June 2023 Clarke-Washington

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June 2023 Stories | Recipes | Events | People | Places | Things | Local News Alabama’s largest lakeFirst in a series Looking back on ‘Revisiting America’ The beauty of hydrangeas ClarkeWashıngton ELECTRIC MEMBERSHIP CORP.


Steve Sheffield

Co-op Editor

Sarah Turner

ALABAMA LIVING is delivered to some 420,000 Alabama families and businesses, which are members of 22 not-for-profit, consumer-owned, locally directed and taxpaying electric cooperatives. Subscriptions are $12 a year for individuals not subscribing through participating Alabama electric cooperatives. Alabama Living (USPS 029-920) is published monthly by the Alabama Rural Electric Association of Cooperatives. Periodicals postage paid at Montgomery, Alabama, and at additional mailing office.

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Alabama Living, P.O. Box 244014 Montgomery, Alabama 36124-4014.


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Dad’s favorite cap



Among the miles of trails in DeSoto State Park is an unfinished bridge and forgotten roadbed, part of a Civilian Conservation Corps project that ended in 1941 when World War II started and the CCC was disbanded.


In honor of Father’s Day, we present a collection of reader-submitted photos of dad’s favorite caps.

Revisiting America

Twelve years later, Chatom’s Lou Schell still remembers the trip she made across America and the book she wrote about it.

Bevy of burgers

Burgers don’t have to be just traditional beef on a bun. Check out what our readers are grilling!

24 44 VOL. 76 NO. 6 JUNE 2023 DEPARTMENTS 11 Spotlight 29 Around Alabama 42 Outdoors 43 Fish & Game Forecast 44 Cook of the Month 54 Hardy Jackson’s Alabama ONLINE: alabamaliving.coop 18 JUNE 2023 3 WE WANT TO HEAR FROM YOU! ONLINE: www.alabamaliving.coop EMAIL: letters@alabamaliving.coop MAIL: Al abama Living 340 Technacenter Drive Montgomery, AL 36117
more about the state’s largest lake on page 12.
This image of a boat trail on Lake Guntersville was an honorable mention winner in our 2022 photo contest. Read
PHOTO: Arthur Davis, Baldwin EMC
Printed in America from American materials Get our FREE monthly email newsletter! Sign up at alabamaliving.coop ON THE COVER Look for this logo to see more content online!

Office Locations

Jackson Office

9000 Highway 43

P.O. Box 398

Jackson, AL 36545 (251) 246-9081

Chatom Office

19120 Jordan Street

P.O. Box 453

Chatom, AL 36518 (251) 847-2302

Toll Free Number (800) 323-9081

Office Hours

7 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Monday - Friday (Drive-thru Hours)

Payment Options


P.O. Box 398 Jackson, AL 36545

P.O. Box 453 Chatom, AL 36518


During normal office hours at our Chatom and Jackson offices.

Phone (855) 870-0403

Online www.cwemc.com

Night Deposit 24/7 at Jackson & Chatom


Available from the App Store and Google Play

Bank Draft CheckOut

Pay where you shop at any Dollar General, Family Dollar, CVS Pharmacy, Walgreens and Walmart

Preventative maintenance helps improve reliability

Providing reliable power to you is and will always be top priority for ClarkeWashington EMC. These days, power reliability seems to be making news now more than ever.

As the energy industry continues to transition and more segments of the economy such as vehicles, machinery and even lawn equipment, are becoming electrified, additional pressures are being placed on our nation’s electric grid. With summer storm season upon us, I thought it would be a good time to tell you about a few measures we’re taking to ensure you continue receiving the reliable power you depend on and deserve.

Let me be the first to say, I love what the forest industry does to support our members across Clarke, Washington, Wilcox and Monroe counties. Although the forest industry is the backbone of our economy, it is also the very thing that drives our maintenance costs each year.

I love trees and the charm they add to our communities, and I know you do too. While trees provide shade and add beauty to our area, you may be surprised to learn that overgrown vegetation accounts for about half of all power outages.

That’s why we strive to keep the coop’s 4,200 miles of power lines clear in right-of-way (ROW) areas. A ROW area is the land we use to construct, maintain, replace or repair underground and overhead power lines. This ROW enables Clarke-Washington EMC to provide clearance from trees and other obstructions that could hinder distribution power lines. The overall goal of our vegetation management strategy is to provide reliable power to our members while maintaining the beauty of our area. Generally speaking, healthy trees don’t fall on power lines, and clear lines don’t cause problems. Proactive trimming and pruning keep lines clear to improve power reliability. However, traditional vegetation management is

costly and time consuming. It entails on-the-ground, labor-intensive efforts involving dozens of workers assessing vegetation and overseeing the quality and completion of contractor work. Although this approach has worked for decades, advances and improvements in technology have allowed us to reduce our costs and improve efficiency. The machinery used today allows our contractors to clear ground to sky which helps extend our right-of-way cycles. We also have an aggressive herbicide application program. This program works well to help reduce stem count and maintain a good floor underneath our powerlines. It also allows us to do midcycle work that ultimately extends our overall right-of-way cycle.

And, of course, we can’t maintain reliability without cutting dangerous trees and dead trees that could cause an outage even if the right-of-way has been recently trimmed and sprayed. We use an in-house ROW crew to regularly cut dangerous and dead trees. Please do not hesitate to call us if you see a dead or dangerous tree that may cause an outage. We will do our best to be proactive in removing these trees to protect your service.

Vegetation management is an essential tool in ensuring power reliability and minimizing the risk of outages. As advancements become more accessible and costs drop, we anticipate using additional technologies to ensure a consistent energy supply while managing the environment.

Lastly, I encourage you to follow ClarkeWashington EMC on social media so you can learn about the latest co-op updates.

4 JUNE 2023 www.alabamaliving.coop

Clarke-Washington EMC Scholarship Recipients

Clarke-Washington EMC is proud of the six scholarship winners! Congratulations and best wishes for a bright future!

Dalton Lee Boykin Clarke Co. High School Wyat Stephen Burton Washington Co. High School
Jamie Lynn Criswell Washington Co. High School Keri Danae James Fruitdale High School William Brody Moseley Jackson Academy
Alabama Living JUNE 2023 5
Hayley Brianne Platt Washington Co. High School

Hurricane Season is here

June 1 marks the official start of hurricane season, with the peak storm threat from mid-August to late October. Clarke-Washington EMC wants you to be prepared in the event of one of these.


Be prepared. Put together an emergency plan and communicate it with all family members. Learn your community hurricane evacuation routes. Cover windows with storm shutters or boards, clear loose and clogged rain gutters, and bring outdoor furniture indoors.

Below is a list of items that are essential during an emergency situation.

Water – at least one gallon daily per person for three to seven days. Stored in sealed, unbreakable containers

Food – at least enough for each person for three to seven days

• Non-perishable foods

• Food for infants, elderly, and persons with dietary restrictions

• Manual can opener

• Peanut butter, crackers, granola bars, and cookies

• Disposable plates, cups, utensils and paper towels.

First Aid Kit

• Scissors, tweezers, safety pins

• Gloves, band-aids, non-prescription drugs, soap

• Medications

Personal and Safety Items

• Blankets/Pillows, etc.

• Change of clothing, rain gear and sturdy shoes

• Flashlight/batteries

• Radio – battery-powered weather radio

• Cash

• Toiletries

• Important Documents

• Full Tank of Gas

• Pet food and supplies

Items for babies

• Diapers

• Medications

• Formula

• Bottles


Listen to the radio or TV for information, if possible. Avoid using the phone unless there is an emergency. If it is necessary to evacuate, find the safest place within your home to ride out the storm. The safest place is near the center of the house in small, enclosed rooms such as hallways or closets. Stay away from windows, spacious rooms and top floors.

If advised by authorities to evacuate, heed their warning. Follow these guidelines to protect your home and ensure a smoother return:

• Board up glass exterior areas of your home such as windows, patio doors and French doors.

• Bring lawn furniture and toys inside. Turn over and tie down outdoor objects too large to move, such as picnic tables and trampolines.

• Unplug appliances except for the refrigerator and freezer

• Remove objects from walls, such as pictures and move furniture away from doors and windows.

• Take pictures or videos of your home and property for insurance purposes.

• Don’t leave candles unattended and keep them away from furniture, draperies and other flammable materials.


STAY AWAY from downed power lines. Always treat them as if they are energized and dangerous. Make sure to call 911 and Clarke-Washington EMC at 800-3239081. CWEMC’s outage reporting system provides an efficient method of reporting outages. When you call 800-323-9081, your outage is reported right away.

The outage system automatically knows your name and address by accessing your telephone number in CWEMC’s database, allowing the dispatcher to send available crews to your area quickly. This electronic method of reporting outages is especially effective in the event of widespread damage from a hurricane.

At the earliest opportunity, service is restored to agencies that protect life and property, such as hospitals and fire departments. Individuals who depend on electricity to operate life-support systems should make plans for alternate sources of power or lodging in the event of an electrical outage.

If you use a portable generator, make sure a transfer safety switch has been installed or connect appliances directly to the generator. This prevents electricity from traveling back through the home to powerlines - what is known as backfeed. Backfeed creates a danger for anyone near lines, particularly crews working to restore power. For more generator safety, see page 8.



We all know how storms can disrupt our daily lives. When a major storm or natural disaster causes widespread damage, extended outages can occur. Our crews work long, hard hours to safely restore power as quickly as possible. Here’s what’s going on behind the scenes during a major outage event:

1. High-Voltage Transmission Lines:

Transmission towers and cables that supply power to transmission substations (and thousands of members) rarely fail. But when damaged, these facilities must be repaired before other parts of the system can operate.

2. Distribution Substation:

A substation can serve hundreds or thousands of members. When a major outage occurs, crews inspect substations to determine if the problem stems from transmission lines feeding into the substation, the substation itself or somewhere else down the line.

3. Main Distribution Lines:

If the problem cannot be isolated at a distribution substation, distribution lines are checked. These lines carry power to large groups of members in communities or housing developments.

4. Tap Lines:

If local outages persist, supply lines (or tap lines) are inspected. These lines deliver power to transformers, either mounted on poles or placed on pads for underground service.

5. Individual Homes:

If your home remains without power, the service line between a transformer and your home may need to be repaired. Always report your outage at 1-800-239-1367 or via the mobile app.

Alabama Living JUNE 2023 7


• Operate a portable generator in well ventilated locations outdoors away from all doors, windows and vent openings to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning. The instructions that come with it are not meant for the recycle bin. Read and follow them; they are important.

• Turn the generator on before using it. Once it’s running, turn your appliances and lights on one at a time to avoid overloading the unit. Generators are for temporary use and limited load; prioritize your needs.

Generator safety

Having a generator on hand, whether portable or permanent, may sound like a great idea for times when the power goes out, but misusing one is dangerous. Although they can help light your home or cool your perishable food when the neighborhood is dark, if used incorrectly you could have a much bigger problem on your hands.

When using a portable version, there are two ways to connect it to a home. The first way is with a powered circuit panel that has a power transfer switch, which monitors incoming voltage from the utility line. The circuit panel and transfer switch should always be installed by a qualified electrician. The second option is to plug in a limited number of home appliances directly into the portable generator with heavy-duty extension cords.

Never try to power your home by plugging a generator into a wall outlet. This is known as back feeding, and it could electrocute a neighbor or an electric lineman working to restore power. A permanent generator must also have a transfer switch installed by a qualified electrician to avoid back feeding. Because of the harm an incorrectly

powered generator can cause, the transfer switch is required by the National Electrical Code.

The primary hazards of using a portable generator are not pretty. They include carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning from the toxic engine exhaust, electric shock or electrocution, and fire, according to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). According to the agency, most of the deaths and injuries associated with portable generators are from CO poisoning when generators are used indoors or in partially enclosed spaces. A permanent or standby generator also has significant risks if not installed by a qualified electrician. Installing one is extremely dangerous and definitely not a DIY project.

Portable versions are less expensive than permanent or standby models and power only select appliances. The most expensive permanent generators— standby versions that are permanently installed and power most of the appliances in your home—are convenient but pricey. The average permanent system costs around $10,000.

• Never use a generator in a puddle or standing water and never touch with wet hands.

