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Clarke-Washington EMC Annual Meeting Edition OCTOBER 2016




Annual Meeting Edition

2010 Ford F150 Tuesday, Oct. 18, 2016 Jackson Fairgrounds US Hwy 43• Jackson,Ala.

$10 off registered CWEMC members’ electric bill! Many other door prizes will be given away to our registered members at the Annual Meeting.

Registration & Entertainment from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. Reports begin at 7 p.m.



Manager Stan Wilson Co-Op Editor Rick Norris 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 029920) is published monthly by the Alabama Rural Electric Association of Cooperatives. Periodicals postage paid at Montgomery, Alabama, and at additional mailing office.

Alabama’s Natureplex Since it opened last October, the Alabama Wildlife Federation’s Natureplex in Millbrook has hosted more than 30,000 visitors.


VOL. 69 NO. 10 n October 2016


POSTMASTER send forms 3579 to: Alabama Living, P.O. Box 244014 Montgomery, Alabama 36124-4014.

Join us on Tuesday, October 18, 2016 for our annual meeting. It will be an evening of food, prizes, elections and fellowship.


AREA President Fred Braswell Editor Lenore Vickrey Managing Editor Allison Griffin Creative Director Mark Stephenson Art Director Michael Cornelison Advertising Director Jacob Johnson Graphic Designer/Advertising Coordinator Brooke Echols Communications Coordinator Laura Stewart Graphic Designer Tori McClanahan



National Country Market 611 South Congress Ave., Suite 504 Austin, Texas 78704 1-800-626-1181 USPS 029-920 • ISSN 1047-0311

Printed in America from American materials Alabama Living


Brewing up business


More than ‘smores

Beer, wine and spirits production is quickly becoming an important piece of the state’s economic puzzle.

This month’s reader-submitted recipes are easy and tasty and will help you take your campfire cooking beyond the basics.



340 TechnaCenter Drive Montgomery, Alabama 36117-6031 1-800-410-2737 E-mail:

CWEMC announces Annual Meeting in Jackson


WE WANT TO HEAR FROM YOU! ONLINE: EMAIL: MAIL: Alabama Living 340 Technacenter Drive Montgomery, AL 36117

Al Online

Look for this logo to see more content online!

Get our FREE monthly email newsletter! Sign up at

9 Spotlight 29 Around Alabama 36 Gardens 40 Outdoors 41 Fish & Game Forecast 46 Cook of the Month 54 Snapshots ONLINE: ON THE COVER: It’s annual meeting time again. Join CWEMC Oct. 18 in Jackson for an evening of food, prizes, elections and fellowship.

OCTOBER 2016 3

OFFICE LOCATIONS Jackson Office 1307 College Avenue P.O. Box 398 Jackson, AL 36545 251-246-9081 Chatom Office P.O. Box 143 Chatom, AL 36518 251-847-2302 Toll Free Number


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

Clarke-Washington EMC invites you to our Member Appreciation and


Tuesday October 18, 2016

Jackson Fairgrounds•US Hwy 43 Jackson, Ala.

First 500 members registered receive a free CFL bulb!

Pay your bill online at

Payment Methods Payments can be made at our Chatom and Jackson offices with cash, checks, debit or credit cards

Stan Wilson Manager of ClarkeWashington Electric Membership Corporation

4  OCTOBER 2016

Registration & Entertainment from 5 pm to 7 pm Reports begin at 7 pm

Watch your mailbox for an Annual Meeting registration card WWW.CWEMC.COM

Clarke-Washington EMC



2010 Ford F150 Truck Many other door prizes will also be given away to our registered members at the Annual Meeting

All registered CWEMC members will receive a $10 bill credit! In addition to other giveaways, food and drinks! Alabama Living

OCTOBER 2016  5


6  OCTOBER 2016





TO THE MEMBERS OF CLARKE-WASHINGTON ELECTRIC MEMBERSHIP CORPORATION: You are hereby notified that an annual meeting of the members of Clarke-Washington Electric Membership Corporation has been called by the board of trustees, to be held at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, October 18, 2016 at Jackson Fairgrounds, US Hwy 43 in Jackson, Ala. The purposes for which this annual meeting has been called are as follows:

(a) Election of Trustees from districts 1, 4 & 7 (b) Business & Reports Jim Fore, Secretary


Clarke-Washington EMC Since




OCTOBER 2016 7

CWEMC’s Annual Meeting Tuesday, October 18, 2016 Jackson Fairgrounds US Hwy 43 Jackson, Ala.

8 OCTOBER 2016


October | Spotlight Braves honor Ala. woman fighting breast cancer

Calendar sales support those with special needs

In recognition of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, in October, Alabama Living is sharing the story of Carol Thomas, a member of North Alabama EC from Guntersville, who was honored by the Atlanta Braves earlier this year. Thomas was chosen by the Braves as their representative in Major League Baseball’s Honorary Bat Girl Contest, which recognizes baseball fans affected by breast cancer and who demonstrate a commitment to supporting the fight against the disease.

The Friends of Vivian B. Adams School group is dedicated to providing tuition funding for some of southeast Alabama’s most fragile residents. The group, which supports the school of the same name in Ozark, is sponsoring the sale of perpetual calendars to help fund its scholarship program. The Vivian B. Adams School (VBAS) serves mentally and physically disabled residents in Barbour, Coffee, Dale, Henry, Houston and Pike counties, providing educational, job training and personal care services. The Friends group has created a perpetual calendar to keep track of the special people in one’s life by listing their “VBAS” – Very important Birthdays, Anniversaries and Special occasions. The calendar is created to be passed down through generations, and is enhanced by artwork created by the VBAS students. All proceeds are directly deposited into the Pat Auman Memorial Scholarship Fund, which helps to eliminate interruptions in services for the school’s clients. To order a calendar, contact the school at 2047 Stuart Tarter Road, Ozark, AL 36360, or call 334-774-5132.


Whereville, AL Atlanta Braves players Freddie Freeman, left, and Nick Markakis welcome Carol Thomas as the Honorary Bat Girl on Mother’s Day at Turner Field.

Thomas has stage 4 metastatic triple negative breast cancer. “I will fight this battle for the rest of my life,” Thomas says, noting that there are currently no targeted therapies for triple negative breast cancer. She got involved with the Honorary Bat Girl Contest after deciding it was time to give back, and to raise awareness for her type of cancer. “We need our stories to be heard!” she says. The Braves honored Thomas with a day full of fun on Mother’s Day, including doing an interview with her for the Jumbotron; an interview with Fox Sports; a meet-and-greet with players’ wives, who brought her flowers; a special pink bat from Louisville Slugger, signed by Braves players; a purse from Dooney and Burke; and a chance to meet several Braves players, including first baseman Freddie Freeman. Thomas was eager to meet Freeman, who lost his mother to cancer. She asked Freeman one question: “ ‘As a mother, what comfort can I give to my children, knowing that I am going to die?’ He had the perfect answer. ‘Tell them to trust in God.’ That made the entire trip worth my time!” Friends and family members joined Thomas for the trip to Turner Field, and her daughter, Nikki Thomas, and nephew, Blake Barnes, joined her for a special tour of the Braves dugout.

Alabama Living


Spring Villa, a former plantation, dates to 1850 when William Penn Yonge built his home on land that featured a 30-acre spring-fed lake. The showplace and resort for the Yonge family was the scene of elaborate social gatherings and sporting events. Today, Spring Villa Park is a 325-acre park operated by the Opelika Parks and Recreation Department and can be rented for events and gatherings. Call 334-705-5560 for more information. (Submitted by Brenton Stringfellow, Tallapoosa River EC) Congratulations to Phyllis Mullis, a member of Dixie EC. the correct guess winner.

Identify and place an Alabama landmark or scene and you could win $25. Winner is chosen at random from all correct entries. Multiple entries from the same person will be disqualified. Send your answer by Oct. 5 with your name, address and the name of your rural electric cooperative. The winner and answer will be announced in the November issue. Contribute your own photo for an upcoming issue. Send a photo of an interesting or unusual landmark in Alabama, which must be accessible to the public. A reader whose photo is used will also win $25. Submit:

By email: By mail: Whereville P.O. Box 244014, Montgomery, AL 36124

Spring Villa Park in Opelika. OCTOBER 2016 9

| Power Pack |

Don’t be skeptical; Social Security is here to stay


t’s healthy to be skeptical in a world of uncertainties. Major news networks sometimes broadcast conflicting facts that require a bit of research to verify. There’s even a day in October dedicated to skeptics. So, this is the perfect time to tell all the skeptics that there’s no reason to think Social Security won’t be here for you well into the future. Recently, the Social Security Board of Trustees released its 76th annual report to Congress presenting the financial status of the Social Security trust funds for the short term and over the next 75 years. We’re pleased that legislation signed into law by President Obama last November averted a nearterm shortfall in the Disability Insurance (DI) trust fund that was detailed in a previous report. With that small, temporary reallocation of the Social Security contribution rate, the DI fund will now be able to pay full benefits until 2023, and the retirement fund will be adequate into 2035. It is important that members of Congress act well before 2023 in order to strengthen the finances of the program. As a whole, Social Security is fully funded until 2034, and after that it is about three-quarters financed. Many people wonder if Social Security will be there for them. Here’s a fact that will relieve any skepticism you might have: the increased cost of providing Social Security benefits for Baby Boomers is less than the nation’s increase in spending was for public education when the baby boomers were children. Put your skepticism aside and rest assured that Social Security is with you today and will be with you tomorrow. You can read the entire report at www.

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

10 OCTOBER 2016

Pickup trucks column evokes reader memories of trucks and family drama Your column in Alabama Living (August scribed the relationship between the clutch and 2016) has once again elicited memories of the gear shift, and sent me off into the pasture, some of my own early experiences, this time admonishing me not to strip the gears and not with pickups. As the son of a cattle rancher, it to hit any cows or stumps. It was a marvelous was inevitable that I would see trucks become adventure and a successful one. I went on many part and parcel of farm life, but that experience dates in a truck, but they were in the F-150 and not only changed the work routine but it also I resigned myself to this limitation on my soproduced some family drama as well. cial life. I did discover firsthand a pickup truck’s Frugality was foremost in my father’s aptraction problem, stemming from its light rear proach to many of life’s needs and wants, so my end. Once, when I could not negotiate the steep family improvised in various ways. The family ascent of a hilly graveled road, I finally prevehicle was not a pickup, but a black Ford twovailed by placing my three cooperative female door coupe, used primarily for personal tasks. passengers at the rear of the truck bed. I later For feeding cattle wisely refrained from and various farm activiany comment about the ties and for crossing the Letters to the editor weight of the ballast in numerous small, sandy E-mail us at: the rear. I don’t own a pickcreeks on the proper- or write us at: Letters to the editor up truck now. Since ty, we used a Farmall P.O. Box 244014 some years ago I gave tractor, hand-cranked, Montgomery, AL 36124 up raising cattle, I find with a four-wheeled that the rear of an SUV accommodates most of trailer in tow. The first pickup that I remember my carriage needs. I admit, though, that I know was my father’s grand acquisition — a Willys countless pickup owners and enjoy riding with 4-wheel drive Jeep. I envisioned negotiating them, relishing their company and undermuddy roads and crossing creeks with ease, standing their affinity for their pride and joy. with the simple engagement of an extra drive As I ride with them I also remember and relish train via a lever next to the gear shift. I soon the long-ago pickup experiences of my own. discovered that an additional requirement was turning locking on each front wheel. I have Bob Connell vivid memories of cold January mornings, Orange Beach my hands and fingers freezing and white with the cold, attempting to engage those stubborn metal hubs. Worse still, my father believed that Pickups are even up north keeping the 4-wheel mechanism engaged when on the open highway could cause unnecessary I read and especially enjoyed your article on wear on the transmission. Each return to a solSoutherners and their pickups. My new wife id roadway meant my getting out and disenwas raised in Fort Payne, Alabama, and is a gaging the hubs, and, as we frequently entered subscriber of the magazine. and exited pastures, this could occur seven or I was born and raised in Mississippi, leaving eight times in a single morning. the state in 1963. I spent six years in Athens, My father’s acquisition of the Jeep truck had Georgia, followed by nine years in Minnesota. indoor consequences, too. My mother went to Then, in 1978, I arrived in Connecticut and the city and purchased a White electric sewing have lived here for 38 years. All of these places machine. She had had enough of vigorousdid not take away my Southern accent. ly peddling the treadle on her manual Singer When I arrived here in Connecticut, many to sew clothes for the family, and my father’s people, when they heard my Southern accent, splurge drove her over the edge. Her defiant would make fun of me because of so many look when she brought that sewing machine pickups in the South. At the time, practically no home was a dare to anyone to utter a complaint. one up here owned a pickup; maybe a few busiThe Jeep truck was too valuable a prize to be nesses had one. So, up here they just did not see left to farmhands, however, so my father purmany. Their minds just could not get around chased a Ford F-150 pickup for the rest of us to the idea of individuals owning a pickup. Wow! use for feeding cows and other chores. Not long How things have changed! Now, there may be a afterward, the family acquired, at my mother’s higher ratio of people up here owning pickups suggestion, a Ford Mainline automobile, in that in the South. And for many years, I have keeping with tradition the cheapest available, not had anyone up here make fun of me bebut an automobile nevertheless. My father had cause of pickups in the South. Now, when you a rule — the auto made only one trip to the go by a dealership up here that sells pickups, nearest town per day. It didn’t matter whether most likely they will have more pickups for sale we needed more flour or if a child had whoopthan cars and SUVs combined. ing cough – the “one trip” rule prevailed. I eventually learned to drive in the Jeep truck. Marvin R. Turnipseed My father put me in the driver’s seat, briefly deNorth Haven, CT


It’s pickin’ time.

