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CHANGEOUT

Safe haven Abused horses find refuge at Equine Rescue of Aiken

JUNE 2020

SC RECIPE

Entrees from the grill HUMOR ME

Groundhog Day all over again


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THE MAGAZINE FOR COOPERATIVE MEMBERS VOLUME 74 • NUMBER 6 (ISSN 0047-486X, USPS 316-240) Read in more than 600,000 homes and businesses and published monthly except in December by The Electric Cooperatives of South Carolina, Inc. 808 Knox Abbott Drive Cayce, SC 29033

2020 | june 13 Riding to

the rescue

Tel: (803) 926‑3175 Fax: (803) 796‑6064 Email: letters@scliving.coop

Abused, abandoned and neglected horses find a loving home and renewed faith in humans at Equine Rescue of Aiken.

EDITOR

Keith Phillips Tel: (803) 739‑3040 Email: Keith.Phillips@ecsc.org FIELD EDITOR

Josh Crotzer PUBLICATION COORDINATOR

Travis Ward ART DIRECTOR

Sharri Harris Wolfgang DESIGNER

Susan Collins PRODUCTION

13

Andrew Chapman WEB EDITOR

Chase Toler COPY EDITORS

Trevor Bauknight, Jennifer Jas, Jim Poindexter CONTRIBUTORS

Mike Couick, Tim Hanson, Jan A. Igoe, L.A. Jackson, Maria Kanevsky, Belinda Smith-Sullivan

4 CO-OP NEWS

Updates from your cooperative

6 AGENDA

PUBLISHER

Lou Green

Vertical farming takes a high-tech, automated approach to growing food—and a whole lot of electricity to run.

ADVERTISING

Mary Watts Tel: (803) 739‑5074 Email: ads@scliving.coop NATIONAL REPRESENTATION

American MainStreet Publications Tel: (512) 441-5200

8 DIALOGUE In crisis, comes opportunity South Carolina’s not-for-profit electric cooperatives take an innovative digital approach to our annual youth programs that introduce high school students to state and national leaders.

Paid advertisements are not endorsements by any electric cooperative or this publication. If you encounter a difficulty with an advertisement, inform the Editor. ADDRESS CHANGES: Please send to your

local co-op. Postmaster: Send Form 3579 to Address Change, c/o the address above. Periodicals postage paid at Columbia, S.C., and additional mailing offices.

10 RECIPE Fired up grilling Summertime is all about being outdoors and reconnecting with the American passion for grilling. Chef Belinda Smith‑Sullivan shares four of her favorite outdoor recipes—that you can also prepare indoors.

© COPYRIGHT 2020. The Electric Cooperatives

of South Carolina, Inc. No portion of South Carolina Living may be reproduced without permission of the Editor. is brought to you by your member-owned, taxpaying, not-for-profit electric cooperative to inform you about your cooperative, wise energy use and the faces and places that identify the Palmetto State. Electric cooperatives are South Carolina’s — and America’s — largest utility network.

SOUTH CAROLINA LIVING

18 MARKETPLACE 20 SC GARDENER Scent-sational: Cuban oregano L.A. Jackson introduces us to a garden beauty you can plant this summer to delight the eyes, nose and the palate.

$5.72 members,

$8 nonmembers

22

20

HUMOR ME

Taken by storm Humor columnist Jan A. Igoe discovers life in COVID-19 self‑isolation is a lot like the movie Groundhog Day.

Safe haven

Member of the AMP network reaching more than 9 million homes and businesses

Abused horses find refuge at Equine Rescue of Aiken SC RECIPE

JUNE 2020

ANNUAL SUBSCRIPTIONS:

10

FRO M TO P : TI M H A NSO N; G I N A M OO RE; L . A . JACKSON

Entrees from the grill HUMOR ME

Groundhog Day all over again

Caroline Mulstay, an employee of Equine Rescue of Aiken, helps a neglected horse named Baby regain health and rebuild trust in humans. Photo by Tim Hanson.


genda SC | agen Taking agriculture indoors

ERIC A LOV E L ACE , PLENT Y

Vertical farming is the practice of growing crops indoors in vertically stacked layers while controlling the light, temperature, humidity and other factors in an attempt to create ideal conditions. While the practice seems downright alien to those of us who live in a thriving agricultural state like South Carolina, it has advantages for certain crops, especially leafy green vegetables. Indoor agriculture requires only a small fraction of the land and water used in traditional farming, and there is no need for pesticides— but it’s an energy-­intensive pursuit trying to re-create the best of nature indoors. Some vertical farm operations spend hundreds of thousands of dollars a year on

Tigris Farm is an indoor farming operation at Plenty, a San Francisco-based startup that develops plant sciences to grow vertical crops in a pesticidefree environment.

their energy bills. A majority of the electricity consumed is used to power artificial lights that must burn for up to 18 hours depending on the crop. To keep costs under control, many vertical farms use highly efficient LED lights

that can be tuned to generate only certain colors from the full light spectrum, providing the ideal growing light for specific plants. For more on the practice of automated vertical agriculture, visit plenty.ag. —MARIA KANEVSKY

ONLY ON SCLiving.coop Register to win

Grill like a pro Let Chef Belinda Smith-Sullivan show you how to get perfect grill marks on your next steak. Watch the video at SCLiving.coop/food/chefbelinda.

