August 2021 Sound Mountain

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Stories | Recipes | Events | People | Places | Things | Local News August 2021

Sand Mountain



Top photos from our 2021 contest

Alabama sausage pride SEC football forecast ALL COVERS.indd 27


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Mark Malone CO-OP EDITOR

Diane B. Hale ALABAMA LIVING is delivered to some 420,000 Alabama families and businesses, which are members of 22 not-for-profit, consumer-owned, locally directed and taxpaying electric cooperatives. Subscriptions are $12 a year for individuals not subscribing through participating Alabama electric cooperatives. Alabama Living (USPS 029-920) is published monthly by the Alabama Rural Electric Association of Cooperatives. Periodicals postage paid at Montgomery, Alabama, and at additional mailing office. POSTMASTER send forms 3579 to: Alabama Living, P.O. Box 244014 Montgomery, Alabama 36124-4014. ALABAMA RURAL ELECTRIC ASSOCIATION

AREA President Karl Rayborn Editor Lenore Vickrey Managing Editor Allison Law Creative Director Mark Stephenson Art Director Danny Weston Advertising Director Jacob Johnson Graphic Designer/Production Coordinator Brooke Echols Intern Tessa Battles

More than a market

Ingram’s Farmers Market in Millbrook has more than fresh fruits and vegetables from nearby farms. Think camp stew, barbecue, burgers and desserts!

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VOL. 74 NO. 8


SMEC Annual Meeting

Check out all the details for the 2021 SMEC annual meeting.

Sausage pride 18 Alabama’s sausage makers share a

common pride in their process and products.

Forest friend 24 Janice Barrett has been a defender of

Alabama’s forests for nearly 30 years. “The wilder, the better,” she says.



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

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

D E P A R T M E N T S 11 Spotlight 29 Around Alabama 38 Outdoors 39 Fish & Game Forecast 42 Cook of the Month 50 Hardy Jackson’s Alabama ONLINE: ON THE COVER

Look for this logo to see more content online! Printed in America from American materials

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This photo of little Ila Jay Bryant picking strawberries at Dusty Road Farm in Grove Oak, Alabama, was an honorable mention in the Seasons category in our 2021 photo contest. See story and more winners on Page 12. PHOTO: McCauli Bryant, Marshall-DeKalb


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

Get our FREE monthly email newsletter! Sign up at AUGUST 2021  3

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Celebrating 81 Years of Service

Board of Trustees David Henderson Larry Godwin Randy L. Bailey Luke Freeman Roland Hendon Raymond C. Long Leo Bomian Danny Lacey Brad Gilbert 402 Main Street West P.O. Box 277 Rainsville, AL 35986 (256) 638-4957 fax In case of power outages, you may call us 24 hours a day: Rainsville-PowellFyffe-Sylvania 256-638-2153 Bryant-Higdon-Flat RockHenagar-Ider-Pisgah 256-657-5137 Fort Payne 256-845-1511 Valley Head-Mentone 256-635-6344 Collinsville-Geraldine 256-659-2153

We’re planning a celebration later this month and you are all invited. It’s been two-and-a-half years since we last gathered for a SMEC annual meeting of members. That’s way too long and the employees and trustees of SMEC are excited about the opportunity to meet with you again later this month. We are working on a few updates and making plans for a memorable renewal of the most important two days of the SMEC year. Specific details of the meeting are covered in the adjacent pages of this month’s Alabama Living Magazine, but here are a few highlights that may be of interest to you. All members registering Friday or Saturday will receive a one-time only $10 electric bill credit. The first 1,000 registrants will also receive a 10.5-inch customdesigned Lodge Cast Iron Skillet. The skillet has a grill bottom and commemorates SMEC’s 80 years of service to members, which was last year during the pandemic. Cast iron skillets have been one of the most popular items we’ve gifted from previous annual meetings. The primary purpose of annual meeting is to allow members to participate in the governance and management of SMEC. At registration, you will receive a ballot to vote on the slate of trustees to lead SMEC for the next few years. The cooperative business model depends on strong participation from its members in the trustee election.

The Underwood Family will entertain Saturday morning from 9-11, just prior to the business meeting. Many of you may be familiar with them and their broad range of musical talents, which will include a mix of gospel, oldies and R&B. Make plans now to hear the Underwood Family Saturday morning. We predict you will be glad you did. As mentioned, the business meeting will begin promptly after entertainment. The current SMEC trustees will be recognized and attendees will be updated on the business of our cooperative, including the financial status. The results of the election of trustees will be announced as well. Prize drawings are always a great finale and this year we’ve made it even more exciting. Registered members do not have to be present to win the first eight prize drawings. You must be present to win the last two, which are also for a monthly $200 electric bill credit for one year. In case you haven’t figured it out, that’s a value of $11,600 in just these 10 prizes! Remember, you can’t win any of these prizes if you don’t register. Make plans to register at the SMEC 2021 Annual Meeting either Friday, Aug. 27 or Saturday, Aug. 28 to receive your $10 electric bill credit and possibly a cast iron skillet. More details are listed in the following pages, including the hours to register. We look forward to seeing you.

Section-Langston-Marshall Co. 1-877-843-2512 4  AUGUST 2021

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| Sand Mountain Electric |

Official Notice of Annual Meeting of Members of Sand Mountain Electric Cooperative August 28, 2021 TO ALL MEMBERS: Pursuant to the bylaws of the cooperative, notice is hereby given that the annual meeting of members of the Sand Mountain Electric Cooperative will be held at the DeKalb County Schools Coliseum in Rainsville, Alabama, Saturday, August 28, 2021. The purpose of the meeting is to elect six (6) trustees and to report on activities of the cooperative for the previous year. Other business that may come before the meeting will be transacted at that time as well. For the convenience of members, registration for annual meeting will be held in the lobby of the coliseum on Friday, August 27, 2021 from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. and on Saturday, August 28, 2021 from 8 a.m. until the time of the business meeting, which is scheduled for 11 a.m. Each registering member will receive a gift of appreciation. Prize drawings will be at the close of business on Saturday, August 28, 2021 for members that have registered on Friday or Saturday. The Grand Prizes are the last four drawings. SMEC will pay $200 per month on the electric bill for one year for four lucky members. The first two names drawn for the electric bill credit do not have to be present to win. The last two names drawn for the same prize must be present to win. Notice is hereby given that six (6) trustees are to be elected at the annual meeting and the nominations for trustees made by the Committee on Nominations are as follows:

District #2 District #2 District #2

Luke Freeman Paul Johnson Jeff Maxwell

419 County Road 1027, Valley Head, AL 35989 66 Summerhill Lane, Valley Head, AL 35989 137 County Road 1026, Valley Head, AL 35989

District #3 District #3

Brad Gilbert Scottie Mince

2732 Bellview Road, Henagar, AL 35978 223 DeKalb Drive, Henagar, AL 35978

District #5 District #5

Randy Bailey Roy Collins

1102 Hammond Road, Fyffe, AL 35971 P. O. Box 43, Fyffe, AL 35971

District #7 District #7

Danny Lacey 3792 County Road 52, Collinsville, AL 35961 Robert Johnson 1661 County Road 50, Collinsville, AL 35961

District #8 District #8

Raymond Long 303 County Road 16, Dutton, AL 35744 David Gann 594 County Road 396, Dutton, AL 35744

District #9 District #9

Leo Bomian Marvin Austin

5714 Alabama Highway 73, Bryant, AL 35958 973 County Road 257, Bryant, AL 35958

All of the above names shall appear on the ballot.

Raymond Long, Secretary of Sand Mountain Electric Cooperative


Alabama Living

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SMEC Annual Meeting DeKalb County Schools Coliseum 1504 Main St. East Rainsville, AL 35986 Two-Day Registration Friday – August 27, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. Saturday – August 28, 8 – 11 a.m.

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• Take advantage of shorter lines with on-site computer registration. • Please bring a copy of your electric bill for faster registration. • Golf Carts will be available for those needing assistance. • Registered members on both days receive a $10 electric bill credit, a ballot to vote for trustees and a prize ticket.


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The first 1,000 registered members will receive a commemorative 80year anniversary, custom designed 10.5-inch Lodge Cast Iron Skillet with grill bottom. Free copies of the SMEC Annual Report will also be available.

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| Sand Mountain Electric |

Entertainment by The Underwood Family, Saturday from 9-11 a.m. If you haven’t heard them, you’re in for a treat. The family is known for their outstanding Gospel singing. They will mix it up with a few favorites from the past. The Underwoods are non-stop energy and leave their audience wanting to hear more.

The Business Meeting will follow the Underwood Family, Saturday at 11 a.m. Prize Drawings will be after the business meeting. Registered members are eligible to win the following:


Two prize drawings for $500 Cash Four prize drawings for $250 Cash


Two prize drawings for $200 per month electric bill credit for one year. MEMBERS MUST BE PRESENT FOR THE FOLLOWING: Two prize drawings for $200 per month electric bill credit for one year. In summary, members registering will receive a $10 electric bill credit and a free cast iron skillet (as mentioned) if they are among the first 1,000 to register. They are also eligible to win cash prizes and electric bill credit for one year. These 10 prizes alone total $11,600! Note: SMEC has taken precautions to keep the coliseum area clean and sanitized, plus free hand sanitizer and masks will be available on Friday and Saturday.

Alabama Living

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USE THIS FORM TO VOTE BY PROXY FOR ELECTION OF TRUSTEES SAND MOUNTAIN ELECTRIC COOPERATIVE 2021 ANNUAL MEETING To vote by proxy, complete this form and give it to the member whom you have appointed to vote for you at the annual meeting. DO NOT MAIL THIS FORM TO YOUR COOPERATIVE. As a member of the Sand Mountain Electric Cooperative, incorporated under the laws of the State of Alabama, I, the undersigned, hereby appoint ______________________________________________ Name of member who will attend the meeting my proxy to vote in my stead on all matters at the annual meeting of the members to be held on Saturday, August 28, at the DeKalb County Schools Coliseum in Rainsville. _____________________________________________ Printed name of member giving proxy (MUST be same name as listed on SMEC membership) _____________________________________________ Signature of member giving proxy Witness my hand this _____ day of _______________, 2021. WITNESS:___________________________________________ Void if not properly witnessed

NOTICE: A member may vote only one proxy.

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| Alabama Snapshots |

Nap time Cousins Maddy Gamble and Marrisa Brown. They are a bit older now but still just as cute.SUBMITTED by Dale and Debbie Brown, Hanceville.

At the playground playing with one granddaughter and turned around to find the other, Ann London Burke, napping on this wall! SUBMITTED BY Debi Green, Grady.

Sully napping with his pillow. SUBMITTED by Miranda Byford, Hartselle.

3-year-old Kaylee fell asleep in her toy basket after playing with her toys. SUBMITTED by Elizabeth Bonner, Monroeville.

Allinder Jones taking a nap with his dog, Clara. SUBMITTED BY Katie Brown, Arab.

Roy and Bradley Sturgeon napping on the porch swing one summer. SUBMITTED by Helen Sturgeon, Cullman.

Submit “Pumpkins” photos by August 31. Winning photos will run in October.

SUBMIT to WIN $10! Alabama Living

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Sarge always needs a pillow when he naps. SUBMITTED BY Vanieca Akins, Wedowee.