Getting on to pickin’ time I got cotton in the bottom land It’s up and growin’ and I got a good stand My good wife and them kids of mine Gonna get new shoes come pickin’ time.

Illustration by Dennis Auth

­–Johnny Cash, “Pickin’ Time”


n 1956, my Daddy’s tractor business went bottom up – a victim of recession and a switch from row crops to pine trees. So Daddy went back to teaching school, which was what he did before trying his hand at business. When summer came, he earned extra money measuring cotton. Today, not many folks know about cotton measuring. To better control production and keep prices stable, government planners assigned each farm an allotment based on some bureaucratic calculus I still don’t understand. Put simply, the big farms were allowed to plant big fields and the small farms were told to keep it small. In my county, where cotton was usually raised to supplement an income, few of the fields we measured were more than 20 acres -- most were far less. To make sure farmers did not plant beyond what the government allowed, “field agents” were sent out to measure the planting and determine the acreage. If the farmer overplanted, he was told to plow it up or pay a fine. The farmer had to decide whether it was best to pay it off or plow it under. Alabama Living

Thus another element of uncertainty was I had seen the animal in the lot by the added to a way of life already at the mercy barn. Fat, sleek, and like its owner, graying. of weather, weeds and weevils. Man and mule, bound together by that Weekday mornings we piled into Dadslender thread called cotton. Each needing, dy’s WWII surplus Jeep and off we went. depending on, the other. When we arrived at a farm, we invited the Soon they would lay by the crop and owner to accompany us and watch while come fall, it would be picked, ginned and we measured. sold. Then the farmer could pay his debts, During those months we met a lot of buy things for the family, and get some farmers, but one stands out from the rest. sweet feed for the mule. He was an elderly black man who took After that, the farmer and his friend us out to his patch. He was proud of it, could rest till it was time to plow again. and should have been. The middles were That was their world, a world made of plowed clean, the rows chopped, plants cotton. growing tall and healthy. If there was ever a field capable Last Sunday mornin’ when they passed the hat of producing that prayed-for- It was still nearly empty back where I sat. But the preacher smiled and said “That’s fine, bale-to-the-acre, this was it. Only there was no acre. The Lord’ll wait till pickin’ time.” Just two-tenths. That was his allotment – two-tenths of an acre. Harvey H. (“Hardy”) Jackson is Professor We measured it quickly and when we Emeritus of History were done, I asked him why he went to all at Jacksonville State University. He can be that trouble for such a small crop. reached at hjackson@ He considered me, kindly, and said, “I gotta have something for my mule to do.” OCTOBER 2016  11

From Soul Patrol to soul food: Alabama native Taylor Hicks returns to TV By Allison Griffin

Taylor Hicks has just one concert in Alabama on his fall tour. He’ll play the Lyric Theatre in Birmingham on Oct. 28.

Even with an outsized personality he can put strangers at ease


he aroma of smoked barbecue wafts through the dining room of the Birmingham restaurant, a mild distraction for the team prepping Taylor Hicks for a photo shoot for Alabama Living. The “American Idol” season 5 winner, who grew up in Alabama, is no stranger to being fussed over. It’s been 10 years since his win on the singing competition TV series, but he’s been anything but idle in the years since: Broadway, a two-year stint in Las Vegas, touring, writing music, some TV and acting appearances. The site for this particular photo shoot is Saw’s Juke Joint in the Crestline neighborhood of Birmingham, of which Hicks is part owner. (He maintains residences in Birmingham and Nashville.) He sits patiently through the primping and posing from a stylist, but the smells of a tasty lunch beckon. “Y’all want some wings? Let’s get them something to eat,” Hicks asks the wait staff, eager to feed his guests (and himself). He’s a natural fit in this role as host; after all, he’s been an entertainer, in one way or another, since high school. That charm, along with his soulful voice and stage presence, helped him win the top spot on “Idol” in 2006. In short order, a plate of hot smoked wings drizzled with white barbecue sauce appears, along with some fresh fried okra with remoulade on the side and a sweet tea fried chicken sandwich, served with plenty of pickles and more white sauce. Hicks doesn’t do the cooking at the Juke Joint himself, but he

does have a new venture that involves food: He’s the host of a new TV show, “State Plate,” which debuts at 8 p.m. Oct. 21 on INSP, a cable and satellite network (visit to check availability in your area). The show seems to be a natural extension for his career; after all, Hicks came to the world’s attention on TV. Even with an outsized personality he can put strangers at ease, a combination that should serve him well on the small screen. And, it allows him a chance to indulge his love of all things food. “You can’t not be a foodie and be from Alabama,” he says, taking a bite of that hot fried okra.

Come hungry

On “State Plate,” Hicks visits a different state for each episode, and travels within that state to find the foods that best represent the area. But it’s not just about featuring a chef or an eatery; the show is “truly a farm-to-table concept,” Hicks says, which allows him to learn about the origin of a state’s iconic foods. But each show is more than just peaches in Georgia or crab cakes in Maryland; for each episode, he samples a variety of delicacies. The first episode features Wisconsin, where Hicks milks a cow to make cheese curds, grinds pork to make bratwurst and visits a facility that produces more sauerkraut than anyone else in the world. (Alabama isn’t featured in this first season, but Hicks said plans are to work it in for the second.) He visits farms, ranches, markets, and festivals, uncovering the

Taylor Hicks is part owner of Saw’s Juke Joint in Birmingham, where this photo was taken in August. Hicks is undertaking a new food venture as host of the TV show “State Plate.” PHOTO BY MICHAEL CORNELISON

Alabama Living

OCTOBER 2016  13

stories and legends behind each state’s unique food traditions, according to INSP. For Hicks, it’s been a true learning experience. “I want it to be educational, first and foremost, because I’ve been educated,” he says. “And also, (I want people) to get hungry. Educated and hungry. It’s another way for people to get to know my personality.”

Branching out

After winning “Idol,” Hicks released his major label debut, “Taylor Hicks,” which debuted at No. 2 and was certified platinum in January 2007. His signature soul-pop song from “Idol,” “Do I Make You Proud,” debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. A tour with fellow “Idols” followed, and in 2008 he joined the cast of “Grease” in the role of Teen Angel on an Standing out in a crowd 18-month tour. Hicks says he’s “blessed” to be back on TV, the medium that His second full-length album, “The Distance,” followed in brought him to the country’s attention. Before “Idol,” he spent 2009, and was released on his own independent label after Arista several years pursuing a career in music. After graduating from dropped his contract. In the years since, he’s made several TV Hoover High School in 1995 and attending appearances (as well as returns to “Idol”), and Auburn University for a couple of years, he had a two-year residency on the Las Vegas spent a decade or so touring, mostly in the strip. Southeast, and self-produced two albums. Now, a new record is in the works, which In his 2007 book, Heart Full of Soul, he reHicks says should be released in 2017. Earlier counts the grueling years on the road in his stories reported the release date would be this 20s: trying to keep a revolving lineup of muyear, but Hicks says the pre-production prosicians together, playing gigs for next to nothcess is slow, and deliberately so. ing, losing money to shady promoters and “I’m very traditional, and sort of an oldowners, and living with the consequences of a school mentality. As quick as the attention partying lifestyle. Despite his father’s pleas for span has gotten through social media, I feel him to get a “real” job and settle down, Hicks like a little bit of the integrity is lost these days refused to give up on music and touring. from artists, because they feel like they have In August 2005, Hicks was in New Orleans to put out a single every week. I feel like putfor a wedding the weekend Hurricane Katrina ting out the best music and the best art that I struck. His flight home to Birmingham was can, at a certain time.” canceled, but the airline offered a voucher for Throughout his career, Hicks’ music has a free trip to make up for it. He made it out been difficult to categorize, which may be of New Orleans safely just before the storm Taylor Hicks visits Von Bergen’s Country why he hasn’t had the same chart-topper hit, and decided to cash in that voucher and Market in Hebron, Ill., on the second success as some of the other “Idol” winners, try his luck in a city built on long odds and episode of “State Plate.” The market like Carrie Underwood and Kelly Clarkson. is known for its homegrown popcorn crushed dreams: Las Vegas. But few Idols have been as successful as he Vegas also happened to be one of the cit- kernels. has been at what he calls “reinvention.” He’s a PHOTO FROM INSP ies holding “American Idol” tryouts, an idea “vehicle-driven artist,” he says, with vehicles Hicks had vaguely considered before Katrina. Almost on a lark, that include TV, Broadway, Vegas, touring and recording. Hicks was in the line for tryouts, a gray-haired man amid thouAsked about this new music and its genre, Hicks refers to it as sands of barely-adults, who wanted to be Justin Timberlake or “roots” music, which can refer to a broad range of musical genres Usher. – blues, folk, bluegrass, country, alt-country, gospel. Hicks, on the other hand, just wanted to make his own kind of “This is the reason I love being from Alabama. My music resoul music. flects in a similar way the food. It’s just got everything in it.”

Sound bites

A few stories about Taylor Hicks: • He’s played with scores of big-name artists, but one stand-out memory is playing harmonica with Willie Nelson at the famed Red Rocks venue in Colorado. “He told me that he was glad they let gray-haired guys go on ‘American Idol.’” • Hicks has a show coming up Oct. 28 at the Lyric Fine Arts Theatre in Birmingham, where he’ll be performing the hits of Van Morrison. He hasn’t played with Morrison, but Hicks was once bumped from an appearance on the talk show “Regis and Kathie Lee” to make room for the longtime musician/songwriter. Hicks stipulated that he had to at least 14  OCTOBER 2016

Taylor Hicks performs during “Bama Rising: A Benefit Concert For Alabama Tornado Recovery” at the Birmingham Jefferson Convention Complex on June 14, 2011. GETTY IMAGES

meet Morrison; as it turned out, Morrison and his wife watched “Idol” and knew who Hicks was, and their musical tastes were similar. “If you’re going to get bumped from a TV show, you might as well get bumped by Van Morrison,” Hicks says, smiling. • During the Alabama Living photo shoot for this story, Hicks was fine with letting others choose his clothing and set up the shots, but he took an active role in his posing and angles. “I’m real picky about angles,” he says. “There’s an angle on me that’s either George Clooney or Jay Leno. There’s no gray area.” No pun intended.

Alabama Living

OCTOBER 2016  15

Brewing up business “We’re involved in our communities and committed

Distilleries, wineries, breweries make impact on state’s economy

to their futures, so we give back,” says Jason Wilson, founder of Gadsden’s Back Forty Beer Co. “As we are successful, we work to make the places we call home more successful, too.”

