resort guests, on hearty, Southern foods prepared with the beyond golfers,” he says. “But the golf here is freshest, best ingredients she can find. “I believe some of the best in the state.” As the word spreads about the resort, Purin trying to use as much as I can from as close as possible and work all that into an approach sell offered his thoughts on what makes the to classic tradition and tastes,” she says. Using place special. “Most people that come here tell local, in-season products and produce from the us that there is just a different feeling one gets onsite garden and other area farmers, Griffith when they stay here versus when they go to most other resort hotels. We lets the flavors of the ingrediExecutive Chef Andrea Griffith just try to exceed everyone’s ents speak for themselves. focuses on hearty, Southern The DogLeg sandwich is a foods made with fresh expectations,” he says. “I think tasty example of her approach ingredients. when we are done here with to regional classics: Grilled the next phase of expansion, Conecuh sausage is smoththis place is really going to ered in creamy, sharp pimento become the go-to place in the cheese on a crusty roll and Southeast for a quality resort served with a side of houseexperience.” A made potato chips and tangy Learn more about Pursell homemade ketchup. The chef ’s Farms and plan your visit at choice is the shrimp and grits, a www.farmlinks.org. bounty of big Gulf shrimp and 18 APRIL 2014
MORE ALABAMA GETAWAYS You don’t have to travel far to find a great getaway. Our state is full of escapes to the country as well as a golf trail that continues to earn national acclaim. Check out these other options for relaxing amid a rural landscape and for playing some world-class golf. Five Star Plantation Kellyton, Ala. This historic retreat sits on 5,000 acres dotted with stands of mature trees and five stocked lakes. It first opened as a hunting preserve in 1919, and many of its structures, including the charming lodge, date back to the early 1900s. Enjoy dining, fishing, horseback riding and sporting clays in classic Southern comfort. www.fivestarplantation.com Steelwood Country Club Loxley, Ala. In South Alabama this 1,400acre lakefront club is open to guests and offers an 18-hole championship golf course, fishing and hunting, as well as delicious dining in the lovely clubhouse. www.steelwood.us Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail The Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail boasts 11 sites around the state with a total of 468 holes of amazing golf on courses that consistently garner spots on Golf Digest’s “best golf” lists as well as the praise of players who visit from around the country and the world. The resorts accompanying several of these courses are also hailed for their service, food and their award-winning spas. The Marriott Grand Hotel in Point Clear, sitting on the shores of Mobile Bay, is just one of the gems in this collection. www.rtjgolf.com
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Tornado Season: Prepping can make all the difference
ornado season is here, and Alabamians have the chance right now to take some simple steps that can save lives if our state is threatened by a storm this year. “By preparing together for tornadoes, we can make our families safer and our communities stronger,” says Mark Beddingfield, chief executive of the Alabama Red Cross. “We urge you and your family to create a tornado preparedness plan now, before our community is threatened by severe weather.” As with any disaster, preparation can be the difference between life and death. The Red Cross recommends that individuals and families prepare for tornadoes by: Creating and practicing a Home Tornado Plan: Pick a “safe room” or uncluttered area without windows where family members and pets could seek shelter on the lowest floor possible: a basement, a center hallway, a bathroom or a closet. Putting as many walls between you and the outside provides additional protection. Assembling a Emergency Preparedness K it: Kits should contain a first aid kit and essential medications, foods that don’t require cooking or refrigeration and manual can opener, bottled water, flashlights and a battery-powered radio with extra batteries and other emergency items for the whole family. Heeding Storm Warnings: Listen to your local radio and TV stations for updated storm information. A tornado WATCH means a tornado is possible in your area. When a tornado WARNING is issued, go to the safe room you picked to protect yourself from glass and other flying objects. If you are outside, hurry to the basement of a nearby sturdy building. If you are in a car or mobile
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home, get out immediately and head to the nearest building for safety. If you are outside and there are no buildings, lie flat in a low lying area or ditch and cover your head with your arms and hands.
Preparing for High Winds: Make trees more wind resistant by removing diseased and damaged limbs, and then strategically removing branches so that wind can blow through. Install permanent shutters on your windows and add protection to the outside areas of sliding glass doors. Strengthen garage doors and unreinforced masonry. Move or secure lawn furniture, outdoor decorations or ornaments, trash cans, hanging plants and anything else that can be picked up by wind and become a projectile. Downloading the Free Red Cross Tornado App for Mobile Devices: You can help get your family and home ready for severe weather with the official Tornado App from the American Red Cross. The FREE Tornado app puts everything you need to know to prepare for a tornado – and all that comes with it – in the palm of your hand. Download it directly from the iTunes or Google Play app stores. More safety information and checklists can be found at www. redcross.org/prepare. For more information about your local American Red Cross visit www. redcross.org/alabama. The Red Cross responds to nearly 70,000 disasters a year in this country, providing shelter, food, emotional support and other necessities to those affected. It provides 24-hour support to members of the military, veterans and their families – in war zones, military hospitals and on military installations around the world; collects and distributes more than 40 percent of the nation’s blood supply and trains more than 9 million people in first aid, water safety and other life-saving skills every year. The Red Cross is not a government agency and relies on donations of time, money and blood to do its work. An average of 91 cents of every dollar given to the Red Cross is invested in helping the people the Red Cross services. A
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Alabama’s historic Mesker buildings
exceptional examples of late 19th century architecture By Jim Winnerman
or 20 years the 1880-era Bliss Block building and the Perry preservationists, historians and architects, Neese had fulfilled Jones’ Cotton Exchange building sat vacant and deteriorating on a wish and had returned the building to its original condition in prime commercial corner in downtown Florence. The win- accordance with National Park Service guidelines. Missing pieces dows and doors were concealed by plywood and siding and much had been custom-made to match the missing ornate trim which of the ornate Victorian architectural was painted with historically accurate details were missing or damaged. colors to highlight the intricate detail Still, there was something intriguon the facade. ing about the attached buildings “It wasn’t a renovation project, it that attracted the attention of local was a total restoration,” he says. realtor and developer Jimmy Neese. In fact Neese had rescued a supeWhen he pried back one of the panrior example of what is known as a els of siding covering the street-level “Mesker” building. While the streetfaçade, Neese exposed the original level columns and ornamentation are elaborate cast iron columns. “I knew cast iron of the Bliss building, the then it had potential,” he says. window hoods and elaborate cornice Neese consulted with the late Har- These buildings in downtown Wetumpka are among the with rows of medallions and draped vey P. Jones, a prominent restoration 39 remaining Meskers left in Alabama. wreaths under a pediment are very PHOTO BY MICHAEL CORNELISON thin pressed sheet steel. On the Cotarchitect in Huntsville, who recognized the historical significance of the building. “Jimmy, this was ton Exchange building the stamped veneer forms a row of decoonce a beautiful building and one of the most important in the rated Greek columns supporting another very imposing cornice community. If you restore it, you need to do it right,” Neese recalls supported by large brackets over the top of stained glass windows. him saying. “Many people have thought the façade must be stone or wood,” Three years later, and after extensive cooperation with Alabama Neese says. An 1898 Mesker Brothers catalog.