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

RULES: Alabama Living will pay $10 for photos that best match our theme of the month. Photos may also be published on our website at and on our Facebook and Instagram pages. Include your social media handle so we can tag you! Alabama Living is not responsible for lost or damaged photos. Send a self-addressed stamped envelope to have photos returned. AUGUST 2021  9

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Spotlight | August AREA, Trenholm, Alabama Power to partner to train linemen

Extension system offers Live Well Alabama recipes

Electric utilities have a great demand for trained lineworkers, and a new program will allow those interested in that career path to prepare to work in the industry. The Alabama Rural Electric Association and two of its member cooperatives, Dixie EC and Central Alabama EC, and Alabama Power are partnering with Trenholm State CommuCrews set poles for the new training field at Trenholm. nity College on a new lineworker training program; candidates must be 18 years old and have a high school diploma or GED, and complete an interest form at . Applications will be accepted from Aug. 18 through Sept. 17, 2021, and the class will begin at 8 a.m. Jan. 10, 2022. (The early application deadline is to allow time for testing and financial aid applications.) The training class will be at Trenholm State’s Patterson Site, 3920 Troy Highway in Montgomery. It is a nine-week course, four or five days a week, 10 hours a day. The cost is $4,150 per student, and students will be required to have steel-toed work boots, hard hat, gloves and safety glasses. See the website above for more information or to apply.

Alabama is consistently among the highest in the U.S. for adult and child obesity and their related health issues. To help combat this crisis, the Alabama Cooperative Extension System has developed Live Well Alabama, a Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program – education (SNAP-ed) initiative. Live Well Alabama combines innovative obesity prevention and nutrition education initiatives, as well as social media campaigns and policy, system and environmental change strategies. SNAP-ed targets food assistance participants and others with limited resources in all Alabama counties. Want to learn more, and access tasty and budget-friendly recipes? At, hover over the topics tab and choose “home and family.” Choose “nutrition” and then “Live Well Alabama.”

Stay healthy when dining out It can be difficult to stick to a healthy diet when eating out. Portion sizes are big, there are tempting high-calorie options, and numerous beverages that can have as many calories as a meal. Some tips to help you make healthy choices at restaurants, courtesy of HealthMed: • Drink water before and during your meal. It will make you feel fuller. • Order sauces and dressings on the side, so you can control the portion. • Make healthy swaps. For example, ask for a side salad rather than fries. • Split your meal with someone, or go ahead and ask for a go box and put half the meal in when the food arrives.

Archives continues Food for Thought series in person The Alabama Department of Archives and History will continue its popular Alabama history lunchtime lecture series, Food for Thought, on the third Thursday of every month at 12 p.m. in the Archives’ auditorium, 624 Washington Ave. in Montgomery. Upcoming topics: Paul Pruitt will discuss Julia Tutwiler’s life of service on Aug. 19; Andrew Frank will deliver a talk on “Food in the Native South and the Curious Case of Coontie” on Sept. 16; and Joseph Caver will present “From Marion to Montgomery: The Early Years of Alabama State University” on Oct. 21. Admission is always free. Check the Archives’ website for the latest updates or call 334-242-4364. 10  AUGUST 2021

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

Letters to the editor Cat memories

Several readers were touched by Hardy Jackson’s column, “A cat named Rover,” in the July issue. (The column) brought back memories of my first and only cat. I rescued him or I should say, his mother left him at my house after he was weaned. He lived 22 years and is buried out back with headstone and slab over the grave. I now have two dogs - less trouble in some ways. Love your stories. I like how you fashion words together. Keep up the good work. Terry Turner, Cullman County (and Roxy and Lucy) Loved your article about Rover the cat. Had a couple of cats during my 70-year life but the best comparison about cats and dogs was: Your dog loves you more than its own life and your cat is trying to figure out how to kill you. I like cats, but there is nothing like the bond between a dog and a good owner. I enjoy your column and hope you can continue your work for a long time. Merrill Shell, Brewton I really enjoyed your piece about Rover, your cat! I laughed about Growltiger!! And sighed with a little smile and tears about Rover. I have a cattery and it was very meaningful! Laura Russell, Falkville Compliments on a very nice piece (as is usual) in Alabama Living. Sympathies on how much hate mail you’re going to get from a variety of groups for NOT NEUTERING Rover. Keep on writing those great stories. Gordon Wright, Foley Thank you for your entertaining, and sometimes emotionally moving, articles. Especially loved the ones about our beloved pets. My wife and I won’t miss your work. Dave and Pam Wootton, Ft. Morgan

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August | Spotlight

Take us along!

Whereville, AL

We’ve enjoyed seeing photos from our readers on their travels with Alabama Living! Please send us a photo of you with a copy of the magazine on your travels to: Please include your name, hometown and electric cooperative, and the location of your photo and include your social media handle so we can tag you! We’ll draw a winner for the $25 prize each month.

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 Aug. 9 with your name, address and the name of your rural electric cooperative. The winner and answer will be announced in the September issue. Submit by email:, or by mail: Whereville, P.O. Box 244014, Montgomery, AL 36124. Do you like finding interesting or unusual landmarks? Contribute your own photo for an upcoming issue! Remember, all readers whose photos are chosen also win $25! July’s answer: The First Universalist Church of Camp Hill, located on Alabama Highway 50 in Tallapoosa County, was established in 1846 as Liberty Universalist Church; the name was changed in 1909. This brick sanctuary was completed in 1907 and built with local labor using mostly indigenous material, according to information on the church’s historical marker. (Photo submitted by Richard Wood of Tallapoosa River EC.) The randomly drawn correct guess winner is Donna Adcock of Covington EC. (Editor’s note: Because of delays with the July issue, we accepted entries through July 9.)

Find the hidden dingbat!

Sponsored by

We love that all ages seem to enjoy finding our monthly dingbat in the pages of the magazine. This month, several of you told us that you hunt for the hidden object with your children and grandchildren. More than 200 of you correctly guessed the July dingbat, a grill, was hidden on Page 48 next to an outbuilding. Pamela Maten of Gilbertown, a member of Black Warrior EMC, wrote that it looks ready to roast hot dogs! Andrea Schulze of Central Alabama Electric Cooperative wrote that ever since her children, Erin, 9, and Adam, 7, “found the dingbat game in an issue a few months back, they pour over each magazine the minute it comes in!” Jessica Morris, a Wiregrass EC member from Coffee Springs, said her children usually find the dingbat before she does, but this time she found it while they were in bed. “It will give them a laugh that their ‘old’ mom could find the dingbat but I can’t find the TV remote. Thanks for the fun!” Alabama Living

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Jim and Lisa Binder of Gulf Shores spent time on the beach in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, with a copy of the magazine. They are members of Baldwin EMC.

Judy Mozingo of Dickinson recently visited Lake Martin with family and friends, and of course, brought her magazine along. She is a member of Clarke Washington EMC.

No place is too high to read Alabama Living, as Lisa and David Nix of Orange Beach proved when they took the magazine to the top of the Arrow Bahn lift at Beaver Creek Ski Resort in Colorado.

La Vera J. Long of Coosada enjoyed reading her magazine while in Frederiksted, St. Croix, in the U.S. Virgin Islands. She’s a member of Central Alabama Electric Cooperative.

Connie Boteler of Hartselle says, “I have my 7-yearold grandson involved and waiting for his magazine each month and we love searching for the dingbat together. I love the information in this magazine and I look forward to a relaxing evening to search for the dingbat each month.” On the other end of the age spectrum, Nan Morris says she and her 91-year-old mother Cauline McCain enjoy looking for the dingbat every month. They are members of Tallapoosa River EC. Congratulations to our winner, Aiden Porter, 13, of Danville, who lives with a chronic condition, CIDP, and a brain lesion, but loves spending his hours of infusion time looking for the dingbat, according to his mother Joyce. Aiden wins a $25 gift card and a prize package from Alabama One Credit Union. This month we’ve hidden a sand dollar. Good luck! Send us your guesses by Aug 6. By mail: Find the Dingbat Alabama Living PO Box 244014 Montgomery, AL 36124 By email: AUGUST 2021  11

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2021 Alabama Living ph Each year, we look forward to seeing the photographic creativity of our readers in our annual photo contest. This year featured some outstanding entries, and though we can’t print all of them in the magazine, we hope you’ll enjoy seeing a few of the top winners. We’ll also be using some of them on our social media channels, so be sure to “like” Alabama Living on Facebook to see more! The judge selected one first-place winner in each of the four categories and several honorable mentions. Our categories were a little different this year – we made them a little more broad to allow for a wider range of subjects. In the categories of People, Seasons, Animals and Alabama Travels, we received more than 200 entries from readers in all parts of the state and even outside Alabama. Each first-place winner receives $100, but really, the winners are all of the talented photographers who contributed their creativity. Our judge, Julie Bennett, is an award-winning photojournalist based in central Alabama. She is on staff at the Media Production Group at Auburn University and teaches photojournalism in the College of Liberal Arts.

First place, People Sharon Tucker, Cullman EC “This was a BIG victory celebration for the Cullman High School Bearcats after winning the first round of the high school state baseball playoffs. Coach Brent Patterson has his team fired up and ready for round two.” Judge’s comment: “What a great moment! Super relatable and full of expression. You can feel the excitement and energy inside the huddle.” 12  AUGUST 2021

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g photo contest

Alabama Living

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First place, Animals

Robyn Choiniere, Baldwin EMC “I shot a whole series of this heron playing with this fish, but this was by far my favorite.” Judge’s comment: “I love the action in this frame. What a catch! Wow!”

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Honorable mention, Alabama Travels Larry Key, Decatur, Alabama

“This photo was taken during the Alabama Jubilee celebration. After trying all weekend, the balloons were finally able to fly at 6 p.m. on a Sunday. Lots of people and a lot of smiles.” Judge’s comment: “Pretty and unique! I love the composition and the color.”

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First place, Seasons

Gary Waters, Tallapoosa River EC “This photo was taken during a prescribed burn in a pine forest. It seemed the fit the category since there is definitely a season for burns that help the forests to grow successfully.” Judge’s comment: “Alabama has a way of showing off her unique ecosystem in so many ways. I like this (frame) because it’s not only gorgeous with the composition and contrasting colors, but it’s also interesting … there’s energy and action to it.”

Alabama Living

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First place, Alabama Travels Tom Marlo, Baldwin EMC

“This photo was taken with my drone from an altitude of about 250 feet. The water is so clear you can see the shifting sand on the bottom. Beautiful area just west of Ono Island.” Judge’s comment: “I love the composition and the deep depth of field here. Lovely shot of the Gulf Coast that showcases more than just a walk on the beach.”

Honorable mention, Animals (above)

Steven Bailey, South Alabama EC

“The first hummingbirds of the year were coming back to our feeders, and very thirsty. It’s always a treat to hear their chittering and the movement of their wings.” Judge’s comment: “I’m super impressed with the stop action here. The detail is amazing.”

Honorable mention, Animals (right)

Alicia Dodd, Tombigbee EC

“I had always wanted a horse as a kid. When I married my husband, I inherited this handsome guy, Bama. He’s always up for a photo op, but he’s exceptionally beautiful in a rare Alabama snow.” Judge’s comment: “This is so pretty it needs to be in a calendar.”