• To protect a portable generator from moisture, operate it on a dry surface under an open, canopy-like structure.

• Never use or install a generator in an attached garage, even with the door open.

• Turn off portable generators and let them cool down before refueling. Never refuel a generator while it is running.

• Store fuel for your portable generator in a container that is intended for the purpose and is correctly labeled as such. Store the containers outside of living areas.

• Keep children and pets away from all generators, especially portable ones. Many generator components are hot enough to burn you during operation.

Using a generator is serious business and shouldn’t be done in haste.

8 JUNE 2023 www.alabamaliving.coop

Dad’s favorite hat

Loyd Ivey is a 96 year old WWII veteran who proudly served his country during 19451946. SUBMITTED by Martha

My late husband, Billy, wore his Alabama hat every time we went to the beach SUBMITTED by Judy Bryan, Andalusia.

Ken can’t travel to ski country without his favorite western hat. SUBMITTED by Dees Veca, Gulf Shores.

Alabama Living JUNE 2023 9 August theme: “Alabama Sunsets” | Deadline: June 30
| Alabama Snapshots | Online: alabamaliving.coop | Mail: Attn: Snapshots, P.O. Box 244014, Montgomery, AL 36124
PaPa (David Knight) loved his Arizona Diamondbacks. SUBMITTED by Michelle Kilander, Cullman.
RULES: Photos submitted for publication may also be published on our website at alabamaliving.coop and on our Facebook and Instagram pages. Alabama Living is not responsible for lost or damaged photos. Send a self-addressed stamped envelope to have photos returned.
My dad, Walter Higgins, passed away a year and a half ago and his Vietnam Vet hat is the one I remember the most. SUBMITTED by Laurie Murse, Wetumpka. Jimmy Knight wearing his favorite hat. Roll Tide! SUBMITTED by Nicole Dunn, Clayton. Brown, Fort Payne.

State Register of Landmarks and Heritage receives new listings

The Alabama Historical Commission created the Alabama Register of Landmarks and Heritage to recognize Alabama’s historic places and to encourage their continued preservation.

The Alabama Register documents buildings, sites, structures, objects, districts and cultural landscapes in Alabama that have historic integrity and significance. For more information, visit ahc.alabama.gov

The following listings have been added:

• Pondville School House, Bibb County

• Cherokee County Courthouse, Cherokee County

• Warren family home, Dallas County

• Colored Memorial Park, Jefferson County

• Littrell house/Liberty Hall site, Lawrence County

• Harris Plantation, Lee County

• Viola Liuzzo Memorial site, Lowndes County

• Loveless School, Montgomery County

• Christian Lodge No. 217, F.A. & M., Sumter County

• Patterson log cabin, Tallapoosa County

• Lillie Grove Baptist Church and cemetery, Perry County

Whereville, AL

Find the hidden dingbat!

Our hidden red poppy in May’s magazine wasn’t very hard to find, as several hundred readers reported finding it correctly on the pillow in the glamping photo on Page 12. We appreciate all the notes we get from you as you navigate through the pages each month! Many of you do your searching with a family member or friend, like Linda Barefoot of Salem, a member of Tallapoosa River Electric Cooperative. Linda reports that she enjoys the monthly hunt with her 91-year-old client and they compete to see who can find it first. “She had not gone through it the first time when she hollered, ‘I found it! I found it!’” Maybe you’ll beat her next month, Linda! Arina Ellard, 15, a member of Baldwin EMC from Foley, took a study break to find the Dingbat but it wasn’t long enough. “I was working on studying for AP U.S. History when I decided to take a break, but to my misfortune, I found the dingbat not even five seconds after beginning my search! It seems like fate has decided that I must continue studying!” We’ll try to make it a little harder this month! Our randomly drawn winner is Cindy Wilson from Cullman EC, who wins a prize package from Alabama One Credit Union. This month we’ve hidden a convertible, just right for taking a summer road trip! Good luck!

Sponsored by

Alabama Living PO Box 244014 Montgomery, AL 36124

Learn about safe food preservation

Identify and place this Alabama landmark and you could win $25! Winner is chosen at random from all correct entries. Multiple entries from the same person will be disqualified. Send your answer with your name, address and the name of your rural electric cooperative, if applicable. The winner and answer will be announced in the July issue.

Submit by email: whereville@alabamaliving.coop, or by mail: Whereville, P.O. Box 244014, Montgomery, AL 36124.

Do you like finding interesting or unusual landmarks? Contribute a photo you took for an upcoming issue! Remember, all readers whose photos are chosen also win $25!

May’s answer: The Spirit of American Citizenship Monument on U.S. Highway 411 near Gadsden honors the residents and history of the area. Audio messages include information on area history and a recording of the national anthem performed by Jeff Cook of the band Alabama. (Information from GreaterGadsden.com) (Photo by Mark Stephenson of Alabama Living) The randomly drawn correct guess winner is Autumn Murray of Coosa Valley EC.

The Alabama Cooperative Extension System food safety and quality team invites you to attend a food preservation camp this summer. At these camps, regional Extension agents will teach and provide hands-on training on pressure canning, water bath canning, jams and jellies, pickling, drying and freeze drying, and fermentation.

Each attendee will prepare products each day and will have several items to carry home to share and enjoy with others.

The camps will be in three locations:

• June 28-29, 10 a.m., Albertville High School, 402 E. McCord Avenue in Albertville;

• July 12-13, 10 a.m., National Peanut Festival, 5622 U.S. Highway 231 S. in Dothan;

• July 19-20, 10 a.m., Northridge Middle School, 3811 Northridge Road in Tuscaloosa.

The first day’s talks will cover pressure canning of vegetables, a demo of canned meat, dehydrating fruits and vegetables preparing and processing peach jam, and blanching and freezing vegetables.

On the second day, topics will be water bath canning of tomatoes and processes for pickling and fermenting vegetables.

For more information, contact Angela Treadaway at treadas@ aces.edu

10 JUNE 2023 www.alabamaliving.coop Spotlight | June

Take us along!

We’ve enjoyed seeing photos from our readers on their travels with Alabama Living! Please send us a photo of you with a copy of the magazine on your travels to: mytravels@ alabamaliving.coop. Be sure to include your name, hometown and electric cooperative, and the location of your photo.We’ll draw a winner for the $25 prize each month.

Recommends poem

I almost always enjoy Hardy Jackson’s stories in your magazine but this time I took the time to write to you. I had never heard any of Robert Service’s poetry until my husband and I went on an Alaskan cruise. Our tour guide read us “The Cremation of Sam McGee” while on the bus, and I immediately went home and purchased the poetry book The Spell of the Yukon which includes the poem. The “Sam McGee” poem is shockingly funny and I recommend it to anyone familiar with the Alaskan weather/terrain.

Wants more like April issue

From biscuits & hand pies to fabulous tablescapes, then on to two of my all time favorites, “To Kill a Mockingbird” and “The Miracle Worker”!

By far, imo, the best issue yet! It’s a keeper!

More like this please.

Brin Wheeler

Sand Mountain EC

Grateful to line worker

I want to show and express my appreciation for the brave young man who came Saturday night, April 1, and got my power back on. A tree had fell and broke both lines and we were in the dark. But he came and had my power back on in no time. I don’t know his name but thanks to all you guys for all you do to keep power in our homes. God bless and keep each one of you.


Alabama Living JUNE 2023 11 June | Spotlight
Lisa Lacy of Henagar and a member of Sand Mountain EC, took her magazine on a cruise to Alaska and Victoria Canada. Brian and Lynicia Lovell of Cullman took their “trip of a lifetime” last year when they traveled to Sitka, Alaska. They are members of Cullman EC. Gwendolyn Woodard and Martin McElrath of New Site and members of Tallapoosa River EC, took their favorite magazine to their hotel on Kona Island, Hawaii. Dean Hilyer, Sheila Ward and Leslie Wells, all from Rockford and Central Alabama Electric Coop members, are three generations of book lovers who took Alabama Living along as they visited McKay’s bookstore in Knoxville, Tennessee, last year. Covington EC member Sonya Briggs of Brantley visited her son, Holden Pruitt, at his performance bike shop “Holden’s Speed Lab,” in Riverside, California. Paul Davis, Beth Jernigan and Keith Rolling traveled 1,200 miles from Pike County to Mackinac Island, Michigan. Part of the group are members of South Alabama EC.
E-mail us at: letters@alabamaliving.coop or write us at: Letters to the editor P.O. Box 244014 Montgomery, AL 36124 Letters to the editor
Lily Mackey of Sterrett, a member of Coosa Valley EC, had her photo made last July at the Plassey Shipwreck on Inisheer Island in Ireland. Jane Smith of Crane Hill, a member of Cullman EC, brought her magazine along to the Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi in Italy.

Lake Guntersville

State’s largest lake offers recreational options for all ages.

Alabama TRAVEL

(First in a series on Alabama’s lakes)

Ed. note: Alabama is blessed with an abundance of natural lakes that provide a variety of opportunities for fishing, swimming, skiing, birding, camping and just plain relaxing. We’ll be featuring several of these lakes in coming editions of Alabama Living. Let us know your favorite lake at contact@alabamaliving.coop.

Lake Guntersville, Alabama’s largest lake, spans 75 miles along the Tennessee River from Nickajack Dam in Marion County, Tenn. to Guntersville Dam near the town of Guntersville named for John Gunter, an early Alabama settler. This huge body of water offers unlimited opportunities to fish, ski, swim or cruise the lake.

There’s a reason that every year “Lake Guntersville is rated in the top 10 lakes in the United States,” says Tami Reist, president and chief executive officer of Alabama Mountain Lakes Tourist Association (AMLA). “It offers a wide variety of things to do that any age group can enjoy.”

An excellent place to start exploring all that Lake Guntersville offers is atop Taylor Mountain, where Lake Guntersville Resort State Park Lodge and its 69,100 acres provide a scenic overlook. Visitors can stay at this park and two other parks in Marshall County to explore the surrounding forests, fish the lake or go camping, bird watching, or golfing at the Lake Guntersville park’s 18hole course. Lodging ranges from primitive tent camping to all the amenities of a resort hotel.

For people who like to explore the lake more slowly and observe nature along the way, Lake Guntersville offers kayakers and canoeists nearly 900 shoreline miles. Paddlers should probably stick to the smaller creeks flowing into the lake. People without their own kayaks or have never paddled before can rent kayaks or other boats and sign up to participate guided group paddling adventures. People can also rent boats at the Town Creek Fishing Center, part of the state park. While paddling the creeks, watch for birds, especially bald eagles. During the winter, northeast Alabama hosts a sizeable bald eagle population. In January and February, Guntersville State Park holds “Eagle Awareness” weekends that include field trips to see the birds and their nests.

“Marshall County has seven spots on the Alabama Birding Trail,” adds Haley Rutland, communications director for Marshall County Tourism & Sports. “Lake Guntersville State Park offers many great programs where people can learn all about eagles and other birds.”

The parks offer a number of wildlife and nature programs where visitors can learn more about the outdoors. The parks also offer miles of hiking and biking trails where people can explore on their own. On the trails, hikers might see deer, a multitude of birds and other wildlife. For a different way to travel through the woods, try the Screaming Eagle Ziplines and get a view of the lake

from 190 feet in the air!

“Marshall County is the only county in Alabama with three state parks,” says Rutland. “Besides Lake Guntersville State Park, people can visit Cathedral Caverns State Park or Buck’s Pocket State Park.”

Located in Woodville, Cathedral Caverns derives its name from a massive cave. The enormous cavern entrance measures 126 feet wide and 25 feet high. At Bucks Pocket in Grove Oak, you can drive off-road vehicles on the only trail in Alabama specifically designed for them.

Feel a need for speed? Check out what’s sometimes referred to as “NASCAR on the Water,” the Guntersville Lake Hydrofest (June 24-25 this year) that features various classes of boats racing across Lake Guntersville. Some hydroplanes propelled by turbine engines producing more than 3,000 horsepower can hit speeds exceeding 220 miles per hour as they race around a two-mile oval course. These boats can throw huge “roostertails” or streams of water that can reach 60 feet high and a football field long!

Dining and shopping

If you’re looking for topnotch eating, shopping and accommodations, check out the new $30 million City Harbor mixed-use development.

