October 2017 clarke washington

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Stories | Recipes | Events | People | Places | Things | Local News October 2017



D N GRAIZE! PR Annual Meeting Edition

2007 Ford Escape Tuesday, Oct. 17, 2017 Washington County High School Jordan-Wilcox Stadium Chatom, AL

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


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



Manager Stan Wilson

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 $6 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.

Keeping the bees There are more than 600 registered beekeepers and 7,000 honey-producting colonies in Alabama, a number that’s expected to grow as more people become interested in beekeeping and in consuming honey and other bee products.


VOL. 70 NO. 10 n OCTOBER 2017


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

Join us on Tuesday, October 17, 2017 for our annual meeting. It will be an evening of food, prizes, business and fellowship.


AREA President Fred Braswell Editor Lenore Vickrey Managing Editor Allison Griffin Creative Director Mark Stephenson Art Director Danny Weston Advertising Director Jacob Johnson Graphic Designer/Ad Coordinator Brooke Echols Communications Coordinator Laura Stewart



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


Look for this logo to see more content online!

Get our FREE monthly email newsletter! Sign up at alabamaliving.coop Printed in America from American materials


Gone but not forgotten


Mind your Ps and Ks

Across the state, volunteers are helping preserve and maintain our rural cemeteries.

Fall’s fun fruits (hint: They begin with Ps and Ks, are in season and easy to grow).



340 TechnaCenter Drive Montgomery, Alabama 36117-6031 1-800-410-2737 For advertising, email: advertising@areapower.com For editorial inquries, email: contact@alabamliving.coop

CWEMC announces Annual Meeting in Chatom


WE WANT TO HEAR FROM YOU! ONLINE: www.alabamaliving.coop EMAIL: letters@alabamaliving.coop MAIL: Alabama Living 340 Technacenter Drive Montgomery, AL 36117

In this issue: Page 11 Page 28

9 Spotlight 32 Gardens 29 Around Alabama 42 Outdoors 43 Fish & Game Forecast 46 Cook of the Month 54 Hardy Jackson’s Alabama ONLINE: alabamaliving.coop ON THE COVER: A 2007 Ford Escape, the grand prize at CWEMC’s Annual meeting. Tuesday, Oct. 17, 2017 Washington County High School Jordan-Wilcox Stadium, Chatom, AL.

OCTOBER 2017 3

Clarke-Washington EMC invites you to our Member Appreciation and OFFICE LOCATIONS Jackson Office 1307 College Avenue P.O. Box 398 Jackson, AL 36545 251-246-9081 Chatom Office P.O. Box 143 Chatom, AL 36518 251-847-2302 Toll Free Number 1-800-323-9081 Office Hours 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday - Friday (Drive-thru Hours) Pay your bill online at www.cwemc.com 855-870-0403 Payment Method Payments can be made at our Chatom and Jackson offices with cash, checks, debit or credit cards, or use the mobile app.

Stan Wilson Manager of Clarke-Washington EMC

4  OCTOBER 2017

ANNUAL MEETING Tuesday, Oct. 17, 2017 Washington County High School Jordan-Wilcox Stadium, Chatom, AL

First 500 members registered receive a free CFL bulb!

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

Watch your mailbox for an Annual Meeting registration card


| Clarke-Washington EMC |


GRAND PRIZE! 2007 Ford Escape Many other door prizes will also be given away to our registered members at the Annual Meeting

All registered CWEMC members will receive a $10 bill credit!

In addition to other giveaways, food and drinks! Alabama Living

OCTOBER 2017  5


6 OCTOBER 2017


OFFICIAL NOTICE TO THE MEMBERS OF CLARKE-WASHINGTON ELECTRIC MEMBERSHIP CORPORATION: You are hereby notiďŹ ed that an annual meeting of the members of Clarke-Washington Electric Membership Corporation has been called by the board of trustees, to be held at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 17, 2017 at Washington County High School Jordan-Wilcox Stadium, Chatom, AL The purposes for which this annual meeting has been called are as follows:

(a) Election of Trustees from districts 3, 6 & 9 (b) Business & Reports Jim Fore, Secretary Clarke-Washington EMC

N O M I N AT I N G CO M M I T T E E R E P O RT Since


Alabama Living

OCTOBER 2017 7

CWEMC’s ANNUAL MEETING Tuesday, Oct. 17, 2017 Washington County High School Jordan-Wilcox Stadium, Chatom, AL

8 OCTOBER 2017



| Alabama Snapshots |

Cooper, dressed as a mummy, is a 2-year old British Labrador. SUBMITTED BY Alison Collins, Hollywood.

Mother and daughter having an “udderly” great time at their church’s fall festival. SUBMITTED BY Laura Tucker, Decatur.

Angelina Cowart dressed as Dorothy. SUBMITTED BY Mary Ann Stockman, Mt. Vernon.

Erin Alford and Celia Blanchard, best friends dressed up as Mickey and Minnie Mouse. SUBMITTED BY Leah Blanchard, Rockford.

Beau Barnes said he wanted to be a cheeseburger because it would be funny. SUBMITTED BY Ashley Barnes, Sulligent.

My grandson, 2-yearold Cooper Hayes, dressed as a sock monkey last year for Halloween. SUBMITTED BY Debby Boyd, Addison.

Ave Henley as Frankenstein and Wes Henley as Spiderman (bottom left). SUBMITTED BY Jackie Henley, Prattville.

Submit Your Images! December Theme: “Baby’s First Christmas” Deadline for December: October 31 SUBMIT PHOTOS ONLINE: www.alabamaliving.coop/submit-photo/ or send color photos with a self-addressed stamped envelope to: Photos, Alabama Living, P.O. Box 244014 Montgomery, AL 36124

RULES: Alabama Living will pay $10 for photos that best match our theme of the month. Photos may also be published on our website at www.alabamaliving.coop and on our Facebook page. Alabama Living is not responsible for lost or damaged photos.

Alabama Living




Social Security Q&A


n this issue, I would like to continue sharing with you some common Social Security questions I receive on a variety of topics and my answers. Question: Is it illegal to laminate your Social Security card? Answer: No, it is not illegal, but we discourage it. It’s best not to laminate your card. Laminated cards make it difficult — sometimes even impossible — to detect important security features and an employer may refuse to accept them. The Social Security Act requires the Commissioner of Social Security to issue cards that cannot be counterfeited. We incorporate many features that protect the card’s integrity. They include highly specialized paper and printing techniques, some of which are invisible to the naked eye. Keep your Social Security card in a safe place with your other important papers. Do not carry it with you. Learn more at www.socialsecurity.gov. Question: My spouse died recently and my neighbor said my children and I might be eligible for survivors benefits. Don’t I

have to be retirement age to receive benefits? Answer: No. As a survivor, you can receive benefits at any age if you are caring for a child who is receiving Social Security benefits and who is under age 16. Your children are eligible for survivors benefits through Social Security up to age 19 if they are unmarried and attending elementary or secondary school full time. Keep in mind that you are still subject to the annual earnings limit if you are working. If you are not caring for minor children, you would need to wait until age 60 (age 50 if disabled) to collect survivors benefits. For more information about survivors benefits, read our publication Survivors Benefits at www.socialsecurity.gov/pubs.

Magazine wins three awards Alabama Living magazine recently received three Awards of Merit in the 2017 National Electric Cooperative Statewide Editors Association Willies Awards. The awards were given for Best Illustration for “Cotton Pickin’ Time” by Dennis Auth (October 2016); Best Cover for “Raising the Steaks” by Michael Cornelison (August 2016); and Best Entertaining Feature for “Alabama in the Movies” by Emmett Burnett (June 2016). The August cover, featuring an Alabama Wagyu beef cow, had previously won an award in the Cooperative Communicators Association contest. There were nearly 300 entries from 23 magazines in the contest, named for Willie Wiredhand, mascot of the rural electric cooperative program.

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


Alabama: heart of the ‘Stroke Belt’


troke (or cerebrovascular diseases) is Alabama’s fourth leading cause of death, exceeded only by heart diseases, cancer and chronic lower respiratory diseases. Alabama is a prominent member of “The Stroke Belt,” an 11-state region where the risk of experiencing a stroke is 34 percent higher than it is in other areas. Stroke is required to be reported in Alabama; however, analyzing stroke mortality data reveals many interesting facts about this disease. In 2000, Alabama lost nearly 3,200 residents to strokes and was tied for having the 7th highest age-adjusted stroke mortality (or death) rate among all 50 states, at 71.5 deaths per 100,000 standard population. In 2015, this rate had decreased by nearly 27 percent to 52.2. Alabama lost more than 2,900 residents to strokes in 2015. Significant progress in stroke survival has been seen nationally and in Alabama. Unfortunately, in spite of this progress, Al-

Dale Quinney is executive director of the Alabama Rural Health Association, 1414 Elba Highway, Troy, 36081.

abama had the 2nd highest stroke mortality rate in 2015 and the highest rate among all states in 2013. Stroke mortality varies significantly by race and gender. African Alabamian males had the highest rate in 2015 at 72.2 followed by African Alabamian females at 58.0, white males at 49.0, and white females at 47.9. While all four of these components of Alabama’s population had healthy and significant decreases in stroke mortality since 2000, all four remained significantly higher when compared to the same population components nationally. Alabama’s rural counties had a higher stroke mortality rate than the urban counties. While these rates did not vary greatly, (53.6 in rural counties and 51.0 in urban counties) the 20 counties with the highest rates were all rural. Risk factor modifications, such as increased use of cholesterol reducing medications, improved and faster stroke diagnosis, and improved stroke treatment are credited with most of the healthy decrease that has been seen in stroke mortality. Alabama continues to rank among the leading states in stroke mortality because of the greater presence of major risk factors such as diabetes, obesity, and tobacco use.

The expansion of stroke diagnosis and treatment through the use of telemedicine provides considerable promise for improvement in stroke mortality and quality of life. The Southeast Alabama Medical Center (SAMC) in Dothan was an Alabama pioneer in providing this service through its Stroke Care Network. Through this network, neurologists affiliated with the SAMC conduct real-time video examinations of patients presenting in emergency departments at the Medical Center Barbour in Eufaula, Mizell Memorial Hospital in Opp, Dale Medical Center in Ozark, and Troy Regional Medical Center who may have experienced a stroke. Through this timely evaluation, drugs may be prescribed quickly, resulting in less permanent damage or even the saving of life. Remembering the stroke acronym “FAST” is another way that we can all possibly prevent death and decrease permanent damage.

F Does one side of the face tend to droop? A Ask the victim to raise both arms. Does one arm tend to drift downward?

S Is speech being slurred? T Time! If any of these symptoms are present, seek emergency attention.

10  OCTOBER 2017 www.alabamaliving.coop

October | Spotlight Artists to take easels outside for Plein Air Paint Out Artists looking for an escape to the great outdoors will converge on the town of Pike Road on Oct. 27-28 to take part in the annual Plein Air Paint Out. The idea of painting in “plein air” is for the artist to leave the confines of his or her studio and paint on site, in the landscape, to better capture the subtleties of nature and enjoy a more immersive artistic experience. On Friday, Oct. 27, artists will begin painting scenery around the town. From 10 a.m. to noon they will participate in a “quick draw” contest at Sweet Creek Farm Market, and from 5 to 9 p.m., they will hold live painting demonstrations at local restaurants. On Saturday, Oct. 28, the artists will paint all around town, finishing with an art show and sale at the Historic Pike Road School from 4-6 p.m. For more information on these events, which are all open to the public, send an email to Patty Payne at Patty@ pikeroad.us.