By Jennifer Kornegay


eer, wine and spirits production in Alabama is a growing business segment, one quickly becoming a significant piece of the state’s economic puzzle. Thanks to a loosening of liquor laws over the last seven years, we’re experiencing a craft-brewery boom. It started with only one in 2008. After a few years of fermentation, there are now more than 28 (with a few more set to open soon) scattered all over the state. Those growing our native grapes and transforming their juice into flavorful wines are flourishing, too. Established vineyards are expanding and new ones are being founded. In 2013, the state’s first legally made liquor since prohibition was distilled, and there are now several companies giving us Ala-

bama-made spirits, letting us mix a little state pride into our cocktails. We even scored a leading role in the storied imbibing institution of another state. The barrels that hold one of the world’s most loved (and well-known) whiskeys are made in Alabama. Here’s a quick look at the business side of booze in our state.

Foaming facts

In 2009, when changes to state law made opening a craft brewery possible, beer production in Alabama hopped up from 1,000 barrels annually to almost 30,000 barrels by 2013. That number is still steadily rising, as the breweries currently operating in the state are malting, milling, mashing and fermenting more and more and turning out a diverse array of suds that seems to be ever expanding. And there are several new breweries slated to open this year, pushing the total to 34. According to Dan Roberts, executive director of the Alabama Brewers Guild, the growth has been “explosive.” Folks had been thirsty for Alabama-brewed beer for a long time before the top was popped on the industry, and the demand is still going strong and keeping the breweries busy. “Most are having a hard time keeping up,” he says. “That bodes well for the future.” It bodes well for all Alabamians too. A 2015 study conducted by Jacksonville State University found that the state’s craft breweries are having a $100 million economic impact. That’s a lot of money, but Alabama-based breweries still hold only a tiny fraction of the market share for beer consumed in our state. “We are about 1 percent, so there is a lot of room to grow,” Roberts says. “And we have a lot of growth left in us. We’re not at the apex yet; there’s still a ton of potential.” Just like the initial law change in 2009 that got the industry going, as more restrictions are

See & Sip If you want to learn more about the making of Alabama wine, beer and spirits, check out a few of these spots that offer tastings, behind-the-scenes tours or both. Check their websites for specifics.


Avondale Brewing Co., Birmingham, Back Forty Beer Company, Gadsden, Fairhope Brewing Company, Fairhope, Straight to Ale, Huntsville,


John Emerald Distilling, Opelika,


Whippoorwill Vineyards, Notasulga, Morgan Creek Winery, Harpersville, Wills Creek Winery, Duck Springs, Ozan Vineyard & Winery, Calera, Perdido Vineyards, Perdido,

Alabama Living

OCTOBER 2016 17

At Jack Daniels’ Cooperage in Trinity, 118 employees make up to 1,000 barrels a day for the popular whiskey brand; the wooden barrels are integral to the product’s final taste, which all starts with the white oak which imparts a rich, earthy flavor while removing impurities that can mar the liquid’s smooth finish.

removed allowing product to move to its market faster and easier, the brewing business attracts more people and creates more jobs. One longed-for piece of legislation, known as the “beer to go” bill, finally became law in 2016. Since June, breweries and brewpubs have been able to sell customers beer in containers they can take home. “Most of the legal hurdles are down now,” Roberts says. “It’s now on the breweries to make good beer and make smart decisions.” But what the state’s booming beer industry is providing equals more than the sum of its economic impact numbers. According to Jason Wilson, founder of Gadsden’s Back Forty Beer Co. and president of the Brewers Guild, it’s also had positive social and cultural effects. “It’s great because we’re now keeping some of the money spent on beer here in the state, but it’s beyond that. It’s a representation of an increased interest in new ideas and in things really ‘crafted,’” he says. “It’s also showing how consuming beer responsibly can be an enjoyable part of our lifestyle here.” And most of our craft breweries are owned by folks from the cities and towns in which they are based, like Back Forty. “I’m a fifth generation living in Gadsden,” Wilson said. “And that’s how it is for a lot of us (in the brewing industry). We’re involved in our communities and committed to their futures, so we give back. As we are successful, we work to make the places we call home more successful too.”

Barreling along

It’s true of anything we eat or drink: Quality ingredients yield a better tasting product. When it comes to whiskey, the ingredient list includes wooden barrels.

18 OCTOBER 2016

“At Jack Daniels, we consider the wood an ingredient; without the wood and the charring, you get no color; whiskey is actually distilled clear. It also helps with flavor. Up to 50 percent of a whiskey’s flavor comes from its barrel,” says Derrick Connor, the plant director at the Jack Daniels Cooperage in Trinity, the place making a good portion of these barrels. The cooperage started crafting the crucial storage vessels for several versions of Jack Daniels Whiskey, including the famous Old No. 7, in July 2014. Today, approximately 118 employees contribute their labor and skill at the 60-acre site to make 800 to 1,000 barrels a day. (Jack Daniels is one of the only distilleries in the world to still make its own barrels.) Joe Wheeler Electric Membership Cooperative, one of Alabama’s 22 rural electric cooperatives, supplies electricity to keep the plant running. As Connor explained, the barrels they’re building are integral to the product’s final form. Whiskey ages and mellows once put in a barrel, soaking up some of the wood’s rich, earthy flavor while the wood also removes impurities that can mar the liquid’s smooth finish. It all starts with the trees. “All of our wood is white oak, trucked in from mills in Stevenson, Ala., or Clifton, Tenn.,” Connor says. These wood planks are then transformed into tastemakers by a combination of automated and hand assembly. The wood is dried in a kiln, making it easier to cut into staves (the pieces that make the sides of the barrel) and heads (the round pieces that cap the top and bottom). The heads are planed by a machine, and then sent to a rounding table where workers finish them by hand. The staves are cut to size and angled joints are added, allowing the barrel to be put together in the next step. When the elements are all cut and approved, it’s time to “raise” the barrel. This is when a worker forms the staves into the traditional barrel shape. A quick ride through a steam tunnel makes the staves pliable, so the barrel will be more accepting of the metal rings dropped around it, and then it heads toward the real heat. The charring process is quick but intense. Each barrel is run over a natural gas flame and is allowed to ignite for 15 seconds; tongues of fire flicker along its inside walls and burn them black, creating a layer of charcoal, before the blaze is extinguished. “It’s really pretty exciting to watch,” Connor says. The whiskey seeps about ½ inch deep into the barrels’ sides, which are now coated in a natural charcoal filter that removes any impurities. The cooperage is one of two that serve Jack Daniels (the other is in Kentucky) and is currently focused on more hiring and training as future growth is expected.

Alabama Living

OCTOBER 2016  19

In high spirits

In 2013, the first liquor produced legally in Alabama since prohibition started flowing from Union Springs, a spot infamous for secret moonshine stills, when High Ridge Spirits started making its legitimate “liquid lightning.” High Ridge Spirits is currently making three ‘shines, the original Stills Crossroads Alabama ‘Shine and two flavored versions, Apple Pie and Peach. It also offers its 27 Springs Gin and Vodka. In the three years since High Ridge Spirits started, several other small-batch craft distillers have begun bottling, including Redmont Distilling in Birmingham, Gibson Distilling in Dale County, Wolf Creek Distillery in Elberta and John Emerald Distillery (JED) in Opelika. Founded by father-son team John and Jimmy Sharp in 2014, JED is named after Jimmy’s grandfather. After brewing beer at home for years as a hobby, the duo thought about doing it professionally. “We actually always enjoyed whiskey more, but we didn’t think we could do that legally in Alabama,” Jimmy says. When they found out they could, and noted the number craft breweries already popping up around Alabama, they decided to found their distillery, which makes John’s Alabama Single Malt Whiskey, Gene’s Spiced Rum (made with Alabama-farmed sugar cane) and Hugh Wesley’s Gin (made with juniper berries that grow wild in area woods). Sharp is excited by the new laws that allow distilleries to conduct both on- and off-premise sales and believes it will lead to an expansion of the industry. “It means a smaller distillery can become a viable as business,” he says. “I think we can expect several more super micro distilleries to open up in the next few years.” More distilleries mean more jobs and more taxes flowing into local and state coffers. “The new laws also encourage smaller experimental runs, which should lead to some interesting products in the future,” Sharp said.

Great grapes

When you think of wine, does Alabama come to mind? Maybe not. But maybe it should. The state currently has 17 wineries that cultivate plump grapes, crush and ferment them, and bottle the resulting liquid. Most rely on our area’s only native grape, the muscadine, although a few grow other varieties like Norton, and one, Maraella Winery in Hokes Bluff, is growing old world cabernet grapes. All total, more than 250 different wines are being made in Alabama. Wineries have been operating here for years before a single brewery or distillery opened (the first, Perdido Vineyards, opened in 1972), and since 2011, the production of wine in Alabama has more than tripled, with the state’s production volume rising from No. 41 to No. 37 in the country.

20 OCTOBER 2016

John Emerald Distillery was founded by a father-son team in Opelika in 2014; Gene’s Spice Flavored Rum, above, is made with Alabama-farmed sugar cane.

This year, this segment of the alcohol industry is benefitting from new laws too. One of them gives Alabama’s wineries the ability to open a tasting room that’s separate from their vineyard and winery operations location. Wineries could already sell their product directly to customers, but only at the facility where it was made. A second new law allows wineries to offer samples and hold tasting events at other retail businesses (as long as they have a license for off-site-consumption liquor sales). Thanks to the many changes in the legal environment in the last few years, the business of making and selling beer, wine and spirits is going strong and still growing in our state. It’s all part of larger “maker movement,” a return to the heritage of taking the time to make things locally and make them right that should make Alabamians proud. But there’s more to it than that; beyond the “home state” pride these companies and their products can induce, they’re providing needed jobs and having an increasingly positive economic impact on the cities and communities in which they’re based as well as on the entire state. Everybody can say cheers to that.

Check out the new North Alabama Craft Beer Trail, a self-guided tour featuring eight microbreweries and tasting rooms in north Alabama. Details, Page 38.

Alabama Living

OCTOBER 2016  21

Future of rural America rests with voters


hile the November presidential race is at the top of most voters’ minds this election season, it is the state and local races that have a more direct and immediate impact on the “kitchen table” issues that matter most to families in rural America. An annual snapshot prepared by U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Economic Research Service says “rural employment in mid-2015 was still 3.2 percent below its pre-recession peak in 2007.” That same report found that rural America continues to experience population decline driven by residents moving to larger urban areas. The trends underlying much of this outmigration – issues such as globalization, technology advances and the shift from a manufacturing-based economy to a service and knowledge-based economy – are largely beyond the control of any community, state or even country. Although the challenges facing rural America are global, the prevailing sentiment among rural stakeholders and researchers is that the solutions are largely homegrown. In other words, if rural America is to enjoy a prosperous future, it will be thanks to the ingenuity, self-reliance and determination of its people. The rural electrification movement is a prime example of this. When for-profit utilities based in urban areas declined to build electric lines in sparsely populated rural areas, the residents of those communities banded together to form cooperatives and build their own systems with the help of government loans. Today, America’s electric cooperatives are finding new ways to support and promote the interests of the communities they serve.

22 OCTOBER 2016

Co-ops Vote

One program that is particularly relevant today is the Co-ops Vote initiative. This non-partisan, nationwide program is designed to promote civic engagement and voter participation in communities served by electric cooperatives. Co-op members can go to to gather information on the voter registration process in their state, dates of elections, information on the candidates running in those elections and explanations of key issues affecting rural America. Visitors to the website can also take a pledge to be a co-op voter. By taking this pledge, they can send a message to candidates at all levels of government that electric cooperative members will be showing up at the polls in force, and are paying close attention to the issues that impact the quality of life in their communities.

Growing our own leaders

To answer the call for more rural leaders, America’s electric cooperatives created the Washington Youth Tour program. Each year, approximately 1,700 high school students representing electric cooperatives from across the nation converge in Washington, D.C., for a weeklong, all-expenses-paid leadership development experience. Alabama sent 47 bright young students to Washington in June, all from rural areas and small towns that will need their leadership in years to come.

