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Alabama cheese for your holidays and every day

Handwritten letters: reviving a lost art

VOL. 65 NO.12 DECEMBER 2012

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.



340 TechnaCenter Drive Montgomery, Alabama 36117-6031 1-800-410-2737 E-mail: NATIONAL ADVERTISING REPRESENTATIVE:

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

11 Alabama Living writer pens children’s book

You’ve seen her byline in Alabama Living, but Jennifer Kornegay now has added a book about the adventures of two Alabama cats to her list of published works. ON THE COVER: Tasia Malakasis, author of Tasia’s Table, says goat cheese is easy to use in a variety of dishes, from breakfast to dessert.

12 Cheese for your holiday table

Alabama goat cheese, that is. A new cookbook by artisan cheesemaker Tasia Malakasis, owner of Belle Chevre in Elkmont, can help you incorporate this versatile product into your holiday meals, and every day thereafter.


18 Write me a letter

When was the last time you wrote, or even received, a handwritten letter or card? The holidays are a perfect time to revive this lost art.


Spotlight 10 Power Pack 16 Worth the Drive 20 Alabama Gardens 22 Outdoors 24 Hunter Safety 25 Fish&Game Forecast 26 Cook of the Month 38 Alabama Snapshots 9

Printed in America from American materials

Alabama Living

DECEMBER 2012  3

Tip of the Month

Be Ready for Santa with a Safe Holiday Season

as much electricity

The most wonderful time of the year can also be the most stressful—particularly when it comes to keeping your kids safe through parties, presents, travel, and meals. Follow these tips from the Electrical Safety Foundation International (ESFI) to protect your little ones this holiday season. For more information, visit

as a refrigerator. In

Electronic gifts

Sleek new flatpanel

T Vs


consume almost

sacrificing picture

About 70 percent of child-related electrical accidents occur at home when adult supervision is present, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. So make sure those new toys don’t pose a danger. Electric-powered toys and other devices can be extremely hazardous if improperly used or used without proper supervision. An adult should supervise the use of any electrical product. Consider both the maturity of the child and the nature of the toy when deciding how much supervision is required. Do not buy an electrical toy, or any toy, for a child too young to use it safely. Always check the age recommendation on the package, and remember that this is a minimum age recommendation. You should still take into account your child’s capabilities. Never give any child under 10 years old a toy that must be plugged into an electrical outlet. Instead, choose toys that are battery-operated. Make sure all electrical toys bear a fire safety label from an independent testing laboratory, such as UL (Underwriters Laboratories, Inc.). Inspect all electrical toys periodically. Repair, replace, or discard deteriorating toys. Ban play with electrical toys near water, and make sure they understand that water and electricity don’t mix. All electrical toys should be put away immediately after use in a dry storage area out of the reach of younger children.


Decorating safely

general, the bigger the screen, the more power it draws, and HD pulls more, too. Plasma screens use t h e m o s t e n e rg y, while LCD TVs use much less. And remember to change your



default settings to a power saver mode, and turn down the LC D b a c kl i g ht t o save energy without

Source: Cooperative Research Network

4  DECEMBER 2012

Christmas, Christmas Eve, and New Year’s Day lead the year for candle fires,

according to ESFI. Mind your festive decorations for safety hazards: Read manufacturer’s instructions and warning labels for any decoration that will be used around young children, like electronic trains or animatronic dolls. Keep candles, matches, and lighters out of reach, and never leave children unsupervised when candles are lit. Instead of traditional candles, try using battery-operated candles. Cover any unused outlets on extension cords with plastic caps or electrical tape to prevent children from coming in contact with a live circuit. Place electrical cords out of the reach of small children. Never allow children to play with lights, electrical decorations, or cords.


In 2009, ranges and ovens were involved in an estimated 17,300 thermal burn injuries seen in U.S. hospital emergency rooms. Of these, 36 percent of the victims were younger than 5. Keep little kitchen helpers in check: Never leave the kitchen when something’s cooking—a fire or accident can happen in an instant. Keep children at least three feet away from all cooking appliances. Never hold a child while cooking or when removing hot food from the microwave, oven, or stove. Turn pot handles in, away from reaching hands. Use the back burners on the cooktop whenever possible. Hot tap water scalds can be prevented by lowering the setting on water heater thermostats to 120 degrees Fahrenheit or below and by installing anti-scald devices in water faucets. Once your holiday meal is ready, check that the stove and oven are turned off and that other kitchen appliances are unplugged and out of reach. Source: Electrical Safety Foundation International

Alabama Living

Give the Gift of Safety this Holiday Season Shopping, decorating, baking, Never connect more than three and holiday entertaining are all part strings of incandescent lights together. of what makes the holiday season a Consider using battery-operated cherished time for family and friends. candles in place of traditional candles. But these customs can be stressful, so Remember to turn off, unplug, and be sure to put safety at the top of your extinguish all decorations when going holiday to-do list to sleep or leaving with these tips from the house. the Electrical Safety Once you have Foundation Internathe safety procetional, and for more dures down, think information, visit about giving safety for the person who When purchasing already has everya live tree, check for thing. Newer smoke freshness. A fresh and carbon monoxtree will stay green ide alarms provide longer, reducing the better protection risk of fire. Keep combustibles 3 feet away. than ever before and On artificial trees, It makes a nice picture, but keep are easy to install. look for a “fire resis- presents and stockings at least 3 Both types of alarms feet away from fireplaces. tant� label. should be placed on Always purchase every level of the electrical decorations and lights from home and outside sleeping areas. Adreputable retailers and check that a ditional smoke alarms should be innationally recognized testing organi- stalled inside each bedroom. zation like Underwriters Laboratories Tamper-resistant receptacles eas(UL) has approved them. Inspect elec- ily replace standard outlets to protrical decorations for damage, such as vide a simple, permanent solution for cracked or frayed sockets, loose or protecting children from shock and bare wires, and loose connections, burns. An electrician can install arc before use. fault circuit interrupters (ACFIs) in the electrical service panel to provide enhanced protection from home electrical fires. A home electrical inspection makes a great gift for people with older homes. Many potential electrical hazards can be identified during an inspection, allowing them to be corrected before tragedy strikes. Unlike gifts that may be quickly forgotten, your loved ones will continue to benefit from the gift of safety long after the holidays have passed. Candles are pretty but are the source of many fires. Consider using battery-operated candles instead.

Alabama Living

If you enjoy a live Christmas tree, be sure to water it daily. A dry tree is more susceptible to fires.

Source: Electrical Safety Foundation International DECEMBER 2012  5

Watch your money and your new TV High-powered TVs drain energy, so opt for efficient models By Megan McKoy-Noe

Which appliance uses more energy: a refrigerator or television? Consumers may not realize that some large entertainment TVs—when used an average of five hours per day—can cost more to operate than a new, basic refrigerator. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, 44 percent of American homes have three or more television sets, and each new set adds to a home’s monthly energy bill. In the market for a new television? You’re not alone—U.S. consumers purchased an estimated 40 million new televisions with an average screen size of 50 inches last year. To keep your electric bills in check, here are some tips to consider before buying a new television:

Display Tactics

Three parts of a TV impact energy use: display technology, screen size, and resolution. Plasma and liquid-crystal display (LCD) are the two most popular types of display technologies. Plasma screens often are cited as the largest energy user mainly because their large 42-inch to 65- inch screens typically draw between 240 watts to 400 watts. LCD TVs don’t need much power to operate 111 watts on average. Most LCD screens range in size from 21 inches to 49 inches. These TVs fall into two categories: those with cold-cathode fluorescent lamps to illuminate the screen; and backlit models employing a light-emitting diode (LED). LED units offer several benefits, notably better picture quality and thinner and lighter screens. They also use slightly less energy, at 101 watts. Most prospective buyers already have the ideal screen size in mind; remember that the larger the screen, the more energy you’ll drain. And although a high-defini-

tion TV (HDTV) transforms the latest blockbuster movie into a theater-like living room experience, these sets generally use more power to generate better picture clarity.

ENERGY STAR Boosts Ratings

ENERGY STAR TVs cut an estimated $3.5 billion from consumer electric bills annually. The joint energy efficiency ratings program of the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) created the first set of voluntary television efficiency standards in 1998. Today’s ENERGY Federal law prohibits removal of this label before consumer purchase.


XYZ Corporation Model ABC-L

STAR-qualified screens use, on average, 40 percent less energy than standard models, whether you’re watching the latest hit show (active mode) or have the screen turned off (standby mode). Standards are constantly ratcheting up. In 2008, a 50-inch ENERGY STAR-rated television used 318 watts on average. In 2010, those sets had to curb energy use to 153 watts or less, and by 2012 50-inch TVs could not drain more than 108 watts. ENERGY STAR provides an online guide so potential buyers can find qualified televisions ranked by energy use, size, brand, and display type at

Estimated Yearly Energy Cost




Cost Range of Similar Models (50” – 54”)

Based on 11 cents per kWh and 5 hours use per day Estimated yearly electricity use of this model: XXX kWh Your cost depends on your utility rates and use. Visit

Manufacturers are required to post a bright yellow Energy Guide label on all televisions. The label compares the annual operating cost of a specific television to the plug-in cost of similar models. 6  DECEMBER 2012

Alabama Living

ENERGY STAR Partners like TopTen USA also maintain lists of the top energy efficient televisions (and other household appliances) based on size at

Look for Labels

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has recognized the need for education and easy comparisons for the amount of energy televisions consume. In 2011, a yellow Energy Guide label—a common sight on refrigerators, dishwashers, and other large appliances—became a requirement for TV. “TVs now vary widely in the amount of energy they use,” comments FTC Chairman Jon Leibowitz. “By comparing information on the Energy Guide labels, consumers will be able to make better-informed decisions about which model they choose to buy, based on how much it costs to operate per year.” The label compares the annual operating cost of a specific television to the plug-in cost of similar models. The label must be attached to the front of all televisions; websites selling televisions must also provide an image of the label for prospective buyers.

Tune in to Savings

If you’re not in the market for a new TV but want to make sure your model is operating efficiently, these tips may help you save energy: II Turn off the TV and other connected devices when they’re not being used—consider using smart power strips to eliminate continually power draw. II Reduce TV brightness by turning down the LCD backlight you’ll save energy and still retain good picture quality. II Turn on the power saver mode, which many new TVs offer II Control room lighting. While many energy-saving tips reduce brightness of the screen, you can compensate by dimming lights around your TV. Your television set isn’t the only energy-guzzler in your residence. Visit to find more ways to save energy and money at home. M e g a n M c K o y-No e , C C C , w r ite s on consumer and cooperative affairs for t he National Rural E le c t r ic C o op er at ive A s s o c i at ion . Brian Sloboda contributed to this article.