This month in

October 6, 1998

Alabama history

The band Alabama was inducted into the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Originally from Fort Payne, the group launched onto the national country music scene in 1980 with their hit single “My Home’s in Alabama.” In terms of length of career, record sales, and awards, Alabama went on to become the most successful band in country music history. Over their career, they recorded 42 Billboard Country Music number one singles, sold more than 73 million albums, and won more than 150 industry awards. Alabama was inducted into the Alabama Music Hall of Fame in 1993 and the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2005.

http://www.encyclopediaofalabama.org/article/h-1865 ®

Identify and place this Alabama landmark and you could win $25! Winner is chosen at random from all

correct entries. Multiple entries from the same person will be disqualified. Send your answer by Oct. 9 with your name, address and the name of your rural electric cooperative. The winner and answer will be announced in the November issue. Contribute your own photo for an upcoming issue! Send a photo of an interesting or unusual landmark in Alabama, which must be accessible to the public. A reader whose photo is used will also win $25. Submit by email: whereville@alabamaliving.coop, or by mail: Whereville, P.O. Box 244014, Montgomery, AL 36124.

Whereville, AL


This peanut sculpture is in front of the Tupper Lightfoot Memorial Library in the Pike County town of Brundidge, which takes pride in its connection to the peanut, and specifically peanut butter. The Johnston Peanut Butter Mill, one of the first commercial peanut butter mills in the Southeast, helped sustain the town during the Great Depression, though such small mills began to decline in the 1940s due to competition from larger processors. Today, the town celebrates its role in the peanut butter industry with the annual Peanut Butter Festival, a free event on Main Street, which this year begins at 8 a.m. Oct. 28. Many readers thought the peanut was in Dothan, which is understandable: Giant peanut sculptures are in many spots around the Houston County city, part of a public art project that has become a popular tourist attraction. Around 50 peanut statues are found around town; maps are available at the Visit Dothan headquarters. Still other readers thought the peanut was in front of the National Peanut Festival in Dothan (see picture). The festival is the nation’s largest peanut festival held each fall, and this year’s event is Nov. 3-12; learn more about the concerts, pageants and events associated with it at www.nationalpeanutfestival.com The number of memorials to the mighty peanut is a testament to its importance to the Wiregrass area. Approximately half the peanuts grown in the U.S. are grown within a 100-mile radius of Dothan, according to the Alabama Peanut Producers Association, which has an office in Dothan. The September random drawing winner is Deborah Walters, Baldwin EMC. Alabama Living




OWA is open for

business By Emmett Burnett

OWA entertainment complex offers another option for Baldwin County visitors

The Twister, one of 21 park rides


the 520-acre entertainment complex in Foley, minutes from Gulf Shores, is appropriately named. Pronounced “oh-wah,” the word inspired from the Muscogee Creek language means “big water.” But OWA also means oh-wow, as today’s visitors are about to find out. It is a late summer’s day in the 14-acre amusement ride midway, known as The Park of OWA. Giddy thrill seekers scurry for seating in a roller coaster with more twists and turns than a water moccasin on a pancake griddle. Riders are about to discover the winding-weaving tracks of what OWA employees call “The Big One.” Like the park, Rollin’ Thunder is also well named. Alabama’s newest tourist mecca is coming in phases. Phase 1 premiered with much fanfare and a packed park on July 21. Early features include the amusement park, 150-room Marriott TownePlace Suites, a 14-acre man-made lake complete with a 1.5-acre man-made island, and a 44,000-square-foot shopping 12 OCTOBER 2017

district set to start a few weeks later. Nine months earlier, OWA was little more than a good idea on paper. But the park’s history dates back many years before a spade of dirt was turned and ice cream scooped. Originally, OWA was “Oh No.” The 10113 Foley Beach Express address was to have been the Blue Collar Country Entertainment Complex, which never took off. After numerous setbacks – including the pullout of investor Jeff Foxworthy – Blue Collar met Blue Monday. The Poarch Band of Creek Indians acquired total control of the property in April 2015. OWA’s construction began in November 2016, at the speed of Rollin’ Thunder. “It was something to see,” says Kristin Hellmich, OWA’s director of marketing and public relations, describing the early days. During the fast-track construction, up to 1,000 workers were www.alabamaliving.coop

on site, daily, almost around the clock. And Baldwin EMC, the electrical utility serving the site, started its planning as well (see related story on Page 14). Six contractors and dozens of subcontractors turned fields into a tourist attraction, building everything from the ground up. The Foley site received 21 amusement park rides – some assembly required. “Prior to purchasing decisions, we got to try the rides out in different parks across the U.S.,” Hellmich says, acknowledging just how cool product research can be. “Specialists and designers built the rides onsite.” Larsen Lien knows the midway’s features well. “I’ve ridden every one of them,” OWA’s digital marketing specialist says while giving an impromptu tour. “I think it is cool how we can stand under Rollin’ Thunder as it zips over us,” she says, pointing at the roller coaster racing through gravity defying loops. It sounds like rolling thunder, hence the name. Larsen critiques other attractions: “My favorite – and I love them all – is the Wave Runner,” the ocean-like ride simulating wave motion. “It is so dynamic, personal. There is nothing like it.” Park rides are not just for thrill seekers. Family-friendly features abound. Employees say a favorite for youngsters is the Southern Express, a roller coaster but smaller, for little people. It’s also a saving grace for fraidy-cat parents, who may be too chicken to ride Rollin’ Thunder. Other adventures include the Flying Carousel, like a typical carousel, except not necessarily confined to earth. There is AeroZoom, a simulated hang gliding experience; Rockin’ Raft, a whitewater gauntlet without getting wet; and Sky Balloons, adrift over the park for a pelican’s-eye view.

‘Think of OWA as many parks’

More rides await and more are planned. By design, the amusement park is surrounded by additional land for expansion. It has space to double in size. OWA is already researching new ride possibilities. “Think of OWA as many parks,” Hellmich says. “It has components, the park has rides from kiddie to thriller. But in addition, there are the Downtown and Warehouse Districts, with shopping, restaurants and other venues.” At press time, most Downtown District restaurants and shops were set to open in late September. Additional phases will follow, in a 5-year plan budgeted at $500 million. Future phases call for a luxury RV resort, four hotels, a resort level condominium and outdoor waterpark. OWA is in active negotiations for leasing agreements and estimates 50 businesses will populate the Downtown and Warehouse Districts of the complex. About 60 percent will be restaurants. Announced tenants include Wahlburgers (a restaurant featuring customized crafted hamburgers), Sunglass World, Fairhope Soap Company, Hershey’s Ice Cream Shop, and the Groovy Goat, a sports bar with 80 TV monitors set to open Sept. 30. Eatery cuisine will range from fine dining to “did I hear that right?” There are rumors of fried chicken donuts. “We strive to appeal to all ages and interests,” Hellmich says. Older guests may not want to ride a white-knuckle thriller with their children or grandchildren. But they can opt for a good meal and time with family and friends in the Downtown District. Only the amusement park ride section requires an admission fee. You can shop till you drop in Downtown OWA or eat in its restaurant row with no ticket required. The amusement park has same day re-entry too. Go and come back as you please. And

Opening Day

Alabama Living

OCTOBER 2017 13

parking is free for everything. Try that at Disney World. OWA works in conjunction with the City of Foley’s $45 million Sports Tourism Complex, which offers 16 state-of-the-art sports fields and an indoor event center. “We coordinate to extend hospitality here at OWA,” Hellmich says. “We want Foley - OWA to be a complete destination experience. Visiting sports teams can conduct their games, stay in our hotel, and play in OWA in the evenings and nights.” The Poarch Band of Creek Indians has holdings across the U.S., including hotels, gaming, and entertainment venues. OWA does not have gambling or gaming facilities. Park officials say they have no plans for gaming at OWA.

‘No destination like it in the U.S.’

The Baldwin County entertainment complex is one of the latest of the Poarch Creek tribal holdings. “There is no destination quite like it in the U.S.,” Hellmich says. “We have all of the amenities in one property – sports fields, hotels, shopping, dining, and amusement park, all in one place.” And OWA just won a big accolade – it was named the Alabama Attraction of the Year at the Alabama Governor’s Conference on Tourism in August. As of press time, ticket prices are $34.99 for adults and $27.99 for juniors (under 42 inches tall), seniors over age 60, and military members. Children under age of 3 are free. An annual pass may be purchased for $89.99. The park also works with groups for special packages and group discounts. OWA is open year-round but hours may vary. Check its web-

OWA entrance

site, http://visitowa.com/, for current information. Before OWA, visiting Gulf Shores meant driving to the beach, driving for something to eat, driving to shopping, and driving back to the hotel. Not now. Though OWA doesn’t have Gulf beaches, it is 30 minutes away. A saltwater plunge is within a half-hour. Then use your re-entry pass for that OWA ride you missed. Rollin’ Thunder is waiting.

Meeting OWA’s power needs started early for co-op Although the OWA amusement park officially opened to the public in July 2017, planning for the attraction’s electricity needs began as far back as 2013. Four years ago, Baldwin EMC knew an entertainment venue of some type was possibly coming to Foley, Ala., and it would likely be larger than any other attraction the cooperative had ever served. In order to meet the needs of the up-andcoming site, which covers 500 acres on the Foley Beach Express, Baldwin EMC began evaluating the existing demand for electricity in the south Foley area and how it might increase with the new development. After an initial analysis, Baldwin EMC deter-

mined that adding a new substation to the area was the best plan. The co-op developed a presentation for PowerSouth Energy Cooperative, Baldwin EMC’s power supplier, explaining the need. “Our justification for the new substation was based on reliability in south Foley along with the needs of the potential amusement park and any other future developments in the area,” says Brian Seals, Baldwin EMC’s manager of engineering. PowerSouth’s board of trustees approved the new substation in the fall of 2014. As PowerSouth finished its construction toward the end of 2016, Baldwin EMC began the process of raising poles and running lines to tie the new substation into the co-op’s existing infrastructure. In the meantime, the city of Foley and the state

Baldwin EMC added a new substation to meet OWA’s power needs.

