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APRIL 2014 • POWERING YOUR COMMUNITY

Wiregrass Electric COOPERATIVE

www.wiregrass.coop

Air Performance

Hartford business finds a way to thrive in struggling economy


VOL. 67 NO. 4 APRIL 2014

LIVING

CEO

Les Moreland CO-OP EDITOR

WEC Member Services Division 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. AREA cooperative member subscriptions are $3 a year; non-member subscriptions, $6. 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 Fred Braswell EDITOR Lenore Vickrey MANAGING EDITOR Melissa Henninger

8 Energy-Saving Trees Wiregrass Electric Cooperative has partnered with the Arbor Day Foundation to provide a sapling tree, free of cost, to members who sign up for one of our great programs.

26 A brunch to write home about

The talent and innovation of Chef Rob McDaniel make dining at SpringHouse on Lake Martin definitely worth the drive.

ON THE COVER

Tony Akridge helps Air Performance build an architectural louver in Hartford, Ala. See Page 6 to learn more.

CREATIVE DIRECTOR Mark Stephenson ART DIRECTOR Michael Cornelison ADVERTISING DIRECTOR Jacob Johnson ADVERTISING COORDINATOR Brooke Davis RECIPE EDITOR Mary Tyler Spivey ADVERTISING & EDITORIAL OFFICES:

34 A great time to be a turkey hunter

PHOTO BY CHEROKEE SPIVEY

Forty years ago, seeing a turkey track was cause for celebration, but thanks to conservation efforts, today’s Alabama turkey hunters are blessed with an abundance of birds to hunt.

340 TechnaCenter Drive Montgomery, Alabama 36117-6031 1-800-410-2737 E-mail: advertising@areapower.com www.areapower.coop

When you see this symbol, it means there’s more content online at www.alabamaliving.coop! Videos, expanded stories and more!

NATIONAL ADVERTISING REPRESENTATIVE:

National Country Market 611 South Congress Ave., Suite 504 Austin, Texas 78704 1-800-626-1181 www.nationalcountrymarket.com www.alabamaliving.coop

DEPARTMENTS USPS 029-920 • ISSN 1047-0311

9 26 30 35

Printed in America from American materials

Alabama Living

Air Performance found a way to turn a struggling company into a great success story, while helping its community along the way (Page 6).

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Spotlight Worth the Drive Alabama Gardens Fish & Game Forecast Cook of the Month APRIL 2014 3


Wiregrass Electric Cooperative

CEO’s Comments

Helping neighbors, the cooperative way

Board of Trustees Kip Justice District 6 President

Danny McNeil District 4 Vice President

Debra E. Baxley District 1 Secretary

Donna Parrish District 2

John Clark, Jr. District 3

Tracy Reeder District 5

Donald Ray Wilks District 7

Greg McCullough District 8

Nolan Laird District 9

4 APRIL 2014

Les Moreland, CEO Wiregrass Electric Cooperative

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or many of us, April is a time to enjoy warmer weather, blooming flowers and Easter Sunday. April is also the month we celebrate Earth Day. Each year, we take a day to remind ourselves to care for the land around us. This year, Wiregrass Electric Cooperative is doing something very special to celebrate Earth Day with our members. We have formed a partnership with the Arbor Day Foundation to provide a sapling tree, free of charge, to members who sign up for one of our convenient programs listed on Page 8. WEC will even have the tree delivered to your home for planting once you’ve picked out the type you’d like. It’s called Energy-Saving Trees, and we are proud to say that WEC is the first cooperative in the nation to participate in this program. I hope many of our members decide to take us up on this offer. We seldom think about how trees can impact the amount of electricity our homes use, but a full-grown tree placed correctly in your yard could shave 20 percent off a homeowner’s energy bill. This issue also features the story of a local Hartford business, Air Performance. This is a great story of doing whatever it takes to try and turn around a failing business — and achieving great success. It’s also a story about a business owner who believes the best way to operate is to give back to your neighbor. Read about Air Performance on Page 6. As a cooperative, Wiregrass Electric has the unique mission of helping our neighbors by providing this area with affordable, reliable electricity. Electricity makes our modern lives possible, and every WEC employee understands that the better we do our job, the better we serve our neighbors. We are fortunate to be able to help our

neighbors in other ways. Each year, WEC employees spend one day going out into the community for a work day. In the past, we’ve helped build houses with Habitat For Humanity and more. This year I am proud to say we are continuing that tradition of an all-employee Volunteer Day on Good Friday. We also fulfill our cooperative mission by helping other cooperatives. On Page 42 you can read about some of our line crews who answered the call for help from cooperatives caught in an ice storm. This is a tradition among cooperatives, and I am proud to be associated with a company that gladly sends its own to help others in their time of need. I am happy to report that we have recently made some changes in the way our employee leadership functions. We are always looking for ways we can improve our cooperative. To that end, we have created three new positions here at Wiregrass Electric. Our new controller position will help us oversee the day-to-day financial operation of the cooperative. This position is being filled by Lisa Lenore, previously the manager of accounting. Our new chief operating officer is Brad Kimbro, whose previous title was director of member services. Brad will now also oversee safety and compliance for the cooperative in addition to all his other duties, as well as be second-in-command here at WEC. Jason Thrash, formerly our systems engineer, will now serve as director of engineering and operations. This is the best way forward for WEC, and I appreciate these employees for being willing to serve in leadership positions. If you want to find out more about your cooperative’s leadership, visit our website at www.wiregrass.coop/management. www.wiregrass.coop


Your Cooperative Contact Information Business Phone: 1-800-239-4602 (24 hrs/day) Office: Mon. – Fri. 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Help protect your family from severe weather with free app The Wiregrass is no stranger to severe weather, and knowing when that weather is approaching can be life saving. That’s why the free SAF-T-Net smartphone app was developed. The app notifies users when they are in the path of severe weather and provides radar and satellite images of approaching storms. Recently redesigned with new features, SAF-T-Net is no longer just for storms, either. The app offers a seven-day forecast, current

Toll Free Outage “Hotline” 1-888-4-MY-OUTAGE 1-888-469-6882 (24 hrs/day)

temperatures and more. “You can use this app every day,” says Brad Kimbro, chief operating officer at WEC. “Or, you can use it for severe weather alerts only. Either way, we recommend all our members remain weather aware, especially as we move into hurricane season. We believe SAFT-Net is a great way to do that.” A

Give it a try SAF-T-Net is free, easy to use and quick to download. Just go to Apple’s App Store for iOS devices, or Google Play for Android and search for the app. If you’re already using the Alabama SAF-T-Net app, your smartphone may update the app automatically. If not, check your app update settings to get the new version.

Website www.wiregrass.coop Find Wiregrass Electric Co-op on Twitter (twitter.com/wec2) and on Facebook

Payment Options BY MAIL Wiregrass Electric Cooperative, Inc. Department 1340, P.O. Box 2153 Birmingham, AL 35287-1340 WEBSITE Payments may be made 24 hrs/day by Visa, MasterCard, Discover, American Express and E-Check on our website at www.wiregrass.coop. PHONE PAYMENTS Payments may be made any time by dialing 1-800-239-4602. NIGHT DEPOSITORY Available at each office location.

2 Online 1 InControl With WEC’s InControl pre-pay option, you have an opportunity to pay in advance for your electricity, avoiding high deposits.

4 Come By Pay your electric bill inside our Hartford, Samson, Ashford or Dothan office during regular business hours or swing through the convenient drive thru. A night depository is available at each office location for afterhours payments.

Alabama Living

Make payments 24/7 using your Visa, MasterCard, Discover, American Express and E-Checks on our website at www. wiregrass.coop. A member services representative can help you get set up.

Ways to pay 5 Call Us Call our IVR system at 800-239-4602 any day, any time and pay by credit or debit card or by check.

3 Auto Pay

$

$$

There is no need to write a check. Your payment is withdrawn directly from your bank account on the date your bill is due.

6 Mail It Return your payment in the envelope enclosed with your bill. Mail to: Wiregrass Electric Cooperative, Inc., Dept. 1340, PO Box 2153, Birmingham, AL 35287-1340. To avoid late fees, allow plenty of time for your payment to arrive and be processed. The postmarked date is not counted as the payment date.

IN PERSON Mon. – Fri. 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. Hartford 509 N. State Hwy. 167 Hartford, AL 36344 Samson 13148 W. State Hwy. 52 Samson, AL 36477 Ashford 1066 Ashford Highway Ashford, AL 36312 Dothan 6167 Fortner St. Dothan, AL 36305 For questions regarding sanitation service, call Houston County Sanitation Department at 334-677-4705 or Dothan City Sanitation at 334-6153820.

APRIL 2014 5


Hartford business

goes big time The small town of Hartford, Ala., has a secret. Maybe it’s a well-known secret for locals, but it’s still a surprise to outsiders. Tucked into the town is a thriving manufacturing company that does business with some pretty impressive power players in New York City; Washington, D.C.; Philadelphia; Dallas; Miami; St. Louis and Orlando, to name a very few. Wiregrass Electric Cooperative member Air Performance makes aluminum louvers, sunshades and grills — architectural components for the exteriors of high-rise buildings that keep the sun out while maintaining a sleek look. Making the American Dream But as impressive as its resume is now, Air Performance wasn’t always thriving and strong, despite all the hard work, dedication and ingenuity that was going into it. The turnaround for the company, which first opened its doors in 2005,

Ted Hampton cuts an extrusion at Air Performance. Its products can now be found on buildings across the nation.

6 APRIL 2014

happened in 2011. That’s when David Bearden, Nashville consultant and retired telecom executive, took control. Before that, the business was struggling from a bottomed-out economy and the uncertainty of what to do next. The bones of the business were good, Bearden says now, and included a dedicated workforce with hard-working owners and a nice infrastructure. But with the downed economy that started in 2007 and continued into 2010, commercial construction had all but stopped, leaving Air Performance founders Ross Strickland and Craig Tutor in a bind. In 2010, when Bearden initially took stock of the business, he wasn’t necessarily interested in buying the company out. But Greg Carr, who is now a partner and vice president of sales and marketing for the company encouraged him to take another look. “What we found was two honest, hard-working guys trying to make the American dream,” Bearden says. “That’s what I’m all about. They didn’t want to give up, but these guys had been suffering from the economy.” For a few months, Bearden and his partners made phone calls. They called on government contractors who were still working. They also invested $1 million of their own money in new technology and infrastructure and implemented new quality standards and processes. “When we bought the business, I began to redefine what our vision was,” Bearden says. “We decided we needed to do business with customers who

Tim Brown and David Bearden inspect a sunshade blade after it exits the automated paint line.

serve both the public and private sector. In a down market, the private sector stops building.” In addition, they realized the current workspace wasn’t “where our success would be,” Bearden says. Finding a way to grow One of the new company’s first big contracts was for an addition at Walter Reed Army Medical Center. From there, the company was asked to make its products for various U.S. embassies around the world. The company is now making about 7,000 components for a large development in Brooklyn, as well as products for a large museum in Boston and a children’s hospital in Philadelphia. And the work keeps coming, says Bearden. “We’ve been growing north of 60 percent each year for the last three years,” he says. Bearden attributes part of the sustained growth to several factors, including the continued support of Servis1st Bank and local utility companies like WEC. “We’re right next door to the cooperative,” says Bearden. “Without WEC and our other local utilities, we’d not be

www.wiregrass.coop


Around the Wiregrass

able to serve our customers.” When Bearden arrived, the company was down to about 10 employees. Now, he says, they employ more than 50. “It brings jobs to an area that badly needs it,” says Jeff Sorrells, mayor of Hartford. “After NAFTA, all our jobs, which were primarily textile, were gone. That was about 300 to 400 jobs. Air Performance puts money back into our economy.” Gary Shields, who sits on the Geneva County Board of Commission, agrees. “I’ve been in Geneva County all my life, and all the people who grow up here usually have to go somewhere else to find work — either that or do like their parents did, which is to make home-grown jobs of their own.” But a company like Air Performance can change this, according to Shields. “It’s my dream, my hope that they can stay here after graduating. It’s blood. It’s what keeps us going.” He says the company can also bring other companies and jobs to the county. “It’s a domino effect. Once something comes, other things come. We desperately need that,” says Shields.

