November 2022 Sand Mountain

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November 2022 Stories | Recipes | Events | People | Places | Things | Local News Hometown cheerleader Pitmaster brings his barbecue home to the Black Belt Sand Mountain ELECTRIC COOPERATIVE

Safety Demonstrations


up that turkey

16 42 VOL. 75 NO. 11 NOVEMBER 2022 DEPARTMENTS 11 Spotlight 29 Around Alabama 40 Outdoors 41 Fish & Game Forecast 42 Cook of the Month 50 Hardy Jackson’s Alabama ONLINE: 12 NOVEMBER 2022 3 WE WANT TO HEAR FROM YOU! ONLINE: EMAIL: MAIL: Alabama Living 340 Technacenter Drive Montgomery, AL 36117 Pitmaster Jamie Lee Mitchell outside the smokehouse of his restaurant, the Alabama Rib Shack, in Sumter County. Story, Page 24. PHOTO: Allison Law STATE OF THE ART The new Rane Culinary Science Center in Auburn is being hailed as a one-of-a-kind facility with the potential for far-reaching and long-lasting impact. 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 ADVERTISING & EDITORIAL OFFICES: 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 Printed in America from American materials Get our FREE monthly email newsletter! Sign up at ON THE COVER Look for this logo to see more content online! FEATURES 7
Contact SMEC’s Member Services to schedule a safety demonstration. 16 Climbers’
Rock climbers and mountaineers from all over the world have flocked to Cherokee Rock Village to practice and perfect their climbing skills. 42 Using
Your Thanksgiving dinner’s over, so what to do with your leftover turkey? If you’re out of ideas, we’ve got you covered! CEO/GENERAL MANAGER Mark Malone CO-OP EDITOR Diane B. Hale

Keeping Pets and Energy Bills Comfortable

ailments may have a harder time controlling their body heat and need the additional warmth when it’s chilly out.

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

Section-Langston-Marshall Co. 1-877-843-2512

Most of us consider our fourlegged companions part of the family and can’t imagine life without them. That’s why during the winter months, we make sure our whole family, including our four-legged members, is cozy without taking a big “bite” out of our budget.

Sand Mountain Electric Cooperative (SMEC) would like to share a few simple ways you can make your home more comfortable this winter, which can ultimately help you save on energy bills.

At the onset of the cold weather season, replace the HVAC filter for better air quality and to help the unit operate more efficiently. You can also keep your home cozier by caulking and weatherstripping windows and doors. If your home is particularly chilly, you can tape or affix heavy, clear plastic to the inside of the window frames to create an additional barrier against the cold. Ensure that the plastic is tightly sealed to the frame to help reduce infiltration.

We know winter can be “ruff”, so a thermostat set at 68 degrees, is a “purr-fect” temperature for people and pets. This is especially important for smaller, short hair and senior dogs not just for warmth, but for their general health. Puppies, kittens and older pets with arthritis or other

Pets that sleep close to the floor can be subject to cold drafts that enter your home through windows and exterior doors. If your pet’s bed is near a window or door that feels drafty, tightly roll up a towel and place it near the bottom of the door or window to eliminate the draft. Cutting down on cold drafts helps everyone feel more comfortable during colder months.

If possible, elevate your pet’s bed so it’s not placed directly on a cold floor. An old chair or sofa cushion works well. If you don’t use a dog bed, take some old blankets and create a donut shape on the cushion so the dog can snuggle and “nest” within the blanket. You can do the same for cats but on a smaller scale. Blankets enable pets to nestle into them, even when they aren’t tired and provide a comfortable place for dogs and cats to curl up.

During the day, open your blinds and curtains to allow sunlight to warm your home. Close window coverings at night for an added layer of insulation.

We want to help you save energy and money. Check out our app or visit our website at to track your kilowatt usage.

While we can’t control the weather, we can provide advice and tools to save energy and keep your family and furry friends more comfortable during the winter season.

Our office will be

Our office will be closed Friday, November 11 for Veterans Day.

| Sand Mountain Electric |
closed Thursday & Friday, November 24 & 25 for Thanksgiving. Alabama Living NOVEMBER 2022 5

Empower children to

According to the National Institutes of Health, electricity causes approximately 1,000 deaths and 30,000 injuries in the United States each year, 20% of which occur in children. Empower your family with electrical safety knowledge that can potentially save their lives. Always remember that electricity is everywhere, even when playing outdoors, away from electronics and other plug-in devices.

• Electrical substations may spark a child’s imagination with high towers and sprawling gates, but make sure your children know never to enter one for any reason.

• Always assume that power lines are energized and dangerous. Inform children to stay away from downed or low-hanging power lines and insist they tell an adult if they see one. Notify SMEC for assistance.

• Children should never play with, climb on or open padmount transformers or outdoor electrical “green” boxes. They contain electrical equipment for underground service to homes and businesses and may be dangerous. If children see a box that is open or damaged, they should stay away from it and ask an adult to contact SMEC.

• While it may look like fun, never play on a flooded street or in a water-filled ditch. The water may hide fallen power lines or damaged electrical equipment, which could cause serious injury or death.

• Do not plan outdoor activities if a thunderstorm is expected. Wait at least 30 minutes after the last observed clap of thunder or lightning bolt to play outside.

• If enjoying the outdoors near water, such as a lake or pool, never use electronics with damp hands or while standing in water.

• Kites and other flying devices, such as toy airplanes or drones, should only be used in large, open areas far away from power lines and electrical equipment.

stay safe outdoors NEVER ENTER the fenced area around a substation to retrieve an item or pet. for kids OUTDOOR ELECTRICAL SAFETY TIPS Share these ELECTRICAL SAFETY TIPS with children and teens to help keep them safe. DO NOT climb or sit on green boxes or other electrical equipment. STAY AWAY from electrical equipment marked “keep out,” “high voltage” or “danger ” FLY kites, remote-control devices and drones FAR AWAY from overhead power lines. 1 2 3 4 NOTIFY SMEC OF ALL DOWNED POWER LINES! 6 NOVEMBER 2022

Sand Mountain Electric Cooperative has a safety presentation designed for elementary students. Power Town is a tabletop demonstration using a smallscale version of a larger electrical system to demonstrate safety around power lines. Students are able to see firsthand how an electrical current moves through various items they may encounter in their daily lives. This program is presented in a fun

and easy-to-learn format. It is designed for small groups of fifth graders, but may be adapted to other ages.

This free educational opportunity is available to area schools, community organizations and emergency personnel throughout our service territory. For more information about scheduling a safety demonstration, contact the co-op Member Service Department.

Alabama Living NOVEMBER 2022 7


Fall is finally here! The leaves are changing, the weather is cooler and the holidays are just around the corner. But Fall also brings greater risks of home fires and electrical hazards. Read the safety tips below, then find and circle the bolded words in the puzzle.

Adults should always stay in the kitchen while food is cooking Smoke alarms should be tested monthly to ensure they’re working properly. Batteries should be replaced every year or right away if the alarm starts to chirp.

Candles should never be left burning when someone isn’t in the room.

Keep flammable items away from the stove, toaster and other cooking appliances

Alabama Living NOVEMBER 2022 9 January theme: “Boy Scouts/Girl Scouts” | Deadline: November 30
Northern Harrier taken at sod farm in Foley.
by Douglas Hamm, Gulf Shores.
Submit to WIN $10!
Male hummingbird after having some nectar from a canna plant.
by Joan Felthousen, Albertville.
| Alabama Snapshots | Online: | Mail: Attn: Snapshots, P.O. Box 244014, Montgomery, AL 36124
Kissing birds sharing food. SUBMITTED by Dale Crawford, Dutton. Mallard Duck at Spring Park one morning. SUBMITTED by Jerri Quinn, Tuscumbia. Mockingbird. SUBMITTED by Linda Persall, Cullman.
Bath time! SUBMITTED
by Sharon Lawrence, Hartselle.
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. Alabama Living is not responsible for lost or damaged photos. Send a self-addressed stamped envelope to have photos returned. Birds
An Orange Beach pelican that couldn’t care less about
by Gilbert Stiff, Foley.

Alabama will devote $82 million to improved broadband

Gov. Kay Ivey and legislative leaders gathered at Central Ala bama EC recently to announce that the state would provide $82 million for a "middle mile" broadband network. Fiber Utility Net work, a corporation formed by eight rural electric cooperatives, will create the network to connect more than 3,000 miles of new and existing fiber infrastructure over the next three years, offi cials said.

When complete, the network will provide improved access to unserved areas for the “last mile” project that provides actual broadband availability.

In addition to Central Alabama EC, the electric co-ops in the Fiber Utility Network are Coosa Valley EC, Covington EC, Cull man EC, Joe Wheeler EMC, North Alabama EC, PowerSouth En ergy Cooperative and Tombigbee EC.

Frontier Days bring Alabama’s past to life

Learn about the lives of Alabama’s pioneers at the annual Fron tier Days at Fort Toulouse-Fort Jackson Park in Wetumpka, set for 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Nov. 2-5. Admission is $7 for students and $10 adults.

Frontier Days is one of the largest and most authentic living his tory events in Alabama. See the South as it transitioned from Creek Indian lands to military forts and civilian homesteads during the period between 1700 and 1820. Frontier crafts and trades will be demonstrated by specialists dressed in historic costume.

The park is a significant archaeological site at the confluence of the Coosa and Tallapoosa rivers. The area was occupied for 10,000 years by prehistoric and America Indians, Spanish explor ers, French marines, English and Scottish traders and American settlers, who all left their mark on this National Historic Land mark. Learn more at

Alabama co-ops send help to victims of Hurricane Ian

Hurricane Ian made landfall on the west Florida coast Sept. 28 as a high-end Category 4 hurricane, with a record storm surge, 155 mph winds and torrential rains that caused massive flooding.

Affected co-ops received help from thousands of mutual aid workers from eight states after the storm to help restore power to members who could receive it. Alabama’s rural electric co operatives sent help to Peace River EC, based in Wauchula, and Lee County EC, based in Fort Myers. That co-op had 99% of its 219,000 meters without power within hours of landfall.

“Alabama cooperatives’ response to the Hurricane Ian mutual aid request was strong as expected,” says Jeff Whatley, safety spe cialist with the Alabama Rural Electric Association, which pub lishes Alabama Living. “The linemen experienced damage that was typical for after a hurricane, but Ian added an additional level of difficulty due to flooding in the areas where they were working. No matter what they encountered, our linemen did what they al ways do and overcame the obstacles to assist those in need.”

All co-op crews returned safely to their Alabama home co-ops by Oct. 18.

