Louisville author Liz Curtis Higgs delights readers once again with her latest historical work, Mine Is the Night (WaterBrook Press, $14.99).
This sequel to Here Burns My Candle continues the story of Elisabeth Kerr and her mother-in-law, Marjory, as they travel penniless and widowed to Marjory’s homeland of 18th-century Selkirk, Scotland. As in the Biblical story of Ruth and Naomi, on whom these characters are based, Elisabeth has promised to remain with and care for Marjory, accepting Marjory’s customs and beliefs as her own. While enduring difficult and dangerous times, both women will see a rebirth of their faith and the reward that comes from it.
The Scottish countryside, the culture, and even the Scottish brogue come to life thanks to Higgs’ detailed descriptions of her setting.
“I am as passionate about research as I am about storytelling,” Higgs says. “Not only have I read dozens upon dozens of books about Scottish history, I’ve also visited the Scottish Borderland and walked the narrow streets and closes of Selkirk, interviewing the locals, taking copious photos and notes, and drinking in the glorious green scenery. From food to furnishings to fashions I try to get every detail right, so my readers and I will be swept away to the 18th century.”
Given that this is Higgs’ second series set in Scotland, readers may wonder why this place has captured her imagination so strongly. She answers, “The people, the history, the legends, the customs are all fascinating, but I think it’s the land itself that has stolen my heart. The verdant, rolling hills remind me of places I’ve lived—eastern Pennsylvania and central Kentucky in particular—yet the angle of the sun falling across the lowland moors is uniquely Scottish. That slanted light works a kind of magic on me. The misty air softens my complexion. Sleep comes easily. Contentment seeps into my bones.”
Higgs hopes her readers will “reach for their Bibles and read the book of Ruth with fresh eyes and open hearts. Every book I’ve ever written,” she says, “has grace at the heart of it and hope at the end of it, and none more so than Mine Is the Night.”
Electronics account for 8.1 percent of your home’s energy use. Cut costs by plugging items into a power strip, and turning the strip off when not in use. “Smart” power strips are another good option—when one master device like a TV is turned off, it cuts power to other selected items (DVD players, gaming consoles, stereos, etc.).
50 years ago in Kentucky Living on the cover
Our young friend is learning that a warm friendship can also be a wet one. The friendship will become warmer (but we hope no wetter) as the short weeks of the summer vacation go by. Next spring the scene will be repeated. The only thing that will be replaced is the pair of trousers. They won’t last beyond this summer.
Now is the time for those wanting to complete their GED (General Equivalency Diploma). Kentucky is offering free GED testing through June 30. Kentucky Adult Education, a unit of the Council on Postsecondary Education, will pay the usual $55 fee. Classes are available through local adult education programs in every Kentucky county. To be eligible, students must have successfully completed the GED Official Practice Test. Tests are currently offered in a paper-pencil format at official GED testing centers—tests cannot be taken online. For more info, phone (800) 928-7323 or visit www.kyae.ky.gov.
A co-op official from western Kentucky warned a congressional subcommittee that a tangle of looming environmental rules would produce disastrously high electric rates in the next four years.
Mark Bailey, president and CEO of Big Rivers Electric co-op based in Henderson, told the House Subcommittee on Energy and Power that several increasingly restrictive and sometimes contradictory rules, going into effect between now and 2015, could raise electric rates as much as 40 percent.
The Environmental Protection Agency rules take aim at coal, which fuels nearly all the electricity in Kentucky.
Bailey told the subcommittee the EPA rules could require more than $700 million in additional pollution control equipment.
Big Rivers generates and transmits electricity for three electric distribution co-ops that provide electricity to 113,000 customers in 22 western Kentucky counties.
The following is excerpted from Bailey’s prepared testimony:
“Although we have made significant investments in pollution control equipment, compliance with pending EPA regulations will be very difficult for us due to the lack of coordination (by the EPA) and the timing of compliance.
“Our relatively low electric rates are a significant reason the aluminum smelters in our territory are still operating. Electric costs account for nearly a third of a smelter’s total costs. The two aluminum smelters that we serve, along with the satellite industries that serve them, employ nearly 5,000 people. State and local governments in Kentucky could potentially lose nearly $17 million annually if these two smelters and the industries that serve them were to close due to substantially rising electricity rates.
“Over the past five years at least 12 aluminum smelters in the United States have shut down while another five smelters have curtailed operations in this nation. Electric costs and global competition have played a considerable role in that trend. Any significant increase in electric rates will threaten our two smelters’ ability to operate not only in Kentucky but in the United States.