Air Performance created these custom-designed sun shades for a Redstone Gateway building facade in Huntsville, Ala. BELOW: The louvers on Walter Reed Hospital in Bethesda, Md., were also built in Hartford at Air Performance.

An annual tithe It can also improve the tax base, which is something Shields says the county also needs. “We have a little tax base in Geneva County,” he says. “What little we get goes to schools. You can’t function as a county if you don’t have money coming in. People need their roads paved and their highways in good shape.” But that’s not all the company has done for the community. Air Performance has also made great contributions to the community by its annual “tithe,” as Bearden calls it. Every year in December, the company takes 10 percent of what it earns and puts it back into church and community programs that take care of the town’s

Air Performance owners Ross Strickland, Todd Crews, Craig Tutor and David Bearden review drawings for a new project. The owners have taken the company from almost failing in 2010 to a thriving business.

Alabama Living

people. After that, Bearden says, they take care of their employees through a profit-sharing program. “We are a faith-based manufacturing company,” he says. “We try to help the community. We try to live by the commandments.” Recently, Bearden says the company sent several workers to put a roof back on a house in a nearby community where a fire had blazed through. They also gave a total of more than $35,000 in company money to various programs at churches, community programs and the Hartford Senior Center. Rev. Jimmy Cook, pastor of Hartford First United Methodist, says the company helped by donating $4,000 to a project that tutors elementary students in reading and math. “That’s one of the problems here,” Cook says. “The dropout rate is about 40 percent.” Cook says he hopes the programs that Air Performance has invested in will eventually come full circle to the little business that has given so much by providing an educated workforce in the future. “They offer some good jobs, and help employ people in the community. I think what they’re doing is great,” Cook says. A APRIL 2014 7


WEC celebrates Earth Day by offering FREE trees to members Sign up for any of these Wiregrass Electric Cooperative programs in the month of April and receive a free sapling delivered directly to your door! WEC has teamed up with the Arbor Day Foundation to provide Energy-Saving Trees to our members, free of charge. Celebrate Earth Day by getting rid of your paper WEC bill. Visit www.wiregrass.coop/earthday2014 for more information!

PREPAY: Pay for your electricity before you use it. WEC’s InControl prepay program has helped thousands of our members give up electric bills for good. The InControl program also allows members to put their deposits to work for them immediately. E-BILL: Our paperless billing option is about more than helping keep waste out of the landfills. It’s about simplifying your life and reducing the paperwork you deal with each month. With E-Bill, a monthly notification is sent to your email inbox. From there, you can pay your bill online or use another payment method of your choice. LEVELIZED BILLING*: Ever have your electric bill jump from one month to the next, making it difficult to budget? You can fix that. Levelized billing assures that even though your energy use changes from month to month, your bill will vary only a little. There’s no enrollment fee and no surprise “true ups” at the end of the year.

*Some restrictions may apply

8 APRIL 2014

www.wiregrass.coop


Spot Light

APRIL 5 & 6

Thomas and Friends return to Calera Thomas and Friends will be visiting the Heart of Dixie Railroad Museum in Calera April 5 and 6 with trainloads of fun. Enjoy a train ride with Thomas, meet Sir Topham Hatt, and have fun in the Imagination Station, Putt-Putt Golf, Bubble Station, Maze, storytelling and more. For information and tickets, visit www.HODRRM.org or call 866-468-7630.

In April ‘Mockingbird’ play expected to sell out once again The 24th annual production of “To Kill a Mockingbird” at the old Courthouse Museum in Monroeville opens April 17 and runs through May 17. The two-act play, based on Harper Lee’s Pulitzer Prizewinning novel, will be performed by the Mockingbird Players on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays at 7 p.m., and Sundays at 6 p.m. Before the opening performance April 17, there will be an unveiling of a specially commissioned sculpture of the three children’s characters, Scout, Jem and Dill, by internationally known sculptor Branko Medenica of Birmingham. The sculpture was commissioned by the Monroeville Chamber of Commerce.

Frank “Doc” Adams signs copies of his book, Doc: The Story of a Birmingham Jazz Man, during the 2013 festival at the author signing table at the Alabama Book Festival. At left is Burgin Mathews, co-author.

APRIL 19

Alabama Book Festival will feature more than 50 authors The ninth annual Alabama Book Festival will be in historic downtown Montgomery at Old Alabama Town on Saturday, April 19, with approximately 50 authors and more than 40 vendors and exhibitors. This free public event is the state’s premier book festival, with some 5,000 people from around the state and the southeast converging in the capital to meet with and hear from their favorite authors and scholars. A children’s activity area is sure to make this a day of fun for the entire family. The 2014 Festival will continue the tradition of promoting reading and literacy to Alabamians of all ages and backgrounds while helping to continue celebrating the Year of Alabama Parks. Authors scheduled to appear include Cassandra King, Sena Jeter Naslund, William Cobb, Robert Inman and Clifton Taulbert. Find more information at alabamabookfestival.org. Alabama Living

Thirty thousand people from throughout the world visit the historic courthouse in Monroeville each year in search of the roots of “To Kill a Mockingbird.” The Mockingbird Players, an amateur theater group, have performed the play to sold‐out crowds each May since 1991. The production’s popularity has grown largely because it offers the audience the unique experience of an authentic hometown cast performing in the very courtroom where Harper Lee’s father practiced law. The Monroe County Museum, whose offices are housed in the Old Courthouse Museum, offers four special performances geared toward those studying “To Kill a Mockingbird.” Following the performance, students are able to meet the cast, discuss the book and play in more detail, and visit several points of interest off the Courthouse Square to get a feel for Harper Lee’s fictional “Maycomb.” These already sold-out Young Audience performances will be held during the school day in April. Tickets are available by calling 251-575‐7433. Reservations will be taken by phone or walk in only. There is no reserve seating. Production takes place during rain or shine. Subject matter is recommended for ages 12 and up. Each attendee must have a ticket. Ticket price is $50 each. CORRECTION: A typographical error in the article, “Teaching children history through travel,” in our March issue incorrectly stated the year Jefferson Davis was inaugurated as president of the Confederacy. The correct year is 1861.

APRIL 2014 9


Power Pack

Fraud and Social Security

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pril is Stress Awareness Month, but one thing that should never cause you stress is doing business with Social Security. However, if you fall victim to fraud, it can really stress you out, not to mention damage your credit score and wallet. We encourage you to be cautious of suspicious email, letters, and phone calls or any time someone asks for your personal information. Generally, Social Security will not call or email you and ask for your personal information, such as your Social Security number or banking information. If someone contacts you and asks for this kind of information and claims to be from Social Security, do not give out your personal information without first contacting us to verify the validity of the request. It could

Kylle’ McKinney, Alabama Social Security Public Affairs Specialist, can be reached in Montgomery at 866-593-0914, ext. 26265, or at kylle. mckinney@ssa.gov.

be an identity thief phishing for your personal information. Contact us at our toll-free number, 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778). Report suspicious calls to our Fraud Hotline at 1-800-269-0271 from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Eastern Time, or online at http://oig.ssa.gov using the “Fraud, Waste, and Abuse” link. When making a report, please include as many of the following details as possible: u The alleged suspect(s) and victim(s) names, addresses, phone numbers, dates of birth, and Social Security numbers; u Description of the fraud and the location where the fraud took place; u When and how the fraud was committed; u Why the person committed the fraud (if known); and u Who else has knowledge of the potential violation. Identity theft is one of the fastest-growing crimes in America. If you or anyone you know has been the victim of identity theft, you should contact the Federal Trade Commission at www.idtheft.gov, or call 1-877-IDTHEFT (1-877-438-4338); TTY 1-866-653-4261. Misleading advertisers may victim-

ize people who receive Social Security and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits. Such companies offer Social Security services for a fee, even though the same services are available directly from us for free. Especially upsetting are ads that make it appear as though they came directly from us. By law, such advertisements must indicate that the company is not affiliated with Social Security. If you see what you believe to be misleading advertising for Social Security services from a company that fails to say it is not affiliated with Social Security, report it to us at: Office of the Inspector General, Fraud Hotline, Social Security Administration, P.O. Box 17768, Baltimore, MD 21235. This goes for advertisements in print, online, or on television or radio. Also, advise your state’s attorney general or consumer affairs office and the Better Business Bureau. You can visit the Office of the Inspector General online at http://oig.ssa.gov and select the “Fraud, Waste or Abuse” link. Learn more about identity theft and misleading advertising by reading our publications on the subjects at www. socialsecurity.gov/pubs. You may have enough stress already. Don’t get stressed over fraud. A

Rock Bridge Canyon Equestrian Park welcomes horse riders, hikers Equestrians, rejoice. Rock Bridge Canyon Equestrian Park in Hodges has opened to the public, and features some 27 miles of trails winding through acres of woodlands, canyons and waterfalls. The Franklin County park is the result of a 2011 economic development study that concluded that an equestrian park would be a good addition to the area, highlighting its natural beauty and resources. It’s also proving to be a boon for tourism. “We have had a very positive impact in tourism for Franklin County. We have campers from as far away as Indiana, Missouri, Florida and New Mexico,” says Tina Lawler, the park’s activities director. Trails of varying skill levels are located throughout the park, and each rider 10 APRIL 2014

is provided with a color-coded trail map that coordinates with the signs, flags and markers used to designate each trails. Hiking trails are also available for all age groups and skill levels that twist and turn through the Rock Bridge Canyon with picturesque sights and rock formations. Visitors can swim in pools at the bottom of the many waterfalls or eat lunch underneath the shelter of the Rock Bridge. The park offers 34 campsites ranging from full hook up to primitive as well a camp store that offers toiletries, arts and crafts created by local artisans, Rock Bridge Canyon merchandise and a small

selection of tack. The park offers a full bathhouse, a pavilion, restrooms and a day use area. RBC also features a professional-sized outdoor arena with scheduled events throughout the year, including the 3rd Annual Rock Bridge Canyon Pro Rodeo on June 20 and 21. Grants from the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs, the Resource, Conservation and Development Council, Rep. Johnny Mack Morrow, and Sen. Roger Bedford helped make the project a reality. Local farmers and landowners donated land to build the trails. For more information, visit www. rockbridgecanyon.com or call 205-9353499. www.alabamaliving.coop


Looking forward to Easter… and what comes after

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rowing up in mid-century South Alabama, Easter was anticipated almost as much as Christmas. Like Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny added an element of mystery to the day. Of course we knew that rabbits don’t bring colored eggs, even to good little girls and boys, any more than fat, bearded, pipe smoking old men slide down chimneys, but we also knew that to say this out loud might give parents an excuse to chunk the whole thing, and we would be left without chocolate bunnies and those colorful marshmallow, sugar-encrusted chicks that rot your teeth. So we went along with it. My school got into the act as well. Now I understand and appreciate the care schools must take today to avoid appearing to push a particular brand of religion to impressionable young minds. However, I seriously doubt if any souls were saved the year that my elementary school sponsored a schoolwide Easter egg hunt with real eggs. Some organization – maybe the Lion’s Club, maybe a church – supplied the eggs. Dozens of them. Hard-boiled. Teachers let the children color them and then high school students took them out to the football field and hid them. From this I learned two things.