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Honorable mention, Seasons Marc Stewart, Joe Wheeler EMC

“After the great snowstorm of 2021, Doublehead Resort (on Wilson Lake) was a winter wonderland! This picture of the snow on the dock and the sun’s reflection in the water spoke to me.” Judge’s comment: “It’s sort of a juxtaposition: The summer lake scene covered in winter snow. The footprints were nice (I love how they didn’t make it all the way to the chairs – too cold?)

Honorable mention, Alabama Travels (below)

Sharon Tucker, Cullman EC

“This tribute of crosses honoring our fallen soldiers from long ago was along the roadside of Highway 31 … May they rest in peace and we shall be forever grateful.” Judge’s comment: “Nice lighting – very moving.”

Honorable mention, Animals (bottom)

Sandra Kiplinger, Arab EC

“My favorite winter destination is Joe Wheeler State Park to watch the fishing frenzy antics!” Judge’s comment: “I like the action and the lighting in the frame. There is so much energy here; it almost looks like they’re walking on water.”

Alabama Living

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Smoked in Alabama Sausage companies share a common pride in their process and products

By Jennifer Kornegay


labama boasts quite a few homegrown food brands, and among those, one has become almost synonymous with the product it produces. Conecuh Sausage company in Evergreen is so well known, many don’t even bother finishing the phrase when referencing the flavorful, meaty treat. They simply say, “Let’s grill some Conecuh.” Or, “Add Conecuh to your grocery list, hon.” There’s even a Conecuh Sausage fan page on Facebook, where more than 9,000 members swap smoked sausage photos and recipes ranging from the simple (a warmed piece wrapped in a single slice of white bread) to the sophisticated (how about a kale, mushroom and Conecuh sausage quiche?). But while it’s probably the most famous, Conecuh is by no means the only smoked sausage maker in the state. Such companies as Zeigler Meats, Snowden’s, Monroe, Hall’s, Royal Foods and Kelly Foods turn out smoked sausage, as do some other small producers and even some local butcher stores. We talked to three of them. Each has its own story, but they have a common link: a deep pride in their process and their products.

Though Conecuh makes bacon and hams, its smoked sausage is the best-seller by far, and the company makes six varieties. COURTESY CONECUH SAUSAGE

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Conecuh Sausage Company Evergreen, Alabama

When the wind is right, and you remember to roll your windows down, a trip past the Evergreen exit on Interstate 65 is an aromatherapy experience. Your nose knows you’re near the small city before you see the familiar white water tower bearing the town’s name. From the moment it relocated its processing plant from downtown to right above the interstate in 1986, the scent of seasoned pork being bathed in smoke emanating from Conecuh Sausage has been revving up appetites, whether passers-by are anywhere near actual hunger or not. The company was started in 1947 as a meat locker, a place that allowed locals to rent freezer space for putting up meat as well as veggies. Not long after, the owners began making smoked meats, including sausage, ham and bacon. “We’re now on the third generation of the founding Sessions family owning the business and working here,” says Kathy Cope, Conecuh’s customer service manager. “We still make bacon and hams, but today, our smoked sausage is the best-seller by far, and we make six varieties.” (Bacon is a distant second.) Since its humble beginnings, the popularity of the sausage has grown, leading the company to expand with a large addition in 2014. “We had to have more space to keep up with demand,” Cope says. “We are known as a premium pork sausage using the finest cuts from all American hogs, and we don’t use any liquid smoke,” she says. The smokey flavor is authentic, emanating from hickory and soaking into the meat at the company’s smokehouse in Evergreen. Cope won’t divulge how much sausage Conecuh makes each year but quips, “It’s a lot, and we always want to make more.” Last year, they had to. Pre-pandemic, the product’s reputation was on a steady incline, but Cope notes that demand boomed in 2020. “The rise was tremendous over the last year and a half,” she says. “We attribute that to people staying home and cooking more during the shutdown, and to people sharing their love of Conecuh with friends, specifically friends and family in other regions.” Conecuh has recently been getting daily calls from other areas of the country pining for its products. “We’re primarily in the Southeast and Texas with a few markets in Michigan and Ohio, even a few places in New York, but more and more people from more and more places want our sausage,” Cope says. The U.S. military knows a good thing when it tastes it and stocks Conecuh sausage in its commissary stores in about two-thirds of the country as well as some areas of Europe. While she’s been working for Conecuh for 16 years and eating its products for many more, Cope has never tired of enjoying the sausage. “My favorite way to prepare it is on the grill, just simple, so you taste it all,” she says. “But my favorite thing about the sausage is sharing it. I love watching the reaction of someone who has never had it before when they take a bite. They just love it and want to know where they can get more.”

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Alabama Living

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Monroe Sausage

Beatrice, Alabama Monroe Sausage’s story is a classic comeback tale, complete with a bit of mystery as well as hurdles eventually surmounted. It begins in the early 1940s when a now-unknown family started Monroe Meats and Cold Storage, which offered freezer space and venison processing. In 1952, it was sold to Jimmy McMillian and Bill Causey, and a bit later, they added smoked sausage, sold under the name Monroe Sausage, to the company’s offerings. Because McMillian was the one out and about hawking the company’s product, most in the area just called it “Jimmy’s sausage.” When the duo retired in the 1980s, a loyal employee name Jeff Kircharr bought the company and kept the sausage-making going. But in 2004, Hurricane Ivan destroyed the facility, and when his insurance didn’t cover all the damage, Kircharr had to close. “So, the sausage was just gone,” current managing partner David Steele says, “and it wasn’t long before those of us who’d grown up on it started missing it.” Steele and his family have been Monroe County residents since the 1800s and are in timberland management. One morning, while having coffee in the family business’ office, Steele’s dad voiced what many in the area felt. “‘Where’s that Jimmy’s sausage?’ he asked me,’” says Steele. “I told him I Monroe Sausage, based in Beatrice, made a comeback after the company’s facility was didn’t know, so he said we needed to call Jeff and destroyed in Hurricane Ivan. The first sausage was made in 2007, and the company continues see what was going on, and if he was opening to produce its Scott Hot sausage, thick-cut bacon and original rope and link sausages. COURTESY MONROE SAUSAGE again.” Steele did as his father instructed and learned 2019. The first quarter of 2021 was up about 25 percent compared that Kircharr was done but that he’d be willing to help someone to the same period in 2020. else bring the sausage back. “So, me, my brother and cousin got Yet, there are still obstacles, some related to Monroe’s size. “We some investors, built a new facility and got Jeff to run it,” he says. use higher-end pork, so we already have higher costs, and since “That was late 2005, and in 2007, we made our first sausage. We we’re smaller, we don’t have the were in the meat business.” volume buying power that some Initially, Steele and his family do,” Steele says. thought sausage making would But he believes in the product be like a hobby, one with some and its ability to hook repeat cusdelicious benefits, but it didn’t tomers. “Once people find us, they work out like that. “The business like us,” he says. Part of Monroe came with a lot of challenges, and sausage’s appeal comes via a careat times, we weren’t sure we were fully controlled smoking process. going to keep going, but we perse“We get the temperature right to vered,” Steele says. Then, Kircharr make sure the sausage really abretired. That was a blow, until ansorbs the hickory smoke,” Steele other employee stepped up. “We says. Another key is Monroe’s leangot a young guy we’d hired to work er cuts of meat, which Steele says in the venison processing side to have substantially less fat while help on the sausage side, and man, Monroe Sausage’s Original Link Sausage is smoked longer for retaining full flavor. “We also do he just had a knack for things,” better flavor, according to the company. COURTESY MONROE SAUSAGE a courser grind on our meat, so it Steele says. has a different texture,” he says. “That’s what really sets us apart. Within 90 days, he’d implemented multiple improvements that “We look at what we do as an opportunity to talk to people made the company more efficient, and its prospects turned a corabout things that matter in life,” he says. “We use it as a witness, a ner. “He paved a path for us to be really successful, and three way to spread a good word. If we can do that, the sausage selling years later, we’re doing pretty well.” From 2018 to 2019, sales tritakes care of itself.” pled. Then, in 2020, the company doubled what it had done in 20  AUGUST 2021

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Alabama Living

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Snowden’s first made and sold its sausage in the early 1930s, and it’s been in the same family ever since. COURTESY SNOWDEN SAUSAGE

Snowden’s Sausage Andalusia, Alabama

Snowden’s first made and sold its sausage in the early 1930s, and it’s been in the same family ever since. Today, Snowden Sausage president Randy Snowden has taken the reins from his dad and uncle and runs the company with his business partner, Neil Campbell. He officially acquired the family business in 2008, but he’s been in it his entire life. And long before he was born, his grandad cooked up a secret recipe and committed to a classic method, aspects Snowden hasn’t messed with. “We still make sausage the old-fashioned way, and as far as I know, ours is the only one in this area and maybe one of a few in the country that doesn’t have any water added,” he says. “We’ve not changed anything in my lifetime and don’t think it has really ever changed.” It has added to its offerings through the years and now features sausage in regular, mild, hot and Cajun flavors, as well as its Baby Link, a smaller sausage that’s become the best seller. While the company has been doing things the same way for nearly a century, last year threw it a couple curve balls. “We were doing really well in the beginning of 2020, and then our supplier shut down due to COVID,” Snowden says. Then, when that problem was solved, climbing meat prices wiped out the company’s 22  AUGUST 2021

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Snowden’s features sausage in regular, mild, hot and Cajun flavors, perfect for a bowl of gumbo or red beans and rice. COURTESY SNOWDEN SAUSAGE

early gains. Despite these struggles, Snowden knows he’s lucky and feels blessed to be moving back toward normal. “It was tough, but we survived it, and a lot of companies didn’t,” he says, “so I’m thankful for that.” Like the other two companies, Snowden doesn’t give out the particulars of its sausage seasonings or mix, but he’s happy to share his thoughts on how to eat it. “I like to grill it and tell people that’s a great way to do it,” he says.