Like us on Facebook If you’re making post-COVID-19 plans to travel this summer and fall, tell us all about it at facebook.com/SouthCarolinaLiving.

6

South Carolina Living and Discover Upcountry S.C. Partners know you can’t wait to take an in-state vacation—and we’re here to help! Sign up today for our June Reader Reply Travel Sweepstakes and your chance to win a $100 Visa gift card and a Discover Upcountry Getaway Package with two nights’ lodging for two people at Pettigru Place Bed & Breakfast (pictured) and a $100 gift certificate valid at any of the Table 301 restaurants in Greenville. One lucky winner will be drawn from all entries received by June 30. Register online at SCLiving.coop/reader-reply.

SOUTH CAROLINA LIVING  |  JUNE 2020 | SCLIVING.COOP

Spending more time at home? Try an online energy audit to assess the overall efficiency of your home. Visit energystar.gov, then enter “home energy yardstick” in the search box to get started. GONE FISHIN’ The Vektor Fish & Game Forecast provides feeding and ­migration times. Major periods can bracket the peak by an hour. Minor peaks, ½ hour before and after. Minor

AM Major

Minor

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WIN A $100 GIFT CARD

Can’t wait to welcome you back!

South Carolina Living and Discover Upcountry S.C. Partners know you can’t wait to take an in-state vacation—and we’re here to help! Sign up today for our June Reader Reply Travel Sweepstakes and your chance to win a $100 Visa gift card from South Carolina Living and from Discover Upcountry, a Getaway Package with two nights’ lodging for two people at Pettigru Place Bed & Breakfast and a $100 gift certificate valid at any of the Table 301 restaurants in Greenville. One lucky winner will be drawn from all entries received by June 30. Register online at SCLiving.coop/reader-reply or mail in the coupon at right.

By entering, you may receive information from these great travel and tourism sponsors: j Discover Upcountry S.C. j Alpharetta, Ga. Convention and Visitors Bureau j Alpine Helen/White County, Ga. j Cheraw Visitors Bureau j Experience Columbia S.C. Convention and Visitor Bureau j Lowcountry & Resort Islands Tourism Commission j South Carolina Living magazine

R E A D E R R E P LY T R AV E L S W E E P S TA K E S

Register below, or online at SCLiving.coop/reader-reply YES! Enter me in the drawing for a $100 gift card and a Discover Upcountry S.C. getaway package. Name Address City State/ZIP Email* Phone*

South Carolina Living, RRTS, 808 Knox Abbott Drive, Cayce, SC 29033 or travel@SCLiving.coop. Entries must be received by June 30, 2020, to be eligible. *Winner will be contacted to verify mailing address.

SEND COUPON TO:

Register online at SCLiving.coop/reader-reply SCLIVING.COOP   | JUNE 2020   |   SOUTH CAROLINA LIVING

7


|

SC   dialogue

In crisis, comes opportunity

MIKE COUICK

President and CEO, The Electric Cooperatives of South Carolina

8

will be among the guest speakers. We also have FOR OVER 60 YEARS, ELECTRIC COOPERATIVES invited Jim “Soni” Sonefeld, drummer for Hootie have given students across the nation the opporand the Blowfish, who will share his story of recovtunity to interact with their elected officials and learn about our federal government. They’ve been ery from addiction and discuss the increased mental able to gain an understanding of their role as a health risks students are now facing. citizen and the role of the cooperative in their Just like the rest of us, these students have quescommunities. tions and the Virtual Youth Experience can help That opportunity was put in peril when them process how extraordinary this crisis is. We the Electric Cooperative Youth Tour, a trip to need them to share their thoughts and their conWashington, D.C., for more than 1,500 high school cerns. That’s why we’re challenging all participatstudents chosen by their local ing students to team up and cooperatives, was canceled produce a podcast or a vidOur efforts to fight back due to the COVID‑19 paneocast that will be posted demic. Cooperatives in South against this virus aren’t just on your local cooperative website. They’ll have the Carolina were also forced to impacting our lives today; opportunity to interview our cancel this year’s Cooperative guest speakers and address Youth Summit, another they’re going to have their fears, hopes and expechance for students to meet with their legislators and other riences during this unique ripple effects for several state leaders in Columbia. period in our history. generations. However, thanks to our In addition to the R.D. modern technologies and Bennett scholarship, a $5,000 the spirit of innovation for which cooperatives award given to the student who exemplifies the are known, the South Carolina students selected cooperative principle of Concern for Community, we to participate in the Washington Youth Tour and are going to treat these podcasts and videocasts as a Cooperative Youth Summit will not have to miss out form of community service. We are awarding each on their opportunity. member of the team judged to have the best presenFrom June 22–26, high school sophomores and tation a $5,000 scholarship. We look forward to our juniors across our state will participate in the firstmembers being able to listen to those podcasts and ever Virtual Youth Experience, the only one of its watch those videocasts in the near future. kind in the nation. From the safety of their homes Nothing can replace the experience of standing and by way of video conferencing, these students on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial and reading will still be able to interact with our governor, U.S. the Gettysburg Address, or of making a lifelong senators, congressmen and other state leaders. friend after sharing a bus seat for days. We hope Right now, we all are being asked to trust our that students will have those opportunities again. government and our leaders. Our efforts to fight However, in every crisis there is new opportunity. back against this virus aren’t just impacting our lives Engaging with their peers and public officials in this today; they’re going to have ripple effects for several way allows these students to gain a better undergenerations. These students will be the future standing of this pandemic and how we are respondleaders who bear the responsibility for some of the ing to it. The Virtual Youth Experience is a chance heavy lifting. to invest in this generation, their future and ours. In light of the many challenges COVID-19 presents, we want the students to interact with leaders in a variety of fields, including education and public health. That’s why State Superintendent Molly Spearman and state epidemiologist Dr. Linda Bell

