Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Molasses Making Batch 2/Day 1: Harvest

The Crew arrives for Molasses Making Batch 2/Day 1: Harvest. Before they head to the Field, they each pick out their wooden Cane Knives, which Hollis has carefully stowed in the back of his truck. The Cane Knives are used to strip the Cane. Hollis also has the sharper Corn Knives which will be used to head the Cane and to cut the stalks off at the ground. This little entry is more about the Wooden Cane Knives, which come with a bit of Family History.

7 of the 8 wooden Cane Knives were handmade by Hollis along the pattern of the Boys' Dad. The 8th Knife is 1 the Boys' Dad made for Hollis at his request years ago. Woods used are Hickory and Maple, from sources including an old Ax Handle and a Maple Table Hollis's family used to have.

Each Harvester picks out the Knife just right for them. As experienced Sorghum Cane Harvesters, they check the Knives over carefully, making sure the chosen one has just the right feel. Some Knives even have initials, names or images carved in their handles.

The 7 Harvesters (representing 3 Generations: Hollis, Gerald, Richard, Hollis Dale, David, Melanie, Mike) work quickly and in about 90 minutes, the Harvesting is complete. The crew takes a short break for Peanut Butter Cookies which Melanie made. Food for Harvesters is essential. In the middle of the break, we ponder when we will actually make the Syrup. The Weather Folks are predicting Rains over the next few days. We will be ever mindful and work up Batch 2 when the conditions are just right. Looking for that "window", we have our eyes on Saturday or Monday.

As the Harvest is complete, David drives the Tractor with its wagon full of Cane back to the Family Farm near Millard. The remaining crew heads back to the field to retrieve 1 missing Wooden Cane Knife, the Old One.

The 3 C's will follow soon with food to feed the crew: Homemade Bean Soup and Cornbread Fixin's.

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