Alabama Living

First, not all my classmates were as affluent as solid-middle-class-me and my town-boy buddies. My friends and I hunted eggs for sport. But some of our classmates, kids from hardscrabble farms at the far end of the school bus route, hunted eggs for the table. At the end of the day they took their prizes home for supper. The other thing I learned was that eggs not found and left out in the spring sun quickly turned bad. Some of the high school kids took hiding seriously and many eggs were never found until days later when the sour smell of sulfur led teachers to them. That was the last school-wide realegg Easter egg hunt. Today churches have pretty well taken over Easter, which, now that I think of it, is the way it should be. Some churches have even co-opted the Easter Bunny with church-sponsored egg hunts (with plastic eggs, of course), preceded by the obligatory reference to eggs and resurrection and the real meaning of Easter. For we kids, Easter also had a special meaning because we used it as reminder to our Mothers that:

Harvey H. (“Hardy”) Jackson is retired professor emeritus of history at Jacksonville State University whose most recent book is The Rise and Decline of the Redneck Riviera, featured in the January 2013 Alabama Living. His work appears in the Anniston Star and Northeast Alabama Living. He can be reached at hjackson@ cableone.net.

Although spring may have already warmed the air and stirred in us the youthful desire to cast off our winter garments, Mothers held us off with “wait until after Easter.” So it followed that when the appointed day arrived, we held them to their word. Even if Easter came early and the ground was still chilled, we did what we had been promised we could do. Thus out into the world we went on an unshod sugar high, knowing summer could not be far behind. A

Lo the winter has passed The rains are over and gone The flowers appear on the earth And it’s time to take off our shoes.

APRIL 2014 11


Hummingbird in flight.

Star trails shimmer over Bald Rock at Mt. Cheaha.

Osprey nest makes a dramatic silhouette.

PHOTO BY JOHN DENNEY

PHOTO BY JOHN DENNEY

PHOTO BY JIM DENNEY

Double Exposure Double Exposure Twin artists capture Alabama’s wildlife

By Nick Thomas

12 APRIL 2014

www.alabamaliving.coop


The wildlife oasis area of Lake Martin is the setting for much of the Denney brothers’ art and photography.

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s children, John and Jim Denney were captivated by a cousin’s artwork of medieval knights. During youthful summer vacations, the brothers soon began creating their own drawings and paintings of comic book heroes and dinosaurs. As the boys matured, so did their art and the pair blossomed into first-rate artists who now specialize in wildlife paintings, photography, and commercial graphic art.   But even more remarkable, the brothers are identical twins with near identical careers. John and Jim were born, raised, and still live (five miles apart) in Alexander City, near Lake Martin – a wildlife oasis in south-central Alabama, just north of Montgomery.   It remains the setting for much of their art and photography.  “ Yo u n e v e r seem to run out of subjects to photograph,” says John. Winter sunset on Lake Martin. “There’s anything from wildlife in the winter and fall, to fireworks on the 4th of July, and concerts at the amphitheater.” “Many consider Lake Martin one of the most beautiful lakes in the South,” adds Jim. “One end has great tributaries flowing in for moving water photos, while the other has rocky cliffs and vast open bodies of water for stunning sunsets. The water clarity makes it an excellent area for photographs.”   After studying art and graduating from the University of Montevallo, the brothers worked as graphic artists for the Russell Corporation. While it paid the bills, the pair became progressively more involved in painting, which led to an interest in photography. “After I became a graphic designer, it made sense to take my own photographs rather than buy stock photos,” says John. “It also helped us as painters,” adds Jim. “Finding good reference material to paint from – photos that show animals in detail – was difficult. This is important when submitting work to contests because they are judged on accuracy and detail.”

The Denneys have entered and won many art competitions, including the highly competitive Alabama Waterfowl Art Contest. The winning design is used each year for the state waterfowl hunting license stamp. Between them, the brothers have won four of the last seven contests. “We’re extremely competitive,” says John. “When Jim won (for the 2008-09 hunting season), I was determined to win the following year, which I did. Being so competitive has driven each of us to do better.” The Denneys sell their work around the country through their websites, but many clients live in the Lake Martin area. “People from all over the region have homes at the lake and want paintings and photos that relate to the area,” says Jim, who is occasionally contacted by locals when they stumble upon interesting fauna. “I remember a call from a man who found a fox PHOTO BY JIM DENNEY den, so I went up and constructed a blind,” recalls John. “Finding dens is not easy, so this was a great opportunity to photograph these beautiful animals. Over a period of days I photographed them, but some days I’d sit there for six hours and never see one.” Great photo opportunities are elusive. “One time I was out photographing wood ducks and saw a mink coming out of a creek,” says Jim. “Right in front of me it attacked a snake. The battle only lasted a few seconds, but I had the wrong lens on my camera for a close-up. It would have made a great shot.” Birds, however, remain the brothers’ favorite subjects. The Lake Martin area is especially rich in waterfowl and raptors, including bald eagles. The majestic birds – symbols of the nation – were nearly wiped out in the 1960s due to the widespread use of agricultural pesticides (DDT), but made a dramatic comeback through aggressive conservation efforts.   “Bald eagles are now found throughout the state, but I photograph mostly at Lake Martin,” says John. “I first started seeing

“Being so competitive has driven each of us to do better.”

Alabama Living

APRIL 2014 13


‘You never seem to run out of subjects to photograph.’ them on the lake around 2002 and they were a very rare sight. These days I see them on a fairly regular basis.” For amateurs hoping to photograph bald eagles, John says fall is the best viewing time, since they may venture further from their nests in search of food during the breeding season. He recommends early morning or late afternoon surveillance, when they are more active, and using a minimum 300 mm good quality lens and a heavy tripod.  “You also need patience to be a wildlife photographer,” says Jim. “It helps to be a good woodsman and to learn the animals’ habits. For example, ducks will often come to the same area at the same time of the day. Studying animal behavior and their patterns can save a lot of time. And get the best equipment you can afford.” Not surprisingly, perhaps, John and Jim even use the same camera model. “We both have a Nikon D300,” said Jim. “It just

made sense to get the same brand so we can swap lenses back and forth.” They also both have near-identical websites (www.johndenney. com and www.jimdenneyart.com). “I told John we can’t have them exactly the same, they’ve got to be slightly different,” says Jim. “So mine has a black background and his is white!” Despite the incredible similarities in their lives and careers, there is one area in which the brothers will never agree. “John is an Alabama fan, and I’m for Auburn,” says Jim. “Our mom went to Alabama and dad graduated from Auburn, so we think it’s only fair to split the loyalties!” A Auburn University at Montgomery professor and freelance writer Nick Thomas has written for more than 300 magazines and newspapers. Contact him at his blog: getnickt.blogspot.com.

Clockwise, from left, Jim Denney’s artistic talent is evident in his painting of an owl; a fox pup looks docile enough to pet (photo by John Denney); bald eagle in flight (photo by Jim Denney); Turkeyfoot Falls in the Sipsey Wilderness of Bankhead National Forest photo by Jim Denney); the Denney brothers aim their lenses at a feathered friend, Nova, a 13-year-old golden eagle (photo by Nick Thomas).

14 APRIL 2014

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Alabama Living

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Hunting, fishing, golfing and chef-driven cuisine big draws at this family-owned and operated getaway By Jennifer Kornegay

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he gentle rolling hills and quiet countryside on the borders of Sylacauga are no real surprise; our state is rife with similar rural scenery. But the luxury of Pursell Farms, the 3,500-acre resort sprawling across this landscape, comes as a revelation. There’s nothing opulent or over the top at this family owned and operated escape, but by making its guests feel almost instantly and continually at home and relaxed, it lives up to the definition of luxurious nonetheless. From the professional, yet friendly service and the world-class golf to the chef-driven cuisine and rustic elegance of the accommodations, a weekend (or longer) at Pursell Farms is a getaway in every sense of the word. Grass roots Pursell Farms began not as a resort, but as a marketing tool to sell Pursell Technologies Inc.’s controlled-release fertilizer process. It was a “If you show them, they will buy it,” kind of idea. “Most of our competitors were well entrenched, better known and outselling us by a large margin. Their marketing strategy was pretty institutional, just using outside salesmen and trade advertising to try to get their story out. Our strategy was totally relational,” CEO and co-founder David Pursell explains. Pursell Technologies flew their target market — golf course superintendents and ornamental nursery growers — in for a show and tell called “The Experience at FarmLinks.”

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The drive into Pursell Farms is picture-postcard worthy.

The mostly male groups spent three nights and two days learning about the somewhat complicated product and having fun, eating fabulous food, sleeping in beautiful rooms and playing golf on what’s been hailed one of the finest courses in the Southeast. Using the golf course as an outdoor classroom to demonstrate their product usually sealed the deal. “Each golf hole had our products used in a real-world working environment. Some holes had our products side by side versus our competitors,” Pursell says. “By the end of their visit, most of these prospects would make up their minds to give our products a try on their course, which was our main objective. The product’s performance would do the rest of t he selling.” I n 2006, Pursell

Technologies was sold, but the Pursell family couldn’t bear to part with the property. They still run the research and education arm of FarmLinks and teach course superintendents the latest in agronomics, course care and more. But today, they’re also in the process of recreating the experience at Pursell Farms, transforming it into a pastoral playground that caters to the leisure traveler. “Planned expansion in 2014 will add new amenities that will help us attract more guests, including females and couples, to come spend a few days here,” Pursell says. True Southern living While it is a work in progress, there is already a lot to love at Pursell Farms, most notably beautiful natural surroundings and, no matter the weather, warmth in the form of welcome. It begins with your drive in. A picture-postcard-perfect scene, a sea of grass dotted with plump, round hay bales and resting longhorn cattle, greets you when you turn off the county road. You’ve only driven two miles into the property when you arrive at check in, but

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Cottage guests can gather around a cozy common area for conversation; owner David Pursell, inset, says the complex is a reflection of his family.

you’re 1,000 miles away from whatever stresses, worries or responsibilities were occupying your thoughts mere moments ago. Whether you’re staying in a cottage, a cabin, the lovely Hamilton Place (built in 1854 and listed on the National Register of Historical Places) or the handsome Parker Lodge, you won’t be disappointed. “Everything we’ve built to date has been very high quality and memorable. We didn’t cut many corners. Since we live out here and work here every day, everything is a reflection of our family,” Pursell says. “Our staff here is also an extension of the Pursell family. They care a lot about everyone’s experience here.” This commitment to service and quality is proven by Pursell Farms’ inclusion in the Southern Living Hotel Collection; the resort is a charter member. And if you happen to be a man, Pursell Farms is practically nirvana. In addition to the world-renowned golf course, activities at the resort include fishing in stocked, sparkling lakes; hunting turkey or quail;

Alabama Living

or clay target shooting using a state-ofthe-art five stand. The cottages and cabins are set around a private putting green and are specifically designed for a golf foursome, with four bedrooms and four private baths in each clustered around a den with a large flatscreen TV and a full kitchen (cottages) or

Clay target shooting is a popular pastime.

kitchenette (cabins). The den in the cottages is complete with a massive stone fireplace. Each is named for famous names in golf like Jones, Hogan and Snead and includes personal Clubcar golf carts for use on the course and for driving around the property.

