Here is the story as it has unfolded so far…
Two years ago we were at Crowley Museum for their Sugarcane Harvest Festival and met the kindly gentleman in charge of the cane syrup demonstration. Mr. H let us sample his cane syrup, which is sweet like maple syrup but with a bit of a molasses flavor. He seemed glad to see a family from a younger generation genuinely interested in the process. We gratefully listened to his explanations about growing and processing cane the old fashioned way, and purchased a bottle of his syrup. We were amazed to discover that he and his wife live only about ten minutes from us!
After visiting the many other artisans and re-enactors at the event, we prepared to leave for home at the end of the day and again met Mr. H. He had about a dozen potted sugarcane plants he hadn’t sold and didn’t want to take back home, and wondered if we would take them. We were more than happy to take them off his hands. It felt like more than just a chance meeting.
Sugarcane grows in warm weather and the sugar in the canes turns sweet in the cooler months. If there is a hard freeze, the canes will freeze and their sugars will sour if not harvested and pressed immediately. We harvested our small plot of cane in December of last year (2013) in time to join Mr. H for his first cane pressing of the year, which is a traditional social event for the old-time Floridians. The cane was all pressed and cooked for hours in his huge boiler. While we waited for the syrup to be ready, we ate lunch provided by sweet Mrs. H, and enjoyed learning to know more true Southerners at the event.
When the first hard freeze was predicted earlier than expected, Mr. H called for emergency assistance with the second half of his harvest. Silver Oak and the older girls dropped everything and went to help.
Mr. H expected to lose part of his crop because of lack of time. But everyone worked like mad and got all the cane cut before nightfall, saving the entire harvest! The next day it had to be pressed and boiled down. It was a privilege to be a part of this effort, working together in community. We are getting free education in sugarcane production and gaining new friends, and they are getting help when needed.
The Lord gives seemingly insignificant gifts as part of our lives every day. What have we been given that He desires to generously multiply and bless us with, if we are faithful to do our small part? The sugarcane example is a picture of the nature and character of our loving Heavenly Father. May we be alert and faithful to “small things” He want us to do right now that will reap an abundant future harvest, either here on earth or in eternity.
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Note: My appreciation to Silver Oak for editing, critiquing, and commenting on this post.
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