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COURTESY DARIUS BRYJKA
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The 1904 George Mesker catalog features cornices similar to those on the Bliss and Cotton Exchange buildings.
That is exactly the perception the original owners of Mesker buildings desired. “America was still rebuilding after the Civil War, and merchants wanted their businesses to have an imposing and fashionable front to attract customers,” says Darius Bryjka, a national expert on the unique facades. “Meskers could be customordered to fit any size building, and they were easily installed with local labor in just a few days.” Only 39 Meskers are presently known to remain in Alabama. In addition to the two in Florence, they can be found in Anniston (2), Carrollton, Columbiana, Cullman (2) Demopolis, Eutaw (2), Florala, Gadsden (2), Georgiana (2), Goodwater, Greensboro (3 plus 1 demolished), Greenville (4), Hayneville, Monroeville, New Hope, Pineapple, Selma (3), Springville, Talladega, Uniontown, and Wetumpka (5). More than 3,400 Mesker buildings in 49 states have been identified and more are reported and verified by Bryjka each month. At one time it is estimated 50,000 structures throughout the United States were once adorned with Mesker facades, but most have disappeared due to redevelopment, fire or neglect. The small number of remaining Meskers known to exist were all built between 1880 and 1910 and were all purchased out of a catalog, just as people at the time were shopping in the Sears and Roebuck catalog. At their height more than 500,000 Mesker catalogs were being mailed each year, but only to small town merchants. Other firms produced pressed-metal façade storefronts, but the Mesker family was by far the largest supplier producing a wide va-
The Bliss Building in Florence features an elaborate facade made of thin galvinized tin.
riety of motifs on an unprecedented scale. The business origin can be traced to about 1844 when German immigrant John Bernard Mesker settled in Cincinnati and trained as a “tinner” working with tinplate. Eventually the sons of John Mesker began their own iron works, concentrating on the production of storefronts. George continued the family business in Evansville, Ind., while Bernard and Frank Mesker opened the competing Mesker Brothers Iron Works in St. Louis. Few Mesker buildings anywhere in the nation remain in such remarkable shape as the two Neese restored, and he has been presented with numerous state and local awards. Billy Ray Warren, president of the Historic Preservation Inc., a community based organization in Florence, recalled recently that the corner where the Neese buildings are located had been described locally as “the most visible in the Quad Cities area. Before Jimmy got involved the buildings were an embarrassment. He brought them back to life.” Chloe Mercer with the Alabama Historical Commission in Montgomery notes the project spurred additional façade improvements in downtown Florence and that Neese paid particular attention to maintaining the historic qualities of the two buildings, including the pressed and cast metal ornamentation on the facade and the wood and plaster finishes on the interior. “Every day someone comes in to tell us what beautiful buildings these are,” Neese says. “We are very conscious of their historic value and proud to have saved them for the community.” A
More on Meskers For more information on Mesker storefronts: GotMesker.com The Gotmesker.com website has links to a variety of Mesker resources including copies of original Mesker catalogs.
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Mesker Brothers blog and facebook page Darius Bryjka adds a new story to his Mesker Brothers blog each month. The site also adds Meskers to the national database on the site as they are discovered. meskerbrothers.wordpress.com/
Bryjka also moderates a Facebook Group where possible Mesker topics can be discussed and possible discoveries can be reported; www.facebook.com/#!/ groups/160561813959150/
APRIL 2014 25
Worth the Drive
A brunch to write home about, courtesy of SpringHouse’s Chef McDaniel Story and photos by Jennifer Kornegay
he idea of ordering bacon, scrambled eggs and a gravysmothered biscuit for brunch when there are other selections to tempt your taste buds like a chicken biscuit with jalapeno white BBQ sauce, Eggs Benedict with hickory-grilled sirloin (instead of boring ole Canadian bacon), and a lamb omelet served with a side of locally sourced stone-ground grits may seem odd to some. Why choose the simple one, something you could easily whip up at home? Well, because I feel fairly comfortable proclaiming that while you can certainly make this meal at home, you probably can’t make it as well as what you’ll find at SpringHouse in Alexander City. I know I can’t. (I also doubt your breakfast nook boasts the warm, rustically elegant ambiance that fills every corner — as well as the outdoor areas — of this stone and timber, lodge-looking restaurant crowning a hilltop in the Russell Crossroads development at Lake Martin.) But back to that brunch plate: Pale yellow clouds of scrambled eggs play with crisped fatty bacon (with zero chew) like a soft and salty symphony. A light biscuit is topped with peppery gravy that strikes just the right consistency note: not too thick and not too thin. If you order coffee, it comes to the table in your own French press. This music-to-your mouth meal begins with quality ingredients: farm-fresh eggs, house-cured bacon (which you might even see smoking in front of the massive stacked-stone fireplace in the main dining room), specialty-roasted coffee with raw sugar (if you take it sweet). I hear you saying, “I can go buy all that if I want.” Sure you can. Thanks to a renewed emphasis on real food and a farm-to-fork philosophy reviving our support of area producers, today it’s not too hard (and really never was if you knew where to look) to get your hands on any of the above. But it’s not just what you start with; it’s what you do with it. And more importantly for my argument, who “you” are. In the kitchen at SpringHouse, the “you” is Chef Rob McDaniel. This Alabama native has reaped praise since the restaurant opened in 2009; he was just nominated, for the second year in a row, as the James Beard Foundation’s Best Chef in the South. And it’s simple stuff like the eggs, bacon and biscuit of a Spring-
Jennifer Kornegay is the author of a children’s book, “The Alabama Adventures of Walter and Wimbly: Two Marmalade Cats on a Mission.” She travels to an out-of-the way restaurant destination in Alabama every month. She may be reached for comment at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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SpringHouse crowns a hilltop in the Russell Crossroads development at Lake Martin.
Light biscuits topped with peppery gravy strike just the right note.
