January 2023 Sand Mountain

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January 2023 Stories | Recipes | Events | People | Places | Things | Local News Experience our state from A to Z! Junior chefs in the kitchen Sand Mountain ELECTRIC COOPERATIVE

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.

FEATURES 4 Scholarship Opportunity

Food of the seasons

Jim Smith, known for his stint on “Top Chef” and as Alabama’s former state chef, enjoys letting the seasons speak through his food.

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Junior cooks

The love of cooking can begin at an early age, as you’ll see from some of the recipes submitted by our younger readers this month.

24 34 VOL. 76 NO. 1 JANUARY 2023 DEPARTMENTS 11 Spotlight 29 Around Alabama 32 Outdoors 33 Fish & Game Forecast 34 Cook of the Month 42 Hardy Jackson’s Alabama ONLINE: alabamaliving.coop 18 JANUARY 2023 3 WE WANT TO HEAR FROM YOU! ONLINE: www.alabamaliving.coop EMAIL: letters@alabamaliving.coop MAIL: Alabama Living 340 Technacenter Drive Montgomery, AL 36117
ILLUSTRATION:
Auth
trail Monroeville, long known as the literary capital of Alabama, is now also home to more than 25 murals that make up the smART Moves Mural Trail.
Alabama is blessed with an abundance of places and events worth exploring, so we decided to create an easy list, from Auburn landmarks to ziplines, from rockets to amusement parks, to inspire you to check them out in this new year!
Dennis
Mural
AREA
Karl
Editor Lenore Vickrey Managing Editor Allison Law Creative Director Mark Stephenson Art Director Danny Weston Advertising Director Jacob
Graphic Designer/Production Coordinator Brooke Echols
ALABAMA RURAL ELECTRIC ASSOCIATION
President
Rayborn
Johnson
REPRESENTATIVE:
MainStreet Publications
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1047-0311
Scholarship applications are now available from school counselors. 24
CEO/GENERAL
MANAGER Mark Malone CO-OP EDITOR Diane B. Hale

Board of Trustees

David Henderson Larry Godwin

Randy L. Bailey

Luke Freeman Roland Hendon Raymond C. Long Leo Bomian

SCHOLARSHIP OPPORTUNITY

402 Main Street West P.O. Box 277 Rainsville, AL 35986 (256) 638-4957 fax www.smec.coop

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

Danny Lacey Brad Gilbert facebook.com/SMEC.coop

The Electric Cooperative Foundation, Inc. was created in 1997 by the electric cooperatives of Alabama. In an effort to give back to the communities they serve, electric co-ops are providing scholarships for post-secondary and vocational education to accredited institutions for qualifying high school seniors.

SMEC is a founding member of this Foundation and in 2023 will award scholarships to local graduating seniors who are dependents of a co-op member in good standing. In all, SMEC will provide four scholarships in the amount of $1,000 each to the accredited college or vocational school of choice. Scholarships awarded are one time only and are not renewable.

Students may pick up an application packet from any local high school counselor or contact SMEC to request one.

Qualifying high school seniors must mail a completed application packet with all required attachments and submissions to the following address:

The Electric Cooperative Foundation, P.O. Box 244014, Montgomery, AL 36124

All completed applications must be received in the above Montgomery office by the close of business on Friday, February 17, 2023. NO EXCEPTIONS. NO POSTMARKS. Please note that the SMEC office in Rainsville will not accept completed scholarship applications.

4 JANUARY 2023 www.alabamaliving.coop

How can you save on heating costs this winter?

Most people like to pull up the covers at night when it’s cold outside. Add extra blankets, use flannel sheets and a thick comforter so that you can turn down your thermostat while you sleep. It also helps to use insulated or lined curtains to keep the cold air out; not only in your bedroom, but throughout your home.

Other energy-saving tips include:

• Get your heating system regularly maintained and serviced by a HVAC professional so that it is working at peak efficiency. Change the filter monthly.

• If you have a fireplace, keep the damper closed when not in use. If you do not use your fireplace, plug and seal the flume.

• Do not heat an empty home. A programmable or smart thermostat can help this become automatic. According to the Department of Energy, lowering the temperature by 7 to 10 degrees for 8 hours a day can reduce energy costs by up to 10 percent.

• A leaky house is expensive to heat. According to Energy.gov, sealing uncontrolled air leaks can save from $83 to $166 a year. Weather stripping double-hung windows can save $42 to $86 annually. Windows, doors, attics, attic access, outlets, walls and chimneys, as well as pipes entering or exiting your home are common sources of air leaks.

• Let the sun shine in your home during the day to use Mother Nature’s warmth. Close window coverings after dusk, however, to reduce heat loss.

• Consider turning down your water heater to 120 or 125°F. Also install a water heater blanket to help insulate it to give it a step up in warming your water.

STAY TOASTY AND WARM WHILE

TURNING DOWN THE THERMOSTAT

outside:

| Sand Mountain Electric | When the winter winds blow, it is tempting to adjust the thermostat up a few degrees to stay toasty and warm. However, turning to other (FREE!) ways to help keep you warm could help reduce your energy bills.
Use blankets while sitting still Keep a fireplace damper closed when not in use Bundle up by wearing layers and heavy socks Keep your furnace clean and change the filter monthly If you use a portable space heater, use it safely and for short amounts of time. Using one for extended periods can cause your energy bill to spike since it draws a lot of power. Each degree you reduce your thermostat saves 1% on your heating bill. No one home during the day? Adjust your thermostat 7 to 10 degrees from its normal setting to save up to 10% annually. Source: Department of Energy Get your body moving and stay active Caulk windows and door frames that leak air Replace or update old or ineffective door seals Make sure your home’s heating system is working properly Let the sun shine in during the day and close window coverings at night Humidify your home to make the air feel warmer Reduce how long you use ventilation fans (they transfer warm air outside)
Here are ways to help you stay warm when it is cold
Alabama Living JANUARY 2023 5

1. Use cold water to wash your clothes. 2. Unplug battery chargers when not in use. 3. Skip the heat-dry setting on your dishwasher. 4. Unplug appliances and electronics not in use. 5. Run full loads of laundry instead of several smaller ones.

6. When drying clothes, include a dry towel for the first 20 minutes. 7. Keep your refrigerator at 35° to 38°F and your freezer at 0°F. 8. Reduce the setting on your water heater. 9. Use smart power strips that shut off power to items not in use.

10. When buying new appliances, consider ENERGY STAR versions.

Election of Board of Trustees

The Sand Mountain Electric Cooperative annual meeting will be held on Saturday morning, April 15, 2023 at the DeKalb County Schools Coliseum in Rainsville. The purpose of the meeting is to transact business, including the election of trustees. The procedure for nominating members as candidates for the board of trustees is outlined in Article III of the cooperative’s bylaws.

The business of the cooperative is managed by a board of nine trustees that are elected at the annual meeting to serve three-year terms. To be eligible to serve as a trustee, cooperative members must reside in the district where a trustee’s term is expiring.

It is the duty of the board of trustees to appoint a nominations committee of five to 11 members to secure candidates representing the districts where needed. The nominations committee must be appointed within 60 to 120 days before the annual meeting date each year. This committee will post a list of at least two nominations for each district where trustee terms are expiring. The post will appear at the principal office of the cooperative at least 20 days before the meeting.

Additional nominations can be made by a petition of 15 or more members that must be received at the principal office of the cooperative no less than 45 days prior to the annual meeting. The petition must include their nominations in writing, along with each member’s signature. Any petitions will also be posted at the principal office of the cooperative.

$AVE 10 EASY WAYS TO
are 10 habits you can tweak to save energy:
Here
6 JANUARY 2023 www.alabamaliving.coop

PLEDGE TO SAVE ENERGY

It’s a new year, and that means it’s time to think about how you’ll make a positive impact in 2023! You can help the planet by saving energy at home and at school. Take the pledge to save energy this year by completing the form below. Post it on your refrigerator or at school to remind others about easy ways to save energy and help our environment.

I Pledge to Save Energy

Name:

I pledge to do my part to save energy and help our planet. Every day, I’ll do the following to save energy at home and/or at school.

My Daily Energy-Saving Plan:

Need some ideas to help you get started?

Here are a few easy ways you can save energy every day.

• Turn off all lights when you leave a room.

• Unplug phone and other device chargers when they’re not being used.

• Turn off running water while brushing your teeth.

• Remind family members to wash clothes in cold water.

• Turn off ceiling fans when you leave a room.

| Sand Mountain Electric |
1. 2. 3.
Alabama Living JANUARY 2023 7

SAND MOUNTAIN ELECTRIC COOPERATIVE STATEMENT OF NONDISCRIMINATION

Sand Mountain Electric Cooperative is the recipient of Federal financial assistance from the Rural Utilities Service, an agency of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

In accordance with Federal civil rights law and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) civil rights regulations and policies, the USDA, its Agencies , offices, and employees, and institutions participating in or administering USDA programs are prohibited from discriminating based on race, color, national origin, religion, sex, gender identity (including gender expression), sexual orientation, disability, age, marital status, family/parental status, income derived from a public assistance program, political beliefs, or reprisal or retaliation for prior civil rights activity, in any program or activity conducted or funded by USDA (not all bases apply to all programs). Remedies and complaint filing deadlines vary by program or incident.