Don’t forget to make your voice heard!

The general election is Nov. 8, and your rural elec tric cooperative, through the Co-ops Vote program, encourages you to vote and support your community and your co-op at the polls.

Several federal, state wide and county- and mu nicipal-level races will be decided. The offices of gov ernor, lieutenant governor, the U.S. Senate seat held by the retir ing Richard Shelby, the 2nd Congressional District seat, attorney general, secretary of state, state treasurer, state auditor, commis sioner of Agriculture and Industries and others are on the ballot.

To learn more about Alabama’s election and see sample ballots, a breakdown of the constitutional amendments, registration in formation and more, visit

10 NOVEMBER 2022 Spotlight | November
A crew from Wiregrass EC works to restore power to members of a Florida cooperative in the aftermath of Hurricane Ian. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

Whereville, AL

Take us along!

We’ve enjoyed seeing photos from our readers on their travels with Alabama Living! Please send us a photo of you with a copy of the magazine on your travels to: Be sure to include your name, hometown and electric coopera tive, and the location of your photo.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. Multi ple entries from the same person will be disqualified. Send your answer with your name, address and the name of your rural elec tric cooperative, if applicable. The winner and answer will be an nounced in the December issue.

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

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

October’s answer: These bronze shoes are a part of the statue of William Shakespeare that’s housed at the Alabama Shakespeare Festival building in Montgomery. A spokeswoman for ASF says that Wynton Blount commissioned the replica when the Carolyn Blount Theater, home to ASF, opened in Montgomery in 1985. (Photo by Lenore Vickrey of Alabama Living) The randomly drawn cor rect guess winner is Brian J. Rogers of Dixie EC.

Find the hidden dingbat!

Some of you might have gone a little “batty” trying to find last month’s dingbat. A few readers claimed to see the winged crea ture in the sky flying over Southwood Kitchen on Page 22, while still others saw it in the ad on page 15 in the hands of a fellow steering a jet ski. Remember: the dingbat will never be in an ad! No, the bat was actually flying inside the letter “A” in the word Alabama in the Alabama Bookshelf headline on Page 26.

Marianne and Bob Wertz of North Alabama Electric Cooper ative said it took them going through the magazine a few times but they found it, and it was much easier than September’s hid den goal posts (we agree). Catherine Smith of Prattville said her household has a challenge every month to see who can find the hidden object. “One searched for an hour and the other person searched for half that time before giving up,” she wrote. “I found it

The Baranovics family of Gulf Shores took their magazine to Hungary, where dad Lorant saw his family for the first time in 22 years!  From left, Solomon, Daniel, Lorant, Christy and Drew overlooking the Danube River in Budapest, with the Hungarian Parliament in the background. They are members of Baldwin EMC.

Charlene Bert of Marbury visited the home of “The Pioneer Woman” in Pawhuska, Oklahoma. She and her husband James are members of Central Alabama EC.

Bud and Sandy Wilson of Montgomery, members of Dixie EC, traveled with their magazine to the Eiffel Tower in Paris, France.

in about five minutes. Good job stumping them!” Jennifer Chess er of Honoraville writes that she and her mother-in-law Jane also like to race through their magazine to see who can find the dingbat first. They both correctly found it in the “A.” Congratula tions to Pamela Maten of Gilbertown, a member of Black Warrior EMC, our randomly drawn winner this month. She’ll receive a prize package from Alabama One Credit Union. This month we’ve hidden an alarm clock as a reminder to fall back at 2 a.m. Sunday, Nov. 6. Good luck!

By mail: Find the Dingbat Alabama Living PO Box 244014 Montgomery, AL 36124

By email:

Sponsored by

Alabama Living NOVEMBER 2022 11 November | Spotlight
Max and Maggie Tomlin of Athens attended float decorating  for the January 2022  Rose Parade in Pasadena, California. They are members of Baldwin EMC.

‘Nothing else like it in the state, really….in the nation’

Auburn culinary center a win-win for students, tourism

“At the intersection of campus and community.” This phrase is used often to describe Auburn Univer sity’s new Tony & Libba Rane Culinary Science Center (RCSC), and it’s not just a motto; it’s a physical reality.

The state-of-the-art facility complete with a teaching hotel and restaurant, a food hall and culinary lab spaces opened in August and occupies a street corner across from Samford Hall, Auburn University’s administration headquarters and a stately landmark that denotes where campus ends and the rest of Auburn begins. But it is a philosophy, too, one that conveys a vision and a hope for the center’s far-reaching and long-lasting impact.

The RCSC was made possible, in part, by a generous dona tion from Auburn alum Jimmy Rane that helped fund years

of intense research, design and development. It’s named in honor of his parents and is now the home of Auburn Uni versity’s School for Hospitality Management. Its sheer size and scope make it a standout in the world of culinary and hospitality education; so too does its innovative collaboration between private business and the university, with the college and Ithaka Hospitality Partners (IHP) joining forces to oper ate its many facets.

“It’s a true partnership between industry and academia,” says Ithaka founder and CEO Hans van der Reijden.

Taste the teaching

The RCSC’s teaching restaurant, 1856, is a 48-seat fine-dining space named for the year the university was founded and is fully staffed by hospitality man agement undergrad students. They’re at the hostess stand, waiting tables and in the open kitchen, where they receive guidance under the watchful eye of a professional chef.

Each year, the program heads will choose a chef-in-residence, someone who has achieved a high level of success in the field. “They visit and over see things at 1856 once a month, but they send their sous chef or chef de cuisine to live here and work alongside our students in the restaurant for that year,” van der Reijden says. For the current academic year, the chef-in-residence is Tyler Lyne, who’s also opening two new Birmingham restaurants.

Freshmen and sophomores run the lunch service, and at dinner time, upperclassmen prepare and serve a nine-course tasting menu with wines paired by the master sommelier and pulled from the restaurant’s two-story, temperature-controlled wine room.

The learning opportunities continue in a more ca sual but no less impressive environment at RCSC’s Hey Day Market food hall. Here, one of the stalls will serve as a new business incubator dedicated to helping hospitality management and culinary sci ence students with an entrepreneurial spirit launch their food-focused idea. Starting in 2023, one stu dent will develop their culinary business concept at Hey Day with additional support from the universi ty’s business school for planning and marketing.

Photos by Thomas Watkins Photography
12 NOVEMBER 2022
With the Rane Culinary Science Center, Auburn students now have access to a School for Hospitality Management that encompasses a teaching hotel and restaurant, food hall and culinary lab.

The purpose is to elevate hospitality education, and the center drew inspiration and ideas from other schools, orga nizations and companies in the hospitality sphere. “We visit ed so many places doing this or that very well; but they had silos of excellence,” he says. “We wanted to create a facility and program that covers every aspect and does them all with excellence. This approach gets us there.”

Auburn’s Hospitality Management program has three pri mary tracks: hotel and restaurant management, culinary sci ence and event management. With RCSC as its homebase, students complete traditional classroom work with lectures and note-taking and participate in active learning as they chop, stir and sauté in gleaming stainless-steel-cloaked cook ing and baking labs.

But they also gain hands-on experience in an up-and-run ning restaurant and a hotel that are serving real-world cus tomers in real time. Every student in the program, whether they are majoring in hospitality, culinary or events, spends time working in every component before graduation. They do all the food and hotel labs, plus an additional 1,000 work hours. It’s all to ensure students see, hear, touch, smell and taste every piece of the wider hospitality picture.

Dr. Martin O’Neill heads the educational side of RCSC and notes what makes it such a big win for students. “It allows us to do something we weren’t able to do before, not at this level. We can focus on ultra-luxury and premium service,” he says.

Eat it up

Hungry yet? Satisfy almost any appetite with one of the many eating options at RCSC’s Hey Day Market.

• Khoodles: Malaysian street noodle and rice bowls

• La Cubanita: classic pressed Cuban sandwiches

• Little Darling Burger Co.: juicy burgers, fries and frosty milkshakes

• Loud Roots: build-your-own bowls and smoothies based on fresh, nutritious ingredients

• Pizzeria Ariccia: artisanal, woodfired pizzas

• Pokémen: poke and ramen bowls featuring fresh seafood and veggies

• Saint Bernardo Gelateria: smooth and sweet, creamy and cold gelato in multiple flavors

• Wildchild: Southern California-style tacos and more

• Cherry Moon: Vietnamese and Cantonese cuisine, including bahn mi sandwiches and boba tea

Alabama Living NOVEMBER 2022 13
The center’s Hey Day Market food hall has dining options from poke and ramen bowls to creamy gelato and wood-fired pizza.

“The entire center is a living and learning lab, and the multiple elements allow us to really dial into a training regime and get very specific with each student.”

The facility will make a profound and positive impact on the education available to university students, but it’s a boon for the surrounding community too. RCSC’s commercial entities – the Laurel Hotel, the Hey Day Market food hall and 1856 restaurant – are open to the public, inviting Auburn residents and visitors to come dine out and hang out. Other offerings and special events welcome them to continue their own education with workshops and informal classes, further blurring the line between education and entertainment, courses and commerce.

O’Neill stressed that engaging and enriching the community in this way is at the core of the university’s mission. “We have teach ing, learning, scholarship and research as our focal points, but also outreach, and RCSC allows the university to hit all of these,” he says. “We have a very open-door, open-minded approach to bringing the community here to enjoy it and be a part of what we are accomplishing.”

Greenspaces and a rooftop terrace will regularly host events. The center’s culinary exhibition classrooms will be the sites of wine tastings and cooking demos, even food photography cours es. These aspects give the program’s event management students unique experiences to plan and execute. “The end goal is for the center to offer an unparalleled experience for the entire area and draw even more visitors by enhancing Auburn as a tourist desti nation with these new, exciting amenities,” says van der Reijden.

But RCSC’s significance extends beyond the university’s and the city’s borders. O’Neill explains how the entire region will ben efit from the center.

“The center is totally unique,” he says. “There is nothing else like it in the state, really nothing else like it in the nation. It will enhance tourism and train the next generation of hospitality pro fessionals necessary to meet the needs of increased tourism. We want to be a key part of bettering the Alabama experience for all visitors who come to the state.”

Stay awhile

The Laurel Hotel & Spa is a boutique property with 26 guestrooms and an emphasis on stellar service. Like RCSC’s restaurants, it will be run by students. “We’ll know who you are when you arrive,” van der Reijden says. While one student whisks your luggage away, another will lead you up to see the spa and library area, seamlessly checking you in on an iPad once they welcome you to your room.