SOUTH CAROLINA LIVING  |  JUNE 2020 | SCLIVING.COOP


BATMOBILE? BUCKET TRUCK.

We’re not your typical energy company, we’re a local, not-for-profit electric cooperative. That’s because we don’t have customers, we have members. Putting people first is our super power. To learn more about the cooperative difference, visit TouchstoneEnergy.com

YOUR SOURCE OF POWER. AND INFORMATION.


Fired up grilling BY BELINDA SM ITH-SULLIVA

Summertime is all about d being outdoors an e th th wi g tin reconnec r fo ion ss pa n America lem. ob pr No ill? gr grilling. No urses can All of these main co ur stovetop be prepared on yo d cast-iron with a grill pan an en take skillet. You can ev sual to ca m fro als these me ion of fancy with the addit and lad sa er, tiz an appe e fir t’s Le t. er dess it up!

G I N A M OO RE

SWEET AND SPICY CHICKEN SKEWERS WITH GRILLED ASSORTED VEGGIES SERVES 4–6

SAUCE AND CHICKEN

1 cup ketchup ½ cup brown sugar, packed ½ cup apple cider vinegar 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce 2 tablespoons honey ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes 1½ tablespoons olive oil ½ cup chopped sweet onions 2 large garlic cloves, minced 2 pounds boneless/skinless chicken breasts, cut into large cubes VEGETABLES

2 tablespoons garlic olive oil 2 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar 1 tablespoon assorted chopped fresh herbs (basil, parsley, thyme) Kosher salt Fresh ground black pepper 3 zucchini, sliced lengthwise into ½-inch slices 3 yellow squash, sliced lengthwise into ½-inch slices 3 red bell peppers, seeded and quartered 2 red onions, peeled and cut crosswise into ½-inch slices 3 eggplants, sliced lengthwise into ½-inch slices

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SOUTH CAROLINA LIVING  |  JUNE 2020 | SCLIVING.COOP

In a medium saucepan, combine ketchup, sugar, vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, honey and red pepper flakes. In a skillet or saute pan, over medium heat, heat oil. Saute onions until translucent; add garlic and cook an additional minute. Stir into sauce mixture, and over medium heat, cook for 8–10 minutes. Set saucepan into a larger pan filled with ice. Cool completely. Soak wooden 6-inch or 12-inch skewers for 30 minutes. Preheat grill to 400 F and oil grill grates. Reserve ½ cup of cooled sauce in a bowl to serve along with chicken. Place chicken in a large bowl and pour ½ cup sauce over it. Toss to coat completely, using more sauce if necessary. Thread the chicken pieces onto the skewers. When grill is hot, place skewers on grill— crosswise, so they don’t fall through the grates. Grill 4–5 minutes, brushing midway with the leftover sauce. Turn and grill an additional 3–4 minutes. Turn again, brush with more sauce and remove from grill. Keep warm. In a small measuring cup with a spout, whisk olive oil, vinegar, herbs, salt and pepper. Set aside. Spread vegetables on a few large sheet pans or foil, and brush with oil; sprinkle with salt and pepper. Using same grill pan, working in batches, grill vegetables 4–5 minutes per side, until tender and charred with grill marks. Arrange on a serving platter. Drizzle with additional vinaigrette and serve warm or room temperature with chicken skewers and reserved sauce.