Plates get the finishing touch before gracing a diner’s table. For a closer look at SpringHouse, go to alabamaliving. coop and click on “videos”
Brunch of Champions SpringHouse 12 Benson Mill Road Alexander City Alexander City, AL 256-215-7080 www.springhouseatcrossroads.com Open Wednesday - Saturday for dinner, 5:30-9 p.m. and Sundays for brunch, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. (Hours vary by season.) www.alabamaliving.coop
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Stone and timber create a rustic lodge-like appearance for the popular restaurant.
House brunch that has pushed McDaniel into the upper echelon of chefs in our area. It’s easy to shine when pulling off a complex ballet of exotic flavors and textures; it’s tougher to do basic better than anyone else. And a commitment to using what’s in season and what’s nearby lends his dishes a pure, pellucid quality that’s refreshing. (It also means the menu changes constantly.) But that’s not to suggest McDaniel’s dishes are plain, that there’s nothing special about his cooking or that he lacks skill. His talent and innovation are obvious in twists on regional favorites like pork loin with black pepper dumplings in ham-hock broth with collard greens and fresh herbs, his version of a Southern Sunday dinner staple. His SpringHouse S’mores alone are worth any drive you have to make to get to this place. The artful take on the classic campfire treat is playful and delicious with homemade graham crackers buried under warm dark-chocolate cake (complete with a gooey center), fluffy marshmallow cream and homemade marshmallows. So I’ll confidently make another proclamation: Brunch at SpringHouse, no matter what you order, will leave you in a sunny, satisfied mood, and the only thing that could make you ornery is the thought of what you’ll be missing when you’re having breakfast at home the next day (so don’t think about that ‘til later). P.S. Dinner at SpringHouse is wonderful too, so don’t fret if you can’t make it there for brunch. A House-cured bacon hangs in the main dining room.
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Nearby Catherine’s market stocks meat, seafood, fresh produce (below) and meals for casual dining.
Around Alabama April 12 & 13 Rattlesnake festival features snake races, music entertainment The 54th Annual Opp Rattlesnake Rodeo will be April 12 and 13 at Opp Channel Lee Stadium. Saturday’s events kick off with a 5k run/walk at 8:30 a.m, Followed by a snake show, snake races, a greasy pole climb and a buck dancing contest. Arts and crafts, children’s activities and food vendors will be available throughout the weekend. Gates open at 8 a.m. Saturday and evening concert will feature Easton Corbin. Sunday’s festivities will begin at 10 a.m. and will feature all Christian musical entertainment. For more information, visit www.rattlesnakerodeo.com or call 334-439-3070.
APRIL 5 • Enterprise, 18th Annual Car and Truck Show in conjunction with the Piney Woods Festival. Registration is $25 and is from 8 a.m. until noon; festival times are 8-4. Rain date will be April 6. For additional information please contact Barrie Johnson, 334-347-8680. www.weevilcitycruisers.com 5 • Ozark, Ozark Crawdad and Music Festival on the Square in downtown Ozark will be held from 9:30 a.m.-4 p.m. Admission is free and includes music, food, arts and crafts, children’s area, car and bike show and a 5k color run. 5 • Frisco City, 4th Annual Flaming Spring Bash at Frisco City High School. The Bash benefits the Friso City Fire and Rescue Department and will be held 9 a.m.-4 p.m. There will be arts and crafts, live music, car show, inflatables and a live auction if donations permit. 5 • Livingston, Do or “Dye” 5k Color Run/Walk and 1 mile Fun Run will be at 9 a.m. in downtown Livingston. Proceeds to benefit Sumter Academy. Registration is $35. www.sumteracademy.org. 5 • Birmingham, Annual Daylily Sale at Birmingham Botanical Garden. The sale will be from 8 a.m.-1 p.m. and prices start at $5. For information, call Joan Woodard at 256-435-8884 or Becky Parr at 205-6021273 or email email@example.com. 5 & 6 • Dothan, 7th Annual Gem and Mineral Show. Gemstones, mineral specimens, fossils and jewelry on display at the Houston County Farm Center. Free admission and parking. Saturday 9 a.m.-5 p.m. and Sunday 10 a.m.-4 p.m. www.wiregrassrockhounds.com.
11 & 12 • Boaz, Alabama Poultry and Farm Expo at the VFW fair grounds 9 a.m.9 p.m. Farm sessions, tractor exhibits, poultry show and live entertainment. Contact the Boaz Area Chamber of Commerce at 256-593-8154.
Peter is welcomed back by patron popular demand. Tickets are $20 general admission, $5 for students and may be purchased online or at the door. For questions call, 334-484-3542. www.troyartscouncil.com.
13 & 14 • Guntersville, 53rd Annual Art on the Lake will feature more than 120 exhibitors with original arts and crafts alongside beautiful Lake Guntersville. Art on the Lake helps to fund a scholarship program for local high school graduates. Admission $2 for ages 13 and older.
26 • Prattville, 9th Annual Bark in the Park at Cooter’s Pond, 11 a.m.-4 p.m. There will be adoptable pets, silent auction, raffles, dog contests, food vendors and more. For information, contact Claudia Rigsby, Shelter Director, at 334-358-2882 or firstname.lastname@example.org
17 • Huntsville, 7th annual Hope for Autism Gala will be held at the Huntsville Museum of Art, 6-10 p.m. The night will feature heavy hors d’oeuvres, live music and a silent auction. Cost is $75/person and deadline for reservations is April 1. For more information, please email email@example.com.
26 • Fairhope, 5th Annual Bald Eagle Bash, 4-7 p.m. at the waterfront Tonsmeire Weeks Bay Resource Center. Enjoy “a taste of Weeks Bay” featuring fresh Gulf shrimp with live music by The Modern Eldorados. Tickets are $35 in advance or $40 at the gate. Visit www.BaldEagleBash.com or call 251-990-5004 for information or tickets.
19 • Wetumpka, 2nd Annual Craterfest presented by Wind Creek Wetumpka Casino & Hotel. The music and arts festival is open from 12-9 p.m at Gold Star Park in downtown Wetumpka. Headlining act is country, bluegrass and rock musician Chris Stapleton. There will also be vendor booths, food and educational crater activities. For information, visit www. wetumpkachamber.com or call 334-567-4811. 24-27 • Union Springs, “Cotton Patch Gospel” at the Red Door Theatre. The Gospel is presented in the setting of rural Georgia with music by Harry Chapin. Dinner 6 p.m., play at 7:30 p.m., matinee Sunday, 2 p.m. (no dinner). Call 334-738-8687 or visit reddoortheatre.org 25 • Troy, Peter Oprisko: “Songs from the Silver Screen” performance to be held at the Claudia Crosby Theatre at 7 p.m.