On the menu

Here’s a bite-by-bite look at all the educational components of the 155,000-square-foot RCSC.

• A brewery science lab to be utilized by the program’s master of brewery science students, complete with a taproom for serving and selling beer made onsite.

• A distilled spirits lab with a micro-distillery, which will host visiting distillers to teach techniques using both column and pot stills, which were built in Kentucky, a bastion of American spirits.

• Wine appreciation classrooms

• Kitchen labs specific to baking, global gastronomy, catering, butchering and more

• A coffee roastery

• Hey Day Market food hall

• 1856 Restaurant

• Laurel Hotel & Spa

Raising the roof

The pinnacles of the stunning RCSC are the rooftop ter race, pool deck and garden that crown the Laurel Hotel. The lovely view awaiting guests of the property and those attending events held onsite is embellished by the leafy greens, herbs, edible flowers and other veggies growing up top. The garden isn’t only for show; its harvests will also grace dishes and drinks served in RCSC’s eateries and bars. Students will grow produce, take it down to the 1856 kitch en, cook it, plate it and watch it head to a customer’s table. It doesn’t get more hands-on than that.

Mountaintop experience

Cherokee Rock Village attracts climbers, campers, families

Since the 1980s, rock climbers and mountaineers from all over the world have flocked to Cherokee Rock Village to practice and perfect their climbing skills. Hollywood even took notice and filmed scenes for the 2006 film “Failure to Launch,” starring Matthew McConaughey and Sarah Jessica Parker, at the park, which is located in Cherokee County near Leesburg.

“Cherokee Rock Village offers such a spe cial experience for people—because many climbers experience outdoor climbing there for the very first time,” says Meagan Ev ans, executive director of the Southeastern Climbers Coalition. “Hundreds of routes of fer a variety of sport and traditional climb ing, and bouldering for everyone from be ginners to advanced climbers,” she added.

On a recent weekday afternoon, families were cooking out at one of several picnic tables located along the ridgeline, and a few backpackers had set up camp overlooking Weiss Lake in the valley below. The park has more than 100 primitive campsites and 15 RV hook-ups for overnight camping.

Visitors also find more than three miles of relatively easy hiking trails meander through the 300-acre park, and a new mountain bike trail opened in Spring 2022. Rock crawling, featuring hybrid four-wheel vehicles de signed to “crawl” over obstacles, is also very popular.

“In addition to rock climbing on the mas sive boulders, CRV is a great place to relax, hike, and enjoy the outdoors,” says Theresa Hulgan, executive director of the Cherokee County Chamber of Commerce & Tourism. “We welcome groups to Cherokee Rock Village, such as Boy Scouts, youth groups, and universities, for everything from team-building outdoor fun to basic skills

Climbers from across the globe come to northeast Alabama to scale the massive boulders at Cherokee Rock Village.

Story and photos by Scott Baker
16 NOVEMBER 2022

training. The views are awe-inspiring, wheth er you are gazing out from the overlook area or perched on top of the highest boulder. You can see as far as Rome, Georgia, if the weather cooperates.”

My introduction to Cherokee Rock Village came through Instagram where I saw images of imposing boulders, some 20 stories high, piercing the sky in rural Cherokee County. For a photographer, the boulders, mountaintop and beautiful vistas looked like the right spot for a photography adventure, and I coordinat ed my first visit on a sunny late-October day to coincide with fall foliage. From my perspective, late spring and fall are the best times to visit.

Although I was a little late that first visit for the peak of color, I was rewarded with beau tiful views of Weiss Lake and some lingering leaves along a few of the trails. I was also able to observe experienced rock climbers shim mying up the face of the mammoth rock.

The park, sitting atop the southern end of Lookout Mountain overlooking Weiss Lake, is open all day every day and requires a $7 ad mission per car. Camping and pavilion rentals are also available. Visit cherokeerockvillage. com or call (256) 523-3799 for more informa tion.

Visitors to Cherokee Rock Village are apt to see climbers shimmying up and down the face of its mammoth rocks. Hikers will enjoy the beautiful fall foliage as they walk through the three miles of easy hiking trails.

18 NOVEMBER 2022

Smart planningfor the future at any age

Planning for the distant future may seem like a pipe dream, especially if you don’t have a lot of money or are still in the early stages of your working years.

But smart planning for the future is important at any age or in come level, say experts who help clients write wills and other legal documents that spell out what you’d want to happen if you couldn’t speak for yourself.

A Montgomery-based financial planner says common-sense planning starts with a simple notebook where you list places where you have insurance policies, investment ac counts, bank accounts and their locations. The location of your will and advance directives need to be listed in the notebook too. The di rectives are legal documents that state what you want to happen if you can no longer manage your finances or are sick or injured and can’t speak for yourself.

Experts who advise clients from all income levels and family needs say planning will help you decide which type of will and ad vance directives are best for you. They give tips on ways to avoid pitfalls in planning.

When fewer employers offer pensions

“When you’re young, you probably don’t even think about retirement,” financial plan ner Lisa Free says. But the certified public accountant from Montgomery says that today, unless you work in a government job with set retirement benefits or a fixed retirement program, you will not have a fixed pension that guarantees a set amount of retirement income. Social Security alone will not be enough to meet your future needs, she says.

“You will have to save for yourself,” Free says. “If you start young, a little bit at a time, it will build up.”

Free says if saving for the future is all in your hands, you can stash funds in an individual retirement account. You should start

20 NOVEMBER 2022
Alabama Living NOVEMBER 2022 21

What do you need to get together before you start putting your plan for the future in place?

• Review life insurance policies and retirement accounts to make sure that all beneficiaries are up to date.

• Review deeds and title(s) to assets that you own to ensure that things are in order.

• Know who you want to leave your possessions to at death.

• Know who you want to serve as personal representative under your will. (It is also advisable to name an alternate personal representative).

• Know who you want to serve as your agent under a Durable Power of Attorney. It is also good to name a successor agent to step in if the agent dies, gets sick, or for any other reason can no longer act (or continue acting) under the POA.

• Talk with the person (or persons) that you are planning to name as your personal representative (under your will), agent (under your power of attorney), or your proxy (under a medical directive), in advance, to be certain that the person is willing to serve and understands (and will carry out) your expectations.

Source: LaTanya D. Rhines, staff attorney with the Top of Alabama Regional Council of Governments aging program serving Huntsville and surrounding counties.

building savings as well so you have readily available money in emergencies such as loss of a job or large unexpected expenses.

If you work for an employer with an official retirement pro gram – such as a 401(k), where you make regular investment con tributions for your long-term future – Free says to contribute as much as you can to the program.

If your employer doesn’t have a long-term program, Free says you could set up an IRA that you control to begin long-term sav ing. You pay taxes on money you take out of the IRA, so you need to make sure you understand how IRAs work.

If you are just beginning a long-term program, Free says you don’t have to go to a broker at first. Instead, “go with a reputable company such as Fidelity, Charles Schwab, Ameriprise and Pru dential, to name a few,” she says. “Saving gets easier as life goes along.”

Three Cs that direct your care and assets

Long-term planning for the future can be divided into three categories: control, cash, and care, Birmingham attorney Lynn Campisi says. The controls are the documents you put in place directing how you want your assets distributed after you die, spell out how you want your financial assets managed, and give di rection on how you want your health care and personal needs handled while you are still alive if you cannot do so.

A will provides written direction on how you want your finan cial resources – cash – and physical assets such as a house or oth er property to be distributed after you die. Your will names an administrator or executor who carries out the directions written in the will. The administrator pays any last bills you may have and the people you named as beneficiaries in the will.

In contrast, advance directives give direction on how you want your finances and health care handled if you are still alive but unable to make decisions for yourself.

A living will or health care power of attorney, as well as a fi nancial power of attorney, give direction while you are still alive to the person or people who will make decisions for you if you cannot do so:

• The financial power of attorney directs who will make deci sions about the use of your financial assets.

• The health care power of attorney directs who will make decisions about your health care if you cannot make those decisions yourself due to injury or illness.

With these elements in place, most people have the essential components of a smart plan for the future to consider, no matter what your financial situation or age may be.

For more information:

The Alabama Department of Senior Services administers the statewide Legal Assistance Pro gram to help people ages 60 and older with legal documents including wills and living wills, powers of attorney, legal education and court represen tation. The program is income-based and focuses on lower-income Alabamians, according to the Senior Services website. For more information, call ADSS at (877) 425-2243 or (800) 243-5463. Online, go to

22 NOVEMBER 2022
Alabama Living NOVEMBER 2022 23

Tiny town home to a big dream for this barbecue pitmaster

Jamie Lee Mitchell is not just the owner of the Alabama Rib Shack, his custom-built restaurant in tiny Gainesville, Alabama; he’s also the pitmaster, cook, gracious host and the biggest cheerleader for his hometown, nestled in a curve of the picturesque Tombigbee River in Sumter County.

He has a personality that fills the dining room of the lodge-like structure and spills out onto the patio, which is filled with pic nic tables and shaded by weeping willows (his favorite plant). His energy is tremen dous, and his dedication to this restaurant and this town is very real.

“This town” – he pats his chest – “it just means so much to me. I said, when I build this restaurant, I’m going to give Gaines ville the best I got.”

One recent Sunday, he took a break –well, several, actually – from serving up pigtails and three kinds of ribs and jerk

chicken to talk about starting a business, returning to his roots in rural west Ala bama and how when you have a calling for something, you can’t question it.

The after-church crowd and several out-of-towners who learned about his restaurant on social media flow in and out, and Jamie Lee (as he prefers to be called) pauses to greet customers every time the door opens. If he doesn’t know you by name, he probably will soon. “Wel come to the Alabama Rib Shack. Your first time here?” He escorts first-timers to the counter to talk about the menu; the interview will wait.

His hospitality is genuine, say bartend ers Tata Giles and Nicole Boyd. “It’s his personality,” Giles says. “He’s a kind, giv ing person.”

Hometown man

Jamie Lee grew up in Gainesville. His mom had him when she was 13; both he and his mom were adopted by an older couple, who he refers to as his grandpar ents. It was here that he developed a love for cooking; as the only child in the house, he was around his grandmother almost all the time.

“The first dish I ever cooked was candied yams. She didn’t believe I cooked those.

She thought it was the neighbor’s yams!”

He got to know his grandparents’ friends, and would ask them, how do you cook this or that? He’d write down the ingredients and instructions and put the recipes in a big scrapbook. Years lat er, he tweaked the measurements for his restaurant business, since – as so many good cooks do – his “teachers” would say, use a dash of this, a pinch of that. He had many years of trial and error tastings to get the flavors and precise measurements just right.