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SC   recipe

GROUPER WITH GRILLED GREEN BEANS AND TOMATOES OREGANO SERVES 4

2 pounds grouper, 1 whole piece or 4 fillets Kosher salt Fresh ground black pepper J teaspoon cayenne pepper G teaspoon paprika ½ teaspoon dried parsley 1 tablespoon garlic olive oil 1 lemon GREEN BEANS

1 pound green beans, trimmed and left whole 1–2 tablespoons garlic olive oil Kosher salt Fresh ground black pepper TOMATOES

1 tablespoon lemon zest 1 tablespoon fresh squeezed lemon juice 1 tablespoon fresh chopped oregano 4 tablespoons garlic olive oil 4 tomatoes, cut in half Kosher salt Fresh ground black pepper

Preheat grill to medium high; oil grates. Rinse fish and pat dry. In a small bowl, combine salt, pepper, cayenne, paprika and parsley. Rub olive oil over fish and sprinkle with seasoning. Cut lemon in half and squeeze juice from one half over fish. Slice remaining half into four thin slices. Into a fish grill basket, place the whole grouper or fillets. If you do not have a fish grill basket, heat a castiron skillet on the grill first, then place fish in hot skillet. Place lemon slices on top. Reduce grill heat to mediumlow and close lid. Grill for 4–6 minutes. Remove lemon slices, turn carefully using a spatula and replace slices. Grill an additional 4–6 minutes until flesh is opaque—a sign that fish is done. Remove and keep warm. Return heat on grill to medium. In a large bowl, toss beans with oil and season with salt and pepper. Transfer to a grill basket and cook, shaking occasionally, about 10 minutes until charred and tender. In a small bowl, combine lemon zest, lemon juice, oregano and 2 tablespoons olive oil. Brush tomatoes with remaining olive oil. Place cut-side down on grill pan; grill 4 minutes until lightly charred. Turn and grill 2–3 minutes until skin begins to char. Transfer to serving platter and drizzle with oregano-lemon oil, and salt and pepper to taste.

M ICH A E L PH I LLI P S

FISH

Turn the page for more uu

JALAPENO PORK CHOPS WITH GRILLED BROCCOLI AND PINEAPPLE SERVES 4

PORK CHOPS

BROCCOLI

G cup tamari (unsalted soy sauce) G cup rice vinegar 2 tablespoons brown sugar, packed 4 1-inch, bone-in pork chops Kosher salt 1 teaspoon chipotle chile pepper 1 tablespoon olive oil G cup fresh chopped cilantro, for garnish 2 jalapenos, thinly sliced, for garnish

4 cups broccoli florets 2 tablespoons garlic olive oil Kosher salt Fresh ground black pepper G teaspoon red pepper flakes, optional PINEAPPLE

In a small bowl, combine tamari, vinegar and brown sugar. Rinse and pat dry chops and place in a large zip-close plastic bag. Put bag into a large bowl. Pour half the marinade over the chops and seal bag. Turn bag several times to coat chops completely. Refrigerate overnight or at least 1–2 hours. Reserve remaining marinade, cover and chill. Bring pork chops and reserved marinade to room temperature. Preheat grill to medium; oil grates. Remove chops from overnight marinade and discard the marinade. Season chops lightly with salt and chipotle, and sprinkle with oil. Grill chops, turning and brushing occasionally with the marinade, until cooked through, 6–8 minutes or until interior reaches 140 F on an instantread thermometer. If chops are cooking too fast, lower heat to medium or

GW ÉN A Ë L LE VOT

1 tablespoon olive oil 1 teaspoon maple syrup 1 pineapple, peeled, cored and cut into ½-inch slices

move to indirect heat. Remove and keep warm until serving. When ready to serve, garnish chops with cilantro and jalapenos. In a large bowl, toss broccoli with oil, salt and peppers. Transfer to a grill basket and cook, shaking occasionally, for 8–10 minutes until tender. If you do not have a grill basket, place a large sheet of foil on grill and cook on top of the foil. Remove and keep warm. In a small bowl, combine oil and syrup. Place pineapple on grill and brush with half of the sauce. Cook 2–3 minutes; turn and brush with remaining sauce and cook until grill marks form on both sides.

SCLIVING.COOP   | JUNE 2020   |   SOUTH CAROLINA LIVING

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|

SC   recipe

TIPS AND TECHNIQUES

Constantly monitor grill temp. If your grill does not have a temperature gauge or control, it would be advisable to purchase a freestanding oven thermometer. This will allow you to periodically check the grill temperature to ensure food is maintaining a proper temp throughout the cooking process. Let your eyes and thermometer be your guide. Different grills cook at different temperatures. Stay close to the grill and check the temperature often. Cooking with gas. I prefer gas grills over charcoal for a variety of reasons: HIGH HEAT. Many gas grills can reach temperatures of 700 to 1,000 F. INSTANT IGNITION. Just push a button or turn a knob. There is a back-up system in case the primary fails. FAST PREHEAT. Gas grills reach the desired temperature relatively quickly. TEMPERATURE CONTROL. Gas grills maintain level heat and spread it evenly across the cooking surface. VERSATILITY. Gas grills allow indirect and direct grilling capability, thanks to multiple burners with separate controls. EASY TO USE. There’s no temperature guesswork. CUSTOMIZABLE. Choose from different styles, configurations, burners and accessories.