To place an event, e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. or visit www. alabamaliving.coop. You can also mail to Events Calendar, P.O. Box 244014, Montgomery, AL 36124; Each submission must include a contact name and phone number. Deadline is two months prior to issue date. We regret that we cannot publish every event due to space limitations.
26 • Brewton, Kick it at the Creek Concert and Crawfish Boil. Bring a lawn chair and enjoy boiled crawfish and live music by Florida native, Chloe Channel. Jennings Park from 5-8 p.m. 26-28 • Guntersville, 16th Annual United Cherokee Indian Powwow. There will be demonstrators for archery, tomahawk throwing and knapping and craft vendors with many handmade items. The Powwow features Native-American dancing, drumming, flute playing and storytelling. Contact 256-582-2333 for more information. MAY 2 • Fairhope, Under the Stars. This is the 5th annual signature fundraising event for Baldwin County Child Advocacy
Center (CARE House, Inc) to take place at Oak Hollow Farm. Call 251-937-2055 or 251-989-2555 for information. 3 • Atmore, Mayfest at Tom Byrne Park, from 9 a.m.-5 p.m., will feature arts and crafts, Beautiful Baby contest, Pooch Parade, entertainment and food. Free admission. Call the Atmore Chamber of Commer for information at 251-368-3305 or email email@example.com 3 • Opelika, Garden in the Park, an arts festival at the Opelika Municipal Park. The event is open 8 a.m.-3 p.m. and features a variety of items for sale, all handmade or natural. There will also be children’s activities, entertainment, food and the historic Rocky Brook Rocket circling the park. For vendor information, contact Keep Opelika Beautiful at 334-749-4970 or firstname.lastname@example.org. 3 • Union Springs, 35th Annual Chunnenuggee Fair. Juried arts and crafts show, food, live entertainment and also kids’ games and rides. Contact Elizabeth Smithart, 334-738-4060 or email email@example.com 3 • Moulton, Ladies Tea in the garden of Blair and Nita Dixon, sponsored by Friends of the Library. From 2-4 p.m. the Tea will feature a speaker, soloist, guitarists, food and decadent sweets. Tickets are $15 and can be purchased at Lawrence County Public Library. Call 256974-0883 or 256-974-7620 for information. 10 • Mobile, Do It In the Bush Cross Country 5K. Cottage Hill Park, 8 a.m. Run to raise money for the Charlie Spencer Memorial Scholarship Fund. Call Port City Pacers, 251-473-7223 or www. pcpacers.org
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APRIL 2014 29
April Gardening Tips
Don’t let aging or disabilities keep you out of the garden
nce upon a time I could work in my yard for hours and, while I might get sweaty and be sore the next day (or two or three), the physical effort was relatively easy and always improved my outlook on life. These days, now that I have reached the age of 50-plus, many gardening tasks seem harder to perform and can leave me hurting more, and for longer periods of time, than in my younger days. Truth is, I am not as young as I used to be and I am beginning to realize that I may not always be able to garden at the level to which I have become accustomed.
The Garden on Wheelz can help those with physical limitations.
And I am not alone in facing this reality. Change in our gardening lives is inevitable and can take many forms. For some folks, a life change of moving to an apartment, retirement or assisted living community or any place that has little or no yard may make it difficult to garden. For others, physical limitations brought about by aging or illness can make gardening harder. Regardless of the gardening challenges we may face, though, there are ways to keep our hands and souls in the garden. It’s just a matter of modifying our approach and, luckily, there are lots of resources to help us adapt.
Resources are available to help
Among those resources are such organizations as AARP, the Arthritis Foundation and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. One resource that I particularly like is Thrive, a United Kingdom-based charity that focuses specifically on helping gardeners. It has a great website (www.carryongardening.org.uk/top-tips-for-disabledgardeners.aspx) with detailed how-to information that can make gardening easier. As is often the case, planning is vital
30 APRIL 2014
d d d d d
Plant peas and Irish potatoes. Sow seeds for beans, corn, squash, melons and other summer vegetable crops. Begin to plant tomatoes, peppers and eggplants once the threat of a hard freeze has passed. Plant strawberries, blueberries, raspberries and blackberries. Fertilize warm-season lawns and plant new lawns. Plant summer annual flowers and summer-blooming bulbs. Prune spring-flowering shrubs such as spirea, flowering quince, azalea, jasmine and forsythia after they have bloomed. Move houseplants outside and clean dust from the leaves of indoor plants. Plant container-grown roses and keep an eye out for insect and disease problems on all roses. Assess any winter damage on trees and shrubs and decide if any need to be replaced or pruned. Visit farmers markets, many of which will reopen this month for the spring and summer season.
for a user-friendly gard den and the first step in making a plan is to d evaluate the pros and cons of any available d gardening space. If there is little or no room to garden outdoors, figure out where inside or on a patio or balcony plants might best grow and set up that area with tables or plant stands that are easy to access for watering and maintaining. If the available gardening area is larger, but difficult to navigate or manage, identify areas that are the hardest to maintain and figure out strategies to reduce their need for upkeep, such as decreasing the amount of lawn that needs to be mowed, making flower beds smaller and less labor-intensive or replacing high-maintenance plants with more easy-care species. Consider also developing paths or walkways that are easy to negotiate with a wheelchair or walker, installing ramps or handrails at steps or steep spots in the landscape, and adding extra seating in the garden area so you can take a rest or work from a seated position rather than having to stoop or kneel. Once you have an idea of where to concentrate your gardening efforts with more ease, then it’s time to employ some planting strategies. For example, if limited space is the problem, one of the easiest solutions is to garden in containers. Pots, window boxes, hanging baskets or any other kind of plant-friendly container can be used indoors or out—in kitchens or on patios, for example—to grow everything from houseplants and other ornamentals to fruits, vegetables and herbs. Be sure to choose containers that are easy to move or place them where they are easy to access. Raised beds are another great solution for space or physical limitations. These compact little growing spaces can be in-
Katie Jackson is a freelance writer and editor based in Opelika, Alabama. Contact her at katielamarjackson@ gmail.com.