14  OCTOBER 2017

of Alabama began a project that would improve County Road 20, now called Pride Drive, in order to accommodate traffic flow to the new attraction site. “That project affected our system as well,” says Seals. “We worked with the city of Foley to enhance the area by shifting our power lines to accommodate the widening of the road.” In February 2016, Baldwin EMC’s engineering department had its first meeting with project managers for OWA. “As they gave us the layouts of their roads, buildings and amusement park rides, we started putting together a design for an electrical infrastructure that would best serve their needs,” Seals says. Baldwin EMC’s crews worked simultaneously with OWA’s construction crews, installing lines and electrical equipment as the site’s development moved forward. OWA officially opened its doors on July 21, 2017. However, additions to the attraction are still in progress, and meeting their electricity needs is an ongoing process for Baldwin EMC. “It’s a new type of load for us,” Seals says. “We’ve never served an amusement park of this size. So as OWA was testing rides, we put equipment in place to monitor the electrical load and we changed out equipment when necessary.” Seals says Baldwin EMC will continue to maintain contact with OWA’s developers and monitor their power use. “We all know the impact of this project on our area and we all want it to be successful.” – Michelle Geans www.alabamaliving.coop

Alabama Living

OCTOBER 2017 15

The rewards of protecting Alabama’s pollinators By Katie Jackson


Geoff Williams is working with several beekeeping groups in Alabama to study pollinator issues that are important to Alabama’s bee industry. AUBURN UNIVERSITY PHOTO

16 OCTOBER 2017

hat do Aristotle, Sylvia Plath, Jon Bon Jovi, Morgan Freeman, “Sherlock Holmes” and Thomas Jefferson have in common with one another? They are just a few of the many people (and a few fictional characters) from across the world and centuries who have nurtured and harnessed the sweet, essential power of one of nature’s busiest and most useful creatures, the honey bee. They are apiculturists — more commonly known as beekeepers. Humankind has been harvesting honey and other honey bee byproducts, such as royal jelly, beeswax and propolis (bee glue), for possibly tens of thousands of years, first from the wild, then later from bees “kept” in hollowed-out trees, baskets and mud and pottery containers. Through the millennia, humans found better ways to keep bees (the current style of hives used in beekeeping has been around since the mid 1800s) and also discovered that bees offer us much more than the riches of their hives. They are critical to our lives. That’s because honeybees are members of a vital group of insects (and other animals such as hummingbirds and bats) that pollinate the plants that we and other animal species rely on for survival. Pollinators are the primary reasons that we humans have many fruits and vegetables on our plates, clothing on our backs and clovers and other forages in our pastures and fields. They also ensure that other animals have seeds, berries and other plant-derived sources of food in the wild. www.alabamaliving.coop

According to 2010 statistics, these ers Association and other local diverse pollinators are responsible beekeeping groups throughout the for the production of $19 billion or state, the Alabama Farmers Federmore worth of agricultural crops ation’s Bee and Honey Producers in the United States, or about oneDivision, the Alabama Department third of our nation’s food supply. of Agriculture and Industry’s ApiHoneybees alone are essential in the ary Health Unit and the Alabama production of at least eight comCooperative Extension System. mercial crops in the U.S. and they While the number of people inalso help boost yields for a variety of Geoff Williams’ research aims to look into the threats to terested in beekeeping is large and honeybees and to the bee industry in Alabama. other crops. growing, the number of bees in the AUBURN UNIVERSITY PHOTO In Alabama, we rely on honeystate is unknowable — honeybees bees to pollinate melons, cotton and kiwifruit and to contribute are not domesticated, so beekeepers don’t directly control them or to the pollination of many other agronomically important plants. their populations. Instead, apiculturists try to provide bees with In fact, they are so important to our state’s agricultural well-being clean, safe artificial shelters where the bees can set up colonies and that the Alabama Legislature passed a bill in 2015 designating the then go about their business. queen honey bee as Alabama’s official agricultural insect (the MonGoing about their business, however, has become harder for arch butterfly is the state’s official insect). honeybees in the last decade because of a variety of threats, which Though beekeeping has been around for millennia, it has enWilliams is addressing through his research. joyed a resurgence in recent years thanks in part to an increased Probably the single greatest threat to honeybees, Williams says, interest among consumers in eating healthy, local foods. Perhaps a is the Varroa destructor, a parasitic mite that feeds off the body growing appreciation for the many flavors that derive from various fluids of honeybees, weakening them and also transmitting viruses pollen sources and the opportunity to help protect this vital little to them. This mite is found virtually worldwide (except in Australia pollinator have driven that, too. For whatever reason, more and and a few other isolated islands across the globe), and while control more part-time “hobbyist” beekeepers, as well as a growing nummeasures have been developed to lessen its impact, much work still ber of commercial beekeepers, are taking up their smokers (those needs to be done to protect honeybees from the Varroa mite and cans that produce bee-calming vapors) and are tending to the bees. other possibly emerging pests. Another significant threat to honeybees (and other pollinators), Help from an expert and an important facet of Williams’ research, is how human activiIt is that trend that helped bring Geoff Williams to Alabama. ty, including land and chemical use and loss of habitat, affects honWilliams is an assistant professor in Auburn University’s Departey bees and other pollinators. Through his research program, Wilment Entomology and Plant Pathology who studies honeybee and liams will examine a range of issues while also taking into account pollinator health issues. Though Auburn has had faculty in the the delicate balancing act needed to support both bees and society. past whose work focused part-time on honeybees, Williams is More interest in beekeeping the first-ever faculty member to give honeybees this kind of Though human activity contributes to honey bee threats, it is full-time attention, and he has been as busy as, yes, a bee, also a source of exceptional support for honeybees, something Wilsince he arrived here in November 2016. liams is seeing over and over again as he gets to know Alabama’s A native of Canada who came to Alabama by way beekeeping community. of a position in Switzerland, Williams has been There are currently more than 600 registered beekeepers and an setting up his research and teaching proestimated 7,000 honey-producing colonies in Alabama, a number gram on the Auburn campus, including that has increased in the last ten years and is expected to continue a bee yard at his laboratory, with a foto grow as more and more people become interested in beekeeping cus on a variety of pollinator issues and in consuming honey and other bee products. important to Alabama, but also to “There is a huge interest in bees here in Alabama,” said Williams, help Alabama’s bees and beekeeping noting that last year’s Alabama Beekeeping Symposium, held anindustry. nually each February for more than 20 years, drew more than 700 To accomplish this, Williams is workparticipants, the single largest such event ever. A similar turnout ing closely with the Alabama Beekeep-

Bee Facts Honeybees are amazing social creatures who produce a variety of products and provide a number of services. Here are a few bee facts. Alabama Honey: this comes in a variety of flavors and colors depending on the plants that bees have visited. Alabama cotton honey is lightly colored and delicately flavored. Beeswax: this bee byproduct has many well-known uses, candles and cosmetics to name a couple, and has also been used to create art and help clean up oil spills. Alabama Living

Propolis: bees produce this resinous substance, sometimes called “bee glue,” from the plant saps and resins they pick up in their foraging and use it to seal small gaps in the hive structure; it is used by humans as a nutritional and medical supplement. Royal Jelly: this bee byproduct is the gelatinous, opaque substance that worker bees secrete and feed to the queen and her larvae and is also used as a nutritional and health supplement by humans. Pollen: pollen residues that collect in hives as bees come and go can be collect-

ed and used to research the foraging activities of bees or can be stored and fed to “kept” bees when other sources of pollen are depleted. Colonies: a bee colony contains a queen, hundreds of male drones, 20,000 to 80,000 female worker bees and the eggs, larvae and pupae of the queen’s offspring. Establishing a hive: though fall is a good time to plan, the best time to establish a new colony (hive) is in the spring, preferably late March and early April when fruit trees and other plants begin to bloom. OCTOBER 2017 17





Clockwise: Eddie Strickland was in high school when he and his father started Eddie BeeS Honey from their farm in south Montgomery County; Research associates collect data from a hive in Auburn University’s new bee yard. The results will help Alabama’s beekeepers and other agriculturalists in the state who rely on honeybees and other pollinators to produce their crops. The bees may also soon be the source of some Auburn-branded honey; Among the products that honey bees make is bee bread, a fermented mixture of pollen, nectar and bee saliva that is created in the comb. Worker bees use it to feed larvae and young bees use to produce royal jelly. Humans have also learned to use bee bread, which is high in nutritional value, as a dietary supplement; a beekeeper uses a smoker to help calm bees before checking their hives for honey.

is expected for the 2018 symposium, to be held Feb. 9-10 at the Clanton, Ala., Performing Arts Center. “And the people interested in bees are so diverse. They come from all walks of life,” he continued, noting that one of his lab volunteers at Auburn, an accomplished beekeeper, is also a 911 call center operator. Another example is Melissa Heigl of Salem, Ala., a member of the east-central Alabama area Saugahatchee Beekeepers Association, a stay-at-home mother of five (a sixth one is on the way) who owns a home-based soap making business. “This is my first year keeping bees and I do it for lots of reasons,” she says. “Sure, I love honey. I love helping save the bees. I love raising my own food. In addition to those reasons, I have to have an outlet for learning or I get really grumpy. I love to be challenged and bees certainly provide that!” Yet another member of the Saugahatchee Beekeepers Association, Mary Ann Taylor-Simms, started keeping bees seven years ago for health reasons. “I became a beekeeper primarily because I wanted to ‘grow’ my own honey for medicinal purposes,” says Taylor-Simms, a student support professional at Auburn University. “I suffered from seasonal allergies and would get a severe sinus infection about twice a year. I read that eating local honey may help with the allergy problem.”

Since she began consuming her “homegrown” honey, Taylor-Simms said her allergy problem has “virtually disappeared,” and she has also gained a greater appreciation for bees. “As I got more involved in beekeeping, I began to learn about the importance of bees as pollinators and how vital they are to our food supply,” she says. “After a brief hiatus from beekeeping, I’m back to learning from the bees — they teach me something each time I open their hives for inspection. I still take my daily dose of ‘nectar from the gods,’ but now I also have a great respect for them, knowing how important they are to my own survival.” Regardless of their reasons for keeping bees, apiculturists seem to have one thing in common — a deep commitment to working together to keep bees safe — and Williams is looking forward to connecting with more and more of those beekeepers as his program matures. He also hopes to help new beekeepers get involved. “We are working with Extension and other groups in the state to set up an extensive network for bee information so that there will be a base of knowledge about beekeeping in each part of the state,” he says. Until that network is fully functional, however, anyone interested in learning more about bees and beekeeping — and possibly joining the ranks of famous apiculturists — can contact the Alabama Cooperative Extension System, state and local beekeeper associations and other bee and honey organizations (see list in below).

The Buzz Want to learn more about bees and beekeeping in Alabama? Check out one or all of the following resources. The Alabama Beekeepers Association, an organization of beekeepers and bee enthusiasts from Alabama and surrounding states, offers information for advanced beekeepers and for those just starting out. Contact them 18 OCTOBER 2017

at www.alabamabeekeepers.com. There are also 27 known beekeeping organizations in the state to help local beekeepers. Find a list of them at http://bit. ly/2x4SjAc. Alabama Cooperative Extension System offices throughout the state can provide a wealth of information on beekeeping and

protecting pollinator populations in the state. They also offer a publication, Backyard Beekeeping (www.aces.edu/pubs/ docs/A/ANR-0135/ANR-0135.pdf) that will soon be turned into an interactive iBook. For more information on Extension resources contact your county Extension office or www.aces.edu. www.alabamaliving.coop

Alabama Living

OCTOBER 2017 19

Reclaiming neglected rural cemeteries Story and photos by Jim Plott

Ashleigh Staples of Birmingham looks over a grave at Auburn’s Pine Hill Cemetery.


ordan Mahaffey doesn’t see dead people.