Sources: ENERGY STAR, Federal Trade Commission, Cooperative Research Network,, Energy Information Administration

The ENERGY STAR Difference: Televisions

Total TV Energy Consumption (billion kWh/year)

TV sales and sizes have increased dramatically in the U.S. over the past 20 years—an estimated 40 million sets, with an average screen size of 50 inches, left store shelves in 2012. Under the ENERGY STAR energy efficiency rating program for consumer products, TV electricity use averages 36 billion kWh per year less than if it didn’t exist. 120







Source: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, 2012

Alabama Living

DECEMBER 2012  7

Keep your space heater at least 3 ft. away from yourself and flammable items like blankets, drapes, and rugs.

Safe Use of Electric Heating Products Add Winter Warmth When used properly and safely, electric blankets and other heating devices can help keep you toasty during cold winter months. Here are a few safety tips for electric blankets and heating pads to keep in mind: Purchase items only if they have been approved by an independent testing facility, such as Underwriters Laboratories (UL). Inspect all cords and connections for cracks and frayed edges, which are a huge fire and injury hazard. Replace blankets or heating pads with faulty cords. Discard your blanket or heating pad if you see dark or charred spots on the surface. Do not put another cover on top of an electric blanket unless the safety instructions included in the packaging specifi-

8  DECEMBER 2012

cally state it’s safe to do so. Some newer models protect against overheating. Once your electric blanket or heating pad is switched on, keep it laid flat—a folded device can cause a fire, as can a blanket that’s been tucked in (which can bend wires). Never use heated bedding while asleep—look for a model with a timer that switches off automatically.

Space heaters

If you choose to use a space heater to supplement your home’s heating system, some of the same rules of thumb apply, including purchasing a safety-certified model and reading the included safety instructions. More tips for space heaters: Keep units 3 ft. away from combustible materials—such as bedding, drapes,

clothes, and rugs. Space heaters also have parts that can spark, so avoid using them in areas where you store flammable liquids like kerosene and gasoline. In general, plugging space heaters directly into a wall outlet is best. If you must use an extension cord, make sure it’s the correct type and boasts the right wire gauge size for your particular space heater. Otherwise, use a wall socket that can handle the load. Check safety instructions before using a space heater around water—some models are not intended for use in bathrooms. Be sure children are supervised around space heaters. Curious exploration can lead to electrical shock and burns. Finally, unplug and store the space heater in a safe place when you’re not using it.

Spot Light

In December dec. 8

Christmas returns to the Coosa The annual Christmas on the Coosa extravaganza will have arts and crafts, parade, food, quilt show, classic car show, entertainment and activities on the Coosa River. The Dec. 8 festivities will culminate with a fireworks exhibition at dusk. For more details, call the Wetumpka Chamber of Commerce
 at 334-567-1313.

Dec. 7-9

Andalusia Ballet celebrates 30th “Nutcracker”

The Christmas on the Coosa includes an annual parade. Top: Fireworks explode over downtown Wetumpka. Above: “Miss Christmas on the Coosa” waves to the crowd watching the holiday parade.

The Andalusia Ballet will perform “The Nutcracker” Dec. 7-9 in Andalusia. The holiday classic features dance, music and theater that all ages will enjoy. Admission charged. For more information contact 334-222-6620 or visit

See Page 29 for more events around Alabama.

New Year’s Eve Events New Year’s Eve Dinner Vizzini Farms Winery in Calera will have a New Year’s Eve Dinner from 7 p.m. to 1 a.m. Dec. 31. Each year, the winery’s chef prepares a meal to celebrate in style. Call Tom Vizzini at 205-685-0655 or visit www.

Alabama Living

New Year’s Eve Family Celebration Bring your family and ring in the New Year dancing to festive live music in downtown Fairhope Dec. 31. The music begins at 8:30 p.m. at the corner of Section and Church streets. Other entertainment includes karaoke, face painting, strolling clowns, fireworks and party favors at midnight. For more details, contact Alex Robinson
 at 251-6218222. Admission is free.

Joe Wheeler Resort New Year’s Eve Party On Dec 31, Joe Wheeler Resort in Rogersville will have a New Year’s Eve Party from 5 p.m. to 1 a.m. Call Felicia Turner at 256-247-5461 for more details, or visit www.alapark. com. Admission charged.

DECEMBER 2012  9

Power Pack

How ‘Ticket to Work’ can help build a better life By Kylle’ McKinney

The summer of 2007 felt like a bad dream for Terry Anderson. Reeling from a recent cancer diagnosis, she was downsized from the company where she had worked for 11 years. “There was no severance. I had no insurance,” she says. “I was terrified.” Terry began receiving Social Security disability benefits and took an extended period of time away from work. Later, Terry learned about “one-stop career centers” that provide free employmentrelated support services through Social Security’s Ticket to Work program to people receiving Social Security benefits. She decided to see what the Alabama Department of Rehabilitation Services, her local one-stop, had to offer. The one-stop staff explained that the Ticket program is designed for people who receive Social Security disability benefits and are committed to achieving self-sufficiency through eventual fulltime employment. Through the Ticket program, the Alabama Department of Rehabilitation Services helped Terry coordinate her career preparation and job hunt. “They offered workshops on interview skills,” she says. “I had my resume refurbished. I learned fresh strategies. At

first, I was too proud to ask for help. I’m glad that I did.” While Terry was eager to move on, she was apprehensive about finding McKinney work and losing her benefits. Terry learned about special Social Security rules called “work incentives,” that help people who receive disability benefits transition to the workforce and become financially self-sufficient. For example, people receiving disability benefits can keep their Medicare coverage and their cash benefits while gaining work experience during the Trial Work Period. Terry was relieved to learn about another Work Incentive called “expedited reinstatement,” allowing her Social Security cash benefits to restart without a new application if she has to stop work within five years because of her disability. Another helpful Work Incentive, known as a Plan to Achieve Self-Support (PASS), allows Social Security disability recipients who meet the income rules for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) to set aside money to pay for items or services they need to reach a specific work goal. These can include educational

expenses, training, job-related transportation, business startup costs, tools and equipment, child-care costs and even the cost of job interview clothes. By approving a PASS, Social Security agrees to exclude certain income that would normally lower an SSI payment amount. At the same time, the person agrees to go to work, with the goal of eventually leaving disability benefits behind and becoming financially self-sufficient. In 2009, Terry found work as a Loan Servicing Specialist and a second job in retail where she trains cashiers and enjoys interacting with customers. Terry was grateful that Social Security helped her “get through the storm.” She built a better life through work. She no longer receives Social Security disability benefits. “Now I’m healthy. I have two jobs. I love both of them. Life is good.” To learn more about the Ticket to Work program, call the Ticket to Work help line at 1-866-968-7842. You can also contact the Alabama Department of Rehabilitation Services at 1-800-441-7607, or visit Kylle’ McKinney, SSA Public Affairs specialist, can be reached in Montgomery at 866-593-0914, ext. 26265, or by e-mail at

Alabama electric co-ops help restore power in Virginia, Maryland Crews from 16 of Alabama’s 22 electric cooperatives helped restore power in Virginia and Maryland in the wake of outages on the east coast caused by Hurricane Sandy. Crews from Sand Mountain, Covington and Southern Pine electric cooperatives worked in the snow to restore power in Shenandoah Valley Electric Cooperative in Virginia, while crews from Cherokee and Marshall-DeKalb electric cooperatives traveled to assist Central Virginia Electric Cooperative. Crews from Dixie Electric Coopera10  DECEMBER 2012

Baldwin EMC crews work to restore power in Virginia.

tive, Baldwin EMC, Coosa Valley Electric Cooperative, Black Warrior EMC, Wiregrass Electric Cooperative, Pioneer Electric Cooperative, Tallapoosa River Electric Cooperative, Clarke Washington EMC and Pea River Electric Cooperative helped Rappahannock Cooperative in Virginia, while crews from Joe Wheeler EMC and Central Alabama Electric Cooperative lent a hand to Choptank EMC in Maryland. The Alabama crews totalling 141 men were gone for a week to help their fellow cooperatives get back to full power.

Two cool cats highlight Alabama in new children’s book A fun-filled journey across the southern half of Alabama is chronicled in the recently released children’s book, The Alabama Adventures of Walter & Wimbly: two marmalade cats on a mission, by Montgomery writer and editor Jennifer Stewart Kornegay. Kornegay writes the “Worth the Drive” column for Alabama Living and has written several feature stories for the magazine, including this month’s cover story on Tasia Malakasis. Kornegay’s book, which is based on two real cats, follows best friends and next-door neighbors Walter (Kornegay’s cat) and Wimbly on their mission to find each other after Walter’s family moves away from Montgomery to Fairhope. Kornegay came up with the idea after her former next-door neighbors, Kathy and Randy Sternenberg, moved to Fairhope, taking their cat, Wimbly. “The cats were actually really good friends,” she says. “When the Sternenbergs moved to Fairhope, I wondered if

the cats missed each other and what it would be like if they tried to find each other. My husband suggested that I make it into a story.” The orange cats stop at several iconic Alabama landmarks along the way, including a pecan shop in Fort Deposit, a turkey restaurant in Greenville, the courthouse in Monroeville and more. “When I was thinking about how they’d get back to each other, I looked at a map and 65 South just jumped out. I figured that might be the route they’d take, since it is a pretty straight line from A to B. I then realized how many cool small towns are along that path and how great it would be to highlight them, and some of the things that make them special, by having the cats stop in each one.” Reaction to the book has been very favorable, she says, from both children and adults, “especially those who are kind of familiar with the areas mentioned. Kids ages 5 to 9 really get into the story, even

those who don’t have cats or know the areas.” The book’s whimsical colored-pencil illustrations were created by Gadsden, Ala., artist Madelon Stewart, who is also Kornegay’s mother. “My mom and I had a blast doing this,” she says. “She just discovered her artistic side a few years ago, when she started taking art lessons. She paints watercolors and oils, but she had not done much drawing before this project. She went with colored pencils because we thought it would give us a soft, simple, child-like look to the drawings, which is exactly what I wanted.” Kornegay has had a few folks ask her if she has another book like this one, but about dogs. “I guess I’ll have to consider coming up with a dog story in the future, but I don’t really see the book as a ‘cat book,’” she says. “I see it as more of an ‘Alabama book.’” She’s already got three other stories that have the cats traveling in other parts of the state, and if all goes well with the book, she plans to publish her second in the series in the spring of 2013. The book retails for $19.99 and is available at selected retail outlets across the state or at

Wildlife tips: Avoid contact with raccoons By Chas Moore Wildlife Biologist, Alabama Division of Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries

Have you ever been walking in the woods and noticed a raccoon that just did not act quite right? Perhaps it was not scared of you at all and may have even approached you. Or, maybe you have noticed one wandering around aimlessly in the middle of the day. These could be signs there was something wrong with that particular raccoon. Raccoons are nocturnal, meaning they are usually active at night. They are almost always afraid of humans, and will run for cover when confronted under normal conditions. In urban areas, raccoons often make their homes near commercial or office buildings, as they are very adaptable and have learned to cope and even

Alabama Living

thrive in developed areas. As long as food and water are available, raccoons will probably be present. Finding food usually is not a problem for raccoons. They are omnivorous creatures and will eat just about whatever is available. Since raccoons are so adaptable and many live right alongside humans, they often become pests that raid garbage cans, gardens, pet food and commercial crops. This proximity to where humans live and work is what makes raccoons a potential hazard to humans and their pets. Two major diseases affect raccoons and may pose threats to humans and their pets. These are rabies and canine

distemper. Rabies can be deadly to humans and pets, while canine distemper affects only pets. Whatever the disease, it is extremely important for people to avoid contact with a suspected sick raccoon. Feed your pets in areas where wild animals cannot enter and do not leave garbage in areas accessible by raccoons. Never approach or attempt to catch a raccoon. Strange acting animals, including raccoons, should be left alone. The Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources promotes wise stewardship, management and enjoyment of Alabama’s natural resources. DECEMBER 2012  11

The holidays call for cheese (Alabama goat cheese, that is)

By Jennifer Kornegay

When considering what to set out on your table this holiday season, don’t forget the cheese. Artisan cheesemaker Tasia Malakasis of Alabama’s Belle Chevre creamery shares how a simple taste brought her home and how you can incorporate goat cheese’s tangy deliciousness into almost any kind of dish. 12  DECEMBER 2012

In her new book, Tasia’s Table, Alabama cheesemaker Tasia Malakasis shows how to blend a goat cheese log with honey for a delicious breakfast spread. Below, Goat Cheese Potato Cakes sizzle.

Photos by Stephanie Schamban

Photo by Michael Cornelison


a ny d i f f e r e nt things draw us home, but most often, love has something to do with it. So it was for Alabama native and owner of Belle Chevre in Elkmont, Ala., Tasia Malakasis; her passion for food and its role in her shared Southern and Greek heritages brought her back to Alabama after years of pursuing a fast-paced, high-tech career in California, Philadelphia and New York City. Even with her success and her satisfaction with that industry, Tasia has always been most fulfilled when cooking. “My job was hectic, but I liked it,” she says. “Still, if you found me really happy, it meant you’d found me in my kitchen.” She developed affection for food and its preparation early, during time spent with family. “My Southern grandma in Guntersville loved me with food, and we still had relatives in Greece that I visited, and it was the same food culture there. Every celebration revolved around food,” she says. Despite her feelings, she never knew how to take her love and make it into a viable career. She did try. She left her job and enrolled in culinary school but quickly learned she didn’t want to be a chef. So it was back to her previous profession. And then she fell in love all over again, this time with cheese, cheese being made in her home state. “I walked into Dean & Deluca in Manhattan, this really high-end food market, and was looking Alabama Living

at all this cheese,” she says. “Then I found one that said ‘made in Elkmont, Ala.’ I thought, ‘That’s right in my own backyard. How did I not know about this?’” The goat cheese she’d happened upon was a Belle Chevre product, named after Belle, a carefree little goat who is the representation of all the Alabama goats whose milk goes into Belle Chevre artisan goat cheeses. But it is not just the goats that make the company’s products special; it’s the grass they feed on and the north Alabama soil it springs from that create a truly distinct flavor that can’t be replicated anywhere else in the world. After just one bite, Tasia knew that she wanted to be a part of Belle Chevre, so she contacted the owner, and for months, they talked off and on. And then Tasia’s love led her to take a leap. “I called the owner one day and said, ‘I’ve quit my job. I’m coming home to work there with you.’” Timing is everything, and time was on Tasia’s side, as the owner was ready to retire. “I worked at Belle Chevre for free for six months, learning the business, and then I bought it,” Tasia says. The Belle Chevre Tasia had fallen for had already won multiple awards in the gourmet world and garnered the attention of foodies in big cities from Beverly Hills to New York, yet so few Alabamians knew anything about it. “So I took things in a little different direction,” Tasia says. She rebranded the products to make them more accessible. DECEMBER 2012  13

“I just didn’t want people to see goat cheese as fancy or intimidating like I think some did,” she says. “It is so versatile and is really the perfect cheese for almost anything, and it is so good for you, with less fat and calories, lower in lactose, more protein and more probiotics than other cheeses. I want people to enjoy it like I do.” She began the process of spreading the goat cheese love around — today’s product packaging features a cute, stylized representation of Belle the goat — and this process has culminated with the release of her new cookbook Tasia’s Table. On one of the first pages, she shares how to make your own homemade goat cheese. On the facing page, she lists other products you probably often use for which goat cheese can nicely substitute. “It is a compilation of who I am with food, both my Greek and Southern backgrounds,” Tasia says. It’s not just about goat cheese, although most of the recipes call for some form of it in some amount. And it’s not just recipes; in between the attractive hardback covers, there is much more, including some laugh-outloud funny stories and plenty of mouth-watering photography. The recipes are simple to understand with thorough instructions, and the diversity of categories (from breakfast to dessert) lends

credence to Tasia’s sentiment that goat cheese can be eaten with anything at any time. On every page and in every picture, Tasia’s passion comes through. “I had so much fun doing this book,” she says. And it shows. As to her personal favorite dish to cook, she had a hard time picking. “I love to cook all kinds of things, but I really love to cook really rustic dishes. I did a Moroccan braised beef for a friend’s birthday party recently,” she says. She’s also carrying on the family tradition of expressing love through cooking. “My son Kelly is 9, and we like to make chicken pot pies together. He makes his initials with the dough,” she says. Currently, Belle Chevre makes around 2,000 pounds of goat cheese a week. As the company grows, Tasia is considering expanding operations to include a dairy. “We are getting bigger, and soon it may make sense to have our own goats, our own source of milk,” she says. In the meantime, a bunch of little Belles trotting around farms in North Alabama will keep giving Tasia their milk, and she and her team at Belle Chevre will keep taking it and transforming it, with great care and craft (and just a little love), into an uniquely Alabama product we can all be proud of. A

Hoppin’John, a traditional New Year’s dish, is one of several non-cheese recipes included in Tasia’s Table. The book is available at bookstores, at or

14  DECEMBER 2012

Taste Test

Alabama Living

Photos by Stephanie Schamban

We tested several of the recipes in Tasia’s Table and were delighted with them all. The Chicken Breasts Stuffed with Goat Cheese and Herbs (P. 90), at right, was full of flavor, with a pop of extra yum coming when you hit the pocket of creamy, melted goat cheese. If possible, use fresh basil as Tasia instructs. It does make a difference and is not hard to find (or grow). The Tapenade-Walnut Tart with Goat Cheese (P. 58) will become your go-to appetizer for holiday guests. It looks (and tastes) quite sophisticated, yet it is quick and easy to make. Salty and crunchy and, of course, tangy, it’s an all-around winner. The Carmelized Onion Tart (P. 59), bottom right, is a good choice, too. And although Tasia couldn’t choose a favorite dish, we’ve got a favorite Belle Chevre product: the Belle and the Bees Honey Goat Cheese Breakfast spread. The honey adds a subtle floral sweetness to the goat cheese’s signature tang. Spread it on Tasia’s Pumpkin Bread (P. 33), right, center, on a bagel, on fruit, or just eat it off a spoon! Try goat cheese with ham, parmesan and mozzarella for a grilled cheese sandwich “with a little soul” (P. 45).

DECEMBER 2012  15

Worth the Drive

The Red Barn has the ‘fixin’s’ to satisfy everyone By Jennifer Kornegay

901 US Highway 80 E Demopolis, AL 36732


Side Trip It is doubtful that you will be able to ingest any dessert after a meal at the Red Barn, but for those of you with a mouthful of sweet teeth, there is another option. Grab something to take home and enjoy later. For this purpose, I suggest heading off Highway 80 a few blocks into downtown Demopolis to find a charming little gift shop called The Mustard Seed. There are plenty of neat items in this place to catch your eye, but the real prize is in the back, in the coffee shop portion of the store. Get a small or large Mrs. Chug’s caramel cake, by far the best I’ve ever had (and if you read my column often, you know I know desserts). But take note: You’ll need to plan ahead and visit The Mustard Seed before you hit the Barn, as it closes at 5:30 p.m. on weekdays and 2 p.m. on Saturdays. To help celebrate Alabama’s 2012 “Year of Food,” each month freelance writer Jennifer Kornegay has taken you to an out-of-the-way restaurant worth the drive. Look for more destinations in 2013!

Jennifer Kornegay

16  DECEMBER 2012


here are casual eateries, downhome restaurants, burger and BBQ shacks, old-school diners, and then there is the Red Barn in Demopolis, which, at least in terms of its décor, takes rustic to a whole new level. Right on Highway 80 running through town, the Red Barn lives up to its name. Complete with a John Deere tractor parked out front, it looks like a barn on the outside, and inside, it still looks like a barn, with rough-hewn timbers as crossbeams overhead, walls that could definitely provide a good splinter if rubbed wrong, well-worn, wide planked wood floors, lantern-like lighting and even rusty farm implements sprinkled around for extra atmosphere in the dark but cozy interior. It looks just like a barn because it is one. It was built by community members close to 50 years ago to help a local teen who’d been paralyzed in a car accident. Confined to a wheelchair, he felt he could support himself by selling used stuff and antiques. He needed a wide-open space to roll around in, and he wanted it to look like barns he’d seen in his travels out West. So some folks built it for him, using old, reclaimed materials like wood from a torn down lock on the nearby Tombigbee waterway. The Red Barn served the young man well for several years. Then it was used as a John Deere tractor office and later to store hay before becoming what it is now in the early 1970s. Today, it’s still full of feed, but the sort of stuff people want to eat as opposed to livestock, and the food is a lot less rustic than the environs. The Red Barn has been filling up folks in and around Demopolis for more than 40 years with its button-popping portions of grilled-to-order steaks, hamburgers, seafood, chicken,

pork chops and the local delicacy, quail. Just about every meal begins with a trip to the salad bar where on my visit I found (under the watchful eye of a stuffed rooster) an interesting variety of pickles: dill pickle spears, sweet pickle chips, pickle okra, pickled peppers and pickled watermelon rind. There are all the usual salad fixin’s too. You know a restaurant expects you to order something meaty when each place setting includes a mammoth steak knife with a hefty wooden handle. Current owner Roger Roberts has had the Red Barn for 32 years and claims his favorite menu items are the filet mignon and shrimp cocktail. “How can you go wrong with that order?” he asks. Indeed. But I went another way, and chose the grilled pork tenderloin that came highly recommended by the locals I’d asked. While munching on all those pickles and waiting for my side of pig, some of the South’s softest, buttery rolls kept me company. And then my dinner arrived. The pork tenderloin is a feast. It’s huge, butterflied to ensure even cooking and chargrill-seasoned to perfection. The element that takes it over the top is the spicy, vinegary orange sauce with a kick that’s served alongside for dipping. Crisp-light sweet potato fries made it a complete, delicious meal. Not too much has changed at the Red Barn in the last few decades. It seems the same routine is enjoyed nightly by many residents and visitors alike, and if it ain’t broke… You, too, should join the happy diners who’ve filled their bellies at the Red Barn, and if, when dinner’s over, you find you’re too full to leave, don’t. Just mosey upstairs to the lounge for an after-dinner drink or to listen to some tunes and let your digestive system do its job. A