stalled almost anywhere and can be customized to varying heights and widths so they are easy to access from a seated or standing position. And growing fruiting or flowering vines on trellises or adding an espaliered fruit or ornamental tree can also be a beautiful and functional addition to a user-friendly garden. Not only can spaces be adapted to our needs, but so can tools. There is an entire market for what are known as “assistive” or “adaptive” garden tools, such as specially designed clippers, rakes, shovels and other hand tools and easier to maneuver garden carts and wheelbarrows. There is even a new item called Garden On Wheelz (www. lifecyclegardens.com/), which is a portable garden that can be used indoors or out for small-space gardening and to aid folks with physical limitations. If you or a loved one are facing gardening challenges or simply want to make a garden easier to use, check out ideas online or in your local library. Your county extension office may also have information, and there are books that can help. Three of my favorites are Gardening for Seniors—Joyous Activities for Elderly Gardeners with Tips for Reduced Mobility by Andrea Kalli, Accessible Gardening by Joann Woy and Square Foot Gardening: A New Way to Garden in Less Space with Less Work by Mel Bartholomew, which offers ideas for small-space gardening for folks of all ages and abilities. No matter our circumstances, it’s nice to remember that gardening does not have to be a struggle and can actually be a health benefit for us all. Not only is it good for the body—an hour of low-impact gardening can burn 150 calories and just two or three hours of gentle gardening each week can help reduce the aches and pains associated with arthritis and other physical problems—it is a great way to relieve stress and nurture the mind and soul. A www.alabamaliving.coop
APRIL 2014 31
Send your questions to: James Dulley
Alabama Living 6906 Royalgreen Dr. Cincinnati, OH 45244
You can also reach Dulley online at: www.dulley.com
This replacement door threshold is made of all durable aluminum and can be adjusted up and down.
Improving the efficiency of older doors
SOURCE: PEMKO MANUFACTURING
My front door is wood with a window and the back door is metal. They are the original ones and neither is very efficient nor airtight. I cannot afford new ones. How can I improve their efficiency myself?
Energy losses from inefficient entry doors can account for a significant portion of your monthly utility bills. When leaky doors create drafts, people tend to set the furnace thermostat higher. This wastes even more energy. There are ways to improve the efficiency of old doors, but donâ€™t immediately eliminate the possibility of installing new ones. The costs of some well-insulated steel and fiberglass doors, especially those for the back door without glass, are very reasonable. A prehung door in its own frame is not difficult to install yourself. Before making a decision, carefully inspect your old doors. If they are in very bad condition, it will be difficult to improve their efficiency by a meaningful amount. First, make sure the wood door is not rotting. Then place a long straight edge across the door to see if it is badly warped. The most common problem with metal doors is rust, not warping. The first place to check is along the bottom by the weatherstripping on either side. Rainwater tends to collect there, and it is not always painted well. If you find small holes rusted through, they can be repaired with car body filler and then painted. First, try to determine the reason water is collecting there and correct the problem. Clean out as much rust as possible and fill with automobile body filler. If the doors are reasonably sound, check for the location of the air leaks. At night, have someone shine a flashlight from outdoors around the seals and check for light indoors. This will highlight significant leaks. On a windy day, move a stick of lighted incense around the seals and watch the trail of the smoke to find the minor leaky areas. Check the astragal on double doors. This is usually the raised half-round overlap where pairs of doors meet and acts as a seal between them. Often with wood doors, especially ones with compression weatherstripping, the main problem is simply the latch plate is not holding the door tightly closed against the weatherstripping. One solution is to reposition the latch plate. This will require filling in the old screw holes and drilling new ones. Chisel away some of the wood in the recess for the latch plate. Another option is to install an adjustable latch plate. You may want to reposition it
for summer and winter as the door and frame expand and contract from seasonal temperature and humidity. Steel doors should feature magnetic weatherstripping, so this is not a major issue because the weatherstripping is drawn against the door edge. Just make sure the surface of the door and the weatherstripping are clean and smooth. Paint on the door edge can sometimes come loose in small pieces and create a gap which leaks air. Check the condition of the hinges, and replace them if needed. If the hinges and pins are worn, the door will not hang square in the opening, and therefore, will not seal properly. There are many different sizes of hinges, so take an old one along to the store and get an exact match. Donâ€™t just buy the cheapest ones, because there are many to choose from and quality varies. It is almost certain the seal on the bottom of the doors against the floor threshold is worn. If it is not worn, adjust the floor threshold higher. There are several height adjustment screws across the threshold, but after years of use, they may be filled in with dirt. Poke around to find them. If the seal itself is bad, there are many generic replacement seals you can install. Another option is an add-on retractable threshold seal which is effective if carpeting is on the floor by the door. The threshold seal is mounted on the inside surface of the lower door edge. When the door starts to open, a pin against the door frame is released and the seal automatically lifts to clear the carpeting. It is easy to install and adjust. A The following companies offer door improvement products: Duck Brand, (800) 321-0253, www.duckbrand.com ; M-D Building Products, (800) 654-8454, www.mdteam.com; Pemko Manufacturing, (800) 2839988, www.pemko.com, and Thermwell, (800) 526-5265, www.frostking.com. A new bright brass door bottom seal and threshold save energy and make the door more attractive. SOURCE: PEMKO MANUFACTURING
is a nationally syndicated engineering consultant based in Cincinnati.