Fore! The main draw at Pursell Farms is undoubtedly its 7,444-yard championship golf course, FarmLinks. Once used primarily for research and demonstration purposes, it’s now the No. 1 public golf course in Alabama according to GolfWeek and is consistently ranked among Golf Digest’s top courses in the nation, two designations that speak volumes. “We are very proud of that,” Pursell says. The course is wide open, with scenic vistas that can prove distracting to even a seasoned player. The tee box on hole No. 5 sits high atop a hill overlooking one of the area’s marble quarries, and a historic marker explains how a member of General Andrew Jackson’s militia actually discovered the deep vein of milky white marble while on their way to the Battle of Horseshoe Bend. This rare stone was used in the Lincoln Memorial, the Washington Monument and many other significant structures and is still prized today. Markers at other holes tell bits and pieces of the Pursell family’s story and point to the golf

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Hole Number 9 at the FarmLinks Course; the course itself is 7,444 yards and is among the top courses in the nation.

course’s environmentally friendly design. Pursell bragged on the course’s par-3 holes. “Most say that we have the most incredible collection of par-3 holes of any golf course they have ever played,” he says. “They are all very picturesque and very fun to play. For instance, hole No. 5 plays over 200 yards from the tips, but due to the elevation drop, I’ve seen some people hit no more than a 9 iron.” He also praised his personal favorite, the par-5 No. 18. “It sits alone in a field of over 250 acres of land. Some entire 18-hole golf courses are built on less than that!” he says. “The hole is 615 yards long, and the fairway is comprised of Zorro Zoysia Grass. It plays a little uphill and is very hard to get to the green in two shots. The two giant oak trees have to be considered when one hits their tee shot.” Many players call it a “magnificent finish to a challenging but fun round of golf.”

bites of spicy Conecuh sausage resting in rich cheese grits and finished with a few drop of hot sauce made from peppers picked straight out of resort’s garden. “Others seem to like it too,” she says. “I’ve had folks from Louisiana tell me they are the best shrimp and grits they’ve ever had.” Griffith considers this praise a huge compliment, especially since she didn’t know what a grit was until a few years ago. “I was born in Philadelphia, but I married a Southern boy and learned real quick,” she says. She gets her grits from McEwin Grits in Wilsonville (about 20 minutes away) and cooks them low and slow for about four and a half hours. To enjoy her creations, you can grab a table at The Grille, which boasts an appetite-enhancing view of the 18th green, or guests of the cottages, Parker Lodge or the Hamilton House can arrange to have a gourmet meal cooked to order in their kitchen. Cabin guests have access to full-service catering from The Grille.

A feast for the senses As a full-service resort, Pursell Farms has Coming soon Pursell Farms has long been a haven for put as much thought into feeding its guests as it has everything else and recently brought in men, but the plan to increase its appeal to classically trained Chef Andrea Griffith to head women and families while polishing its current up its dining options. She was awarded the dis- offerings is in its finishing stages, according to tinction of Certified Chef de Cuisine, the third Pursell. More guest rooms, a full-service spa, a level of achievement at the American Culinary new dining experience, a pool, tennis facilities Federation, among other honors, and has put and more meeting space are just a few of the her passion for food to good use at the resort. additions on the horizon. “Our goal is to attract The result is an ever-changing menu focused a much wider demographic of resort guests, on hearty, Southern foods prepared with the beyond golfers,” he says. “But the golf here is freshest, best ingredients she can find. “I believe some of the best in the state.” As the word spreads about the resort, Purin trying to use as much as I can from as close as possible and work all that into an approach sell offered his thoughts on what makes the to classic tradition and tastes,” she says. Using place special. “Most people that come here tell local, in-season products and produce from the us that there is just a different feeling one gets onsite garden and other area farmers, Griffith when they stay here versus when they go to most other resort hotels. We lets the flavors of the ingrediExecutive Chef Andrea Griffith just try to exceed everyone’s ents speak for themselves. focuses on hearty, Southern The DogLeg sandwich is a foods made with fresh expectations,” he says. “I think tasty example of her approach ingredients. when we are done here with to regional classics: Grilled the next phase of expansion, Conecuh sausage is smoththis place is really going to ered in creamy, sharp pimento become the go-to place in the cheese on a crusty roll and Southeast for a quality resort served with a side of houseexperience.” A made potato chips and tangy Learn more about Pursell homemade ketchup. The chef ’s Farms and plan your visit at choice is the shrimp and grits, a www.farmlinks.org. bounty of big Gulf shrimp and 18 APRIL 2014

MORE ALABAMA GETAWAYS You don’t have to travel far to find a great getaway. Our state is full of escapes to the country as well as a golf trail that continues to earn national acclaim. Check out these other options for relaxing amid a rural landscape and for playing some world-class golf. Five Star Plantation Kellyton, Ala. This historic retreat sits on 5,000 acres dotted with stands of mature trees and five stocked lakes. It first opened as a hunting preserve in 1919, and many of its structures, including the charming lodge, date back to the early 1900s. Enjoy dining, fishing, horseback riding and sporting clays in classic Southern comfort. www.fivestarplantation.com Steelwood Country Club Loxley, Ala. In South Alabama this 1,400acre lakefront club is open to guests and offers an 18-hole championship golf course, fishing and hunting, as well as delicious dining in the lovely clubhouse. www.steelwood.us Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail The Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail boasts 11 sites around the state with a total of 468 holes of amazing golf on courses that consistently garner spots on Golf Digest’s “best golf” lists as well as the praise of players who visit from around the country and the world. The resorts accompanying several of these courses are also hailed for their service, food and their award-winning spas. The Marriott Grand Hotel in Point Clear, sitting on the shores of Mobile Bay, is just one of the gems in this collection. www.rtjgolf.com

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Alabama Living

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APRIL 2014 19




Tornado Season: Prepping can make all the difference

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ornado season is here, and Alabamians have the chance right now to take some simple steps that can save lives if our state is threatened by a storm this year. “By preparing together for tornadoes, we can make our families safer and our communities stronger,” says Mark Beddingfield, chief executive of the Alabama Red Cross. “We urge you and your family to create a tornado preparedness plan now, before our community is threatened by severe weather.” As with any disaster, preparation can be the difference between life and death. The Red Cross recommends that individuals and families prepare for tornadoes by:  Creating and practicing a Home Tornado Plan: Pick a “safe room” or uncluttered area without windows where family members and pets could seek shelter on the lowest floor possible: a basement, a center hallway, a bathroom or a closet. Putting as many walls between you and the outside provides additional protection.  Assembling a Emergency Preparedness K it: Kits should contain a first aid kit and essential medications, foods that don’t require cooking or refrigeration and manual can opener, bottled water, flashlights and a battery-powered radio with extra batteries and other emergency items for the whole family.  Heeding Storm Warnings: Listen to your local radio and TV stations for updated storm information. A tornado WATCH means a tornado is possible in your area. When a tornado WARNING is issued, go to the safe room you picked to protect yourself from glass and other flying objects. If you are outside, hurry to the basement of a nearby sturdy building. If you are in a car or mobile

20 APRIL 2014

home, get out immediately and head to the nearest building for safety. If you are outside and there are no buildings, lie flat in a low lying area or ditch and cover your head with your arms and hands.

 Preparing for High Winds: Make trees more wind resistant by removing diseased and damaged limbs, and then strategically removing branches so that wind can blow through. Install permanent shutters on your windows and add protection to the outside areas of sliding glass doors. Strengthen garage doors and unreinforced masonry. Move or secure lawn furniture, outdoor decorations or ornaments, trash cans, hanging plants and anything else that can be picked up by wind and become a projectile.  Downloading the Free Red Cross Tornado App for Mobile Devices: You can help get your family and home ready for severe weather with the official Tornado App from the American Red Cross. The FREE Tornado app puts everything you need to know to prepare for a tornado – and all that comes with it – in the palm of your hand. Download it directly from the iTunes or Google Play app stores. More safety information and checklists can be found at www. redcross.org/prepare. For more information about your local American Red Cross visit www. redcross.org/alabama. The Red Cross responds to nearly 70,000 disasters a year in this country, providing shelter, food, emotional support and other necessities to those affected. It provides 24-hour support to members of the military, veterans and their families – in war zones, military hospitals and on military installations around the world; collects and distributes more than 40 percent of the nation’s blood supply and trains more than 9 million people in first aid, water safety and other life-saving skills every year. The Red Cross is not a government agency and relies on donations of time, money and blood to do its work. An average of 91 cents of every dollar given to the Red Cross is invested in helping the people the Red Cross services. A

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Alabama Living

APRIL 2014 21


[e\

Alabama’s historic Mesker buildings

exceptional examples of late 19th century architecture By Jim Winnerman

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or 20 years the 1880-era Bliss Block building and the Perry preservationists, historians and architects, Neese had fulfilled Jones’ Cotton Exchange building sat vacant and deteriorating on a wish and had returned the building to its original condition in prime commercial corner in downtown Florence. The win- accordance with National Park Service guidelines. Missing pieces dows and doors were concealed by plywood and siding and much had been custom-made to match the missing ornate trim which of the ornate Victorian architectural was painted with historically accurate details were missing or damaged. colors to highlight the intricate detail Still, there was something intriguon the facade. ing about the attached buildings “It wasn’t a renovation project, it that attracted the attention of local was a total restoration,” he says. realtor and developer Jimmy Neese. In fact Neese had rescued a supeWhen he pried back one of the panrior example of what is known as a els of siding covering the street-level “Mesker” building. While the streetfaçade, Neese exposed the original level columns and ornamentation are elaborate cast iron columns. “I knew cast iron of the Bliss building, the then it had potential,” he says. window hoods and elaborate cornice Neese consulted with the late Har- These buildings in downtown Wetumpka are among the with rows of medallions and draped vey P. Jones, a prominent restoration 39 remaining Meskers left in Alabama. wreaths under a pediment are very PHOTO BY MICHAEL CORNELISON thin pressed sheet steel. On the Cotarchitect in Huntsville, who recognized the historical significance of the building. “Jimmy, this was ton Exchange building the stamped veneer forms a row of decoonce a beautiful building and one of the most important in the rated Greek columns supporting another very imposing cornice community. If you restore it, you need to do it right,” Neese recalls supported by large brackets over the top of stained glass windows. him saying. “Many people have thought the façade must be stone or wood,” Three years later, and after extensive cooperation with Alabama Neese says. An 1898 Mesker Brothers catalog.

22 APRIL 2014

COURTESY DARIUS BRYJKA

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Alabama Living

APRIL 2014 23


The 1904 George Mesker catalog features cornices similar to those on the Bliss and Cotton Exchange buildings.

That is exactly the perception the original owners of Mesker buildings desired. “America was still rebuilding after the Civil War, and merchants wanted their businesses to have an imposing and fashionable front to attract customers,” says Darius Bryjka, a national expert on the unique facades. “Meskers could be customordered to fit any size building, and they were easily installed with local labor in just a few days.” Only 39 Meskers are presently known to remain in Alabama. In addition to the two in Florence, they can be found in Anniston (2), Carrollton, Columbiana, Cullman (2) Demopolis, Eutaw (2), Florala, Gadsden (2), Georgiana (2), Goodwater, Greensboro (3 plus 1 demolished), Greenville (4), Hayneville, Monroeville, New Hope, Pineapple, Selma (3), Springville, Talladega, Uniontown, and Wetumpka (5).  More than 3,400 Mesker buildings in 49 states have been identified and more are reported and verified by Bryjka each month. At one time it is estimated 50,000 structures throughout the United States were once adorned with Mesker facades, but most have disappeared due to redevelopment, fire or neglect.  The small number of remaining Meskers known to exist were all built between 1880 and 1910 and were all purchased out of a catalog, just as people at the time were shopping in the Sears and Roebuck catalog. At their height more than 500,000 Mesker catalogs were being mailed each year, but only to small town merchants. Other firms produced pressed-metal façade storefronts, but the Mesker family was by far the largest supplier producing a wide va-

The Bliss Building in Florence features an elaborate facade made of thin galvinized tin.

riety of motifs on an unprecedented scale. The business origin can be traced to about 1844 when German immigrant John Bernard Mesker settled in Cincinnati and trained as a “tinner” working with tinplate. Eventually the sons of John Mesker began their own iron works, concentrating on the production of storefronts. George continued the family business in Evansville, Ind., while Bernard and Frank Mesker opened the competing Mesker Brothers Iron Works in St. Louis. Few Mesker buildings anywhere in the nation remain in such remarkable shape as the two Neese restored, and he has been presented with numerous state and local awards. Billy Ray Warren, president of the Historic Preservation Inc., a community based organization in Florence, recalled recently that the corner where the Neese buildings are located had been described locally as “the most visible in the Quad Cities area. Before Jimmy got involved the buildings were an embarrassment. He brought them back to life.” Chloe Mercer with the Alabama Historical Commission in Montgomery notes the project spurred additional façade improvements in downtown Florence and that Neese paid particular attention to maintaining the historic qualities of the two buildings, including the pressed and cast metal ornamentation on the facade and the wood and plaster finishes on the interior. “Every day someone comes in to tell us what beautiful buildings these are,” Neese says. “We are very conscious of their historic value and proud to have saved them for the community.” A

More on Meskers For more information on Mesker storefronts: GotMesker.com The Gotmesker.com website has links to a variety of Mesker resources including copies of original Mesker catalogs.

