I’m going to tell you right now, this is going to be a long, large, lengthy (?) blog post cause we did a lot of stuff all in one day. So pace yourself, get a cup of coffee and get comfortable.
We spent a whirlwind day last Saturday driving outside of New Iberia to visit Gerald Judice, The Wood Man. Gerald and his family go to the swamps in February when the water is high and harvest pieces of cypress.
They bring the wood back home and stack it around the trees in their front yard to dry for a couple of years before making it into wood decorative items.
Gerald sells most of his creative wares at craft shows and Farmers’ Markets in the area. His passion was turning bowls on his lathes. Gerald’s prices are very reasonable and he works in various types of woods.
Gerald also has 25 fruit trees in his back yard and he is very generous in picking fruit and having it available for us to take.
After we made our purchases Gerald turned a bowl for us and explained the process.
Look at the size of some of the blocks of wood Gerald turns. These will make 10 to 12 inch bowls. Gerald said it is getting very hard to find wood pieces this thick.
We then went to Bon Creole Lunch Counter. This is a favorite place for Jim and I…the food is soooo good.
As if this wasn’t enough activity for one day, we then drove to Loreauville, a little town along the Bayou Teche a little ways from New Iberia, to visit the Walet Sugar Cane Farm. I was very excited about this visit as I’m very curious about sugar cane operation. This is their harvest time (October thru December) and there are huge fields all over this area. We’ve seen the large machinery cutting the cane from a distance, but I wanted to understand the whole process.
Betty is friends with the Walet family. Here is Miss Amaryllis (pronounced a-MAR-a-lis) and her daughter, telling us the history of the former plantation.
The cane is very tall and grow from 4 to 19 feet tall.
Dan was so kind to explain the whole operation to us. Canes are placed mechanically in the ground and must contain at least one bud. New sprouts grow up from each joint. Some of the cane tumbles to the ground during harvesting and start growing there. It takes about 14 months for the cane to grow to a height to be cut. They get several cuttings from one planting through the years, but with declining yields each year. Dan said they replant about every five years. Look at the size of the harvesters used.
Here are some of the cane
The gentlemen peeled some cane and let us chew on it to extract the sweet, sweet juice.
I remember when I was little growing up in Florida my dad would send me to school with a section of peeled sugar cane to chew on as my recess treat.
You see carts and 18-wheelers full of sugar cane driving down the highways around here this time of year on their way to processing plants in Jeanerette and St. Martinville.
We really appreciated The Walets for giving us so much of their time to show us around and explain things. They even gave us a large bag of early processed sugar for us to divvy up amongst us to taste.
We finished up about 2 p.m. with plenty of time to get back to Betty’s for our daily 4:30 p.m. happy hour. But it had been a full day of activity, but very enjoyable.
Remember, you are loved.
Read the story behind this saying HERE