“I believe the impact of the EPA’s proposed regulations will ultimately increase electric costs, could affect reliability, reduce employment, and weaken the global competitiveness of the American manufacturing industry.
“My goal today is to respectfully request consideration of a delay in the implementation of the EPA regulations until all rulings have been made clear so that electric utility management can make informed decisions about how best to comply.”
Don’t be alarmed by those colorful objects in trees this spring and summer. The Kentucky Office of the State Entomologist is using traps for two devastating tree insects—the emerald ash borer and the gypsy moth. The traps don’t contain anything toxic and are designed to find insects that have invaded trees.
Purple prisms hanging in ash trees are baited with insect attractant. Gypsy moth traps are tent-shaped and vary from red to green to brown. Traps will be installed in quarantine areas as well as campgrounds, state parks, rest areas, and other tourist attractions until they’re collected for examination in August.
Report suspected infestation to the Kentucky Office of the State Entomologist at (859) 257-5838.
The Glass Carnival in Louisville will introduce children to the wonders of glass art and raise money for Kosair Children’s Hospital Foundation. An opening day reception is planned for Saturday, June 4, from 3-7 p.m. There will be flame-working and hot glass demonstrations as well as ice cream vendors, balloon animals, and face painting. National and international artists will be on hand with their works. Flame Run Glass Studio and Gallery, 828 East Market Street, is hosting the carnival in the renovated Arts District building. For more info, contact www.flamerun.com or phone (502) 584-5353.
Send us your favorite beef appetizer recipe, and you could win one of three prizes:
1st place: $150 Kroger gift card for beef, The Healthy Beef Cookbook, and an I Heart Beef Apron
2nd place: $50 Kroger gift card for beef, The Healthy Beef Cookbook and an I Heart Beef Apron
3rd place: The Healthy Beef Cookbook and an I Heart Beef Apron
Winners will be published in November’s Kentucky Living‘s Chef’s Choice.
Criteria: Recipe must use at least 3 oz. of one of the 29 cuts of lean beef listed below.
Eye Round Roast & Steak
Sirloin Tip Side Steak
Top Round Roast & Steak
Bottom Round Roast & Steak
Top Sirloin Steak
Brisket, Flat Half
95% Lean Ground Beef
Round Tip Roast & Steak
Shank Cross Cuts
Chuck Shoulder Pot Roast
Sirloin Tip Center Roast & Steak
Chuck Shoulder Steak
(Western Griller) Steak
Top Loin (Strip) Steak
Shoulder Petite Tender &
Shoulder Center (Ranch) Steak
Tri-Tip Roast & Steak
Tenderloin Roast & Steak
Rules: By submitting your recipe, you warrant that it is original and that you have the right to agree that Kentucky Living may use it in any manner, and that we may use your name, city, and state of residence, and other biographical information you provide.
Here’s the fine print: Employees of Kentucky Association of Electric Cooperatives, Kentucky Living, and Kentucky’s electric cooperatives are ineligible. Also ineligible are professionals in food and/or nutrition, commercial dairy, or beef cattle producers, or the agents or employees of dairy or beef cattle industry associations, or anyone living in the same household of the above.
HOW TO ENTER: All entries must be received in our offices by July 15, 2011. To enter, e-mail us at email@example.com, with subject line “Beef Recipe” and include your name, address, phone number, and name of your electric co-op. Or mail to Kentucky Living, Beef Recipe, P.O. Box 32170, Louisville, KY 40232
Hurry! Deadline for receipt of entries is July 15!
A formal invitation to perform at world-famous Carnegie Hall in New York City doesn’t come without high achievement. Students from the Barren County High School Band in Glasgow gained acceptance to perform as part of the “Spotlight” series next May. Students will spend five nights in Manhattan. The band has steadily increased the number of students named to the All State Band and All District Band since 2003 and has set numerous records in the region.
Fund-raising efforts for the $125,000 trip cost are under way. For more info, contact Barren County Band Boosters, P.O. Box 1022, Glasgow, KY 42142-1022.
The latest Marketbasket Survey, conducted by the Kentucky Farm Bureau Federation in March, shows average retail food prices rose 5 percent the first quarter. Of six survey food groups—beef, dairy, fruits and vegetables, grain, pork, and poultry—grain increased the most by 14.1 percent. Americans spend nearly 10 percent of disposable income on food yearly: 58 percent for food eaten at home and 42 percent for food eaten mainly at restaurants.