“City Harbor at Lake Guntersville offers 55,000 square feet of restaurants, entertainment, retail outlets, hospitality and more,” says John Rollings, hospitality and event manager. “With a 6,000 square foot event space, that has a view to behold, City Harbor can provide you with the perfect venue for your wedding, reception or next corporate event. For those who wish to arrive by boat, City Harbor has an array of day slips for boaters to use while visiting.” Condo rentals are also available and a Home2Suites by Hilton is on tap for a groundbreaking sometime this summer.

Restaurants include the popular Big Mike’s Steakhouse, Another Broken Egg, La Esquina Cocina, The Brewers Cooperative, the Wake Eatery by Big Mike’s and Levi’s on the Lake, a full service bar. Retailers include Home Re.Decor and the Cigar Room.

Top fishing destination

Of course, no sportsman can visit one of the best fishing destinations in the nation without at least thinking about catching a few whoppers. Most anglers know Lake Guntersville for its giant largemouth bass. The lake record weighed 14.50 pounds.

“Lake Guntersville is one of the best largemouth lakes in the country,” says Phil Ekema, the Alabama Wildlife and Freshwater

Alabama Living JUNE 2023 13
Make an afternoon of fishing with family on the lake. PHOTO COURTESY OF MARSHALL COUNTY TOURISM AND SPORTS

Fisheries Division district fisheries supervisor in Tanner. “It’s a very fertile lake with good aquatic vegetation and many different habitats for bass.”

The northern portion of the reservoir retains much of its riverine characteristics. For the best largemouth action head to the southern portion with its vast grass flats, creek channels, points, coves and ledges. To fish such a huge waterbody, visitors should hire a guide to put them on fish.

“Several double-digit bass are caught each year on Lake Guntersville,” says Mike Carter with Mike Carter’s Pro Guide Service. “My biggest bass weighed 11.97 pounds. We’ve seen several bass in the 11- to 13-pound range in recent years with some over 13 pounds.”

The lake also holds smallmouth bass and spotted bass. Duanne McQueen set the lake smallmouth record with a 5.85-pounder.

“Lake Guntersville is renowned for its largemouth bass, but it also has some smallmouth and a fairly good spotted bass population,” Ekema says. “Smallmouth are around the bluffs in the riverine section and in the rocky areas at the lower end in deeper, clearer water near the dam.”

Crappie probably rank second only to largemouth bass in popularity. Lake Guntersville tied the state record white crappie with a 4.8-pound fish. The spring and fall offer the best times to catch crappie.

“We do most of our crappie fishing from Goose Pond south,” says Mike Gerry with

Fish Lake Guntersville Guide Service. “When the water warms in the spring, crappie move up to feed on edges with a little current. In the winter, we mainly fish small jigs. Our crappie average about 1.75 to 2.5 pounds, but we get one over three pounds every now and then.”

Lake Guntersville also produces great numbers of bluegills, redear sunfish, longear sunfish and other sunfish species. In addition, the lake delivered the state record yellow bass at 2.5 pounds, the state record buffalo at 57 pounds and the state record grass carp, a 73-pounder. The lake also holds sauger, walleye and yellow perch.

“Sauger numbers are making a pretty good comeback,” Ekema says. “Yellow perch are becoming more popular. Lake Guntersville is also a fantastic reservoir for catfish. It holds some 100-pounders, but 75-pound blue catfish are pretty common.”

Need a break from the outdoors? Check out the Guntersville Museum to learn about the history and culture of the area. Once the home of the Guntersville Armory and built in 1936 as part of President Roosevelt’s Works Progress Administration, the stone building now houses collections of Guntersville historic lore, Native American artifacts, watercolors and more.

Nearby, the Sand Mountain Park and Amphitheater in Albertville periodically hosts concerts, and during the hot summer months, the water park offers a perfect spot to cool off.

City Harbor, a new development on the water, has restaurants, retail stores, condos and more. PHOTO BY QUIET HANDS PHOTO + VIDEO Kayakers and canoeists have more than 900 shoreline miles to explore.
14 JUNE 2023 www.alabamaliving.coop

For more information on Lake Guntersville and nearby attractions, visit:


Hydrofest: guntersvillelakehydrofest.com



Zipline: alabama.travel/places-to-go/screamingeagle-at-lake-guntersville

Museum: guntersvillemuseum.org

Boat rentals: islandsboatrental.com

Nearby parks and attractions:

Cathedral Caverns: alapark.com/parks/cathedral-caverns-state-park Bucks Pocket State Park: alapark.com/parks/bucks-pocket-state-park Sand Mountain Park and Amphitheater: sandmountainpark.com

16 JUNE 2023 www.alabamaliving.coop
PHOTOS COURTESY OF MARSHALL COUNTY TOURISM AND SPORTS Cathedral Caverns is home of one of the largest stalagmites in the world, measuring 45 feet tall and 243 feet in circumference. Screaming Eagle Ziplines offer views of the lake from 190 feet in the air.

DeSoto State Park: The CCC’s unfinished bridge

Anyone who’s visited, hiked, bicycled or camped in an Alabama state park or national forest has benefited from the work of the Civilian Conservation Corps (often shortened to “CCC”) done nearly a century ago.

Story and photos by David Haynes
(L-R) Tiffany Parnell, Courtney Willingham and Giorgio Torregrosa pause on the unfinished CCC bridge during a recent bike ride.

Created during the Great Depression in the early 1930s as part of the “New Deal” to create jobs for single, unmarried young men, CCC camps sprang up throughout the United States. From 1933 to 1942, some three million young men were part of the CCC, building parks, campgrounds, trails, roads and other natural resource conservation projects on public lands.

Today, at DeSoto State Park in northeast Alabama, evidence of the CCC’s contributions 90 years ago still form the backbone of the park’s infrastructure. Stone quarried on site was used to construct buildings, culverts, bridges and other features of the park that borders Little River north of Little River Canyon.

One such project was a road that was planned to connect the park to the canyon, then known as “May’s Gulf.” Unfortunately, the CCC was disbanded before the road was complete after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941.

However, the unfinished roadbed, many stone culverts and bridge foundations remain, untouched for nearly a century, covered by the mosses and flowering flora of this unique location where Little River’s entire length flows atop Lookout Mountain.

One such location is the “Unfinished CCC Bridge” that offers hikers and mountain bikers several attractive options for access.

The trailhead is approximately one-half mile past the DeSoto State Park lodge and restaurant (follow the road past the cabins and chalets until it turns to dirt). Parking for the old CCC roadbed and other trail options for both walking and bicycling are available at this trailhead.

The easiest and quickest option is to simply follow the CCC roadbed down to the unfinished bridge (approximately 3.5 miles round trip). Along the road in June are numerous mountain laurel and rhododendron blooms, as well as other native wildflowers and ferns.

The unfinished bridge over Straight Creek has three massive stone bridge pilings that rise about 30 feet above the creek. A wood and steel footbridge has been added to allow hikers to cross the lush ravine. The trail continues another 1.5 miles to Road 5 in the Little River Wildlife Management Area. Along that trail are several erosion control culverts and other stoneworks, including two gigantic culverts that are over 100 feet long.

Another option to reach the unfinished bridge from the state park trailhead is the Gilliam Loop mountain bike trail. This 3.5-mile loop begins and ends at the CCC Road trailhead and parallels the CCC roadbed on one side, then crosses it and parallels the other side. This is one of the easier and more scenic mountain biking trails in the state park.

Other options in this area include Exit Trails, 1, 2 and 3 that descend to the west fork of Little River, and the DeSoto Scout Trail that follows the river downstream

Mountain Laurel blooming along Old CCC Road. Inset, Seal of the Civilian Conservation Corps on DeSoto State Park west entrance near the CCC Museum building.

past the confluence with the river’s east fork.

Because these trails are interconnected with the CCC road, a walker or bicyclist can do a one-mile, two-mile, three-mile or other distance loop and not have to backtrack.

Other trails

In all, DeSoto boasts more than 50 miles of hiking trails and around 15 miles of mountain bike trails including a new trail that was added last year.

Other popular mountain bike trails include the Family Bike Loop (2.5 miles), Never-Never Land Loop (3.8 miles), Vizzneyland Loop (1.2-mile extension of Never-Never Land Loop) and CCC Quarry Trail (1.1 miles).

Hikers can explore easy to rugged trails to Lost Falls, Azalea Cascade, Laurel Falls, as well as the 1,000-foot Talmadge Butler elevated boardwalk trail that connects to a series of other trails near the park’s main campground.

Two other hikes are about six miles north of the main park at DeSoto Falls. The more challenging one descends .7-mile to the bottom of the 104-foot waterfall. In early June this rocky trail is bursting with rhododendron and mountain laurel blooms.

Another, much easier, .45-mile hike from the same trailhead follows a bluff to a breathtaking overlook view of DeSoto Falls at almost eye level.

DeSoto State Park is also home to the CCC Museum which is housed in one of the original stone buildings from the 1930s. Hours are Saturdays noon-4 p.m., April through November, or by appointment (call 256-845-0051). The museum features displays of tools and vintage photographs of the CCC’s history and legacy.

DeSoto State Park, being situated atop Lookout Mountain at over 1,500 feet of elevation, also enjoys a reputation for being one of the coolest parts of Alabama during the summertime heat.

For additional information on these and other trails and activities at DeSoto State Park, visit the park’s website at alapark.com/parks/ desoto-state-park.

Below, the shaded stone CCC Museum located at the west entrance to DeSoto State Park. Above, Giorgio Torregrosa leans his bike into a fast corner on the Gilliam Loop Mountain Bike Trail in DeSoto State Park.

Her trip across America still inspires after 12 years

On June 10, 2011, Lou Schell celebrated her 78th birthday far from home. She was in Woodstock, Vermont, one of the 11 locations she would travel during her year-long trip across America that year, chronicled in her book, Revisiting America.

“I knew I would age on this trip!” she wrote in the book. “I wished myself a ‘happy birthday’ and treated myself to a high-cholesterol breakfast of bacon, sausage, toast and juice.”

This month, she’ll turn 90, and the birthday celebration will be at her Chatom home, organized by her four children. She’s invited many of the friends she made on her odyssey across the country, including the photographer who took the book’s cover photo and the TV producer who produced a segment on her for “CBS Sunday Morning.”

Although it’s been nine years since the book was published in July 2014 and 12 years since her trip, Mrs. Lou (as she is affectionately known in her hometown) still has fond memories of people she met and the places she visited on the trek that took her from Washington County, Alabama, to 11 different states.

“I can’t believe it’s been that long,” she says in a recent interview while making lunch for her Alabama Living visitor and Jessica Ross, director of the Washington County Public library and a longtime friend. “I just got to do so many things I know other people didn’t get to do.”

Her journey started when she and her husband, Fletcher, decided to retrace the travels of Charles Kuralt, as chronicled in his book, Charles Kuralt’s America, and featured on his CBS Sunday morning TV show, “On the Road.”

She had given the book to her husband for his birthday. Sadly, his sudden death prevented them from making the trip, but she decided to go ahead a few years later, inviting her sister, Janie, along as a companion. As she notes in the book, she advised her children she was going to make the trip and that she’d be spending their inheritance. They were all in.

“It took a lot of planning,” she recalls. In 2011, there were no GPS programs in cars, but she relied on OnStar, the navigation system in her Buick Enclave, to route her trip. “Most of the time it routed just right, but a couple of times it made the trip longer than it should have been,” she says. “I really depended on it.”

She put more than 13,000 miles on the car which, she says thankfully, never broke down. She also never felt afraid or threatened, “but then I never put myself in situations where I would be afraid.”

She didn’t have a fancy camera phone, just a “plain little old camera,” with which she captured hundreds of images of the places they went and friends they made.

“We wanted to go to all the places Charles Kuralt visited,” she says, but she changed up the order of cities to accommodate the change of seasons. “He was a fly fisherman. He flew in and out of these places. He could do that, but I couldn’t go to Maine this week and Key West the next week. I just fixed the route so we would make a circle. The weather was just perfect every place we were.”