Instead, her vision when visiting a cemetery has more to do with survivors than deceased. That’s because Mahaffey, a history graduate from the University of West Alabama, is more apt to pay attention to what is on top of the grave than what’s in it. “I see artifacts,” Mahaffey says, referring to headstones and grave 20 OCTOBER 2017

markers. “They provide you with a history of the community and how individuals felt about that person.” On this day, however, Mahaffey, along with a dozen or more volunteers and an archeological team from the University of Alabama, are helping reclaim an almost forgotten, overgrown and unmarked cemetery situated just outside the fenced-in Morning www.alabamaliving.coop

Alabama Living

OCTOBER 2017 21

Star cemetery in rural Sumter County. also with publicity; if people understand that cemeteries can be The overgrown field and woodlands are being cleared and the things other than places to bury the dead, they’re more likely to UA team plans to scan the area with ground-penetrating radar to help with their preservation. locate graves. An earlier scan revealed up to 10 unmarked graves. Eric Sipes, senior archaeologist with AHC’s historic preserva“I want to find my baby brother. He died when he was one year tion division, says planning is essential before doing any preservaold. I remember coming here as a little girl with my mother to visit tion efforts in a cemetery. AHC offers sample plans. his grave,” says Ella Edwards. Her family moved to Michigan when “An overall plan should be developed that establishes goals, prishe was a child; others in the community did basically the same, oritizes activities, and develops an annual maintenance schedule,” leaving the cemetery unattended for decades. Sipes says. Across Alabama, numerous cemeteries – in many cases the When it comes to intensive work, call in professionals, Sipes only remainders of once thriving communities – are imperiled says. The Alliance tries to have representatives from each of Alby abandonment, isolation, occasional vandalism and sometimes abama’s 67 counties to assist, and the AHC is also a useful source even good intentions, says Ted Urquhart, president of the Alabama for preservation efforts. Cemetery Preservation Alliance. Stories to tell The alliance, a non-profit, volunteer group, was organized to loAlliance member Greg Jeane, a retired geography professor cate and register all cemeteries and encourage their preservation at Auburn and Samford universities, said cemeteries and graves and maintenance. Similarly, the Alabama Historical Commission have evolved over the years to remaintains a record of the state’s hisflect how societies view death and torical cemeteries. other cultural aspects. From simple The goal is twofold: Honor the stone-covered graves – a practice dead, and help maintain historic some believe was carried over from structures like headstones, tombIreland – to elaborate stone workstones and statuary, which, much manship, cemeteries and graves have like outdoor museums, tell the stostories to tell about individuals and ries of communities and the people communities. who inhabited them. In recent decades, graves have “People do not think twice about come to directly reflect the individthe value of preserving historic ual’s life, whether it be removable structures, and it is time we need symbols or airbrushed headstone. to begin to think about structures Cemetery preservationist Jordan Mahaffey and resident Ella “Whether it is marbles or a cowin historic cemeteries in the same Edwards try to size up overgrown acreage that may contain boy boot or a toy car, it is definitelight,” says Margo Stringfield, a Uni- graves adjacent to Morning Star Cemetery in Sumter County. ly linked to some passion of the versity of West Florida archaeologist deceased,” Jeane says. “That sentiment has evolved into modern and anthropologist. “Markers and monuments, in addition to grave marker art, so a tombstone might have an 18-wheeler carved names and dates, reflect individual choice, changing fashions, acinto the stone, or an air-brushed picture of the deceased holding cess to and choice of materials, trade patterns and changing comtheir cat.” munities.” Ashleigh Staples, like Mahaffey, is among several in the younger Despite good intentions, sometimes the efforts of well-meaning generations that are drawn to the older cemeteries because of their volunteers and descendants result in damage to headstones and historical value. The Birmingham resident attended an Alliance tombstones from machinery and chemicals and soaps intended to meeting in May to learn more about preservation. clean the stones, says Stringfield. “As a child I spent a lot of time with my grandparents and we Stringfield suggests that anyone considering extensive work at a often visited cemeteries where family members rested,” says Stacemetery enlist help from the community and groups that might ples, 23. “My job requires that I travel throughout Alabama, so I’ve seem far removed from preservation, like bird watchers or garden made a habit of stopping to appreciate the cemeteries and history clubs. Such groups can offer help with beautification efforts, but along the way. Visiting cemeteries has become one of my favorite Do’s and don’ts of grave marker cleaning hobbies because every grave tells a story.” Despite a degree in history and a background in archaeology, • Do examine the stone before any cleaning. If there are cracks Mahaffey’s work at UWA is unrelated to her efforts involving prior decay, leave it alone because pressure could damage the marily African-American cemeteries in Alabama’s Black Belt restone. gion, and specifically stamped lettered tombstones. • Do use soft brushes and tap water to clean stones. Some bio“Because of the work I did as a student, I have become a cemlogical products are available that will not harm the stone. etery person,” says Mahaffey, 26. “People will just call me because • Do not use any acids, bleaches, household detergents or presthey have heard that I work to preserve and document cemeteries.” sure washers to clean a stone. Edwards says Mahaffey has been a tremendous help in aiding • Do consult with a professional when considering any repairs to her efforts to at least locate and provide a marker of some type to stones or statuary. each grave, even though they may not know who is buried there. Sources: Alabama Historical Commission and the Alabama Her brother’s grave, however, may have already been found. Cemetery Preservation Alliance. There beneath the tall grasses is a clump of irises rising out of For additional information contact the AHC at http://www.prethe ground. serveala.org/cemeteryprogram.aspx and the “We couldn’t afford to buy flowers for his grave, so we dug up ACPA - http://www.alabama-cemetery-preservation.com/ fl owers from the yard and planted them up here in this very area,” register_why.php she says. 22 OCTOBER 2017


Alabama Living

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24  OCTOBER 2017 www.alabamaliving.coop

Alabama Living

OCTOBER 2017 25

| Alabama People |

Jason Wilson

Brewing up a crafty business When the “Free the Hops” bill passed the Alabama Legislature in 2009, it removed some of the major hurdles restricting beer production and ushered in a new era of Alabama brewing. Fast forward to 2017, and there are currently almost 30 craft breweries here, and they’ve all tapped into the energy and interest created by industry trailblazers like Back Forty Beer and its founder, Jason Wilson. Started in 2009 and based in Gadsden, Ala., Back Forty has been a major player in Alabama’s beer boom from the beginning and is now the state’s largest craft brewery in terms of production volume, turning out the equivalent of approximately 350,000 bottles of beer about every two weeks. Wilson shares his company’s story and stresses why even non-beer drinkers should be excited by the fact that for Alabama breweries, business is hopping. – Jennifer Kornegay What does “craft beer” mean? It means a commitment to quality and process over profits and efficiency. Craft beers – and the rise of their popularity – prove that there is so much more to experience in beer than just the classic American light lager. That beer has its time and place, but I really encourage people to branch out. When did you discover “craft beer”? I had just turned 21. (laughs) No, I promise. I’m not saying I’d never had a beer before that, but I was visiting my brother in Colorado in 2001, and we went to this small, local brewery and started sampling their stuff. I had this great beer and said, “Man, this is amazing!” A guy popped up from behind the bar and said, “Thanks.” He was the brewer. I stayed up into the wee hours of the morning talking to him; we were sitting on kegs, and he was telling me all about the beer he made. How did Back Forty get started? When I left Colorado, I came back to Alabama, went back to college at Auburn, graduated and ended up working in logistics for Georgia Pacific, which meant I traveled a lot. Everywhere I went I sought out the local craft brewery. In 2005, I met Jamie Ray, the brewer behind The Montgomery Brew Pub, and we became friends. By 2008, I had developed a fullfledged passion

26 OCTOBER 2017

for craft beer, and my boss at GP could tell. He actually encouraged me to pursue it. Breweries were uncharted territory in Alabama at that time, and I didn’t think a bank would loan me money for a facility, but I raised money from friends and family, and reached out to Lazy Magnolia brewery in Mississippi. The timing was right; they had just expanded and had room to brew and package my beer, so we did a contract brewing arrangement. With Jamie’s help, I got my recipe down, and in 2009, we put out our first beer and Back Forty was born. We operated that way for 18 months. In 2011, we started brewing in our own place in downtown Gadsden. Where does the name come from? Back Forty is an old agriculture term. The “back forty” acres on a farm are the furthest from the barn, the hardest to irrigate and work. They’re under appreciated. But if you ever take the time to clear that land and nurture it, you get a great yield. It’s virgin ground. That’s how I saw the brewing industry in Alabama. I felt like the phrase just fit what I hoped we were going to do. Why base Back Forty Beer in Gadsden instead of a larger city? I’m a fifth-generation Gadsden native. But, like most kids, when I left for college, I said I was never coming back. When the steel plant shut down in the city, it hit the area hard, and there just wasn’t much to come back to. But by 2007, I sensed a renewed energy in my hometown. I saw other young people coming back. Downtown was revitalizing, with new businesses opening up down there. I realized that from a logistics standpoint, with a major interstate (I-59) right beside it, it made plenty of sense. And I saw an opportunity to make a positive difference there, to be a part of the change that was needed. Why should people who don’t even drink beer care about the craft beer boom in our state? Jobs and tax revenue. Craft breweries generate both. We now have more than 350 people directly working in the industry in the state, and Alabama breweries have an annual economic impact in the billions of dollars. Plus, we bump up the state’s image to visitors, and tourism is crucial in the state.

Alabama Living

OCTOBER 2017 27

Alabama Bicentennial Commission celebrates

St. Stephens Historical Park A legend. A destination. A piece of paradise. Alabama’s Territorial Capital between 1817 and 1819, Old St. Stephens is celebrating the bicentennial of Alabama’s first steps toward statehood. Old St. Stephens Day will be October 7, 2017. The Opening Ceremony will begin on the main stage at 10 a.m. Food vendors, arts and crafts vendors and historical demonstrators will be on site. Local school children will present historical vignettes researched from records of Old St. Stephens. St. Stephens Historical Park also provides visitors fishing, RV camping, primitive camping, biking, bird-watching, horseback riding, picnicking and hiking. St. Stephens Historical Park is located at 2056 Jim Long Road, St. Stephens, AL 36569 For more information, call Jennifer at 251-247-2622 or go to www.oldststephens.net

Where Alabama began.

28 OCTOBER 2017


October | Around Alabama


Mobile, “A Night Honoring Heroes,” hosted by the University of South Alabama Medical Center, highlights the courage and dedication of first responders and medical professionals who help patients after traumatic injury. 5:30-9 p.m. Benefits USA Medical Center’s Level 1 Trauma Center. crhuie@southalabama.edu

10, 17, 24


Gulf Shores, The University of South Alabama hosts a complimentary three-week series, “Becoming Alabama.” Historical journey will cover Alabama’s early inhabitants, Spanish exploration, and French settlements. Presented by John Jackson, director of Foley Public LIbrary. 1:30-3 p.m., USA-Gulf Coast Campus, 19470 Oak Road West. To register, call 251-460-7200.

Various types of arts and crafts will be on display at Spinner’s Pumpkin Patch Arts and Crafts Show Oct. 28 - 29 in Prattville.

October, Woodville, Haunted Hollow Cave Tour at Cathedral Caverns State Park. Oct. 14, 21, 28 and 31, 6:30-11 p.m. $10. Games and light concessions available. Portion of proceeds benefit the DAR High School Marching Band. 637 Cave Road.


Chatom, The Wilcox Gallery presents a public performance of the Alabama Shakespeare Festival’s “Much Ado About Nothing” at Washington County High School, 21 School St. 6:30 p.m. $5 adults, students free. wilcoxgallery.org


Sylacauga, Marble Valley Fire Department’s 4th Annual Open House/ Fundraiser Yard Sale will be held from 7 a.m.-4 p.m. each day. 2373 Coosa County Road 5. 256-249-4996


Dothan, Alzheimer’s Resource Center’s 25th Anniversary of “A Walk to Remember.” Alzheimer victims and their families will be honored with walks, and there will be refreshments, barbecue plates, music, and prizes. Donate online or pre-register for the walk at wesharethecare. org. Walk begins at 8:30 a.m. with registration at 7:30 a.m. 334702-2273


Cullman, Oktoberfest Cornhole Tournament, Goat Island Brewing, 1646-A John H. Cooper Dr. SE. Double elimination tournament with prizes given for 1st, 2nd and 3rd place. Proceeds benefit St. Paul’s Lutheran School. Food and non-alcoholic drinks avaliable for purchase. Registration forms avaliable at stpaulscullman.com.

