I just found out about a fun weekly meme held over at Debbie’s Digest. The theme is “Think Back Thursday,” and Debbie offers a topic each week to help you reminisce about things your family has done. This week the topic is animals, and I’m thinking back to . . .
September 2011, just last fall, we went to a Molasses Making Day only about 25 minutes from our house. Jon had happened to see a flyer tacked up at the local Dairy Queen just a few days before, and we’re always game for activities that help us learn something new while we’re having fun. (We’re homeschoolers after all!)
We discovered lots of things that day – for starters, an absolutely beautiful area of rolling hills with houses spread far apart on family-owned farms. The Molasses Making was held on one of these family farms and is an activity that this particular family does each fall. They grow sorghum on their farm, which they harvest and turn into molasses in early September.
How? Well, all of the sorghum had already been harvested, but the next step is grinding. The stalks are fed into an old-fashioned sorghum grinder/juicer using draft horses to turn the wheels round and round. The boys got to take turns riding the horses around the circle, and they thought that was the best ever!
I can’t remember this horse’s name now, but the family owned several draft horses. We got to walk up to the barn and watch them harness the horses and get them ready for work. Listening to the horses walk down the road in the otherwise quiet area really made me feel like that’s the way things are supposed to be.
What a happy face! James had the most wonderful time riding on the horses. Everyone there could not only see, but feel his enthusiasm. He decided he wants to be a farmer when he grows up and raise horses and cows. (His favorite book to get from the library is A Field Guide to Cows: How to Identify and Appreciate America’s 52 Breeds.)
After the juice is squeezed out of the sorghum stalks, it’s put into a big vat and heated over a wood fire. It takes almost all day to cook the sorghum juice into molasses (close to ten hours). We didn’t end up staying to taste the final product, but the guys did help skim the “skin” off the cooking liquid.
We hope to go back when they make molasses again this year!
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