Taking action for the future

The challenges facing rural America will not be solved by one person, one idea or one action. But on Nov. 8, we will determine which leaders we trust to enact policies that will help small communities help themselves. In the 2012 national elections, voter turnout dropped by 9 percent overall, but the decline in rural counties was 18 percent — twice that of the nation as a whole. To make sure our rural voices are heard, we have to vote. Study the issues that are critical to the future of your community. Look at the positions and backgrounds of every candidate running for every race from president to county road commissioner. Decide which ones are best qualified to address these issues. Then join millions of fellow electric cooperative members at the polls.

Alabama Living

OCTOBER 2016  23

Carnegie’s legacy lives on in Alabama By Marilyn Jones


had just finished touring the Bessemer Hall of History Museum when my tour guide, Trisston Burrows, asked if I knew they also had a Carnegie Library. “It now serves as the chamber of commerce office and we’re very proud of it.” I drove the few blocks to see what once served as its library. A stately brick building might not seem like a springboard of curiosity for some, but I was immediately interested — why would a Pennsylvania industrialist build a library in Bessemer, Alabama?

Andrew Carnegie

During the last 18 years of his life, Scottish-American Andrew Carnegie gave away nearly 90 percent of his steel industry wealth ($350 million equaling billions today) to charities, foundations, universities and communities to build libraries. In the closing years of the 19th century and early years of the 20th century, a total of 2,509 Carnegie libraries were built around the world, 1,689 in the U.S. Alabama was the recipient of 19 library building grants, including five on university campuses. By the time the last grant was made in 1919, there were 3,500 libraries in the United States; nearly half of them were built with construction grants paid by Carnegie. In Alabama, ten have been converted for other use and seven razed. Only two are still being used as libraries — in Eufaula and Union Springs.

Why libraries?

Books and libraries were important to Carnegie, beginning with his early childhood in Scotland and his teen years in Allegheny/Pittsburgh. There he listened to readings and discussions of books from the Tradesman’s Subscription Library, which his father helped establish. Later, while working for the local telegraph company, Carnegie borrowed books from his employer. In his autobiography, Carnegie describes his personal experience as an immigrant who, with help from others, worked his way into a position of wealth. This reinforced his belief in a society based on merit, where anyone who worked hard could become successful. This conviction was a major element of his philosophy of giving in general and of his libraries as its best known expression. 24 OCTOBER 2016

Eufaula Carnegie Library looks like a grand mansion. PHOTO COURTESY EUFAULA CHAMBER OF COMMERCE


The Eufaula Carnegie Library, 317 Eufaula Ave., looks like a grand mansion, with its two-story brick facade and yellow trim. An arched windowpane of colored glass adorns the space above the west entrance. A gabled portico, with a set of round Doric columns, welcomes patrons to the north entrance. Built at a cost of $10,000 in 1903 and 1904, the city council agreed to pay $1,000 a year for its operation. It was Carnegie’s method to build and equip the libraries, but only on condition that the local authority match that by providing the land and a budget for operation and maintenance. “The two front rooms of the library, now used as the genealogy, local history room and director’s office, feature identical corner fireplaces and high wooden mantels supported by Ionic columns,” says Ryan McCollough, communications coordinator for the Eufaula Barbour County Chamber of Commerce. Another outstanding feature, McCollough says, is the library’s large second-floor auditorium. “In the library’s early years, the auditorium was the scene of high school graduation ceremonies, dances and other public events.” Eufaula, a city of just over 13,000, is also known for its other historic buildings, many listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The Seth Lore and Irwinton Historic District, with 667 contributing properties, is the second-largest historic district in the state.

Union Springs

The architectural design of the Union Springs Carnegie Library, 103 North Prairie St., is Classic Revival-Beaux arts. Efforts to open a library began in the late 1800s when the Ladies’ Lyceum was formed. After two years of fundraisers to buy 332 books, the library opened in the basement of the Baptist Church. Members paid $2 a year to borrow books. The library was open four hours a week with members of the lyceum volunteering to serve as librarian.

After the turn of the century, Miss Molly Norman wrote to Andrew Carnegie asking for help in building a public library. After city council appropriated $1,000 a year as operating funds, Carnegie approved a $7,000 grant for construction, which began in 1911. Completely restored in 2010, the library features original antique furniture, light fixtures and mahogany woodwork. Like Eufaula, the library features a stage, dressing rooms and movie projection room on the lower level used over the past century for public events. Union Springs has an unusual wealth of historic homes, businesses and monuments for a community of less than 4,000. On the city tour there are 48 stops. From an 1851 log cabin and Bullock County Courthouse (1871-1872) to the 1852 antebellum Foster-Chapman House, said to be the finest surviving example of the Moorish Revival style, the city offers a plethora of interesting destinations along its tree-lined streets. It is a treasure for the state of Alabama to have two Carnegie libraries. Maintained by communities with a respect of history, they continue to fulfill their original mission to make books available, as was Carnegie’s wish.

The name Carnegie is displayed over the library’s arched windowpane of colored glass. PHOTO COURTESY TOURISM COUNCIL OF BULLOCK COUNTY

Other library sites Used for a different purpose: Bessemer Decatur Montgomery Selma Talladega Troy Alabama A&M Alabama Polytechnic Institute Judson College Tuskegee University

No longer standing: Anniston Avondale Ensley Gadsden Huntsville West End Talladega College

Alabama Living

OCTOBER 2016  25

Skeet shooting in a cow pasture is alternate to commercial ranges By Ben Norman


ou don’t have to take the family to a comlars for a professional model. Manual cocking mercial shooting range to enjoy an aftertraps start at around $30. The type of trap to buy noon of fun breaking clay targets. depends on what you want to accomplish. If you “Pull!” shouts Ellen Norman as her 13-yearsimply want to brush up on your wing shooting old nephew, Charlie Elliott, releases a clay “bird” skill or introduce the family or friends to the from the trap. sport, a hand trap or inexpensive spring trap will Norman makes a direct hit with a load of probably meet your requirements. One of the best traps I have used is the Trius Number 8 shot from her 20 gauge and the “bird” One Step trap. This trap is loaded by hand but disappears in a cloud of black smoke. She has cocked and released all in one downward motion just “smoked” her first clay target in an afterof your foot. It is very similar to depressing the noon of informal clay target shooting with famclutch on a straight shift vehicle. With this trap ily and friends. From the look of satisfaction on you use the weight of your body to depress the her face, she’s just discovered what might be her spring rather than havnewest favorite sport. ing to use upper body Shooting skeet, strength to cock it. Ansporting clays or trap other advantage of the is excellent practice for Trius One Step is that the coming dove, duck the shooter can operate and quail season. It is it without assistance, also great recreation making a solo practice for anyone with no insession possible. terest in hunting but If you really get the who enjoys the shootclay target shooting ing sports. bug, you may want to Sporting clays has invest in in a commerbecome very popular in cial grade trap similar the United States in the to the ones used at oflast 30 years, attracting ficial courses. These thousands to its ranks traps are made for annually. Sporting clay continuous use and shooting simulates acare built to take it. tual hunting conditions They also provide a more than trap or skeet wider range of angle shooting. There is even and speed adjustment a large “rabbit” clay tarthan the less expensive get that skips along the spring traps. ground like a cottonClay targets can be tail rabbit. Shooting a Ellen Norman takes aim as Charlie Elliott releases a PHOTO BY BEN NORMAN purchased at sporting sporting clays course is clay target. goods stores and large a lot of fun, but shootdiscount stores. They are often used as leader ing at a commercial range can become expensive items just prior to dove season every year and if one desires to shoot frequently or has to pick this is a good time to stock up on them. Another up the tab for the whole family. excellent time to find a discounted price on clay There is an alternative to shooting at a comtargets is after the hunting season is over. mercial range. Most of us have access to a suitMost any open choked shotgun can be able area for shooting clay targets. A pasture, used for informal clay target shooting. While open field or sparsely wooded areas with a safe semi-autos and over/under shotguns are the shot fall zone is all you need for an afternoon of most popular on sporting clay courses, a pump, shooting clay targets. The only cost involved for side by side or single barrel can be used. Young informal clay target shooting is the cost of the shooters or anyone of small stature will be less trap and clay targets, assuming you already have intimidated with recoil from the smaller gauges. a shotgun and shells. The 20 gauge is preferred by many shooters beTarget throwers or traps will run from $5 to cause it offers a good shot pattern and low recoil. $25 for a hand thrower to several thousand dol26 OCTOBER 2016

The 28 gauge and 12 gauge with light loads are also popular. Shot shells are a matter of personal choice. Many shooters are happy with the bargain shells offered at the big discount stores while others prefer shells designed for sporting clays. The Winchester AA load is a longtime favorite of many experienced shooters. My favorite load for introducing a beginner to clay target shooting is the Winchester AA Low Recoil/Low Noise load. According to Winchester’s Laci Warden, their engineers

used clean burning powder, a hinged wad and reduced load weight to offer a soft recoiling load while still maintaining excellent on-target performance. As with any shooting sport, safety and ear protection should be a primary concern. Pick up a hand or spring trap, a box of clay targets and take the spouse, kids and a few friends to the back 40 to burst a few clays. It’s good family fun. Ben Norman writes from Highland Home.

Ben Norman enjoys clay target shooting in his field with family. PHOTOS BY MARK STEPHENSON

Alabama Living

OCTOBER 2016 27

28  OCTOBER 2016

October | Around Alabama and Special Education Consultants and Con-

Photo courtesy of Landmark Park.

ference organizers present “Unlocking the Mystery of Developmental Disorders”. Canaan Baptist Church, 2543 Morgan Road, 8 a.m.-3:15 p.m. The conference will provide information for parents, general and special educators, speech therapists, paraprofessionals, and anyone with a desire to learn about exceptionalities and associated traits. Topics include classroom applications, legal issues, speech/language therapy, working memory, applied behavior analysis and more. For more information, contact


Learn more about traditional farm activities at Landmark Park, Dothan, on Oct. 15 at Fall Farm Day.

Weekends in October

Calera, Pumpkin Patch Express at the Heart of Dixie Railroad Museum. Ride the train to the Pumpkin Patch to pick out your perfect pumpkin. Board our vintage train for an autumn ride through the forests of Shelby County. Visit the Great Pumpkin, take a hay ride, and enjoy other family activities. Snacks and drinks available for purchase at the gift shop. Pumpkin Patch, cash only. 1919 9th Street.


Athens, Tennessee Valley Old Time Fiddlers Convention held at Athens State University. Outdoor convention featuring more than 200 musicians. Contest begins at 7 p.m. Friday, 8:30 a.m. Saturday, with finals at 6 p.m. $15 a day, $20 for both.Arts and crafts vendors also on site.


Boaz, 52nd Harvest Festival. Featuring Harvest Festival Beauty Pageant, Moon Pie Contest, entertainment by the Sweet Tea Trio, and children’s activity area.


Guntersville, Lakeside Quilters Biennial Quilt Show, Guntersville Recreation Center, 1500 Sunset Drive. Features beautiful quilts, Quilts of Valor, vendors and a variety of handmade items for sale. Quilt appraisals available by appointment. 12-4 p.m. $5, children under 6 free. 256-582-6510


Nauvoo, Old Time Music & Craft Workshop. Classes offered in various disciplines - musical instruments and art me-

diums. Participants register for one class that includes 6 sessions in that discipline. Check-in begins at 4 p.m. and classes conclude after lunch Oct. 16.


Bay Minette, Catfish Roundup for the Disabled. 9 a.m.-3 p.m. All disabled persons and volunteers welcome. Fishing equipment provided. Grimes Nursery, 36900 State Highway 59. 251-937-5993


Dothan, Fall Farm Day at Landmark Park, Come and learn how peanuts were harvested in the Wiregrass nearly 100 years ago. Enjoy the sights, sounds and smells of cane grinding, syrup making, butter churning and other traditional farm activities. $8 adults, $6 seniors/active military, $4 children ages 3-11, free for park members. 430 Landmark Drive.