But he never went to culinary school. “This was all given to me from the uni verse,” he says.

His grandmother saw his potential. “She knew I was a smart kid. There was nothing I couldn’t do. Anything I put my mind to, I could do.” She thought he needed to leave Gainesville and gain some knowledge and exposure to another side of life, so at about age 18, he left for Boston.

In Boston, he worked, married, started a family and – though he didn’t realize it –began the path that would bring him back to rural Alabama, and to the next chapter of his life.

Though he was up north for more than 30 years, Gainesville was home, and “I never really left.”

24 NOVEMBER 2022 | Worth the drive |
Story and photos by Allison Law Alabama Rib Shack 9316 State St. Gainesville, AL 35464 205-652-1115 Hours: 12 to 6 p.m. Friday and Saturday; 12 to 5 p.m. Sunday Search alabama_ribshack on Instagram and AlabamaRibShack on Facebook Gainesvillel
Pulled pork, pigtails and three styles of ribs – St. Louis, baby back and Texas, along with macaroni and cheese and baked beans.

Up north, down South

He worked as a barber in Boston, but it wasn’t his true passion. “I knew I had a calling for this cooking,” he says. He started giving free cookouts on Sunday afternoons for friends on the big patio at his home. He says it cost him $300 every Sunday.

The friends didn’t realize that they were testers for Jamie Lee to try out his recipes. He would cook, give everyone a big plate, wait about 15 minutes and ask what they thought. He would make tweaks and ad justments according to their recommen dations.

One of the friends from a cookout asked Jamie Lee to cater a baby shower, and asked specifically for buffalo wings. An other cookout guest was with the NAACP and asked him to cater an event. It grew from there – he catered for politicians, churches, City Hall. “It just went crazy. I would do a catering job for 300 out of my house. I don’t know how I did it.”

A few years ago, a friend of his grand mother’s died, and he came home to Ala bama for her funeral. He brought his fam ily with him. He owned the lot on which the Rib Shack now stands, but it was emp ty then.

“I pull up, I always take a walk all along the property. I heard a voice. ‘Jamie Lee, this is where your restaurant need to be at.’ You know what I told the voice? I said, no way!

“I think it took that voice to really get my attention.”

After that, all signs seemed to point to Alabama Highway 116 – the road in Gainesville where the Rib Shack is to day. He’d had a deal to open a restaurant in Boston at the time, but the contract expired. Then, he talked seriously to his family about coming home.

Back in Boston, he asked his daughter, Jaymie, what did she think about him opening a restaurant in Alabama? “She said, ‘oh, it’s great,’ because she’s used to me saying stuff like that. But she knew I was serious.” He asked his wife, Stephanie, what she thought about putting his restau rant on the land in Gainesville. “She said, ‘when can we move?’”

He had blueprints of what is now Ala bama Rib Shack in 30 days, and the foun dation was poured in another 30 days. His children were chosen for a charter school in Alabama, yet another sign. “It was meant for me to come back home.”

No second thoughts

Asked if he questioned the idea of opening a restaurant in a small, rural town, he shakes his head. “I’m from here. I know what this town (is).” It’s on a route to a Mississippi casino, and it’s also home to nearly 150 hunting clubs, by Jamie Lee’s estimation. There’s also a sizable number of vacation homes along the Tombigbee. Good restaurants are few and far between.

While he never questioned the location, he did a fair amount of research about his food. He took a tour of Alabama and parts of Georgia, visiting restaurants known for their barbecue.

He knew he had a good product, but he found that while most places focus on the meat, no one focused on side items. “Ev erything was out of the can,” he says. So he incorporated some soul food items, all homemade every day.

Donald Bonner of Helena, traveling with three others on their way back from New Orleans on a recent Sunday, was im pressed with the taste and attention to de tail. “The potato salad, my mom used to make it like that when I was growing up. The pimentos really bring out the flavor. … The collard greens melt in your mouth.” The ribs, Bonner says, are “succulent.”

Jamie Lee does all the cooking himself. “I don’t trust nobody,” he says, though he’s trying to teach his sons, Jesse and Jayar, the business. Daughter Jaymie already works there, and daughter Jasmyn was ex pected to come to Gainesville in October.

He does not miss the big city life. “You can’t beat the peace,” he says. “No sirens, no gunshots. If you hear gunshots here, it’s just target practice for deer season. Peo ple are loving, they’re caring. Plus I get a chance to be the real person I always was, because the city takes something out of you. Makes you numb, makes you rude.

So I couldn’t wait to get back.”

26 NOVEMBER 2022
Jamie Lee was intentional about every detail of his restaurant, from the materials used (such as the locally sourced wood used at the bar) to the time-tested menu items. The exterior of the restaurant, which resembles a hunting lodge.
Alabama Living NOVEMBER 2022 27

New start dates for Medicare Part B coverage coming in 2023

What is changing:

is not changing:

three months


you are automatically enrolled in Medicare Part B or if you sign up during the first three months of your IEP, your coverage will start the month

first eligible. If you sign up the month you turn 65,

start the first day of the following month.

Starting January 1, 2023, your Medicare Part B coverage starts the first day of the month after you sign up if you sign up during the last three months of your IEP. Before this change, if you signed up during the last three months of your IEP, your Medicare Part B coverage started two to three months after you en rolled.

If you don’t sign up for Medicare Part B during your IEP, you have anoth er chance each year during the General Enrollment Period (GEP). The GEP lasts from Janu ary 1 through March 31. Starting January 1, 2023, your coverage starts the first day of the month after you sign up.

can learn more about these updates on our Medicare web page at and our Medicare publication at ssa. gov/pubs/EN-05-10043.pdf

pass this information along to someone who may need

November crossword

28 NOVEMBER 2022 Across 1 Vegetables often enjoyed at Thanksgiving, 2 words 7 Compass direction. abbr. 8 Firms, for short 10 Root vegetables often served at Thanksgiving 12 Pancake topper 13 Dine on 15 Processes food in a way 16 Non-commissioned officer, for short 17 Grain storage areas 19 ____ potatoes 20 “--- whiz!” 22 Start of grace 24 NFL position, abbr. 26 Candied holiday serving 27 Potato option at Thanksgiving dinner 30 He goes in the oven 31 Yes, at sea 32 GPS directions, abbr. 33 Thanksgiving event 34 Present the feast Down 1 Meeting together as a family 2 Listening organ 3 Follow 4 A before a vowel 5 Feathered beds 6 “__ Light Up My Life” 8 Thanksgiving sauce 9 Vegetables whose first name is a European city 11 Rejection word 14 Where the meal is enjoyed 15 _____ dressing 18 Meets with 21 Historic time period 23 Cake-like biscuit 25 Prepare the turkey 27 Plan out in detail 28 Address for Isaac Newton 29 Hair colorer 32 Touring vehicle, abbr. SOCIAL SECURITY
Changes are coming next year for when Medicare Part B coverage starts. What
If you are eligible at age 65, your Initial Enrollment Period (IEP): • Begins three months before your 65th birthday. • Includes the month of your 65th birthday. • Ends
af ter your 65th
your coverage will
This won’t change with the new rule.
. Please
Kylle’ McKinney, SSA Public Affairs Specialist, can be reached by email at
Answers on Page 49

19 Orange Beach Oyster Festival, 12 p.m. on the Marina Lawn at The Wharf. The inaugural “experience the oyster,” presented by Murder Point Oyster Company, seeks to highlight the Gulf Coast oyster industry. Featuring more than 35 oyster farms and chefs from all over the region; proceeds benefit local charities.

19 Brewton Porchfest. Local and regional bands play from porches fronting 30 of the town’s oldest, grandest or most charming homes, many built in the mid-1800s. Event celebrates Brewton’s musical heritage as well as its preserved structures. Daylong concert culminates at the portico of the 1903 Downing House.



Gulf Shores and Orange Beach 38th annual Frank Brown International Songwriters’ Festival. More than 200 songwriters perform their original songs and tell stories of how the songs came to be, in venues throughout Gulf Shores and Orange Beach as well as Perdido Key and Pensacola, Florida.

5Wetumpka Wildlife Arts Festival, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. in downtown. A series of educational classes, art exhibits, vendors and demonstrations, including sporting dogs, cooking, carving and live animal presentations. Live music, artisans, children’s activities, food vendors and plein air artists. or call 334-478-3366.


Dothan National Peanut Festival. This major Southeast entertainment event features a midway with rides, fair food, live entertainment, vendors, agricultural competitions, car and truck show, dance demonstrations and more. Acts scheduled to perform include Jordan Davis, Lainey Wilson and Dylan Scott. Visit the website for opening and closing times and ticket information.


Tallassee 25th annual Bill Anthony Memorial Battles for the Armory, 19359 Rifle Range Road. Friday is the school day living history encampment, where school children will experience history of the 1860s. Public invited Saturday and Sunday for a live portrayal of a Civil War battle put on by re-enactors at 2 p.m. each day, plus a working blacksmith shop, carriage rides, period foods and Sutler’s Village with unique shopping opportunities. $5 per person admission.


Pelham A Southern Christmas Bazaar presented by the Alabaster-Pelham Rotary Club, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Pelham Civic Complex. Craftsmen, artisans and merchants from across Alabama and the Southeast sell gifts, clothing, ornaments, decorations and food. Adults $8, and children $3.

20 Montgomery Poetry slam and spoken word. Montgomery Botanical Gardens and AARP will host this open mike performance at 3 p.m. in the Wisdom Woods classroom. Refreshments will be served; participation is limited. Registration required. alabama/events-al or email vonnie1335@yahoo. com



Mobile Alabama Pecan Festival. Live music, crafts and vendors, food and games, midway rides, carnival games, antique vehicles and a model railroad. Free admission and free parking at W.C. Griggs Elementary School.



Gardendale 2022 Christmas Arts and Crafts Show at the Gardendale Civic Center, 857 Main St. 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday. Free admission and parking. More than 80 booths of arts and crafts.

Union Springs “A Tuna Christmas” at the Red Door Theatre. This delight for all seasons is performed by two quickchanging comedians and tells the yuletide stories of Tuna, the third-smallest town in Texas. Visit for information on tickets, performance times and evening optional seated dinners.


Fairhope Barnwell Community Day. The farming community of Barnwell is holding its second community day at the historic schoolhouse (now a community center), 13319 County Road 3. 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Free. Live entertainment, dedication of historic marker, arts and crafts vendors, bake sale, bounce house, inflatable axe throwing, tractor displays, face painting, restoration updates and more.