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Alabama Living

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| Alabama People |

Janice Barrett

She speaks for the trees Most people have a soft spot for at least one tree. It might be a pine, an oak, or even a crepe myrtle. If you do, you have a lot in common with Janice Barrett – she’s just taken it a whole lot further! After becoming a mother in 1989, Janice realized how important it was to protect the world her son had been born into. In 1992, she became involved as a volunteer artist with the Bankhead Monitor, a non-profit educational conservation group, and has been working as a defender of the forests for nearly 30 years. Bankhead Monitor would become Wild Alabama (WA); Barrett became WA’s Outreach Coordinator in 2001 and has held that position for two decades. She co-created Wild Alabama’s Helping Hands program, its Hikes Program, and its Volunteer Wilderness Ranger Program. She also created the Wild Wednesday Program, which takes kids and their families on guided hikes during summer months. Like acorns planted in one of her beloved forests, all of these programs are still growing strong. At its core, her work is about forest protection by the people, for the people. – Josh Levesque Did you spend more time outside during childhood than most kids do today? Yes, a lot more! In my family, staying indoors was not an option. I am the eldest of four sisters and we were raised free-range. Is there anything that makes Alabama’s forests special? Alabama is fourth in biodiversity of all 50 states, and some of our rivers are among the oldest rivers on earth. Geology and hydrology work together to create forests that are home to ancient species of trees such as the Eastern hemlocks and sweet birches found in the sandstone canyons of the Warrior Mountains of northwest Alabama.

nated wilderness areas, Cheaha, Sipsey and Dugger Mountain, are the crown jewels of our state. How can I help my kids love the outdoors? One big thing that keeps parents from taking their children into a forest is fear. We want to keep our children safe! The antidote to fear is knowledge. Learn how to be safe on a hike, learn how to be prepared and what to take with you. Once we are liberated from fear, we are free to allow our children to have their own relationships with nature. It is the best gift we can give our children. For children who are not used to being outside much, start simply and make it fun. Take a walk on an easy trail, explore a creek. One of the purposes of Wild Alabama’s Wild Wednesday nature hikes for kids and families is to teach adults where they can take children and how to stay safe. Our children are the next generation of forest protectors. But first, they have to know them and love them. How can I help protect my forests? Protection is rooted in love, so find a forest to know and love. Learn everything you can about it and the natural history of it. Go on guided hikes or outings with a naturalist to learn more about your forest. Whatever forest you choose, pick out a single tree to visit when you go there. Forest protection starts for many of us as a personal relationship with a special place. Voting is also an extremely important part of forest protection. Know candidates’ stance on environmental protection before you go to the polls to vote and support only those who are willing to stand up for the protection of our forests for our children. You can also join Wild Alabama! We are Alabama’s only non-profit public lands forest protection organization. To learn more, visit

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Where should we go to experience the beauty of Alabama’s forests? Go to any forest you can get to, and the wilder, the better. Alabama has 21 state parks and they all have hiking trails. From Bankhead in the north to Conecuh in the south, our National Forests all are treasures with places to hike and explore. Of course, our three federally

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College Football: Finally, full schedules & full stadiums By Brad Bradford


ast fall, college football fans seemed to be in a constant state of confusion: Will there be games? How many games? Will fans be able to attend? What about masks? Will there be a playoff? Will coaches get fired during a shortened season? Thanks to SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey’s leadership, a 10game conference-only schedule proved the SEC’s slogan to be true: “It Just Means More.” Fans from schools up north that never make the playoffs claim that football in the South is a religion. Our answer: “It’s bigger than that.” ALABAMA 2020 RECAP: Death, taxes and Nick Saban’s quest for excellence all seem to be a given. Coach Nick has come close to admitting that last year’s National Championship team was his favorite. Questions about quarterback Mac Jones were answered quickly. The offense led by DeVonta Smith and Najee Harris set numerous records. Even though the defense led the SEC in points allowed, Tide fans felt as though the defense had a down year. AUBURN 2020 RECAP: Coach Gus Malzahn entered last fall on borrowed time. The administration and Tiger fans wanted to see major improvements in recruiting, physicality and a vision for the future. Losing again to rivals Georgia and Alabama was tough. Getting beat by a weak South Carolina team and Texas A&M was just too much. A change was needed at the top and was made. Auburn has too much tradition and pride to hover around #4 in the SEC West behind Bama, Texas A&M and LSU. The other three teams in the West (Ole Miss, State and Arkansas) are on an upswing also. SEC East Prediction: 1. Georgia 2. Florida 3. Kentucky 4. Missouri 5. Tennessee 6. South Carolina 7. Vanderbilt. The bottom three fired their coach last fall and hope to move up with the Big Boys. Georgia returns a defense that led the nation in rushing defense last year. The Bulldogs have finally found their quarterback in transfer J.T. Daniels. He will be on the Heisman watch. The Dogs’ crossover games are against Arkansas and Auburn, both rebuilding teams. Florida will suffer the same fate that Georgia did last fall: having to play Alabama in a crossover game. The Gators lost too much at quarterback and tight end to beat Georgia and the Crimson Tide.

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SEC West Prediction: 1. Alabama 2. Texas A&M 3. LSU 4. Ole Miss 5. Auburn 6. Mississippi State 7. Arkansas. Auburn has a new staff and has to play Georgia in its annual crossover game. Ole Miss draws Vandy and Tennessee. As long as Saban is recruiting and walking the sidelines in Tuscaloosa, it is hard to pick against them. He continues his famous “plug and play” system. Replacing coaches and NFL draft picks doesn’t seem to slow down the Crimson steamroller. Jimbo Fisher proved last year that the Aggies have closed the gap in the West. After an early season loss to Alabama, A&M finished #5 and should have been in the playoffs instead of Notre Dame. ALABAMA Prediction: the Kickoff Classic against Miami in Atlanta will be competitive. The early road game at Florida will favor the Tide against a young offensive line and a new quarterback. Bama should breeze through undefeated until the match in College Station Oct. 9. The trap game will be the previous week when Ole Miss comes to Tuscaloosa. This year’s Iron Bowl is in Auburn. Bo Nix won that home game as a freshman quarterback in 2019. Regular season record: 12-0. Playing undefeated Georgia in the SEC championship game. AUBURN Prediction: the Tigers have to travel to Penn State in the third week. It’s tough to win in Happy Valley. Most pundits have Auburn with a 7-5 record in Bryan Harsin’s first year. Probable losses in addition to Penn State would be Texas A&M on the road and at home to Georgia and Alabama. To reach seven wins, they have to win one of the “toss-up” games with LSU and Ole Miss. Look for a loss to Lane Kiffin’s imaginative offense while beating the Bayou Tigers. Bo Nix will prosper under Mike Bobo as his quarterback coach. Regular season record: 7-5. PLAYOFF Prediction: Same as always–pencil in Alabama, Clemson and Ohio State for three of the slots. Other possibilities are Georgia, Texas A&M, Oklahoma, Oregon, Iowa State, North Carolina and Indiana. NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP GAME: Alabama 35, Georgia 31 in a repeat of the SEC championship game. Brad Bradford is a former football staff member at Alabama and Louisville. His wife Susan Moseley Bradford is a former Auburn cheerleader. His blogs can be found at Brad is also an author and motivational speaker. Contact him at

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Choose a representative payee for Social Security before you may need one


he future is uncertain. Our Advance Designation program allows you to pre-select a trusted individual if a time comes when you need a representative payee to help manage your money. Advance Designation enables you to identify up to three people, in priority order, whom you would like to serve as your potential representative payee. We recently celebrated the one-year anniversary of our Advanced Designation program. Since its launch in March 2020, more than one million eligible individuals have opted to participate. You may choose an Advance Designation if you are capable of making your own decisions and are: • An adult or emancipated minor applying for benefits and do not have a representative payee. Kylle’ McKinney, SSA Public Affairs Specialist, can be reached by email at

• An adult or emancipated minor beneficiary/recipient and do not have a representative payee. You can submit your Advance Designation information when you: • File a claim for benefits online. • Use the application available in your personal my Social Security account at • Call us by telephone at 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-3250778). In the event that you can no longer make your own decisions, you and your family will have peace of mind knowing you already chose someone you trust to manage your benefits. We have updated our Frequently Asked Questions to answer any questions you may have about Advance Designation at ssa. gov/faq under “Other Topics.” You may also find more information about representative payees on our blog at

August Crossword Across 1 Alabama beach where you might see pelicans trying to steal a fisherman’s catch, 2 words 6 Alabama neighbor, abbr. 8 Sacred Buddhist word 10 Mobile ___ 11 Kind of tide 12 This section of beach is home to Bon Secour Wildlife Refuge 14 Like foliage 15 Types of dive 17 Harness part 18 ____ Henry Lake 20 One of many Alabama beaches where you can see stunning sunsets 25 Skyway ___ Trail 27 Alabama coastal town known for its boutiques, cafes, art galleries, gift shops and seafood restaurants 29 Rainbow shape 30 Small round veggie 31 Unique beach which is also an old military site, 2 words 33 __ Eliot (poet) 35 Boundaries 36 Island where Fort Gaines is based Down 1 Turkey call 2 Alabama reservoir great for largemouth bass fishing, 2 words 3 Like many Alabama beaches 4 Beach city where you can enjoy dolphin tours 5 Sty female 7 Thornton Dial, e.g. 9 Idea that’s spread virally 13 “Ristorante” beverage 16 Ventilate 28  AUGUST 2021

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17 19 21 22 23 24

Railway, abbr. Dieter’s obsession, abbr. On the crest of High cliffs Hallowed Summer is one

by Myles Mellor 26 27 28 29 32 34

Moved a canoe Back again Four-footed friend The “famous” cookie maker “Aladdin” monkey Quiet!

Answers on Page 49

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August | Around Alabama

Bellingrath Gardens and Home will celebrate the birthday of Walter D. Bellingrath, founder of the gardens, with an event on Aug. 6. PHOTO COURTESY BELLINGRATH GARDENS AND HOME



Theodore Mr. Bellingrath’s Birthday Celebration at Bellingrath Gardens and Home. Walter D. Bellingrath was Mobile’s first Coca-Cola bottler and the founder of the Bellingrath Gardens and Home. In honor of his birthday, admission to the gardens is free to Mobile and Baldwin County residents on this date. Home tour tickets are $10 per person and are led by longtime guides. 251-9732217 or


Athens 29th annual Piney Chapel American Farm Heritage Days. The Piney Chapel Antique Engine and Tractor Association sponsors this family event at 20147 Elkton Road. $5 admission, 12 and under free. Friday features tractor rides and a fish fry; there will also be antique power and wheat threshing exhibits. Gates open at 7 a.m. Search for the group’s page on Facebook.


Dothan Landmark Park Education Festival, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Teachers, youth group leaders and families are invited to a showcase of the educational opportunities available at Landmark Park. Activities will include planetarium shows, live animal programs, dulcimer lessons and more. Free with paid admission. 334-794-3452 or


Frisco City Monroe County NCPRA Rodeo, Frisco City Park. This family-friendly event is sanc-

tioned by the National Cowboy Pro Rodeo Association. Tickets are $15 for ages 13 and older, $5 for ages 3-12, and children under 3 are free.

26-Oct. 3

Guntersville “Water/Ways,” a traveling exhibit that explores the role that water plays in human society and culture and the importance of protecting this critical resource. The exhibit at the Guntersville Museum is made possible by a partnership between the Alabama Humanities Foundation and the Smithsonian Institution Museum’s Museum on Main Street program, which gives access to the Smithsonian for small-town America.


Russellville 40th annual Franklin County Watermelon Festival. Music, contests and entertainment, as well as arts and crafts, 5K run, antique car and truck show, festival foods, tractor show and of course watermelon. Follow the event’s pages on Instagram and Facebook.


Ardmore 29th annual Crape Myrtle Festival, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., John Barnes Park in Ardmore, Tenn. Arts and crafts and other vendors, crape myrtle sale, food trucks, entertainment and more. Search for the event’s page on Facebook.


Decatur Riverfest 2021, Ingalls Harbor Pavilion and Event

Center. Benefits Mosaic Mentoring of North Alabama, which serves children and families in north Alabama. Music concert featuring Parmalee and Jesse Priest Music at 5 p.m. Friday; $10 admission. Saturday features an SCA sanctioned steak cookoff; visit steakcookoffs. com for information on that event. or 256-353-0157.


Foley Bacon and Brew Music Bash, Heritage Park. 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Live music, food vendors, kids zone, contests with cash prizes, large variety of vendors and, of course, bacon. Live music by Almost Skynard and Wanted: The Bon Jovi Tribute Band. $5 entry fee; children 12 and under are free. Search for the event’s page on Facebook.