They stayed a month at each destination, allowing them to absorb some of the character of their location, get to know the townspeople and see more than just the touristy sites. “I did things just like I lived there,” she recalls, including cooking, do-

24 JUNE 2023 www.alabamaliving.coop
Lou Schell, author of Revisiting America, enjoys a front porch visit with her neighbor, Jessica Ross, board member at Clarke-Washington EMC and director of the Washington County Library.
Alabama Living JUNE 2023 25

ing laundry and visiting local churches on Sundays and sometimes even playing the piano at their gatherings. (After all, she’d been playing since she was 9 years old and was the pianist for her Chatom Baptist Church and in demand for local weddings and funerals.)

Not all outsiders would have been as welcomed as she was, says Ross, who’s known and loved Mrs. Lou ever since she played the piano for students at Chatom Elementary School and taught them patriotic songs of America like “Home on the Range” and “The Star Spangled Banner.”

“It takes a really special personality to fold in immediately to a small town,” she says. “Mrs. Lou is so much fun.”

A journey of a lifetime

Their first stop was New Orleans, Louisiana, where Mrs. Lou says she had the best meal of the trip at August, a restaurant owned by famed chef John Besh. “Everything, when they brought it to you, they explained the dish,” she says. They were even given a behind-the-scenes look at the kitchen. The meal was expensive, even in 2011, but well worth it.

From there, they headed to Key West, Florida, where she had some outstanding key lime pie topped with a 4-inch meringue. A newspaper interviewer mistakenly reported that the meringue was 14 inches high, and Mrs. Lou asked her to run a correction. “I said if someone goes there and expects to see it (the tall meringue), they would say it was in my book!” The correction was made.

Next up was Charleston, South Carolina; Blowing Rock, North Carolina; New York City; Woodstock, Vermont; and Boothbay Harbor, Maine. There the pair visited the same location, historic Pemaquid Lighthouse, where Charles Kuralt was photographed for the cover of his book. After meeting that photographer, Robert Mitchell, Mrs. Lou returned on a second trip and was thrilled to have her own photo made there for her book cover.

Due to health issues, Janie had to return home to Austin, Texas, when they were in Boothbay Harbor. So, Mrs. Lou soldiered on alone, driving 1,700-plus miles from Maine to their next scheduled stop, Ely, Minnesota. Without Janie, she didn’t have anyone to talk to, but instead concentrated on driving and enjoying the scenery. No audiobooks or

music for the longtime piano teacher. “I don’t like noise,” she explains. “If you’re concentrating on seeing things and driving the best you know how, it would have been more of a distraction than entertainment.”

She would continue on solo to Twin Bridges, Montana (where she met Kuralt’s mistress of 30 years); Ketchikan, Alaska; and completed the journey in Taos, New Mexico in November 2011. She pulled into her long driveway, greeted by the same friends and family who had seen her off on her adventure in January. A sign across the street at the Washington County Library read, “Welcome home, Mrs. Lou! We missed you, neighbor!”

Looking back, did she have a favorite place? “Every place was so unique and so different,” she says. “It’s hard to compare.”

Writing the book took more than a year. Along the trip, she’d kept a journal and a blog, using napkins and brochures to scribble notes along the way. “I would write, and then I would send that to Janie and she would write. I’ve got the original copies of everything.

“I can hardly type,” she laments. “I would spend 45 minutes doing two lines and then erase them! A little on purpose but mainly by mistake. I’m not familiar with the computer, it was the most frustrating thing.” But write she did, and the book was published in July 2014.

She’s spoken about her trip to church groups, civic clubs, schools and did book signings, selling so many copies that the publisher, Writerspace in Mobile, ordered a second printing.

“It’s an inspiring story,” says Ross. “The travel story is inspiring, but it’s an inspiring lifestyle. And she’s continuing to inspire us.”

Would she do it again? “I made lifelong friends,” says Mrs. Lou. “I wish I could do it again.”

Many have told her they’d like to make a similar trip, but she warns them, “You’ve got to have the money to do it.” Nevertheless, as she writes in the conclusion of her book, “I hope you read, and enjoy, and that you are inspired to do whatever you’ve always dreamed of doing, however simple, however grand. Don’t wait until it’s too late.”

Revisiting America is still available at amazon.com. Mrs. Schell’s blog from 2011 and 2012 is at louschell. blogspot.com.

26 JUNE 2023 www.alabamaliving.coop
Lou Schell and her sister Janie Gass had their photo made with the plaque honoring Charles Kuralt at Magnolia Plantation in Charleston, SC. At right, Mrs. Lou entertains her visitors with an impromptu piano concert. She played piano for many years for weddings, funerals and other gatherings in Chatom, and taught music at the local elementary school. The famous Key Lime Pie with the 4-inch meringue that Mrs. Lou and Janie enjoyed in Key West. Mrs. Lou was greeted by this sign at the library upon her return home in November 2011.
Alabama Living JUNE 2023 27

Ready to retire? Apply online with Social Security

It’s never too early to start planning for retirement and our online tools can help. Go to ssa.gov/myaccount to access your personal my Social Security account to get an estimate of your retirement benefits based on your earnings record. Once you have an account, you can use our Plan for Retirement tool to see how your benefits can change at different ages. Don’t have a personal my Social Security account? You can create one at ssa.gov/ myaccount

You can also use your personal my Social Security account to see your entire work history and make sure we have all your wages recorded correctly. We base your benefit amount on the earnings reported to us. If you find any errors in your work history, read this guide ssa.gov/pubs/EN-05-10081.pdf to learn how to

correct your Social Security record.

When you’re ready to apply for Social Security retirement benefits, you can complete our online application in as little as 15 minutes at ssa.gov/retirement. We will contact you if we need any further information. You can check the status of your application through your online account.

• You can apply online for Social Security retirement benefits, or benefits as a spouse, if you:

• Are at least 61 years and nine months old.

• Are not currently receiving benefits on your own Social Security record.

• Have not already applied for retirement benefits.

• Want your benefits to start no later than four months in the future. (We cannot process your application if you apply for benefits more than four months in advance)

Find out more about retirement benefits at ssa.gov/retirement

40 Island in the Orange Beach area which is a bird sanctuary for herons and terns

1 Shine very brightly

2 Aware of, 2 words

3 Exercise class in school, for short

4 Come out of an egg

5 Near, abbr.

6 Creatures you might see on the Hugh S. Branyon Back Country Trail

7 Caught, as a fish

8 Sure!

11 Plumed white bird



28 JUNE 2023 www.alabamaliving.coop SOCIAL SECURITY
Kylle’ McKinney, SSA Public Affairs Specialist, can be reached by email at kylle.mckinney@ssa.gov. Answers on Page 53 June crossword
Island to the south of Alabama
Mild, like Gulf Coast waters in the summer 9 Pod vegetable
Gulf Shores
Fort on Dauphin Island
18 Good
20 “Medium” perception, abbr.
Enjoyed a bench
the sea perhaps 23 Bon ____ National Wildlife Refuge on West Beach which is on the Fort Morgan peninsula 25 Raise 26 Mathematical symbol 27 “Take your pick” 29 Dietitian’s stat, abbr. 30 HG___
Nice lake to swim in, at Gulf State Park 32 Smooth and white, like the Orange Beach sands 36 Cry of a crow 38 “Finding __”: 2003 Pixar film (lost fish) 39 Garden water conveyor
Speedwagon (“Keep on Loving You”
watching facility in
Rolls symbol
Musical note
beach for shelling on
Island, 2 words
while driving, 2 words 24 Breakfast cereal 25 Theater worker 28 Groups of birds 29 Volleyball setting 33 Vital pollinator 34 Dawn time, abbr. 35 Tide flowback 37 Came in first
18 Cautious 19 Black-eyed Susan e.g. 21 Birds you can see on the Alabama Coastal Birding Trail 22 Protection from the


2-3 Haleyville 9-1-1- Festival. This event honors first responders and supports downtown merchants. Arts and crafts, merchandise and food vendors, free kids’ zone, cornhole tournament, 9-1-1 and First Responder Awards, open mic Saturday, classic car show and antique tractor show and parade. HaleyvilleChamber.org

including museums, homes and churches, to celebrate its bicentennial. Ten private homes and five other historic places of interest are on the self-guided tour. Saturday’s tour is from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sunday’s tour is from 1 to 5 p.m. Tickets available on Eventbrite (search Greensboro, AL) or on the day of the tours at Magnolia Grove, 1002 Hobson St.

Around Alabama

22-25 Tuscumbia 45th annual Helen Keller Festival. Kickoff street party on Thursday evening downtown; events move to Spring Park Friday-Sunday with arts and crafts vendors, live music, food and fun for the whole family. HelenKellerFestival.com

24 Clanton Chilton County Peach Festival, sponsored by the Clanton Lions Club. Parade begins at 9 a.m., with a peach auction after the parade. The Peach Jam is from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.; the Peach Car Show takes place at during this time. ChiltonPeachFest.com

24-25 Lake Guntersville

HydroFest, along Sunset Drive near the Guntersville Recreation Center. Two days of competitive boat racing as drivers volley to take home the Southern Cup. Qualifying and racing begin at 8 a.m. Day and weekend passes available for purchase at ExploreLakeGuntersville.com

30-July 2 Robertsdale Rockabilly


Georgiana 44th annual Hank Williams Sr. Festival, on the grounds of Hank’s Boyhood Home and Museum. Headliners are Darryl Worley, Chris Cagle and Jason Petty, in addition to other musicians during the weekend. Arts and crafts vendors on site; bring lawn chairs. 251-626-4086.

3 Millbrook Hydrangea Fest, Alabama Wildlife Federation’s Pavilion on Lanark Road. Buy and see these beautiful plants, many of which will be in bloom, growing in the landscape. Maria Pacheco, grounds specialist, will present a program on growing hydrangeas at 9:30 a.m., followed by a walking tour of the property’s heirloom garden. Admission $5. Proceeds from plant sales will benefit Lanark’s gardens. Alabamawildlife.org/ calendar

10 Decatur Readers and Writers Jubilee. Event includes an author meet and greet and panels and workshops for readers and writers. Featured speaker is USA Today bestselling author and NAACP Image nominee Beverly Jenkins. myDPL.or/jubilee

BamaLama – Red White and Boom! 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., Robertsdale Coliseum, arena and fairgrounds, 19477 Fairgrounds Road. Show featuring cars, hot rods, low riders, motorcycles and trucks; bands paying tribute to the rockabilly genre; fireworks and pyrotechnic displays; dance contests; merchants’ row and more. For tickets and more information, visit rockabillybamalama.com


Marion 29th annual Marion Rodeo, Perry County Cattlemen’s Ralph Eagle Memorial Arena. Co-sanctioned by the Professional Cowboys Association and the International Professional Rodeo Association and produced by the 3R Rodeo Company of Jemison. Gates open at 6 p.m.; mutton bustin’ at 6:30 p.m.; little wranglers at 7:15 p.m.; and the rodeo begins at 7:30 p.m. 334-410-0748.


3-4 Grand Bay Grand Bay Watermelon Festival, 10327 Taylor F. Harper Blvd. Arts and crafts vendors, food court and entertainment area. On Monday, gates are open 3 to 7 p.m. with no admission charge. On Tuesday, gates open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; $5 per vehicle admission. Open car show, pretty baby contest, free sliced ice-cold watermelon, rides, games, contests and more. Fireworks at 8 p.m. Tuesday. GrandBayWatermelonFestival.org


Lake Guntersville Folklife in the South, a regional gathering for the celebration and study of Southern folk art and culture. The symposium will bring together folklorists, community leaders, cultural workers and traditional artists to share knowledge and collaborate on issues affecting the region. Includes skills workshops and presentation by local artists. AmericanFolkloreSociety.org

16-17 Phil Campbell Phil Campbell Hoedown. A two-day fun-filled experience featuring music, vendors and contests. Local musicians will perform Saturday evening. PhilCampbellal.com

17 Winfield The Pastime Theatre 2023 concert season continues with Sean of the South and special guests the Goat Hill String Band. $25. 1052 U.S. Highway 43. 205-487-3002.

4 Henagar 41st Annual Sand Mountain Potato Festival, Henagar City Park. Parade begins at 10 a.m. with activities in the park following. Free entry. Festival includes musical entertainment, car show, craft vendors, food vendors, and game vendors. Fireworks display at 9 p.m. 256-657-6282.