Orrville, Haunted History Tours at Old Cahawba. Alabama’s most famous ghost town opens at night for visitors to experience Old Cahawba after dark. Be transported to the most haunted locations where historical accounts of ghosts will be shared. The Alabama Paranormal Research group will have ghost hunting equipment for a mini investigation. Evening concludes with a bonfire. For times and tickets, call 334-872-8058


Sylacauga, Resources for Women welcomes Pam Tebow, Tim Tebow’s mother, as the guest speaker for the 14th Annual Fundraising Banquet at First Baptist Church, 10 S. Broadway. Reserved seating for the banquet is $25. Meet and greet tickets $25. 256-208-8888





Fort Payne, Finders Keepers Consignment Sale, VFW Fairgrounds, 151 18th St. NE. For times and more information, visit finderskeeperssale.com.

Dothan, Landmark Park Fall Farm Day. 10 a.m.4 p.m. Learn how peanuts were harvested in the Wiregrass more than 100 years ago. Cane grinding, syrup making, butter churning, soap making and other traditional farm activities. Music, antique tractors, wagon rides and the largest quilt display in the Wiregrass. 430 Landmark Drive. landmarkparkdothan.com


Cullman, Alabama Gourd Show. Unique gourd gifts, raw gourds, supplies, tools and gourd art demonstrations. $3 for adults, children 12 and under free. Cullman Civic Center, 510 Fifth St. SW. alabamagourdsociety.org


Mentone, Enjoy the fall colors and season at the Annual Mentone Colorfest. Arts, crafts, food, and live entertainment. 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Free. Mentone Brow Park, Lake Street at East River Rd. visitlookoutmountain.com

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.

Alabama Living

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Brundidge, Peanut Butter Festival. Handmade arts and crafts, food, produce, plants, furniture, home decor, jewelry, kids activities and live performances and demonstrations. Free. Downtown Brundidge. piddle.org Cullman, 3rd Annual Fairview High School Band Car and Tractor Show. 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Fairview Town Park. Proceeds go toward band equipment and uniforms for the Fairview High School band. 256-531-2548


Opelika, Opelika Theatre Company’s Inagural Masquerade Ball at the Bottling Plant Event Center. Benefits OTC, The Southside Center for the Arts and Expressions of a BraveHeart. Dress is Sunday attire to formal. Dinner, dancing, drinks and silent auction. 6 p.m. opelikatheatrecompany.com


Prattville, Spinner’s Pumpkin Patch Arts & Crafts Show. Saturday, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Sunday, 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Features arts and crafts, children’s activities, and food vendors. Spinner’s Park, 390 West Sixth St. Free. spinnersprattville.com

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Alabama co-ops help restore power in hurricane-ravaged Florida


rews from 19 of Alabama’s rural electric cooperatives were sent to help five Florida electric cooperatives with power restoration in the wake of Hurricane Irma in September. More than 210 men joined forces with their fellow cooperatives in areas affected by the hurricane, which left more than 75 percent of Floridians without electricity. Alabama’s crews are part of a nationwide effort by 5,000 electric cooperative workers mobilized to restore power to an estimated 1 million cooperative members left in the dark as Hurricane Irma left a path of destruction through the Southeast. Confronting the aftermath of high winds and heavy rain, mutual aid linemen from more than 25 states were at work

at co-ops in Florida, Georgia and South Carolina. Peak outage estimates indicated there were 760,000 co-op outages in Florida, 535,000 in Georgia and 100,000 in South Carolina. “Alabama’s cooperatives are always willing to help our fellow cooperatives when there is a need,” said Fred Braswell, president and CEO of the Alabama Rural Electric Association, which represents Alabama’s 22 electric cooperatives. AREA coordinated the statewide response to the massive power outage. Alabama’s cooperatives were mobilized to assist Clay, Suwanee Valley, Central Florida, Tri-County and Okefenokee electric cooperatives. Cooperatives helping in the effort were Covington, Baldwin EMC,

Marshall-DeKalb, Joe Wheeler EMC, Pioneer, South Alabama, Central Alabama, Cullman, Dixie, Cherokee, North Alabama, Black Warrior EMC, Coosa Valley, Sand Mountain, Wiregrass, Clarke-Washington EMC, Tombigbee, Pea River and Southern Pine. Alabama’s 22 rural electric cooperatives deliver power to more than 1 million people, or a quarter of the state’s population, and they maintain more than 71,000 miles of power line.

Letters to the editor E-mail us at: letters@alabamaliving.coop or write us at: Letters to the editor P.O. Box 244014 Montgomery, AL 36124 Readers remember life before a/c Really enjoyed the story about life before air conditioning (“Hardy Jackson’s Alabama,” August 2017). I still remember the evening we were sitting at our kitchen bar in Monroe County, eating with sweat dripping off our elbows. My dad looked at our mom and said, “We’re buying an a/c tomorrow.” We thought, “We must be rich.” Ricky Simpson, Loxley I wonder.... Was it A/C that annihilated the lightning ‘ bugs that I caught in my Bama grape jelly jar with air holes in the top? I miss them. Paula Bette Siniard Tally, Mentone

Clockwise, from top: Crews from Central Alabama EC work to restore power to members of Clay EC in Florida; Black Warrior EMC helps Central Florida EC; and Cullman EC assists Clay EC in Keystone Heights, Fla.

30 OCTOBER 2017

Enjoyed your article, however, I must point out Dr. John Gorrie, Apalachicola, Florida, is credited with inventing air conditioning. One may visit the museum showing his original invention and work there. Richard Gilchrist, Troy Hardy Jackson replies: Point taken. I think Carrier is credited with making a practical unit that could be mass produced. But Gorrie should get his due. Unfortunately, I am not aware of any recognition of his anniversary outside Apalachicola. So it was Carrier’s anniversary that inspired me to consider what a/c has done for us all. www.alabamaliving.coop

Alabama Living

OCTOBER 2017 31

| Gardens | Left to right: Paw paw, persimmon, kiwi, pomegranate and kumquat.

Fun fall fruits

A matter of minding your Ps and Ks


eed a local source of fun, fresh fruit this fall and winter? It’s as easy as minding your Ps and Ks — as in persimmons, pomegranates, pawpaws, kiwifruit and kumquats. These often lesser known, or a least lesser grown, fruits are now, or soon will be, in season, and they are all easy to grow additions to the home garden and landscape. Many of us grew up eating (or at least attempting to eat) the fruit of the American persimmon, a native tree that produces golden-orange, muscadine-size fruits which, when they fully ripen in the fall, are morsels of sweetness (some say they taste like dates) enjoyed by humans and wildlife alike. The problem with native persimmons is that unripe persimmons are high in the astringent, pucker-producing compound tannic acid. But ripe ones are soft, delicious and, according to folklore, predictors of winter weather. Slice their seeds in half and take a gander at the shape therein: a spoon shape indicates snow to shovel, a knife shape warns of cutting winter winds and a fork shape predicts a mild winter with good eating. Though ripe American persimmons make fine eating whether consumed outof-hand or in puddings, preserves and other dishes, their small size can make preparing them a bit of a bother. However, there are now a number of larger-fruited Asian (sometimes called oriental) persimmons available to us. These persimmons produce gorgeous orange to reddish, baseball-sized fruits that ripen more readily and reliably than their native cousins.

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

32 OCTOBER 2017

Another fruit that comes from our own native woods is the pawpaw, an understory tree that produces large greenish-black mango-like fruits with a custardy texture and sweet, sometimes nutty, tropical flavor. Pawpaws reportedly helped sustain the Lewis and Clark expeditioners in the early 1800s and these days they are used in puddings, ice creams and sorbets and to flavor breads, smoothies and even craft beer. Pomegranates, which are not native to the Alabama but have been here so long many of us consider them ours, provide a whole different taste experience. These gorgeous shrubs to small trees produce a handsome leathery fruit filled with sweettart arils (the flesh covering the seed) that are delicious to munch on, sprinkle on salads and desserts, press for juice or cook down into a syrup. Kumquats, another nonnative plant that’s been grown in the South for generations, are citrus shrubs that produce small (about the size of a shooter-type marble) orange-colored fruits. They are delicious simply peeled and popped into your mouth, but also are fabulous candied or used in jellies. While they are more common in the Gulf Coast area of Alabama, cold-hardy cultivars can be grown as far north as Huntsville if they are shielded from winter winds and cold by planting them in pots or on a protected southern wall. And then there is the kiwifruit, another import that grows well in much of Alabama, especially in the central part of the state. This woody vine, which has variegated foliage that starts out green and develops attractive mottled white spots and sometimes a pink tip as it matures, produces egg-sized fuzzy fruits with greenish-yellow flesh that tastes somewhere between berries and bananas. The thing about all of these plants is that, while you’re waiting for them to pro-

duce fruit (and for some that may take up to six years), they can be attractive flowering additions to the landscape in areas of full to partial sun. And this fall and on into early winter are great times to plant them. Make sure you choose a variety or cultivar that is best suited for your area of the state and keep in mind that for some, such as pawpaws and persimmons, you may need to purchase two plants to ensure cross pollination for proper fruit production. To learn more about these Ps and Ks, check with your local experts, including the Alabama Cooperative Extension System, Master Gardener groups, plant nurseries and fellow gardeners. And keep your eyes peeled for educational events, such as an oriental persimmon tour that will be held Oct. 15 at 2 p.m. at Petals from the Past nursery in Jemison, that feature these and other fun fruit options.

October Tips

 Check out fall plant sales sponsored by local gardening and civic clubs and at area botanical gardens.  Keep an eye out for sales of summer lawn and garden supplies and equipment.  Clean old garden debris and dead plant material out of garden beds and the landscape.  Test soil and add amendments as needed.  Plant spring bulbs, shrubs and trees.  Sow seed for wildflowers.  Dry and save seed from end-of-season flowers, vegetables and herbs.  Clean and store empty pots, garden tools and equipment for the winter.  Plant cool-season crops such as lettuces, spinach, turnips, radishes, onions and garlic.  Fill bird feeders and birdbaths to attract migrating and local birds. www.alabamaliving.coop

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ALABAMA BOOKSHELF In this periodic feature, we highlight books either about Alabama people or events or written by Alabama authors. Summaries are not reviews or endorsements. We also occasionally highlight book-related events. Email submissions to bookshelf@alabamaliving.coop Due to the volume of submissions, we are unable to feature all the books we receive. Game of My Life: Alabama Crimson Tide, by Tommy Hicks, Sports Publishing, $24.99 (sports). Longtime sportswriter Hicks has updated his memorable stories of Alabama football, from Harry Gilmer and his play in the 1946 Rose Bowl to Mark Ingram becoming the Tide’s first Heisman Trophy winner in 2009. Several former players share their memories of the Tide’s most memorable games.

Keep Your Airspeed Up: The Story of a Tuskegee Airman, by Harold H. Brown and Marsha S. Bordner, University of Alabama Press, $29.95 (memoir). Brown rose from the despair of racial segregation to become a noted military aviator and educator. Col. Brown fought as a combat pilot with the 332nd Fighter Group during World War II; after the war, he joined the Strategic Air Command before earning his Ph.D. and serving as an administrator at what is now Columbus State Community College.

North Alabama Beer: An Intoxicating History, by Sarah Belanger and Kamara Bowling Davis, Arcadia Publishing, $21.99 (local history). The authors trace the history of beer in north Alabama from the early saloon days before Prohibition to the craft beer explosion that’s occurred just in the last decade. The book features many historical and current photos that help tell the story.

Earline’s Pink Party: The Social Rituals and Domestic Relics of a Southern Woman, by Elizabeth Findley Shores, University of Alabama Press, $29.95 (Southern culture/memoir). The author sifts through her family’s scattered artifacts to understand her grandmother’s life in relation to the troubled racial history of Tuscaloosa. The book is an analysis of the life of a small-city matron in the Deep South that offers a new way of thinking about white racial attitudes.