Pike Road 57th annual Pike Road Arts and Crafts Fair at the historic Marks House, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Vendors sell decorative crafts, jewelry, mixed media art, paintings, photography, pottery and ceramics. Barbecue, home baked goods, sweets and more will be for sale. Children’s corner has hands-on crafts for little ones. $5 per person; children under 8 free (cash only).


Springville Homestead Hollow Arts and Crafts Christmas in the Country, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Fine arts, handmade crafts, pioneer demonstrations, tours of original cabins built by early settlers, children’s activities, food from the food court and more. Adults $10, ages 3-12 $5 and under 2 free. Free parking.


Foley Chocolate and Cheese Festival, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. at Heritage Park. $5 admission; ages 12 and under free. Chocolatiers, vendors selling chocolate, cheese and other food items, live music, arts and crafts, chocolate martinis, large kids’ zone and more. Contests throughout the afternoon include cheese toss, chocolate cheesecake eating, chocolate toss, beer stein holding and guess the cheese.


Bay Minette 40th annual Christmas Fest, Baldwin County Courthouse Square. Vendors, food, music, twilight parade, kids’ activities, entertainment, performances, ping pong prize drop and more. Search for the event’s page on Facebook.


Demopolis 50th annual Christmas on the River. Features a 5K run, state barbecue championship, Fair in the Square (featuring arts and crafts, retail merchants and food vendors), day parade, nautical parade and fireworks.

To place an event, e-mail events@alabamaliving. coop. 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 NOVEMBER 2022 29
November | Around Alabama Like Alabama Living on facebook Follow Alabama Living on Twitter @Alabama_Living
An oyster tasting on the lawn at the Wharf on Nov. 19 will showcase the many sides of the oyster industry along the Gulf Coast. PHOTO BY COLETTE BOEHM

Garlic gratitude: Time to plant this flavorful crop

Garlic is an essential ingredient in virtually every cuisine around the globe and in every savory dish we cook, yet we rarely have a chance to fully appreciate just how delicious fresh, home grown garlic can be. That’s an easy fix, though, and this is a great month to fix it.

Native to central Asia, garlic has been cherished for its culinary and medicinal qualities for thousands of years and is one of our oldest horticultural crops so hundreds of named garlic varieties are available, many of which are suitable for home gardens.

Garlic varieties typically fall into two classifications — hardnecks and softnecks. Hardneck garlics, which are so named be cause their stems are stiff and inflexible, generally grow best in colder climates and produce larger bulbs with stronger fla vors. Softneck garlics, which tend to grow better in warmer climates, produce softer, more pliable stems and smaller bulbs with milder flavors. Within each of these cat egories, however, are myriad varieties of fering flavors ranging from hot and spicy to buttery and nutty so there’s lots of de liciousness to explore in the garlic world.

Though often touted as an easy crop to grow here in Alabama, garlic isn’t al ways fool proof, so I asked someone with hands-on garlic-growing experience for a few hints.

That someone is Sabrina Mauro, co-owner of Wicked Garlic LLC in Ar dmore, Alabama. She and her husband, Adam, began growing organic garlic eight years ago for their family and last year decided to turn that hobby into a small farming business. They just completed their first year of selling their products, which include fresh garlic, garlic seed and powders, at farmers markets and online.

According to Sabrina, the primary rule for garlic growing success in Alabama is understanding its growing season.

“A lot of people don’t realize that you need to plant garlic in the fall and let it grow for nine months,” she said. That

means planting it anytime from October through December in most parts of the state and into January and February in south Alabama.

Choosing the right variety is also im portant, she said, and the Mauros exper imented to figure out what worked best. “We planted three varieties of soft necks, which did great,” she said. “Then we de cided to do some hard necks, and they did great, too.”

The Mauros’ tried-and-true varieties, which she said will grow well throughout the state, are softeneck garlics Lorz Ital ian, Silver white and Inchelium red and the hardneck variety Chesnok red. But Sabrina plans to keep experimenting with other varieties including elephant garlic (which is actually a leek) and she recom mends home gardeners start with reliable varieties but also experiment with a new ones, too.

The good news is, it’s easy to plant sever al varieties at a time because garlic doesn’t require much space. The Mauros plant in raised beds on a five-by-five-inch grid and two inches deep but garlic can also be planted in pots and other containers.

While there’s lots more to learn about growing garlic (see resources below), Sa brina offered a few basic tips to get started.

• Use a loose, well-drained soil and provide garlic six to eight hours of sunlight a day.

• Keep beds or containers well weeded.

• Harvest, usually in late May or June, after stems turn yellow about onethird up stalk.

• Save biggest bulbs to replant cloves next year.

• Try to buy seed early (May or June if possible) and grown in the South so it will be adapted to the region.

To learn more about growing garlic in Alabama and the Southeast, check out “Add Garlic to Your Garden” (publica tion ANR-1093) at, the South ern Exposure Seed Exchange’s article on growing garlic at southernexposure. com/garlic-growing-guide/ or follow the Mauros on social media (they’re on Facebook and Instagram). Then enjoy the deliciousness!


• Plant carrots, beets and radishes.

• Prepare and store lawn and garden equipment and tools for winter.

• Get soil tests for garden plots and lawns.

• Turn the compost pile.

• Bring potted plants into the house or place in protected area before the first hard freeze.

• Plant leafy greens such as lettuce, arugula and spinach.

• Plant spring-blooming bulbs.

• Plant pansies and other cool-season annual flowers and bedding plants.

• Keep bird feeders cleaned and filled.

30 NOVEMBER 2022 | Gardens |
Katie Jackson is a freelance writer and editor based in Opelika, Alabama. Contact her at
Alabama Living NOVEMBER 2022 31



Joy Sorensen is president of Majestic Caverns, the family-owned business in Childersburg that was formerly known as DeSoto Cav erns. As a child, she grew up near the caverns which have been in her family for more than 100 years. Her parents, Allen and Danielle Mathis, opened up the caves to the public in 1975 as a tourist attraction. Today, Joy and her husband, Jared, are the fifth generation to manage the caverns. She attended Taylor Universi ty in Indiana where she gained a passion for travel and history. After college, she had her own photography business in Chicago, backpacked in Australia, and upon returning to the states met and married her husband. The pair worked as photographers in New York City before returning to Alabama in 2013 to help manage the caverns. — Lenore Vickrey

Tell us about your early involvement with Majestic Caverns. Anyone who has grown up in a family business knows that heartaches and successes are shared and hard-work is a team effort. I remember when I was 5, my father had a Native American Festival at the cave and mentioned wanting more booths. So my brother and I came up with a plan and the next day we had booths next to each other, his selling dream-catchers and mine selling seashell rib bon necklaces. For nearly a decade, I continued hav ing my own booth at every festival, and at 7, I also started working several hours a week packaging and mailing marketing materials. When I turned 11, I was so proud to be able to work some of the cave attractions and get to serve our guests in a more personal way. For many years, I also had the pleasure of going on cave convention trips with my family where I developed a deeper love and appreciation for caves as I explored unique caverns and listened to cave experts from around the world. Years later, Jared and I were married and working in NYC when I had a major back injury. We came to Alabama to see some gifted spinal doc tors and during our visit Jared heard God call us to work at the caverns. I’ll never forget when I came home from an MRI and he told me he had something big he wanted me to pray about. He then told me that he believed God had spoken to him about moving here and working at the cav erns. It brought me to tears because although I had lived in many places, no place felt like home the way the caverns had. We moved to Alabama in 2013 and have loved working in our family business ever since.

Why was the name changed from DeSoto Caverns?

We knew we needed to change the name years ago, as many guests would assume we were located

within DeSoto State Park, which is around two hours northeast. It wasn’t until 2018 that the caverns were named as the Most Histor ic Caverns in the nation by the National Cave Association. When President George Washington heard about the caverns he listed it as the first cave on record in the United States. In searching for the right name, we believed it deserved a title that both honored its history as well as adequately described its unique beauty. As we researched historical documents, we noticed that a consistent description used about the caverns was majestic. As exciting new accolades were given to the cave, including being named one of the top caves to visit in the United States, we felt it was time to rename it. It has always been majestic. Now it’s simply official.

What’s the most fascinating thing our readers should know about Majestic Caverns?

If people are looking for a family friendly buck et-list cave to visit, this is it! Not only because it’s the Most Historic Caverns in the Nation, but also because it has one of the top rated underground laser light shows on every tour. It features a vast col lection of unique formations and contains the largest accumulation of gemstone quality onyx in the U.S. For Alabama foodies, our delicious house-made fudge has been named one of the Top 100 Dishes to Eat in Alabama by the Alabama Tourism Department. Oprah named our park one of the wackiest parks in Ameri ca because of its many unique attractions. Any hesitant firsttime visitors won’t have to squeeze through small spaces, as its massive cathedral room could house a 10-story building and a football field inside.

How do you spend your spare time?

Jared and I have two daughters that are 2 and 3, so spare time is limited!

But, when I am not singing songs or playing house with my girls, I enjoy listening to podcasts, reading, and do ing yoga while my daugh ters climb on me, and eating sushi or Mexican food with Jared. I still carry my love of travel and adventure, so I also enjoy planning our next family trip! To me, there is no better experience than sharing what I love, and I am grateful I get to do that both at work and at home.

| Alabama People | Joy Sorensen
joy of running a
business 32 NOVEMBER 2022

Co-ops unite for a good cause

Ayear ago this month, electric utility lineman Chad Morris lost his life while working to restore power to members.

For his family, as well as his extended Southern Pine EC family, the loss was unimaginable.

Morris’ death is a heartbreaking reminder that this industry can be dangerous and unforgiving. Despite a tremendous daily focus on safety by all of our cooperatives, serious injuries and death do happen. When they do, the Fallen Linemen Organiza tion, a non-profit based in Louisiana, can step in to help families with unexpected costs.

As a way to give back to this organization – and as a way to honor the memory of their friend and colleague – Southern Pine EC reached out to neighboring rural electric cooperatives to cre ate a charity softball tournament, which they called Home Runs for Heroes. The response was far more than the co-op had anticipated.

“It was overwhelming,” says Vince Johnson, Southern Pine general manager. Seven co-ops in Alabama and the Florida Panhan dle responded and fielded teams (and brought along families and supporters) to the Brewton Area YMCA Sports Park on Sept. 24. Baldwin EMC, Black Warrior EMC, Covington EC, Pea River EC, PowerSouth Energy Cooperative, Escambia River EC and Gulf Coast EC brought teams, and Southern Pine fielded two teams of their own.