Alexander City 2023 Alex City Jazz Fest presented by Russell Lands. Event offers a mix of sounds spanning the musical spectrum, including blues, jazz, funk and soul, Americana, bluegrass and rock ’n’ roll. AlexCityJazzFest.com

10-11 Greensboro bicentennial tour. The town of Greensboro is hosting a tour of more than 20 historic sites,


Brewton Blueberry Festival, 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Jennings Park. Arts and crafts booths, food vendors, blueberry ice cream, cobbler and crunch, blueberry bushes for sale, antique and classic car show, free children’s fun section and more. 251-867-3224.

4 Gulf Shores Independence Day Celebration, Gulf State Park Fishing and Education Pier. Fireworks begin at 9 p.m. (Pier closes to the public beginning at 7 a.m. to setup for fireworks.) GulfShoresAl.gov

Alabama Living JUNE 2023 29
Hydrofest on Lake Guntersville features two days of competitive boat racing June 24-25.
To place an event, e-mail events@alabamaliving.coop. or visit www.alabamaliving.coop. You can also mail to Events Calendar, P.O. Box 244014, Montgomery, AL 36124; Each submission must include a contact name and phone number. Deadline is two months prior to issue date. We regret that we cannot publish every event due to space limitations.
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Promoting Sweet Home Alabama

Patti Culp has been singing the praises of Alabama as a destination for travelers for nearly 50 years. As the president and CEO of the Alabama Travel Council, she works closely with the Alabama Department of Tourism and the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources/State Parks to spread the word about what Alabama has to offer the world. She has been a tireless cheerleader for the tourism industry, serving as the meeting planner for the Governor’s Conference on Tourism, the annual Legislative Reception and the tourism department’s annual Welcome Center Retreat. A Montgomery native, she graduated from Troy University and worked in the insurance and golf tournament industries before returning back to her home to begin her career at the Travel Council in 1977. She has served on countless boards and agencies, including being the first female president of the Alabama Council of Association Executives. She was inducted into the Robert E. Lee High School Hall of Fame and is currently a commissioner for the USS Alabama Battleship Commission. She spoke with Alabama Living about her job and her favorite state. – Lenore

Tell us about the Alabama Travel Council and your role there. The ATC is a not-for-profit, statewide trade association that promotes tourism and travel to and throughout Alabama. We serve as the industry leader for current and future tourism pro fessionals, creating opportunities for connectivity and collabora tion. Our mission statement is to lead and strengthen Alabama tourism efforts through advocacy, education, and promotion on behalf of its members. In addition to being president and CEO of the council, I also manage the Alabama Tourism Partnership (ATP), a consortium of statewide organizations serving as the tourism industry’s legislative voice.

Why is tourism important to our state?

The tourism industry employs more than 238,000 Ala bamians and produces more than $22 billion for the state’s econ omy. This year, we will celebrate the most significant increase in tourism revenue in Alabama’s history. Travelers are realizing the greatness that Alabama has to offer. Suppose the Alabama Department of Tourism, the ATC, the Convention and Visitor Bureaus/Chambers of Commerce, and other state and regional organizations didn’t exist? If that was the case, there is no way these numbers would have reached this magnitude. Alabama tourism industry professionals tell the true story of Alabama. The past is our legacy, and the future is our hope.

How does the council work with state agencies to promote that?

ATC works hand in hand with the Alabama Tourism Depart ment (ATD) and the Department of Conservation and Natu ral Resources/State Parks. I have served on the ATD Advisory Board for over 40 years. This position allows me to have input and share the fantastic work that the ATD does to position Ala bama as a major player in the industry. In addition, I work with

other organizations that promote Alabama by serving on committees and boards (past and present) of the Alabama Restaurant & Hospitality Association, Southeast Tourism Society, Alabama Council of Association Executives, Alabama Motorcoach Association, etc.

What’s your favorite part of your job?

No doubt, the people and the travel! My industry partners are my family, and traveling is my passion! It has been a wonderful experience to travel and tell people all over North America how magnificent Sweet Home Alabama is. Our hospitality, variety of outdoor adventures, and unique history are only the beginning of what I share! The fantastic attractions like the USS ALABAMA Battleship; Bellingrath Gardens; the beach; the mountains; the U.S. Space & Rocket Center; Ivy Green, the Birthplace of Helen Keller; the music; Alabama Civil Rights Memorial; and many, many more, are the reasons we can entice travelers to Alabama.

I share all that is wonderful about Alabama with hundreds of tour and travel planners and their clients at regional and national travel exchanges hosted he National Tour Association and Southeast Tourism Society.

hat’s the one thing about Alabama that you want our readers to know and tell their neighbors about?

To share an old tourism theme – Alabama s It All! If each citizen told their out-of-town family and friends about the beauty; natural diversity; phenomenal tory; a remarkable variety of first-class attractions, hotels, and estaurants, and our excellent Southern hospitality, our numbers would continue o soar! Traveling to Alabama assures our visitors a unique and memorable experience they will share with hers. It’s a win-win for every-

| Alabama People | Patti Culp

A new blessing (and a new menu) every day

Heard’s BBQ, even with its location near the busy U.S. Highway 82 in Maplesville, can be easy to miss. But just wait till 11 a.m.; by then, loyal customers have checked the restaurant’s Facebook page to see what’s on the menu that day, and they’re ready to eat.

The menu changes daily, with a few mainstays: Barbecue pork is always served, as are barbecue loaded fries and some tasty sides.  Everything else, though, is subject to change, sometimes due to customer requests, sometimes just because that’s what owner Roman Heard feels like cooking that day. The menu varies widely: One day may feature classic soul food dishes like oxtails and collard greens; on another day, it’s fried catfish, served as fillets or as

And almost everything sells out, every day.

The first Saturday he opened in 2017, he sold ribs, chicken, pulled pork and smoked sausage, and “it just took off,” he says. At this small building behind a supermarket in Chilton County, he started with a “small Walmart grill” and very little money – “the only money I had was to pay the deposit on this building” – but also a lot of heart and direction from above.

“God knows what we need,” Heard says. He’s a cook and a restaurant owner but also a minister, and his story is peppered with references to divine intervention.

“God just blessed me, that’s all I can say. I know it sounds cliche,” he says. For him, it’s more than

| Worth the drive |
“Let’s offer something different every day and still keep the barbecue.”
Shakira and Roman Heard in the lobby of their restaurant, Heard’s BBQ.
32 JUNE 2023 www.alabamaliving.coop

Being humbled

This is Heard’s second restaurant. With the first, he says, he was chasing a dream, and while he knew how to cook, he didn’t know the business side. And, he wasn’t doing it for the right reasons.

“I knew I was doing it for what I could gain, what I can buy. ‘I want to buy this nice vehicle, I want to show this off.’ It didn’t feel good at the time, but I’m glad God showed me, this is not how you do business, or how you stay in business.”

He lost everything with that first restaurant, and he moved his family in with his mom for a time, which was “a humbling experience.”

He went to work for a food distributor, delivering briskets and pork ribs to barbecue restaurants. He would talk with the owners about the restaurant business, soaking up all the advice he could.

He enjoyed the job delivering food to restaurants but felt the pull to get back into cooking for others. This time, he went a different route, utilizing social media and a sort of “pop up” type of food service. He would create Facebook events and announce he was selling ribs on a particular Saturday; customers were told to pre-order in the comments with a Thursday deadline, so he would know how many slabs to buy.

Come Saturday, he would go to the local park and cook slabs of ribs all morning. In classic small-town fashion, he saw no need for tickets and receipts; he knew all of the customers by name.

From there, he expanded into other foods, like catfish. But really, he cooks what he likes, and tries recipes out on his family. “If they like it, I feel like everybody (will) like it.”

A dream deferred

He also started catering on the side for friends and co-workers, even while working full time for the food distributor. “I would take orders during the day, and I would go home and cook all night. The next morning, I would wake up, go back to work, and

Heard’s BBQ

8341 Alabama Highway 22, Maplesville, AL 36750 334-543-6856

Hours: 11 a.m. until sold out (usually between 3 and 5 p.m.), Tuesday-Saturday

Online: Search “Heard’s BBQ and

I just looked forward to it. It was tiring, but I got more joy out of doing that than I did my actual job.”

He came home from work one day and his wife, Shakira, said the words most married folks dread: “We need to talk.” But she was concerned, not angry, and wanted to help Roman realize his dream.

“She said, ‘God is showing me that you need to be back in this full time.’ I told her no, I’m not going to put you and the kids through that again.” But after a couple of weeks of soul searching, Roman decided it was time to move forward, to again chase the dream he’d had, nine years after the first restaurant closed.

He hesitated to leave the food distributor, which had been a stable job, and one he enjoyed. One day, the company owner pulled him aside and said, “‘I know this is your dream, but I feel like you’re not going to pull the trigger.’ And I wasn’t. He said, ‘if you do that and it doesn’t work, your job is secure.’ That was one of those other things I needed to hear.”

Shakira continued in her job as a schoolteacher, but after their oldest son graduated from high school, she decided to retire to help Roman full time. She took over the bookkeping, which was never Roman’s calling. Their relationship in the restaurant works well: “She’s here, she sees (what’s needed), and she just flows in it.”

Now, Shakira does some cooking as well, including most of the sides and all the desserts. But, Roman says, “I don’t let anybody do the grilling.” And now they’ve branched out to bottle their barbecue sauce and dry rubs, which are sold at nearby stores.

The restaurant is mostly a to-go spot, with a small screened-in patio for those who want to sit down. But with no need for servers and a smaller overhead, the small space allows them to focus more on the food and invest back into the business.

And his newest investment is ready to roll. A bright yellow food truck has been decked out and is ready for community festivals, receptions, parties, you name it. Everything that’s served at the restaurant can be cooked and served right from the truck, Roman says.

At the end of this interview, Roman shows off the awards he’s won for his food – top-four finishes in the Bama’s Best contests, sponsored by the Alabama Farmers Federation, for his burgers, ribs and pulled pork.

Maplesville l

For him, the recognition is nice, but there’s a greater reward. “God made it clear, this is going to be a blessing. To be in my hometown is even more of a blessing to where I can take care of people. I’m tied to this community.”

34 JUNE 2023 www.alabamaliving.coop
Soul Food” on Facebook The focus of Heard’s BBQ started off with, and continues to be, the ribs. PHOTO COURTESY HEARD’S BBQ The barbecue loaded fries are a popular item. PHOTO BY ALLISON LAW The boneless grilled chicken sandwich with slaw. PHOTO COURTESY HEARD’S BBQ

Annual photo contest coming up!

Our readers impressed us last year with the quality of their entries in Alabama Living’s annual photo contest, which will run in the September issue. Start thinking now about the 2023 contest, because we want to see more of your awesome photos! First-place winners receive $100, and those photos plus other honorable mentions will be profiled in the magazine.

Photos must be uploaded to our website, alabamaliving.coop (no hard copies accepted) beginning June 1. The categories this year are nature (animals, insects, scenery), at play (sports, recreation, fun) and travels (events and places of interest). Complete rules will be posted on the website. In the meantime, start planning which photos you want to enter!

Alabama Living JUNE 2023 35
Photo by Susan Allison Baldwin EMC submitted in 2022 contest.

Alabama is a wonderland for hydrangeas

All over Alabama this month, puffy orbs in an array of pink and blue hues should be turning Alabama into a confection-colored hydrangea wonderland. Sadly, the Arctic blast in December 2022, coupled with frigid temperatures earlier this year, may adversely affect this summer’s display but plenty of other hydrangeas are more than ready to step in and amaze us.

The Hydrangea genus includes more than 70 species of flowering plants native to Asia and the Americas, but only a handful of these are used in gardening and landscaping. According to Maria Pacheco, grounds specialist for the Alabama Nature Center and Historic Lanark in Millbrook, that list includes the following five hydrangea species, all of which work well in Alabama.

 Bigleaf (Hydrangea macrophylla): Mophead and lacecap types; varying shades of pink or blue flowers; hybrids available in additional colors; bloom from early June to late July and sometimes into late fall.

 Panicle (Hydrangea paniculata): Chartreuse green to pink ‘Limelights’ and bright white peegees; bloom late summer into fall.

 Oakleaf (Hydrangea quercifolia): Our state wildflower; native to the Southeast; elongated white flowers that often fade to pink; bloom early May through late July.