Persons with disabilities who require alternative means of communication for program information (e.g., Braille, large print, audiotape , American Sign Language, etc.) should contact the responsible Agency or USDA’s TARGET Center at (202)720-2600 (voice and TTY) or contact USDA through the Federal Relay Service at (800) 877-8339. Additionally, program information may be made available in languages other than English.

To file a program discrimination complaint, complete the USDA Program Discrimination Complaint Form, AD3027, found online at https://www.usda.gov/oascr/how-to-file-a-program-discrimination-complaint and at any USDA office or write a letter addressed to USDA and provide in the letter all of the information requested in the form. To request a copy of the complaint form, call (866) 632-9992. Submit your completed form or letter to USDA by: (1) mail: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights, 1400 Independence Avenue, SW, Washington, D.C. 20250-9410; (2) fax: (202) 690-7442; or (3) email: program.intake@usda.gov. USDA is an equal opportunity provider, employer, and lender.

De acuerdo con la ley federal de derechos civiles y las reglamentaciones y políticas de derechos civiles del Departamento de Agricultura de Estados Unidos (U.S. Department of Agriculture, USDA), se prohíbe al USDA, sus agencias, oficinas y empleados, e instituciones que participan o administran los programas del USDA, discriminar por motivos de raza, color, origen nacional, religión, género, identidad de género (incluidas las expresiones de género), orientación sexual, discapacidad, edad, estado civil, estado familiar/parental, ingresos derivados de un programa de asistencia pública, creencias políticas, o reprimendas o represalias por actividades previas sobre derechos civiles, en cualquier programa o actividad llevados a cabo o financiados por el USDA (no todas las bases se aplican a todos los programas). Las fechas límite para la presentación de remedios y denuncias varían según el programa o el incidente. Las personas con discapacidades que requieran medios alternativos de comunicación para obtener información sobre el programa (por ej., Braille, letra grande, cinta de audio, lenguaje americano de señas, etc.) deberán comunicarse con la Agencia responsable o con el Centro TARGET del USDA al (202) 720-2600 (voz y TTY) o comunicarse con el USDA a través del Servicio Federal de Transmisiones al (800) 877-8339. Asimismo, se puede disponer de información del programa en otros idiomas además de inglés.

Para presentar una denuncia por discriminación en el programa, complete el Formulario de denuncias por discriminación en el programa del USDA, AD-3027, que se encuentra en línea en https://www.usda.gov/oascr/ how-to-file-a-program-discrimination-complaint, o en cualquier oficina del USDA, o escriba una carta dirigida al USDA e incluya en la carta toda la información solicitada en el formulario. Para solicitar una copia del formulario de denuncias, llame al (866) 632-9992. Envíe su formulario completado o su carta al USDA por los siguientes medios: (1) correo: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights, 1400 Independence Avenue, SW, Washington, D.C. 20250-9410; (2) fax: (202) 690-7442; or (3) correo electrónico: proqram.intake@ usda.qov.

El Departamento de Agricultura de Estados Unidos (USDA) es un proveedor, empleador y prestador que ofrece igualdad de oportunidades.

8 JANUARY 2023 www.alabamaliving.coop

SUBMITTED by Melissa McClellan, Oxford.

My grandson, Charles Courtney, with members of his Troop 237 after placing 100 American flags in Vestavia Hills for Veterans Day 2022.

SUBMITTED by Kay Courtney, Demopolis.

Online: alabamaliving.coop | Mail: Attn: Snapshots, P.O. Box 244014, Montgomery, AL 36124

RULES: Alabama Living will pay $10 for photos that best match our theme of the month. Photos may also be published on our website at alabamaliving.coop and on our Facebook and Instagram pages. Alabama Living is not responsible for lost or damaged photos. Send a self-addressed stamped envelope to have photos returned.

Alabama Living JANUARY 2023 9
March theme: “Family Heirlooms” | Submit by: January 31
Melissa McClellan and her granddaughter, Annabell Harrell, a Daisy with Troop 23162.
| Alabama Snapshots |
Ray Unger rappelling in Little River Canyon with the help of True Adventure Sports. SUBMITTED by Dennis Unger, Wetumpka. My grandson, Cooper Hayes, holds the trophy he won at the annual Cub Scout Pinewood Derby. SUBMITTED by Debby Boyd, Addison.
Scouts
Daisies, Brownies and Juniors at a World Thinking Day celebration in Auburn. SUBMITTED by Jackie Lucas, Montgomery.

Bo Bikes Bama charity ride date announced

Alabama sports legend

Bo Jackson, founder of Bo Bikes Bama, has announced the date for the 2023 charity bike ride to be held in Auburn. The date will be April 23, 2023, and registration and fundraising will open on Jan. 19, 2023.

The cost to participate is $90 for a 60-mile ride and $70 for a 20-mile ride. A $60 at-home option will also be available to supporters unable to travel to Auburn.

Jackson started Bo Bikes Bama to honor the lives lost during the April 27, 2011 tornado outbreak, and to help the state of Alabama recover and prepare for the future. It became an annual event in 2013, and over the past 12 years has grown to attract more than 1,000 cyclists annually and has raised more than $2.3 million. The Bo Bikes Bama initiatives support the Governor’s Emergency Relief Fund, which has repaired hundreds of homes and funded community storm shelters throughout the state.

For more information, visit BoBikesBama.com

Social Security

General enrollment period for Medicare Part B

If you did not apply for Medicare Part B (medical insurance) within three months before or after turning age 65, you have another chance each year during the General Enrollment Period. The period runs from January 1 to March 31 every year.

If you don’t enroll in Part B when you’re first eligible for it, you may have to pay a late enrollment penalty for as long as you have Part B coverage. Your monthly premium will increase 10% for each 12-month period that you were eligible for Part B but did not sign up for it. Your coverage starts the first day of the month after you sign up.

To learn more about Medicare, please visit our Medicare Benefits page at ssa.gov/benefits/medicare. You may also read our publication at ssa.gov/pubs/EN-05-10043.pdf

Please share this information with your friends and loved ones who may need it – and share it on social media.

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

Whereville, AL

Coosa County landmark restored

The “milk carton” on U.S. Highway 231 in the Stewartville community (between Sylacauga and Rockford) was our Whereville landmark in the January 2020 issue. At that time, the block structure had fallen into disrepair and needed some TLC.

Our readers gave us the back story: It was once the site of Dark’s Dairy, opened around 1946 by Lillian and Ruben Dark. Many readers thought the dairy operated until the 1980s.

Now it has been restored, and Pam Weathers sent us some current photos. She says newly elected Coosa County Commissioner John Forbus headed up the project.

Shown are the photo we ran in 2020, and a photo Weathers sent to us recently. We like to see communities pull together to save and restore landmarks!

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

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

Contribute a photo you took for an upcoming issue! Send a photo of an interesting or unusual landmark in Alabama, which must be accessible to the public. A reader whose photo is chosen will also win $25.

December’s answer: This life-sized pig oversees the parking lot at the new Conecuh Sausage gift shop, which is just off Exit 96 on Interstate 65. The iconic pig, which adorns much of the brand’s merchandise, is a popular backdrop for selfies and photo ops of folks on their way to and from the beach. (Photo by Lenore Vickrey of Alabama Living) The randomly drawn correct guess winner is Melinda Marston of Baldwin EMC.

10 JANUARY 2023 www.alabamaliving.coop Spotlight | January

Find the hidden dingbat!

Did we make it too easy to find? Our December “Find the Dingbat” contest generated mostly correct answers from our readers, including from Cameron Lagle in Buhl, Alabama, who found the Christmas stocking as part of the colon punctuation mark after the capital “A” on Page 26. Cameron writes, “Publications like this are diamonds in the rough and I’m so glad I found y’all. Keep up the EXCELLENT work!” Thanks, and we will! Kendra Williams of Brundidge, a member of South Alabama EC, writes, “When I got the mail today and walked into my home, the book fell on page 26 and I looked and saw the oh-sored Christmas stocking in the colon by the large letter A!! What are the chances of the magazine falling on the correct page!” We like your odds, Kendra! Flo Cofield of Flomaton writes that once she receives her magazine, “there is no rest till I find the dingbat. Then I can settle down, read the articles and work the crossword.” Sounds like a good way to spend an afternoon to us!

Take us along!

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

1.3 million

Congratulations to Gary W. Curtis of Woodville, a member of North Alabama Electric Cooperative, who was our randomly drawn winner for December. He wins a $25 gift card from Alabama One Credit Union.

This month, we’ve hidden a New Year’s party horn blower, so before you party too much ringing in the New Year, see if you can find the dingbat! Good luck!

by

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

By email: dingbat@alabamaliving.com

January is blood donor month

January is the beginning of a new year, and the perfect time to observe National Blood Donor Month. Due to increased seasonal illnesses during the winter months and inclement weather, donations of blood and platelets decline and demand increases.

The American Red Cross and the Blood Banks of America encourage everyone who currently donates to continue, and those who have never donated to make an appointment to do so. Blood donation is safer than ever and saves lives.

Someone needs blood every few seconds in the U.S., and more than 4.5 million Americans would die every year without lifesaving blood transfusions. Visit redcrossblood.org for more information.