Montgomery fourth annual Hog Days of Summer BBQ and Music Festival, downtown at Union Station. Headliner is Robert Earl Keen, along with Cedric Burnside and Jupiter Coyote. Features barbecue from the River Region’s best restaurants. Proceeds go to help families dealing with pediatric cancer. $30 general admission, $25 for first responders and military, children 12 and under free.


Trussville Battle of the Bands at Trussville Civic Center, 5381 Trussville Clay Road. Free. Area bands compete to give everyone a good time. Food truck village and cash bar will be available. Search for the event’s page on Facebook.

SUMMER Daviston Horseshoe Bend National Military Park will hold a series of free ranger talks on Wednesdays and Saturdays through Labor Day. Topics will cover the Creek War of 1813-14, the Battle of Horseshoe Bend, Muscogee (Creek) culture

To place an event, e-mail or visit You can also mail to Events Calendar, P.O. Box 244014, Montgomery, AL 36124; Each submission must include a contact name and phone number. Deadline is two months prior to issue date. We regret that we cannot publish every event due to space limitations. Alabama Living

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and history and more. All talks will begin at tour stop #2 and will begin at 2 p.m. Wednesdays and 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. Saturdays.



Arab Sugarfest, Arab City Park on Shoal Creek Trail NE. 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. This festival is organized by volunteers who work to promote culture and community. The marketplace will have vendors and food trucks; there will also be a 5K race, Miss Sugarfest pageant, a kids’ area with rides, carnival-themed games, a petting zoo and more. The pool and splash pad will be open free of charge. In the afternoon is a cornhole tournament, classic car show and outdoor concert; local acts begin at 4 p.m. Fireworks begin at 8:15 p.m.


Cullman 25th annual Sweet Tater Festival at Smith Lake Park. 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday. Arts and crafts vendors, food vendors, car show and of course, sweet potatoes. Admission $5; armbands are good for both days. or 256-739-2916.


Fort Payne Boom Days annual festival. Downtown shopping, local artisans, family-friendly activities, gospel singing and live music acts Damon Johnson and the Get Ready as well as Aeromyth on Friday, and the Bellamy Brothers and headliner Sawyer Brown on Saturday. Free.

Call or verify events before you make plans to attend. Due to the changing nature of the COVID-19 pandemic, some events may change or be canceled after press time.

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| Worth the drive |

More than a market

Ingram’s offers camp stew, ’cue, burgers and more

Story and photos by Jennifer Kornegay


f you enjoy outfitting your yard and patio with healthy plants; But the barbecue, burgers, camp stew and long list of dessert if you value Alabama-made art and crafts; and if you prefer delights that have really put Ingram’s on the map didn’t come (and who doesn’t?) fresh fruits and veggies from nearby farms, along until 2019, a year after opening, as JoAnne explains. “When then Ingram’s Farmers Market & Garden Center should be your I met Mike when we were students at Troy, he was already getgo-to, one-stop shop for all of ting into barbecue, cooking the above. for his fraternity’s fundraisers,” But plenty of people who she says. Then, throughout his neither want nor need produce, other career, when the couple plants or pottery regularly file lived in Union Springs, he conthrough Ingram’s front doors. tinued volunteering his grill They walk right past the piles skills. “Doing barbecue to help of peaches and baskets of begogroups raise money became a nias and make a beeline for the hobby for me,” Mike says. back counter, eyes homed in on Even though he had been the chalkboard menu. They’re smoking ‘cue and cooking up here for the food, and probably big batches of camp stew for most of them, the barbecue. decades, JoAnne had to talk In Millbrook, this multi-taskhim into adding the kitchen ing market was a produce stand and opening the restaurant at in the past, but when Mike and Ingram’s. “I really had to enJoAnne Ingram bought it in courage him to do it,” she says. 2018, they gave it a facelift and Today, they’re both glad, along greatly expanded its offerings. with their loyal customers, that Mike had sold a business he he listened. “The restaurant owned and entered the corpo- JoAnne and Mike Ingram, owners of Ingram’s Farmers Market and Garden part of it has been a whirlwind rate world. But after a decade of Center, are rightfully proud of Mike’s beef brisket, shown here. success,” JoAnne says. In 2020, that work, he missed the interthey had to buy another grill action he’d had with customers when he was a business owner. “I and smoker to keep up with demand for the barbecue. It’s not hard to understand why. Almost everything on the wanted to get back into making those personal connections,” he menu is made from scratch in-house, including the divinity, key says. “And that’s what we’re doing here. I love talking to people, lime pie, red velvet cake and hummingbird cake make by bakand Millbrook has been so supportive. It’s great. I love that they er Dawn Davis. The sides, like the light-and-fluffy potato salad love our food.” 30  AUGUST 2021

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The smoked turkey breast at Ingram’s is moist and flavorful.

JoAnne and Mike Ingram, far right, praise the Ingram’s team for always giving each shopper and diner a warm welcome.

While barbecue and camp stew are favorites, Ingram’s also has a variety of ice cream.

Barbecue nachos, served with either chicken, beef or pork, are one of the best sellers.

Ingram’s Farmers Market and Garden Center 3740 Magnolia Drive Millbrook, AL 36054 334-517-4682 Hours: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday-Friday; 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday; closed on Sundays Search for the restaurant on Facebook 32  AUGUST 2021

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(almost like whipped potatoes), with just the right crunch from small-diced pickles, are recipes from JoAnne’s family. And the main attractions — the barbecue and camp stew — are made by Mike with the same ingredients and methods he’s been using for years. His pork butts (which, when done, are chopped, not pulled) are bathed in a thin seasoned liquid he calls “JuJu sauce” before being wrapped in foil and cooked for a couple of hours over local oak and hickory smoke. They’re then uncovered and cooked a few hours more. “It’s a bit unorthodox to cover it for a time, but people like the result,” Mike says. Turkey breasts are smoked for six hours, and St. Louis-style ribs get smoked little more than four hours. Beef brisket, with a superior smoke ring, and favorites like Conecuh sausage are on the menu too. Mike’s barbecue sauce is a vinegar-heavy concoction first created by his dad. Every ounce of meat on offer is meltingly tender and flavorful, even sans sauce. The barbecue nachos — tortilla chips smothered in a creamy, spicy sauce, topped with your choice of barbecue beef, chicken or pork, studded with pickled jalapenos and then sprinkled with shredded cheese — are extremely popular. So is a new item: the Big Mike Burger, a three-quarter pound beast of a beef patty that’s smoked for an hour before sliding between a bun. The camp stew is so sought after, Mike makes it in 80-quart batches, and Ingram’s sells 120-140 quarts each week. And for folks who are on the move, the barbecue, camp stew and sides are available in large quantities to go. Despite not being a certainty in the original plan, food is now an essential piece of Ingram’s business. Produce and plants are seasonal, but people come year-round for a great meal served by friendly folks. “We cook here like we’re cooking for our own family,” JoAnne says. “And we often hear, ‘I’ve not had anything here that’s not good.’ That’s a big compliment.” The warm welcome draws rave reviews and repeat customers, too. “We’ve got lots of regulars, and that’s created a real community spirit here,” says JoAnne. The couple gives their staff credit for the hospitality, praising their constant good attitude. “We have great employees,” Mike says. “We all greet every customer that comes through the door, and people like that personal attention. I think that has built our business as much as anything else.” That and Mike’s careful consideration of the details. “I see almost every piece of meat that comes in and goes out of here,” he says. So far, the love they put into the business is being returned. According to JoAnne, it’s a real pick-up on the longer days. “We get tired, but not a day goes by without at least one person telling us they appreciate us being here,” she says. “That puts the pep back in your step!”

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| Gardens |


Summer’s most coveted fruit I t’s fig season, that brief and glorious time of year when we get to enjoy one of the most local fruits of summer. Actually, figs aren’t truly “local.” They are among some 800 plant species within the genus Ficus that are found in tropical and temperate regions across the globe. Many of these species are used for landscaping and as houseplants (weeping figs, rubber trees and creeping fig vine), others for things like rubber production and still others for just plain eating. Edible figs are native to the Mediterranean and southwestern Asia where they were revered and cultivated for eons before they were introduced into other parts of the world, arriving in the U.S. as early as the 1500s. Today, edible figs are classified as four types — caprifigs, Smyrna, San Pedro and common — all of which play a part in the fig industry. Of these, it’s the common fig that grows in most backyards and gardens. That’s because common figs, unlike the other three types, don’t require pollination to set fruit, making them perfect for home production. And some 800-plus named varieties of common figs are available to home gardeners, each producing fruit with its own unique tastes, textures and colors. A fig’s fruit, known as a syconium, isn’t really a true fruit. It’s a pear- or teardrop-shaped cluster of tiny flowers and seeds wrapped snugly together within a Katie Jackson is a freelance writer and editor based in Opelika, Alabama. Contact her at

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thin outer skin. Depending on the variety, those skins may ripen into hues of greens, yellows, browns, blacks and purples, and the inner pulp may range from pale white to pink to deep tones of garnet and ruby. But getting your hands on those little jewels requires perfect timing because, unlike most fruits, figs don’t continue to ripen after they’re picked so they must be harvested at the height of their maturity, which sometimes means twice a day. Once picked, ripe figs are too soft and fragile to ship and don’t last long even under refrigeration. All that means that, to enjoy truly great fresh figs you have to get them locally and be prepared to immerse yourself in their goodness. While figs can be preserved by freezing, drying and canning, their flavor is best when eaten right off the tree or used fresh in dishes such as appetizers, salads, pizzas, main and side courses, sauces, fresh relishes and salsas and desserts. If you’re lucky enough to pick your own figs this year, go for ones that are drooping from the stem and soft to the touch, but watch out for the sap, which contains enzymes that can irritate skin and sometime causes lips and tongues to tingle. If the sap bothers you, wear gloves while picking and make sure to wash figs before eating them raw. Can’t find a source of fresh figs locally? Plant one of your own! Maybe even several different varieties. Fig trees can grow up to 30 feet high and wide but can be pruned to fit small spaces and can also be grown in containers. They need plenty of sunlight (around 8 hours a day) and prefer

a well-drained and loamy soil with a soil pH around 6.0 but can tolerate a variety of soil types. Fig trees usually take three to five years to bear fruit, and the first few crop yields may not be prolific, but it will steadily improve. Once established, figs are low maintenance. They need little pruning, are drought tolerant and have relatively few pest problems (mainly nematodes, borers and rust diseases). They appreciate a light dose of compost, manure or a balanced fertilizer a couple of times of year (though avoid doing it late in the growing season so you don’t promote new growth that can be damaged by freezing temperatures). Lots more information about figs is available online including the Alabama Cooperative Extension System’s Fig Production Guide (ANR-1145; available online at Or get advice from fig-growing friends, your local Extension office and from nurseries that specialize in home fruit production.

AUGUST TIPS • Sow seed for lettuces and other leafy greens and for fall vegetable crops.

• Stay cool and hydrated in the August heat.

• Watch for insect and disease problems. • Clean out dead or fading vegetable plants.

• Harvest and preserve the last of summer’s produce and herbs.

