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Snapshots: First Day of School

Submit Your Images! October Theme: “Pumpkin Patch” Deadline for October: August 31. Submit photos or send color photos with a 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 and on our [...]

Social Security when you’re self-employed

Most people who pay into Social Security work for an employer. Their employer deducts Social Security taxes from their paycheck, matches that contribution, sends taxes to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), and reports wages to Social Security. However, self-employed people must report their earnings and pay their Social Security taxes directly to the IRS. These [...]

Education Center program seeks to improve rural health

Ron Sparks was well aware of the vital importance of having local health care available in recruiting and keeping economic development and healthy growth when he was named director of the former Alabama Rural Development Office. One of his first actions was to meet with 20 prominent Alabama rural health stakeholders to identify what this [...]

Photo contest winners capture the essence of Alabama

By Allison Law For Alabama Living’s first photo contest in 2017, we asked our readers to capture life in rural Alabama. That contest garnered more than 100 photos from all parts of Alabama, from the picturesque mountains of the northeast to the sugar white sands of the Gulf coast. The contest was, from our viewpoint, [...]

Two football dilemmas: Bama’s quarterbacks and Auburn’s schedule

By Brad Bradford Quotations from Paul William “Bear” Bryant adorn the walls of the only restaurant in Leighton, Alabama. Same with man-caves in Scratch Ankle and corporate board rooms in Hoover. His most famous quote is: “I ain’t never been nothing but a winner.” While poor mouthing his team’s chances against VPI or Mississippi Southern, [...]

Dream job

Billy Pope has been creating images for 25 years. He has photographed governors, generals, entertainers, natural disasters, and for international mission organizations. During the past 15 years, his role as art director and staff photographer for the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources has been a dream job that brings together his talents as [...]

WTD: Find sweet treats and much more at SweetCreek Farms

By Lori M. Quiller If you’ve traveled U.S. Highway 231 a few miles south of Montgomery in Pike Road, you’re probably familiar with SweetCreek Farms. The sight and smell of the wood smokers in front of the market beckon passing motorists who can stop and stretch and enjoy some tasty barbecue dishes, including pulled pork [...]

Skunks can ‘reek’ havoc, but there are ways to avoid them

By Richard Bauman Skunks aren’t ferocious, but they can be dangerous, and it’s the rare person who wants to meet up with one. They are notorious, of course, for the overpowering, stomach-turning odorous mercaptan they produce, which you definitely want to avoid. And it’s reasonably easy to avoid being sprayed if you encounter a skunk. [...]

Teens and distracted driving: Adults must be role models for young drivers

By Donna Bayless and Sharon Winter Have you ever followed a car that was weaving all over the road and thought, “I bet that person has been drinking?” Maybe you pulled up next to them at a red light and realized, instead, they were on their phone. We know we shouldn’t drive when drinking. Why [...]

Beautiful, hardy, adaptable and local: Ten native plants that feel like home

Native plants, those denizens of Alabama’s natural terrain, are increasingly popular choices for Alabama’s cultivated landscapes. And well they should be, because they are as necessary to our wellbeing as they are beautiful to our eyes. Alabama is home to some 4,000 different species of native plants, 28 of which grow only in our state, [...]

Understanding appliance energy use

By Pat Keegan and Brad Thiessen Q: Several of my appliances are getting old and will need to be replaced soon. Will the appliance choices I make have much impact on my energy bill? A: Your energy use varies month to month, so it can be difficult to see how much difference an appliance purchase makes. It’s [...]

Corn Fed: Fill up on the South’s favorite grain this summer while it’s fresh.

BY JENNIFER KORNEGAY / Food/Photography BY BROOKE ECHOLS Southern summers are synonymous with an abundance of fresh fruits and veggies, and while its arrival may not be as celebrated as that of popular produce like tomatoes or peaches, corn is an undeniable staple down here. This reliable standard is at its peak right now, and summer [...]

Fishing for bass in the grass? Throw a frog!

By John N. Felsher Even on the hottest summer days, many giant largemouth bass stay in extremely shallow water if they can find cooling, well-oxygenated cover. In many Alabama lakes, grass grows extremely thick and matted by late summer. Lunker largemouths often burrow into the thickest vegetation they can find. Thick weeds block the broiling [...]

Hardy Jackson’s Alabama: My cousin Benny and the snake: Or, yes, we can all get along

If you pay any attention to the news today, you are getting a belly full of stories of how divided we are.  It is as if everyone is bound and determine to take the “united” out of United States. Well, friends, I am here to offer you a ray of hope. My cousin Benny. Now [...]

Building a community with solar energy How power from the sun is bringing consumers and co-ops closer

By Paul Wesslund Electric cooperatives and their consumer-members are joining together to invest in community solar installations, which generate clean, renewable electricity for their local communities. Growth in electric cooperative interest in community solar skyrocketed in the past four years, says Tracy Warren, senior program manager with the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA). “It’s [...]

Energy audits: savings you can count on

By Derrill Holly Better energy efficiency at home starts with savings, not sales, and an energy audit conducted by a trained energy advisor can help you get there. “Members are our community and we are the experts in the electric energy arena,” says Manuela Heyn, an energy services representative for Gulf Coast Electric Cooperative, who [...]