Alabama Living JANUARY 2023 11 January | Spotlight
Sponsored David and Julie Roark of Orange Beach took a Caribbean cruise last year with a stop in St. Vincent. Members of Baldwin EMC, they took their magazine to the  St. Vincent Botanic Garden in Kingstown, the oldest botanic garden in the western hemisphere. Doug Miller, a member of Baldwin EMC, sent us this photo from his trip to Santorini, Greece, where he says the city “may have some competition from Alabama azaleas.” Paul Davis, Beth Jernigan and Keith Rolling travelled 1,200 miles with their copy of Alabama Living from Pike County to Mackinack Island, Michigan. They are members of South Alabama EC. Robert and Charlene Taylor of Sulligent, members of Tombigbee EC, visited Arches National Park and Zion National Park in Utah and took their magazine along. David and Carol Aderholt from Cullman, left, and Christian and Johanna Clemmons from McCalla and Smith Lake, all members of Cullman Electric Cooperative, enjoyed reading their magazine while visiting the Hoover Dam. The dam, on the Nevada-Arizona border, generates enough hydroelectric power to serve people each year, providing municipal water for urban centers including Los Angeles, Phoenix and Tucson. Mike and Dennie Sandefer of Guntersville took their Alabama Living with them on a trip to Hilton Head, South Carolina. They live on Lake Guntersville where they are members of North Alabama EC.

Experiencing Alabama is as easy as A, B, C

Whether you’re new to the state or have lived here for a lifetime, there are many uniquely Alabama experiences, places and events that are worth exploring. Need some inspiration for some upcoming travels and insight into some of our history, speech and art? Read on!

Ais for Auburn landmarks and traditions: A trip to “the loveliest village on the Plains” isn’t complete without a visit to the War Eagle Wall (great for selfies) and Toomer’s Corner, one of the city’s most recognizable landmarks that dates to 1896. The historic Samford Hall clock tower has been the backdrop for generations of grad uation photos. Another tradition to experience: the tradition of “rolling” Toom er’s Corner after an Auburn athletic victory, when every stationary object is covered in toilet paper.

Bis for Beaches: If you’re new to the state and haven’t yet visited some of our sugar-white sand beaches, make plans now! Some of us think the cooler months are the best times to visit Orange Beach, Gulf Shores, Dauphin Island and more (fewer tourists and cheaper lodging).

Cis for Cheaha: Alabama isn’t a mountainous state, but it does have a high point: Mt. Cheaha in Clay County is the highest point in Alabama at 2,407 feet. The surrounding Talladega National Forest and Cheaha Resort State Park offer a variety of hiking adventures, so grab a backpack and water and head outside!

Dis for depot museums: The rich histories of the railroads in Alabama are still preserved in several cities and towns, including Cullman, Fort Payne, Bridgeport, Selma and Hunts ville. Many depots have been restored or renovated and offer a glimpse into the time when train travel was popular and affordable.

Eis for environment education: Connect to nature, explore conservation efforts and learn about Alabama’s diverse ecosystems. The Alabama Nature Center at Lanark in Millbrook; the McDowell Environmental Center in Nauvoo; the Alabama Aquarium at the Dauphin Island Sea Lab; and the Southern Environmental Center at Birmingham-Southern College are just some of the educational facilities dedicated to our precious environment.

Gis for golfing: Alabama’s Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail (known as the RTJ) boasts 468 championship holes at 26 courses in 11 sites all around the state. The Trail has been heralded by major media outlets, including The New York Times, as having “some of the best public golf on earth.”

Fis for football stadiums: BryantDenny Stadium in Tuscaloosa, home of the Crimson Tide, and Jordan-Hare Stadium in Auburn, home of the Tigers, are two of the most iconic sports facilities in the Southeast, in any sport. Bryant-Denny has a seating capacity of 100,077, and JordanHare’s is 87,451; to be in the stands of either stadium on a fall Saturday (particularly for an SEC matchup) is an electric experience. But both are popular attractions to visit during the off-season as well.

12 JANUARY 2023 www.alabamaliving.coop

His for history: The State Archives and the Museum of Alabama in Montgomery, across from the state Capitol, is the state’s government records repository, has a special collections library and research facility, and offers educational tours of the museum, which features rotating exhibits.

Iis for Iron and Steel Museum of Alabama: Located at Tannehill Iron Works Historical State Park in McCalla, this museum provides visitors with exhibits and activities that explore 19th-century iron making in the area south of Birmingham. The museum includes displays illustrating production techniques and more than 10,000 artifacts, according to the Encyclopedia of Alabama.

Jis for Joe’s farm: Conservationist Christopher Joe, owner of Connecting with Birds and Nature Tours in Hale County, keeps his family farm flourishing and highlights some of the natural beauty of the Black Belt for visitors. “You don’t have to go around the world to see something amazing,” Joe told Alabama Living in 2021. His family farm is open for one-of-a-kind birdwatching and nature walks and tours.

Kis for Kentuck Art Center and Festival: This “experiential arts and culture economic engine,” according to its website, is in historic downtown Northport. Kentuck is likely best known for its annual Festival of the Arts in October, but the center provides year-round programming, “with the mission to perpetuate the arts, engage the community, and empower the artist.” The annual festival is nationally recognized and attracts more than 10,000 visitors. Kentuck.org

Lis for lakes: Freshwater is one of Alabama’s greatest assets; our many lakes provide for navigation, drinking water, agriculture, flood control and more. But most folks associate lakes with recreation: Lake Guntersville, our largest lake, covers 110 square miles and is one of the best bass fishing lakes in the state. Lake Wheeler near Decatur is a birdwatcher’s delight, with bald eagles, herons, egrets and other species. Lay Lake, not far from Birmingham, attracts many recreational boaters. There’s also great fishing at the 23 Alabama Public Fishing Lakes in 20 counties across the state; many are family-friendly, park-like areas that offer bank fishing, picnicking and walking areas.

Mis for Minor League Baseball: Catch some of the rising stars of Major League Baseball as they make their way through the minor league system. The Birmingham Barons are a Double-A affiliate of the Chicago White Sox; the Montgomery Biscuits are the Double-A affiliate of the Tampa Bay Rays; and the Rocket City Trash Pandas in Madison are the Double-A affiliate of the Los Angeles Angels. Each ballpark offers a season full of family fun.

Nis for native American sites: Moundville Archeological Park was once the site of a powerful prehistoric community that, at its peak, was America’s largest city north of Mexico. Located on the Black Warrior River south of Tuscaloosa, the park preserves the 29 massive flat-topped earthen mounds constructed by the Mississippian people. Bottle Creek, located on Mound Island in the heart of the Mobile Tensaw Delta, was occupied from about 1250 and was an important site for local Indians. Moundville is operated by the University of Alabama, and Bottle Creek is administered by the Alabama Historical Commission; both are open to the public.

Pis for “Peanuts

Around Town,” the public art works all over the Dothan area that pay homage to the peanut, a commodity that is significant in the Wiregrass. A collection of approximately 50 fivefoot fiberglass peanuts are decorated by local artists and highlight various businesses and locations. Dothan hosts the annual National Peanut Festival each fall, and the city is known as the “peanut capital of the world.”

Qis for the Quad Cities of Alabama (Florence, Muscle Shoals, Sheffield and Tuscumbia), also known as “the Shoals.” This area of northwestern Alabama is home to a wealth of attractions, including Ivy Green (Helen Keller’s birthplace and home), the picturesque campus of the University of North Alabama, recreational opportunities on lakes Pickwick, Wilson and Wheeler, the Rosenbaum House (designed by Frank Lloyd Wright) and, most notably, an amazing musical history. FAME Studios and Muscle Shoals Sound Studio at 3614 Jackson Highway have had songs recorded by music royalty and are open for tours; the W.C. Handy Home and Museum, named for “the father of the blues,” features a summer music festival.

Ris for RV parks: Our readers who enjoy the RV lifestyle have several favorites. Gunter Hill Campground outside of Montgomery has a nature setting on the backwaters of the Alabama River; south of Montgomery is the Kick Back Ranch and Event Center, which has an RV park and other amenities. Foscue Creek Campground is nestled on the forested lake shore of Demopolis Lake, the largest on the Black Warrior-Tombigbee Waterway. Many of the state parks have RV camping; Gulf State Park in Gulf Shores is a fa vorite.

Ois for OWA: The 520-acre OWA (pronounced OH-wah) Parks and Resort is a family fun destination in Foley (near the Baldwin County beaches) that features a 23-ride theme park, an outdoor wave pool, and the region’s largest indoor water park. Just outside the ticketed area is Downtown OWA, a pedestrian-only streetscape that features dining, shopping and entertainment opportunities. It’s owned and operated by the Poarch Band of Creek

Sis for safari parks: Looking for a drive-through adventure? Make some new animal friends with a trip to Alabama Safari Park in Hope Hull (open year-round), or the Harmony Park Safari in Huntsville (open March through November). Hope Hull’s park is 350 acres, and in addition to the drive tour, there’s walk-about to the giraffe feeding tower and a petting area for your farmyard favorites. Huntsville’s park is a federally licensed nature preserve of free-ranging exotic and endangered animals. AlabamaSafariPark.com and Huntsville.org

Tis for “To Kill a Mockingbird”: Make the pilgrimage to Monroeville, hometown of author Harper Lee and the inspiration for Scout’s hometown of Maycomb. Begin a visit on the square with a tour of the Old Courthouse Museum, where you’ll get a glimpse into the life of Lee and her friend Truman Capote. Check out visitmonroevilleal.com for information on the annual stage adaptation of the book, which is in April.