K A REN H ERM A N N

Grilling is multitasking. In all of these menus, cook meats and vegetables simultaneously, side by side if your grill is large enough. That way, all of the items are ready at approximately the same time and can be served when done.

STEAK TACOS WITH AVOCADO, SCALLIONS AND CARROTS SERVES 4–6

PICO DE GALLO

STEAK

VEGETABLES

2 cups diced fresh tomatoes G white onion, diced G cup fresh chopped cilantro 1 small jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced 2 tablespoons fresh squeezed lime juice 2 garlic cloves, minced Kosher salt

½ cup Worcestershire sauce ½ cup fresh squeezed orange juice G cup fresh squeezed lime juice Zest of 1 lime G cup chopped yellow onions 3 garlic cloves, crushed ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes 2 pounds skirt steak or flank steak 2 tablespoons steak rub (your favorite) 1 tablespoon olive oil

2 tablespoons garlic olive oil 3 carrots, peeled and cut into G-inch-by-3-inch-long sticks 3 bunches scallions, trimmed 1 tablespoon unsalted butter 1 tablespoon tamari sauce ½ teaspoon sugar Corn tortillas, warmed 2 avocados, sliced into 8 wedges each Lime wedges, for garnish

In a medium bowl, combine tomatoes, onion, cilantro, jalapeno, lime juice and garlic. Season with salt, to taste. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use. Can be made up to two days ahead. In a large zip-close plastic bag, combine Worcestershire sauce, orange juice, lime juice, zest, onions, garlic and crushed pepper. Add steak, seal bag and turn several times to coat steak completely. Place bag in a large bowl and refrigerate for 2 hours. Preheat grill to medium-high; oil grate. Remove steak from marinade and discard any remaining marinade. Pat steak dry and let come to room temperature. Season steak liberally with rub and oil, and grill 3–4 minutes on each side. Let rest 10 minutes before slicing thinly against the grain. Keep warm. In a cast-iron skillet placed on the hot grill, heat oil. Add carrots and saute for 1 minute. Add scallions and saute until tender, 3–4 minutes. Add butter, tamari and sugar and cook 30 seconds more until butter is melted. Remove from grill. Onto warm tortillas, divide steak, sauteed vegetables and avocado wedges. Serve with pico de gallo and garnish with lime wedges.

GARLIC OLIVE OIL RECIPE 1 pint extra virgin olive oil 1 large head garlic, peeled

In a medium saucepan over medium-low heat, add garlic cloves and oil. Let simmer slowly for 20–30 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature. In the meantime, sterilize a storage jar in a 275 F oven for 20 minutes. When olive oil is cool, strain into jar and seal. Oil will last 2–3 months in the refrigerator. Be sure to properly label and date before storing. 12

What’s cooking at SCLiving.coop GRILL LIKE A PRO—Let Chef Belinda show you how to get those professional grill marks on your steaks without having to fire up the grill. Watch the video at

SOUTH CAROLINA LIVING  |  JUNE 2020 | SCLIVING.COOP

BARBECUE SIDES—Use these tasty recipes for delicious sides to complement whatever is sizzling on the grill. See them all at

SCLiving.coop/food/chefbelinda


Volunteers offer shelter to abused and neglected horses  STORY AND PHOTOS BY TIM HANSON BY THE TIME THE LITTLE DONKEY NAMED

Stephanie showed up at Jim Rhodes’ horse rescue farm near Aiken, she had been through a harrowing first year. She was rejected by her mother at birth because of a bum leg, and lived for months at a veterinary clinic where she underwent surgery to correct a contracted tendon that makes it difficult for her to stand. She endured endless rounds of physical therapy and a steady regimen of pain medication, and to this day wears a custom-made brace. But Stephanie now lives happily with nearly 60 other horses as a permanent resident at Equine Rescue of Aiken. Some of those animals are thoroughbred racehorses that for one reason or another could not cut it at the track. Others

IT TAKES A FARM TO RAISE A FOAL Humans and horses heal one another at Equine Rescue of Aiken. Manager Caroline Mulstay corrals one of the success stories—a spirited foal named Walker who came to the farm in need of a nurse mare after his mother died. The young horse is now thriving thanks to Gucci (right), his protective surrogate mom.

show up at the farm so badly abused and malnourished that they are within days of dying. And while not all of those animals can be saved, every effort is made to restore their health—and their badly shaken trust in humans.

BY MOST ANY STANDARD, Rhodes, president and

managing director of the equine rescue, has led something of a textured life. He was born in Red Bank, New Jersey, but soon thereafter was given up for adoption. But, not unlike the equine charges at his farm, he found himself in a loving home. “I was adopted by a family that was in the diplomatic service,” Rhodes says. “My earliest life was spent overseas— Ethiopia, Turkey, Japan, Germany—and I got to experience many different cultures.” As an adult, he earned an engineering degree and worked as an electrical engineer for nearly 30 years. He also ran a successful auction business that focused largely on farm equipment and horses.