Millbrook, Annual Angel Fest, 9 a.m.-2 p.m., St. Michael and All Angels Church, 5941 Main St. Shop unique arts and crafts, bake sale and silent auction. Live entertainment, children’s carnival, concessions and a Boston butt sale. Proceeds help others in the Millbrook and West Elmore County communities. For vendor information or to pre-order a Boston butt, call 334-285-3905.


Pine Hill, Depot Day at the Pine Hill Municipal Complex, 517 Oak Grove Street. 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Features arts & crafts, food, entertainment, children’s activities, car show and more. Free. 334-963-4351.


Enterprise, Grammy Award winner Larry Gatlin, an American country legend, Southern Gospel singer and songwriter, will perform at the Enterprise High School Performing Arts Center, 1801 Boll Weevil Circle, at 7 p.m. Larry Gatlin’s biggest hits include “Broken Lady,” “All the Gold in California,”“She Used to be Somebody’s Baby” and more. The Blackwood Brothers will perform Southern gospel hits such as “How Great Thou Art,” “Swing Down Sweet Chariot” and more. Coffee County Arts Alliance, 334-406-2787 or visit


Bessemer, Alabama Autism Society, Down Syndrome Alabama


Montgomery, Untangling the Web: Finding your Alabama Ancestors in Cyberspace. Are you lost in the web of too many family history sites? Come to the State Department of Archives and History from 9 a.m.-12 p.m. to gain information on the best websites, online resources and most effective genealogical search strategies. $30 for the public, $20 for Friends of Alabama Archives members., 334-242-4435.

Find an Oktoberfest near you! 1, Moody, 10 a.m.-4 p.m., Arts and crafts, pony rides, entertainment, car show, food and more. Free. 1-2, Florence, St. Florian Oktoberfest, Music, artisans, children’s activities, antique tractor and engine show, German food. Held at St. Michael’s Church. 5-9, Cullman, Car show, Miss Oktoberfest pagaent, 3rd annual BBQ challenge, Oktoberfest 10K, 5K and 1 mile fun run, entertainment. Free. 211 2nd Ave. NE. 8, Auburn, 4-9 p.m., the Hotel at Auburn University. Homebrew Alley featuring local brewers, German food and entertainment. 8, Alexander City, Local arts and crafts, dining, entertainment, kid-fest children’s activities, antique car show and more. 256-329-6739

To place an event, e-mail or visit 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.

Alabama Living

Theodore, Boo at Bellingrath, Bellingrath Gardens and Home, 12401 Bellingrath Gardens. The gardens will be filled with Halloween themed inflatables to guide visitors along the pathways to the Great Lawn. Treat stations will have candy and trinkets. Local food trucks and crafts and activities. Event hours are 11 a.m.-3 p.m. with regular garden hours 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. $13 adults, $7.50 ages 5-12. No charge to Bellingrath members and children 4 and younger. Registration encouraged. 251-973-2217,

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OCTOBER 2016 29


It’s back! Once again, Alabama Living readers have a chance to vote on the places and things that make our state great! We’ve got some new categories this year. So check out the questions, pick an answer for each one, or tell us what’s your choice for the “Best of Alabama!” Best non-franchise place for ice cream Best themed trail Peach Park (Clanton) Tasty Dip (Heflin)

Trowbridge’s (Florence) (Other)

Best non-franchise place for fried chicken

Crowe’s (Troy/Sylacauga) Dot’s Soulfood Diner (Hillsboro)

Martin’s Restaurant (Montgomery) (Other)

Civil Rights Trail Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail

Alabama Food and Wine Trail (Other)

Best family outing location Alabama beaches Zip line tour

Barber Marina (Bamahenge, dinosaurs) (Other)

Best football player to play in Alabama

Best “spur of the moment” weekend trip

Bo Jackson Joe Namath

Rent a cabin (Northeast Alabama) Alabama wineries

Bart Starr (Other)

Best campground

Gulf State Park Joe Wheeler State Park

Wind Creek State Park (Other)

Best state park Gulf State Park Cheaha State Park

Oak Mountain State Park (Other)

Best small town art Murals in Dothan & Andalusia Fairhope’s downtown galleries

Studios & museums in the Shoals area (Other)

Best prehistoric/archeology site Russell Cave National Monument Rickwood Caverns

Best waters to fish

Lake Guntersville Pickwick Lake

Old Cahawba (Other)

Mobile Bay

Gulf beaches (Other)

Best sports venue Bryant-Denny Stadium Jordan-Hare Stadium

Talladega Superspeedway (Other)

Best waterfall DeSoto Falls Noccalula Falls

Little River Falls (Other)

Best Native American site Moundville Archaeological Park Fort Mims State Historic Site

Horseshoe Bend National Military Park (Other)

Best wildlife park or sanctuary Harmony Park Safari (Huntsville) Oak Mountain State Park

Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge (Other)

Best thing about living in Alabama


Best waters to play Lake Martin Lake Guntersville

Coosa River

Best compliment you hear about Alabama


Best outdoor annual festival/jubilee National Shrimp Festival Jubilee Hot Air Baloon Classic

National Peanut Festival (Other)

What was your favorite article you read in Alabama Living this year?



Name: _______________________________________________________________ Address: _________________________ City: ___________ St: ___Zip: ________ Phone Number: __________________Co-op: ______________________________

Mail to: Alabama Living Survey • P.O. Box 244014 • Montgomery, AL 36124 No purchase necessary. Eligibility: Contest open to all persons age 18 and over, except employees and their immediate family members of Alabama Rural Electric Association, and Alabama Electric Cooperatives; and their respective divisions, subsidiaries, affiliates, advertising, and promotion agencies.

30 OCTOBER 2016

Cast your vote for the Best of Alabama for the chance to win



Deadline to vote is Oct. 31, 2016.





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| Worth the drive |

Gameday favorite spot feels like home


his place is like home to me, and the folks that come here to eat are like family,” said Linda Smelley, owner of The Waysider in Tuscaloosa. The historic restaurant, popular for its bountiful breakfasts and its biscuits, is actually in an old house, and the crimson-red, wooden cottage with its houndstooth awning feels like home to plenty of others too, as evidenced by the many regulars who return week after week to fill up on Southern first-meal favorites. Add the out-of-town relatives – the “football family members” who visit on University of Alabama home-game Saturdays to fuel up for a day packed with pigskin action and probably even more food – and Smelley’s got quite the clan to feed.

Story and photos by Jennifer Kornegay She has proven up to the task. The Waysider has been satisfying its large extended family since 1948, and while Smelley bought it in 1989, the restaurant has been a part of her life for more than four decades. “Some of my relatives bought it from the original owner, and I worked here for years before I bought it. I grew up here, and now my kids work here too,” she said. “I think lots of folks like coming here because of that family feeling; it’s like being at your grandmother’s.” When you combine this heartfelt heritage, the friendly welcome, the homey setting, the hot coffee that flows freely and fast, the hearty portions and the scratch-made biscuits, the result is an experience that is definitely akin to eating at your grandmother’s house.

That is, if your grandmother is a zealous, bordering-on-obsessed University of Alabama football fan. An almost life-size cardboard Coach Saban greets guests at The Waysider’s front door, and the frenzy of fandom continues inside. From the crimson carpet on the floor to the walls hidden behind images of iconic Tide football moments, newspaper headlines announcing U of A victories and signed photos of legendary coaches, The Waysider makes its allegiances clear. Despite the Alabama memorabilia and spirit that envelops diners, even Auburn and Tennessee fans probably feel at home once their order comes out. Plates are piled with slim, spongy pancakes; sugar-cured ham freckled with brassy spots of crisped

A saucer of biscuits is the perfect accompaniment to sugar-cured ham and eggs.

32 OCTOBER 2016

FRONTIER DAYS Fort Toulouse - Fort Jackson

Saturday, November 5


Adults - $8 Students - $7 Under 6 Free Hours: 9 am - 4 pm


An historic property of the Alabama Historical Commission

Alabama Living

OCTOBER 2016 33

The Waysider

1512 Greensboro Avenue, Tuscaloosa, AL 205-345-8239 Hours: M-F, 5:30 a.m. – 2 p.m., breakfast all day; lunch from 11 a.m. – 2 p.m. Sat, 5:30 a.m. – 12 p.m., breakfast only Sun, 6:30 a.m. – 1 p.m., breakfast only


The Waysider was voted the best non-franchise place for breakfast in Alabama in the 2015 “Best of Alabama” contest.

fat; and pale yellow clouds of scrambled eggs. A small bowl of thin, salty grits (perfect pork-dipping consistency) and a saucer of biscuits come with every order. Servers, including Smelley’s son, pace the small dining area with its mix of sorority girls, senior citizens and everyone in between, offering customers more coffee and more biscuits. Some folks wave their hand over their mug, signaling they’ve had enough joe. But hardly anyone turns down an extra helping of the small, square-ish biscuits. Puffed out air pockets, plainly visible amid their many layers, render them soft and light. Browned to golden on the bottom, they don’t require any embellishment, but are often dunked in red-eye gravy or slathered with butter just the same. If you ask Smelley the secret behind her biscuits, she’ll tell you there isn’t one. “It’s just your basic recipe,” she said. But there’s definitely some alchemy at work. “You just have to know how to knead the dough; there’s a feel to it,” she said. 34 OCTOBER 2016

Armed with this seemingly instinctive knowledge, Smelley and her kitchen crew bake biscuits by the thousands each weekend, especially in the fall. The restaurant sees crowds of more than 650 on gameday Saturdays, but even more the next day. “We serve close to 750 folks on Sundays,” Smelley said. While weekends are all about the biscuits and other breakfast foods – it’s all The Waysider serves on those days – during the week, the restaurant also offers lunch, a rotating list of items (hand printed on a card each day) including pot roast, fried catfish and all kinds of Southern-style veggies, like Smelley’s favorite, eggplant casserole. But on those special Saturdays in autumn, when the Tide faithful fill the place, there’s a feeling of shared purpose and pride that swells alongside waistlines. And when the game clock hits zero, it almost doesn’t matter what the scoreboard says. Start your day at The Waysider, and you’re already a winner.

Take a closer look at the Waysider online at

Crimson Tide memorabilia decorates the walls.

Alabama Living

OCTOBER 2016  35

| Gardens |

The luck of leaves Looking for a little luck in the coming year? Try catching a falling leaf!


October Tips  Apply compost to gardens and turn compost piles.  Test soil and add amendments as needed.  Dry and save seed from end-of-season flowers, vegetables and herbs.  Take cuttings of tender perennials and begin rooting them.  Clean and store empty pots, garden tools and equipment for the winter.  Plant lettuces, spinach, turnips, radishes, onions and garlic.  Plant a winter garden cover crop (ryegrass, clover, etc.) to protect and enrich soil.  Keep mowing lawns until no sign of new growth is evident.  Fill bird feeders and birdbaths to attract migrating and local birds.