Uis for the U.S. Space and Rocket Center: Based in Huntsville, the center is a Smithsonian affiliate, the official visitor center for NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center, and the home of Space Camp. It features one of the largest collections of rockets and space memorabilia on display anywhere, features traveling exhibits from all over the world and has immersive astronomy shows, live entertainment and theater experiences in its state-of-the-art planetarium. The authentic Saturn V rocket, one of only three in the world, is located in the Saturn V Hall of the Davidson Center for Space Exploration. rocketcenter.com

14 JANUARY 2023 www.alabamaliving.coop
Alabama Living JANUARY 2023 15

Vis for Vulcan and other noteworthy statues: Statuary help tell the story of a time or place and bring a sense of community to small towns and big cities alike. The Vulcan statue is the city symbol of Birmingham, reflecting its roots in the iron and steel industry. Other notable statues (worth a stop for a photo, if you’re driving around) include the bird dog statue, confirm ing Union Springs’ status as a field trial destination; the Boll Weevil statue in Enterprise, which is less about honoring the cotton pest and more about the diversification of agriculture in that area; and the larger-than-life sculpture of country music icon Hank Williams, which stands across the street from the museum dedicated to his legacy in Montgomery.

Wis for waterfalls: From gurgling brooks to raging rivers, Alabamians fall for waterfalls, so head out with your camera and do some exploring. Among the most well-known are Noccalula Falls in Gads den (pictured), Little River in Fort Payne, DeSoto Falls in DeSoto State Park, the falls in Chewacla State Park in Auburn, Dismals Canyon Rainbow Falls in Phil Campbell, Moss Rock Preserve and Falls in Hoover (yes, in the city of Hoover) and Mardis Mill Falls in Blountsville.

Xis for extreme milkshakes: Got a sweet tooth? Several restaurants and shops offer these massive shakes that take the cake. The milkshake is merely the foundation for myriad embellishments, including sauces and drizzles, candy and candy bars, crushed cereal, marshmallow fluff, whipped cream and even entire wedges of cake, all precariously perched atop glass jars. Check out The Mason Jar in Auburn, K&J Elegant Pastries and Creamery in Alabaster and The Yard Milkshake Bar in Gulf Shores, Fairhope and Madison (among others).

Yis for y’all: Probably the bestknown word in the Southern vernacular, this pronoun is a contraction of “you all” and is properly spelled “y’all.” It’s a second-person plural that sounds so much more comfortable than something like “you guys.” Though some outside the South may perceive a speaker who uses “y’all” to be backwards, to Southerners it’s warm, inviting and hints at one of our treasured traditions: Southern hospitality.

Zis for zip lines: Looking for a little treetop adventure? Check out the zip lines at three of Alabama’s state parks (Lake Guntersville, Wind Creek and DeSoto) or at others, including Butter and Egg Adventures in Troy, and The Vision Zipline Tour in Huntsville. These and other places offer other outdoorsy fun, so check out their websites for hours and days of operation and make the most of a day out.

16 JANUARY 2023 www.alabamaliving.coop

Murals combine art, health in Monroeville

The perfect selfie destination might be in Monroeville, Alabama.

The Literary Capital of Alabama is home to more than 25 murals that make up the smART Moves Mural Trail. The mural trail is a collaborative project between Monroeville Main Street, the Monroeville/Monroe County Chamber of Commerce and Alabama Extension at Auburn University’s ALProHealth program.

ALProHealth is an obesity prevention and reduction program funded through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) High Obesity Program. ALProHealth is focused on increasing community health in 13 Alabama counties with an adult obesity prevalence of 40% or greater.

Why murals?

As one of ALProHealth’s communities, funds were available to Monroe County to promote physical activity. Creating a mural trail gives residents a fun reason to spend more time participating in physical activity and enjoying their community.

Anne Marie Bryan, executive director of Monroeville Main Street, and Penelope Hines, executive director of the Monroeville/ Monroe County Chamber of Commerce, led the ALProHealth community coalition to bring the selfie mural trail into reality.

Playing off the state’s desire to add more murals in local communities, Bryan felt that utilizing local artists and community members to add a splash of color to the county would incentivize residents to get outside and walk around the downtown area.

“Placemaking is a key part of our Main Street mission, and art is vital when creating a sense of place,” Bryan says. “Art trails appeal to people of all backgrounds, spark conversations and encourage people to get out of their cars and walk around our beautiful downtown. By hiring all Monroe County artists for the selfie murals, we created community pride through local connections.”

Hines felt the mural trail would give visitors another reason to explore downtown Monroeville and its surrounding communities, boosting tourism and adding an economic development component.

“Adding quality local art to our historic downtown appeals to people of all ages,” Hines says. “Furthermore, it encourages tourists to stay overnight, shop in our unique stores, and eat in our local restaurants.”

Partnership with ALProHealth

When ALProHealth Program Manager Dr. Ruth Brock heard the mural trail idea, she was on board from the start.

“Murals are a great way to bring people outdoors to see and experience their community while also increasing physical activity in a new and interesting way,” Brock says.

Monroe County Extension Coordinator Anthony Wiggins said it was great to see the many partnerships come together with the community coalition and turn the mural trail into a reality.

“I have been impressed with the artwork and the talent of these

18 JANUARY 2023 www.alabamaliving.coop
From top, murals by Ethan Nall, Jayson and Olivia Shadburn and Sharon Owens pay tribute to the many facets of life in Monroe County.

local artists,” Wiggins says. “Everyone involved with this effort took pride in their role, and it shows in how great the murals look and enhance Monroeville and surrounding communities.”

Calling all artists

The first step was figuring out what to call the trail. The community coalition created a contest for local students to name the trail, leading to the smART Moves in Monroe County Mural Trail. Madelyn Flummer, a fifth grader at Excel Elementary School, submitted the winning name.

Once they had a name, it was time to paint. Monroeville Main Street and the Monroeville/Monroe County Chamber of Commerce put a call out for artists and received about 60 to 70 pieces of potential artwork. Artists ranged from professionals to high school students.

A committee selected the artwork for each community within Monroe County. Hines said many of the murals have significance to their respective community, and others allowed the artists to show off their creative side.

Monroeville has a large mural titled “Literary Giants” by Johnna Bush to celebrate Monroe County novelists Harper Lee, Truman Capote and Mark Childress, as well as other former Monroe County residents and connections. In Frisco City, there’s a mural of a red caboose as a tribute to a retired red caboose in the center of the town. Also, at the Red and White grocery store in downtown Monroeville, a mural commemorates Houston Texans’ offensive tackle Tytus Howard, who played football at Monroe County High School and Alabama State University.

In all, there are 26 murals throughout Monroe County.

“Our county has a rich and diverse history from the southern farms to the railroad, to the diverse outdoor opportunities in the northern timber land,” Hines says. “From a tourism aspect, it was important for the project to include our rural communities with art that would encourage visitors to stop and explore.”

Leveraging grants

Bryan knew she wanted the mural trail to be a starting point for encouraging residents to spend time in the community and attract more visitors to Monroeville and Monroe County.

Leveraging the success of the mural trail, Bryan has obtained two AARP grants in Monroeville. One grant secured wheelchair-assessible chess and checker game tables along with benches and trash cans downtown with additional tables in several parks throughout the city. The other grant will install water fountains with bottle refill stations and a 24-panel storybook trail near many of the murals in the city.

“ALProHealth and AARP’s Community Challenge grant missions go hand-in-hand creating a natural segue for the grants to complement each other,” Bryan says. “The mural trail, along with the storybook trail, create multiple activities encouraging people to move throughout our historic square, the benches and tables create comfortable resting spots, and the water fountains/bottle fillers provide free healthy hydration.

“These grants projects create a domino effect, adding momentum to the positive energy in our downtown, supporting healthy activities, and spurring multigenerational community connections while simultaneously promoting our diverse and unique rural community.”

For more information about ALProHealth, contact Brock at rlw0031@aces.edu. For more information about Monroe County Extension programs, call Wiggins at (251) 238-2007. To contact Bryan with Monroeville Main Street or Hines with Monroeville/ Monroe County Chamber of Commerce, call (251) 743-2879.

20 JANUARY 2023 www.alabamaliving.coop
From top, murals by Johnna Bush, Tim Vaught and Melissa Wilson use bursts of color and artistic elements to convey the spirit of living and history in Monroe County. Anne Marie Bryan, left, and Penelope Hines helped make the mural project happen.

How electric vehicles impact the

grid

Last year saw a record increase in electric vehicle (EV) sales, and experts are predicting that by 2035, many major vehicle manufacturers will only produce electric models.

A 2021 study by the Department of Energy showed that increased electrification, or replacement of direct fossil fuel use with electricity, would account for a 38% increase in electricity demand by 2050––and EVs will play a major role in this increased electrification.