SCLIVING.COOP   | JUNE 2020   |   SOUTH CAROLINA LIVING

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By the time he hit 50, he had fully embraced a midlife crisis, punctuated by a divorce and a solo two-month road trip around the United States. Says Rhodes: “I was trying to find out who I was and to discover what I wanted to do.” Within a year after his return to Aiken, things began to sort themselves out, and with the establishment of his nonprofit equine rescue farm, the direction for the rest of his life was set. “I feel that everything I’ve done in my life has led me to do this—to help animals find homes,” he says, adding that 1,000 horses have been saved since the rescue’s founding. “It is like I have come full circle.”

WHILE EQUINE RESCUE OF AIKEN has two or three

high-dollar benefactors, most of the financial support for the organization’s annual half-million-dollar operating costs comes from individual donations ranging from as little as a few dollars up to $1,000, a sum that elicits an excited involuntary whoop from Rhodes whenever a check for that amount shows up at his office. Those donations also help let Rhodes broaden the scope of services offered at the farm. For more than five years, for example, Rhodes has made his facility and horses available to the nonprofit Saratoga WarHorse program, a three-day workshop that pairs retired thoroughbreds with military veterans suffering from posttraumatic stress (PTS). The aim of the program is to help veterans move past psychological issues and secure a firmer grip on their lives in the civilian world. Rhodes says that there is something about the ­interaction between human and horse, a certain emotional bonding that takes place, that helps veterans achieve valuable personal breakthroughs. “A connection between them may take five minutes or 40 minutes,” Rhodes says. “And for most it is life-changing. Classes of six to eight vets are held here twice each month. This year, I think we will have hosted more than 400 veterans.”

ALL IN A DAY’S WORK With 80 acres to tend and approximately 60 animals in need of care, volunteers like Rick Geary (left), Polly Stimmel and staffers like Caroline Mulstay keep busy.

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SOUTH CAROLINA LIVING  |  JUNE 2020 | SCLIVING.COOP

TRY NOT TO FALL IN LOVE Volunteers pour their hearts into healing the animals, but always with the goal to see the horses adopted. From left to right, volunteer Evan Fromer, rescue horse Dan Tanas, veterans program facilitator Abby Gantt, adoption coordinator Caroline Mulstay, rescue horse BJ Diablo, assistant manager Caitlin Brady, farm dog Marley, founder Jim Rhodes, veterans program coordinator Steve Houghton and rescue horse Magnificent Wreck.

In addition, Rhodes works with the local courts by making the rescue available so that individuals can perform courtordered community service. He also works with the juvenile justice system, which sometimes directs teenagers who are on a collision course with the law to spend time at the farm working with horses. But at the heart of the rescue is its mission of saving as many horses as possible. Day-to-day operations are handled by manager Caroline Mulstay and assistant manager Caitlin Brady. They work with a brigade of horse-loving volunteers who help feed and water the horses, clean stables, repair the more than two miles of fencing on the property, keep the grass mowed, and perform any number of other seemingly endless chores necessary to keep the 80-acre farm up and running. “All of these horses have a special place in our hearts,” says volunteer Nina Briggs, a Canadian transplant who moved to Aiken a half-dozen years ago. When she first settled in the area, Briggs volunteered five days a week until her American work permit was issued and she began teaching elementary school. Since then, she stays connected by volunteering on weekends, holidays and during summers. And each Christmas, instead of a standard children’s Christmas party in the classroom, Briggs organizes and leads a trip to the farm for her fourth grade students.


“We call it ‘Christmas With a Cause,’ ” Briggs says. “And our cause is Aiken Equine Rescue.” The children bring a variety of donations—tack, grooming supplies, feed, carrots, horse cookies, apples—and spend time visiting the horses and learning about how the rescue helps these animals. The school trip, Briggs adds, often triggers an interest by parents, who later visit the farm with their sons and daughters to pitch in and help wherever they can. “We are teaching our youth to give back to the community,” she says. Volunteers, Briggs says, become emotionally attached to the animals on the farm, especially the ones they work with on a regular basis. And while they know that most of the horses will be adopted at some point, she says there is a feeling of personal loss when the adoption actually takes place. “But you cannot be selfish,” she says. “This is about finding these horses a home where they can live out the rest of their lives.”

AS MULSTAY WENT ABOUT HER WORK in the barn

one Sunday last July, she kept a close eye on Baby, a horribly emaciated 5-year-old thoroughbred that had been brought to the farm a week earlier. Everyone at the rescue agreed that it was the worst starvation case they had ever seen. The thoroughbred weighed about 700 pounds—some 500 pounds underweight. “He was literally on death’s door,” Mulstay says. “When you say ‘skin and bones’ that is exactly what he was. He would not have survived more than a couple of days had we not gotten him here to the farm.”