Alabama Living

DECEMBER 2012  17

r e t t e L a f o t f i The G

and the heart. … ry to is h to in w o d in w Letters can be a By Marilyn Jones

Center in Arab. ng vi Li en ld Go at om ro mmon Eurilla Woods sits in a co s, the 93-year-old ay lid ho e th r fo d te ra co ively de Surrounded by tables fest ed from a friend. rereads a letter she receiv y,” she says, smilod yb an or ; ily m fa om fr s letter “I love getting cards and but it makes me s, w ne ’s ne yo er ev on up catch ing. “Not only do I get to e even if they can’t visit.” m of ng ki in th e ar ey th know rite letters to inw le op pe e, tim r he ot y an an This time of year, more th hat about the rest w t, bu — s rd ca ay lid ho and clude with their Christmas ters and handheld pu m co r ou to d tie em of us se of the year? Sure, many t when was the last bu , ge sa es m t an st in d xt an devices. We e-mail and te dressed a greeting card? ad or er tt le a te ro w d an time you sat down t off an e-mail or oo sh to r sie ea h uc m so s ng. It’ I know what you’re thinki nd a card or letter. se to is it an th ll ca e on e a ph text message or even mak s a little effort — ke ta l ai m e th h ug ro th ndence Exactly; to send correspo eir personal news, th e ar sh , rd ca a t ou ck e to pi the sender takes the tim l it — it’s personal. ai m d an ps am st y bu , pe address the envelo day, going At the end of the work ail might home and checking e-m y list, but not be high on your priorit Service, 98 according to the Postal k to see if percent of Americans chec a personal they got any mail. Finding magazines note or letter among the ays a pleasand pizza coupons is alw can be enant surprise. And a letter n. joyed over and over agai

18  DECEMBER 2012

LEFT AND BELOW: Leslee Scott says she cherishes the letters she has of her grandparent’s correspondence during World War II. PhotoS by Sandy Scott

BOTTOM: Emily Browning reads a letter from her father. He is currently deployed to Afghanistan. OPPOSITE PAGE: Eurilla Woods reads a letter from a friend. The 93-year-old says she knows her family and friends are thinking about her when she gets a card or a letter in the mail.

For Leslee Scott of Somerville, reading a letter from her grandfather to her grandmother is a gift from the past. “I never met my grandparents. These letters and stories I’ve read are all I know of them,” she said holding one marked V.J. Day (Victory over Japan) and dated August 15, 1945, Paris France. “It is through these letters I learned of the great love my grandparents had for each other and how difficult their time apart during the war was for them. Without the letters, I would have never known. “Dearest Darling Little Wife and baby,” Scott read from the now 67-year-old letter. “Just received your sweet letter and honey I am so happy. If I make a mistake, don’t blame me. I waited until 12 o’clock last night to hear the good news and it came at one. And baby, am I happy. Yes Darling I am really glad it’s over. I only got a scratch out of this war, but I’ll never forget it and I am thankful Darling I came out alive. Darling you don’t know what this really means to me just to think I’ll get to come home soon and be in my Darling’s arms once more. That will be the happiest day in my life. “I’ll be so glad when I get on the boat home,” the letter continued. “I don’t know what to do. Won’t that be grand?” Letters can be a window into history; they can also be a window into the heart. Just think of the many books written about our forefathers that rely heavily on personal correspondence like John Adams by David McCullough and Benjamin Franklin: An American Life by Walter Isaacson. Alabama Living

For 10-year-old Emily Browning of Lacey’s Spring, letters are a way to connect with her father, Army Chaplin Richard Browning, who has been deployed in Afghanistan for the past year. When asked what she did when she first read the card she’s holding she replies, “It made me smile. “He doesn’t tell me about what he’s doing, but the card let me know he was safe,” she said as she clutched a pink stuffed camel wearing an Army desert hat and emblazoned with the words, “I miss you” — a gift from her dad. In The Art of Correspondence: Letter Writing 101, Mary Mitchell writes, “Not one modern communications marvel can replace a letter. It is more than a communication. It is a gift. A letter can have special powers. It can be more intimate and touching than even a conversation. It can be more personal than any telephone call.”

DECEMBER 2012  19

Getting Started Convinced that there is power in a letter, in the written word? Well, it’s easy to become a letter writer and card sender. First, get yourself an address book with room to make changes. This may be the hardest part of the process. Many people only correspond electronically or on the phone and don’t have street addresses for their friends. Send them an e-mail and ask for it. Then jot it down. Next, pay a visit to the card aisle at your local department or grocery store. Buy specific cards or generic ones that can be sent to, say, any woman or man or friend. Now you’re ready when Facebook, for example, notifies you it’s one of your friends’ birthdays. Instead of sending a quick online message, send them a birthday card — a real birthday card. During the holidays how many times have you gotten an ecard? How are you supposed to display that? This year, send colorful, meaningful, joyful cards and reap the rewards of having your own mailbox fill up with greeting cards. And you’ll need stamps. The easiest way to buy stamps is online at You can choose the design and the quantity and have them mailed to you. No matter how many or how few, the handling charge is only $1.25. This year the Postal Service introduced two new holiday stamps — Holy Family and Santa and Sleigh. The key to letter writing is to just say what you’d say if you were talking face to face. A letter doesn’t have to be a masterpiece. Just a “thinking of you” card with a few lines saying you and your family are fine is all it takes to start a string of correspondence with someone you’d like to reconnect with. Cards and letters simply get more attention than electronic correspondence. Make someone’s day — send a little love through the mail.

Marilyn Jones is a retired writer/ editor for the Postal Service and has been a published journalist for more than 30 years. She is currently a freelance feature writer specializing in travel. Her articles have appeared in major newspapers including the Boston Globe, Akron Beacon Journal and Chicago Sun-Times as well as regional magazines. 

20  DECEMBER 2012

2012 holiday stamps Holy Family and Santa and Sleigh.

Power Plants

Preparing for Winter, and Beyond By Katie Jackson


ecember may seem like a slow season for gardening, but it actually ‘tis the season to get ready for the coming year. The first step is to tuck your plants in for cold weather. If your fall weather, like mine, has been dry, try to make sure the soil around your plants has plenty of residual moisture. If freezing weather has not yet occurred in your area, deeply water landscape plants every week or 10 days until the first hard freeze. While this is not the time of year to prune most plants, it is a good time to remove weak or dead limbs from trees and shrubs that may break and fall on the roof or eaves of a house or other structures in winter weather. Probably the most important chore to prepare your garden for winter is mulching. Winter mulches help insulate soil from temperature fluctuations, so this will protect the root systems of your plants as well as prevent cold damage to some above-ground plant parts. Once the first hard freeze has ocKatie Jackson, who recently retired as chief editor for the Auburn University College of Agriculture and Alabama Agricultural Experiment Station is now a fulltime freelance writer and editor. Contact her at

curred, apply two to four inches of straw, pine needles, hay, compost, leaves, bark chips or other organic mulch evenly around the plants. Keep the material a couple of inches away from the plant so it won’t promote rot or allow small rodents that may seek cover in the mulch to gnaw on the trunk. Now is also a great time to stock up on supplies of plastic, burlap, canvas or old sheets that can be used to cover less cold-hardy shrubs and plants should you get a heavy snowfall or icing. This material can be used to cover the plants just before a snow or ice event occurs. Simply anchor the cover around the base of the plant with stakes, rocks, bricks or logs so winter winds don’t blow it off, then remove the cover and shake off the snow or ice once the threat has passed. Make sure all gardening equipment— from mowers to spades to hoses—is snugged away for the winter as well. Clean, oil and sharpen the blades on garden tools and empty the gas and oil from power equipment before you store them. December is also a great time to think about plants you want to buy for the coming year. If the weather has you stuck inside, take that time to browse through catalogues or websites to find plants you may want to order or buy locally for the yard and garden in 2013. This time of year is also a great time

to buy and plant many dormant shrubs and trees. And think about giving plants, be they potted plants to brighten the indoors or bulbs, trees and shrubs for the outdoors, as gifts. If you’re eager to do some planting, make up a lovely pot of kitchen herbs to give the cooks on your list (or even keep for yourself). And the gardeners on you list will probably love a subscription to a gardening magazine, a gardening book or even a stocking stuffed with garden gloves, trowels, seed packets and other small, but always useful, items. Whatever you do, embrace December as a celebration of the garden! A

December Gardening Tips d Plant spring-flowering bulbs, pansies or other coolseason annuals.

d Buy a garden planner or new notebook to keep records for your 2013 garden.

d Place indoor potted plants (and poinsettias) in humid areas of the house, such as the kitchen or bathrooms, and away from heating vents so they don’t dry out.

d Keep bird feeders full and birdbaths filled with fresh water for those feathered winter visitors or residents.

d Control weeds in the lawn and garden by hand weeding or, when necessary, applying herbicides. d Add small amounts of wood ash from the fireplace to your compost. Alabama Living

d Plant seeds for winter or cool-season vegetables. d Keep an eye out for off-season gardening deals on lawn mowers, grills, patio furniture and other gardening tools.

DECEMBER 2012  21

Magic: Christmas in Lights! By John N. Felsher

Wheels spinning, a glowing train seemingly chugs along the lake shoreline, but emits no familiar shrill whistle. Only Christmas music and the awestruck chatter of holiday revelers permeate the air because this train doesn’t actually run along a track. Thousands of brightly colored lights make the Magic Christmas in Lights come alive with motion as onlookers add to the luminescence with multiple camera flashes.