The Grumpy Gardener: An A to Z Guide from the Country’s Most Irritable Green Thumb, by Steve Bender, Time Inc., $25.99 (gardening/humor). Gardeners everywhere have turned to Bender, Southern Living’s senior garden editor, for his keen knowledge and gardening know-how delivered with equal doses of sarcasm and humor for nearly 35 years. The book also features his rules for gardening, Q&As and his favorite reader responses.

The Best of Alabama Living: Favorite Recipes from Alabama’s Largest Lifestyle Magazine, published by the Alabama Rural Electric Association, $19.95. Alabama Living’s most popular feature is its recipes, and last year we collected some of the best ones from the last few years and published our own spiral-bound cookbook. The book includes a forward from Patricia “Sister Schubert” Barnes, profiles of some of the featured cooks and beautiful photography. Order your copy online at alabamaliving.coop, or send a check to Alabama Living Cookbook, P.O. Box 244014, Montgomery, AL 36124.

34 OCTOBER 2017


Alabama Living

OCTOBER 2017 35

| Worth the drive |

The Bright Star continues to shine in Bessemer By Jennifer Crossley Howard


immy Koikos believes in downtown Bessemer so much that celebrities singing he insists his family heirloom of a restaurant, The Bright Star, The Bright stay in this town sandwiched between Tuscaloosa and BirStar’s praismingham, continuing to beckon the 3,500 patrons that visit each week. es. Sandra Bullock takes her father, Jimmy, here. There’s a special To walk through downtown Bessemer in 2017 is to take a walk Alabama football room dedicated to Coach Paul “Bear” Bryant, through a faded Pleasantville, filled with the occasional bicyclist and in sincere sportsmanship, an Auburn table sits under a photo and city bus. Old neon block-letter signs for jewelers and furniof a grinning Cam Newton. ture stores anchor streets filled with empty storefronts, many of Koikos is a diehard Alabama football fan, from his crimson tie which left in a mass exodus in the 1980s. to his red plaid button-down shirt, embellished with a small eleBut build a star, and they will come — in droves — for lunch. phant. “There are a few empty spaces,” said longtime owner Koikos, The decor, mostly green and brass with dark wood booths “but we feel real good about the future of Bessemer. If you moved and marble tabletops, could pass for a dining car in an old train. it, it wouldn’t be Guests of honor, the same.” including BullThe Bright ock, are honored Star claims it is with nameplates. “America’s oldWall-size muest family owned rals from the e x p e r i e n c e ,” main dining dating back to room, former1907. Back then, ly layered with the chicken noosticky, brown dle soup cost muck from dea nickel at this cades of cigmeat-and-three, arette smoke and 110 years and grease, are later, regulars clearing to their drive 40 miles early 1900s gloto eat here every ry. A European day. Fresh fish artist traveling including snapthrough Alaper, delivered bama offered to twice a week paint the Medifrom Panama terranean scenes City, and aged in exchange for steaks made the food and board. menu famous. It’s taken three The Bright Star owner Jimmy Koikos and his second cousin, Andreas Anastassakis, who oversees daily The restaurant operations at the restaurant. Both men place a top priority on customer service, which has no doubt been a years for the renserves lunch and key to the restaurant’s longevity. ovation. PHOTO BY JENNIFER CROSSLEY HOWARD dinner and closIn further rees an hour in the afternoon to shift to heavier dinner fare. spect to The Bright Star’s storied past, its sign that has hung outThe establishment’s bestselling dishes are the snapper and the side on 19th Street North since 1947 is also being refurbished. Greek-style beef tenderloin, which won the honor of “best steak” “This is a museum with food,” one new guest observed to Koiin the state from the Alabama Cattlemen’s Association in 2012. kos. For lunch, diners’ top requests include the Fried Snapper AlHe has been prepping his family’s legacy with Andreas Anastasmondine and Fried Snapper Throats. sakis, who oversees daily operation and occasionally cooks. AnasLemon icebox pie, strawberry shortcake and bread pudding top tassakis came from Toronto seven years ago to run the place. They reviews and palettes for dessert. are second cousins and connected though their familial Greek Nick Saban has a sweet spot for the pies, as he wrote in a framed Orthodox faith. Years ago, Anastassakis baptized Koikos’ sister’s letter on one of the many walls of newspaper clips, photos and daughter’s son. 36 OCTOBER 2017


A marker traces the Bright Star’s history, which dates to 1907. PHOTO BY LENORE VICKREY

“We are blessed to have someone in the family take over The Bright Star,” Koikos says. “It’s really a dream come true at the end of the day,” Anastassakis says. As in any sustaining business, food is far from the only ingredient to longevity. Koikos and Anastassakis prize customer service in combining their Greek heritage with a bit of southern hospitality. “We try to touch each table,” Anastassakis says. “That’s not something you see at most restaurants.” Koikos also believes in investing in his restaurant. The Bright Star saw a $350,000 kitchen expansion in 2012 and remodeling and periodical restoration to original tiles and ceilings. This year, Anastassakis added catering to the menu. “I wanted to leave my footprint,” he says. “I also wanted to take the opportunity and expand on it as well.”

Fresh fish and aged steaks are trademarks at The Bright Star. PHOTO BY LENORE VICKREY

The Bright Star

304 19th St. North Bessemer, AL 35020 205-424-9444 www.thebrightstar.com Hours: 11 a.m. to 3:15 p.m seven days a week; 4:30 to 9 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and 4:30 to 10 p.m. Friday-Saturday

Alabama Living




| Consumer Wise |

Ductless heat pumps

Heat and cool your home without blowing your budget By Pat Keegan and Brad Thiessen

A large or small blower can be installed depending on the size of the room. NW ENERGY EFFICIENCY ALLIANCE

This graphic displays a typical ductless heat pump setup.

The exterior compressor can be set on a foundation or mounted on the wall.




My husband and I are tired of paying such high electric bills during the winter. We think our winter bills are high because of our baseboard heaters, and our summer bills are high because of our window AC units. Our neighbor just installed a ductless heat pump system in their home. Do you think that would work for us?


Mini-split ductless heat pumps are becoming more popular for good reason. They can heat efficiently even when winter temperatures drop below the freezing point, and they are an economical and energy efficient replacement for window AC units. Ductless heat pumps are often installed as the primary heating source and paired with a backup system that kicks in when outside temperatures are extremely cold. Baseboard heaters are an electric resistance system, and use much more energy than a heat pump, which is just moving heat in or out of the home. If you make this change, you should reduce your heating costs considerably. Heat pumps work harder as the outside air temperature drops, but combining the heat pump with a backup heating system solves that problem. I recently spoke with Joe Hull, an Energy Services Advisor with Midstate Electric Cooperative in Oregon. Members there have found that ductless systems with a 38 OCTOBER 2017

backup heating system can work effectively to as low as -28 Fahrenheit. Ductless heat pump systems could be an ideal solution if your home doesn’t have a duct system. If your existing ductwork is in poor condition, installing a ductless heat pump may be more practical or less expensive than repairing, sealing and insulating ducts. A ductless heat pump has two main components: the outdoor compressor and the indoor air handler. Coolant and electrical lines run through a conduit from the compressor outside the home through the wall to the inside air handler(s). Ductless heat pumps can be configured in different ways. A common approach that could deliver the most value is to provide heating and cooling to one large zone in the home by using a single compressor and a single air handler. Or you could use one compressor to power as many as four inside air handlers, each with its own thermostat. A home could even have more than one outside compressor. Scott Mayfield, an expert from Kootenai Electric Cooperative in Idaho, said installing a ductless system in his home had benefits beyond cost savings. “With baseboard heaters, the heat used to rise along the walls, but with the new ductless system, it flows throughout the rooms evenly. It would have been worth switching to ductless for the comfort alone.”

In some parts of the country, ductless mini-splits are becoming more popular in new home construction as well. In fact, a friend of mine in Hood River, Oregon had a ductless system installed in her new home. Ductless heat pumps are often a great solution, but as you explore this option it would be wise to consider: • What are the other investments you could make to reduce your energy costs or improve comfort? Is the ductless heat pump the best option? A thorough energy audit of your home will help answer these questions. • Are rebates offered by your electric co-op? • What is the best size and efficiency level for a ductless heat pump in your situation? • Are there contractors in your area with experience installing ductless heat pumps?

Contact your local electric co-op for a list of recommended contractors, and visit www.energystar.gov for tips on hiring contractors. Patrick Keegan writes on consumer and cooperative affairs for the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association, the Arlington, Va.-based service arm of the nation’s 900-plus consumerowned, not-for-profit electric cooperatives. Write to energytips@collaborativeefficiency.com for more information.


COMPETITION First Place $250 | Second Place $100 | Third Place $50 Sponsored by Alabama Living

Make your best crockpot recipe and bring it to the Alabama National Fair, Creative Living Center, in Montgomery on Wednesday, Nov. 1 by 7 p.m. You must use at least one Alabama product! See instructions and enter online at www.alnationalfair.org under the competition link.

Makes a great gift!

‘Best of Alabama Living’ cookbook Order your copy for $19.95 at alabamaliving.coop, or send a check for $19.95 for each book ordered to: Alabama Living Cookbook P.O. Box 244014 Montgomery, AL 36124

Please provide the information below and mail with your payment. Name: ___________________________________________ Address: _________________________________________ City: ______________________ State: ____ Zip: _____ Phone: _________________ Copies Requested: ____ Email ___________________________________________


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$ Alabama Living



James H. “Goat” Hollis and Tommy Russell after a successful hunt.

Still chasing the bobwhite

“Goat” Hollis began hunting the bobwhite 77 years ago, and hasn’t stopped since Story and photo by Ben Norman


eventy-seven years ago, 9-year-old James H. Hollis held his 20-gauge Sears and Roebuck single-barrel shotgun close to his chest as he inched past the English pointer locked up on point, just behind a covey of wild bobwhites. As the young hunter passed the dog, an eruption of bobwhites filled the sky in front of him. Briefly startled, but recovering quickly, young Hollis swung the barrel toward his target and pulled the trigger. A direct hit tumbled the bird as feathers floated down on a gentle breeze. “Goat” Hollis, as he is known locally, had just bagged his first bobwhite and sealed his fate as a quail hunter for life. Today, at 86, he is still chasing the bobwhite across the hills and hollows of Crenshaw County. Hollis enjoys telling new acquaintances how he got his nickname, “Goat.” “When I was 6 years old, my uncle bought me a billy goat and a little red wagon with a harness so I could hitch my goat to the wagon. I would ride my wagon, pulled by my goat, all over Brantley. People would meet me on the sidewalk and say ‘Hello, Goat.’ This continued for some time until I got rid of my goat and people kept saying ‘Hello, Goat.’ All that time I thought they were telling the goat hello, but it was really me they were talking to,” Hollis laughs. After killing that first bobwhite, Hollis says he got his first bird dog at age 10. “My first dog was an English pointer, but over the years I have had many different breeds. I’ve hunted with English pointers, English and Irish setters, and Brittany spaniels. The best birddog I ever had was a ‘drop,’ which is a cross between a pointer and setter. You don’t see many drops today, but they were fairly common when we had a lot of wild quail.” Bobwhite quail were abundant through the 1950s and ’60s, but began a decline in the ’70s. By the 1980s, it was hardly worth a hunter’s trouble to hunt wild birds exclusively. “My hunting buddy and birddog trainer, Tommy Russell of Luverne, Ala., and I stock our hunting land with flight-conditioned, pen-raised bobwhite today, but we both remember the good old days of wild quail hunting. Back when Tommy and I could hold 40 OCTOBER 2017