24 APRIL 2014

Mesker Brothers blog and facebook page Darius Bryjka adds a new story to his Mesker Brothers blog each month. The site also adds Meskers to the national database on the site as they are discovered. meskerbrothers.wordpress.com/

Bryjka also moderates a Facebook Group where possible Mesker topics can be discussed and possible discoveries can be reported; www.facebook.com/#!/ groups/160561813959150/

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Alabama Living

APRIL 2014 25


Worth the Drive

A brunch to write home about, courtesy of SpringHouse’s Chef McDaniel Story and photos by Jennifer Kornegay

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he idea of ordering bacon, scrambled eggs and a gravysmothered biscuit for brunch when there are other selections to tempt your taste buds like a chicken biscuit with jalapeno white BBQ sauce, Eggs Benedict with hickory-grilled sirloin (instead of boring ole Canadian bacon), and a lamb omelet served with a side of locally sourced stone-ground grits may seem odd to some. Why choose the simple one, something you could easily whip up at home? Well, because I feel fairly comfortable proclaiming that while you can certainly make this meal at home, you probably can’t make it as well as what you’ll find at SpringHouse in Alexander City. I know I can’t. (I also doubt your breakfast nook boasts the warm, rustically elegant ambiance that fills every corner — as well as the outdoor areas — of this stone and timber, lodge-looking restaurant crowning a hilltop in the Russell Crossroads development at Lake Martin.) But back to that brunch plate: Pale yellow clouds of scrambled eggs play with crisped fatty bacon (with zero chew) like a soft and salty symphony. A light biscuit is topped with peppery gravy that strikes just the right consistency note: not too thick and not too thin. If you order coffee, it comes to the table in your own French press. This music-to-your mouth meal begins with quality ingredients: farm-fresh eggs, house-cured bacon (which you might even see smoking in front of the massive stacked-stone fireplace in the main dining room), specialty-roasted coffee with raw sugar (if you take it sweet). I hear you saying, “I can go buy all that if I want.” Sure you can. Thanks to a renewed emphasis on real food and a farm-to-fork philosophy reviving our support of area producers, today it’s not too hard (and really never was if you knew where to look) to get your hands on any of the above. But it’s not just what you start with; it’s what you do with it. And more importantly for my argument, who “you” are. In the kitchen at SpringHouse, the “you” is Chef Rob McDaniel. This Alabama native has reaped praise since the restaurant opened in 2009; he was just nominated, for the second year in a row, as the James Beard Foundation’s Best Chef in the South. And it’s simple stuff like the eggs, bacon and biscuit of a Spring-

Jennifer Kornegay is the author of a children’s book, “The Alabama Adventures of Walter and Wimbly: Two Marmalade Cats on a Mission.” She travels to an out-of-the way restaurant destination in Alabama every month. She may be reached for comment at j_kornegay@charter.net.

26 APRIL 2014

SpringHouse crowns a hilltop in the Russell Crossroads development at Lake Martin.

Light biscuits topped with peppery gravy strike just the right note.

Plates get the finishing touch before gracing a diner’s table. For a closer look at SpringHouse, go to alabamaliving. coop and click on “videos”

Brunch of Champions SpringHouse 12 Benson Mill Road Alexander City Alexander City, AL 256-215-7080 www.springhouseatcrossroads.com Open Wednesday - Saturday for dinner, 5:30-9 p.m. and Sundays for brunch, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. (Hours vary by season.) www.alabamaliving.coop


Alabama Living

APRIL 2014 27


Stone and timber create a rustic lodge-like appearance for the popular restaurant.

House brunch that has pushed McDaniel into the upper echelon of chefs in our area. It’s easy to shine when pulling off a complex ballet of exotic flavors and textures; it’s tougher to do basic better than anyone else. And a commitment to using what’s in season and what’s nearby lends his dishes a pure, pellucid quality that’s refreshing. (It also means the menu changes constantly.) But that’s not to suggest McDaniel’s dishes are plain, that there’s nothing special about his cooking or that he lacks skill. His talent and innovation are obvious in twists on regional favorites like pork loin with black pepper dumplings in ham-hock broth with collard greens and fresh herbs, his version of a Southern Sunday dinner staple. His SpringHouse S’mores alone are worth any drive you have to make to get to this place. The artful take on the classic campfire treat is playful and delicious with homemade graham crackers buried under warm dark-chocolate cake (complete with a gooey center), fluffy marshmallow cream and homemade marshmallows. So I’ll confidently make another proclamation: Brunch at SpringHouse, no matter what you order, will leave you in a sunny, satisfied mood, and the only thing that could make you ornery is the thought of what you’ll be missing when you’re having breakfast at home the next day (so don’t think about that ‘til later). P.S. Dinner at SpringHouse is wonderful too, so don’t fret if you can’t make it there for brunch. A House-cured bacon hangs in the main dining room.

28 APRIL 2014

Nearby Catherine’s market stocks meat, seafood, fresh produce (below) and meals for casual dining.

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Around Alabama April 12 & 13 Rattlesnake festival features snake races, music entertainment The 54th Annual Opp Rattlesnake Rodeo will be April 12 and 13 at Opp Channel Lee Stadium. Saturday’s events kick off with a 5k run/walk at 8:30 a.m, Followed by a snake show, snake races, a greasy pole climb and a buck dancing contest. Arts and crafts, children’s activities and food vendors will be available throughout the weekend. Gates open at 8 a.m. Saturday and evening concert will feature Easton Corbin. Sunday’s festivities will begin at 10 a.m. and will feature all Christian musical entertainment. For more information, visit www.rattlesnakerodeo.com or call 334-439-3070.

APRIL 5 • Enterprise, 18th Annual Car and Truck Show in conjunction with the Piney Woods Festival. Registration is $25 and is from 8 a.m. until noon; festival times are 8-4. Rain date will be April 6. For additional information please contact Barrie Johnson, 334-347-8680. www.weevilcitycruisers.com 5 • Ozark, Ozark Crawdad and Music Festival on the Square in downtown Ozark will be held from 9:30 a.m.-4 p.m. Admission is free and includes music, food, arts and crafts, children’s area, car and bike show and a 5k color run. 5 • Frisco City, 4th Annual Flaming Spring Bash at Frisco City High School. The Bash benefits the Friso City Fire and Rescue Department and will be held 9 a.m.-4 p.m. There will be arts and crafts, live music, car show, inflatables and a live auction if donations permit. 5 • Livingston, Do or “Dye” 5k Color Run/Walk and 1 mile Fun Run will be at 9 a.m. in downtown Livingston. Proceeds to benefit Sumter Academy. Registration is $35. www.sumteracademy.org. 5 • Birmingham, Annual Daylily Sale at Birmingham Botanical Garden. The sale will be from 8 a.m.-1 p.m. and prices start at $5. For information, call Joan Woodard at 256-435-8884 or Becky Parr at 205-6021273 or email woodardmjh1@yahoo.com. 5 & 6 • Dothan, 7th Annual Gem and Mineral Show. Gemstones, mineral specimens, fossils and jewelry on display at the Houston County Farm Center. Free admission and parking. Saturday 9 a.m.-5 p.m. and Sunday 10 a.m.-4 p.m. www.wiregrassrockhounds.com.

11 & 12 • Boaz, Alabama Poultry and Farm Expo at the VFW fair grounds 9 a.m.9 p.m. Farm sessions, tractor exhibits, poultry show and live entertainment. Contact the Boaz Area Chamber of Commerce at 256-593-8154.

Peter is welcomed back by patron popular demand. Tickets are $20 general admission, $5 for students and may be purchased online or at the door. For questions call, 334-484-3542. www.troyartscouncil.com.

13 & 14 • Guntersville, 53rd Annual Art on the Lake will feature more than 120 exhibitors with original arts and crafts alongside beautiful Lake Guntersville. Art on the Lake helps to fund a scholarship program for local high school graduates. Admission $2 for ages 13 and older.

26 • Prattville, 9th Annual Bark in the Park at Cooter’s Pond, 11 a.m.-4 p.m. There will be adoptable pets, silent auction, raffles, dog contests, food vendors and more. For information, contact Claudia Rigsby, Shelter Director, at 334-358-2882 or autaugahumane@yahoo.com

17 • Huntsville, 7th annual Hope for Autism Gala will be held at the Huntsville Museum of Art, 6-10 p.m. The night will feature heavy hors d’oeuvres, live music and a silent auction. Cost is $75/person and deadline for reservations is April 1. For more information, please email office@therileycenter.org.

26 • Fairhope, 5th Annual Bald Eagle Bash, 4-7 p.m. at the waterfront Tonsmeire Weeks Bay Resource Center. Enjoy “a taste of Weeks Bay” featuring fresh Gulf shrimp with live music by The Modern Eldorados. Tickets are $35 in advance or $40 at the gate. Visit www.BaldEagleBash.com or call 251-990-5004 for information or tickets.

19 • Wetumpka, 2nd Annual Craterfest presented by Wind Creek Wetumpka Casino & Hotel. The music and arts festival is open from 12-9 p.m at Gold Star Park in downtown Wetumpka. Headlining act is country, bluegrass and rock musician Chris Stapleton. There will also be vendor booths, food and educational crater activities. For information, visit www. wetumpkachamber.com or call 334-567-4811. 24-27 • Union Springs, “Cotton Patch Gospel” at the Red Door Theatre. The Gospel is presented in the setting of rural Georgia with music by Harry Chapin. Dinner 6 p.m., play at 7:30 p.m., matinee Sunday, 2 p.m. (no dinner). Call 334-738-8687 or visit reddoortheatre.org 25 • Troy, Peter Oprisko: “Songs from the Silver Screen” performance to be held at the Claudia Crosby Theatre at 7 p.m.