36 AUGUST 2016

ccording to my husband (and other sources of folklore) it’s lucky to catch a falling autumn leaf before it hits the ground — a month’s worth of luck for each leaf caught, in fact. I’m not as adept at catching airborne leaves as my husband is, but I console myself in feeling very lucky to see the display that those leaves provide before they fall, whether that be through the windshield of a car, on a wooded trail or in our own yard. And it just so happens that the amount and brilliance of fall leaf color is dependent on a bit of luck: the luck of weather conditions that is. If the previous summer and early fall have been particularly dry, the leaves of deciduous plants (those that lose their leaves in the winter) will likely not produce vivid fall colors and may turn brown instead of colorful before they fall. The intensity of fall color is greatest when fall weather patterns provide warm, sunny days and cool but not freezing nights. The technical reasons behind fall color have less to do with luck and more to do with science — harken back to all those terms we learned in high school, such as photosynthesis. Photosynthesis is the process through which sunlight is used by plants to turn water and carbon dioxide into oxygen (for us to breathe) and sugars, which plants use for food during their spring and summer growing seasons. As days get shorter in the fall and there is less sunlight to fuel the food-making process, deciduous plants begin to shut down and stop photosynthesizing. Then there is the role of chlorophyll (yep, another term from our high school science pasts), which gives leaves their green color. As the plants stop photosynthesizing, chlorophyll ebbs away and allows orange and yellow pigments that

are naturally in the leaves to emerge. The reds and purples that some plants display in their fall leaves are actually caused by sugars trapped in leaves as photosynthesis stops, while the brown color in leaves is caused by wastes left behind at the end of photosynthesis. Whew, now that the science lesson is out of the way, how about a little lesson in how to appreciate the artistry of fall colors? Alabama abounds with many opportunities to see fall color and, according to the Farmers’ Almanac, this year’s prime leaf peeping season in Alabama should be between Oct. 19 and Nov. 4. If you want to take the luck out of finding this year’s best fall leaf displays, the Alabama Tourism Department and Alabama State Parks Division provide interactive maps and leaf-peeping trail ideas at http:// But even if you can’t go on a leaf-peeping journey, you can create your own fall showplace by planting the right trees and shrubs — and this is a great time of year to do some of that planting and often to get some good deals on trees and shrubs. Among the recommended plants for fall color in Alabama are the old standbys: dogwood, gingko, redbud and red, Japanese and sugar maples. But you can also consider other plant choices such as crape myrtle, sourwood and blueberry, to name a very few. Looking for an amazing garden experience this fall? Try “Denim and Diamonds,” the Montgomery Federation of Garden Club’s 63rd Annual Fall Flower Show, which will be held during the Alabama National Fair at Garrett Coliseum in Montgomery from Oct. 28 through Nov. 2. For more information on this flower-filled event go to or contact Rose Winkler at 334-270-0884 or Marie Updike at 334-328-0164.

Katie Jackson is a freelance writer and editor based in Opelika, Alabama. Contact her at katielamarjackson@

Alabama Living

OCTOBER 2016  37

New beer trail highlights craft breweries in North Alabama


he Alabama Mountain Lakes Tourist Association (AMLA) has announced the new North Alabama Craft Beer Trail and the North Alabama Craft Beer Passport. The Trail invites craft beer enthusiasts on a self-guided tour of eight North Alabama microbreweries offering hundreds of unique flavors custom to the region. Available on, the self-guided tour features eight microbreweries and tasting rooms located in Florence, Huntsville, Madison, Cullman, Guntersville and Gadsden. “Designed for residents and visitors to enjoy, the North Alabama Craft Beer Trail is a unique attraction highlighting Alabama-made beer while providing a boost to the North Alabama economy,” said AMLA President/CEO Tami Reist. “The Trail spotlights fresh, locally-brewed beer and is another opportunity to give visitors a unique destination experience that can only be enjoyed in North Alabama.” Participating breweries on the North Alabama Craft Beer Trail: Goat Island Brewing, Cullman Singin’ River Brewing, Florence Back Forty Beer Company, Gadsden Main Channel Brewery, Guntersville Mad Malts Brewing, Huntsville Salty Nut Brewery Straight to Ale, Huntsville Blue Pants Brewery, Madison Passage of the Free The Hops Gourmet Beer Bill in 2009, the Brewery Modernization Act in 2011, and the 2016 Growler Bill removed some of the restrictions on beer production and consumption in Alabama and has led to an increase in the creation of microbreweries in the state. The Alabama Brewers Guild estimates as many as 300 people work in Alabama-based breweries or brewpubs and an economic analysis produced for the trade group by Jacksonville State University estimated that total employment could increase by 655 jobs within five years under the new law, with an ad38  OCTOBER 2016

ditional economic output of more than $100 million. Along with information available online, a new tourism brochure has been developed providing craft beer lovers with location information, beer selections, taproom hours, tour information and a passport. Brochures can be obtained by calling AMLA at 800-648-5381 or are available at the AMLA office or at any participating brewery. To participate in the North Alabama Craft Beer Trail, stop by any participating brewery to pick up a passport. Visit each one and receive a stamp. After completing the passport, craft beer enthusiasts will be able to win a free keepsake bottle opener as a prize from AMLA. The North Alabama Craft Beer Passport is modeled after the North Alabama Wine Trail Passport created by AMLA. Visitors stop by the six locations of the North Alabama Wine Trail to receive a stamp. After visiting all locations, wine lovers return the completed passport to AMLA for a free gift. According to Becky Berta of Jules J. Berta Winery, the North Alabama Wine Trail and Passport has had a direct impact on their bottom line. “The North Alabama Wine Trail’s marketing efforts of a brochure and passport have paved a way for attracting new business and now we are seeing many repeat customers. The Trail has brought the six wineries together and allows us to create special events and cross-promote one another. If you want to create a spark in your business, you have to actively promote it, and The Wine Trail and Passport have given us just that,” said Berta. The Trail and Passport launched in the spring of 2015 and approximately 1,000 visitors have completed the Trail. Information related to the Trail and Passport can be found at http://www. The North Alabama Craft Beer Trail is membership-based. For more information or to inquire about joining, call AMLA at 256-350-3500.

Campfire cooking tips Check out our reader-submitted campfire recipes on Pages 46-49! Use these bits of wisdom to easily and efficiently prepare your campfire meals. • Start by finding a flat, level spot for your fire. Keep at least a10-foot radius between your fire and supplies, tents and chairs, and steer clear of low-hanging branches or brush. Then, create a spot for your fire by getting rid of leaves and other debris and digging a small pit. Next, circle your area in rocks or stones. • Gather both small sticks and large ones, and remember that dry wood works best. Form a tepee of smaller sticks over a bundle of leaves, dry grass and tiny twigs. Light the bundle and blow on it gently to help the flame catch the tepee sticks. Once the fire is going, slowly build it up with larger sticks stacked against your tepee. • Always have some water near by to extinguish a fire that gets out of hand, and never leave your fire unattended. If you’ve got a full day of hiking and other activities planned before you start dinner, help keep your meat at a safe temperature by freezing it before adding it to your cooler. And use a meat thermometer to ensure that chicken or other poultry is done before you take it off the fire. • Chop, prep and measure as many ingredients as you can at home, before you set off to the campsite. • Remember to pack paper towels, a cutting board, one large knife and long-handled tongs for removing food from the fire. And when you are ready to leave your campsite, follow the guidelines set forth by the Leave No Trace organization, including burning all wood and coals to ash, putting out campfires completely and scattering cool ashes. More information is available at

What was your favorite Christmas gift? Do you have a particularly memorable Christmas gift story? It could be heartwarming: Maybe a loved one made a personal sacrifice to give you something special. Or it could be humorous: Perhaps there’s a funny “re-gift” that makes the rounds every year. Tell us your story, in 200 words or less! Please include a photo. (We’ll be glad to return mailed photos.) Send to agriffin@, or mail to Alabama Living Christmas stories, P.O. Box 244014, Montgomery, AL 36124-4014.

Alabama Living

OCTOBER 2016  39

| Outdoors |

NaturePlex explored

Facility gives visitors a taste of the Alabama outdoors


y the early 20th century, once abun5 to 15 years old can attend various day natural resources with which we have been dant wildlife resources declined to camps. In his 10 years on Earth, Scott richly blessed.” At NaturePlex, children and adults encrisis levels throughout the United Graydon of Pike Road attended day camps joy the interactive and visual displays deStates. In 1935, some hunters and fishermen for five summers. “I love coming, here,” Scott says. “The scribing wildlife and habitats in the Cotton decided to do something about that and pool is my favorite thing. I also like when State. In the Discovery Hall, visitors can founded the Alabama Wildlife Federation. “The AWF is the oldest and largest we go to the creek where we make clay facventure inside a simulated beehive or a non-profit citizen’s conservation organizaes. We went to the aquatic center where we bat cave, see small live creatures and much tion in Alabama,” says Tim Gothard, the caught some bugs and bullfrogs and then more. Afterward, view an informative AWF executive director. “AWF was foundwent swimming in the lake. I liked seeing movie in the 120-seat auditorium, watch ed by hunting and angling conservathe snakes and holding them. I also tionists who were passionate about the liked making all the different stuff we outdoors and wanted to bring back did.” Outside the NaturePlex building, the abundant wildlife resources they visitors can explore the 350-acre Alremembered we had earlier in this abama Nature Center located on the country and maintain them for future historic Lanark estate. Isabel and Wigenerations. Our three primary focus ley Hill moved to Lanark in 1948 and areas are conservation education, rebuilt a house across a stream from source stewardship and preserving an antebellum home. For the next 50 hunting and angling heritage.” years, the Hills kept enlarging their In October 2015, the AWF opened home and tending to a 30-acre garthe NaturePlex on a magnificent wilden. Acquired in 2003, the property derness oasis in Millbrook just up InA simulated beehive, left, and bat cave are among the now serves as the headquarters for terstate 65 from Montgomery. Today displays inside. PHOTOS BY JOHN FELSHER 25,000 AWF members. this complex more than achieves the Center visitors can walk on a mile of the staff feed animals or peruse the items three AWF conservation goals. In the first boardwalks running through sensitive wetin the Bear Den Gift Shop. Sometimes, year, more than 30,000 people, half of them lands or hike four miles of trails wandering temporary traveling exhibits supplement school children, visited the 23,000-squarethrough pine and upland hardwood forests. the permanent displays. foot facility. People can also fish in three lakes or enjoy Many schools arrange field trips to the “The NaturePlex represents a unique and the 7,200-square-foot Lanark Pavilion. Peofacility. Periodically throughout the year, extraordinary opportunity to touch the ple can make reservations to hold weddings, people can also participate in special prolives of both youth and adults,” says Marla corporate functions and other events. grams. For the complete calendar of events, Ruskin, an AWF communications special“Everything that we do here is really a see ist. “At the same time, we will also be taking testament to private individuals, corpo“We have planned activities going on all steps to ensure that the generations to folrations and foundations around the state the time,” Ruskin says. “Every third Thurslow will understand the importance of bewho share that same passion that we have day night, bring the entire family out for a ing good stewards of the wildlife and other for striking that balance between use, manspecial program. Saturdays are always a big agement and protection of our outdoors deal at the NaturePlex with movies playing resources so that future generations can throughout the day and special activities John N. Felsher is a freelance writer and enjoy them in the way that we have been planned. The NaturePlex can be reserved photographer who writes able to do,” Gothard says.  for school field trips, teacher training from Semmes, Ala. Contact him through workshops, seminars and other educationhis website at www. For more information, al programs.” see In the summer, children ranging from 40 OCTOBER 2016

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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.

Alabama Gun Collectors Association


Birmingham-Jefferson Convention Center 9th Avenue & 21st Street North Doors Open: 9:00 am - 5:00 pm Saturday, 8 October 2016 10:00 am - 4:00 pm Sunday, 9 October 2016 Admission: $9.00 Adults – Children under 12 FREE

a.m. p.m. Minor Major Minor Major

OCT. 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 NOV. 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

--08:07 09:07 10:07 11:22 ---02:22 03:37 04:37 05:22 11:37 --07:52 07:31 08:16 09:01 10:01 11:16 ---01:46 03:01 09:46 10:31 11:16 -07:16 08:16 09:16 10:16 11:31 --01:01 02:46 03:46 09:31 10:16 10:46 11:31 -07:31

Alabama Living

06:37 07:22 01:22 02:07 02:52 03:52 04:52 06:07 07:37 08:52 09:37 10:22 11:07 05:52 06:37 07:07 12:52 12:31 01:01 01:31 02:01 02:46 03:46 05:01 06:31 07:46 08:46 04:01 04:46 05:46 06:31 12:16 01:01 01:46 02:31 03:31 04:31 05:46 07:01 08:01 08:46 04:31 05:16 05:46 06:31 07:01 12:16

12:22 01:07 01:52 02:22 03:07 04:07 09:52 12:07 09:52 10:22 10:52 04:52 05:07 05:22 12:07 12:37 01:07 12:46 01:16 02:01 02:46 04:16 08:46 07:46 08:31 09:01 03:01 03:46 04:16 04:46 12:01 12:46 01:16 02:16 03:16 05:01 10:31 08:31 09:01 02:31 03:01 03:16 03:46 04:16 04:31 12:01 12:31

12:37 06:52 07:22 07:52 08:22 08:52 01:07 02:37 03:22 04:07 04:22 11:22 11:37 12:07 12:37 06:07 06:22 06:01 06:16 06:31 07:01 07:31 12:16 01:16 02:01 02:31 09:46 10:16 11:01 11:31 05:16 06:01 06:31 07:01 07:46 08:46 12:31 01:31 02:01 09:31 10:01 10:31 10:46 11:16 11:46 05:01 05:31


OPEN TO THE PUBLIC—BUY—SELL—TRADE New and used Firearms, Accessories, Optics, Ammo Over 750 Tables: Largest Show in the Southeast ARMS – EDGED WEAPONS – ACCOUTREMENTS

To learn more about the Alabama Gun Collectors Association or to download a membership application, Go to: or call 205-317-0948 for more information on how to join more than 2200 current members.