out to walk all day, we found plenty of wild birds up until the early ’80s. Tommy is still just a youngster at 84 and can still outwalk me,” says Hollis with a grin. Both Hollis and Russell agree that the major decline in wild quail populations was due to habitat change. “Back when I started hunting quail there were a lot of small farms with corn and peanuts and a large family garden,” Hollis says. “This situation was ideal for quail. Also, people allowed their fence rows to grow up and they burned the woods off every year or two. Again, this created ideal habitat for quail. Also, predators were controlled better back then. The disappearance of these things worked to the detriment of the wild bobwhite. By the early ’80s we began to put out pen-raised birds. Today, that’s all we hunt because wild quail are just not there in huntable numbers.” Hollis has spent most of his life in Brantley, except for the time he spent in the army during the latter months of the Korean War. He began working at Brantley Bank and Trust in 1956 and became president in 1975. He still puts in a full day’s work most days, unless Tommy Russell calls and suggests a quail hunting trip. When this happens, he often slips out the back door, loads the dogs and heads to the field. Hollis and Russell like to tell first-time hunting guests about the five-star tailgate meal they have planned for them. They are quite surprised when their hosts break out the bologna, sardines, potted meat and Vienna sausage with vintage Pepsi Cola to wash it down. Today, Hollis and his guests hunt from modified golf carts or utility vehicles. Rather than “walking the birds up,” they now use a flushing English cocker spaniel, Winnie, named after Hollis’ beloved mother and owned by Hollis’ grandson, Stuart Mash Jr. While the years have slowed their pace a bit, “Goat” Hollis and Tommy Russell won’t let a few aches and pains associated with the senior years get in the way of a good quail hunt. When Winnie flushes a bobwhite, Hollis leads the bird with his old briar-scratched double barrel and fires. When the bobwhite falls, he once again becomes that excited 9-year-old boy of 77 years ago. Ben Norman writes from Highland Home, Alabama. www.alabamaliving.coop



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| Outdoors |

Game wardens have long been a part of Alabama’s law enforcement


ith hunting seasons in progress or starting soon, hundreds of thousands of sportsmen will take to the fields, forests and wetlands all across Alabama to pursue everything from doves to deer. Most of them will obey all the laws and participate in a tradition as old as mankind. But not everyone judiciously obeys every game law. Some make honest mistakes, while others just don’t care or think the laws don’t apply to them. For those people, heed this warning: Someone highly trained and armed may be watching. By the late 19th century, many conservationists became alarmed by disappearing wildlife populations. For instance, fewer than 500,000 whitetail deer roamed the entire United States around 1900. Few game laws existed in the nation. Where laws existed, states did little enforcement. About 110 years ago, in November 1907, Rep. Henry Steagall of Dale County introduced legislation to create a professional conservation department named the Alabama Department of Game and Fisheries. In 1971, it was renamed the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources. “Steagall authored legislation to create a

government agency with authority to protect the dwindling wildlife and fisheries resources of Alabama,” says Kevin Dodd, the executive director of the Alabama Conservation Enforcement Officers Association. “The timing of his actions might seem radical to us, as they occurred when much of the Alabama population lived in rural settings near poverty standards where any game, bird or fish was pursued mainly to supplement the table or family income.” According to Dodd, who spent 32 years as a conservation enforcement officer and retired earlier this year as the Alabama Division of Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries chief of law enforcement, Steagall didn’t invent the idea of passing laws to protect wildlife. But he believed many previous laws failed because individual legislators could exempt their districts from the laws – or the local sheriff simply refused to enforce them. “The legislation introduced by Steagall and supported by many others had been encouraged by outgoing Gov. William Jelks,” Dodd says. “By forming a new government agency to oversee the wise use of wildlife resources, the entire state would be affected rather than selected regions. The bill was a comprehensive package that

addressed landowner rights and the use of public waters, established seasons and limits, defined game birds and animals, restricted several activities and mandated penalties for violations.” The new governor, Braxton Comer, signed the bill into law and appointed Rep. John Wallace of Madison County to serve as the first Department of Game and Fisheries commissioner. Wallace promoted the concept of “conservation through education” to teach people about the laws and why they existed. He also appointed H.M. Henderson and W.F. Sirmon as the first conservation law enforcement officers, or game wardens. More appointments soon followed. Wallace charged the wardens with enforcing all state game and fish laws. As incentive, the officers could keep a small portion of any fines collected from violators they caught. “The logic of a state law enforcement officer, who answered to the commissioner rather than local voters, would prove to be the cornerstone that made the legislation successful,” Dodd says. “Turnover in warden ranks was frequent for the first few decades as the law and its enforcers were slow to gain public acceptance. Some of the

Officer Vance Wood demonstrates the ease of the game check app on his smart phone to a group of hunters.. PHOTO BY BILLY POPE

42  OCTOBER 2017 www.alabamaliving.coop

Who would have known that guy in camo wasn’t just another hunter?

1908 convictions for violations of the new game law included a state senator, a sheriff and a county solicitor. Such prosecution would likely never have occurred when local sheriffs were solely responsible for enforcement.” The new laws and the enforcement of them gradually became accepted as animal populations began to recover. During the Great Depression, the governor at the time decided to cut the game warden program to save money. Sportsmen across the state vociferously objected to that idea. The governor backed down and the game wardens stayed on the job. “These citizens recognized that any progress gained over decades would be quickly lost if the enforcement arm of the game and fish program were diminished or removed, a fact that remains especially relevant today,” Dodd says. “The idea of a state law enforcement officer pledged to enforce laws protecting public wildlife resources was an idea born in North America and since copied around the world.” Today, sportsmen contribute more than $2 billion annually to the Alabama economy and the populations of many game and fish species flourish. Twice as many whitetail deer live in Alabama now than existed in the entire nation a century ago. Sportsmen enjoy long seasons and liberal limits that allow everyone to participate in the great outdoors all year long if they wish. However, new generations of highly trained professional “Wallace’s Wardens” are still watching. They continue to make sure everyone obeys the rules or suffers the consequences. John N. Felsher lives in Semmes, Ala. He’s a professional freelance writer and photographer with more than 2,500 articles published in more than 150 different magazines. Contact him through Facebook.

Alabama Living

Tables indicate peak fish and game feeding and migration times. Major periods can bracket the peak by an hour before and an hour after. Minor peaks, half-hour before and after. Adjusted for daylight savings time.

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

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

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

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

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

04:52 11:22 11:52 12:22 06:22 06:37 07:07 07:22 07:37 07:52 08:07 01:52 02:52 03:22 03:52 04:07 11:07 10:46 11:16 11:46 05:31 06:01 06:31 07:16 08:01 12:01 01:16 02:01 02:46 09:46 10:16 10:46 11:16 11:46 05:16 05:31 06:01 06:16 06:31 07:01 07:31 12:31 01:16 01:46 09:16 09:46 10:16 OCTOBER 2017


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| Alabama Recipes |

Grab your piece of the pie Enjoying any of our reader-submitted pie recipes is as easy as, well, you know. By Jennifer Kornegay | Food prepared and photographed by Brooke Echols


ie occupies a prominent place in Southern food culture. Almost any occasion that brings people together probably has pie on the menu: family reunions, Sunday dinners and Fourth of July celebrations. What’s a Southern Thanksgiving without some kind of hearty pie? No matter what else you eat (or how much you eat), you know you’ve got to save room for at least a sliver of your grandma’s, mother’s, aunt’s (or uncle’s!) “insert family specialty here” pie. And while apple pie is one of the quintessential symbols of

America, perhaps pecan or peach should take that role for our region. Paying homage to and highlighting distinctly Southern ingredients, they both offer a slice of our area’s authentic, homey charm in every bite. But that’s just an opinion. Perhaps you’d pick blueberry or buttermilk. Or maybe you prefer savory pies, stuffed with veggies, cheeses and even meat. Whatever slice selection sounds the most satisfying to you, you’ll probably find something similar among the bevy of reader-submitted recipes we got for this issue.

Fig-Pecan Pie 3 cups peeled figs

1 egg

1 cup chopped pecans


2 tablespoons lemon juice

3 tablespoons granulated sugar

1/4-1/2 cup brown sugar

Deep-dish pie crust

1/4 cup flour

1 ready-to-bake pie crust (for top)

Combine figs, pecans, lemon juice, brown sugar and flour, refrigerate for 30 minutes. Bake deep-dish pie shell for 12 minutes or until just starting to brown. Pour fig mixture in pie shell and cover with pats of cold butter. Place ready-to-bake pie crust on top and crimp edges with fork. Trim excess pie dough around edges and place dough designs on top. Cut four diagonal slits in top crust. Beat egg, and using pastry brush, cover top of pie. Sprinkle granulated sugar on top. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes. (If top is not golden brown, turn oven to broil for two minutes.)

Cook of the Month: Debbie Holder, Baldwin EMC Debbie Holder grew up loving figs, thanks to the heavy harvest she helped her daddy bring in from an aunt’s fig trees each year. When she moved to Foley, Ala., in 2004, she ended up with a neighbor who has fig trees and who happens to be generous with them. “I would make fig preserves and muffins

46 OCTOBER 2017

out of them,” Debbie said, “but I wanted to try something different, so I thought I’d put them in a pie.” The first time she made the pie, she didn’t have quite enough fruit, so she augmented her filling with pecans. “It turned out great. The two really go together,” she said. And since her favorite part of any pie is the crust, she made her new creation a doublecrust pie.


Fig-Pecan Pie

Blueberry Sour Cream Pie

Butternut Squash Pie

Alabama Living

Fudge Pie

OCTOBER 2017 47

Cranberry-Orange Pie 1 ½ 1 1 1

cup whole berry cranberry sauce cup brown sugar Zest of one orange 3-ounce package orange gelatin cup heavy cream 9-inch, ready-made crumb crust

In a small saucepan, bring cranberry sauce, brown sugar and orange zest to a boil. Remove from heat; stir in gelatin until dissolved. Transfer to a large bowl. Cover and refrigerate for 45 minutes or until partially set. In a small bowl, beat heavy cream until stiff peaks form. Fold the cream mixture into the gelatin mixture. Spread into pie crust. Cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours. Garnish with whipped topping. Serves 8. Mary Donaldson Covington EC

Fudge Pie

Fudge Pies

Coconut Pineapple Pie

2 pie shells, unbaked 2 cups sugar ½ cup cocoa ½ cup self-rising flour 2 sticks margarine, melted 4 eggs 2 teaspoons vanilla flavoring 1 cup chopped pecans (optional)

1 3 1 1 1

Mix all ingredients and pour into unbaked pie shells. Bake at 325 degrees for 35-40 minutes. Serve with vanilla ice cream. Opal Frost Joe Wheeler EMC

Recipe Themes and Deadlines: Dec. Edible gifts Jan. Crock Pot Feb. Spicy foods

Oct. 8 Nov. 8 Dec. 8

3 1 1 ½

cup sugar tablespoons all-purpose flour cup light corn syrup cup flaked coconut 8-ounce can crushed pineapple, undrained eggs, beaten teaspoon vanilla extract 9-inch deep-dish pie crust stick butter, melted

In a bowl, combine sugar and flour. Add syrup, coconut, pineapple, eggs and vanilla and mix well. Pour into pastry shell. Drizzle with butter. Bake at 350 degrees for 50-55 minutes or until knife inserted into middle of pie comes out clean. Cover loosely with foil if the top browns too quickly. Cool on a wire rack and chill before cutting. Store in the refrigerator. Trudy Nelson Central Alabama EC

Please send us your original recipes, developed by you or family members, and not ones copied from a book or magazine. You may adapt a recipe from another source by changing as little as the amount of one ingredient. Cook of the Month winners will receive $50, and may win “Cook of the Month” only once per calendar year.