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

Alabama Living

26 • Brewton, Kick it at the Creek Concert and Crawfish Boil. Bring a lawn chair and enjoy boiled crawfish and live music by Florida native, Chloe Channel. Jennings Park from 5-8 p.m. 26-28 • Guntersville, 16th Annual United Cherokee Indian Powwow. There will be demonstrators for archery, tomahawk throwing and knapping and craft vendors with many handmade items. The Powwow features Native-American dancing, drumming, flute playing and storytelling. Contact 256-582-2333 for more information. MAY 2 • Fairhope, Under the Stars. This is the 5th annual signature fundraising event for Baldwin County Child Advocacy

Center (CARE House, Inc) to take place at Oak Hollow Farm. Call 251-937-2055 or 251-989-2555 for information. 3 • Atmore, Mayfest at Tom Byrne Park, from 9 a.m.-5 p.m., will feature arts and crafts, Beautiful Baby contest, Pooch Parade, entertainment and food. Free admission. Call the Atmore Chamber of Commer for information at 251-368-3305 or email atmoreal@frontiernet.net 3 • Opelika, Garden in the Park, an arts festival at the Opelika Municipal Park. The event is open 8 a.m.-3 p.m. and features a variety of items for sale, all handmade or natural. There will also be children’s activities, entertainment, food and the historic Rocky Brook Rocket circling the park. For vendor information, contact Keep Opelika Beautiful at 334-749-4970 or kob@opelika.com. 3 • Union Springs, 35th Annual Chunnenuggee Fair. Juried arts and crafts show, food, live entertainment and also kids’ games and rides. Contact Elizabeth Smithart, 334-738-4060 or email esmithart@yahoo.com 3 • Moulton, Ladies Tea in the garden of Blair and Nita Dixon, sponsored by Friends of the Library. From 2-4 p.m. the Tea will feature a speaker, soloist, guitarists, food and decadent sweets. Tickets are $15 and can be purchased at Lawrence County Public Library. Call 256974-0883 or 256-974-7620 for information. 10 • Mobile, Do It In the Bush Cross Country 5K. Cottage Hill Park, 8 a.m. Run to raise money for the Charlie Spencer Memorial Scholarship Fund. Call Port City Pacers, 251-473-7223 or www. pcpacers.org

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APRIL 2014 29


April Gardening Tips

Alabama Gardens

d d

Don’t let aging or disabilities keep you out of the garden

d

O

nce upon a time I could work in my yard for hours and, while I might get sweaty and be sore the next day (or two or three), the physical effort was relatively easy and always improved my outlook on life. These days, now that I have reached the age of 50-plus, many gardening tasks seem harder to perform and can leave me hurting more, and for longer periods of time, than in my younger days. Truth is, I am not as young as I used to be and I am beginning to realize that I may not always be able to garden at the level to which I have become accustomed.

The Garden on Wheelz can help those with physical limitations.

And I am not alone in facing this reality. Change in our gardening lives is inevitable and can take many forms. For some folks, a life change of moving to an apartment, retirement or assisted living community or any place that has little or no yard may make it difficult to garden. For others, physical limitations brought about by aging or illness can make gardening harder. Regardless of the gardening challenges we may face, though, there are ways to keep our hands and souls in the garden. It’s just a matter of modifying our approach and, luckily, there are lots of resources to help us adapt.

Resources are available to help

Among those resources are such organizations as AARP, the Arthritis Foundation and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. One resource that I particularly like is Thrive, a United Kingdom-based charity that focuses specifically on helping gardeners. It has a great website (www.carryongardening.org.uk/top-tips-for-disabledgardeners.aspx) with detailed how-to information that can make gardening easier. As is often the case, planning is vital

30 APRIL 2014

d d d d d

Plant peas and Irish potatoes. Sow seeds for beans, corn, squash, melons and other summer vegetable crops. Begin to plant tomatoes, peppers and eggplants once the threat of a hard freeze has passed. Plant strawberries, blueberries, raspberries and blackberries. Fertilize warm-season lawns and plant new lawns. Plant summer annual flowers and summer-blooming bulbs. Prune spring-flowering shrubs such as spirea, flowering quince, azalea, jasmine and forsythia after they have bloomed. Move houseplants outside and clean dust from the leaves of indoor plants. Plant container-grown roses and keep an eye out for insect and disease problems on all roses. Assess any winter damage on trees and shrubs and decide if any need to be replaced or pruned. Visit farmers markets, many of which will reopen this month for the spring and summer season.

for a user-friendly gard den and the first step in making a plan is to d evaluate the pros and cons of any available d gardening space. If there is little or no room to garden outdoors, figure out where inside or on a patio or balcony plants might best grow and set up that area with tables or plant stands that are easy to access for watering and maintaining. If the available gardening area is larger, but difficult to navigate or manage, identify areas that are the hardest to maintain and figure out strategies to reduce their need for upkeep, such as decreasing the amount of lawn that needs to be mowed, making flower beds smaller and less labor-intensive or replacing high-maintenance plants with more easy-care species. Consider also developing paths or walkways that are easy to negotiate with a wheelchair or walker, installing ramps or handrails at steps or steep spots in the landscape, and adding extra seating in the garden area so you can take a rest or work from a seated position rather than having to stoop or kneel. Once you have an idea of where to concentrate your gardening efforts with more ease, then it’s time to employ some planting strategies. For example, if limited space is the problem, one of the easiest solutions is to garden in containers. Pots, window boxes, hanging baskets or any other kind of plant-friendly container can be used indoors or out—in kitchens or on patios, for example—to grow everything from houseplants and other ornamentals to fruits, vegetables and herbs. Be sure to choose containers that are easy to move or place them where they are easy to access. Raised beds are another great solution for space or physical limitations. These compact little growing spaces can be in-

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

stalled almost anywhere and can be customized to varying heights and widths so they are easy to access from a seated or standing position. And growing fruiting or flowering vines on trellises or adding an espaliered fruit or ornamental tree can also be a beautiful and functional addition to a user-friendly garden. Not only can spaces be adapted to our needs, but so can tools. There is an entire market for what are known as “assistive” or “adaptive” garden tools, such as specially designed clippers, rakes, shovels and other hand tools and easier to maneuver garden carts and wheelbarrows. There is even a new item called Garden On Wheelz (www. lifecyclegardens.com/), which is a portable garden that can be used indoors or out for small-space gardening and to aid folks with physical limitations. If you or a loved one are facing gardening challenges or simply want to make a garden easier to use, check out ideas online or in your local library. Your county extension office may also have information, and there are books that can help. Three of my favorites are Gardening for Seniors—Joyous Activities for Elderly Gardeners with Tips for Reduced Mobility by Andrea Kalli, Accessible Gardening by Joann Woy and Square Foot Gardening: A New Way to Garden in Less Space with Less Work by Mel Bartholomew, which offers ideas for small-space gardening for folks of all ages and abilities. No matter our circumstances, it’s nice to remember that gardening does not have to be a struggle and can actually be a health benefit for us all. Not only is it good for the body—an hour of low-impact gardening can burn 150 calories and just two or three hours of gentle gardening each week can help reduce the aches and pains associated with arthritis and other physical problems—it is a great way to relieve stress and nurture the mind and soul. A www.alabamaliving.coop


Alabama Living

APRIL 2014 31


Send your questions to: James Dulley

Alabama Living 6906 Royalgreen Dr. Cincinnati, OH 45244

Consumer Wise

You can also reach Dulley online at: www.dulley.com

This replacement door threshold is made of all durable aluminum and can be adjusted up and down.

Improving the efficiency of older doors

SOURCE: PEMKO MANUFACTURING

Q: A:

My front door is wood with a window and the back door is metal. They are the original ones and neither is very efficient nor airtight. I cannot afford new ones. How can I improve their efficiency myself?

Energy losses from inefficient entry doors can account for a significant portion of your monthly utility bills. When leaky doors create drafts, people tend to set the furnace thermostat higher. This wastes even more energy. There are ways to improve the efficiency of old doors, but don’t immediately eliminate the possibility of installing new ones. The costs of some well-insulated steel and fiberglass doors, especially those for the back door without glass, are very reasonable. A prehung door in its own frame is not difficult to install yourself. Before making a decision, carefully inspect your old doors. If they are in very bad condition, it will be difficult to improve their efficiency by a meaningful amount. First, make sure the wood door is not rotting. Then place a long straight edge across the door to see if it is badly warped. The most common problem with metal doors is rust, not warping. The first place to check is along the bottom by the weatherstripping on either side. Rainwater tends to collect there, and it is not always painted well. If you find small holes rusted through, they can be repaired with car body filler and then painted. First, try to determine the reason water is collecting there and correct the problem. Clean out as much rust as possible and fill with automobile body filler. If the doors are reasonably sound, check for the location of the air leaks. At night, have someone shine a flashlight from outdoors around the seals and check for light indoors. This will highlight significant leaks. On a windy day, move a stick of lighted incense around the seals and watch the trail of the smoke to find the minor leaky areas. Check the astragal on double doors. This is usually the raised half-round overlap where pairs of doors meet and acts as a seal between them. Often with wood doors, especially ones with compression weatherstripping, the main problem is simply the latch plate is not holding the door tightly closed against the weatherstripping. One solution is to reposition the latch plate. This will require filling in the old screw holes and drilling new ones. Chisel away some of the wood in the recess for the latch plate. Another option is to install an adjustable latch plate. You may want to reposition it

for summer and winter as the door and frame expand and contract from seasonal temperature and humidity. Steel doors should feature magnetic weatherstripping, so this is not a major issue because the weatherstripping is drawn against the door edge. Just make sure the surface of the door and the weatherstripping are clean and smooth. Paint on the door edge can sometimes come loose in small pieces and create a gap which leaks air. Check the condition of the hinges, and replace them if needed. If the hinges and pins are worn, the door will not hang square in the opening, and therefore, will not seal properly. There are many different sizes of hinges, so take an old one along to the store and get an exact match. Don’t just buy the cheapest ones, because there are many to choose from and quality varies. It is almost certain the seal on the bottom of the doors against the floor threshold is worn. If it is not worn, adjust the floor threshold higher. There are several height adjustment screws across the threshold, but after years of use, they may be filled in with dirt. Poke around to find them. If the seal itself is bad, there are many generic replacement seals you can install. Another option is an add-on retractable threshold seal which is effective if carpeting is on the floor by the door. The threshold seal is mounted on the inside surface of the lower door edge. When the door starts to open, a pin against the door frame is released and the seal automatically lifts to clear the carpeting. It is easy to install and adjust. A The following companies offer door improvement products: Duck Brand, (800) 321-0253, www.duckbrand.com ; M-D Building Products, (800) 654-8454, www.mdteam.com; Pemko Manufacturing, (800) 2839988, www.pemko.com, and Thermwell, (800) 526-5265, www.frostking.com. A new bright brass door bottom seal and threshold save energy and make the door more attractive. SOURCE: PEMKO MANUFACTURING

James Dulley

is a nationally syndicated engineering consultant based in Cincinnati.

32 APRIL 2014

www.alabamaliving.coop


Alabama Living

APRIL 2014 33


Alabama Outdoors By John N. Felsher

I

Michael Kyle calls turkeys into range. PHOTO BY JOHN N. FELSHER

It’s a great time to be a turkey hunter in Alabama 34 APRIL 2014

n the early 19th century, millions of wild turkeys populated the vast, unbroken forests of eastern North America, but fewer than 100,000 remained by 1900. From after the Civil War until the early 20th century, timber companies rapidly slashed through virgin swamps and oldgrowth forests. The prevalent “cut out and get out” philosophy of the time turned once-verdant turkey habitat into little more than scarred clear cuts. Seeing fewer turkeys in remaining habitat, sportsmen demanded stringent hunting regulations to protect the bird that Benjamin Franklin wanted to make our national symbol. In addition, state and federal governments began enforcing more environmental laws to preserve remaining forests. By the 1940s, turkey populations slowly rebounded. “In 1940, we only had about 11,000 turkeys in Alabama,” says Jeff Macemson of the Alabama Wildlife & Freshwater Fisheries Division in Tuscaloosa. “Now, we have about 500,000. In 1963, we had 44,942 turkey hunters in the state. Now, we have about 55,000 hunters who harvest more than twice as many birds as they did in 1963. During the 2013 season, hunters harvested about 45,300 turkeys.” About 40 years ago, just seeing a turkey track practically made the evening news. Growing up hunting ducks and small game, we didn’t know much about wild turkeys. For his first car, my brother bought a beat-up 1964 Ford Falcon. Built like a Sherman tank, it could go anywhere, making it an excellent hunting vehicle. Being the ONLY vehicle available to us also made it an excellent hunting vehicle! With that car, we frequently cruised rough logging roads, crisscrossing forests to look for game in the early 1970s. That old Falcon squeaked and rattled terribly. However, it apparently emitted a certain squeak that turkeys liked, or at least found interesting. Whenever we drove the Falcon through the timber company lands, turkeys appeared. When the squeaky car rattled up a bird, we stopped, grabbed our shotguns and began running through the woods after the very surprised fowl. Of course, that never worked. However, I did almost get a shot at one gobbler that flew up into a tree. Focusing on the bird and racing to get into range, I didn’t notice the briar patch looming rapidly in my

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

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

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

Alabama Living

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

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

12:46 01:31 02:16 03:01 04:16 05:31 07:01 08:16 09:16 10:01 05:01 05:46 06:31 12:16 12:46 02:22 02:52 03:37 04:22 05:22 06:22 07:37 08:52 09:37 05:07 05:52 06:37 12:22 12:52 01:37 02:07 02:52 03:52 04:37 05:52 07:07 08:22 04:22 05:22 06:07 06:52 12:22 12:52 01:22 01:52 02:37 APRIL 2014 35


PHOTO COURTESY DOUG MAX

direction until I made a rather abrupt stop in its thorny vines. I never got a shot at that bird – or any other -- but I think it fell out of the tree laughing!