22  DECEMBER 2012


or nearly 20 years, Bellingrath Gardens and Home in Theodore south of Mobile welcomed thousands of Christmas celebrants to witness one of the most amazing annual holiday light displays on the Gulf Coast. In 2011, a record 80,000 people leisurely strolled through the 65-acre garden to view more than three million lights comprising more than 950 displays set up in 13 holiday themes. “In 1995, we started looking at ideas to expand the season in the garden,” recalls Leslie Schrader, public relations director for Bellingrath Gardens and Home. “The Christmas light show was a natural progression of that. That year, we put up about a million lights and it’s been growing ever since. It’s become a family tradition for the entire Gulf Coast and the rest of the state of Alabama.” Of course, the train pulling away from a church next to the lake shoreline lined with lighted alligators, swans, flamingos, beavers and other radiant creatures always delights the visitors. Other popular displays include the Emerald Forest with snowflakes hanging from oak trees, rainbows, lighted fountains, Christmas trees complete with presents and even a manger scene. Visitors may also catch a glimpse of the Three Wise Men riding camels to Bethlehem and many other wonderful displays on their nocturnal adventures. “Touring the lights is a beautiful way for a family to spend the evening,” Schrader remarks. “The kids love Candyland and Toyland. Everybody loves the train because it reflects off the lake. This year, we added an entirely new scene called Polar Bear Square near the summer house, which has been converted into an igloo. Guests come in through the igloo and look through the back window to see polar bears playing in snow.” When not viewing the lighting displays, families may enjoy

Alabama Living

a meal at the Magnolia Café. On weekends, children may make their annual requests to Santa while musical groups entertain. Except for Christmas Day, the light display opens the day after Thanksgiving and runs through Dec. 31 each year. People may view the displays from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. each evening. Visitors may also take a 30-minute guided tour of the historic 15-room, 10,500-square-foot Bellingrath Home. “If people have not toured the home at Christmas, that’s definitely worth taking time to do,” Schrader advises. “The ladies in the home do a wonderful job of decorating it with garland, lights, ornaments and trees over and above what’s already an amazing collection.” While the Magic Christmas in Lights display only lasts a few weeks, work continues throughout the year. Two women work on the project full time all year long. They receive help from estate maintenance crews with such things as woodworking and welding. After Labor Day, the estate hires additional seasonal people to help erect the displays before the gates open in late November. “ E a c h y e a r, w e change all of the colored incandescent bulbs and rehab or rebuild the displays as necessary,” Schrader explains. “Christmas is what enables us to do everything else throughout the year. We get half of our visitation for the year in those weeks leading up to Christmas. That supports all of the other programs we are able to offer throughout the year.” In 1917, Walter Bellingrath, a wealthy Coca-Cola bottler, bought a fish camp on the Fowl River. At that time, the camp consisted of two dilapidated shacks with no modern amenities. Over the next two decades, Walter and his wife Bessie turned the camp into an estate. Bessie Bellingrath devoted her life to turning the property into a beautiful garden with numerous walking paths lined with aza-

DECEMBER 2012  23

Want to go? Lights display open Nov. 23 - Dec. 31. Garden tickets cost $15 for adults and $7 for children ages 5 to 12 years old. Children 4 and younger enter for free. Tickets to tour the gardens and home cost adults $24 and children $13. Patrons can purchase discounted tickets in advance from any Regions Bank. For more information, call 800-247-8420 or visit

leas, roses, chrysanthemums, camellias and other plants. The Bellingraths brought back many exotic plants during their world travels. The gardens first opened to the public in 1932. Bessie died in 1943 at the age of 65. Walter followed in 1955 at the age of 86. While the Bellingraths no longer roam the grounds, the legacy they left to the state of Alabama continues to delight visitors. All year long, people drop by to see “what’s blooming today” or take a cruise on the Fowl River. A 24  DECEMBER 2012

Alabama Outdoors

Frenzied fish offer exciting action at West Point Lake By John N. Felsher


n the half-light gloom of a foggy daybreak, the glare of the sonar unit illuminated the face of Joey Mines as he scrutinized every detail on the bottom about 30 feet below us in this cove on West Point Lake. “Looks like the fish are home today,” says Mines, our guide and host of the long-running “Outdoors with Joey Mines” television show. “We have lots of bait and some good fish down there. Let’s drop a few baits down and see what happens. Sometimes, when we put lines down there, we get so many bites all at once it turns into chaos as multiple big fish race off with our baits.” With several rods placed in holders and arrayed like quills on a hedgehog, we didn’t wait long for action. Soon after the live shad we used for bait touched bottom, chaos ensued, just as Joey predicted. Several rods bent over double simultaneously. When one fish takes a bait, it kicks off a feeding frenzy as other predators compete for succulent morsels. We pulled up our catches and put fresh bait back in the water as fast as we could to keep the action going. “We need to keep baits in the water,” Mines admonishes. “As long as the bait stays in the water, fish stay interested. If we don’t drop baits back down fast, bass lose interest and go elsewhere looking for a meal.” Impounded in 1974 on the Chattahoochee River, West Point Lake covers 25,900 acres along the Alabama-Georgia line near LaGrange, Ga. The lake runs for 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.

Alabama Living

John N. Felsher shows off a striped bass he caught while fishing with Joey Mines, a fishing guide at West Point Lake on the Alabama-Georgia line near LaGrange, Ga. (Photo by John N. Felsher)

about 35 miles along the river channel and drops to more than 90 feet deep in places. The hydroelectric power lake offers incredible angling opportunities. We pulled up white bass, hybrid bass, catfish, largemouth and spotted bass, but monster lined-sided leviathans rule the depths in this scenic lake. “The system can produce some striped bass in the 40-pound range,” says Ken Weathers, an Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources biologist in Enterprise. “In the spring, many anglers fish below the dam for stripers and hybrids.” In the fall and winter, Mines typically finds himself alone on the lake, but that’s when stripers turn most active. Striped bass love cold water. State agencies introduced saltwater striped bass into many inland impoundments years ago to help control shad populations. “West Point Lake has an abundance of stripers because it has a tremendous baitfish population,” Mines explains. “In the winter, we catch a lot of really big stripers. In December, the water temperature cools to about 50 degrees. Fish metabolism slows down and they don’t need to move or eat as much. In the winter, conditions generally remain stable for weeks. When I do find them, I can keep catching them day after day in the same spot.” In the winter, Mines taps into a little

natural help to find feeding striped bass. He looks for seagulls. Striped bass herd baitfish toward the surface to cut off their escape routes. The ever-alert and hungry birds spot activity immediately. When the birds see stripers feeding on the surface, they dive to grab their share of the protein buffet. “Seagulls come down from up north and stay during the winter,” Mines explains. “The seagulls follow the baitfish. In December and January, if I see a bunch of seagulls in a cove, even if they aren’t diving on anything, I’ll go to that cove. If we see the birds diving, that means stripers are schooling under them. That’s when things get really exciting!” Mines normally fishes with live shad for bait, but when stripers start schooling near the surface, he tosses bucktail jigs at the frenzied predators. After the fish dive deep again, he may vertically jig for them with 1/2- to 3/4-ounce chrome spoons. “I like to fish a 1/4-ounce white bucktail jig on 10-pound test line,” Mines advises. “It sinks at the exact rate that fish want. With a spoon, let it go to the bottom. At the bottom, barely move it. In cold water, stripers don’t want fast baits, but when they hit, they’ll snatch the rod out of your hands.” Mines normally fishes humps or old roadbeds submerged when the reservoir water level rose. Stripers also congregate near ledges, creek channels or other variations in bottom contours about 20 to 30 feet deep. The deep water near the dam typically holds the most striped bass in the winter. In February, stripers head up the Chattahoochee River in an attempt to spawn. Striped bass give inland anglers in small boats economical opportunities to catch really big fish without venturing far into the Gulf of Mexico. Some anglers without boats fish platforms set up below the dam. For booking trips with Mines, call 706402-3607 or see For information about the LaGrange area, see A DECEMBER 2012  25



Cook of the Month: Linda Bragwell, Franklin EC Orange Creamsicle Cake 1 box orange supreme cake mix 11⁄3 cup water 1⁄3 cup vegetable oil 2 whole eggs 2 egg whites Filling: 16 ounces sour cream ¾ cup sugar ¼ teaspoon almond extract Frosting: 8 ounces cream cheese 1 cup granulated sugar 8 ounces whipped topping Grease and flour two, nine-inch round cake pans. Mix cake ingredients according to package directions. Bake cakes until toothpick comes out clean. After removing cakes from oven, mix filling. Put bottom cake layer onto cake plate, and put top layer on wire rack before spreading filling on it after cake has cooled completely. Frosting: Cream sugar and cream cheese until very smooth. Make sure sugar has dissolved. Add whipped topping and beat until fluffy. Frost cake. The Orange Creamsicle cake was super easy to make. Just because a recipe originates from a boxed cake mix doesn’t mean you can’t make it your own and improve it. I was surprised how the filling of this cake tasted “orange,” but it has nothing from an orange in it. Next time I make this cake I’ll probably use half of the filling mixture. It dripped down the sides and mixed with the frosting a bit, but that certainly did not hurt the taste, just the looks. I received more than a hundred recipes for

cakes for this issue. I would like to thank everyone who takes time out of their busy schedules to send recipes for us to share with our readers. There are folks who send me recipes every month, and I love reading the little notes inside. I hope all of you have a wonderful, peaceful holiday season.

You could win $50! Upcoming recipe themes and deadlines are: February Healthy Snacks March Under 5 Ingredients April Canning

Deadline: December 15 Deadline: January 15 Deadline: February 15

Please send all submissions to: Recipe Editor, P.O. Box 244014, Montgomery, AL 36124. Or e-mail to: recipes@areapower. coop. Be sure to include your address, phone number and the name of your electric cooperative.

26  DECEMBER 2012v

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.