Chicken Salad Pie 1 unbaked 9-inch pie shell 2/3 cup shredded cheese, divided 1 cup sour cream ²⁄3 cup mayonnaise 1½ cups chopped, cooked chicken 1 small can crushed pineapple, drained 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons chopped walnuts or pecans, divided ½ cup celery Prick the bottom and sides of pie shell several times with fork. Sprinkle with 1/3 cup cheese. Bake at 375 degrees for 15-16 minutes or until crust is lightly browned. Cool on a wire rack. Meanwhile, combine sour cream and mayonnaise in a bowl. Stir in the chicken, pineapple, 1 cup walnuts and celery. Pour into cooled crust. Top with remaining cheese and walnuts. Refrigerate for 1 hour or longer before cutting. Yields 6 servings. Peggy Key North Alabama EC

Online: alabamaliving.coop Email: recipes@alabamaliving.coop Mail: Recipes, P.O. Box 244014 Montgomery, AL 36124 Please include a phone number and co-op name with submissions! Alabama Living reserves the right to reprint recipes in our other publications.

48  OCTOBER 2017 www.alabamaliving.coop

Butternut Squash Pie 2 eggs, slightly beaten 1 cup sugar 1 teaspoon salt 1 teaspoon cinnamon 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg 1 cup milk 2 tablespoons softened butter 1½ cups cooked and mashed squash 1 unbaked pie shell ¾ cup shredded cheddar cheese Combine eggs, sugar, salt, spices and milk. Add butter to squash and blend with other ingredients. Pour the filling into the pie shell. Bake at 450 degrees for 10 minutes. Reduce temperature to 350 degrees and bake 30 to 40 minutes or until set. Add shredded cheese to hot pie. Peggy Lunsford Pea River EC

Farmhouse Peanut Butter Pie 2 9-inch graham cracker pie crusts 1 stick salted butter, room temperature 3 8-ounce packages cream cheese, room temperature 1½ cups creamy peanut butter 3 cups whipped topping 4 cups confectioner's sugar, sifted Combine all ingredients with mixer until smooth and creamy. Spread into pie crusts. Add chocolate topping. Refrigerate until ready to serve. Chocolate topping: 1 cup milk chocolate chips 2/3 cup of half and half Combine chips and half and half in a microwavable bowl. Microwave for 5 minutes, pausing to stir often. When chips are melted and mixture is slightly thickened, spread on pies. Dianne Herring Wiregrass EC

Blueberry Sour Cream Pie

Walnut Raisin Pie

Blueberry Sour Cream Pie

1 cup dark corn syrup 3 eggs 1 cup sugar 2 tablespoons melted butter 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 1 teaspoon rum extract 1½ cups (6 ounces) walnuts ½ cup raisins 1 unbaked 9-inch deep-dish pie crust

3 cups fresh blueberries (may use frozen but thawed) 2 regular unbaked pie shells or 1 deep dish pie shell 1 cup sugar 1/3 cup all-purpose flour Pinch of salt 2 beaten eggs ½ cup sour cream

Stir first six ingredients together thoroughly using a spoon. Mix in walnuts and raisins. Pour into pie crust. Bake on center rack of oven for 60-70 minutes. Cool for two hours. Store pie in the refrigerator. Top slices with whipped topping if desired.

Crumble: 1 cup sugar 1 cup self-rising flour ½ cup cold butter

Patricia Harrison Pioneer EC

Pecan Pie 1 1 ½ 1 2 3 1 1

cup white corn syrup cup light brown sugar teaspoon salt stick melted butter teaspoons vanilla whole eggs, slightly beaten heaping cup pecans unbaked 9-inch pie shell

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Rinse blueberries and remove all stems. (Hint: If blueberries are not sweet enough, sprinkle with sugar and set aside.) Place berries in bottom of pie shells. Combine sugar, flour and salt. Add eggs and sour cream to flour mixture. Spoon over berries. To make the crumble, combine sugar, flour and cold butter with fork or pastry cutter and sprinkle on top or over pie. Bake at 350 degrees until golden brown for 50 minutes . Donna Gilliam Tombigbee EC

Mix syrup, sugar, salt, butter and vanilla. Mix in eggs. Prick the pie shell with a fork, and pour mixture into pie shell. You can either sprinkle the pecans over the filling, or mix in with the other ingredients. Bake at 325 degrees for 45 minutes to an hour. Check oven as it bakes. Sherry Tew Pea River EC

Editor’s Note: Alabama Living’s recipes are submitted by our readers. They are not kitchen-tested by a professional cook or registered dietician. If you have special dietary needs, please check with your doctor or nutritionist before preparing any recipe. Alabama Living

OCTOBER 2017 49

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50 OCTOBER 2017




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Alabama Living

OCTOBER 2017  51

| Our Sources Say |

Pecan C trees and nuclear plants

Gary Smith is President and CEO of PowerSouth Energy Cooperative

52 OCTOBER 2017

harlie Lowman was president and CEO of Alabama Electric Cooperative (the predecessor of PowerSouth Energy) from 1970 until 1988. When he retired, Charlie moved north of Andalusia and started a pecan farm. He developed his own strain of pecans. In response to questions about starting a pecan farm so late in life, Charlie responded, “You plant pecan trees for your grandchildren.” That would not be unusual for Charlie since he spent his career at AEC building power plants and transmission lines for future generations. Electric utility assets, especially generation plants and transmission systems, are built for the long cycle. PowerSouth’s hydroelectric dams were built in the 1920s. Our coal-fired generation units were completed in 1969, 1978 and 1979, and our natural gas plants were completed in the 1990s and early 2000s. They still produce electric power for our members today and do it very well. Barring environmental regulations that may close them, those units will continue to produce power long into the future. A life assessment study of our coal-fired units a few years ago indicated they would operate indefinitely with proper care and maintenance. However, as circumstances change through years and decades, the benefits of the different plants change. For instance, when natural gas is cheap, like today, our natural gas-fired plants produce power more cheaply than our coal-fired units. When natural gas is expensive, like in 2008-2009, our coal-fired plants produce power more cheaply. That concept is not difficult to understand. However, finding the diversity to protect us (and your power bills) against volatile swings in costs can be difficult. Electric utility assets are very capital-intensive and may take years to construct. No utility can build assets quickly enough to react to volatility in fuel costs. We have to be prepared before it arises by having diverse resources in place. To further diversify PowerSouth’s generation portfolio, we decided a decade ago to add nuclear generation by investing in the expansion of the Vogtle Nuclear Plant in Waynesboro, Ga. The decision presented risk -- considerable risk. But it also offered benefits, especially if you look over the long cycle of generation facilities. Today, with natural gas prices at $3.00/ million British Thermal Units (MMBTU) instead of $9.00/MMBTU like they were in 2008, the decision doesn’t look as good

as it did in 2008. Some comments on the Vogtle expansion are critical. The Sierra Club commented on Vogtle Units 3 and 4: “Georgia Power’s owner has voted to push ahead with building Plant Vogtle, a chaotic nuclear project beset with multi-year construction delays, bankruptcy, and a price tag that has ballooned to more than $25 billion. “This leaves Southern Company and Georgia Power as the lone cheerleaders for a massive boondoggle that leaves families and businesses on the hook for expensive, risky nuclear power they don’t need.” The Sierra Club and others are critical of the construction delays and cost overruns that Georgia Power Company, Oglethorpe Power, the Municipal Authority of Georgia, Jacksonville Electric Authority and PowerSouth are experiencing in building the first nuclear generation since the late 1980s. If we were only interested in the short-term economics of the project, we would abandon it and build natural gas generation because it is cheaper today. Nuclear generation is not the favorite of the Sierra Club, who would only approve of solar or wind. Nor is it the cheapest generation we can build for the immediate future. However, we believe over the long cycle with natural gas costs again becoming volatile, environmental regulation becoming more restrictive and requirements to produce more low carbon or carbon-free electricity, nuclear power from the Vogtle investment will prove to be beneficial for our members. For example, under EPA’s proposed Clean Power Plan that is likely to be overturned but replaced with another low carbon restriction, we would need to spend a billion dollars in solar generation to produce the same amount of carbon-free electricity we would receive from our nuclear investment. Vogtle Units 1 and 2, which were completed in 1987 and 1988, were budgeted to cost $900 million. They were finally finished for $8 billion, almost 9 times over budget. But, today they are a great investment for their owners. We are not near cost overruns in that universe. We look at electric generation plants as Charlie Lowman looks at pecan trees. We are building for the long cycle, for our grandchildren. At some point in the life of Vogtle Units 3 and 4, the investment will be the best investment PowerSouth has made. I am convinced it will be good for our grandchildren. I hope you have a good month. www.alabamaliving.coop

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Alabama Living



| Hardy Jackson's Alabama |

Why we will defeat breast cancer O

ctober is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. I became particularly aware of this when I lost an old and dear friend to the disease. On a more positive note, several other friends who are breast cancer survivors continue to thrive. Losses are hard to take. But the survivors show us that the fight continues and there are victories to celebrate. And when I think of the victorious, I think of Aunt Roscoe. Aunt Roscoe was a breast cancer survivor. It was a long time ago – late 1940s or early 1950s, dates get fuzzy – before radiation or chemo and all that. Back then, when you had breast cancer you either died or got it cut off. Roscoe went the cut-off route. Radical mastectomy. Which left her breastless on one side. So she made herself a replacement, a “falsie,” padded in the shape of the real thing. You see, Aunt Roscoe was a seamstress. A good one. When she resumed sewing, Aunt Roscoe found that her “falsie” was an excellent place to stick pins when there were too many for her to hold in her mouth, which is where seamstresses hold extra pins, in case you didn’t know. Always with her, always within easy reach, her falsie was a novel and convenient pin cushion. However, the true value of this innovation did not come clear until a year or so later, well after its use became second nature to the user. One day Aunt Roscoe was hard at work pinning a pattern when there came a knock on the door. Pins in her mouth, she answered it and found a salesman, sample case in hand, ready to show her something that he knew she could not live without. He began making his pitch. She could not tell him “no” because of the pins in her mouth. So while he talked, she absentmindedly began taking the pins, one by one, from between her lips and sticking them in the pin cushion. Yep, that pin cushion. Which the salesman thought was real. (Work on it. Visuals are important here.) With each pin moving from mouth to cushion, mouth to cushion, the salesman’s concentration slipped and he kept losing

Illustration by Dennis Auth

his place in the spiel. He began stammering. And sweating. Meanwhile Aunt Roscoe, unaware of what she was doing and the effect it was having on the salesman, continued to take pins from her mouth and poke them firmly into “it.” Finally, after the fourth or fifth pin, the salesman gave up. “Please lady,” he said. “You can stop. I’m leaving. If you are tough enough to do that, there is no way I can sell you anything.” And he left. And apparently he told other folks in his profession. For according to family lore, that salesman was the last salesman ever to darken her door. Aunt Roscoe lived to a ripe old age and

died – not from the cancer, but from one of the other things that gets us all in the end. But were she alive today, I’m sure that she would have celebrated Breast Cancer Awareness Month with the survivors, wearing her pink T-shirt and doing her part so that one day in the not too distant future, innovations like her personal pin cushion would be a thing of the past. With women like her leading the way, breast cancer’s days are surely numbered.


Harvey H. (“Hardy”) Jackson is Professor Emeritus of History at Jacksonville State University. He can be reached at hjackson@ cableone.net.

54  OCTOBER 2017 www.alabamaliving.coop

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