 Smooth (Hydrangea arborescens): Native to the Southeast; large white flowers; bloom July into the fall.

 Climbing (Hydrangea barbara): Several Asian climbing species are available but H. barbara is native to the Southeast; small, lacey white flowers; bloom early May through late June.

Of these, the bigleaf mopheads are most commonly associated with southern yards and landscapes, and they have been the gateway species for many a hydrangea aficionado, including Pacheco and Auburn hydrangea guru Dale Peterson, whose superb collection of more than 450 hydrangeas began almost three decades ago with the purchase of a single mophead.

“It was one color when I bought it and the next year it was a different color,” he says. As he researched this intriguing pH-related happenstance, Peterson stumbled upon the Alabama Hydrangea Society. He also soon discovered the many delights of growing and propagating hydrangeas and the many friends to be made within the hydrangea community.

Mopheads also hold a special place in Pacheco’s heart. She loves all kinds of hydrangeas but mopheads “were the first ones I learned to propagate,” she says. “That was exciting! And they are so easy to dry and use for arrangements or crafts.”

But Alabama Hydrangea Society President David Doggett cautions that here in Alabama, “mopheads can break your

heart. Too often, our fluctuating temperatures in early spring cause them to break dormancy too early and the next freeze then damages the blooms,” he says.

That may be the case this year because of those frigid late 2022 and early 2023 temperatures. That doesn’t mean our mopheads are dead or won’t flower at all, just that they may not put on their usual show. But plenty of other hydrangeas are ready to step in, especially those with deep roots in our state.

“The hydrangea that must feel most at home in Alabama is the oakleaf hydrangea,” Doggett says. “I like to say that Alabama is ‘ground zero’ for oakleaf hydrangeas because so many of the cultivars that we enjoy have been discovered in Jefferson, Shelby, Blount and Etowah counties.

“They (oakleafs) love the heat,” he says, adding the native smooth hydrangea is another well-suited choice because it is “weather-proof.”

Many new cultivars, developed from both native and Asian species, have also been developed that perform extremely well in our climate and offer diverse color and size options and longer bloom times.

Ready to embrace the wonderland of hydrangeas? Here are a few tips from the experts to get you started.

“Go to a nursery and walk around in the hydrangea section,” Pacheco says. “Look at the way they grow, feel the leaves and see what you are drawn to. Find out which variety is best suited for your garden. Do you like white flowers, pink or blue? Do you like something small or something big? Remember that you’re going to be living with this plant and hopefully caring for it for a long time, see

| Gardens |
36 JUNE 2023 www.alabamaliving.coop
Alabama Living JUNE 2023 37

what is special to you.”

Peterson’s advice is to think like a real estate mogul: “Planting is all about location, location, location,” he says. Pick a site that fits the plant’s needs. “If you’re planting mopheads, you need a site with morning sun and afternoon shade, and it needs to be planted on the north and east side of the house to avoid too much sun.” If it’s a different species that can take more sun, adjust accordingly to meet its needs. He also suggested amending the soil so it’s nutrient-rich and well-draining and use a timed-release fertilizer once a year.

Like Pacheco and Peterson, Doggett loves how easy hydrangeas are to propagate, but he noted that many of the

newer cultivars are patented or trademarked, which prevents them from being propagated for at least 20 years. However, he said, lots of the best-in-class and classic cultivars are now back in the public domain.

Now is also a great time to immerse yourself in hydrangeas by wandering through them. Pacheco is hosting Lanark’s annual Hydrangea Fest on June 3, an event that will feature tours, talks and a plant sale. (Visit alabamawildlife.org for more information.)

Hydrangeas are also growing in most public gardens including one extra special hydrangea wonderland, Aldridge Gardens in Hoover. (Visit aldridgegardens. com) Aldridge Gardens is home to the gorgeous “Snowflake” oakleaf hydrangea, which was developed and patented by the father/son nurserymen team of the late Loren and Eddie Aldridge. It’s also where the Alabama Hydrangea Society meets five times a year “to foster, to promote, to educate, and study the Genus Hydrangea.”

“Basically, we really just love hydrangeas and like gathering with like-mind-

ed gardeners,” Doggett says. Not only are new members welcome to join the society and attend meetings, the AHS website (AlabamaHydrangeaSociety.org) is full of information on growing hydrangeas, as is the Alabama Cooperative Extension System website at aces.edu


 Plant corn, beans, southern peas, melons, tomatoes and peppers.

 Plant basil, dill, parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme.

 Plant cosmos, zinnias, marigolds, sunflowers and other warm-season flowers.

 Build trellises for beans and stake or place cages for tomatoes.

 Water lawns only when grasses show signs of drought stress.

 Watch for signs of insect and disease problems; treat as needed.

 Keep up with the weeding.

 Use your sunscreen and stay cool and hydrated.

 Keep those birdbaths and feeders clean and full.

Dale Peterson shows off one of the many hydrangeas in his yard.
38 JUNE 2023 www.alabamaliving.coop 276



In this periodic feature, we highlight books either about Alabama people or events, or written by Alabama authors. Summaries are not reviews or endorsements. We also occasionally highlight book-related events. Email submissions to bookshelf@alabamaliving.coop. Due to the volume of submissions, we are unable to feature all the books we receive.

Unmasking the Klansman

by Dan T. Carter, NewSouth Books, $28.95 (biography)

Asa Carter was one of the South’s most notorious white supremacists and secret Klansman, a north Alabama political firebrand who became a secret adviser to George Wallace in the early 1960s. When he disappeared from Alabama in 1972, few knew that he had assumed a new identity in Abilene, Texas, masquerading as a Cherokee American novelist. The author uncovered “Forrest” Carter’s true identity after two decades of exhaustive research.

Unloose My Heart: A Personal Reckoning with the Twisted Roots of My Southern Family


Herman-Giddens, The University of Alabama Press, $34.95 (memoir)

Growing up in Birmingham in the 1950s and ’60s, the author struggled to understand her mother’s proud antebellum heritage against the backdrop of the civil rights movement. She left Alabama in 1966, but later in life resumed a search of her family’s history. The book unearths a family history of racism, slaveholding and trauma as well as reconciliation and love.

The Secret Book of Flora Lea

by Patti Callahan Henry, Atria Books, $28.99 (historical fiction) This immersive World War II novel explores the bond between sisters, longheld secrets, conflicted love, and the magic of storytelling, set against the backdrop of the Blitz in London. The best-selling author of 16 novels lives part-time in Mountain Brook with her family and is the co-host and co-creator of the popular weekly online “Friends and Fiction” live web show and podcast.

The Civilian Conservation Corps Cookbook

by Amy Bizzarri, The History Press, $23.99 (history/ cooking) The Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC), one of the voluntary New Era government work relief programs, offered work to nearly 3 million unemployed men during the Depression. More than wages, the program also offered a major benefit: three square meals a day. The book features the recipes that sustained not only the CCC men but also our grandparents and great-grandparents and reflect the “make do” attitude of Depression-era home cooks.

Afternoons with Harper Lee

by Wayne Flynt, NewSouth Books, $24.95

(memoir/ biography) Flynt, Auburn University professor emeritus, is a fourth-generation Alabamian and became a friend and confidant of Nelle Harper Lee, famous author of “To Kill a Mockingbird.” Flynt and his wife Dartie visited Lee regularly at her assisted living facility after she came back to Alabama; they exchanged stories about Alabama history, folklore, genealogy, and of course, American literature. The book is a product of those conversations and offers a unique window into the life and mind of one of America’s best-loved writers.

Rich Waters by Robert Bailey, Thomas and Mercer, $16.99 (legal thriller) This second book in the Jason Rich series (set to be released June 20) traces the price of redemption

for Rich, an ambulance chasing lawyer who takes a case he can’t win in a town he can’t forget. In this particular case, he finds that everyone in this Alabama town has secrets to hide and interests to protect at any cost. Bailey is a Huntsville native who graduated from the University of Alabama Law School.

Alabama Living JUNE 2023 41

Flounder population may be on the rebound

Since about 2009, sportsmen in the southern Atlantic and Gulf Coast states have reported catching fewer flounder than normal. The Alabama southern flounder population reached its lowest point in 2017-19.

“All southeastern states where southern flounder naturally occur in the Atlantic Ocean or the Gulf of Mexico experienced a similar decline in their populations around 2009-10,” says Kevin Anson, chief of fisheries for the Alabama Marine Resources Division. “We think environmental changes affected flounder during that period. Beginning around 2009, winters became warmer and the cold period was not as pronounced as it had been in previous years. In addition, we had droughts.”

For many reptiles and some fishes, their sex can be determined by the temperatures in their surrounding environment. Researchers theorize that if water gets too warm too fast, most young flounder will become males. That reduces the reproductive potential of the population.

“Studies indicate a strong correlation in southern flounder between water temperatures and a sex change in young flounder if they are exposed to water temperatures colder or warmer than a narrow temperature band,” Anson explains. “If we had two or three years back-to-back that don’t support 50 percent being female, there will be fewer reproducing females in the water.”

In 2019, Alabama changed its regulations to allow more flounder to reproduce at least once. Each angler can keep five flounder per day, down from 10 previously. The minimum length increased from 12 to 14 inches and anglers cannot keep flounder during November.

Male southern flounder generally stay farther offshore and seldom grow longer than 14 inches. A female flounder takes about 12 to 18 months to reach legal size, about the same time she can start reproducing. Females stay in inshore waters more than the males. Therefore, fishing pressure almost entirely impacts the female population.

Hoping to increase flounder populations, Alabama biologists began spawning southern flounder at the Claude Peteet Mariculture Center in Gulf Shores in the last few years. Since 2019, the hatchery has released about 270,000 young flounder, each between one and two inches long.

“We collect wild fish each year and rotate the brood stock so we’re not always spawning the same males and females,” says Max Westendorf, the Claude Peteet facility manager. “We want to release a more genetically diverse population. In the hatchery, it takes southern flounder about 50 days to reach an inch long. Hatchery fish have a better chance of survival because they are a little farther along in their development than wild fish when we release them.”

Researchers collect wild brood stock from anglers. Most specimens come from flounder caught during fishing tournaments.

“We partner with Saltwater Finaddicts,” Westendorf says. “They hold a fishing tournament every summer and created a live flounder category with prizes to incentivize anglers to bring in live flounders. They’ll give us between 35 to 135 flounder each year for us to use as brood stock.”

The good news is that the regulation change and the release of hatchery-raised fish seems to be working. In the past few years, many Alabama anglers reported catching more flounder.

“ This year seems to be a much better year, but we don’t have enough information to determine if it’s back to what it was before 2009,” Anson says. “We like to think there is a positive benefit with increasing the size limit.”

People can’t tell the difference between a wild fish and one raised in a hatchery by looking at them. Some fish, though, do stand out!

“About 40 to 50 percent of the flounder we raise have a nutrient deficiency that results in them being malpigmented,” Westendorf says. “Not just southern flounder, but it occurs in all flatfish. Juvenile flounder are almost translucent in the hatchery. As they grow, some turn into albinos.”

Malpigmented adults might look mostly white or white mixed with their normal brown coloration. Their lack of mottled camouflage can affect how these ambush predators hunt. Typically, flounder bury themselves in the mud waiting for prey to pass close to them. Without that coloration, few albino fish likely survive into adulthood. Researchers do not know if these oddly-colored fish will revert to their usual coloration in the wild after eating all the natural foods that flounder like.

“We believe it’s a nutritional problem, not a genetic problem,” Westendorf says. “In Alabama, we never had anyone report catching an albino flounder. If someone caught an albino flounder, it was most likely a hatchery fish. In the wild, less than one percent of flounder have malpigmentation.”

For more information on Saltwater Finaddicts, see saltwaterfinaddicts.com or look them up on Facebook.

42 JUNE 2023 www.alabamaliving.coop | Outdoors |
John N. Felsher is a professional freelance writer who lives in Semmes, Ala. He also hosts an outdoors tips show for WAVH FM Talk 106.5 radio station in Mobile, Ala. Contact him at j.felsher@ hotmail.com or through Facebook. Elizabeth Eustis shows off a flounder she caught. Female southern flounder grow larger than males and spend more time in the estuaries than offshore. PHOTO BY JOHN N. FELSHER


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The Moon Clock and resulting Moon Times were developed 40 years ago by Doug Hannon, one of America’s most trusted wildlife experts and a tireless inventor. The Moon Clock is produced by DataSport, Inc. of Atlanta, GA, a company specializing in wildlife activity time prediction. To order the 2023 Moon Clock, go to www.moontimes.com.

