Monday, November 10, 2008

Sugarcane Harvesting

We finally started the process of harvesting our sugarcane. I thought to do it a month ago, but after poking around the Internet I gleaned that the leaves of ripe sugarcane start to die. We hit that point a week or two ago.

I took out my machete and sharpened the long blade as well as I could with Kurt's sharpening stone. Michael asked if I was going to kill them. I've got to do a better job monitoring what the child watches on television I suppose and we don't even have television service. Amazing what a child can pick up from Veggie Tales.

I started cutting down stalks of sugar cane with my machete and it worked well.

It didn't take long for me to figure out this was hard work.

We started with a small sugarcane jungle.

After a couple hours I had most of the cane cut. I told Gregory and Gabrielle their job would be stripping the leaves from the cane.

Stripping leaves is also a tough job because the green leaves can leave cuts similar to paper cuts. Fortunately most of the leaves are now brown. Even still, the kids are less than enthusiastic.

I told the kids to strip the outside leaves and then pile up the cane. When they are finished I will use my machete to cut the top leaves off the cane. That reconciled them slightly to the task. I mean they are glad to have the sugarcane to harvest, they just wish it would involve less work.

I was very glad to be finished with the cutting job and left the kids to their job while I posted these pictures.

I started cutting the tips off the cane, but the kids couldn't keep up so I came inside.

Many of the canes are bent because an early season wind storm knocked them over and they regrew up from the ground. Sugarcane is an amazingly hardy crop.

The kids really slackened their pace once I left, though Gregory is pretty self directed in general. I did leave them with some supervision however.

The turkeys showed up as we started and kept waiting to see if we were doing something that would involve them getting a treat.

When I left, the turkeys were starting to peck at the cane tips I'd just removed. We're going to have to stack the cane inside the fence until we can process it. Some people at church have an old timey cane press that works under mule power and they are going to allow us to bring our cane over for squeezing. I will take the juice and boil it down into cane syrup for cooking. I can't wait to see how that will turn out. I'm so grateful for the Lord's provision. I love how He provided the means for us to process our cane. I never expected such a big harvest from the few canes we planted and my original idea to use my juicer for processing would never have worked.


The Gingerbread House said...

My My Deborah! where did all that energy come from? The kids will probably love the cane syrup when it's all done...What memories they will have. The turkeys look wonderful too!Seems they weren't afraid of you wielding that machette :o) (Dummies) , they will learn to get out of the way..:o)...Ginny

Theresa said...

Your Tom turkey is beautiful! This whole thing with the sugar canes is interesting. I can't wait to see the end result and how you like it. I didn't realize you had such a patch of it. Don't people also eat it raw (and ruin their teeth!)?