32 APRIL 2014
APRIL 2014 33
Alabama Outdoors By John N. Felsher
Michael Kyle calls turkeys into range. PHOTO BY JOHN N. FELSHER
It’s a great time to be a turkey hunter in Alabama 34 APRIL 2014
n the early 19th century, millions of wild turkeys populated the vast, unbroken forests of eastern North America, but fewer than 100,000 remained by 1900. From after the Civil War until the early 20th century, timber companies rapidly slashed through virgin swamps and oldgrowth forests. The prevalent “cut out and get out” philosophy of the time turned once-verdant turkey habitat into little more than scarred clear cuts. Seeing fewer turkeys in remaining habitat, sportsmen demanded stringent hunting regulations to protect the bird that Benjamin Franklin wanted to make our national symbol. In addition, state and federal governments began enforcing more environmental laws to preserve remaining forests. By the 1940s, turkey populations slowly rebounded. “In 1940, we only had about 11,000 turkeys in Alabama,” says Jeff Macemson of the Alabama Wildlife & Freshwater Fisheries Division in Tuscaloosa. “Now, we have about 500,000. In 1963, we had 44,942 turkey hunters in the state. Now, we have about 55,000 hunters who harvest more than twice as many birds as they did in 1963. During the 2013 season, hunters harvested about 45,300 turkeys.” About 40 years ago, just seeing a turkey track practically made the evening news. Growing up hunting ducks and small game, we didn’t know much about wild turkeys. For his first car, my brother bought a beat-up 1964 Ford Falcon. Built like a Sherman tank, it could go anywhere, making it an excellent hunting vehicle. Being the ONLY vehicle available to us also made it an excellent hunting vehicle! With that car, we frequently cruised rough logging roads, crisscrossing forests to look for game in the early 1970s. That old Falcon squeaked and rattled terribly. However, it apparently emitted a certain squeak that turkeys liked, or at least found interesting. Whenever we drove the Falcon through the timber company lands, turkeys appeared. When the squeaky car rattled up a bird, we stopped, grabbed our shotguns and began running through the woods after the very surprised fowl. Of course, that never worked. However, I did almost get a shot at one gobbler that flew up into a tree. Focusing on the bird and racing to get into range, I didn’t notice the briar patch looming rapidly in my
Tables indicate peak fish and game feeding and migration times. Major periods can bracket the peak by an hour before and an hour after. Minor peaks, half-hour before and after. Adjusted for daylight savings time. a.m. p.m. Minor Major Minor Major
APR. 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 MAY. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31
12:31 01:16 01:46 02:31 03:46 09:31 11:46 08:31 09:16 03:31 04:01 04:31 05:01 12:01 12:31 01:52 02:37 03:07 04:07 05:37 10:37 09:22 09:37 03:22 03:52 04:22 04:52 --01:07 01:52 02:37 03:37 04:52 06:37 07:52 09:07 02:52 03:37 04:07 04:37 --01:07 01:37 02:22
06:01 06:31 07:01 07:31 08:16 12:31 01:31 02:31 03:01 10:01 10:31 11:16 11:46 05:31 05:46 07:07 07:37 07:52 08:22 08:52 01:22 02:22 02:52 10:07 10:37 01:07 11:37 05:22 05:52 06:22 06:52 07:37 08:22 09:07 10:37 01:22 02:07 09:52 10:37 11:07 11:37 05:07 05:37 06:07 06:37 07:07
07:46 08:46 09:46 11:01 ---01:46 03:16 04:16 10:46 11:31 -07:16 08:01 09:37 10:22 11:07 12:22 --01:37 03:22 04:22 10:37 11:07 11:52 07:22 08:07 08:52 09:37 10:37 11:37 12:37 -12:52 02:52 09:37 10:22 11:07 11:52 07:22 08:07 08:37 09:22 09:52
12:46 01:31 02:16 03:01 04:16 05:31 07:01 08:16 09:16 10:01 05:01 05:46 06:31 12:16 12:46 02:22 02:52 03:37 04:22 05:22 06:22 07:37 08:52 09:37 05:07 05:52 06:37 12:22 12:52 01:37 02:07 02:52 03:52 04:37 05:52 07:07 08:22 04:22 05:22 06:07 06:52 12:22 12:52 01:22 01:52 02:37 APRIL 2014 35
PHOTO COURTESY DOUG MAX
direction until I made a rather abrupt stop in its thorny vines. I never got a shot at that bird – or any other -- but I think it fell out of the tree laughing!
A conservation success story
PHOTO COURTESY DOUG MAX
Raegan Williamson proudly displays her turkey.
PHOTO COURTESY DOUG MAX
Doug Max with turkey he shot.
Today, Alabama sportsmen don’t need to try as hard to find birds. The state, in conjunction with private organizations such as the National Wild Turkey Federation, the Alabama Wildlife Federation and landowners with suitable turkey habitat, restocked turkeys. Decades ago, biologists captured wild birds by shooting nets from cannons over the flocks and released the birds into unoccupied habitat. “The restoration of the wild turkey in Alabama and across the nation is one of the greatest conservation success stories,” Macemson says. “Many local NWTF chapters and other very supportive conservation groups helped us tremendously. Now, we have turkeys in all 67 counties. It’s a great time to be a turkey hunter in Alabama.” While most Alabama sportsmen hunt private lands, many public areas offer excellent opportunities. Established in 1937, Oakmulgee Wildlife Management Area stretches across 44,500 acres of Bibb, Hale, Perry and Tuscaloosa counties. Choccolocco WMA in Cleburne County covers 56,858 acres and dates to 1940. In northwest Alabama, Freedom Hills WMA covers 31,828 acres of Colbert County. All of these areas hold good turkey populations. “At the southern tip of the Appalachian Mountains, Oakmulgee is one of the most scenic areas in the state,” Macemson says. Glenn Wheeler arranges turkey decoys for a hunt.
“It’s primarily longleaf pines on the ridges, hardwoods in the bottoms and a mix of pine and hardwoods in transitional areas. In the Appalachians of east-central Alabama, Choccolocco is mostly hilly pine stands with some mature hardwoods in the bottoms. Freedom Hills WMA has diverse habitat with a lot of mature hardwoods and some pine thickets.” The Black Belt Region, a well-watered fertile swath, extends across 23 central Alabama counties. Several Black Belt areas provide good turkey hunting. Barbour WMA includes 28,199 acres in Barbour and Bullock counties. “Black belt soil is rich, dark soil that creates good habitat to support an abundance of wildlife,” says Pam Swanner, project director for Black Belt Adventures in Montgomery. “The Black Belt consistently produces some of the best hunting in Alabama. Deer is the most popular game animal, but the best turkey hunting in the state also occurs in the Black Belt region. Alabama has more eastern wild turkeys per square mile than any other state.” In southern Alabama, Blue Springs WMA includes 24,783 acres in Covington County. Near Mobile, the Upper Delta WMA spreads across 42,341 acres of the Mobile-Tensaw Delta. It holds turkeys, but high water in the spring can make hunting the swamp difficult at times. Sportsmen may bag one gobbler per day and five per season. Turkey season opens March 15 and runs through April 30 across most of Alabama, but differs in some counties. In addition, seasons and regulations may vary on some public properties, so check the regulations before hunting. For more information on turkey hunting in Alabama, see www.outdooralabama.com. A PHOTO BY JOHN FELSHER
Flanked by his dad, Corey Trotter and Cliff Butler, Fowler Trotter shows off a turkey he bagged.
John N. Felsher is a professional freelance writer and photographer who lives in Semmes, Ala. He’s written more than 1,700 articles for more than 117 magazines. He co-hosts a weekly outdoors radio show. Contact him through his website at www. JohnNFelsher.com. APRIL 2014
Visit alabamaliving. coop to watch longtime hunter Doug Max demonstrate turkey calls!