The need for more electricity will have a major impact on the nation’s grid, which means power supply and grid infrastructure must be carefully planned to accommodate the increased need for electricity.

EV charging presents new challenges in maintaining the electric grid. Fully charging an EV battery requires the same amount of electricity needed to power a home during peak energy use times. However, EV charging is a concentrated pull of energy over an extended period, which can add stress to the local power grid by increasing the amount of electricity a utility has to provide. Additionally, the neighborhood transformer needs adequate capacity to handle the increased load. EV charging can shorten the lifespan of transformers by straining and overloading their capacity if they are not matched to a neighborhood’s energy needs.

Electric cooperatives are currently identifying ways to manage this new pattern of electricity use, though exact strategies will vary based on each utility’s unique needs. Analyzing energy load patterns or identifying where and when the local grid has spikes in demand can provide electric co-ops with data on where to place higher-capacity transformers. This analysis can also provide a picture of overall energy use and patterns to help forecast ener-

gy consumption for the future. Planning system maintenance and upgrades are also part of that long-range forecasting; however, this has been recently complicated by supply-chain issues with transformers, with wait times that are upwards of one year.

EV owners can play a role in reducing energy costs and system stress associated with charging. Check with your local electric coop to see if they offer an EV charging rate. Typically, an EV rate incentivizes charging during the night, when electricity demand and wholesale energy rates are lower. Charging at night is also a great way to ease demand in your neighborhood, even without a special EV rate.

Another potential change on the horizon is a new energy peak time. EV drivers who plug-in to charge as soon as they return home from work would create even more electricity demand during this busy time of day. But if EV drivers use a timer to schedule charging at night, the electricity demand could be spread over a longer period to reduce stress on the grid. This would be especially beneficial for neighborhoods with multiple EV drivers.

EVs are only expected to increase in number. Electric coops and EV owners both have roles to play in accommodating increased demand. If you own an EV, let your electric co-op know so they can better plan energy demand for you and your neighbors.

Katherine Loving writes on consumer and cooperative affairs for the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association, the national trade association representing more than 900 local electric cooperatives. From growing suburbs to remote farming communities, electric co-ops serve as engines of economic development for 42 million Americans across 56% of the nation’s landscape.

22 JANUARY 2023 www.alabamaliving.coop
Experts are predicting that by 2035, many major vehicle manufacturers will only produce electric models. PHOTO COURTESY FORD Fully charging an EV battery requires the same amount of electricity needed to power a home during peak energy use times. PHOTO COURTESY DCBEL, UNSPLASH
Alabama Living JANUARY 2023 23

Chef lets the seasons speak through food

Chef Jim Smith sums up the driving force behind the food found on the menu at his Mobile restaurant, The Hummingbird Way, succinctly: “Start with best, highest quality local and regional ingredients, and let the seasons speak,” he says. With its bayside locale and the glittering Gulf of Mexico nearby, seafood is often a bright star at the eatery. In fact, proximity to fresh fish, shrimp and oysters is one reason the former executive chef of the State of Alabama chose Mobile for his first foray into restaurant ownership.

Smith’s affection for the ocean’s bounty and those who raise, harvest and catch it is evident in his role as chair of the Alabama Seafood Marketing Commission. But he gives the same care and attention to every item that comes into and goes out of his kitchen, ensuring that The Hummingbird Way’s dining room is always buzzing with happy diners. Smith shares how he made it through Covid, what he learned from his time on Bravo’s “Top Chef” and as chef to Alabama’s first family, plus why biscuits are a staple on his restaurant’s changing menu. –Jennifer Kornegay

How did you first get interested in food and cooking?

I was in college at Samford University in Birming ham and took a job at a restaurant while going to school. I was not in the kitchen, but I just fell in love with the restaurant world, all the food and wine and the culture of it. That changed my mind about my future, and I ended up go ing to culinary school at Johnson & Wales University.

What led you to open The Hummingbird Way?

After culinary school, I helped open Dyron’s Lowcountry restaurant in Birmingham, and it was there I met Gov. Robert Bentley and his wife; they were regulars right before he was elected. Mrs. Bentley was asking my advice on handling food for state functions and such, and in those conversations, she decided to create a state chef position. She encouraged me to apply, and I got the job. I was in that position for a little over eight years. I served Gov. Kay Ivey in that time too and competed on Bravo’s “Top Chef.” The job was re warding, but I wanted more people to enjoy my food. I wanted to serve a wider audience, so that’s why I opened my restaurant.

What did both your “top chef” experiences (as state chef and on the show) teach you?

Both required a lot of thinking on my feet and execut ing at a high level. When you’re put in a situation that re quires quick thinking, you have to get creative but also stay true to yourself as a chef. On the show, I learned a lot just being around and interacting with so many other great chefs. And my main takeaway from the governor’s mansion was a focus on Alabama ingredients. I made wonderful contacts and relationships with farmers, fishermen, people making various food products, and I’ve kept them. They’ve been invaluable.

What do you want guests to find at The Hummingbird Way?

Great food, of course. But we also want to ensure that guests are receiving the best experience possible from the moment they walk in the door. We want them to shed away the troubles of the day and be embraced by all the restaurant has to offer, so there’s an equal emphasis on service. I have a great staff to accomplish this; most have been with me from the start.

Looking back at opening your restaurant right before the pandemic, what stands out?

It was a scary time. When you put everything you have into something and then see something so giant and out of your control threatening it, it’s hard. But staying true to what we do and working

| Alabama People | Jim Smith
Alabama Living JANUARY 2023 25

Gardening with style: 2023’s hottest gardening trends

year’s gardening trends. Climate and environmental concerns are behind a burgeoning interest in environmentally friendly gardening practices that use less chemicals, fossil fuels and water and in native plants, which are more resilient and better adapted to local ecosystems. It’s also driving changes in landscaping choices.

“I see a lot of people cutting back on their large lawns,” Trace says, noting that swaths of turfgrass are giving way to wildflower meadows, garden plots and raised beds. Some folks are removing lawns to make room for another 2023 trend, a growing interest in creating outdoor “rooms” and spaces to serve as gathering spots for family and friends.

store,” turning them into all kinds of functional items, including container gardens.

Speaking of which, interest in container gardening and in vertical gardening — the practice of growing plants on trellises, arbors, fences, in hanging baskets and as living walls — is expected to keep growing in popularity, particularly for people with limited outdoor space for gardening.

Greek, Scandinavian and Victorian garden designs, landscaping with natural materials like stone and collecting unusual houseplants are also on the 2023 garden trend list so there’s lots to try in the coming year. And according to Trace, experimenting with new ideas is fun and can be as easy as planting a small trial garden in containers or in a garden bed. Before committing to a major makeover, however, he recommends asking yourself these questions:

 What’s my budget?

 How much time and effort am I’m willing to put in the project?

 What are my growing conditions?

 What am I going to have to battle — deer, for instance.

According to the style pundits, 2023 will be the year of — drum roll, please — the Mediterranean garden, the cottage garden, the native plant garden, the water-wise garden, the edible garden, the vertical garden …

As you can see, it’s quite a long and varied list, and there’s a lot to consider in these trends, which is why I sought advice from Alabama’s very own style guru, Trace Barnett. A nationally known cook, artist, designer, blogger and author from Gold Mine, Ala., Trace is also an accomplished gardener who has his finger on the pulse of emerging design and lifestyle trends.

According to Trace, the changing climate, which gardeners are experiencing firsthand as seasons and growing conditions shift, is influencing many of this

What’s wonderful about this trend toward more sustainable and useful gardens is that we don’t need to give up style and beauty to have them. For example, Mediterranean-themed gardens, which are expected to be all the rage this year, not only provide an opportunity to run wild with 2023’s hippest color, terra cotta, they also use lots of evergreen, heat-loving, and drought-tolerant plants, many of which work well here in Alabama.

Cottage gardens, which are filled with an informal and often fanciful mixture of flowers, food plants and herbs, are also gaining in popularity. “I think this is a great idea because it creates a mini ecosystem,” Trace says, explaining that cottage gardens provide fresh flowers, fruits and vegetables for humans and much-needed habitat for pollinators and other wildlife species.

According to Trace, this emphasis on sustainability is also leading more and more gardeners to reuse and repurpose items in the garden. “It’s super easy to do,” he says. “You can re-envision things that you have on hand or find at the thrift

He also suggested getting help from local experts, including those on social media. “You’ll get better advice from someone here in Alabama than someone in Connecticut,” he says.

Follow Trace on Instagram at @thebittersocialite or check out some of his favorite Alabama-based Instagram influencers: @Urbanfarmstead, @Thehappygardeninglife and @Houseplantclub. And if you’re looking for a delightful mix of recipes, gardening tips and wonderful stories, get your hands on Trace’s book, Tracing Roots: A Modern Approach to Living Off the Land 

JANUARY TIPS

 Plant onion sets and cool season crops like broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage and leafy greens.

 Plant trees, shrubs and hardy annuals.

 Clean and sharpen garden tools.

 Get a soil test and add compost to garden beds.

 Clean and fill bird feeders and baths.

 Order seed for the coming season.