A conservation success story

PHOTO COURTESY DOUG MAX

Raegan Williamson proudly displays her turkey.

PHOTO COURTESY DOUG MAX

Doug Max with turkey he shot.

Today, Alabama sportsmen don’t need to try as hard to find birds. The state, in conjunction with private organizations such as the National Wild Turkey Federation, the Alabama Wildlife Federation and landowners with suitable turkey habitat, restocked turkeys. Decades ago, biologists captured wild birds by shooting nets from cannons over the flocks and released the birds into unoccupied habitat. “The restoration of the wild turkey in Alabama and across the nation is one of the greatest conservation success stories,” Macemson says. “Many local NWTF chapters and other very supportive conservation groups helped us tremendously. Now, we have turkeys in all 67 counties. It’s a great time to be a turkey hunter in Alabama.” While most Alabama sportsmen hunt private lands, many public areas offer excellent opportunities. Established in 1937, Oakmulgee Wildlife Management Area stretches across 44,500 acres of Bibb, Hale, Perry and Tuscaloosa counties. Choccolocco WMA in Cleburne County covers 56,858 acres and dates to 1940. In northwest Alabama, Freedom Hills WMA covers 31,828 acres of Colbert County. All of these areas hold good turkey populations. “At the southern tip of the Appalachian Mountains, Oakmulgee is one of the most scenic areas in the state,” Macemson says. Glenn Wheeler arranges turkey decoys for a hunt.

“It’s primarily longleaf pines on the ridges, hardwoods in the bottoms and a mix of pine and hardwoods in transitional areas. In the Appalachians of east-central Alabama, Choccolocco is mostly hilly pine stands with some mature hardwoods in the bottoms. Freedom Hills WMA has diverse habitat with a lot of mature hardwoods and some pine thickets.” The Black Belt Region, a well-watered fertile swath, extends across 23 central Alabama counties. Several Black Belt areas provide good turkey hunting. Barbour WMA includes 28,199 acres in Barbour and Bullock counties. “Black belt soil is rich, dark soil that creates good habitat to support an abundance of wildlife,” says Pam Swanner, project director for Black Belt Adventures in Montgomery. “The Black Belt consistently produces some of the best hunting in Alabama. Deer is the most popular game animal, but the best turkey hunting in the state also occurs in the Black Belt region. Alabama has more eastern wild turkeys per square mile than any other state.” In southern Alabama, Blue Springs WMA includes 24,783 acres in Covington County. Near Mobile, the Upper Delta WMA spreads across 42,341 acres of the Mobile-Tensaw Delta. It holds turkeys, but high water in the spring can make hunting the swamp difficult at times. Sportsmen may bag one gobbler per day and five per season. Turkey season opens March 15 and runs through April 30 across most of Alabama, but differs in some counties. In addition, seasons and regulations may vary on some public properties, so check the regulations before hunting. For more information on turkey hunting in Alabama, see www.outdooralabama.com. A PHOTO BY JOHN FELSHER

Flanked by his dad, Corey Trotter and Cliff Butler, Fowler Trotter shows off a turkey he bagged.

36

John N. Felsher is a professional freelance writer and photographer who lives in Semmes, Ala. He’s written more than 1,700 articles for more than 117 magazines. He co-hosts a weekly outdoors radio show. Contact him through his website at www. JohnNFelsher.com. APRIL 2014

Visit alabamaliving. coop to watch longtime hunter Doug Max demonstrate turkey calls!

www.alabamaliving.coop


Alabama Living

APRIL 2014 37


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BUSINESS OPPORTUNITIES WORK LESS & LIVE MORE! MiaBellaNation.com – Department #745

38 APRIL 2014

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DESTIN, FL OWNER CONDO RENTALS – Pat Green Bush, Owner -patsdestincondo.com, greenbush@ knology.net – (334)312-6630, (334)244-6581

GATLINBURG - BEAUTIFUL mountain condos in a great resort complete with large pool, game room, two hot tubs, grills and wireless internet. Call Jennifer in Scottsboro at 256-599-4438.

PIGEON FORGE, TN: $89 - $125, 2BR/2BA, hot tub, air hockey, fireplace, swimming pool, creek – (251)3631973, www.mylittlebitofheaven.com

GATLINBURG, TN – FOND MEMORIES start here in our chalet – Great vacation area for all seasons – Two queen beds, full kitchen, 1 bath, Jacuzzi, deck with grill – 3 Night Special - Call (866)316-3255, Look for us on FACEBOOK / billshideaway

June 2014 – April 25 July 2014 – May 25 August 2014 – June 25

ORANGE BEACH GULF FRONT CONDO – WINDWARD POINT – 3BR / 2BA – Owner Rate (251)626-6566 GULF SHORES RENTAL– GREAT Rates! (256)490-4025, (256)523-5154 or www.gulfshoresrentals.us FT. MORGAN GULFSIDE – 2 Bedrooms with Queen Beds, 2 Full Baths, Central Air / Heat, Cable, Internet – Rental months April – September – Owners (251)675-2483, Cell (251)709-3824. LEAVE MESSAGE!

CABINS / PIGEON FORGE, TN – QUIET, CONVENIENT – (251)649-3344, (251)649-4049, www.hideawayprop. com GULF SHORES - 2 LARGE, ONE bedroom condos with sleeper sofa and full kitchen…Nice pool. NonSmoking, No Pets. Call Jennifer in Scottsboro at 256-599-4438. Condos also available in DAYTON BEACH. ORANGE BEACH CONDO, 3BR/3BA; 2,000 SQ.FT.; beautifully decorated; gorgeous waterfront view; boat slips available; great rates - Owner rented (251)604-5226 DAUPHIN ISLAND CONDO – BEACHFRONT, 2BR / 2BA, SLEEPS 10 – www.vrbo.com/159790 GULF SHORES, WEST BEACH – GULF view, sleeps 6 – www.vrbo. com/92623, (404)641-4939, (404)641-5314

CAMPING / HUNTING / FISHING HUNTING LEASE – 600 ACRES diverse woods, cropland – Gated $15,000 / year, 3-year lease for max 6 hunters – Holcomb, MS (256)333-1103

www.alabamaliving.coop


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 hdutton@areapower.com; 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.

REAL ESTATE SALES GULF SHORES HOME & BUSINESS FSBO – Very nice brick home, 3/2, 2100sf, Corner lot in-town. Walk to everything, Excellent school system, 2 blocks to New Entertainment District – 1st State licensed home Childcare in G.S. – www.miltonfamilychildcare. com, Phone (251)228-2255 HOME MOVE IN READY surrounded by DESOTO STATE PARK – 3BR / 2BA, Custom Cabinets with granite, Fireplace, Open Living Area, 2 Car Garage, Storage Building – Approx. 1.5 Acres with large rocks $167,500.00 – (256)997-5630, or (205)721-3670, (256)630-3809

Alabama Living

ALL YOUR REAL ESTATE NEEDS RESIDENTIAL, COMMERCIAL, Industrial, Campgrounds, Marinas, Hotels, Mining Operations, Businesses,etc.- Jim Johnson Realty #71809   www.sesore.com  jdjenter@ charter.net   256-602-4565

TRAVEL CARIBBEAN CRUISES AT THE LOWEST PRICE – (256)974-0500 or (800)726-0954

MUSICAL NOTES PIANOS TUNED, REPAIRED, refinished. Box 171, Coy, AL 36435. 334-337-4503

PLAY GOSPEL SONGS BY EAR - 10 lessons $12.95. “LEARN GOSPEL MUSIC”. Chording, runs, fills - $12.95 Both $24. Davidsons, 6727AR Metcalf, Shawnee Missions, Kansas 66204 – (913)262-4982

EDUCATION FREE BIBLE CORRESPONDENCE COURSE – write to P.O. Box 52, Trinity, AL, 35673 WWW.2HOMESCHOOL.ORG – OPEN Year Round K-12 enrollment. Contact Dr. Cerny (256)653-2593 BECOME AN ORDAINED MINISTER correspondence study. Founded in 1988. Free info. Ministers for Christ Outreach, 7558 West Thunderbird Road, Ste. 1 - #114, Peoria, Arizona 85381. http://www.ordination.org

CRITTERS CHIHUAHUA PUPPIES. REGISTERED, guaranteed healthy, raised indoors in loving home, vet records and references. (256)796-2893

FRUIT, NUTS AND BERRIES OLD TIMEY WHITE AND YELLOW SELF POLLINATING SEED CORN – (334)886-2925 DAYLILIES @ CRENSHAW FARMS near Stockton I-65 exit 31 – Over 20,000 daylilies. OPEN April 15 – June 30, 9 to 4. CLOSED Sunday & Monday – (251)577-1235, Facebook – CRENSHAW FARMS DAYLILY GARDEN

APRIL 2014 39


Alabama Recipes

Freezer Meals Cook of the month: Cathie Donaldson, Covington EC

Blue Cheese Meat Loaves 2 pounds ground beef 1 14.5-ounce can of diced tomatoes with basil, garlic and oregano, welldrained 1 cup soft bread

crumbs egg, slightly beaten teaspoons salt teaspoon pepper teaspoon Worcestershire sauce 3 tablespoons crumbled blue cheese

1 1½ 1 1

Combine all ingredients, except blue cheese; mix lightly. Shape into 6 individual loaves, making a small hollow on top of each one for cheese. Wrap each, label, date and freeze. About 1½ hours before serving time, remove loaves from freezer and unwrap; place in a pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour; spoon 1 teaspoon blue cheese into hollow in each loaf. Bake 15 minutes longer, or until cheese is melted and loaves are richly browned. Serves 6. Great served with a salad and garlic bread.

Cathie Donaldson in her kitchen in Enterprise, Ala. PHOTO BY PATTY SINGLETON-SEAY

You could win $50! Upcoming recipe themes and deadlines are:

June July August

Wild Game Homemade Pizza Italian

Submit:

April 15 May 15 June 15

online at alabamaliving.coop email to recipes@alabamaliving.coop mail to Recipes, P.O. Box 244014 Montgomery, AL 36124

How I love a great freezer meal! Getting home after a long day of work and being able to pull something from the freezer to pop in the oven for dinner is a lifesaver. Down here in the South, our love language is food. It is so nice to remember people in need by providing a quick meal. I remember when we brought our second baby girl home from the hospital and sweet friends stacked our freezer with casseroles and desserts. It was so nice to be able to enjoy quick and easy foods while enjoying our baby. Whenever I make a casserole, I usually buy double the ingredients, and make a pan to freeze and eat later or to give to someone else. What are some timesaving tips you use in the kitchen? Email me at recipes@alabamaliving.coop.

Mary Tyler Spivey is a graduate of Huntingdon College where she studied history and French but she also has a passion for great food. Contact her at recipes@alabamaliving.coop.