• Water new plantings, lawns and container plants when needed.

• Keep bird feeders and baths clean and filled.

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For generations to come

The importance of creating intentional legacies for your family If asked “what are your family’s strongest traditions?” most of us could quickly list several important traditions. They may include recipes, games, repeated stories or holiday customs. Some traditions are the source of others, such as an annual trip to the grandparents, time spent at a family cabin, or hunting or working your land together. All of these provide a sense of both community and identity for family members.

How tradition becomes a legacy

The most important traditions also pass down the values of your family. These traditions are more than fun memories. They shape the lives of younger generations; they define character; they impact futures. In a word, they become legacies. A tradition of working together on the family farm becomes a legacy of a strong work ethic. A tradition of gardening, canning and cooking becomes a legacy of home-cooked family meals throughout the year, not just at holidays. Early morning fishing trips become a legacy of conservation and love for the outdoors. Your legacy will influence how your children or grandchildren live their lives and how they’ll raise their children to live theirs. Given the importance of a legacy, you should take intentional steps to encourage it.

Questions to help create an intentional legacy What are your family’s traditions? What are your family’s legacies?

Alabama Living

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What memories of your parents and grandparents do you have? What traditions did you enjoy then that you do with your family now? Also, ask your children and grandchildren what they view as traditions. Then ask, “What is the legacy my family is gaining from this tradition?” How can you encourage the traditions and legacies you have? This is the intentionality part of building an intentional legacy. Cementing a legacy requires planning for extra time together. Pass on your family’s recipes and then plan a few extra times a year to cook them together. Add another weekend or two at the cabin each year. What else do you need to do? Some legacies require more than just keeping traditions. If you have land, a lake house, or a farm that’s part of your traditions, keep it in the family by working with a financial advisor, a lawyer, and your insurance agent. They can help you address any tax or financial issues to keep them for the next generation. If you want to provide either an educational or financial legacy for your family, different financial and insurance strategies can help fund those goals while reducing tax issues. ARECU is always ready to help you accomplish your financial goals for yourself and your family, including building legacies. Call us at (800) 381-7328 to learn more.

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Bama in a Box:

Subscription service helps small businesses By Tessa Battles


hen small businesses in Alabama began closing their Bama in a Box not only includes seven items made in Alabama, doors due to the pandemic, Angi Horn Stalnaker, owner but information about each business so customers can reach out of Virtus Solutions in Troy, took notice. She and Office to them if they want to buy again. Manager Laney Kelley also noted a push for consumers to buy Jinright’s bath bomb was in the first Bama in a Box. She soon more American-made products. She combined these observabegan getting Facebook messages from all over the country. tions and by June, Bama in a Box, a subscription service filled “I met these people this weekend that were from Alaska,” says with Alabama-made items, was born. Jinright. “They’re actually from Alabama and someone had sent “We wanted to buy American, but further than that, we wantthem a Bama in a Box. She told me what was in her box and I said ed to buy local from Alabama,” says Stalnaker. “The more we re‘Well that’s my bath bomb.’” searched, the more we realized that literally almost everything Stalnaker says boxes have been sent to Connecticut, Hawaii, you use every day can be bought from a company that makes it Maine, Delaware, Michigan and Korea. in Alabama.” Johnson Labs in Troy provides dishwashing detergents, hand Amy Jinright, owner of Southern Scents and Sensations in sanitizer and disinfectants. Unlike other businesses, Johnson Troy, says that if it Labs saw sales had not been for increase during Bama in a Box, her COVID because of business might not their products. be here today. “There was a Jinright opened sudden drop off Southern Scents the next year and and Sensations 16 because we had an years ago, but has increase the previonly been in her ous year we didn’t building in Troy qualify for some for two years. She of the PPP loans,” started the busisays Karla Johnness by making son, CEO of Johncandles, but later son Labs. “Then we moved on to soaps had a sudden shutand lotions. Selfdown because of taught, she started supply issues and by selling products things like that.” out of the back of Johnson heard her car. about Bama in a “I’d go to the Box on the news different business- Bama In a Box offers treats that the whole family can enjoy. and says she es where I might doesn’t remember know one or two people that worked there,” says Jinright. “And who reached out first, but that it is a “happy marriage.” then I would go in and all of the women would come out and “It’s helping us grow that retail customer demographic that we shop at the back of my car.” have not had,” says Johnson. “It has done a lot for us to help get When she opened her business in downtown Troy two years our names out there and have a little more recognition.” ago, she had no idea that the COVID-19 pandemic would end up Soaps, snacks, sauces, syrups and much more can be found in shutting her doors. She was left with a few wholesale customers, the boxes. The only things you won’t find are perishable items, special orders and regular customers. Then Stalnaker reached like vegetables. Over 500 high-quality products from Alabama out to her about participating in Bama in a Box. are included in Stalnaker’s inventory. “Our goal was to sell 50 boxes,” Stalnaker says. “That was a year For either a month-to-month ($39.95) or three-month subago and now we have sold thousands of boxes all over the world.” scription ($104), a box of products made in Alabama will be 36  AUGUST 2021

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shipped to your doorstep monthly. The included products change each month, so you never get the same box twice. You can also order one-time specialty boxes, such as a grilling kit, breakfast in a box, ultimate Alabama gift box, coffee sampler, bath in a box, and the Bama snack pack. Boxes for Mother’s Day, Father’s Day and Christmas are available. “You’ve never seen Amazon on the back of your

kid’s little league jersey,” says Stalnaker. “You should buy things from inside Alabama if you can because you’re helping yourself. You’re helping your schools, textbooks, roads, bridges and community.” For more information visit Over 500 products are made in Alabama and 5-7 are included in each box.


Alabama Living

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| Outdoors |

Anglers can find more than largemouth bass in state waters


ention “bass” and most people naturally think about tack just about anything. I’ve caught them on full-size bass baits.” largemouths – perhaps smallmouth or spotted bass – but Anglers might also catch shoal bass or shadow bass. Rare in Alabama, shoal bass also like moderately swift streams, but stay in the many other fish carry the bass name, even if erroneously. Apalachicola River drainage. The Chattahoochee River forms part What many people call a spotted bass, Alabama biologists now of the Georgia-Alabama line and merges with the Flint River in call an Alabama bass. To most people, a spotted bass and an Alabama bass look identical. Lake Seminole near Chattahoochee, Fla., to form the Apalachicola “Alabama bass were formerly known as spotted bass in the MoRiver. The state record shoal bass weighed 6 pounds, 11 ounces. bile River drainage,” says Chris McKee, an Alabama Wildlife and Shadow bass live in most streams south of the Tennessee River. Freshwater Fisheries Division Fisheries biologist in Northport. They grow to about eight inches long and make great sport on “In Alabama, spotted bass are only native to the Tennessee River ultralight spinning or fly tackle. drainage, but they have been introduced into the Chattahoochee “Shoal bass have mostly been extirpated from Alabama,” McKee River drainage. The maximum size of an Alabama bass is smallsays. “The only place someone can catch shoal bass in Alabama er than a largemouth, is on the Chattahoochee River near Langdale. but they get bigger than Shadow bass are not spotted bass.” Sometimes called a uncommon to see in Kentucky spotted bass, our electrofishing surveys of streams. They the species usually tops only get to about five out around six pounds. or six inches long, but Still listed as a spotted bass, the Alabama they’ll bite anything a record for the species bluegill or a similar fish weighed 8 pounds, 15 would hit. Small jigs ounces and came from or spinners work for Smith Lake. However, them.” some Alabama bass More in common released in California with bluegills, warmouth and green sunnow hit double digits, fish both almost look including the world record 11.25-pounder. like a cross between a Shadow bass. COURTESY OF THE ALABAMA WILDLIFE AND FRESHWATER FISHERIES The list also includes bluegill and a smallmouth. Warmouth love a species formerly sluggish, weedy streams and backwaters. They occur statewide called redeye bass. In Alabama, “redeyes” split into Cahaba, Chattahoochee, Coosa, Tallapoosa and Warrior basses based on the with the highest concentrations in the lower Alabama-Tombigbee-Mobile River drainage. Warmouth won’t hesitate to grab river drainages where they live. many lures meant for a largemouth, particularly worms, small “Redeye bass were determined to be different species several crankbaits and spinnerbaits. years ago,” McKee says. “We’re doing some additional studies to Many people call both warmouth and green sunfish “gogverify that. They’re all found above the fall line in those respective drainages. There’s a small population in the Tennessee River gle-eyes” or “rock bass,” but true rock bass live in the Tennessee drainage that was probably introduced by anglers.” River system and farther north. Rock bass generally like flowing While largemouth prefer placid, weedy waters, redeyes act water. more like rainbow trout. They like small to medium-sized flowing “Many people call warmouth, rock bass, and rock bass goggle-eye,” says Taylor Beaman, a state biologist. “It’s a misconcepstreams. The state record weighed 3 pounds, 2 ounces and came tion and misnaming by the public. Warmouth and green sunfish from Choccolocco Creek. “Anything over 12 inches is a big redeye bass,” McKee says. “Relook a lot alike and their range overlaps.” deye bass are really aggressive. They eat a lot of bugs and crawfish. So far, all species mentioned belong to the Sunfish family, including largemouth. However, anglers can also catch “temperate” I’ve found lizards, mice and other things inside them. It’s odd that or “true” bass. This group includes stripers, white bass and yelthey don’t usually eat fish, but they still bite lures that imitate fish low bass, plus a hatchery hybrid between striped bass and whites. like jerkbaits and spinnerbaits. Many people fish for them with Stripers, whites and hybrids look very similar with white bodies popping bugs on fly tackle. They’re very aggressive and might atand horizontal black stripes. A yellow bass looks like a small striper painted gold. John N. Felsher is a professional freelance writer who lives in What one calls a fish only matters when conservation officers Semmes, Ala. He also hosts an outdoors tips show for WAVH FM check the limits! With apologies to the Shakespeare Fishing Tackle Talk 106.5 radio station in Mobile, Ala. Contact him at j.felsher@ company, a bass by any other name would still provide sweet or through Facebook. joyment for anyone catching them! 38  AUGUST 2021

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| Consumer Wise |

When to DIY and when to hire a pro

By Pat Keegan and Brad Thiessen

Some do-it-yourselfers are comfortable tackling an attic insulation project. The steep pitch of this roof and the plywood decking this person is kneeling on makes this project appear easy, but in most homes, you’ll only be able to stand on the floor joists or rafters. PHOTO COURTESY THE ENERGYSMART ACADEMY


When it comes to home DIY projects, I recently asked myself, “Why hire someone to do a mediocre job when I can do a mediocre job myself?” That may sound odd, but I recently hired a contractor to remodel my kitchen. Needless to say, I was not happy with the quality of the work. Unfortunately, hiring a contractor based on positive online reviews and references doesn’t always guarantee quality work.