“I think everybody can identify with the cause,” Johnson says. “It is a good cause. Unfortunately, some of the co-ops have had experience with this organization. It’s fortunate to have it, but it’s unfortunate to have to use it.”

The co-ops raised $20,000, all of which will be donated to the Fallen Linemen Organization. Several sponsors also supported the effort.

For Southern Pine, the organizational effort was much like an annual meeting – everyone participates in some way. The conces sion stand, T-shirt sales and home run token sales were all espe cially popular.

And the event was a family affair. Chad’s brother, Dave, ware house/stores/purchasing manager for Covington EC, attended, as did several other family members, including Chad and Dave’s mom, Amy Morris.

“He loved life, he loved peo ple, and he loved his family, espe cially his girls,” Amy Morris says, remembering her son. “And he enjoyed his work. … He enjoyed taking care of people.”

Johnson says the success of this inaugural event convinced every one involved that the tournament will continue next year, and in the future could move around for oth er co-ops to host.

“We’ve created this living thing,” Johnson says. “Every dime they raise is for a good cause.”

Right, Chad Morris’ brother, Dave Morris, and their mom, Amy Morris, at the Home Runs for Heroes softball tournament. The event was held in memory of Chad, an electric lineman who lost his life a year ago. Below, The Gulf Coast EC and the Southern Pine EC teams faced off in the gold bracket playoff game. PHOTO BY ALLISON LAW
34 NOVEMBER 2022

Raising a kitten

PART TWO: Food and behaviors

This month we continue from the last column.

More on food: As we talked about in the last issue, we heavily favor wet food over dry. We buy the 12.5 oz tall cans (cheaper) of Halo, Nulo, Wellness, and maybe Friskies original chicken. You do not need to use these brands, but you can read the labels and use them as a starting point. Make any food switches slowly over 3-4 days.

I think it is useful to add some fiber (like wheatgrass) to their wet food. Our cats get a tiny bit of steamed broc coli, cauliflower, etc. mixed with their wet food. A profes sor at Iowa State University has shown that cats who eat a wider variety of food have a broader and healthier gut flora.

If you have an adult cat who is addicted to dry food, check out this excellent article:

Indoor vs. outdoor: We like cats to be strictly indoors for three reasons:

a. It is very painful to lose a cat we love so much and invested our heart into  b. Cats cause havoc on small native wildlife c. It is not that hard to provide them with a rich environment indoors!

Toys and scratching posts: times a crumpled-up piece of pa per can be the greatest toy for your cat. Many cats will learn to fetch. Six months ago, we went on a cat toy binge. The most enduring one seems to be a “cat fishing-toy.” They are quite inexpensive. There are many, many to try. Please AVOID the laser toys.

Cat trees are a must, as cats love high spaces. You can buy them at any pet store. How ever, for the creative folks, there is a dizzying amount of DIY cat stuff on YouTube. Do a search for “cat wall.”

Dangers: Cats have sensitive livers and cannot break down many chemicals. Things that are not toxic to us can be very toxic to them. One common example is Tylenol. And check out the names of your house plants on the Internet to see if they are safe for cats. Also please be very careful with string toys, rubber bands etc. If a string gets caught on a cat’s tongue,

they cannot get it out. So, the string goes down their stomach. The only way to get the string out is surgery, and these surgeries take a while to perform and can be hard on the intestinal tract.

Scratching and declawing: What can I say? Don’t declaw your cat! That is so 1990s! Declawing is like cutting off the last part of your fingers. There are many resources on the Internet about how to deal with scratching issues. Microfiber seems to work well to discourage scratching. The following link is a very good starting common-cat-behavior-issues/de structive-scratching

Spay and neuter: It is highly likely that your kitten is the product of a cat who was not spayed on time. It is of great importance to spay/ neuter cats. Most vets will spay/neuter cats when they are at least 3 months old and over 3 pounds. For an indoor cat, it is better to wait longer. Cats can get pregnant when they are still nursing.

Giving cats medicine: Cats are sensitive creatures. We want to go out of our way so as not to hurt their feel ings. If we reach the point where it be comes a “battle,” then we will not want to continue giving them meds. Our goal is to cultivate peace and harmony.  In case of war, ev

There are two ways to get a pill (or liquid) in a cat, either directly by mouth or by mixing it with their food. You can use a Pet Piller. Even better than pilling is giving their meds with their food, espe cially for long-term medica tion like methimazole. Start early when they are young. Get them used to wet food. Keep changing brands and flavors so that they do not get used to only ONE kind of food. Then, start getting them used to “other things” in their food.

For a young cat, you can start by mushing in some steamed broccoli. We add liquid children’s vitamins to our young cat’s food. There is no reason you cannot follow that same protocol for an older cat.

It is extremely important to start slow with the medicines and herbs. I mean slow! My cat gets four drops of methimazole twice daily, but I started by mixing even less than a drop into her food and slowly built up to four drops.

Goutam Mukherjee, DVM, MS, Ph.D. (Dr. G) has been a veterinarian for more than 30 years. He owns High Falls Holistic Veterinary Care near Geraldine, Alabama. To suggest topics for future discussions, email him at
Alabama Living NOVEMBER 2022 37

Efficiency tips for a festive holiday season

A:The holidays are a magical time when we come together with our loved ones to share food, gifts and quality time. It’s also the most expensive time of year for many of us. Along with the expense of gifts, meals and travel comes colder weather and darker nights that lead to more electricity use and higher bills.

One way to reduce the financial burden of the most wonderful time of year is by implementing efficiency tips to use less energy at home and lower your monthly bills.

Home practices

If you are hosting guests, your household will consume more electricity than normal. Be pre pared with efficiency basics:

• Have your thermostat pro grammed at 68 degrees when you are home and dialed back 8 to 10 degrees when you leave the house or go to sleep.

• Run the clothes washer on cold with full loads.

• When not in use, turn off lights and the TV; fully shut down computers and gaming systems instead of putting them in sleep or standby mode.

• Lower the thermostat when guests are over or cook ing food. Most gatherings happen in the center of the home, so save energy by turning the heat down in areas you are not using.

Cooking efficiency

Whether you are making hol iday treats or a feast, here are a few tips to help lower energy use in the kitchen.

Use the oven light to check food. Every time the oven door is opened, the temperature inside is reduced by up to 25 degrees, according to the Department of Energy (DOE). When possible,

make use of a slow cooker, microwave, toaster oven or warming plate, which use less energy than an oven and stovetop. Accord ing to DOE, a toaster oven can use up to half the energy of the average electric stove over the same cooking time.

Let hot food cool to room temperature before placing it inside the refrigerator. This ensures you don’t increase the temperature inside your fridge and cause it to use more energy to cool down. You can also take some of the stress and expense out of your hol iday cooking by asking guests to bring a dish.

Holiday lighting

This year, make the switch to LEDs for all your holiday lighting. LED holiday lights consume 70% less energy than conventional incandescent light strands. For example, it costs 27 cents to light a 6-foot tree for 12 hours a day for 40 days with LEDs compared to $10 for in candescent lights.

Pick up a few light timers so you don’t have to remember to unplug your lights every eve ning. You can also choose to up grade to smart holiday lights that offer a wide range of app-con trolled options, including time, colors, music and modes.

Out-of-town efficiency

If you’re visiting family and friends during the holidays, prepare your home to use less energy while you’re away.

Water heating is the sec ond-largest energy expense in your home, accounting for about 18% of your utility bill, according to DOE. Switching your water heater to vacation mode will reduce wasted energy by keeping the water at a lower temperature. If your water heat er does not have vacation mode on the dial, you can adjust it to the lowest setting.

Set your thermostat to around 55 degrees so you’re not wasting energy to heat the home while you’re away.

Instead of leaving lights on all day, consider upgrading a lamp or fixture to a smart lightbulb. This allows you to control lights from afar and set a schedule for the light to go on and off. Anoth er option is to repurpose your holiday light timer for one of your living room lamps.

Lower your energy bills this holiday season with these simple efficiency tips. Happy holidays!

38 NOVEMBER 2022 | Consumer Wise |
Q: How can I save energy at home during the holiday season?
Miranda Boutelle is the vice president of operations and customer engagement at Efficiency Services Group in Oregon, a cooperatively owned energy efficiency company. She also writes on energy efficiency topics for the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association, the national trade association representing more than 900 local electric cooperatives. LED holiday lights consume 70% less energy than conventional incandescent light strands. Consider updating your decorations this holiday season. PHOTO COURTESY MARK GILLILAND, PIONEER UTILITY RESOURCES
Alabama Living NOVEMBER 2022 39

State sets aside days, acres for disabled sportsmen

maintained gravel road so people can drive right up to it in a car and unload.”

Hunters will be selected on a first-come, first-served basis. Hunt ers may only apply for one hunt during the season. Sportsmen with disabilities should check out the Alabama Physically Disabled Hunting and Fishing Trail at and hover over “hunting,” then “physically disabled hunting and fishing trail.”

Field trials

Formerly the State Cattle Ranch under the Department of Cor rections, the entire M. Barnett Lawley Forever Wild Field Trial Area covers about 4,300 acres. Primarily used for upland bird and retriever dog competitions, the tract includes 3,342 acres of Black Belt prairie habitat.

The state of Alabama designated some days and acres just for sportsmen with disabilities to hunt deer at no cost in prime Black Belt Region whitetail country. The special hunting days for physically disabled hunters will be at the M. Barnett Law ley Forever Wild Field Trial Area, 1132 County Road 73 southwest of Greensboro in Hale County.

“The main purpose of this property is as a field trial area for bird dogs, but it has a very good, stable deer population,” says Jer emy Doss of the State Lands Division of the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources in Montgomery. “Of all the properties that State Lands manages, this is at the top of the heap for deer.”

The tract also contains mixed young pine and hardwoods strands. The area designated for the physically disabled hunts cov ers about 500 acres of forests punctuated by green-field feeding areas for deer.

“The 500 acres set aside as an area for physically disabled hunt ers is only open to hunters with physical disabilities,” Doss says. “Within that area, we have four shooting houses accessible to physically disabled sportsmen. Green fields are associated with each of those shooting houses.”

To participate, people need to sign up for designated days. Hunts for sportsmen with physical disabilities will be Nov. 23 and 30; Dec. 14, 17, 21 and 28; and Jan. 4, 7, 11, 18, 21 and 25. Each person selected can bring a non-hunting guest, but that helper cannot shoot.