40 APRIL 2014

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


Freezer Apple Coffee Cake 1 package active dry yeast ¼ cup warm water ½ cup butter or margarine ½ cup sugar 3 eggs ¼ cup milk 2½ cups flour

Hobo Dinner 1 pound ground lean beef 1 package onion soup mix 1 package of baby peeled carrots

2 cups potatoes (peeled and cut into bite- sized pieces) 1 can cream of mushroom or cream of onion soup

Mix the uncooked ground beef and onion soup mix together. Label bag with “Hobo Dinner” and the date. Place potatoes, carrots and cream of mushroom soup in the bottom of freezer bag . Add meat mixture. Seal and freeze. Freeze for up to 3 months. Feeds family of 4. To cook: Place frozen meal out to thaw overnight. Put thawed meal (meat on the bottom) in crockpot on low for 5 - 6 hours. It is done when meat is cooked thoroughly.

½ teaspoon salt 3 large apples, peeled and sliced ½ cup golden raisins, optional 2 ⁄3 cup sugar 2 teaspoons cinnamon ½ cup melted butter or margarine

Soften yeast in ¼ cup warm water. Cream butter or margarine with ½ cup sugar. Add eggs and beat until light. Stir in softened yeast, milk, and flour mixed with salt. Beat by hand until mixture is well-blended. Line a 13x9x2-inch pan with heavy duty aluminum foil. Pour in batter. Arrange apple slices in even rows on batter, then sprinkle with raisins if desired. Combine sugar and cinnamon and sprinkle over apples. Sprinkle on melted butter. Cover and let rise in warm place until doubled. Bake in a 375-degree oven for 35 to 40 minutes, till golden. Lift out of pan to cool. Re-wrap in aluminum foil and freeze. When ready to thaw and heat, place fully wrapped frozen coffee cake in a 325-degree oven for 20 minutes. Cook’s note: I like this recipe because I’ll always have a treat with coffee in the morning or dessert when company arrives. Marlene Wood, Joe Wheeler EMC

Amy Harvel, Joe Wheeler EMC

Squash Casserole 4 cups cornbread, crumbled 2 cups diced squash 1 small diced onion

1 cup shredded cheddar cheese ½ cup sour cream 1 can cream of chicken soup

Boil the squash and onions until tender. Add all ingredients in a bowl and mix until moist. Place in a casserole dish and freeze. When ready to eat, cook on 375 for 30 to 35 minutes. Top will be golden brown. Karen Norwood, Joe Wheeler EMC Alabama Living

Want to see recipes, feature stories, and other Alabama happenings during the month? LIke Alabama Living on facebook and don’t miss anything!

APRIL 2014 41


WEC crews aid Georgia cooperatives in wake of Winter Storm Pax In mid-February, Winter Storm Pax put more than 200,000 homes out of power across Georgia with its snow and ice. Wiregrass Electric Cooperative crews were there within hours to help restore power. On Feb. 12 WEC answered the call for aid from Southern River Energy in central Georgia. WEC sent two construction crews, a service crew, three bucket trucks, two digger derrick trucks and two 4-wheeled drive crew cab heavy-duty pickup trucks. Southern River Energy serves 18,600 metered accounts in nine counties including Bibb, Coweta, Crawford, Lamar,

Winter Storm Pax put hundreds of thousands out of power throughout Georgia.

42 APRIL 2014

Meriwether, Monroe, Pike, Spalding and Upson. When the storm hit, a majority of their members were left without power. “We send crews to help out our neighboring states whenever there is a storm or other disaster,” says Brad Kimbro, chief operating officer at WEC. “As part of a network of more than 1,000 electric cooperatives nationwide, Wiregrass Electric offered assistance to those cooperatives affected by the storm. This is one of our basic cooperative principles in action — neighbor helping neighbor. We know that they would return the favor if disaster strikes our area.” After spending a few days at Southern River, the WEC crews were given the option to either come home or go to another cooperative to help. They packed up and headed to Washington EMC in Sandersville, Ga., where they spent more time helping restore power. “We couldn’t be more proud of our crews for continuing to work in Georgia,” says Les Moreland, CEO at WEC. “They sacrificed time at home and comfort to work in the cold and help two of our fellow cooperatives. You couldn’t ask for better employees.” A total of 175 men from 11 Alabama electric cooperatives were sent to help in

ABOVE: WEC crew members volunteered to travel to two separate cooperatives in Georgia to brave the ice and help restore power. INSET: For almost a week after Winter Storm Pax, linemen and ground crews worked diligently to rebuild the damaged distribution network.

storm restoration in the wake of Pax, according to Mike Temple, director of training and risk management for the Alabama Rural Electric Association of Cooperatives. “It was wonderful to see the outpouring of support for our guys,” says Deanna Albritton, member services coordinator at WEC. “On Facebook and Twitter, people from the Wiregrass left very nice messages, and then people from Southern River and Washington EMC also came on our page just to say ‘thank you for coming to help get my power back on.’ That means a lot. That’s the cooperative spirit at its best.” A

www.wiregrass.coop


“I’m proud to say my job is to help keep the lights on for my neighbors.

—Danny Adams, Plant Specialist 29 years of service

It began in 1939. The people of this region came together to form a cooperative that would give them a better way of life through the

Neighbors helping neighbors, for 75 years.

power of electricity. For 75 years, Wiregrass Electric Cooperative has fulfilled that mission, from bringing electricity to farmers in the 1940s, to providing reliable, affordable service to the industries of today. We are still guided by a sense of tradition ... and a dedication to the values and mission of our founders.

Planting a tree? Building a fence? Call before you dig!

Homeowners sometimes make risky assumptions about whether or not they should get their utility lines marked. Wiregrass Electric Cooperative wants to remind you that every digging job should begin with a call to 811, even small projects like planting trees and shrubs. The depth of utility lines varies greatly, and there may be multiple utility lines in a common area. Digging without calling can harm you and those around you, disrupt service to an entire neighborhood and result in fines and repair costs. Calling 811 before every digging job gets your underground utility lines marked for free and helps prevent undesired consequences.

Safe digging is no accident: Always call 811 before you dig Visit call811.com for more information

Alabama Living

APRIL 2014 43


Our Sources Say

Energy Myths

I

recently read an article in Power magazine by Christopher Frei, secretary general of the World Energy Council (WEC), a self-described impartial network of leaders and practitioners promoting an affordable, stable and environmentally sensitive energy system. Mr. Frei’s article listed seven energy myths and the WEC’s view on the myths. I found them interesting and thought I would share them with you and add my personal comments. Myth 1: Global energy demand will flatten out. WEC Reality: Global energy demand will continue to increase and will double by 2050. Myth 2: Oil and natural gas production has peaked and is on the decline. WEC Reality: There is no shortage in sight for fossil fuel resources. Myth 3: Energy demand growth will be fully met by new clean energy sources. WEC Reality: According to WEC scenarios, the contributions of fossil fuels to global energy demand are still growing in absolute terms. Myth 4: We can reduce global greenhouse gases (GHG) emissions by 50 percent by 2050. WEC Reality: Even in the best case scenario, GHG emissions will nearly double by 2050, compared to 1990 levels. Myth 5: Current business models and programs are delivering successes in the energy industry. WEC Reality: Current designs are unable to cope with the increasing renewable shares, decentralized systems and growing information architecture. Myth 6: Current programs will deliver universal access to energy within the next 10 to 15 years. WEC Reality: WEC studies show that on current paths, between 320 million to 530 million people will not have access to electricity in 2050. Myth 7: On a global scale, capital is cheap and abundant. WEC Reality: Capital is extremely sensitive to perceived political and regulatory risks. Moreover, due to the growing pressures of public finances in most countries, public funding will not be available to augment private energy financing. Mr. Frei concludes his article with a call of action to public and private sectors to make inspired decisions. He calls for a shift to

Gary Smith is President and CEO of PowerSouth Energy Cooperative

44 APRIL 2014

demand efficiency to reduce energy intensity, for each country to access its own political risk and work toward a more balanced framework with increased investment in research and development. Mr. Frei’s energy myths are thought-provoking, although I find his solutions and calls to action to be somewhat inconsistent with the WEC’s realities. I believe the WEC is correct. Global energy usage will continue to increase at a significant rate. Energy demand could be even greater than the doubling projected by WEC as third-world countries are introduced to and demand more cheap energy. The shale plays in the United States are producing large amounts of oil and natural gas that were unheard of just a decade ago and promise to meet our country’s demand for fossil fuels well into the future. Some forecasters project known natural gas reserves could last another hundred years. Regardless of the dreams of environmentalists, clean or renewable resources cannot come close to meeting energy growth in the future. Solar provides only one half of one percent of all the energy in the world. Solar deployment will have to increase 30 fold to supply 1.5 percent of the energy by 2025. Wind generation provides about 5 percent of the electricity in the world. However, wind sites are limited by space and areas that have sufficient wind. Clean and renewable energy just does not have the energy intensity to be a solution to a world desperate for cheap reliable energy. I believe WEC is correct that capital for new infrastructure is very sensitive to political and regulatory risk. A regulatory environment like the one currently being structured in the U.S. that promotes more expensive energy resources and discourages cheaper energy resources does not encourage the capital investment in new technology that I believe will be required to continue with the growth of cheap energy. U.S. success was built on abundant, cheap and reliable energy - gasoline, natural gas, oil or electricity. Emerging countries know that cheap reliable energy is the key to their future economic success, if not their entire future. The WEC calls for a plan of action to shift to energy demand efficiency and reduce energy intensity. That means, in layman’s terms, to reduce the demand for energy. I doubt if that plan will be deemed viable by the 300 million to 500 million people the WEC projects will still be without electricity in 2050. The greatest energy myth is that the people and countries without reliable or affordable electric service or cheap energy will accept a regime based on less energy consumption to reduce carbon emissions for the prospect of helping future generations. Thank you for reading. I hope you have a good month. A www.alabamaliving.coop


Market Place

Alabama Living

APRIL 2014 45


Alabama Snapshots 1

2

4

3

First haircut Submit Your Images! JUNE THEME:

“Family travels”

SUBMIT PHOTOS THROUGH OUR WEBSITE: alabamaliving.coop/submit-photo/ OR SEND COLOR PHOTOS WITH A LARGE SELFADDRESSED STAMPED ENVELOPE TO:

Photos, Alabama Living, P.O. Box 244014 Montgomery, AL, 36124 RULES: Alabama Living will pay $10 for photos that best match our theme of the month. Photos may also be published on our website at www.alabamaliving.coop. Alabama Living is not responsible for lost or damaged photos. DEADLINE FOR JUNE: April 30

46 APRIL 2014

1. Levi McDuffie isn’t sure about this haircut business... SUBMITTED BY Stephen and Tammy McDuffie, Dothan 2. Shepherd Taylor does not enjoy haircuts! SUBMITTED BY Patricia Farrish, Excel

3. Zack Rogers after his first sugar-assisted haircut SUBMITTED BY Lee Rogers, Salem 4. Tillman Oldacre gets his hair cut SUBMITTED BY Zach and Tiffany Oldacre, Cullman

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Southern Occasions CO O K B O O K

Pineapple Casserole 1⁄2 cup sugar 3 tablespoons flour 1 can (20 ounces) pineapple chunks, drained (reserve about 3 tablespoons juice)

1 cup grated mild cheddar cheese 1⁄2-1 cup crushed Ritz® crackers 1⁄4 cup butter; melted

Southern Occasions

CO O K B O O K

Preheat oven to 350. Mix sugar and flour with about 3 tablespoons of pineapple juice. Add pineapple chunks and cheese. Mix well and spoon into a greased 1-quart casserole dish. Sprinkle Ritz® crumbs on top. Pour melted butter over mixture. Bake at 350 for about 45 minutes. Yield 4 to 6 servings. April McKee, Pea River EC Alabama Living

APRIL 2014 47



Wec april14 dm