One reason to DIY (do it yourself) instead of hiring a contractor is if you’re convinced you can do a better job. Naturally, this depends on the scope of the project and how knowledgeable you are about the work. And there are additional reasons to tackle a home efficiency project yourself: • You’re unable to find a contractor that is available and reasonably priced. • You need the work completed in a tight timeframe or during odd hours. • You’re certain you can save a lot of money. • The job is one you’d really enjoy doing yourself. On the flipside, there are also several good reasons to hire a contractor (and not tackle projects yourself): • Specialized equipment is required. For example, the best wall insulators use a fill tube, which results in a higher R-value performance. Some contractors use an infrared camera to review wall framing and air leaks. • Specialized materials are needed. Attics need proper ventilation, and contractors might have easier access to attic insulation baffles or roof vents. Patrick Keegan writes on consumer and cooperative affairs for the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association, the Arlington, Va.-based service arm of the nation’s 900-plus consumer-owned, not-for-profit electric cooperatives. Write to for more information.

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• There’s a safety issue. I was once moving insulation in our attic and accidentally stepped onto the sheetrock ceiling and fell through to my waist. My legs were dangling in the air and the room below was littered with broken sheetrock and insulation. I wasn’t hurt but could have been. As I repaired the damage, I regretted the decision not to hire a contractor. • Expertise is required beyond the homeowner capability, like tuning a furnace or repairing holes in a sheetrock wall to match the wall around it. • Tackling the project yourself will save little or no money. I discovered years ago that some contractors could install insulation cheaper than I could buy it. As you consider whether to do the job yourself, be sure to research the tools and supplies you’ll need. Fortunately, there are amazing resources online. When you search for information like “how to insulate an attic” or “how to air seal a home,” you’ll find fact sheets and video tutorials from contractors, home improvement shows, big box suppliers and material manufacturers. YouTube videos often show experts making the installation of anything seem simple, but beware, some of these videos are aimed at other experts and not DIY homeowners. To ensure you’re getting technically sound information, visit the ENERGY STAR® website ( Also, if you have a good energy auditor in your area, they can be another great source of information. An energy auditor can provide specifics about the materials you’ll need as well as information about local contractors and suppliers. Our advice: Don’t tackle energy efficiency projects yourself unless you’ve thoroughly researched it and have become very knowledgeable. Another benefit of doing the research upfront is that it will help you even if you decide to hire a contractor. You’ll be able to identify a knowledgeable contractor and hire one that knows you recognize a quality job. Good luck!

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| Alabama Recipes |


labamians are lucky to live in a state where the bounty of available fresh seafood is the envy of chefs and home cooks alike. “There are roughly 23 types of Alabama seafood available to consumers in our state, from oysters, shrimp and crab to fin fish of all shapes and sizes,” says Tommy Cauthen, marketing director for Alabama Gulf Seafood. Although the group hasn’t done any scientific polling, his opinion that shrimp would likely be the favorite of that group. “Nearly every restaurant has a shrimp po’boy,” says Cauthen. “I always try to make sure they are Gulf shrimp.” Alabama seafood is revered by commercial and home chefs simply because it’s harvested from waters off our state’s coast, “which means it’s a fresher product than other seafood options that might be available,” he says. “Fresher naturally tastes better! It is harvested in a sustainable manner and inspected for safety. The variety is such that everyone can find a favorite.” Many types of seafood are great candidates for cooking on the grill, according to the Alabama Cooperative Extension System. Among them are amberjack, bluefish, catfish, cobia, dolphin (mahi mahi), drum, grouper, king mackerel, rainbow trout, shark, snapper, Spanish mackerel, striped bass, swordfish, triggerfish and tuna. Clams, mussels, oysters and scallops can also be grilled, as can softshell crabs, lobster tails and shrimp. When cooking seafood at home, the Extension System recommends purchasing fish the day it’s going to be used. When that’s not possible, take care to appropriately refrigerate or freeze seafood until it’s ready to be cooked. Another key point to remember is not to overcook seafood, because when cooked properly, fish should be moist and flavorful. In addition to the recipes on our pages, you can find more recipes at and recipes, cooking and freezing tips at 42  AUGUST 2021

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Shrimp and Grits

Louisiana Crab Cakes are a wonderful addition to any seafood meal. Flaky crab coupled with fresh veggies keep true to the Southern favorite. The slightly spicy chili sauce is so good you’ll want to put it on everything on your plate!

Brooke Burk s

Louisiana Crab Cakes 1 pound lump crab meat (can be imitation) 2 tablespoons butter 1/2 cup chopped onion 2 tablespoons minced garlic 1/2 cup chopped celery 1 tablespoon dried parsley 1/2 cup chopped bell pepper, any color 2 teaspoons Creole seasoning 1 teaspoon Old Bay Seasoning 2 teaspoons dried basil 1 teaspoon dried dill 1/2 teaspoon thyme 2 eggs, beaten 10 crushed butter crackers 4 tablespoons canola oil 3 tablespoons flour 1/4 teaspoon salt 1/2 teaspoon pepper

4 1 1 1 ½ 1 ¼ 1 2 ½

strips of bacon medium yellow onion, chopped pound medium shrimp, peeled, and deveined Sea salt Black pepper tablespoon seafood seasoning (Old Bay) cup all-purpose flour, divided tablespoon garlic powder cup canola oil cup hot water cups quick-cooking grits Water to boil grits cup green onion, diced

In cast iron skillet, cook bacon until crisp, set aside bacon and drippings. Add onion to pan and cook until tender. Sprinkle shrimp with salt and pepper, then sprinkle with ¼ c flour, garlic powder and seafood seasoning, toss well and set aside. Meanwhile bring water to a boil, seasoning water with salt. Add grits stirring constantly, reduce heat. After 5 minutes cover and let simmer until thickened. Turn skillet up to medium high, add canola oil, when skillet is hot add ¼ cup of the flour along with onions, brown. Add shrimp and crumbled bacon. Slowly whisk in water (I sometimes add a little milk). Let come to rolling boil, stir well until gravy turns thick and brown. Serve over grits, garnish with green onions. Cook’s note: I sometimes add other veggies such as bell peppers or celery. Angela Bradley North Alabama EC

Sauce: 1 cup mayonnaise 1 tablespoon sweet chili sauce 1 teaspoon smoked paprika 1 teaspoon garlic powder 1/2 teaspoon chili powder In a large skillet, cook onion, celery and bell pepper in 2 tablespoons of butter until tender at medium heat. Add minced garlic, parsley, Creole seasoning, Old Bay seasoning, basil, salt, pepper, dill and thyme. Cook just until fragrant. About 1-2 minutes. Cool and place mixture in a large bowl. Stir in beaten eggs. Gently fold in crabmeat, flour and crushed crackers. Mix just until combined. In a small bowl, combine ingredients for sauce and mix well. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use. Heat canola oil in the same skillet at low to medium heat. Form cakes out of the crab mixture and place in pan or mold in pan to keep them together. Cook 3-5 minutes per side until done. Remove and drain to cool. Serve with sauce and enjoy! Alabama Living

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Cook of the Month: Becky Chappelle, Cullman EC Crab Quiche 1 deep dish pie shell 1 tablespoon butter or margarine 2 tablespoons green onion, minced 1/4 cup pimento, minced 1/2 teaspoon parsley, minced 1 6-ounce can white crabmeat 1 tablespoon flour 11/2 cups shredded Swiss cheese, divided 4 large eggs Dash of hot sauce 1 cup evaporated milk, undiluted 1/2 teaspoon each salt and pepper Bake crust at 400 degrees until barely tan on edges of crust, usually 10-12 minutes. Lower heat to 350 degrees. Remove crust and line with 3/4 cup shredded cheese. Over medium heat, melt butter and sauté onions for about 2 minutes until tender. In medium bowl combine flour, crabmeat, pimento, green onions, parsley, salt and pepper. Beat eggs with milk until combined, add a dash of hot sauce. Add to crabmeat mixture and pour into crust. Top with rest of cheese. Bake at 350 degrees for 30-40 minutes or until brown on top. Serves 6.


Crab Quiche

Southern Seafood Gumbo

Shrimp Deluxe

1 rotisserie chicken 1 8-ounce package frozen crawfish tails 1 8-ounce package frozen raw shrimp (no tail, no head and shelled) 1 package of at least 6 links Conecuh sausage 1 8-ounce package frozen cut okra 1 green bell pepper 1 medium onion 3 8-ounce cans diced tomatoes 6 8-ounce cans chicken broth Tony Chacheree Cajun Seasoning 2 whole bay leaves

6 ounces cream cheese 1 ounce blue cheese ¼ teaspoon salt ¼ teaspoon pepper 6-8 drops Tabasco 3 tablespoons (or more) milk 1 tablespoon lemon juice 1 pound cleaned, cooked or steamed shrimp Lemon wedges for garnish (optional)

Rue: 1 cup vegetable oil 1/4 cup plain flour Skin and debone rotisserie chicken. Set white and dark meat aside in a bowl and disscard the rest. Open Frozen shrimp and cut shrimp in half and set aside in a bowl. Open frozen Crawfish tails and set aside in a bowl. Dice up Conecuh Sausage. Set aside. Dice up Bell-pepper and set aside. Dice up Onion and set aside. Bring Chicken broth to a boil and lower heat down to medium. Add chicken, sausage, crawfish tail, frozen okra, bell pepper, onion, tomatoes and bay leaves to broth and stir. Simmer and stir for 30 minutes. In the meantime make your rue. Pour vegetable oil in skillet and heat on medium until it sizzles. Add flour a tablespoon at a time and whisk it around in the hot grease. Whisk and stir until the concoction resembles a caramel color thin gravy. Remove rue from heat. Add shrimp to gumbo and simmer until shrimp is pink. Add hot rue to gumbo and stir until the gumbo thickens. Add Cajun Season to taste and stir. Serve on a big scoop of yellow or white rice. Sharon Smith Central Alabama EC

Combine all ingredients except shrimp, and blend until smooth. Pour over shrimp and toss lightly to coat shrimp evenly. Divide into individual casseroles. Bake 15 minutes at 375 degrees. Garnish with lemon wedges if desired. Allison Law Alabama Living

Hickory Smoked Seared Scallops 1 pound large scallops 1/4 cup white wine 1/2 stick butter 2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped 1 teaspoon garlic, minced 1 lemon Salt Pepper In a charcoal grill build a fire with hickory wood. Let it burn down to white hot ash. In a large iron skillet add white wine, butter, parsley, garlic. Place skillet directly on the white ash base. Once skillet is hot add scallops and sear 3 minutes a side. Remove scallops and plate them topping with squeezed lemon juice and salt , pepper to taste. Kirk Vantrease Cullman EC

Eating seafood is good for you • • • •

Wild-caught Alabama Gulf Seafood is a natural product high in omega-3 fatty acids, which help prevent heart disease. Fish and shellfish are an excellent source of protein. A 6oz serving of seafood is more than 100 percent of the protein adults need in their daily diets. All fish are great sources of Vitamin B, phosphorous, potassium, selenium, and other minerals. Fattier fish like tuna and seatrout contain lots of Vitamin D as well, and oysters are great sources of iron, zinc, copper, iodine, and magnesium. It’s also low in fat and calories!