26 JANUARY 2023 www.alabamaliving.coop | Gardens |
Alabama style guru Trace Barnett says sustainability will be a gardening trend in 2023. Katie Jackson is a freelance writer and editor based in Opelika, Alabama. Contact her at katielamarjackson@gmail.com.
Alabama Living JANUARY 2023 27
28 JANUARY 2023 www.alabamaliving.coop Answers on Page 41 January crossword
Across 1 New Year’s pledges 7 German for a 9 Fresh 10 Recollections 12 Steeps with flavor 15 Escapade 17 Angler’s gear 18 ___ Paulo, Brazil 20 Words to the music 23 It’s sung on New Year’s Eve, 3 words 25 Appropriate 26 Celebratory ceremonial procession 27 Charades expert 29 See 1 down Down 1 Celebrate the start of another 365 days! Goes with 1 down, 5 words 2 Viewed 3 Green citrus fruits at the bar 4 Where the New Year is celebrated on TV, 2 words 5 Rowboat equipment 6 Watch 8 Small area of land surrounded by water 11 Retirement account, abbr. 13 Formerly known as 14 Measurement of distance, abbr. 15 Army rank, abbr. 16 Celebration 19 Glow 21 Toasting word 22 ____ Ninja Turtles 23 “Killer” piece of software 24 ____ bears, kid’s candy 28 Business degree, abbr.

FEBRUARY EVENTS

13-15.

JANUARY EVENTS

13-15

Decatur Festival of Cranes, Wheeler National Wildlife Refuge. More than 14,000 sandhill cranes along with several pairs of whooping cranes spend the winter each year here. In celebration of the birds, the Wheeler Wildlife Refuge Association hosts an event offering a variety of activities for experienced birders and anyone who would like to learn more about birding and other wildlife. Storytelling, photography workshops, music, live raptors, children’s activities, films and more. 256-350-2028.

20-22, 27-29

Lake Guntersville Eagle Awareness Weekends at Lake Guntersville State Park. Live bird demonstrations, programs from naturalists, guided safaris for viewing eagles in their natural habitat and more. The park offers special packages for weekend stays (the final weekend is Feb. 3-5). Visit alapark.com and click Lake Guntersville State Park or call 800-548-4553.

28

Foley Third annual OWA Arts and Crafts Festival. Coastal Alabama’s newest arts and crafts festival showcases the sights and sounds of local arts, music and handcrafted goods. This family-friendly event is free. Visitowa.com

28

Dothan Seed Swap and Garden Expo, Stokes Activity Barn at Landmark Park. 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Activities will include trading seeds with fellow gardeners plus info and demos on beekeeping, backyard chickens, getting started with your home gardens, rain barrels, food preservation, composting and more. Free with paid gate admission ($5 adults, $4 kids, free for park members and children 2 and under). Hosted by Landmark Park, Wiregrass Master Gardeners Association, Alabama Cooperative Extension System and Wiregrass RC&D. LandmarkParkDothan.com

4

Millbrook The Millbrook Revelers Mardi Gras Festival and Parade. Festival grounds open at 9 a.m.; parade begins at noon. More than 60 vendors will be on site, with fun rides for children of all ages. The parade staging is at Mill Creek Park on Main Street; the theme for the parade is Laissez les bon temp rouler, or “let the good times roll.” MillbrookRevelers.org

4

Orrville Road to Freedom Wagon Tour at Old Cahawba, 10-11 a.m. One hundred years before the 1965 Voting Rights March in nearby Selma, a brave community of recently emancipated African-Americans gathered around an older courthouse in Cahawba. These 19th century “foot soldiers” exercised their right to vote and – for a brief time – gained political power. This wagon tour tells the story of Cahawba’s African-American majority and traces their path from slavery to freedom. $10. Search for the Old Cahawba page on Facebook.

11

Mobile USS Alabama living history crew drill. 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. See history come to life when WWII re-enactors tell the stories of the original crewmen of the battleship USS Alabama and submarine USS Drum. Presentations and demonstrations throughout the day. Be on deck at 1 p.m. when the “call to battle stations” is sounded. All activities are included in the day’s admission. USSAlabama.com

25

Orange Beach 31st annual Orange Beach Seafood Festival and Car Show, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Wharf. Food, 100 artists from throughout the South, music for the whole family on two stages, kids’ zone with activities and car show featuring antique, classic and hot rod vehicles all along Main Street. Free. OrangeBeachAl.org

25-26

Decatur Greater Morgan County Builders Association Home and Garden Show, Ingalls Harbor Pavilion. 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday. The latest trends in custom home building, remodeling ideas for every room in your home, home decoration, landscaping and more. 256-318-9161.

25-26

Andalusia Meredith’s Miracles Cookies with Characters, Covington Center Arena and Kiwanis Building. More than 90 characters will be on hand to greet fans, with souvenirs, photos, jumpy houses, princess carriage rides, limo rides and more. Saturday has two shows, at 12 p.m. and 5 p.m.; Sunday show starts at 3 p.m. Event is a fundraiser for Meredith’s Miracles, a non-profit organization that helps families financially during medical emergencies. For online tickets, visit CookiesWithCharacters.com

Alabama Living JANUARY 2023 29
January | Around Alabama To place an event, e-mail events@alabamaliving.coop. or visit
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Learn about the sandhill crane and birding in general at the Festival of Cranes Jan. COURTESY OF THE U.S. FISH AND WILDLIFE SERVICE

New year, smarter home

ability. They can help save energy both in the winter and summer by operating based on the temperature of the room or a preset schedule.

A:

You’ve probably heard the term “smart home” a lot in recent years. If you’re curious about what makes a home smart, how it can boost energy efficiency and help you save money, you have come to the right place.

“Smart” was originally an acronym for self-monitoring analysis and reporting technology. This refers to technology that can be programmed for automation or controlled remotely using Bluetooth or Wi-Fi from a smart phone app or online. A smart home is one with automated control of appliances and systems, such as lighting fixtures and heating and cooling systems.

There are multiple reasons people choose to automate their homes, including convenience, energy efficiency and security. Just because a product is smart, don’t assume it’s energy efficient. Added connectivity, lights and touchscreens can actually increase your energy use. Always look for the ENERGY STAR® logo when shopping, which certifies the products meet standards for energy efficiency.

Energy savings typically come from automating the systems, devices and appliances in your home to use less energy or use energy when it costs less. Here are a few ways you can start implementing smart technology at home.

Smart upgrades for the entire home

Because heating and cooling account for the most energy use in a home, these systems are the best place to look for energy savings.

Smart thermostats offer features and functionality that can help you save energy and money without thinking about it, including learning preferences and automatically setting temperatures. Geofencing is a feature that uses your phone’s location to gauge your distance from home and adjusts the temperature accordingly.

Smart thermostats also let you control the thermostat from anywhere with an internet connection, and automatic software updates use new algorithms to maximize energy savings. Features vary by product, so be sure to choose the one that’s right for you.

Smart window coverings are increasing in popularity and avail-

Smart lighting can help you remotely control lights in your home, based on occupancy or a preset schedule. Lighting also can be paired with home security systems.

You can use smart outlets and power strips to control devices from outside the home or manage use based on load. For example, you can plug your computer and devices into a load-sensing power strip that turns off peripheral devices, such as monitors and printers, when your computer is not in use.

Smart streaming for the living room

Many people use Wi-Fi to stream TV shows and movies. Smart TVs with built-in streaming functionality offer the most efficient way to stream content. If your TV cannot connect to the internet for streaming, opt for a streaming media player, such as Roku or Apple TV. They use 15 times less energy than a gaming console to stream the same shows and movies.

Save on suds in the laundry room

Smart washing machines can be scheduled for off-peak energy times (when people in your community use less energy), which is helpful if your electric rate is based on the time of day energy is used. Smart clothes dryers can shut off automatically when your clothes are dry.

Smart savings in the kitchen

There are many options for smart appliances in the heart of the home. Smart refrigerators offer energy-saving features, such as notifications when the door is left open. Digital screens that show the contents to keep you from opening the door.

Smart ovens let you preheat when you are on your way home or check if you forgot to turn off the oven when you are away. Toasters, range hoods, microwaves and countertop ice makers are among the growing list of additional smart kitchen gadgets available.

More smart home technologies are on the horizon, bringing more ways to operate the various systems, devices and appliances in your home.

As you think about ways to make your home smarter, remember to look for products that use the same smart home apps, which will make these new technologies even easier to manage.

30 JANUARY 2023 www.alabamaliving.coop | Consumer Wise |
Q: Are smart home technologies energy efficient? Will making these technology upgrades save me money?
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. Smart window coverings, such as these Serena Smart Roller Shades, can help save energy in the winter and summer with app capabilities and preset schedules. PHOTO COURTESY SERENA BY LUTRON

Giant geese come back from the brink of extinction

Well before daylight, we pull into a driveway leading to a stately house. Perhaps we’re picking up another hunter to join our party, I thought. No, we didn’t stop. Instead, we drove around behind the mansion and across the well-manicured lawn to a pond bordering a golf course.

Over the years, I hunted many types of terrain from snowy mountains to deserts, prairies, swamps and marshes, but never anything like this. I half expected someone to come out with a shotgun while all of ours rested unloaded in the back of the truck with the ammunition. That didn’t happen, but we did roust quite a few ducks and geese from their slumber. Unseen in the darkness, they rose off the water with a raucous condemnation of our intrusion.