Alabama Living JUNE 2023 43
EXCELLENT TIMES MOON STAGE GOOD TIMES JUNE A.M. PM AM PM Sa 17 11:18 - 1:18 11:42 - 1:42 5:48 - 7:18 6:11 - 7:4 1 Su 18 NA 12:06 - 2:06 NEW MOON 6:09 - 7:39 6:33 - 8:03 Mo 19 12:30 - 2:30 12:54 - 2:54 6:57 - 8:2 7 7:21 - 8:51 Tu 20 1:18 - 3:18 1:42 - 3:42 7:45 - 9:15 8:09 - 9:39 We 21 2:06 - 4:06 2:30 - 4:30 8:33 - 10:03 8:57 - 10:27 Th 22 2:54 - 4:54 3:18 - 5:18 9:21 - 10:51 9:45 - 11:15 Fr 23 3:42 - 5:42 4:06 - 6:06 10:09 - 11:39 10:33 - 12:03 Sa 24 4:30 - 6:30 4:54 - 6:54 10:57 - 12:27 11:21 - 12:51 Su 25 5:18 - 7:18 5:42 - 7:42 NA 12:09 - 1:39 Mo 26 6:06 - 8:06 6:30 - 8:30 12:33 - 2:03 12:57 - 2:27 Tu 27 6:54 - 8:54 7:18 - 9:18 1:21 - 2:51 1:45 - 3:15 We 28 8:30 - 10:30 8:54 - 10:54 2:57 - 4:2 7 3:21 - 4:51 Th 29 9:18 - 11:18 9:42 - 11:42 3:45 - 5:15 4:09 - 5:39 Fr 30 10:06 - 12:06 10:30 - 12:30 4:33 - 6:03 4:57 - 6:2 7 JULY A.M. PM AM PM Sa 1 10:54 - 12:54 11:18 - 1:18 5:21 - 6:51 5:45 - 7:15 Su 2 11:18 - 1:18 11:42 - 1:42 5:48 - 7:18 6:11 - 7:4 1 Mo 3 NA 12:06 - 2:06 FULL MOON 6:09 - 7:39 6:33 - 8:03 Tu 4 12:30 - 2:30 12:54 - 2:54 6:57 - 8:2 7 7:21 - 8:51 We 5 1:18 - 3:18 1:42 - 3:42 7:45 - 9:15 8:09 - 9:39 Th 6 2:06 - 4:06 2:30 - 4:30 8:33 - 10:03 8:57 - 10:27 Fr 7 2:54 - 4:54 3:18 - 5:18 9:21 - 10:51 9:45 - 11:15 Sa 8 3:42 - 5:42 4:06 - 6:06 10:09 - 11:39 10:33 - 12:03 Su 9 4:30 - 6:30 4:54 - 6:54 10:57 - 12:27 11:21 - 12:51 Mo 10 5:18 - 7:18 5:42 - 7:42 NA 12:09 - 1:39 Tu 11 6:06 - 8:06 6:30 - 8:30 12:33 - 2:03 12:57 - 2:27 We 12 6:54 - 8:54 7:18 - 9:18 1:21 - 2:51 1:45 - 3:15 Th 13 7:42 - 9:42 8:06 - 10:06 2:09 - 3:39 2:33 - 4:03 Fr 14 8:30 - 10:30 8:54 - 10:54 2:57 - 4:2 7 3:21 - 4:51 Sa 15 9:18 - 11:18 9:42 - 11:42 3:45 - 5:15 4:09 - 5:39 Su 16 10:06 - 12:06 10:30 - 12:30 4:33 - 6:03 4:57 - 6:2 7 Mo 17 NA 12:06 - 2:06 NEW MOON 6:09 - 7:39 6:33 - 8:03 Tu 18 12:30 - 2:30 12:54 - 2:54 6:57 - 8:2 7 7:21 - 8:51 We 19 1:18 - 3:18 1:42 - 3:42 7:45 - 9:15 8:09 - 9:39 Th 20 2:06 - 4:06 2:30 - 4:30 8:33 - 10:03 8:57 - 10:27 Fr 21 2:54 - 4:54 3:18 - 5:18 9:21 - 10:51 9:45 - 11:15 Sa 22 3:42 - 5:42 4:06 - 6:06 10:09 - 11:39 10:33 - 12:03 Su 23 4:30 - 6:30 4:54 - 6:54 10:57 - 12:27 11:21 - 12:51 Mo 24 5:18 - 7:18 5:42 - 7:42 NA 12:09 - 1:39 Tu 25 6:06 - 8:06 6:30 - 8:30 12:33 - 2:03 12:57 - 2:27 We 26 6:54 - 8:54 7:18 - 9:18 1:21 - 2:51 1:45 - 3:15 Th 27 8:30 - 10:30 8:54 - 10:54 2:57 - 4:2 7 3:21 - 4:51 Fr 28 9:18 - 11:18 9:42 - 11:42 3:45 - 5:15 4:09 - 5:39 Sa 29 10:06 - 12:06 10:30 - 12:30 4:33 - 6:03 4:57 - 6:2 7 Su 30 10:54 - 12:54 11:18 - 1:18 5:21 - 6:51 5:45 - 7:15 Mo 31 11:18 - 1:18 11:42 - 1:42 5:48 - 7:18 6:11 - 7:4 1

Building a better burger

Our Cook of the Month winning recipe, HP Burger, combines the tastes of sweet pineapple, crunchy bacon, cheese and barbecue sauce to top off an exceptional burger.

| Alabama Recipes |
Food styling and photos: Brooke Echols HP Burger
44 JUNE 2023 www.alabamaliving.coop

Cook of the Month:

Hannah Pugh, Black Warrior EMC

Hannah Pugh invented her winning recipe “HP Burger” while working at her family’s restaurant, Mike’s Country Kitchen in Pine Hill in Wilcox County, where she’s been co-owner the past five years. The combination of sweet pineapple, crunchy bacon, and American cheese, topped with barbecue sauce (she prefers Sweet Baby Ray’s brand) has proven to be very popular with diners, especially linemen from Black Warrior EMC. She enjoys coming up with her own recipes like the burger, which is named, appropriately, with her initials. “I have always enjoyed coming up with new creations for the weekly specials,” she says. The secret to a good burger? Hannah says it’s the flat top grill they use at the restaurant. “There’s something about cooking it on a flat top, the grease drains off better. We use fresh, 80/20 ground beef and we hand-patty our burgers every day.” At the restaurant, she works alongside her parents, Mike and June Rush, and her sister Elizabeth Bender. They have a weekly hot bar in addition to daily specials. Hannah also makes her own Boudreaux sauce, a Cajun-inspired sauce she says is “like a ‘comeback sauce,’ but a little different. I’d like to try selling it one day.”

HP Burger

6 6-ounce all-beef burger patties

1 20-ounce can pineapple slices

6 slices white American cheese

12 slices bacon, cooked BBQ sauce, your choice Mayonnaise

6 hamburger buns

Grill hamburger patties to well done. Grill pineapple slices to your preference and toast bun. Spread mayonnaise on the bottom bun, place patty, cheese, bacon (2 slices per burger) and pineapple. Top with BBQ sauce of choice and toasted bun.

Coming up next...

October theme: Pumpkin

Deadline to enter: July 7

Black Bean Feta Burgers

1 14-ounce can black beans, drained

1 egg

1/3 cup feta cheese, crumbled

1/4 cup onion, chopped

1 teaspoon garlic, minced

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

1 teaspoon cumin

1 teaspoon chili powder

1 cup breadcrumbs

Mash the black beans with the egg and feta cheese in a bowl. Add onion, garlic, salt, pepper, cumin, chili powder, and breadcrumbs. Form into 4 even patties. Spray an air fryer basket with olive oil. Put the burgers in the basket in a single layer. Air fry at 400 degrees for 5 minutes. Flip and cook for 5 more minutes. Serve with your favorite toppings on your favorite kind of toasted rolls. If you don't have an air fryer, cook them in an oiled skillet for 5 minutes per side.

Wiregrass EC

Sloppy Joes

11/2 pounds hamburger meat

1 medium onion, diced

1 small green bell pepper, diced

1 large clove garlic, finely minced

1 can tomato soup

1 tablespoon prepared mustard

1 to 3 teaspoons chili powder

1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce, or more to your liking

2 tablespoons brown sugar plus 1 tablespoon vinegar, optional (see below)

Brown the hamburger meat, onion, bell pepper and garlic. Add the soup, mustard, spices and Worcestershire sauce. Simmer until sauce is thickened, about 10 minutes. Serve with toasted hamburger buns. Add the brown sugar and vinegar if you prefer a sweeter meat sauce.

Nancy Sites Sizemore

Baldwin EMC

Grandma’s Burgers

Ground beef, amount for as many burgers as you want to ser ve

Salt and pepper, to taste

1 egg per pound of beef

Mustard, to preference

Ketchup, more than mustard

Cook of the Month wins $50! Recipes can be developed by you or family members. You may even adapt a recipe from another source by changing as little as the amount of one ingredient. Chosen cooks may win “Cook of the Month” only once per calendar year. To be eligible, submissions must include a name, phone number, mailing address and co-op name. Alabama Living reserves the right to reprint recipes in our other publications.

Mix all ingredients together and patty out the meat; cook in an iron skillet.

Beth McLarty

Cullman EC

Alabama Living JUNE 2023 45
upcoming themes and deadlines: November: Slow Cooker | August 4 Visit our website: alabamaliving.coop Email us: recipes@alabamaliving.coop USPS mail: Attn: Recipes, P.O. Box 244014 Montgomery, AL 36124

Mushroom Burgers

2 cups fresh mushrooms, chopped

2 large eggs, lightly beaten

½ cup breadcrumbs

1 cup cheddar cheese, shredded

½ cup Vidalia onion, finely chopped

¼ cup flour or more as needed to shape patties

¼ teaspoon dried thyme

½ teaspoon dried oregano

1 teaspoon dried parsley

½ teaspoon onion powder

½ teaspoon garlic powder

Salt and pepper to taste

1-2 tablespoons vegetable, canola, or oil of choice for frying

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and shape into thick patties (this makes 4 to 6 burgers.) Cook all burgers once shaped; the leftover mix does not refrigerate well but the cooked patties do. In a large cast-iron skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Add burgers; cook until crisp and lightly browned, 3-4 minutes on each side. Best on whole wheat or sesame seed buns with fresh lettuce and other toppings of choice

Southwest Turkey Burgers

2 pounds ground turkey

1 tablespoon ground cumin

1 tablespoon chili powder

2 tablespoons Montreal steak seasoning

2 tablespoons cilantro, finely chopped

Olive oil, for drizzling

Store-made guacamole

Hamburger buns

Preheat a skillet or griddle to medium high heat. Place first 5 ingredients in large bowl and mix together. Form into 8 burgers and drizzle olive oil in skillet or griddle. When oil is shimmery, place burgers in pan. Cook for 5 minutes on each side or until middle is no longer pink. Place cooked patties on hamburger buns and top with guacamole.

Sheet Pan Bacon Cheeseburger Sliders will change the way you do burgers! Neat and tidy in a small package, layers of meat and cheese capped off with crispy bacon will quickly become your favorite nofrills, no-grill recipe!

Sheet Pan Bacon Cheeseburger Sliders

2 pounds lean ground beef

3 tablespoons Southern Flavor seasoning

2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

½ cup chopped onion

10 to 12 strips of uncooked bacon

12 slices of cheese (I use Havarti, pepper jack and cheddar)

¼ cup mayonnaise

¼ cup Dijon mustard

1 tablespoon prepared horseradish

12 pack of large dinner rolls or slider buns

½ teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon pepper Lettuce, tomato, pickles or whatever burger toppings you desire

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a large bowl, mix ground beef, salt, pepper, Southern Flavor seasoning, Worcestershire sauce and onion. Mix well with hands. Divide mixture into two equal parts.