OCTOBER 2016 41

| Consumer Wise |

Is your attic haunted by lack of insulation? By Patrick Keegan and Amy Wheeless


Winter will be here before we know it, and I’m wondering if more insulation could help keep my heating bills low. Where in my home should I look to add insulation?


When you venture outdoors in the winter without a hat and coat, you obviously will feel much colder, much faster. Similarly, when your home is not properly sealed and insulated, cold air sneaks in and heat escapes, making your heating system work harder and your home less comfortable. Sealing and insulating your home to efficient levels can cut your heating and cooling costs by an average of 15 percent, and sometimes much more—all while making you more comfortable in your home. Your attic is one of the first places you should consider insulating since it is usually accessible and easy to inspect for air leaks and insulation levels. Additionally, most homes do not have enough attic insulation. Insulation standards for new homes increased in 2012, and many homes built before then do not have the current recommended amount of attic insulation.

Insulation is graded by its “R-value” – the higher the R-value, the greater the insulating power. If you live in a mild climate, your attic should have a minimum grade of R-38, or about 13-14 inches of insulation. If you live in a colder climate, R-49 is the minimum recommendation, or about 16-18 inches of insulation. More may be needed depending on your home and exact climate. How can you tell if your attic is lacking in insulation? As a general rule, if you go into your attic and can see the ceiling joists on the attic floor, there is not enough insulation. Hiring a trained energy auditor is the best way to diagnose shortcomings with insulation or any other energy-related issue. Check with your electric co-op to

Patrick Keegan writes on consumer and cooperative affairs for the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association, the Arlington, Va.-based service arm of the nation’s 900-plus consumer-owned, not-forprofit electric cooperatives. Write to energytips@ for more information.

42  OCTOBER 2016

see if they offer energy audits or can refer you to a local energy auditor. Your co-op may also offer a rebate for adding attic insulation. Once you have determined that you need more insulation in your attic, there are a few things you can do before laying down additional insulation: If you currently store items like holiday decorations in your attic, consider another suitable storage location in your home. If you must use your attic for storage, build a platform high enough to allow installation of the recommended level of insulation. If you live in an older home, you should check your attic’s electric wiring. Is the insulation around the wires degrading? Do you have knob and tube wiring? In either case, you will likely need to replace the wiring before proceeding. You will then need to decide who will do the insulation work. If a “DIY” project interests you, you’ll need to do some homework. Installing insulation is messy, potentially dangerous and requires special equipment. Fortunately, there are many experienced insulation contractors. You should discuss a few things with the contractor before you agree to hire them: Be sure that you or your contractor seals any air leaks, such as around furnace flues and around any exposed air ducts in the attic. Air leaks can bring warm, moist air from your home into the attic, which can reduce the insulation value and create mold. Pay particular attention to your attic door or hatch. This entry point is a significant contributor to heat loss and heat gain in the home. If you have existing attic insulation, it is usually not necessary to remove it unless it is wet, moldy or contains animal waste. Make sure there is sufficient ventilation in the attic. Warmth and moisture can build up in an improperly ventilated attic, which can lead to roof problems, such as roof rot or ice dams. There are two types of insulation that you could place on your attic floor: batt/roll or blown-in/loose fill. Blown-in insulation requires special equipment to install, but it fills the space better than batt insulation, which can leave gaps and voids without careful cutting and placement around ceiling joists, vents and other attic impediments. Insulation is most commonly made from fiberglass, cellulose or mineral wool. Many energy advisors recommend blown-in cellulose insulation due to its superior coverage, high R-value and air sealing abilities; blown-in cellulose insulation is treated with boric acid, which acts as a fire retardant and insect repellent. Before you get started, consult with your local energy auditor or insulation contractor. They can help determine what type and material of insulation will work best in your home. This column was co-written by Pat Keegan and Amy Wheeless of Collaborative Efficiency. For more information on sealing and insulating your attic, please visit: energytips.


30x50x10 with sliding door and man door.



Additional delivery may apply pending location.


Alabama Living

OCTOBER 2016 43

| Classifieds | How To Place a Line Ad in Marketplace Closing Deadlines (in our office):

December 2016 – October 25 January 2017 – November 25 February 2017 – December 25 Ads are $1.75 per word with a 10 word minimum and are on a prepaid basis; Telephone numbers, email addresses and websites are considered 1 word each. Ads will not be taken over the phone. You may email your ad to hdutton@; or call (800)4102737 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.

Miscellaneous METAL ROOFING $1.59/LINFT – FACTORY DIRECT! 1st quality, 40yr Warranty, Energy Star rated. (price subject to change) - (706) 226-2739 WALL BEDS OF ALABAMA / SOLID WOOD & LOG FURNITURE / HANDCRAFTED AMISH CASKETS $1,599 / ALABAMA MATTRESS OUTLET – SHOWROOM Collinsville, AL – Custom Built / Factory Direct - (256)490-4025,, POULTRY GROWERS – Now a washer made exclusively to wash feed pans and trays. Count wash time in hours, not days. For demo, YouTube “Feed Pan Washer”. For more information, call (770)5968979 KEPLINGER ALUMINUM BURIAL VAULT CO. in Gardendale, Alabama sells water tested burial vaults to the public saving up to $3000 or more per vault verses funeral home prices. Our vaults protect the contents against water and last indefinitely. Cardboard wrapped, standing up requires 6 1/2 sq. ft. to store and take to cemetery when needed. Alabama made with American materials. $1400 cash, includes local sales tax. Call 205-285-9732 or 205-540-0781 or visit www. keplingeraluminumburialvaults. com AERMOTOR WATER PUMPING WINDMILLS / SOLAR POWERED WELL PUMPS – windmill parts – decorative windmills - call Windpower (256)899-3850 or (256)638-2352 MILWAUKEE & KLIEN TOOLS! Appliance Parts & LED Lamps. Full line in stock! CULPEPPER ELECTRIC, Downtown Demopolis – (334)289-0211 – “Our 90th Year”

44 OCTOBER 2016

KEEP POND WATER CLEAN AND FISH HEALTHY with our aeration systems and pond supplies. Windmill Electric, Solar Powered and Fountain Aerators. Windpower (256)899-3850 FREE BOOKS / DVDs – Soon government will enforce the “Mark” of the beast as church and state unite! Let Bible reveal. The Bible Says, POB 99, Lenoir City, TN 37771 – thebiblesaystruth@yahoo. com, (888)211-1715 USED PORTABLE SAWMILLS – Buy / Sell. Call Sawmill Exchange (800)459-2148 or 713-sawmill. USA & Canada – www. LUMBER FOR SALE: Circular Saw Red & White Oak, Hickory, Ash - $1.20 BFT; Heart Pine - $5.00 BFT – 5” Treated Round: One Side Flat Fence Post 8 FT Long $9.50 each - Loring White (334)782-3636 (Tallapoosa) 18X21 CARPORT $795 INSTALLED – Other sizes available - (706) 226-2739 FINANCIAL HELP LINES FOR AL FAMILIES BANKRUPTCY ADVICE FOR FREE (877)933-1139; MORTGAGE RELIEF HELP LINE (888) 216-4173 STUDENT LOAN RELIEF LINE (888)694-8235 DEBT RELIEF NON-PROFIT LINE (888) 779-4272 Numbers provided by A Public Benefit Organization

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Vacation Rentals

GATLINBURG TOWNHOUSE on BASKINS CREEK! GREAT RATES! 4BR/3BA, short walk downtown attractions! (205)394-2357, PANAMA CITY BEACH CONDO – Owner rental – 2BR / 2BA, wireless internet, just remodeled inside and outside – (334)790-0000,, www. ONE BEDROOM CABIN near PIGEON FOREGE and GATLINBURG – Call Kathy at (865)548-7915 SMOKIES TOWNSEND, TN – 2BR / 2BA, Secluded Log Home, Jacuzzi, Fireplace, Wrap-Around Porch, Charcoal Grill – (865)320-4216. For rental details and pictures, Email GATLINBURG, TN – Fond memories start here in our chalet – Great vacation area for all seasons – Two queen beds, full kitchen, 1 bath, Jacuzzi, deck with grill – 3 Night Special - Call (423)605-2113, Look for us on FACEBOOK / billshideaway GULF SHORES/FT MORGAN BEACH HOUSE - Pet Friendly,WiFi, Non Smoking (256)418-2131, www. 2 CONDOS WEEKLY RENTAL – 2 Bed, 2 Bath, 200 feet to ocean w/ pool – Peachtree II, sleeps 4-6 –, (850)5732182, Jeff. CABINS IN THE SMOKIES, PIGEON FORGE, TN – Owner rates (251)649-3344, (251)649-4049, HELEN GA CABIN FOR RENT – sleeps 2-6, 2.5 baths, fireplace, Jacuzzi tub, washer/ dryer – (251)948-2918, www., email

Real Estate Sales STOCKTON, ALABAMA WATERFRONT - TENSAW LAKE: 8399 Upper Bryants Landing, 3BR/2B 1416 sf on pilings, new renovation, new addition, new pier, private concrete boat launch, new concrete 1416 sf covered parking, 50’x150’ lot - $325,000 (334)227-9988 PIGEON FORGE, TN – 2 MOUNTAIN CABINS in GREAT CONDITION – 2BR / 1BA, $149,000: 1BR / 1BA, $139,000 – www. for pictures – (251)649-3344, (251)649-4049 GANTT LAKE, WATERFRONT, ANDALUSIA – 3BR/2BA, double carport, covered deck, central heat/air, covered boat slip/deck - 100x250 lot on dredged canal, outside storage, full seawall. $169,000. Adjacent 100x200 lot available – (334)227-9988, (334)388-2336

Travel WELCOME CARNIVAL TO MOBILE – Jan. 9, 2017 – 5 nights, COZUMEL / PROGRES0 MEXICO – $350 $400 – (256)974-0500, (800)7260954

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GULF SHORES PLANTATION - Gulf view, beach side, 2 bedrooms / 2 baths, no smoking / no pets. Owner rates (205)339-3850

GULF SHORES CONDO – 2BR / 1BA, gulf side, pool, sleeps 6 – Reserve for now, FALL & WINTER rates – (256)708-2515, (256)708-7509,

FREE BIBLE CORRESPONDENCE COURSE – write to P.O. Box 52, Trinity, AL, 35673

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PIGEON FORGE, TN – 3 bedroom, 2 bath house – Walking distance to parkway, light# 1 - $85.00 / night – (256)309-7873, (256)5908758

AKC BEAGLE PUPPIES FOR SALE – Northwest, FL area – Cell# (850)554-1062, Email

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GULF SHORES BEACH HOUSE – 2 Bedroom – FALL SPECIAL $900 / wk – (251)666-5476

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| Alabama Recipes |

46  OCTOBER 2016

Get fired up Campfire cooking can be both simple and scrumptious By Jennifer Kornegay | Photos by Michael Cornelison

Food cooked over an open flame has remained popular long past the era when it was the only option. Making meals outside is no longer a necessity, but a treat, in part, because a flickering fire’s intense heat sears quickly and seals in ingredients' moisture and inherent goodness. Its smoke slithers into veggies and sinks into meat, leaving its flavor and fragrance behind. But these aren't the only reasons we do it. There's something exciting about taming a raw element and bending it to our purpose. Something instinctive and thrilling about the crackle, pop and sizzle of food being transformed by a red-orange blaze, something that goes beyond the thermodynamics and chemistry of cooking and into the realm of magic. And the purest form of this experience is even more primitive than lighting up the patio grill: cooking over a campfire. If you’re planning on doing some camping this fall, choose a few of this month’s reader-submitted recipes and stow them in your backpack. They’re easy and tasty and will help you take your campfire cooking beyond the basics.