APRIL 2014 37
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June 2014 – April 25 July 2014 – May 25 August 2014 – June 25
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CAMPING / HUNTING / FISHING HUNTING LEASE – 600 ACRES diverse woods, cropland – Gated $15,000 / year, 3-year lease for max 6 hunters – Holcomb, MS (256)333-1103
Ads are $1.75 per word with a 10 word minimum and are on a prepaid basis; Telephone numbers, email addresses and websites are considered 1 word each. Ads will not be taken over the phone. You may email your ad to firstname.lastname@example.org; or call (800)410-2737 ask for Heather for pricing.; We accept checks, money orders and all major credit cards. Mail ad submission along with a check or money order made payable to ALABAMA LIVING, P.O. Box 244014, Montgomery, AL 36124 – Attn: Classifieds.
REAL ESTATE SALES GULF SHORES HOME & BUSINESS FSBO – Very nice brick home, 3/2, 2100sf, Corner lot in-town. Walk to everything, Excellent school system, 2 blocks to New Entertainment District – 1st State licensed home Childcare in G.S. – www.miltonfamilychildcare. com, Phone (251)228-2255 HOME MOVE IN READY surrounded by DESOTO STATE PARK – 3BR / 2BA, Custom Cabinets with granite, Fireplace, Open Living Area, 2 Car Garage, Storage Building – Approx. 1.5 Acres with large rocks $167,500.00 – (256)997-5630, or (205)721-3670, (256)630-3809
ALL YOUR REAL ESTATE NEEDS RESIDENTIAL, COMMERCIAL, Industrial, Campgrounds, Marinas, Hotels, Mining Operations, Businesses,etc.- Jim Johnson Realty #71809 www.sesore.com jdjenter@ charter.net 256-602-4565
TRAVEL CARIBBEAN CRUISES AT THE LOWEST PRICE – (256)974-0500 or (800)726-0954
MUSICAL NOTES PIANOS TUNED, REPAIRED, refinished. Box 171, Coy, AL 36435. 334-337-4503
PLAY GOSPEL SONGS BY EAR - 10 lessons $12.95. “LEARN GOSPEL MUSIC”. Chording, runs, fills - $12.95 Both $24. Davidsons, 6727AR Metcalf, Shawnee Missions, Kansas 66204 – (913)262-4982
EDUCATION FREE BIBLE CORRESPONDENCE COURSE – write to P.O. Box 52, Trinity, AL, 35673 WWW.2HOMESCHOOL.ORG – OPEN Year Round K-12 enrollment. Contact Dr. Cerny (256)653-2593 BECOME AN ORDAINED MINISTER correspondence study. Founded in 1988. Free info. Ministers for Christ Outreach, 7558 West Thunderbird Road, Ste. 1 - #114, Peoria, Arizona 85381. http://www.ordination.org
CRITTERS CHIHUAHUA PUPPIES. REGISTERED, guaranteed healthy, raised indoors in loving home, vet records and references. (256)796-2893
FRUIT, NUTS AND BERRIES OLD TIMEY WHITE AND YELLOW SELF POLLINATING SEED CORN – (334)886-2925 DAYLILIES @ CRENSHAW FARMS near Stockton I-65 exit 31 – Over 20,000 daylilies. OPEN April 15 – June 30, 9 to 4. CLOSED Sunday & Monday – (251)577-1235, Facebook – CRENSHAW FARMS DAYLILY GARDEN
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Freezer Meals Cook of the month: Cathie Donaldson, Covington EC
Blue Cheese Meat Loaves 2 pounds ground beef 1 14.5-ounce can of diced tomatoes with basil, garlic and oregano, welldrained 1 cup soft bread
crumbs egg, slightly beaten teaspoons salt teaspoon pepper teaspoon Worcestershire sauce 3 tablespoons crumbled blue cheese
1 1½ 1 1
Combine all ingredients, except blue cheese; mix lightly. Shape into 6 individual loaves, making a small hollow on top of each one for cheese. Wrap each, label, date and freeze. About 1½ hours before serving time, remove loaves from freezer and unwrap; place in a pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour; spoon 1 teaspoon blue cheese into hollow in each loaf. Bake 15 minutes longer, or until cheese is melted and loaves are richly browned. Serves 6. Great served with a salad and garlic bread.
Cathie Donaldson in her kitchen in Enterprise, Ala. PHOTO BY PATTY SINGLETON-SEAY
You could win $50! Upcoming recipe themes and deadlines are:
June July August
Wild Game Homemade Pizza Italian
April 15 May 15 June 15
online at alabamaliving.coop email to email@example.com mail to Recipes, P.O. Box 244014 Montgomery, AL 36124
How I love a great freezer meal! Getting home after a long day of work and being able to pull something from the freezer to pop in the oven for dinner is a lifesaver. Down here in the South, our love language is food. It is so nice to remember people in need by providing a quick meal. I remember when we brought our second baby girl home from the hospital and sweet friends stacked our freezer with casseroles and desserts. It was so nice to be able to enjoy quick and easy foods while enjoying our baby. Whenever I make a casserole, I usually buy double the ingredients, and make a pan to freeze and eat later or to give to someone else. What are some timesaving tips you use in the kitchen? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Mary Tyler Spivey is a graduate of Huntingdon College where she studied history and French but she also has a passion for great food. Contact her at email@example.com.
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Editor’s Note: Alabama Living’s recipes are submitted by our readers. They are not kitchen-tested by a professional cook or registered dietician. If you have special dietary needs, please check with your doctor or nutritionist before preparing any recipe.
Freezer Apple Coffee Cake 1 package active dry yeast ¼ cup warm water ½ cup butter or margarine ½ cup sugar 3 eggs ¼ cup milk 2½ cups flour
Hobo Dinner 1 pound ground lean beef 1 package onion soup mix 1 package of baby peeled carrots
2 cups potatoes (peeled and cut into bite- sized pieces) 1 can cream of mushroom or cream of onion soup
Mix the uncooked ground beef and onion soup mix together. Label bag with “Hobo Dinner” and the date. Place potatoes, carrots and cream of mushroom soup in the bottom of freezer bag . Add meat mixture. Seal and freeze. Freeze for up to 3 months. Feeds family of 4. To cook: Place frozen meal out to thaw overnight. Put thawed meal (meat on the bottom) in crockpot on low for 5 - 6 hours. It is done when meat is cooked thoroughly.