“This is about finding these horses a home where they can live out the rest of their lives.” —VOLUNTEER NINA BRIGGS Since Baby arrived at the farm, he has regained much of the weight he had lost and is well on his way to hitting the 1,200-pound mark, the average weight for a horse. “Once we get him to 100 percent, there is no reason why he cannot go on and live a full life and just be a normal horse,” Mulstay says. “He is a neat horse who loves people and I think he is going to have a great life.” One of the newer additions to the farm is Walker, a Tennessee walker foal whose mother died about a month after he was born. The owners tried to bottle feed the colt, but the procedure did not go well. When the colt’s owners realized they could not afford the considerable expense of finding a suitable nurse mare, they surrendered the young horse and he ended up at the rescue farm. “Walker’s new mama is named Gucci,” Mulstay says. “She is a great mom. Very sweet. And Walker is doing great. He is healthy and running around being a typical foal, causing trouble and providing entertainment for everybody.” Not all horses at the rescue, of course, will be adopted. Instead, they will live out their lives on the farm, being cared for by volunteers like Mary Benko, a retiree who has donated her time there for more than a decade. “We really try to make every horse feel special,” Benko says. uu

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15


AFTER HURRICANE IRMA ROARED THROUGH

Immokalee, Florida, in 2017, more than two dozen horses were found wandering the streets. Four of the animals were never claimed, and the farm ended up FAST FRIENDS accepting them, including a Shetland Staffers at Equine pony who was later named Wellington. Rescue of Aiken say The stocky little horse measures maybe Stephanie the donkey and Wellington the 40 inches from his shoulder tip to the Shetland pony have ground. He is a fancy-looking palomino, bonded and are Mulstay says, who loves kids. inseparable. The “He runs to the fence when they show animals are shown in this photo with Caitlin up,” she says. “We let the kids give him Brady and Caroline baths and feed him treats and walk him Mulstay. around.” Maybe as important as being an overall ambassador for the rescue is the fact that Wellington is fast friends with Stephanie the donkey. Sometimes, Rhodes reflects on his decision to provide a home for Stephanie and pay her medical bills, which he says have amounted to “a small fortune.” For that same amount of money, he concedes that he might have been able to help 10 other animals. But he realizes that the amount of goodwill the donkey

16

SOUTH CAROLINA LIVING  |  JUNE 2020 | SCLIVING.COOP

generates for the rescue has been considerable and figures that maybe, in the end, it all balances out. “She is as sweet as she can be,” Rhodes says. “She is loving and cute—and a good story for the rescue. She was worth it.” GET MORE To learn about Equine Rescue of Aiken, visit aikenequinerescue.org or call (803) 643-1850.


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19


|

SC   gardener

JUNE IN THE GARDEN n Growing sprawling veggies such as squash, green beans and cucumbers up a trellis or fence not only saves space, but it actually helps reduce pest problems.

n Humidity is a given in South Carolina’s summers, but the leaves of houseplants vacationing outside during the warm months should still be wiped occasionally with a moist cloth. Sure, along with humidity, this hydrates the leaves, but more important, it helps prevent bug egg‑laying activities.

BY L.A. JACKSON

THE PLEASANTLY PLEASING F ­ RAGRANCES

of summer flowers are a common thrill, but when such botanical perfume wafts from a plant’s foliage that is lightly brushed or touched, you have something special. Sweet-smellers such as mint, scented geraniums and rosemary fall into this category, but, for a novel nose-tickler, consider Cuban oregano (Plectranthus amboinicus). First, let me tackle its discombobulated name: Cuban oregano originates from southern Africa, not Cuba. But wait, there’s more. It is also sometimes called Caribbean oregano, Spanish thyme, Indian borage or Mexican mint. Anybody got a map?

L . A . JACKSO N

No matter what you call it, Cuban oregano does have the aroma of oregano—heck, anytime I smell it, I want pizza. TIP OF THE MONTH If your daffodil bloom displays have become less and less impressive over the last few years, the problem could be overcrowded bulbs. Now that their foliage has died down, the daffies have gone dormant, so, early this month is a good time to divide the bulbs in order to spread them out for improved flower power. Carefully dig up and separate the bulbs. Discard any mushy bulbs or ones sliced up with the shovel. Rejuvenate the planting site by adding compost or a quality commercial soil conditioner. Then, replant the bulbs around 3 to 5 inches deep and space about 3 to 4 inches apart.

20

I’m not going to waste my whole column trying to explain a geographic mess I didn’t create, but I will confirm that, yes, Cuban oregano does have the aroma of oregano—heck, anytime I smell it, I want pizza. Also, like oregano, Cuban oregano is edible, often being used as an herbal helper in soups, stews and even salads. Keep in mind that its flavor, oreganocentric with citrus undertones, is pretty strong, so use in moderation. Every summer growing season, Cuban oregano is a standard in my garden in the form of a popular, flashy variegated version variously tagged as Plectranthus variegata or Plectranthus

SOUTH CAROLINA LIVING  |  JUNE 2020 | SCLIVING.COOP

L . A . JACKSO N

n For peak flavor, pick herbs early in the morning before the sun has a chance to heat the plants up and reduce the concentration of oils in the leaves.

