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, October 23, 2011

Random Pic of 2011

Taken from my apartment on an overcast evening (not many of those to choose from) looking back towards the Hollywood letters.

posted by admin at 2:31 pm  

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Picture of the [insert random time period]

This Halloween Joy and I went to my company Halloween party as ghosts from “It’s The Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown.” While we were at the party, Joy got this awesome shot of me. A little more sinister than I had planned for the costume to be but still fun 😛

Charlie Brown Ghost

posted by admin at 11:09 pm  

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Snow in south Georgia?

The last time it snowed in my hometown, I was 3. The first year I move to Los Angeles (it ain’t snowing here) it snows 😀 My brother asked me to remove the date stamp of the following pic so I decided to play around with it a little. Picture was taken by my father, Dennis Odom. All rights reserved. All editing done using Gimp.

Image with date stamp removed and color adjusted.

Grayscale, high contrast

Color, high contrast

posted by admin at 4:11 pm  

Friday, September 4, 2009

California Station Fire Update

The California Station Fire has been contained on the southwestern side of the fire. The areas shown in the prior photographs are no longer in danger. Before I show you my next round of pictures I wanted to say a big thank you to all the firefighters and other emergeny personnel that risked their life protecting me and all the other citizens of Los Angeles.

When I got up this morning, the smoke was gone and the air was finally breathable again but to the north you could still see the smoke cloud.

These pictures are taken from roughly the same place as my last set. As you can see, the fire is out but smoke is still thick in that area.

On the road directly in front of my apartment about a dozen firetruck, bulldozers, and fire pickups were parked.

The firemen were in the shade taking a break.

This pictures were unedited except for resizing. Originals can be downloaded at http://lukeodom.com/firepics2.zip
Creative Commons License
California Station Fire by Luke Odom is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 United States License.

posted by admin at 1:21 pm  

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

California Station Fire Photos

I was in Jacksonville when the Station Fire started. By the time I arrived back in Los Angeles it was within about a mile of my house. I decided to grab my camera and take a few shots of the fire around my house. All of these shot were taken on a Canon 40d and are unedited except for resizing. They were taken in the Lake View Terrace/Sylmar area near Hansen Park. Click in individual pics to enlarge.

This picture was taken just off the I-210 freeway. The city you see is Tujunga and the road is Foothill Boulevard.

This is a closeup of the previous shot.

This is the same shot but I left the lens open longer to give you an idea how high the flames were leaping.

This is the same shot with a quicker shutter speed so you can see the base of the fire.

This view is from Hansen Park, directly across the street from my apartment. The road at the bottom is the I-210 freeway. The city is Lake View Terrace. The location at the bottom of the picture is actually the Central Command Post where they are coordinating firefighting efforts. Any news stories or announcements from the Governator you see will be coming from there.

This shot is the same shot from another angle. It is from the hill beside my apartment.

To see the rest of my Station Fire pictures you can download the entire set of them here.
Creative Commons License
Station Fire Pictures by Luke Odom is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 United States License.

posted by admin at 9:09 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  

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  

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Pic of the week!!

This pic is from graduation. Pictured is Joy and Carrie (wearing my old gown :D).

posted by admin at 12:27 pm  

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Pic of the week / sneak peak

I took senior pics of an  amazing, awesome, hot, sexy girl last week. Without further delay here is the pic of the week/ a sneak peak of her senior photos. I present Mrs. Luke Odom.

posted by admin at 1:51 pm  
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