½ teaspoon salt 3 large apples, peeled and sliced ½ cup golden raisins, optional 2 ⁄3 cup sugar 2 teaspoons cinnamon ½ cup melted butter or margarine
Soften yeast in ¼ cup warm water. Cream butter or margarine with ½ cup sugar. Add eggs and beat until light. Stir in softened yeast, milk, and flour mixed with salt. Beat by hand until mixture is well-blended. Line a 13x9x2-inch pan with heavy duty aluminum foil. Pour in batter. Arrange apple slices in even rows on batter, then sprinkle with raisins if desired. Combine sugar and cinnamon and sprinkle over apples. Sprinkle on melted butter. Cover and let rise in warm place until doubled. Bake in a 375-degree oven for 35 to 40 minutes, till golden. Lift out of pan to cool. Re-wrap in aluminum foil and freeze. When ready to thaw and heat, place fully wrapped frozen coffee cake in a 325-degree oven for 20 minutes. Cook’s note: I like this recipe because I’ll always have a treat with coffee in the morning or dessert when company arrives. Marlene Wood, Joe Wheeler EMC
Amy Harvel, Joe Wheeler EMC
Squash Casserole 4 cups cornbread, crumbled 2 cups diced squash 1 small diced onion
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese ½ cup sour cream 1 can cream of chicken soup
Boil the squash and onions until tender. Add all ingredients in a bowl and mix until moist. Place in a casserole dish and freeze. When ready to eat, cook on 375 for 30 to 35 minutes. Top will be golden brown. Karen Norwood, Joe Wheeler EMC Alabama Living
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Our Sources Say
Energy-related issues bear watching in nation’s capital
hile the focus in Washington continues to be on a Congress that is philosophically divided on fiscal issues and on the general direction of the country, there are numerous less headline-friendly issues that bear watching, especially from an energy perspective. In recent months a few high profile incidents of physical security breaches at utility systems have drawn increased scrutiny from Congress and the Obama Administration. Debate over the vulnerability of the United States’ electrical power grid to physical and cyber security attacks has focused on measures to better protect the electric sector’s critical assets. This heightened awareness has resulted in various proposed solutions, including legislation in Congress that would mandate broadbased measures for both bulk and distribution systems. Cooperatives in Alabama and across the nation have long placed a high priority on securing their physical assets by implementing programs and protocols designed to protect their systems from physical threats. Physical infrastructure security like equipping substations with cameras, locks and fences are commonplace. As solutions are sought nationally to counter the potential for physical and cyber security attacks, a comprehensive plan is needed that incorporates all levels of government who play a role in the mission to protect critical infrastructure. Electric cooperatives, through their national organization, are continuing to work with appropriate federal agencies to decide the best course of action to address this important issue. TVA divestiture The role of TVA in the Tennessee Valley has long been a model of self-sufficiency and an engine for economic growth. This not-for-profit model has been in place in the Tennessee Valley for more than 80 years and has served the Valley well. President Obama’s FY 2014 budget to Congress included a directive to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to review options for the possible divestiture of TVA as a means of
Phillip Burgess is Communications, Government Relations and Conferences Director for the Tennessee Valley Public Power Association.
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addressing TVA’s financial situation, specifically its federal debt limit of $30 billion. At last report OMB had completed this study, although it has not been released publicly. We understand and share the government’s concern about pressure on TVA’s debt limit, and do not believe it feasible to consider increasing this cap. That said, we also believe there are better ways to deal with TVA’s financial constraints, and Alabama’s cooperatives are willing and able to partner with TVA to do that. We hope OMB will conclude this study and publicly release its contents sooner rather than later. It is not in the best interest of consumers in the Tennessee Valley for the federal government to dangle a “for sale” sign in front of TVA that is having a chilling effect on the region’s economic development activities. EPA regulations Over the past several years, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rules addressing electric generation and the environment have been the subject of intense litigation. These rules, as you may guess, have individual and cumulative costs to your electric cooperative. As not-for profit entities, your cooperative’s costs for purchased electric power are passed directly to customers in the form of higher electric rates. As part of the President’s Climate Action Plan, EPA proposed a rule for new power plants that would require any new coal plant to include carbon capture and sequestration (CCS) technology, which is not widely available commercially. This year EPA plans to draft a separate rule limiting GHGs from existing plants, although that rule will take a different form and is unlikely to impose similar requirements on existing coal plants. Once the proposal for existing plants is released, there no doubt will be a firestorm of activity as environmentalists argue the rule doesn’t go far enough, while industry advocates scramble to determine whether the proposals are achievable. In Congress, this issue will be front and center in many election campaigns and in oversight committees on the Hill. Electric cooperatives nationwide are concerned that the rule could make coal plants uneconomical, when that generation may be needed for reliability and to keep power rates low. We will continue to advocate for low-cost, reliable electricity while also finding reasonable ways to protect the environment. Stay tuned. A www.alabamaliving.coop
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Alabama Snapshots 1
First haircut Submit Your Images! JUNE THEME:
SUBMIT PHOTOS THROUGH OUR WEBSITE: alabamaliving.coop/submit-photo/ OR SEND COLOR PHOTOS WITH A LARGE SELFADDRESSED STAMPED ENVELOPE TO:
Photos, Alabama Living, 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 www.alabamaliving.coop. Alabama Living is not responsible for lost or damaged photos. DEADLINE FOR JUNE: April 30
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1. Levi McDuffie isn’t sure about this haircut business... SUBMITTED BY Stephen and Tammy McDuffie, Dothan 2. Shepherd Taylor does not enjoy haircuts! SUBMITTED BY Patricia Farrish, Excel
3. Zack Rogers after his first sugar-assisted haircut SUBMITTED BY Lee Rogers, Salem 4. Tillman Oldacre gets his hair cut SUBMITTED BY Zach and Tiffany Oldacre, Cullman
Southern Occasions CO O K B O O K
Pineapple Casserole 1⁄2 cup sugar 3 tablespoons flour 1 can (20 ounces) pineapple chunks, drained (reserve about 3 tablespoons juice)
1 cup grated mild cheddar cheese 1⁄2-1 cup crushed Ritz® crackers 1⁄4 cup butter; melted
CO O K B O O K
Preheat oven to 350. Mix sugar and flour with about 3 tablespoons of pineapple juice. Add pineapple chunks and cheese. Mix well and spoon into a greased 1-quart casserole dish. Sprinkle Ritz® crumbs on top. Pour melted butter over mixture. Bake at 350 for about 45 minutes. Yield 4 to 6 servings. April McKee, Pea River EC Alabama Living
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