Butter Pecan Cake 2 2⁄3 cups chopped pecans 2 cups sugar 3 cups all-purpose flour ½ teaspoon salt 2 teaspoons vanilla flavoring 1 teaspoon almond flavoring Frosting: 1 cup butter 4 ounces cream cheese 8 cups confectioners sugar 1 5-ounce can evaporated milk

½ teaspoon butter flavoring 1 cup butter, softened 4 eggs 2 teaspoons baking powder 1 cup milk

2 teaspoon vanilla flavoring chopped pecans for sprinkling on top of cake

Cream sugar and butter together till creamy; add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. In separate bowl, combine flour, baking powder and salt; add to cream mixture, alternating with milk. Stir in flavorings and 1 cup of pecans. Pour batter evenly into 3 greased and floured 9-inch cake pans. Bake at 350 for 25-30 minutes until toothpick comes out clean. Remove from pans and let cool on racks. FROSTING: Cream butter, softened cream cheese and sugar together; add milk and vanilla flavoring. Beat until smooth and creamy. You can add pecans into frosting or sprinkle them on top of cake after frosting. Assemble cake and frost between layers, top and sides. Delicious as an everyday cake or for those special holiday family gatherings. Carolyn Abney, Cherokee EC

Honey Bee Lemon Cake

1 cup butter 2 cups sugar 4 eggs 1 ⁄3 cup honey 2 cups self-rising flour

Glaze: 1 cup powdered sugar

⁄3 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice 2 tablespoons grated lemon peel


2 tablespoons fresh squeezed lemon juice

Heat oven to 375 degrees and grease an 8x11-inch pan. Melt butter in microwave. Combine butter, sugar, eggs, flour, lemon juice and lemon peel. Mix with an electric mixer. Heat honey in microwave for 30-45 seconds, add to batter and mix again with electric mixer. Pour batter into greased pan and smooth evenly. Bake for 30 minutes or until top is golden in color. Remove cake and mix glaze ingredients in a small bowl. Pour glaze on top of cake and smooth with back of a spoon. Allow glaze to cool and firm up, cut and serve. Makes approximately 15 servings. James Archuletta, Joe Wheeler EMC Alabama Living

Want to see the Cook of the Month recipe before the magazine gets to your door? Become a fan of Alabama Living on Facebook.

DECEMBER 2012  27

Caramel Carrot Cake

1 box caramel cake mix 3 large eggs 1⁄3 cup butter or applesauce 2 cups grated carrots ½ cup pomegranate craisins (plump craisins in ½ cup boiling water) Zest from 2 small oranges

11⁄3 cups liquid (in cup combine water from plumped craisins, juice from the oranges and finish filling cup to 11⁄3 cups with water) ½ teaspoon cinnamon ¼ teaspoon ginger (fresh grated, optional) ¼ teaspoon nutmeg (fresh grated, optional) ¼ cup chopped walnuts

Orange cream cheese frosting:

4 ounces softened cream cheese ¼ cup heavy cream

2 cups powdered sugar Zest from 1 orange 1 teaspoon vanilla

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Coat two 8- or 9-inch pans with non-stick baking spray. Combine cake mix, eggs, butter or applesauce and liquid. Fold in carrots, craisins, walnuts, spices and orange zest. Put into cake pans and cook for 30 to 35 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool completely on rack before frosting. Frosting: Combine cream cheese and heavy cream. Beat until fluffy. Add powdered sugar a little at a time and beat until smooth and fluffy. Add orange zest and vanilla. Then beat until fluffy. Spread between cake layers and on top. Sandra K. Paul, Central Alabama EC

Chocolate Chip Pound Cake

Milky Way Cake 4½ regular Milky Way candy bars 1 cup butter, divided 2 cups sugar 4 eggs Frosting: 4½ regular Milky Way candy bars ½ cup butter 1 tablespoon vanilla

1½ cups flour 1 teaspoon baking soda 1 cup buttermilk 1 teaspoon vanilla ½ cup pecans (optional)

8 ounces powdered sugar cream or milk ½ cup pecans (optional)

Mix cake mix, instant chocolate pudding and sugar, getting all lumps out. Add vegetable oil, water, eggs and sour cream. Mix well, add chocolate chips. Pour into greased and floured bundt pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour. Take out of pan right away.

In a double boiler, melt and stir together candy bars with half the butter (1/2 cup). In a small bowl, cream together the rest of the butter (1/2 cup) and the sugar. Add one egg at a time. In another bowl, combine flour and baking soda. In another bowl, combine buttermilk and vanilla. Combine all the ingredients by alternately adding flour and liquid mixture to the cream and butter mixture, beating thoroughly with each addition. Fold in nuts if desired. The texture is better if the additions begin and end with the flour mixture. Pour into a 10x16x2 pan. Bake at 275 degrees for 1 hour and 15 minutes. Frosting: Melt candy bars and butter in a double boiler. Add vanilla and sugar. Use milk or cream to bring frosting to a good spreading consistency. Once cake has cooled, frost. Sprinkle with nuts if desired.

Sara Jean Brooklere, Baldwin EMC

Julie Allen, Pioneer EC

1 box yellow cake mix with pudding 1 small package instant chocolate pudding ½ cup sugar ¾ cup vegetable oil

28  DECEMBER 2012

¾ cup water 4 eggs 8 ounces sour cream 1 cup milk chocolate chips

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.

Around Alabama Polar Bear Dip - Jan. 1

Gulf Shores Public Beach • noon

The Kiwanis Club of Gulf Shores will host its second annual Polar Bear Dip at Gulf Shores Public Beach on New Year’s Day 2013. Join us for this family-friendly event, where participants are encouraged to come in costume and bring in the new year with a splash. The plunge into the Gulf will take place at high noon directly in front of The Hangout, December 9 • Red Bay, Red Bay Christmas Tour of Homes - 1-5 p.m. Tour four local homes decorated for Christmas and enjoy refreshments at each home. Tickets: $20, advanced; $25 at the door Contact: Tracy Bolding (City Hall), 256-356-4473

7 & 8 • Linden, Chilly Fest Chili

Cook-off, Christmas parade of lights, Christmas carnival and much more. Information: Bruce Ward, 334-2955051 ext. 1. 1 - 31 • Theodore, Magic Christmas

in Lights Bellingrath Gardens and Home, 8 a.m.-9 p.m. (lights go on at 5p.m.) Walking tour of 3 million lights and nearly 1,000 displays throughout 65-acre estate. Admission: Adults $15, children 5-12

Since 1985, the Kiwanis Club of Gulf Shores has raised and distributed hundreds of thousands of dollars trying to improve the lives of children. The club meets on Tuesdays at noon in the Palmer Dining Room at Craft Farms Golf Course. Visitors are always welcome. Visit for more event or Kiwanis Club of Gulf Shores information.

at the south end of Hwy. 59. The post race and pre-dip party at the Hangout will include music and a Slip-n Slide for kids young and old. Prizes will be awarded for the best costumes. A special cash award will be presented to the “loudest” Snowbird Club during the post party costume contest. There is no charge to participate, however, a $15 event package can be purchased that includes a custom T-shirt, goodie bag and a breakfast buffet at The Hangout. You can pick up the T-shirt before the run (while supplies last) at The Hangout or visit to register for package pick-up.

$7, children 4 and under free Information and discounted admission: Detailed story, page 22. 4 • Elba, “That Mancini Magic!” Mac Frampton & The Moon River Orchestra. Elba High School, 7 p.m. Bringing back the songs of composer Henry Mancini including “Moon River,” “The Pink Panther,” “Days of Wine & Roses,” “Charade” and “Breakfast at Tiffany’s.” Tickets and info: 334-406-2787 or

Contact Fran Thompson at 251-967-3344 or email You can also visit for more information.

miniature train ride, and children receive a free toy. Tickets: $12 per person plus tax, children 13 months and under, free Information: 1-888-569-5337 12 - 16 • Dothan, “Walk Through Bethlehem,” Mount Gilead Baptist Church, 5 p.m. each night. A guided tour through the town of Bethlehem at the time of Jesus’ birth. Admission: Free Information: 334-792-4842 or

8 • Orange Beach, Merry Market

9 • Oneonta, Holiday Home Tour

Orange Beach Event Center at The Wharf, 10 a.m.- 5 p.m. Featuring a collection of exhibits of unique gifts and crafts including glassware, jewelry, handcrafted scarves, candles and more. Exhibitor information: Vicki Stillings, 251-968-7200

1-5 p.m. Fundraiser for Oneonta Foundation for Educational Resources. or

1 - 24 • Silverhill, The Arctic Express. Wales West, Fridays, 4-9 p.m., Saturdays and Sundays 3-9 p.m. Ride a real steam train to the North Pole, visit Santa, free refreshments,

To place an event, mail to Events Calendar, P.O. Box 244014, Montgomery, AL 36124; e-mail to calendar@ (Subject Line: Around Alabama) or visit 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.

15 • Clanton, 2nd Annual Jingle Bell Run/Walk for Arthritis. Ollie Park, 8 a.m. Contact: Anna Young at Arthritis Foundation, 205-979-5700

January 19 • Jemison, “Small Fruits in the Home Garden” Petals from the Past, begins at 10:30 a.m. Dr. Arlie Powell will discuss variety selection, care and maintenance of fruit plants such as blackberries, blueberries and muscadines. Followed by lunch and a walking tour of Petals small fruit gardens. Lunch may be purchased for $12. Pre-orders only by January 18, no later than 3 p.m. For lunch orders: 205-646-0069 2 • Monroeville, Advanced ticket

sales for 23rd Annual Production of “To Kill a Mockingbird” Old Courthouse Museum by telephone or walk-in only, beginning at 10 a.m. Advanced tickets only available to museum members and groups of 10 or more; general public ticket sales begin March 1. Contact: Monroe County Heritage Museum, 251-575-7433 17 • Enterprise, Ricky Skaggs & Kentucky Thunder. Enterprise High School Performing Arts Center, 7 p.m.

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Market Place Miscellaneous METAL ROOFING $1.79/LINFT – FACTORY DIRECT! 1st quality, 40yr Warranty, Energy Star rated. (price subject to change)  706-383-8554 WALL BEDS OF ALABAMA / ALABAMA MATTRESS OUTLET – SHOWROOM Collinsville, AL – Custom Built / Factory Direct - (256)490-4025,, www. AERMOTOR WATER PUMPING WINDMILLS – windmill parts – decorative windmills – custom built windmill towers - call Windpower (256)638-4399 or (256)638-2352 CUSTOM MACHINE QUILTING BY JOYCE – Send me your quilt top or t-shirts. Several designs to choose from – (256)735-1543 KEEP POND WATER CLEAN AND FISH HEALTHY with our aeration systems and pond supplies. Windmill Electric and Fountain Aerators. Windpower (256)638-4399, (256)899-3850 FREE BOOKS / DVDs – Soon government will enforce the “Mark” of the beast as church and state unite! Let Bible reveal. The Bible Says, POB 99, Lenoir City, TN 37771 –, (888)211-1715 CHURCH FURNITURE – Does your church need pews, pulpit set, baptistry, steeple or windows? Big sale on new cushioned pews and upholstery for hard pews – (800)2318360 or STAINED GLASS WINDOWS – 30 years designing, manufacturing, installation of custom stained glass windows. Religious, residential and commercial. Serving AL/GA/TN –, (706)398-0078 SAWMILL EXCHANGE: North American’s largest source of used portable sawmills and commercial equipment for woodlot owners and sawmill operations. Over 800 listings. THE place to sell equipment. (800)459-2148, www. NEW AND USED STAIR LIFT ELEVATORS – Car lifts, Scooters, Power Wheelchairs – Walk-In Tubs - Covers State of Alabama – 23 years (800)682-0658 18X21 CARPORT $695 INSTALLED – Other sizes available - (706)383-8554 DIVORCE MADE EASY – Uncontested, lost spouse, in prison or aliens. $179.00 our total fee. Call 10am to 10pm. 26 years experience – (417)443-6511

30  DECEMBER 2012

HELP LINES FOR ALABAMA FAMILIES MORTGAGE BEHIND??? Call (888) 216-4173 OWE BACK TAXES??? Call (877) 633-4457 DISCOUNTED DENTAL Call (888) 696-6814 CREDIT SCORE COACH Call (888) 317-6625 NONPROFIT DEBT HELP Call (888) 779-4272 A Public Benefit Org

Business Opportunities EARN $75,000/YR PART-TIME in the livestock or equipment appraisal business. Agricultural background required. Classroom or home study courses available. (800)488-7570 PIANO TUNING PAYS – Learn with American Tuning School home-study course – (800)497-9793 START YOUR OWN BUSINESS! Mia Bella’s Gourmet Scented Products. Try the Best! Candles / Gifts / Beauty. Wonderful income potential! Enter Free Candle Drawing - www.