Except for a few trees around the house and between the pond and golf course, not a shred of cover higher than an inch grew along the shoreline. We erected a portable blind, placed decoys and waited for shooting hours to begin.

We bagged a few ducks at first light. Then, nothing moved in the sky for hours. From the blind, we watched bass chasing their breakfast in the placid mirror-like pond. I wished I had brought a fishing rod. As the sun rose higher, we spotted golfers playing in the distance beyond the wooded area across the pond.

Just about the time I wanted to call it a day, we heard it! From the golf course erupted a sonorous honking that grew louder and more intense with each second. Then, the largest flying birds I had ever seen, with the possible exception of a few turkeys (and that’s debatable), began heading our way. The seductive notes sounding from calls in our blind welcomed the birds to our side of the pond.

Propelled by powerful, broad wings, these massive fowl flew deceptively fast. Crouching in the blind, we tightly gripped our shotguns as the first wave of noisy feathered overcast approached ever closer and lower. Finally, our guide yelled, “Take ’em!”

By the early 20th century, overhunting and habitat loss greatly reduced the population of the giant Canada goose subspecies.

Wildlife managers thought this magnificent bird became extinct by the 1950s. Fortunately, someone discovered a small flock in Minnesota.

From that remnant, wildlife managers across the nation began breeding and releasing the huge waterfowl. Raised in pens, the original offspring and their progeny did not migrate. In the past few decades, exploding populations of gigantic resident honkers have become pests at many parks and golf courses.

“We brought the giant subspecies of Canada geese here decades ago to bolster the population,” says Seth Maddox, the Alabama Division of Wildlife & Freshwater Fisheries Migratory Game Bird Coordinator. “They’re much bigger than the ones that migrate from Canada. These were never really migratory, but they do move around the state and cross into adjacent states.”

In the summer, geese molt, or shed their old feathers. At this time, they become flightless and vulnerable to predators so they seek safe havens like large waterbodies, golf courses and parks. By August, they replace their feathers. As fall approaches, they split into smaller groups to look for ripening grain to eat.

“In many areas, Canada geese become a nuisance,” says Jared Knight, a state wildlife biologist in Spanish Fort. “They eat crops. Their scat builds up in places. Farmers hate them.”

The state opens goose season during September each year to help trim the population of non-migratory giant Canada geese. The 2022-23 late goose season runs from Dec. 3. 2022, through Jan. 29, 2023.

“Giant Canada geese are here all year long,” Maddox says. “The population is growing and expanding in Alabama. We now have giant Canadas in all 67 counties. We estimate more than 60,000 birds across Alabama. People see them in parks or ponds near cities. Other than Canada geese, we don’t get many other goose species in Alabama.”

Most Alabama sportsmen seldom see geese other than giant Canadas. Some snow and blue geese, really just a darker color variant of snow geese, winter along the Tennessee River and other rivers like the lower Chattahoochee River. People might spot a few white-fronted or specklebelly geese in fields in parts of Alabama.

Many farmers welcome goose hunters to come on their properties. Someone who sees geese in a field might ask the landowner for permission to hunt. The request might be greeted enthusiastically.

32 JANUARY 2023 www.alabamaliving.coop | Outdoors |
John N. Felsher is a professional freelance writer who lives in Semmes, Ala. He also hosts an outdoors tips show for WAVH FM Talk 106.5 radio station in Mobile, Ala. Contact him at j.felsher@ hotmail.com or through Facebook.
Canada geese fly over a lake. Nearly extinct in the 1950s, the giant subspecies of Canada goose made a dramatic comeback during the past few decades. PHOTO

JANUARY

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

Th 19 9:06 - 11:06 9:30 - 11:30 3:33 - 5:03 3:57 - 5:27

Fr 20 9:54 - 11:54 10:18 - 12:18 4:21 - 5:51 4:45 - 6 ;15

Sa 21 10:42 - 12:42 11:06 - 1:06 NEW MOON 5:09 - 6:39 5:33 - 7:03

Su 22 11:30 - 1:30 11:54 - 1:54 5:57 - 7:27 6:21 - 7:51

Mo 23 NA 12:42 - 2:42 6:45 - 8:15 7:09 - 8:39

Tu 24 1:06 - 3:06 1:30 - 3:30 7:33 - 9:03 7:57 - 9:27

We 25 1:54 - 3:54 2:18 - 4:18 8:21 - 9:51 8:45 - 10:15

Th 26 2:42 - 4:42 3:06 - 5:06 9:09 - 10:39 9:33 - 11:03

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

Sa 28 4:18 - 6:18 4:42 - 6:42 10:45 - 12:15 11:09 - 12:39

Su 29 5:06 - 7:06 5:30 - 7:30 11:33 - 1:03 11:57 - 1:27

Mo 30 5:54 - 7:54 6:18 - 8:18 NA 12:45 - 2:15

Tu 31 6:42 - 8:42 7:06 - 9:06 1:09 - 2:39 1:33 - 3:03

FEBRUARY A.M. PM AM PM

We 1 7:30 - 9:30 7:54 - 9:54

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

We 8 1:06 - 3:06 1:30 - 3:30 7:33 - 9:03 7:57 - 9:27

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

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

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

Su 12 4:18 - 6:18 4:42 - 6:42 10:45 - 12:15 11:09 - 12:39 Mo 13 5:06 - 7:06 5:30 - 7:30 11:33 - 1:03 11:57 - 1:27

Tu 14 5:54 - 7:54 6:18 - 8:18 NA 12:45 - 2:15

-

-

- 2:39 1:33 - 3:03

-

- 3:27

Alabama Living JANUARY 2023 33 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 PIGG CECIL PIGG STEEL TRUSS, INC.
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2022
A.M. PM AM PM
Su 15 5:54 - 7:54 6:18 - 8:18 NA 12:45 - 2:15
Mo 16 6:42 - 8:42 7:06 - 9:06 1:09 - 2:39 1:33 - 3:03
Tu 17 7:30 - 9:30 7:54 - 9:54 1:57 - 3:27 2:21 - 3:51
Tu 21 11:30 - 1:30 11:54 - 1:54 5:57 - 7:27 6:21 - 7:51 We 22 NA 12:42 - 2:42 6:45 - 8:15 7:09 - 8:39 Th 23 1:06 - 3:06 1:30 - 3:30 7:33 - 9:03 7:57 - 9:27 Fr 24 1:54 - 3:54 2:18 - 4:18 8:21 - 9:51 8:45 - 10:15 Sa 25 2:42 - 4:42 3:06 - 5:06 9:09 - 10:39 9:33 - 11:03 Su 26 3:30 - 5:30 3:54 - 5:54 9:57 - 11:27 10:21 - 11:51 Mo 27 4:18 - 6:18 4:42 - 6:42 10:45 - 12:15 11:09 - 12:39 Tu 28 5:06 - 7:06 5:30 - 7:30 11:33 - 1:03 11:57 - 1:27
We 15 6:42
8:42 7:06
9:06 1:09
Th 16 7:30 - 9:30 7:54
9:54 1:57
2:21 - 3:51 Fr 17 8:18 - 10:18 8:42 - 10:42 2:45 - 4:15 3:09 - 4:39 Sa 18 9:06 - 11:06 9:30 - 11:30 3:33 - 5:03 3:57 - 5:27 Su 19 9:54 - 11:54 10:18 - 12:18 4:21 - 5:51 4:45 - 6 ;15 Mo 20 10:42 - 12:42 11:06 - 1:06 NEW MOON 5:09 - 6:39 5:33 - 7:03

cooking with kids

Kady, age 12, patiently baking her recreated TikTok Spaghetti.

| Alabama Recipes |
Erin Schulze, 10, with a finished loaf of her Basic Bread Recipe. Brothers Brittin Turner, 8 and Elliot Turner, 6, preparing to make their Magic Mousse. Natalie Brosseau, 10, with her Peach Pies.
34 JANUARY 2023 www.alabamaliving.coop
David Crowder, 4, mixing his Easy M&M Cookies.

Many of us got our start in the kitchen as youngsters, watching our parents or grandparents cook family favorites and then following their examples. Nowadays, young cooks can watch YouTube or TikTok videos of children their own age, whipping up cookies, pies and even like our winner this month, “TikTok Spaghetti.” We were impressed by the submissions we received, and we’re ready to join these young cooks for a meal anytime!

Basic Bread Recipe

1 egg plus warm water to make 11/3 cups together

2 tablespoons oil

1 rounded tablespoon sugar

1 rounded teaspoon salt

3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour

21/4 teaspoons yeast, sprinkled over

Add ingredients to a bowl in the order listed. Stir until all mixed together. Knead a few times to shape and place in a well-greased loaf pan. Let rise 45 minutes or until it’s at the top of the pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 24 minutes or until golden brown on top and bottom.

Erin Schulze's favorite way to eat this is straight out of the oven, sliced and buttered. But it also makes very yummy toast when left over.