“The shooting houses are quite large and at ground level,” Doss says. “They are ADA-compliant with plenty of room for a disabled hunter and an assistant. Every shooting house is right along a

People come from all over the nation and even overseas to par ticipate in field trials held on this property. Field trials usually last three to five days. Many people come to watch the dogs in action. This creates a major economic impact for the local area during these trials.

When conducting a field trial, organizers bring in pen-raised birds. The event staff releases the birds for the dogs to find. For merly a commercial catfish farm, the property also holds 32 ponds used for retriever trials with pen-raised ducks.

“The property does have some native quail, but not a lot,” Doss says. “Commercially raised birds are very susceptible to preda tion. One of our goals is to build up the native quail population on the property. We do considerable prescribed burning and habitat management to encourage the native ecosystem.”

Youth hunts

The area also schedules youth hunts for deer, waterfowl and doves on designated days. Deer hunts during the 2022-23 season will be on Nov. 19, 23 and 30; Dec. 14, 17, 21 and 28; and Jan. 4, 7, 11, 18, 21 and 25. Duck hunts for wild birds will be Dec. 14, 17, 21 and 28 and Jan. 7, 11, 21 and 25. To register for a hunt, see

“Every year, we have a big youth dove hunt or two,” Doss says. “Some very good deer were taken off the property over the years. Some deer killed during the youth hunts are unreal. Many water fowl come into the area every year. A tremendous number of peo ple put in for youth deer and duck hunts, but we can only accom modate so many people. We’re looking for quality over quantity hunts.”

Other recreational opportunities

People can also fish for free on designated days at two catfish and two bass ponds on the tract. Bird watchers can also use the property, but they must call at least 24 hours in advance because other scheduled events might determine where they can go.

For more information about the M. Barnett Lawley Forever Wild Field Trial Area, visit and hover over “tracts,” then click on M. Barnett Lawley FW Field Trial Area. For information on hunting the area, call Brae Buckner with the ADCNR State Lands Division at (334) 868-1684 or email brae.

40 NOVEMBER 2022 | Outdoors |
John N. Felsher is a professional freelance writer who lives in Semmes, Ala. He also hosts an outdoors tips show for WAVH FM Talk 106.5 radio station in Mobile, Ala. Contact him at j.felsher@ or through Facebook.
A young sportsman watches as a deer falls while hunting with an experienced veteran. The state of Alabama will hold hunts for sportsmen with disabilities and youths at the M. Barnett Lawley Forever Wild Field Trial Area in Hale County.



Fr 18 7:30 - 9:30 7:54 - 9:54

1:57 - 3:27 2:21 - 3:51

Sa 19 8:18 - 10:18 8:42 - 10:42 2:45 - 4:15 3:09 - 4:39

Su 20 9:06 - 11:06 9:30 - 11:30 3:33 - 5:03 3:57 - 5:27

Mo 21 9:54 - 11:54 10:18 - 12:18 4:21 - 5:51 4:45 - 6 ;15

Tu 22 10:18 - 12:18 10:42 - 12:42 4:48 - 6:28 5:11 - 6:41

We 23 10:42 - 12:42 11:06 - 1:06 FULL MOON 5:09 - 6:39 5:33 - 7:03

Th 24 11:30 - 1:30 11:54 - 1:54 5:57 - 7:27 6:21 - 7:51

Fr 25 NA 12:42 - 2:42 6:45 - 8:15 7:09 - 8:39

Sa 26 1:06 - 3:06 1:30 - 3:30 7:33 - 9:03 7:57 - 9:27

Su 27 1:54 - 3:54 2:18 - 4:18 8:21 - 9:51 8:45 - 10:15

Mo 28 2:42 - 4:42 3:06 - 5:06 9:09 - 10:39 9:33 - 11:03

Tu 29 3:30 - 5:30 3:54 - 5:54 9:57 - 11:27 10:21 - 11:51

We 30 4:18 - 6:18 4:42 - 6:42 10:45 - 12:15 11:09 - 12:39


Th 1 5:06 - 7:06 5:30 - 7:30 11:33 - 1:03 11:57 - 1:27

Fr 2 5:54 - 7:54 6:18 - 8:18 NA 12:45 - 2:15

Sa 3 6:42 - 8:42 7:06 - 9:06 1:09 - 2:39 1:33 - 3:03

Su 4 7:30 - 9:30 7:54 - 9:54 1:57 - 3:27 2:21 - 3:51

Mo 5 8:18 - 10:18 8:42 - 10:42 2:45 - 4:15 3:09 - 4:39

Tu 6 9:06 - 11:06 9:30 - 11:30 3:33 - 5:03 3:57 - 5:27

We 7 9:54

The Moon Clock and resulting Moon Times were developed 40 years ago by Doug Hannon, one of America’s most trusted wildlife experts and a tireless inventor. The Moon Clock is produced by DataSport, Inc. of Atlanta, GA, a company specializing in wildlife activity time prediction. To order the 2022 Moon Clock, go to

Alabama Living NOVEMBER 2022 41
- 11:54 10:18 - 12:18 4:21 - 5:51 4:45 - 6 ;15 Th 8 10:42 - 12:42 11:06 - 1:06 FULL MOON 5:09 - 6:39 5:33 - 7:03 Fr 9 11:30 - 1:30 11:54 - 1:54 5:57 - 7:27 6:21 - 7:51 Sa 10 NA 12:42 - 2:42 6:45 - 8:15 7:09 - 8:39 Su 11 1:06 - 3:06 1:30 - 3:30 7:33 - 9:03 7:57 - 9:27 Mo 12 1:54 - 3:54 2:18 - 4:18 8:21 - 9:51 8:45 - 10:15 Tu 13 2:42 - 4:42 3:06 - 5:06 9:09 - 10:39 9:33 - 11:03 We 14 3:30 - 5:30 3:54 - 5:54 9:57 - 11:27 10:21 - 11:51 Th 15 4:18 - 6:18 4:42 - 6:42 10:45 - 12:15 11:09 - 12:39 Fr 16 5:06 - 7:06 5:30 - 7:30 11:33 - 1:03 11:57 - 1:27 Sa 17 5:54 - 7:54 6:18 - 8:18 NA 12:45 - 2:15 Su 18 6:42 - 8:42 7:06 - 9:06 1:09 - 2:39 1:33 - 3:03 Mo 19 7:30 - 9:30 7:54 - 9:54 1:57 - 3:27 2:21 - 3:51 Tu 20 8:18 - 10:18 8:42 - 10:42 2:45 - 4:15 3:09 - 4:39 We 21 9:06 - 11:06 9:30 - 11:30 3:33 - 5:03 3:57 - 5:27 Th 22 9:54 - 11:54 10:18 - 12:18 4:21 - 5:51 4:45 - 6 ;15 Fr 23 10:42 - 12:42 11:06 - 1:06 NEW MOON 5:09 - 6:39 5:33 - 7:03 Sa 24 11:30 - 1:30 11:54 - 1:54 5:57 - 7:27 6:21 - 7:51 Su 25 NA 12:42 - 2:42 6:45 - 8:15 7:09 - 8:39 Mo 26 1:06 - 3:06 1:30 - 3:30 7:33 - 9:03 7:57 - 9:27 Tu 27 1:54 - 3:54 2:18 - 4:18 8:21 - 9:51 8:45 - 10:15 We 28 2:42 - 4:42 3:06 - 5:06 9:09 - 10:39 9:33 - 11:03 Th 29 3:30 - 5:30 3:54 - 5:54 9:57 - 11:27 10:21 - 11:51 Fr 30 4:18 - 6:18 4:42 - 6:42 10:45 - 12:15 11:09 - 12:39 Sa 31 5:06 - 7:06 5:30 - 7:30 11:33 - 1:03 11:57 - 1:27

Talking turkey

Nothing says Thanksgiving dinner like a delicious roasted turkey. But after everyone has given thanks, eaten their fill, and you’ve already made plans for turkey sandwiches the next day, what else can you do with those turkey leftovers? Our readers sent us some tasty ideas, from pot pies to salads. Enjoy, and remember how thankful we are to have food on our tables. Please consider helping those less fortunate this holiday season.

| Alabama Recipes |
Food styling and photos: Brooke Echols Turkey Biscuit Stew
42 NOVEMBER 2022

Cook of the Month: Nancy Sizemore, Baldwin EMC

Thanksgiving at Nancy Sizemore’s Gulf Shores home usually means a turkey cooked by her husband on the grill, and lots of leftovers. One of her favorite recipes to use up some of that leftover bird is her winning recipe for Turkey Biscuit Stew. “I’m a recipe collector and I found this in some of my mother’s old recipes,” she says. “I added the Cajun seasoning” for a little personal twist. She uses Tony Chachere’s seasoning or one made by Café Acadiana in nearby Silverhill. She also makes it during non-holiday times. The former educational technology sales executive is putting together a friends and family cookbook and has almost 100 recipes collected. We’re betting the Turkey Biscuit Stew will be included.

Turkey Biscuit Stew

1/3 cup onion, chopped

1 clove garlic, minced

¼ cup butter

1/3 cup flour

1½ cups chicken broth

¾ cup milk or half and half

½ teaspoon Cajun seasoning, more if desired

¼ teaspoon black pepper

2 cups cooked turkey

1 cup frozen peas

1 cup small carrot pieces, cooked

1 tube buttermilk biscuits

In a cast iron skillet sauté onion and garlic in butter until translucent. Add flour, broth, milk, Cajun seasoning and black pepper. Bring to a boil and cook for 3-5 minutes until gravy starts to form. Add turkey and vegetables. Top with biscuits that have been separated. Bake at 375 degrees for 20-25 minutes until biscuits are golden brown.

Coming up next...

March Pizza

Deadline to enter December 2

More upcoming themes and deadlines:

April: Biscuits | January 6

May: Healthy Substitutions | February 3

Visit our website:

Email us:

USPS mail: Attn: Recipes, P.O. Box 244014 Montgomery, AL 36124

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

Plan ahead

Before placing your turkey in the oven, or on the grill, be sure you’re ready. Visit food-safety/plan-aheadto-ensure-your-turkeyis-ready-to-roast/.

Store safely

How long can we keep cooked turkey in our refrigerators safely? The USDA recommends using cooked turkey within 3 to 4 days, kept refrigerated (40 degrees F or less). Refrig eration slows, but does not stop, bacterial growth.