Press one half of beef mixture onto a lightly greased sheet pan. Place cheese on top in any pattern you desire. Next, press the last half of the beef mixture into another layer on top.

Top with strips of uncooked bacon, tucking ends underneath meat. Bake for 30-40 minutes until it reaches your desired level of doneness. (Pictured is 30 minutes for me.)

Make sure bacon is done and crispy on top. Allow to rest for 5 to 10 minutes.

Mix mustard, mayo and horseradish until smooth and creamy. Cut rolls, if not already pre-cut, in the middle to form two halves. Spread sauce on top and bottom. Using two large spatulas, carefully place meat patty on top and place top bun on. Using a large knife, follow the lines of the rolls and cut accordingly. Top with your favorite cheeseburger toppings and enjoy!

46 JUNE 2023 www.alabamaliving.coop
Brooke Burks Photo by The Buttered Home
Alabama Living JUNE 2023 47 Licensed and Insured New Right of Way clearing Reclaiming Existing Right of Way Forestry Mulching (334) 818-0595 htcompanyllc@gmail.com

Efficiency tips for residential well pumps

Q:I get my water supply from my own well. How can I use less electricity with my well?

A:The energy a residential well system uses depends on the equipment and water use. The homeowner is responsible for maintaining the well, ensuring drinking water is safe and paying for the electricity needed to run the well pump. Here are steps to improve and maintain your residential well and use less electricity.

Get your well system inspected

If you’re concerned about how much you pay to pump water from your well, start with an inspection.

Similar to heating and cooling systems, well pumps are put to work daily, and parts will wear over time. Regular maintenance can improve efficiency and increase the lifespan of the system.

The proper system design and sizing can save energy. Oversizing equipment can waste energy. Ask a professional if your well equipment is properly sized for your needs. In some cases, adding a variable-speed drive can save energy. Keep in mind, well systems don’t last forever. Consider design and sizing before the existing system fails.

Things can go wrong with your well that are hard to spot. The water system may even act normally with good water pressure and flow while using more energy and causing higher bills.

One of the most common causes of increased energy use is underground water line leakage between the pump and the home. Water lines can freeze and break or be damaged by digging or a vehicle driving over underground lines. Other issues can include waterlogged pressure tanks and malfunctioning equipment. Even if your well is in good working order, there are practices you can

implement to save on your electric bill.

Save money by lowering your water use

The less water you use, the less energy you use. Here’s how you can conserve water and electricity with your home appliances: Toilets. Check your toilet for leaks by putting a few drops of food coloring in the tank. If the color appears in the bowl without flushing, your toilet has a leak. This is likely caused by a worn flapper, which is an inexpensive and easy do-it-yourself fix.

If your toilets were installed before 1994, they are likely using more than 4 gallons per flush, which is well above new energy standards of 1.6 gallons. The average family can save nearly 13,000 gallons per year by replacing old, inefficient toilets with WaterSense-labeled models.

Another option is the tried-and-true plastic bottle method. Place sand or pebbles into a one- or two-liter bottle and place it in your toilet tank or buy toilet tank bags. This results in less water filling the tank and less water being flushed.

Dishwasher. If you wash dishes by hand, start using your dishwasher instead. Did you know new ENERGY STAR®-certified dishwashers use less than half the energy it takes to wash dishes by hand? According to the Department of Energy, this simple change in habit can save more than 8,000 gallons of water each year.

Washing machine. Run your machine only with full loads to save water and energy. You may also consider upgrading to an ENERGY STAR®-certified washing machine, which uses about 20% less energy and about 30% less water than regular washers.

Showerheads and faucets. Get leaky showerheads and faucets fixed. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, a leaky faucet that drips at the rate of one drip per second can waste more than 3,000 gallons of water per year.

Faucet and shower aerators are inexpensive devices that reduce the amount of water flow. For maximum water efficiency, look for faucet aerators with no more than 1 gallon per minute flow rates and low-flow showerhead flow rates of less than 2 GPM.

Understanding proper well system design, maintenance and water conservation will help you save.

48 JUNE 2023 www.alabamaliving.coop | Consumer Wise |
Miranda Boutelle is the chief operating officer at Efficiency Services Group in Oregon, a cooperatively owned energy efficiency company. She has more than 20 years of experience helping people save energy at home, and she writes on energy efficiency topics for the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association, the national trade association representing more than 900 local electric cooperatives. Switch to a low-flow showerhead with flow rates of less than 2 gallons per minute for maximum water efficiency. PHOTO COURTESY MARK GILLILAND, PIONEER UTILITY RESOURCES
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50 JUNE 2023 www.alabamaliving.coop



Water and electricity never mix. Always practice safety when you’re near or in the swimming pool this summer. Read the following safety tips, then find and circle the bolded words in the puzzle below.

Water and electricity never mix. Always practice safety when you’re near or in the swimming pool this summer. Read the following safety tips, then find and circle the bolded words in the puzzle below.

Electrical shock.


Never bring electrical devices near a swimming pool. Electrical devices that come in contact with water can cause electric shock. When possible, use battery-operated devices when outdoors near a swimming pool.

Never bring electrical devices near a swimming pool. Electrical devices that come in contact with water can cause electric shock. When possible, use battery-operated devices when outdoors near a swimming pool.

Outdoor electrical outlets should be dry or covered.

Outdoor electrical outlets should be dry or covered.

If you hear thunder, immediately exit the swimming pool. Thunderstorms and lightning may be near.

If you hear thunder, immediately exit the swimming pool. Thunderstorms and lightning may be near.

Alabama Living JUNE 2023 51


Life is about transitions. The world and history have experienced many transitions. World empires have transitioned from the Persians, to the Greeks, to the Egyptians, to the Romans, to Medieval Europe, to the Spanish, to the French, to the British, and now to the United States.

Transitions are constant and change our lives. Most of you remember pay phones. When was the last time you saw a pay phone? I remember party line telephones when I was young. I expect landline telephones will be as extinct as pay phones during my lifetime.

Like all other things in life, energy has gone through a number of transitions. The energy transitions started with wood. It has been used for heating and cooking for thousands of years. It was later used in steam engines, including railroads and industrial applications. Although coal was used as early as the 13th century, it was difficult to mine and wood remained the primary energy source until the early 1700s when wood became scarce in western Europe and the British metalworking industry adopted coal as their primary fuel.

In time, coal replaced wood in heating houses. My home as a young child still had an old coal bin in the garage and I would get spanked for playing in it. However, energy transitions have never been fast or exclusive. Wood was still half the world’s energy market as late as 1900.

Oil was discovered in the U.S. in 1859. However, it was more than 50 years later that oil started making strong inroads as the leading source of energy in the world. The British converted its renowned naval fleet from coal to oil during World War I, but it was not until the 1960s that oil overtook coal as the leading source of world energy. Today, wood, coal and oil together provide most of the world’s energy.

Daniel Yergin, an author and speaker on energy policy and geopolitics, founder of the Cambridge Energy Research Associates and vice president of S&P, wrote The New Map, a 2021 book on energy transitions and a recent article, “Bumps in the Energy Transition,” for S&P. Mr. Yergin’s thoughts are the basis for this article.

Previous energy shifts were largely the result of economic and technological advances that stretched across a century or more. The current effort to transition from fossil fuels to renewables is driven almost entirely by political pressures and policies in a relatively short period of time.

Nothing close to the magnitude of the renewable energy tran-

sition has ever been attempted. The objective is not just to bring on new energy resources, but to totally eliminate fossil fuels and transition the world’s entire $100 trillion energy economy in about 25 years, not hundreds.

The scope and scale of the transition are so great that there should be more analysis of the economic impacts before starting such ambitious programs. The Peterson Institute for International Economics has stated, “Accelerating the targets for net carbon emission reductions too aggressively could create much larger economic disruptions than generally expected and cause an adverse supply shock very much like the shocks of the 1970s.”

Other economists have expressed concern that the massive net-zero carbon transition within 25 years is unlikely benign, and policymakers should prepare for difficult issues and tough choices. Jean Pisani-Ferry, the co-founder of Brugel, Europe’s leading economic think tank, wrote in a Brugel Blueprint series, “Climate action has become a major macroeconomic issue, but the macroeconomics of climate action are far from the level of rigor and precision that is now necessary to provide a sound basis for public discussions and to guide policymakers adequately. Advocacy has too often taken precedence over analysis. The policy conversations analysis and, at this stage of the discussions, complacent scenarios have become counterproductive. The policy conversations now need methodical, peer-examined assessments of the potential costs and benefits of alternative plans of climate action.”

Advocates of a Net Zero Carbon economy demand immediate and complete movement away from fossil fuels regardless of the cost or damage. They demand absolute adherence to policies prohibiting using or financing fossil fuel energy resources. Also, despite assertions that no one is coming for your gas stoves, New York and California have implemented regulations banning gas stoves in new construction. How long before existing gas stoves are removed from our houses or beef production is outlawed, all in a sacrifice to the climate gods?

The scope and depth of the energy policy transition envisioned by many -- where fossil fuels are banned across the globe and all energy comes from renewable or carbon-free energy sources - is the greatest economic and social transition ever contemplated by the human race.

It appears few anticipate the disruption. It could lead to the demise of another world empire.

I hope you have a good month.

52 JUNE 2023 www.alabamaliving.coop | Our Sources Say |
Gary Smith is President and CEO of PowerSouth Energy Cooperative.

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Southerners and animals

Southerners, of which I am proudly one, have always had a unique relationship with animals.

However, at times you have to scratch your head and wonder, “what”?

As I did when I read several years back about a guy in Arkansas who went to visit his daughter. Just as he arrived, he heard a crash back in the bedroom. Like any good father he went to investigate, opened the door and out came a deer. It ran down the hall, into another bedroom, where it began jumping back and forth across the bed.

So Daddy did what any self-respecting father should do under the circumstances. He “entered the bedroom to confront” it. The deer, not wanting to be confronted, refused to cooperate.

After a “brief struggle,” Daddy grabbed the deer by the horns, twisted its neck and killed it.

While all this was going on someone called the police.

When the officers arrived, they found Daddy, bruised and bloody, sitting in the front yard. With the dead deer. Since there

is no law against bare-hand buck killing in Arkansas, no charges were filed. There was rump roast for supper.

A country boy can survive.

However, another animal encounter didn’t turn out so well.

Probably because no animal was involved.

Seems this fellow was “estranged” from his girlfriend. Very estranged. I mean so estranged that he decided to blow her up.

Or so the police said.

The “estranged” said he was just trying to blow up a beaver dam.

To do this he put “a little bit of black powder” in a bottle, stuck in a fuse, lit it, and threw it at his girlfriend’s car. She was in it. The beaver dam wasn’t.

But the bottle missed the target, rolled back to where the “estranged” was standing, and exploded in “a large fireball,” that set the thrower’s pants on fire.

(I’m having trouble with the visuals too, but stick with me.)

The girlfriend wasn’t hurt. The other passengers of the car weren’t hurt. No animals were hurt. But the thrower was taken to the hospital burn center and from there to jail.

Although the boyfriend swore no one was in danger (“it was just a little boom

thing”) the “estranged” was strangely uncooperative when the thrower’s lawyer tried to work out a plea bargain.

He got time in the slammer.

And then there’s the tale of the man in Mississippi who walked into a Holiday Inn Express and tossed a 60-pound pig over the counter.

A live pig.

The desk clerk was not amused.

Neither was the pig.

Neither were the police, who arrested the “tosser.”

According to press accounts, there was “no evidence intoxication was a factor.”

Yeah. Right.

This was not the first time the “tosser” had been charged with animal tossing. Earlier he had pitched a pig at the local Hardee’s and twice ‘possums had been thrown, though apparently by someone else.

Bewildered, the police concluded that it was “some sort of redneck thing.”

A conclusion with which my Mississippi friends agreed.

Deer wrestling. Beaverless dam bombing. Pig tossing. I’m sure our readers have their own critter tales to add to mine. And folks wonder why folks from other places look at Southerners the way they do.

54 JUNE 2023 www.alabamaliving.coop | Hardy Jackson's Alabama |
Harvey H. (Hardy) Jackson is Professor Emeritus of History at Jacksonville State University. He can be reached at hhjackson43@gmail.com Illustration by Dennis Auth

Wishes all you dads a Happy Father’s Day!

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