Scent-sational: Cuban oregano

NOSE-TICKLER Cuban oregano goes by many other names, but it’s always easy on the eyes, nose and the taste buds.

amboinicus ‘Variegatus.’ This eye-catcher sports fuzzy green leaves heavily painted on its edges with white to offwhite coloration. Very pretty. Place Cuban oregano in a partially sunny spot because, in constant shade, it can become leggy. Also, the soil should be nutrient-rich and especially welldraining—this helps prevent root rot. Although it can be garden-grown, potting this pretty seems to be the more popular option to: (1) position the fragrant leaves closer to the nose, and (2) have the option to bring this succulent inside for the winter, since it is not cold hardy in South Carolina. Cuban oregano can top out at around 15 to 20 inches tall, but this usually doesn’t happen because it tends to be a flopper. To tidy up limbs that super-droop or become too long and lanky, prune them off at any time. However, don’t be too quick to toss the cuttings away—they easily root in water to produce more plants not only for this year’s garden but, when over­ wintered inside, next spring’s grow-fest. Cuban oregano, especially the fancy variegated selection, usually isn’t a stranger at S.C. garden centers, and, of course, this scent-sation is an easy find online. L.A. JACKSON is the former editor of Carolina Gardener magazine. Contact him at lajackson1@gmail.com.


|

SC   humor me

Taken by storm BY JAN A. IGOE

SINCE THE QUARANTINE

started, every day of the week feels like the movie Groundhog Day. When I pry one eye open in the morning, I’m surprised Bill Murray isn’t hogging the other side of the bed. But there are no famous guests. Only dogs. It’s 5:45 a.m. and they want to go out. I know this because a dozen paws are clogging across my rib cage and three tongues are licking last night’s moisturizer off my eyelids. One fetches my Crocs to move the process along, but I’d really be impressed if she fetched coffee. I desperately need coffee. There’s no fence separating my yard from the golf course behind it, so we have to take a few precautions before opening the door for the daily morning outing. The most important one is hooking the mighty Morkie to the 25-foot lead strategically anchored to the drainpipe just outside. He’s developed a taste for strangers’ ankles, so he’s under house arrest. (We all are.) Then there’s Rocket Dog, who starts each morning with a wild goose chase. We’re not sure what breed she is, but the vet thinks it’s probably a cross between a blue heeler and a Bugatti. Once she bolts out the door, we won’t see her again until every honking, feathered, flying, pooping invader is on its way back to Canada. When she’s on a mission, nothing gets in her way. Last but not least, scoop the 5-pound mini dog out of harm’s way before the other idiots trample her. The system is flawless unless you clip the wrong dog to the lead. (Told you I needed coffee.) 22

I’d barely cracked the door open when I heard the drainpipe ripping off the house. It’s a familiar sound, much like a fender bender when opposing bumpers clash. It’s the sound they make when they’re mortally wounded. While the mighty Morkie was enjoying his new freedom, Rocket Dog disappeared in the distance, unfazed by the 6-foot pipe clunking along behind her. Any time days start off that way, the safe bet is going back to bed and starting over. But I couldn’t. Groundhog Day calls for rigid schedules: Feed the dogs. Make the coffee. Search the web for some preposterous doodad no one should live without. So far, I’ve acquired some classics, like my milk frother. It’s a hand blendertype gadget that makes coffee impersonate whipped cream. The headline read: “Dalgona coffee is the latest fad that has taken the internet by storm.” Yes, I know the internet is fickle and gets “taken by storm” at least 786 times an

SOUTH CAROLINA LIVING  |  JUNE 2020 | SCLIVING.COOP

hour. It really needs its own weather forecaster and emergency warning system. If you see Bill, please tell him. Anyway, the milk frother is still in the box because I can’t wait for fancy coffee. In the interest of everyone’s safety, I’ll continue to stick my head directly under the Keurig. Normally I can ignore the ads and sensational hype, but this quarantine has crippled my defenses. That’s why I was sure I could not survive another day without a 12-position, productivity-enhancing, folding lap desk. After considerable research, I found a beauty. Shiny and black, sleek and very ­high-tech—it looks like something designed exclusively for Batman’s cave, or possibly an insect from outer space. The contraption features three-section legs, each with a separate, cantankerous knob to depress for symmetrical tilting. I quickly discovered that successful adjustment would require the skill set of an athletic octopus. It took both hands, one foot and most of my teeth to pry it into position. I would return it, but there’s no hope of getting the thing back in the box until it’s safe to import some male muscle. And Phil Conners is nowhere to be found. I don’t see Batman, either. According to her bathroom mirror, JAN has been aging in dog years, but she’s saving a lot of money on makeup, razors and pants with zippers. She hopes you stay healthy and find reasons to laugh during our imprisonment.

A. IGOE


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South Carolina Living June 2020  

Summertime is all about being outdoors and reconnecting with the American passion for grilling.

South Carolina Living June 2020  

Summertime is all about being outdoors and reconnecting with the American passion for grilling.

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