Alabama Living

OCTOBER 2016  47

This campfire dinner includes Campfire Hash, Onion "Kisses" and Grandma's Campfire Beans.

Cook of the Month

1 2 2 4 1

large onion, chopped tablespoons canola oil cloves garlic, minced large potatoes, peeled and cubed pound smoked kielbasa, halved and sliced 1 4-ounce can chopped green chilies 1 can (15 1/4 oz) whole kernel corn, drained

Kassie Luster, Central Alabama EC

Kassie and her family enjoy spending time in the great outdoors, often pitching camp at Lake Mitchell and at Gulf State Park in Gulf Shores. She and her daughters, ages 8 and 12, especially like preparing meals on a campfire. “We love cooking together and spend a lot of time in the kitchen, but we also love cooking outside,” Kassie said. The Campfire Hash recipe is one the three have been working and is now part of their homemade “camp cookbook." We’ve been adding things to our personal campfire recipe book, and we’ve not even had a chance to try them all out yet, but we’ll keep camping, so we’ll get through them all eventually!” Kassie said.

In a large skillet, cook and stir onion in oil until tender. Add garlic and cook 1 minute. Add potatoes and cook uncovered for 20 minutes. Add kielbasa; cook and stir until meat and potatoes are tender and browned, about 10-15 minutes. Stir in chilies and corn; heat through then serve.

Send us your recipes! Please send us your original recipes, developed by you or family members, and not ones copied from a book or magazine. You may adapt a recipe from another source by changing as little as the amount of one ingredient. Cook of the Month winners will receive $50, and may win “Cook of the Month” only once per calendar year. Share a story about your recipe! Whether it’s your grandmother’s best cake or your uncle’s camp stew, every recipe has a story behind it. We’ll pay $50 for the best recipe-related story each month. 48 OCTOBER 2016

Grandma’s Campfire Beans

Campfire Hash

4 to 6 cans (14 to 16 ounces each) pork and beans 6 slices bacon 1 clove garlic, minced fine 1 large onion, diced 2 cups brown sugar (light or dark) 1 cup ketchup 1/8 teaspoon black pepper In large pan, fry bacon until crisp. Remove from pan, drain, and crumble. In same pan, sauté onions and garlic until golden. Drain off most of grease then add to pan, the rest of the ingredients. Stir and cook until bubbly, then simmer 10 to 15 minutes. Mary Ann Gove Cottonwood, Ariz.

Onion “Kisses” Recipe Themes and Deadlines: Dec. Christmas Cookies Jan. Comfort Food Feb. Cooking for Two

Oct. Nov. Dec.

8 8 8

Online: Email: Mail: Recipes, P.O. Box 244014 Montgomery, AL 36124

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Ingredients needed per person: 1 sweet Vidalia onion 1 tablespoon butter 1 beef bouillon cube 1 tablespoon Worcestershire or steak sauce Peel and slice the ends off each onion and carefully core out a cavity. Tuck a bouillon cube into the cavity, follow with butter and finish with sauce. Pull the foil up and around the onion, twisting the top to close (like a Hershey’s kiss). Set in fire 10-15 minutes. Janie Whelton Baldwin EMC

Dutch Oven Blueberry Pie lueberry pie filling B Small can crushed pineapple Butter or margarine Box cake mix Sugar Equipment: Dutch oven with sunken lid Charcoal Start with a mound of charcoal that is burning well. Butter the bottom and inside of the Dutch oven with butter or margarine. Put in the blueberry pie filling and the crushed pineapple. Sprinkle cake mix on top of the filling and pineapple mixture. Cut up the rest of the butter or margarine and scatter it over the cake mix. Sprinkle with white sugar. Set the Dutch oven on the charcoal, placing several pieces of charcoal on top of the oven. Let it cook until done. Edward Armstrong Joppa

Mountain Pie Butter 2 slices of bread 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese 5 slices of pepperoni 2 tablespoons of pizza sauce Equipment: Square Pie Iron Heat up the pie iron in the fire for about 5 minutes; while that is heating, butter both pieces of bread. Take out and open up the pie iron, placing a piece of bread on each side, butter side facing the iron. Spread the pizza sauce, add the cheese, & top with pepperoni on one side or you could put it on both sides. Carefully close the pie iron together and place in the fire for about 5-7 minutes. (Considering you probably won't take your measuring cups camping, you can always add as much of each ingredient that you want to better fit your taste. Also add veggies to make a Supreme Mountain Pie!) Autumn Miller Wiregrass EC

Dutch Oven Blueberry Pie

Adam’s Swamp Brunswick Stew 2 cans chicken broth 1 can water 2 cups cooked chicken (I use the frozen Southwestern Tyson strips) 1 16-ounce carton Lloyd’s Barbecue Pork 1 16-ounce bag frozen gumbo vegetable mix 1 16-ounce bag frozen green baby lima beans 1 16-ounce bag frozen whole kernel corn 1 large Vidalia onion, chopped fine 1 cup ketchup ½ cup barbecue sauce Dash of Worcestershire sauce Salt and pepper to taste Combine all the ingredients in a Dutch oven. Bring to boil, then turn heat down, cover and let simmer 45 minutes. Serve with hot corn bread.

Campfire Sweet Potato Halos 3 medium sweet potatoes, thinly sliced 4 medium red onions, thinly sliced 1/8 cup fresh parsley, shredded ¼ cup olive oil 2 sticks of butter, cut into small pieces Salt and pepper ¼ cup feta cheese In an iron skillet, arrange the sweet potatoes around the edge if the skillet to form the halo. Place onion slices in between every few sweet potato slices. Top with olive oil and butter and cook on the hot fire coals for 1 hour, basting with the melted butter. Sprinkle with salt, pepper and feta cheese. Kirk Vantrease Cullman EC

Jackie Skelton-Vice Black Warrior EMC

Hobo Dinner 2 6 3 1

pounds ground beef baking potatoes Vidalia onions campfire

Make 6 patties from ground beef. Slice baking potatoes in half. Slice onion. In 6 separate foil sheets, place 1 patty, 1 slice of onion and 2 slices of potato and wrap. Place on grate on campfire or grill. Cook for 30-45 minutes. Remove carefully and enjoy! Gail Cole, Baldwin EMC

Alabama Living

OCTOBER 2016  49

ATTENTION HVAC, PLUMBING, ROOFING, LANDSCAPING, CONSTRUCTION, AUTOMOTIVE, HEALTHCARE, INSURANCE, FINANCIAL SERVICES, IT & TELECOM, MANUFACTURING, ETC. As a local business, you may not need to advertise to the entire state. But what about the 15,000+ consumers in the Clarke-Washington EMC market? Alabama Living, the state’s largest publication, is offering this page to the first local business that wants to stand out from the competition and put its product/service in front of Clarke-Washington’s members.

This page will be gone fast. It’s efficient and effective marketing. Call 800.410.2737 or email:

50 OCTOBER 2016

Tuesday, October 18, 2016 Jackson Fairgrounds/US Hwy 43 GRAND PRIZE! Jackson, Ala. Registration & Entertainment from 5pm to 7pm Reports begin at 7pm

2010 Ford F150 $10 bill credit for every member registered!

Alabama Living

OCTOBER 2016  51

| Our Sources Say |

9/11 M

y August article, “Requiem for Gus Mayer,” drew more comments and support than any article I have written. Some wanted to know more about Gus Mayer and our relationship. One reader made a gracious offer to replace Gus Mayer with a registered beagle puppy from a coming litter. I received heartfelt stories of relationships with pet-friends and of others losing their best friends. I also heard a number of people express that the connection with their dog was one of the few things they could count on in such an uncertain world full of dissension and trouble. Five months later, I still miss Gus Mayer. I still expect him to meet me at the door. He will never be replaced and will always have a special place in my heart. But I have to move forward and will have a new yellow Labrador in mid-November. I look forward to having a new friend. I understand most people would rather read personal stories about dogs than articles on global warming or political issues, but you need to know of things that could affect your electric bill or electric reliability. I look forward to relating some stories about my new friend in the future. But as I write this article on Sunday, Sept. 11, my mind turns to that day 15 years ago when the world changed. Everyone remembers exactly where they were and what they were doing on Sept. 11, 2001. The day’s events changed our lives, our country, our outlook and our confidence in the future. They pulled us together as a country and as a people against those who attacked us. As I watch the Sunday morning news (not Fox News, either), I wonder what happened to that unity, that togetherness, that focus against those who harmed us. What has turned us as a nation against each other since then? I grew up in the 1960s and remember the social divisions and prejudices that defined life in Mississippi. I remember the violence that was too common. I remember school integration. I remember playing high school sports with black kids for the first time and trusting them as teammates. I remember the peaceful voice of the civil rights movement, and I saw the progress.

This morning the news stories contain reports of NFL players protesting the country’s national anthem because they do not agree with social issues in the country. Colin Kaepernick, the San Francisco 49ers quarterback, said about his protest, “I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color. To me, this is bigger than football, and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder.” However, he didn’t acknowledge his support for a country that provides the opportunity for a backup quarterback to make $15.8 million this year to play a game. There are injustices in the world, and they affect people of different races in different ways. Yes, he has contributed a portion of his salary to support social issues, but he is still more interested in pointing out things that divide people than those that bring us together. I support Kaepernick’s right of free speech, and if he decides to protest our national anthem, it is fine with me. If we start drawing lines of what can be said and the messages people can send, none of us will like the placement of the lines. It is the basis of the freedoms our country was founded on. Our two presidential candidates are also in the news this morning. They are very involved in driving people farther apart. Hillary Clinton said, “I place half of Trump supporters into what I call the basket of deplorables. Right? Racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamaphobic, you name it.” She criticizes the fundamental rights of those people to express their right of free speech by supporting Donald Trump. He, on the other hand, criticizes everyone who has a different opinion or heritage than his. He would deny those people their fundamental rights. What happened to the national unity and patriotism that was so strong after 9/11? What is needed to regain that unity? We apparently can’t count on politicians to get it done. Just like I can’t stand to lose another dog to have an article everyone appreciates, we can’t stand another 9/11 to bring people together. I hope you have a good month.

Gary Smith is President and CEO of PowerSouth Energy Cooperative

52 OCTOBER 2016

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

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Alabama Living

OCTOBER 2016  53

| Alabama Snapshots |

My first car

Bradley Sturgeon’s first vehicle as he graduated from Good Hope High School. SUBMITTED BY Helen Sturgeon, Cullman.

Emily Harris Addis’ first car, a ‘66 Mustang. SUBMITTED BY Diane Harris, Crane Hill.

Adella and Isabella Stone, 2005. SUBMITTED BY Leslie Stone, Stevenson.

Navit’ Hill. SUBMITTED BY Abigail Hill, Roanoke.

Kenny Thomas’ first car bought in 1965. Thomas with triplet granddaughters Emma, Caroline and Audrey. SUBMITTED BY Evelyn Thomas, Fosters.

Mandy Guthrie Wilhite’s first car was a ‘96 Chevrolet Beretta Z26, bought in 1996. SUBMITTED BY Mandy Wilhite, Logan.

My first car was a 1972 Pontiac Lemans GT purchased at the Pontiac dealership in Brewton in 1972. SUBMITTED BY Melvin Cofield, Repton.

John-David Wright. SUBMITTED BY David Moore, Albertville.

Submit Your Images! December Theme: “Holiday Decorations” Deadline for December: October 31 SUBMIT PHOTOS ONLINE: or send color photos with a self-addressed 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 and on our Facebook page. Alabama Living is not responsible for lost or damaged photos.

54  OCTOBER 2016

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