Vacation Rentals MENTONE, AL – LOOKOUT MOUNTAIN – billiard table, Jacuzzi, spacious home, sleeps 14 – www., (850)7665042, (850)661-0678.  

GREAT LAKE LIVING, LEWIS SMITH LAKE - 3BR/2BA, 2 satelite TV’s, gaslog fireplace, deep water, covered dock Pictures, http://www.vacationsmithlake. com/ $75 night - (256) 352 5721, PIGEON FORGE, TN: $89 - $125, 2BR/2BA, hot tub, air hockey, fireplace, swimming pool, creek – (251)3631973, KATHY’S ORANGE BEACH CONDO – 2BR/2BA, non-smoking. Best rates beachside! Family friendly – (205)253-4985, planet/kathyscondo GATLINBURG TOWNHOUSE on BASKINS CREEK! GREAT RATES! 4BR/3BA, short walk downtown attractions! (205)333-9585, GATLINBURG / PIGEON FORGE – 2 and 3 BEDROOM LUXURY CABINS – Home theatre room, hot tub, gameroom – www., (251)363-8576 PANAMA CITY BEACH CONDO – Owner rental – 2BR / 2BA, wireless internet, just remodeled inside and outside – (334)790-0000,, www.

GULF SHORES / GATLINBURG RENTAL– Great Rates! (256)490-4025 or, www.

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

SEE WINTERFEST LIGHTS! Pigeon Forge cabins by Owner – (865)712-7633

ALABAMA RIVER LOTS / MONROE COUNTY, AL – Lease / Rent – (334)469-5604

GULF SHORES COTTAGE – Waterfront, 2 / 1, pet friendly – Rates and Calendar online, (251)223-6114

GULF SHORES, GULF FRONT – 1BR / 1BA, free Wi-Fi, king bed, hall bunks – Seacrest Condo, Owner rates (256)3525721,

MAKE ONE OF OUR GATLINBURG CONDOS YOUR HOME FOR THE HOLIDAYS…Beautiful mountain views, shows and Christmas shopping at the huge outlet center. Call Jennifer in Scottsboro at 256-599-4438. Condos also in DAYTONA BEACH and GULF SHORES. Merry Christmas from Ron and Jennifer at PIGEON FORGE, TN CABINS – Peaceful, convenient setting – (251)649-3344, (251)649-4049, ORANGE BEACH CONDO, 3BR/3BA; 2,000 SQ.FT.; beautifully decorated; gorgeous waterfront view; boat slips available; great rates - Owner rented (251)604-5226 GATLINBURG – DOWNTOWN LUXURY CREEKSIDE CONDO – 2BR / 2BA, sleeps 6 – aubie12@centurytel. net, (256)599-5552

HELEN GA CABIN FOR RENT – sleeps 2-6, 2.5 baths, fireplace, Jacuzzi, washer/dryer – (251)9482918,, email PIGEON FORGE, TN – 3 bedroom, 1.5 bath house for rent $75.00 a night – Call Bonnie at (256)338-1957 GULF SHORES / FT. MORGAN / NOT A CONDO! The original “Beach House” on Ft. Morgan peninsula – 2BR/1BA – Wi-Fi, pet friendly, nonsmoking – $695/wk, (256)418-2131, TWO GULF SHORES PLANTATION CONDOS – Excellent beach views – Owner rented (251)223-9248 APPALACHIAN TRAIL – Cabins by the trail in the Georgia Mountains – 3000’ above sea level, snowy winters, cool summers, inexpensive rates (800)2846866,

GULF SHORES CONDO - 4 miles from beach or outlet mall, 2BR / 2BA, pet friendly, http://www.vrbo. com/396334, (251)213-0688. FT. WALTON BEACH HOUSE – 3BR / 2BA – Best buy at the Beach – (205)566-0892, mailady96@yahoo. com PENSACOLA BEACH CONDO – Gulf front – 7th floor balcony – 3BR / 2BA, sleeps 6, pool – (850)572-6295 or (850)968-2170

Real Estate Sales GULF SHORES CONDOS - 4.7 miles from beach, starting prices $54,900, click Colony Club – (251)948-8008 LAKE HARDING CABIN FOR SALE OR LEAST TO OWN – Deeded, nice seawall, boathouse, electric lift – 40 minutes from Auburn – (334)7429524 - $190,000.00

Travel CARIBBEAN CRUISES AT THE LOWEST PRICE – (256)974-0500 or (800)726-0954 CRUISE the BAHAMAS and FLORIDA KEYS on a private 47’ Leopard Catamaran – www. – Captain James (251)401-3367 for more information

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 WWW.2HOMESCHOOL.ORG – Year round enrollment. Everybody homeschools. It is just a matter of what degree – (256)653-2593 or website FREE BIBLE CORRESPONDENCE COURSE – write to 23600 Alabama Highway 24, Trinity, AL, 35673 BECOME AN ORDAINED MINISTER correspondence study. Founded in 1988. Free info. Ministers for Christ Outreach, 6630 West Cactus #B107767, Glendale, Arizona 85304. http://

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

ADORABLE AKC YORKY PUPPIES – excellent blood lines – (334)301-1120, (334)537-4242, GERMAN SHEPHERD PUPPIES FOR SALE . . . Healthy pups from working bloodlines. Act Now! Atmore – Call for details (251)379-5755, DIXIEK9LLC@GMAIL.COM

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

How To Place a Line Ad in Marketplace

Closing Deadlines (in our office): January 2013 – deadline: November 25 February 2013 – deadline: December 25 March 2013 – deadline: January 25 - Ads are $1.65 per word with a 10 word minimum and are on a prepaid basis - Telephone numbers, email addresses and websites are considered 1 word each - Ads will not be taken over the phone. You may email your ad to or call (800)410-2737 and 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.

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

DEC. 18 10:46 03:16 10:01 05:16 19 04:01 11:16 - - 06:31 20 12:16 05:01 12:01 07:46 21 06:16 03:01 12:46 08:31 22 08:01 04:16 01:31 09:16 23 09:16 05:01 02:16 09:46 24 10:01 05:31 02:46 10:16 25 10:46 06:01 03:31 11:01 26 11:16 06:16 4:01 11:31 27 11:46 06:46 - - 04:46 28 07:16 12:01 12:16 05:16 29 07:46 12:31 12:46 05:46 30 08:16 01:01 01:31 06:31 31 08:31 01:31 02:16 07:01 JAN. 1 10:16 05:46 02:46 10:46 2 11:01 06:16 03:31 11:16 3 11:31 06:46 04:16 11:46 4 - - 07:16 12:01 04:46 5 07:31 12:16 12:31 05:31 6 08:01 12:46 01:01 06:01 7 08:16 01:16 01:46 06:46 8 08:46 01:31 02:16 07:16 9 09:01 02:01 03:01 08:16 10 09:31 02:31 09:16 04:01 11 03:01 09:46 11:01 05:01 12 03:16 10:16 - - 06:16 13 02:01 11:01 - - 07:31 14 06:16 04:16 12:01 08:31 15 08:31 04:46 01:16 09:31 16 09:46 05:16 02:31 10:16 17 10:46 06:01 03:31 11:01 18 11:31 06:31 04:31 11:46 19 - - 07:01 12:01 05:16 20 07:31 12:31 12:46 06:16 21 08:01 01:01 01:31 07:01 22 08:16 01:46 02:16 08:01 23 08:46 02:16 09:01 03:16 24 02:46 09:16 10:31 04:16 25 03:16 09:46 - - 05:31 26 01:01 10:16 - - 06:46 27 - - 10:46 - - 08:01 28 07:46 05:16 12:01 09:01 29 09:31 05:31 01:31 09:46 30 10:16 05:46 02:46 10:31 31 10:46 06:01 03:31 11:01

Alabama Living

DECEMBER 2012  31

Market Place

We currently are enrolling for gout, blood pressure, COPD, type II diabetes, and low back pain with constipation studies.

Fundamental Research

(251) 967-5214

32  DECEMBER 2012

Alabama Living

DECEMBER 2012  33

Our Sources Say

New Hope?


read a Wall Street Journal article, “Cheap Natural Gas Gives New Hope to the Rust Belt,” that relates how the Pennsylvania steel production region became an industrial powerhouse in the last century with its rich coal deposits and plentiful rivers. The industrial growth resulted in manufacturing jobs upon which families and communities prospered. Three decades ago, the region’s steel industry started shrinking, and the mills moved abroad. Approximately 30,000 manufacturing jobs were lost with the mills, and the prosperity of the communities declined. The devastated region has struggled to regain footing. The article tells of new hope for manufacturing in the region with an abundant supply of cheap, domestically produced natural gas from the Marcellus shale formation. Royal Dutch Shell PLC is considering construction of a multi-billion dollar chemical plant in Beaver County, Penn., that will again provide manufacturing jobs. Other chemical and plastics industries are looking at locating there to take advantage of cheap natural gas resources. Bill Flanagan of Allegheny Conference on Community Economic Development states, “I would have never expected we would have a second chance to be a real leader in American manufacturing. We

Gary Smith is President and CEO of PowerSouth Energy Cooperative 34  DECEMBER 2012

are back in the game.” Cheap natural gas makes the Pennsylvania steel regions economically viable for the first time in decades. Cheap natural gas – about one-third the cost of natural gas in Europe and Asia – again gives the U.S. an advantage as a low-cost manufacturer and creates a base for strong economic growth. Economists estimate that domestic natural gas and oil production will create 3.6 million manufacturing jobs by 2020 and will boost economic output by 2 to 3.3 percent annually. Less optimistic economists project only a 1 percent bump in gross domestic product (GDP), but most think that even a 1percent boost is worth the effort. The low price of natural gas offers new hope to a struggling area. It is a new hope that has been too long coming and is desperately needed. If employment in the Pennsylvania steel region is getting a spark from cheap natural gas, isn’t it logical that more cheap domestic natural gas, oil, coal and electricity would mean more jobs and a better economy? And, if that is the case, why aren’t we all committed to the development of cheap energy? The private sector is doing its share with natural gas shale and increased oil production, but the rest of the energy industry – coal and electricity – is restrained by costly government policies and regulations. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Department of Interior are making energy more expensive – not cheaper – resulting in lost employment and a slower economy.