Source: Alabama Cooperative Extension System

Get creative

Creative ways to use leftover cooked turkey: The Auburn Cookbook, a favorite since 1962, offers a recipe for a Turkey Pita, according to Helen Jones, Regional Extension Agent, Alabama Cooperative Exten sion System. You can also find an easy recipe for Turkey Spin ach Wrap and Balsamic Roasted Turkey Salad in the Live Well recipes collection at blog/category/home-family/ nutrition/live-well-alabama/ live-well-recipes/

Turkey nutrition

Turkey, low in fat and high in protein, is an inexpen sive source of iron, zinc, phosphorus, potassium and B vitamins. MyPlate. gov suggests 2 to 3 servings from the meat group each day. A 3 1/2 -ounce portion of turkey is about the size and thickness of a new deck of cards. The fat and calorie content varies because white meat has less fat and fewer calories than dark meat and skin.

Alabama Living NOVEMBER 2022 43

Tired of the same old glaze for your holiday turkey or ham?

We’ve got you covered. By using some delicious southern fig and strawberry preserves, you can take your glaze game to a whole new level. Add in a little lemon and seasonings and all of those sweet components are balanced out perfectly. You could easily use this glaze with your leftover turkey slices, either on the side or as a dressing for a sandwich! For this recipe and many more, visit

Strawberry and Fig Preserve Turkey Glaze

¼ cup strawberry preserves

¼ cup fig preserves

1½ tablespoons lemon juice

2 teaspoons lemon zest

1 or 2 teaspoons ground sage

1 or 2 teaspoons smoked paprika Salt and pepper, to taste

In a small bowl or the bowl of a food proces sor, add both preserves, lemon juice, zest, sage, smoked paprika, salt and pepper. Mix well with an immersion blender or a food processor until smooth and combined.

During the last 30 minutes of cooking time for your turkey, apply half of the glaze to the skin of the bird. Cook according to direc tions for 15 minutes. Apply remaining half of glaze and return to the oven for another 15 minutes. Allow for rest time, then carve and serve. You can also reserve a small amount of the glaze to use as a sauce and for leftovers.

Turkey Dijon Pasta

2-2½ cup leftover turkey, chopped

2 tablepoons flour

2 tablepoons Dijon mustard

2 tablepoons white wine (Moscato recommended)

½ teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon pepper, or to taste

½ cup half and half or light cream

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 garlic clove, minced

1 small red pepper, chopped

1 small onion, chopped

¾ cup frozen peas, thawed

1 box penne pasta, cooked to directions

2 cups chicken broth Cherry tomatoes, halved (optional)

For sauce: In a small bowl stir togeth er flour, Dijon mustard, white wine, salt and pepper until smooth. Slowly stir in half-and-half or light cream until well mixed. Set aside. Pour cooking oil into a wok or large skillet. (Add more oil as necessary during cooking). Preheat over medium-high heat. Stir-fry garlic in hot oil for 15 seconds. Add sweet pepper and onions; stir-fry for 7-10 minutes until they have browned a bit. Remove vegetables from the wok. Add turkey to the hot wok. Stir-fry for 2 to 3 minutes until it's well heated, then add the chicken broth until it's bub bling. Slowly pour in cream mixture, stirring constantly. Cook and stir until thickened and bubbly. Return cooked vegetables to the wok. Add thawed peas. Stir all ingredients together to coat with sauce. Cook and stir for 1 to 2 minutes more or until heated. Add cooked pasta and toss gently. Garnish with cherry tomatoes.

After the Holidays Salad

2 cups turkey, diced

1 cup pineapple chunks, well drained

1 cup celery, diced

cup green onion, sliced

cup dry roasted peanuts

1 cup seedless green grapes

2/3 cup mayonnaise

1 tablespoon lime juice

½ teaspoon curry powder

¼ teaspoon salt

Toss turkey, pineapple, celery, green onions, peanuts and grapes. In a small bowl, combine remaining ingredients. Pour over turkey mixture and mix gently. Chill and serve over bed of lettuce.

Turkey Enchilada Casserole

3 cups of cooked turkey, shredded

1½ cups sour cream

1 can cream of chicken soup

½ cup turkey/chicken broth or milk

1 small can diced green chilies

1 16-ounce jar salsa (red or green), tomato sauce can be substituted for salsa

6-8 flour tortillas, cut into pieces

16-ounces Colby-jack cheese, shred ded

Cilantro or green onion tops, for garnish

In large bowl, stir together sour cream, soup, broth or milk, green chilies and salsa. Stir well, making sure the sauce is well blended. Place enough of the sauce to lightly cover the bottom of a 9x13-inch baking dish. Place half of the cut tortillas over the sauce. Top tortillas with half of the shredded turkey, then top the turkey with half of the shredded cheese. Pour half of the sauce over the cheese and start over with the layers, ending with the remaining cheese. Cook in a preheated oven for 30 to 40 minutes or until cheese is melted and the casserole is hot and bubbly. Let casserole rest for 10 minutes before serving. Garnish with cilantro or green onions. Cook’s note: This is a great make ahead dish! You can make this the day before and then cook it right before you serve it. I also freeze this casserole uncooked. Just thaw completely before cooking and bake according to the directions.

Brooke Burks Photo by The Buttered Home
44 NOVEMBER 2022
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Enjoy camping at one of TVA’s Camp-Right Campgrounds in Alabama.

‘Camp-Right’ this fall

As Alabamians know, fall is a beautiful season here. We are fortunate to have the opportunity to enjoy the changing of the leaves, spending time in the woods and camping under the stars. Some campground operators go the extra mile to preserve the environment for future generations.

TVA’s Camp-Right Campgrounds program recognizes those campgrounds on TVA land that are committed to environmen tally responsible practices and share our passion for protecting the environment.

Decatur Wheeler Lake KOA: The inviting waters of Wheeler Lake surround this campsite, which is located on a peninsula filled with native trees. The campgrounds offer RV and tent sites, bike rentals and a boat ramp, among other amenities.

44 County Road 443 Hillsboro, Ala. 35643

(256) 280-4390

Elliott Branch Campground: Do you want some modern conveniences when you camp? This campground offers cabins that feature wireless internet, large living areas with satellite TV and kitchens. At the same time, you will be surrounded by nature and plenty of outdoor activities to enjoy.

325 Elliott Branch Road Hodges, Ala. 35571

(256) 627-1538

To become certified as a Tennessee Valley Camp-Right Camp ground, a campground voluntarily meets high stewardship stan dards with environmentally friendly campground management, and camping practices related to energy efficiency, water conser vation, natural resource protection, plant and tree management practices and others.

Here in Alabama, we have several Camp-Right Campgrounds to enjoy.

Horseshoe Bend Campground: A tran quil, secluded lake is a main attraction to this campground. The area features a pa vilion, boat ramp, bath house, water and electrical hookup, picnic tables, RV Access, a fishing pier and more.

2355 Horseshoe Bend Road Hodges, Ala. 35571 (205) 412-2430

Goose Pond Colony Resort: With two beautiful 18-hole championship golf courses, lakeside cottages, a waterfront campground and full-service marina, this campground offers something for everyone.

417 Ed Hembree Drive Scottsboro, Ala. 35769 (256) 912-0075

Honeycomb Campground: A great place to visit for the day or longer, with a full range of amenities for boating, canoeing, fishing, hiking and grilling.

188 Campground Road Grant, Ala. 35747 (256) 582-9882 honeycomb-campground

Piney Point Campground: Enjoy some volleyball surrounded by shady trees and all of the other amenities you would expect from a campground operated with careful environmental stewardship.

2696 Hwy 37 Vina, Ala. 35593 (256) 436-3018

Slickrock Campground: If you want to see a very scenic lake, this campground is the place to visit. The lake’s unique rock cut design is popular among visitors around the world.

170 Slickrock Camp Road Russellville, Ala. 35653 (205) 412-6503

Williams Hollow: This campground is designed for family fun with plenty of green grass to enjoy outdoor activities. Camp the old-fashioned way in a tent, or at a site with power and water hookups.

2258-3070 State Route 227 Spruce Pine, Ala. 35585 (256) 412-7564

48 NOVEMBER 2022 | Our Sources Say |
Kevin Chandler is general manager, Alabama District Customer Service, for the Tennessee Valley Authority.


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Land, Lots & Real Estate Sales



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Alabama Living NOVEMBER 2022 49 | Classifieds | Answers
to puzzle on Page 28
Closing Deadlines (in our office): January 2023 Issue by November 23 February 2023 Issue by December 23 March 2022 Issue by January 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. How To Place a Line Ad in Marketplace P.O. BOX 389, ADDISON, AL 35540 256-747-8178 • FAX: 256-747-8760 WE SELL: Steel Trusses • Hay Barns Lumber • Equipment Sheds Building Material Packages Painted Metal • Work Shops Insulation • Kneebraces Galvalume Metal STEEL TRUSS BUILDINGS BUILT TO YOUR SPECIFICATIONS CECIL PIGGCECIL PIGG STEEL TRUSS, INC.


Growing up in the 1950s, I began to notice how often the flags in front of the post office and the court house were drawn down to half-staff to remind us to remember something that happened on that particular date. It seemed, as I grew older, the lowering be came more frequent.

It was also then that I began to add to that commemoration the names and fac es of people I knew or had known, people from my family and community who had been part of what we should remember. At some point in all of this, I came across Max Gillis.

I never met him.

He was of my parents’ generation. But those who knew him remembered him as a splendid student, the president of the student body, and a varsity letterman in three sports who was voted “best looking” by his peers.

No one was surprised at all this. Coming from one of the most prominent families in the community, he was simply living up to expectations. So no one was likely surprised that when we heard the news of Pearl Harbor, Max Gillis enlisted and went to Officer Candidate School. Then, after completing his training, he was sent to France to do what he was meant to do – to be a leader.

Then the letter arrived.

To Mr. and Mrs. J F. Gillis Grove Hill, Alabama

I am writing you concerning your son, the late First Lieutenant Max Gillis.

Lieutenant Gillis was killed instantly in the vicinity of Cherbourg, France, on 24 June 1944, when struck by shrapnel in the chest and leg. His remains were reverently and properly interred in Grave 95, Row E, Plot F, Joyhawk Cemetery No. 2, St. Mere Eglise, France.

Permit me to express my heartfelt sym pathy in the death of your son.

Brigadier General Robert H. Dunlop

In 2022, the United States is once again sending young men like Max Gillis to for eign fields. And like Max Gillis, they car ry with them the hopes and dreams of so many. His sacrifice, their sacrifice, made and is making our country what it is today.

That is what we should remember.

50 NOVEMBER 2022 | Hardy Jackson's Alabama |
Harvey H. (Hardy) Jackson is retired Professor Emeritus at Jacksonville State University. He can be reached at
Illustration by Dennis Auth

Happy Thanksgiving from the Electric Cooperatives of Alabama

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