Peach Pies

11/2 cups frozen peaches

1 refrigerated pie crust

21/2 tablespoons graham cracker crumbs

2 tablespoons sugar

Pinch cinnamon

Defrost the peaches. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Using a 4-inch bowl or cup as a guide, cut circles from the pie crust. A 9-inch refrigerated pie crust usually makes 5-8 circles. Roll out slightly, then place on a baking sheet. Crush graham crackers to make crumbs. Place 1/2 tablespoon of graham cracker crumbs in center of each crust. Using a plastic knife, cut thawed peaches into chunks. In a medium bowl, mix peach chunks with sugar and cinnamon. Divide the peaches among the crusts. Fold the edges of each crust up and over the peaches to form small pies. Bake 30 minutes or until the pies are golden brown. Let it cool before serving, about 5 minutes. Tastes delicious paired with ice cream or topped with cool whip.

Natalie Brosseau, 10 years old Wiregrass EC

Cook of the Month:

Kady

Graham Arab EC

Kady began cooking and baking at age 4. Now 12, she independently cooks and bakes 'from scratch' recipes, making delicious desserts, salads and dinner dishes for her family and friends. Kady saw this spaghetti recipe on TikTok and recreated it. She passed it 'up' the generations as she showed her mother and grandmother how to make it. It has become one of her family's favorites. Submitted by her grandmother, Sandy Kiplinger of Union Grove.

Kady's TikTok Spaghetti

1/2 cup olive oil

20 ounces grape (or cherry) tomatoes, washed and sliced in half

1 8-ounce block Feta cheese Salt and pepper, to taste

5 leaves fresh basil, chopped 16 ounces thin spaghetti Extra crumbled feta cheese, optional for garnish

Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees. In a 3-quart glass oblong baking pan, place block of Feta cheese in the center. Place grape (or cherry) tomatoes, cut side down, around the cheese. Drizzle olive oil over the feta and tomatoes. Lightly sprinkle salt and pepper over cheese and tomatoes, to taste. Place in oven and cook for 30 minutes. While the cheese/tomatoes are cooking, break the spaghetti in half or thirds and cook in accordance with package directions. Coordinate cooking times so the spaghetti is finished at the same time as the feta-tomato mixture. After removing the feta-tomato mixture from the oven, while still hot, use a potato masher to mash and then mix it together. After draining the cooked spaghetti in a colander, mix it with the feta mixture. The optional feta cheese can be sprinkled on top and it is ready to serve.

Alabama Living

David’s Easy M&M Cookies

1 cup butter

1 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup white sugar

2 eggs

2 teaspoons vanilla

21/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 cup M&M’s

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Cream butter, brown sugar, vanilla and white sugar until fluffy. Add eggs and mix well. Combine dry ingredients in a bowl and add to the butter mixture a bit at a time, mixing after each addition. Fold in M&M’s and drop by heaping tablespoons onto an ungreased baking sheet. Bake 8-10 minutes.

David Crowder, 4, says he is going to be a veterinarian when he grows up, but cooking has always been his favorite hobby.

Some of my best childhood memories are from being in the kitchen with my momma, grandmother and aunt. They taught me how to love cooking, enjoying what we create in the kitchen, and how to love others with food. I think it’s important to get kids in the kitchen early, even if it’s just to roll out biscuit dough. But have some fun, too! This recipe for Bears in a Blanket is easy enough for kids of all ages and is also pretty yummy! For more great recipes, head over to www.thebutteredhome.com.

Bears in a Blanket

2 sheets puff pastry

12 Hershey’s mini chocolate bars

12 Teddy Grahams cookies

1 egg

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Whip egg lightly in a small bowl. Cut each sheet of pastry dough into six equal pieces. Place on a sheet pan lined with parchment. Snap each Hershey bar into two pieces and lay them near the top of the pastry rectangle, like a pillow. Place a teddy graham on top of chocolate and fold bottom end of pastry up halfway on top of bear.

Crimp edges with a fork and brush pastry with whipped egg. Repeat for each pastry rectangle. Bake 10 to 12 minutes until golden brown. Cool and enjoy!

Magic Mousse

2 cups heavy whipping cream

1 small box (1.4-ounces) instant pudding mix, we use chocolate

Wash your hands. Empty pudding mix into a bowl. Add 2 cups of heavy whipping cream. Mix with an electric mixer for about 2 minutes. Makes four servings. Refrigerate any leftovers.

The Turner Brothers Brittin, 8 and Elliot, 6

Fran Turner Baldwin EMC

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.

36 JANUARY 2023 www.alabamaliving.coop
Coming up next... May Healthy Substitutions Deadline to enter February 3 More upcoming themes and deadlines: June: Burgers | March 3 July: Tomatoes | April 7 August: Pears | May 5
our
Email
Visit
website: alabamaliving.coop
us: recipes@alabamaliving.coop USPS mail: Attn: Recipes, P.O. Box 244014 Montgomery, AL 36124
Carol Sposato (David's "Memama") Dixie EC

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Energy efficiency helps industries invest in innovation, including space exploration

Celebrating a new year on Earth is a good time to reflect on future innovations in space, as NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, focuses on getting man walking again on the moon by 2025.

Last November, Artemis I, the first major spaceflight of NASA’s Artemis program, was launched from Kennedy Space Center for a 25-day space mission. The main objective was to test the spacecraft for subsequent Artemis missions. According to NASA’s website, “Artemis I will be the first in a series of complex missions to build a long-term human presence at the moon for decades to come.”

Artemis I returned to Earth in December.

NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center, which is located on the U.S. Army’s Redstone Arsenal southwest of Huntsville,

is one of TVA’s directly served customers. This arrangement helps ensure the power supply is ample and consistent and that all 160 buildings associated with NASA at Redstone are running at optimal efficiency.

TVA’s Federal Energy Services Program team has worked hand-in-hand with its federal partner to help ensure this consistency.

According to Tim Campbell, a TVA senior program manager who oversees energy efficiency programs on behalf of federal customers, says, “We audited approximately 4 million square feet of NASA’s building space. We looked at opportunities to improve, including lighting, air conditioning, building envelopes and water reduction among other things. Our expertise helps them achieve their goals for consistency, carbon reduction and executive order compliance.”

Doug Perry, TVA’s senior vice president of Commercial Energy Solutions, is proud to partner with the space agency.

“Hopefully our programs save NASA

precious dollars, help them build better rockets and computers, and hire the best people so they can get us to the moon and to Mars without worrying about, What is my power bill today? or When are we going to get better lighting? That’s what we are here for, and the entire team is very focused and excited to be a small part of the Artemis I project,” Perry says.

While federal customers of all sizes, from military installations to county courthouses, can take advantage of TVA’s Federal Energy Services Program, you don’t have to be a huge operation to work with TVA to lower your energy bills. The TVA EnergyRight for Business and Industry program works with enterprises of all sizes to help them reduce their carbon footprint and meet energy savings goals.

40 JANUARY 2023 www.alabamaliving.coop | Our Sources Say |
Kevin Chandler is general manager, Alabama District Customer Service, for the Tennessee Valley Authority.
TVA provides stellar support to NASA.

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Riding your thumb

Here’s a bit of trivia for you.

In 1937, roughly one out of ten American men had hitchhiked at some point in their lives.

Makes sense when you think about it.

Back then, Depression was in the land, and men looking for work stood by the road with their thumbs out, hoping for the ride that would take them to a job.

For some folks hitchhiking was a matter of convenience.

When I was a boy, we had a “farm” about 12 miles west of town. During the winter it fell to me to ride the school bus out to see that the cows were fed. Then I would hitchhike home.

Drivers knew my family, and we knew them, so I never had trouble catching a ride.

When I got to college it was another matter. I did not have a car, so on weekends I would head for the highway and hitch.

Soon I began to calculate what it took to get someone to pick me up.

What you wore mattered.

For example, a uniform. Folks who lived through WWII considered giving a serviceman a lift to be their patriotic duty. My ROTC uniform got me many a ride.

I learned to pick my spot carefully, making sure that there was a place past me where a driver could pull over. A location in a lower speed zone also improved your chances.

Often it was not possible to make the whole trip with one ride, so a hitchhiker had to piece together rides to get to where they were going. Sometimes the rides didn’t appear. Once I got stranded and it looked like night would catch me on the side of the road in the middle of nowhere. Then a family from my town drove by, recognized me and stopped. They were in a pick-up and the cab was full of parents and the kids. About two hours later they delivered a wind-blown me to my Mama.

Looking back I can say that I met some interesting people, only one of whom ever made me feel uncomfortable – not threatened. I was just glad when we got where we were going.

You don’t see many hitchhikers today. Not sure why. Maybe because more people have cars. I’d be willing to bet that there are more two-car families than no-car families.

Maybe the highways are to blame. Hitchhiking is prohibited on the interstate. On other roads folks drive faster and there seem to be fewer places to pull off to give a guy a lift.

But mostly I think it is us. Hitchhikers have been demonized, and maybe they should be. We have been told that it is dangerous to pick up someone you don’t know. On the other hand, getting into a car with a stranger doesn’t seem wise either.

Maybe it is just as well that this part of the American past is, well, past.

Would I have wanted my son to stand on the side of the road, thumb out, waiting to see who or what might stop?

No.

But back then my parents did, though I am sure that Mama prayed me all the way home.

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

Happy New Year!

from the Electric Cooperatives of Alabama