Despite the president’s campaign rhetoric, the Energy Information Administration discloses that private gas and oil permitting and production has increased, but permitting and production on government-owned lands has declined over the past four years. The Department of Interior has implemented a plan to reduce natural gas and oil production from government lands, which restricts development of energy resources and deprives the country of cheap energy that builds a better economy. Coal-fired electric generation provided the foundation for cheap electricity for decades. In turn, a strong manufacturing industry was built on cheap electricity. The EPA, in promoting a cleaner environment and green jobs, has imposed regulations on coal-fired electric generation that increased electricity costs for all Americans. The EPA appears intent on fulfilling the president’s campaign promise in 2008 to bankrupt anyone who builds a new coalfired generating plant or runs a coal mine. A cleaner environment is a worthy goal, but our environment is cleaner today than it has been for the past 100 years. And it will be cleaner tomorrow. What is the price of environmental perfection? Given a choice, most people will choose a good job and strong economy before a perfect environment. However, people are not given the choice. The government is making the choice for us all. Unfortunately, the choice is not always one that brings new hope for a job or a better economy. Thank you for reading. I hope you have a good month. A

Our Sources Say

December is a Time to Think about Safety


fter we go through Thanksgiving, spending time with family and friends and (if you are like me) having too much to eat, we begin our preparations for the Christmas holiday. The Christmas season presents numerous opportunities for accidents. It is very easy to get caught up in the festivities and put ourselves at risk by failing to recognize the safety hazards in our immediate environment. There will be more people on ladders and rooftops than at any other time of the year. Also, many miles of lights and decorations will be strung which could cause electrical hazards unless safety tips are followed. Let’s look at a few safety rules when using ladders: a A stepladder requires level ground support for all four of its side rails. If this worksite condition does not exist, a stepladder should not be selected for the job. a A stepladder must not be used unless its base is spread fully open and the spreaders locked. Stepladders are not to be used as single ladders or in the partially open position. a In order to prevent tipping the ladder over sideways due to over-reaching, the user must climb or work with the body near the middle of the steps. The ladder should be set-up close to the work. a Never attempt to move the ladder without first descending, relocating the ladder, and then re-climbing. Do not attempt to mount the ladder from the side or step from one lad-

Waymon Pace is general manager, customer service of the Tennessee Valley Authority in Alabama. Alabama Living

der to another unless the ladder is secured against sideways motion. a In an effort to avoid losing your balance and falling off the stepladder, the user must not step or stand higher than the step indicated on the label marking the highest standing level. The user must also not step or stand on the Top Cap or bucket/pail shelf. a When ascending or descending the ladder, always face the ladder and maintain a firm hand hold. Do not attempt to carry other objects in your hand(s) while climbing. a The braces on the rear of a stepladder are not intended for climbing or standing and must not be used for that purpose. Note, however, that special stepladders are available with steps on both the front and rear and are intended for two users at the same time. a The anti-slip feet at the bottom of the stepladder side rails must be present and in good condition prior to using the ladder. The ladder must not be used on ice, snow or slippery surfaces unless suitable means to prevent slipping are employed. a A stepladder must never be placed upon other objects such as boxes, barrels, scaffolds, or other unstable bases in an effort to obtain additional height. a When using an extension ladder, use the 1- 4 ratios to ensure a stable working platform. Place the base of an extension ladder 1 foot away from whatever it leans against for every 4 feet of height the ladder is extended. a Never leave ladders unattended when small children are present.

Check each set of lights, new or old, for broken or cracked sockets, frayed or bare wires, or loose connections, and throw out damaged sets. Always replace burnedout bulbs promptly with the same wattage bulbs. Indoors or outside, use only lights that have been tested for safety by a recognized testing laboratory, which indicates conformance with safety standards. Use only lights that have fused plugs. Use no more than three standard-size sets of lights per single extension cord. Make sure the extension cord is rated for the intended use. Never use electric lights on a metallic tree. The tree can become charged with electricity from faulty lights, and a person touching a branch could be electrocuted. Before using lights outdoors, check labels to be sure they have been certified for outdoor use. Stay away from power or feeder lines leading from utility poles into many older homes. Fasten outdoor lights securely to trees, house walls, or other firm supports to protect the lights from wind damage. Use only insulated staples to hold strings in place, not nails or tacks. Or, run strings of lights through hooks. Turn off all holiday lights when you go to bed or leave the house. Outdoor electric lights and decorations should be plugged into circuits protected by ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCIs). Portable outdoor GFCIs can be purchased where electrical supplies are sold. GFCIs can be installed permanently to household circuits by a qualified electrician.

Courtesy of the American Ladder Institute

Remember to inspect wiring and follow a few precautions recommended by the Consumer Product Safety Commission when stringing lights.

Following a few safety practices will allow us to enjoy the holiday season. I hope you have a great December, a Merry Christmas, and a blessed 2013. A DECEMBER 2012  35

36  DECEMBER 2012

Consumer Wise

Window Wizardry Homeowners have a variety of options to improve the energy efficiency of their old windows, including replacement kits and film coverings


: Our house has its original single-pane windows, and we always feel chilly near them. I got quotes on having them replaced, but I can’t afford it now. What can I do in the meantime to improve the efficiency of the old windows?


: I’m not surprised to hear you feel chilly near old single-pane windows on a cold day—they typically have huge heat loss and coldair gain because of poor caulking and weather stripping (if there is any to begin with). You probably also feel hot near them during summer. The most significant heat loss and chilly feeling occurs on a clear winter night. The R-value—a higher-the-better number that shows the ability of insulation to resist the transfer of heat—of a single pane of glass is only R-1, as compared to an insulated wall at R-20. There are many things you can do on a limited budget to improve the year-round efficiency of your windows. Before you attempt to make any improvements though, first check the caulking and weatherstripping on the windows and ensure the framing is not deteriorated. If you find subpar conditions, fix them before you attempt any improvements, or your hard work won’t be worth much. Adding storm windows, either interior or exterior, can more than double the energy efficiency of your existing windows. Custom-made, multi-track storm windows can often cost almost as much as totally new windows, so make your own using clear acrylic sheets. Another advantage of using acrylic instead of glass is that acrylic blocks most of the sun’s fading ultraviolet rays.

James Dulley is a nationally syndicated engineering consultant based in Cincinnati.

Alabama Living

Exterior storm windows can be made with 1-by-2-inch lumber, acrylic sheet, and foam weather stripping. If you size them to fit inside the wall opening and paint them to match your existing window frames, they will look like part of your windows. The compressible foam weather stripping should hold them in place in the opening. Push them in as far as possible to minimize the air gap. To install interior storm windows, use a kit with magnetic seals. The magnetic section of the seal attaches to the acrylic sheet with an adhesive backing, and the steel strip attaches to the window frame. This allows you to easily remove them during summer for ventilation, but if you use air conditioning most of the summer, just leave them up year-round. Another option is to install insulating window shades or curtains to increase the overall insulation level of the window opening and to block the radiant heat loss from your skin through the window. Something as simple as a pull-down pleated shade can help quite a bit. Even closing Venetian blinds blocks your skin’s exposure to the cold outdoors. Some of the most efficient window shades can add R-6 insulation to your windows. These are multilayer roll-up shades with a heat reflecting airproof inner film layer to greatly reduce radiant heat loss (or gain during summer). I also close mine on a hot summer day. These shades are particularly effective because the side edges slide in channel tracks, which reduces the amount of air that circulates against the cold glass. The newest energy-saving permanent window films are also effective for reducing wintertime heat loss. These films have just a very slight tint so they can’t be detected and use the same type of microscopically thin low-emissivity metallic coating as expensive replacement windows. Simple vinyl static-cling film will also help a bit. But before installing anything on double-pane windows, check

the window manufacturer’s warranty regarding film application. Do-it-yourself energy-saving film installation kits are available at most home improvement stores. Depending on your climate, you may want to select a darker tint if summertime heat gain is your most significant concern. Because the sun is higher in the sky during summer, installing window awnings for shade and a lighter film on south-facing windows will allow for some passive solar heating from the lower wintertime sun. A final option is to install a tilt-in double-pane, sash-only replacement kit. If your existing frames are in good condition, this will convert your old windows into very efficient ones. This option also provides the convenience of tilt-in sashes for the ease of cleaning both sides of the window glass from indoors. A

Send your questions to: James Dulley Alabama Living 6906 Royalgreen Dr. Cincinnati, OH 45244

You can also reach Dulley online at

DECEMBER 2012  37

Alabama Snapshots



3 8

Me and someone famous


5 6


Submit Your Images! february Theme:

“Me and my sweetheart”

Send color photos with a large self-addressed stamped envelope to:

Photos, Alabama Living, P.O. Box 244014, Montgomery, AL, 36124. Rules: Alabama Living will pay $10 for photos that best match our theme of the month. Photos may also be published on our website at Alabama Living is not responsible for lost or damaged photos. Deadline for february: December 31

38  DECEMBER 2012

1. Beth McLarty with Bo Jackson submitted by Beth McLarty, Arley 2. Andrea Elam with Lucas Black, star of the movie “Crazy in Alabama” submitted by Boyd family, Addison 3. Frankey Joe and Carolyn Brackin Orr with former President and Mrs. Jimmy Carter submitted by Carolyn Brackin Orr, Danville 4. Lauren Cross with Tim Tebow submitted by Leigh Cross, Wetumpka 5. Melanie and Adam Henry with Ernest Borgnine submitted by Melanie Henry, Russellville

6. Misti Smith Kelley and Katrina Willmon Owens with a young “American Idol” winner Taylor Hicks submitted by Joy Smith, Clanton 7. Vicky Hyde and U.S. Air Force Brigadier General Paul W. Tibbets, pilot of the Enola Gay submitted by Vicky Hyde, New Brockton 8. Kimberly Dyer with Bo (John Schneider) and Luke (Tom Wopat) of “The Dukes of Hazzard” submitted by Kimberly Dyer, Dutton

Alabama Living December 2012  

Alabama Living December 2012

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