Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Odom Family Cane Grinding 2011

Every year, on Green Friday (the day after Thanksgiving, not to be confused with Black Friday, its evil twin), my family has its annual cane grinding. The first cane grinding on my family’s farm was some time in the late 1800’s, however it was stopped about 60 years ago and not started again until 2005 when my father rebuilt the original shelter that housed the boiler.

The process we use changes from year to year but the following is a description of the process as it was done in 2011.


The preparation for the grinding is usually done 1 to 2 weeks earlier and the process hasn’t really changed in the last 100 years. The leaves of the cane must be stripped off using a tool with a forked metal piece on the end.

A machete is used to cut the tops off the cane stalks and to cut them down.

The stalks are placed in wooden holders designed to fit approximately 1/2 of a boiling and be easily transported using a tractor forklift.

The stacks of cane are covered in the leaves that were stripped off earlier to protect them if there is a freeze during the 1 – 2 weeks they are there.

The Grindin’

The leaves are cleared off of a stack of cane and a fork lift on the back of a tractor is used to pick it up.

The cane is then sat down on a rack designed to make it easy to reach the cane and feed it into the grinder.

The cane is then fed into a Kenwood 1895 No. 0 grinder which is powered by driving a tractor in circles around the grinder

The juice comes out and is strained with a tea strainer and a burlap sack.

The juice then runs through an underground pipe system until it comes out and flows into a 60 gallon cast iron pot.

Once the pot is full, the juice level is brought down using the drain valve and then the juice is diverted into a 55 gallon barrel so that grinding can continue while the juice is cooking.

The Boiling

A gas burner under the pot is lit using a homemade matchstick.

Once the juice starts boiling (usually 20 – 30 minutes), a homemade skimmer made by wiring a grease splatter guard to a handle is used to skim any impurities that come to the surface off of the cane.

Once the juice start boiling up, a burlap sack is placed between the lower and upper rims of the pot. The juice then boils over the lower rim and through the burlap sack, further purifying it.

Once the juice is getting near done the level drops and the burlap is pulled off. The juice will then start “thumping,” or having explosive bubbles that shoot the juice up to 2 feet above the surface of the rest of the liquid.

There are two methods of telling when the syrup is ready to be bottled. The first is counting how long it takes for the boiling bubbles to cease once it is scooped up. The magic number is 37 but this is not 37 seconds, it is specific length of counting that is passed down from one generation to the next.

The second method is measuring the density of the liquid using the Baumé scale. The density of syrup when it is ready to be bottled is approximately 35 baume.

Once the syrup is ready you can see it flake when you pour it.


The syrup is then poured through a cotton cloth to purify it one last time.

The syrup is then put into the bottles from the aluminum pot which was fitted with a brass valve at the bottom.

The bottles are then labeled and ready to go!

posted by admin at 8:56 am  

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Indoor Street Lamp – Holiday Edition

Joy has been completely consumed with law school work and I have been getting my licenses for my new job so neither of us have had time to decorate for Christmas. So, instead of leaving the house bare, we grabbed a string of lights and turned the street lamp into a make-shift Christmas tree. The bow is from Renee’ Reed, Joy’s mother, and the L and J ornaments are from Donna Odom, my mother. I hope everyone has a Merry Christmas!

posted by admin at 2:40 pm  

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Street lamp update!!

Joy decorated the base of the street lamp and as promised here are the pics.

posted by admin at 8:07 pm  

Tuesday, June 30, 2009


Writing a blog from the wordpress app on my iPhone because I can 😀 Here is a picture of Joy’s cat and some biscuits she burnt 😀

posted by admin at 4:55 pm  

Monday, June 22, 2009

Lyle’s wedding present

After a joint effort from Joy and I, we have Lyle’s wedding present finished!!!! It is pictured below.

posted by admin at 5:54 pm  

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

New Gadgets

So, most people would consider it a bad time to be buying new gadgets since I am only weeks away from moving to Los Angeles. Well, I think any time is a good time to buy gadgets and this week I got three.
First Gadget: Canon CanoScan Lide 100
This was a gadget of necessity. My bank does not have a local branch so I have to deposit my check by scanning them. Earlier last week my scanner of 9 1/2 years (a mustek 1200 UB plus) died. I have used that scanner for many many projects over the years but right now scanning checks is all I do with it so I grabbed the cheapest new scanner on Amazon.

BIG thanks to the developers of SANE. Having SANE prolonged the life of the scanner for 4 years. When I got my mac laptop in 2005 mustek has not updated their drivers but SANE had. Thanks guys!!!
Second Gadget: Acer x223w
When I get a new gadget I immediately post it on Amazon for the price of the next best one. Last year, when I got my 19″ Acer I did that and this week it sold allowing me to purchase a new 22″ for roughly the same price!!!!
Third Gadget: iPhone
I have been with Alltel forever and my contract is up. The iPhone is awesome. I really am not too fond of going to AT&T but its worth it. I also looked at the Palm Pre and Blackberry Storm but in the end the iPhone plays nicer with my 12″ Powerbook and it has the AppStore.

posted by admin at 11:00 am  

Monday, June 15, 2009


My brother Lyle got married this weekend (Congrats Lyle!!!!) I took pics at the rehearsal supper which will be posted soon but first I have a job to do 😀 Everyone that attended the rehearsal supper signed a picture frame. Now, I have to decide what picture to get printed and put in the frame. Vote for what picture you think I should print. (Click on a picture to enlarge it)

Picture 1

Picture 2

Picture 3

Edit: Poll is closed. Picture 2 is the winner

What picture should go in Lyle's frame

  • Picture 2 (60%, 9 Votes)
  • Picture 1 (33%, 5 Votes)
  • Picture 3 (7%, 1 Votes)
  • I don't like any of these pictures (0%, 0 Votes)

Total Voters: 15

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posted by admin at 7:21 am  

Wednesday, May 27, 2009


I never realized until recently that almost no one actually listens to lyrics. They have no idea what they are listening to, or better yet, singing. Some people will even sing nonsensical lyrics that they “thought” they heard but they actually misheard. Lyrics can be powerful things. They can mean something to the artist, can convey a message, convey emotions, or do pretty much anything the artist can conceive.

I tend to overanalyze everything, lyrics included. I don’t like a song when I don’t agree with or can’t understand the lyrics. One final point on lyrics. Trash in, trash out. No matter how much you tell yourself you are only “listening to the beat” you are still hearing the words and the more you hear it vulgarities and negativity the more likely you are to be vulgar and negative. Finally, some lyrics, devoted to my dear wife and I mean every word of them. This is “You’ll Always be my Best Friend” by Relient K.

I wish I knew you
Way back when
Before you were part of my plans
I think that we would have been friends

There’s only time to live our lives
And you’ll be the one who’s by my side
And I can promise you then
You’ll always be my best friend

Till the end when we part
I will give you my heart
And I’ll promise to love you with all that it is
And I’ll promise to be there whenever you need me
Because you’ll always be my best friend

You’ll always be my best friend

posted by admin at 12:35 pm  

Friday, May 8, 2009

You may now call me Master Luke

Just submitted my final Final and Joy finished her yesterday. Moving to California soon. Keep track of me here, or my twitter at twitter.com/lukeodom or joy at joyodom.com or twitter.com/joyodom

posted by admin at 9:58 am  

Wednesday, April 15, 2009


As I update this blog far too seldomly, if anyone cares what I am doing, follow me on twitter.


posted by admin at 10:15 am  
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