Friday, November 28, 2014

Raising Cane

Wow, what a busy week it has been.  More local food and music and a couple of road trips.  On Saturday it was the Cajun jam session at Touchet's and some great food.  Nanc, Betty and I went to the casino on Sunday, it was not a lucky day so no pictures of us celebrating:(  Monday the whole park went to learn how sugar cane is grown and to the woodman.  Of course, there were stops for food each day.    
Since going on the road we have discovered the joy of great raw oysters.  We have learned to only order them were the locals go and not at touristy places like NOLA.  Shuck's in Abbeville has really good ones and we will have to have them again before we hit the road.
We love the music at Touchet's Cajun jam session.  Half the crowd this week was from Betty's.  This is not to be missed if you are traveling though Acadiana.
Nanc even got into the music with the squeeze box.  Who knew?
Nan, George, George, Sue, Ginny and Ray, all from Betty's enjoying the foot tappin music.
We were the guests of Mrs. Walet and her daughter, Laney, who showed us the workings of their 1300 acre sugar cane farm.  Their farm has been in the family for over 100 years.  We have seen all the fields of cane and trucks hauling the harvest so it was great learning the whole process.
Dan explained how they plant and harvest the cane with this big combine.  About 300 of their acres are for seed cane for future plantings.  They just lay long stalks on the ground and they take root.  One planting can be harvested for three or four years before the field is burned and replanted.
The field in the foreground has been harvested and enough of the stalk is left that it will grow again next year.  They are waiting for the mill to let them know when they can harvest and deliver their crop from the other fields. 
The combine puts the cane in wagons in the field and they then load it onto big tractor trailers to ship it to a mill about 10 miles away.  The harvest has to be completed before a hard freeze destroys the crop.
Laney cut some raw cane and we all got a taste.  It is very, very sweet right out of the field.
There are several sugar cane mills in the area.  They are only open about three months during the fall harvest.  They produce brown sugar that must be sent through an extra process to turn it white.  Thanks to the Walet family for the inside look at raising cane and their hospitality.  They even baked us cookies and shared some of their pecans and satsumas.  Very nice people.
The whole group from Betty's had lunch at Victor's in New Iberia.  The sign on the wall, Dave Robicheaux eats here, refers to a character in books by local author James Lee Burke who does still eat here.
After lunch we all went to see Gerald the woodman.  We have been here several times, but it is always interesting.  Gerald goes into the swamp and picks old cedar stumps that were left behind when they were logged over a hundred years ago.  Some of the wood he works with is more than a 1000 years old.
Since the supply of old wood is limited he uses as much of it as possible.  The background is some of the old wood drying out.  He turns bowls and makes many other things from the wood.
Here he is turning a bowl for the lucky winner from Betty's.  We love going to the woodman to see his work and hear his stories about collecting wood and creating beautiful things with it.  You can tell he really loves his job.

1 comment:

Ray/Wendy said...

Never a dull moment for sure. And wow Nan who knew you had that talent.)