Source: Alabama Gulf Seafood

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Shrimp and Clam Chowder 1 1 4 2 4 4 2 4 2

pound bacon onion, chopped cups potatoes, chopped cups heavy cream bottles Bumblebee brand clam juice cans Bumblebee brand chopped clams, with juice bags small frozen, uncooked shrimp tablespoons all-purpose flour cups milk Salt and pepper, to taste

Cook chowder in a stock pot. Fry bacon, crumble into pieces and set aside. Save bacon drippings. Chop onion, then saute' in drippings. Add clam juice and chopped potatoes to pot. Simmer on medium-low heat for 20 minutes or until potatoes are tender. Add clams with their juice and heavy cream to pot. In a separate bowl, whisk milk and flour until smooth as possible, adding to pot after. Stir slowly until it starts to thicken. Add bacon crumbles and shrimp last, (still frozen), and stir the pot until the shrimp turn pink, then serve. Leigh Ann Purvis

Shrimp and Clam Chowder




Holiday Cookie CONTEST

Calling all bakers! Do you have a favorite holiday cookie recipe or special cookies you take to all the holiday parties and cookie exchanges? Share your favorite holiday cookie recipes with us for a chance to win! Enter online at Each entry must include your name, address and phone number as well as the name of your electric cooperative. Entries may also be mailed to Alabama Living Cookie Contest, PO Box 244014, Montgomery, AL 36124. Entry deadline is September 3, 2021. Alabama Living

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to the winning

Cook of the Month!

Please send us your original recipes, developed by you or family members. 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. To be eligible, submissions must include a name, phone number, mailing address and co-op name. Alabama Living reserves the right to reprint recipes in our other publications.

Themes and Deadlines: November: Cauliflower | August 6 December : Holiday Cookie Contest | September 3 January: Homemade Breads | October 1

3 ways to submit: Online: Email: Mail: Recipes, P.O. Box 244014 Montgomery, AL 36124 AUGUST 2021  45

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Payne Land Preparation, LLC

is a family owned and operated company. We use a John Deere 333D track loader with a 5’ wide rotating drum mulching head that has carbide teeth for mulching brush, vegetation and up to 6” diameter trees. Located in Jackson County and servicing all of North Alabama Our Services include but are not limited to: • Clearing over grown fence rows • Trails • Pastures • Shooting lanes • Property lines • Hunting areas • Fire breaks • Access roads • Right of ways • Tree tops left over from property that has been previously logged • Real estate tracks and future home sites. Why choose Payne Land Preparation, LLC? • We treat your land as we do our own!

Check us out on Facebook Email: Phone: 423-488-6866


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Using a rotating drum mulcher benefits your land by: • Clearing down to surface of soil • Leaving roots intact to hold land and soil structure minimizing ground disturbance and erosion • Left over mulch helps prevent regrowth and returns nutrients back to soil • No brush piles, no burning or haul away • Improve the value and looks of your property We also offer stump grinding and backhoe services.

Contact us at 423-488-6866 or email us at

7/16/21 9:23 AM




638-6608 TV


*Call for Details AL Certification #89464

WHY JOHNSON? Because Your Family’s Home Comfort Really Matters


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Alabama Living

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AUGUST 2021  47

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| Our Sources Say |

Reliability reinforced with upgrades to Colbert CT

Colbert Combustion Turbine Tech Jeff Johnson directs crew in preparing a main transformer.

Colbert combustion turbine Foreman Robert Fox.


of plant equipment and lube oil systems. TVA has already started the turbine and generator centerline work. In addition, TVA has preliminary plans to add three more new CT units at the Colbert site. Once environmental reviews are completed at the end of this summer, TVA will make the final preparations to start building once approved.

eing able to turn on a fan, lower the A/C temperature in our homes or get ice from the freezer are some of the ways we cool down in the summer heat. These are activities that we don’t think much about, because we have reliable power. To help ensure that electricity is always there when we need it, especially during peak summer demand, TVA has launched two major refurbishment projects at two gas facilities – Gallatin and Colbert Combustion Turbine (CT) plants. Colbert CT is located near Tuscumbia, Alabama. Units 1-8 have been selected for refurbishment and produce a total net summer generating capacity of 392 megawatts. According to Mark Rutland, site manager at Colbert CT, TVA conducted a study of the gas fleet, evaluating older combustion turbine units to best determine the feasibility for making TVA’s peaking CTs more reliable. He pointed out that the reliability of our gas generation is one reason why we didn’t experience a Texas level blackout this winter. Rutland went on to note that due to the rise in solar, Colbert is a potential back up for peaking power demand over the next two decades, and the older units at Colbert need to be updated to meet that challenge. The units are fast-start capable and can be online within 12 minutes, which is crucial in case a base load unit, such as nuclear, goes offline. Over the next three years, Colbert will conduct upgrades to the transformers, control systems, turbines, generators, balance

Kevin Chandler is general manager, Alabama District Customer Service, for the Tennessee Valley Authority.

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You can still win a prize by participating in the #TVAFun photo contest! While you are out on TVA lands, waters and campgrounds, post a photo to Instagram using the hashtag #TVAFun. The contest is under way through Labor Day. Photos of landscapes, flora or fauna and people enjoying our region’s natural beauty could win a prize:

1st place- Go-Pro Hero 9 2nd place- Eno Hammock 3rd place- Solar Powered Phone Charger If you need special inspiration, August is fishing month and September is camping month, but you can submit any photo that meets the guidelines. For more details and to see some of last year’s submissions, go to Capture Your Summer Memories (

7/15/21 10:02 AM

| Classifieds | How To Place a Line Ad in Marketplace Closing Deadlines (in our office): October 2021 Issue by August 25 November 2021 Issue by September 25 December 2021 Issue by October 25 Ads are $1.75 per word with a 10 word minimum and are on a prepaid basis; Telephone numbers, email addresses and websites are considered 1 word each. Ads will not be taken over the phone. You may email your ad to; or call (800)410-2737 ask for Heather for pricing.; We accept checks, money orders and all major credit cards. Mail ad submission along with a check or money order made payable to ALABAMA LIVING, P.O. Box 244014, Montgomery, AL 36124 – Attn: Classifieds.

Miscellaneous FREE MATERIALS: SOON CHURCH / GOVERNMENT UNITING, suppressing “RELIGIOUS LIBERTY”, enforcing NATIONAL SUNDAY LAW, Be informed! Need mailing address only. POB 374, Ellijay, GA 30540 –, (888)211-1715 WALL BEDS OF ALABAMA - SOLID WOOD & LOG FURNITURE – Outdoor Rockers, Gliders & Swings, HANDCRAFTED AMISH CASKETS $1,599 - ALABAMA MATTRESS OUTLET – SHOWROOM Collinsville, AL – Custom Built / Factory Direct (256)490-4025,,

Business Opportunities “MONEY LIKES SPEED!” Profit / Thrive With PROVEN “Social Distance Marketing” Resources! Consistent Action…Predictable Results!

Vacation Rentals MENTONE, AL LOOKOUT MOUNTAIN COTTAGE RENTALS – Best brow views, River Front –, Call or text (504)4818666 PANAMA CITY BEACH CONDO – Owner rental – 2BR / 2BA, wireless internet, just remodeled inside and outside – (334)7900000,, www. PET FRIENDLY – Save $$$ by booking directly from Verified Owners. GULF SHORES PLANTATION BEACH CONDO – 2 Bedrooms / 2 Baths. NO pets, NO smoking. Max 6 people. (205)344-3810 MILITARY / SERVICE DISCOUNTS on dozens of rentals. No Booking Fees. (251)333-6500, BUILD YOUR NEXT SANDCASTLE ON OUR SPACIOUS SUGAR WHITE BEACH and come play in our waves!, (800)3680222 Where the child in you comes out! OWNERS – Join the fastest growing regional site in Alabama. Low annual fee. Verified Owners, no booking fees or commissions. Alabama Vacation Home Rentals. Locally Owned and Operated. (251)333-6500, GULF SHORES / ORANGE BEACH / FORT MORGAN – Choose from hundreds of beach houses and condos! Verified Owners. No Booking Fees. PANAMA CITY BEACH CONDO in EDGEWATER BEACH RESORT – 2BR / 2BA, (256)586-3667,

LAKE HOMES / CABINS – Verified Owners. No Booking Fees. GATLINBURG – DOWNTOWN LUXURY CREEKSIDE CONDO – 2BR / 2BA, sleeps 6 –, (256)599-5552 ORANGE BEACH CONDO, 3BR/3BA; 2,000 SQ.FT.; beautifully decorated; gorgeous waterfront view; boat slips available; great rates - Owner rented (251)604-5226 AFFORDABLE BEACHSIDE VACATION CONDOS – Gulf Shores & Orange Beach, AL – Rent Direct from Christian Family Owners – Lowest Prices on the Beach!, (251)752-2366, (251)656-4935 GULF FRONT PANAMA CITY CONDO – Splash Condominiums – Owner Rental – 1BR / 2BA w/ hallway bunks, Sleeps 6, 18th Floor Balcony View of Ocean – (706)566-6431, bjeffers3@

Land, Lots & Real Estate Sales QUALITY CUSTOM HOMES BUILT ON YOUR LOT! Watermark Builder offers Affordable pricing and amazing standard features. We make building easy! Schedule your FREE design consultation now! Call (334)512-9866 or visit

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

Fruits / Nuts / Berries GROW MUSCADINES AND BLACKBERRIES , half dollar size – We offer over 200 varieties of Fruit and Nut Trees plus Vines and Berry Plants . Free color catalog. 1-800-733-0324. Ison’s Nursery, P.O. Box 190, Brooks, GA 30205 Since 1934

Answers to puzzle on Page 28


There’s a reason so many of our advertisers are still on our pages, month after month, for more than 40 years. Year after year, Alabama Living remains the best value for your dollar. Contact Jacob at


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| Hardy Jackson's Alabama |

Illustration by Dennis Auth

Save the plastic pink flamingos


n recent years a lot of attention has been paid to saving endangered species around the world. I am all for that. In fact, I will go one step farther and come out in favor of adding to the list one that hitherto was not listed. The plastic pink flamingo. Once they thrived along the Gulf Coast. It was their natural habitat. There they sat all summer in sun, wind, and rain – slowly fading until past Labor Day when – bent, battered, and bleached out – they were tossed into the trash. Come next year, a new flock appeared and the cycle began all over again. Only now, no more. The cycle has been broken, the natural order of things disrupted, and the plastic pink flamingo is threatened. As someone who tries to stay on top of what is popular down in Dixie and what isn’t, I suspect that plastic pink flamingo is falling victim to a shift in southern tastes that is marked by a rejection of the crass and tacky in favor of the tasteful and sophisticated.

Harvey H. (Hardy) Jackson is Professor Emeritus at Jacksonville State University. He can be reached at

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The best place to test this theory is down in the condo-canyons on the Gulf Coast. In recent years the beach cottage and house trailer yards where plastic pink flamingos flourished have been slowly and steadily replaced by high rise condos and mini-mansions. Now ask yourself, when was the last time you saw a plastic pink flamingo out by the condo pool or in yards of houses behind the gates of the guarded, gated communities – assuming they would let you in to look? Not recently. Condo and community code-enforcers keep ‘em out. So, I ask you, where are the protests? Why aren’t the people who were moaning and groaning over how these developments are threatening beach mice just as upset over how these developments are destroying the plastic flamingo’s natural habitat? Where is the government when we need it? If the government, yours and mine, can regulate everything from outhouses to asphalt, why can’t those regulators tell developers that every development must have a plastic pink flamingo paddock in its plans – a prominent place where they can be seen and appreciated. By us, and our children after us. Write your representative.

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