20 November 2010

A celebration of syrup

Autumn in rural South Carolina is more lovely with every passing day. The yellow-leaved hickory trees in the woods around the house seem to glow with a light all their own. Tal and I are surprised by the vast number of leaves floating down and covering our yard again. When we walk Whitby and Belle on the promenade every afternoon, we cannot help but notice how much more of the opposite side of the pond we are able to see from the back of the house.

The scene as the pressing of the cane was being finished up.  The syrup was being cooked under the shelter behind the press.

The syrup-master, Ralph,
his tie with coveralls,
a festival tradition
Today was the 8th Annual Soggy Bottom Syrup Festival, a 10AM to 9PM event put on by Tal's niece, Beth, and her husband, Ralph. They live north of Columbia on the Broad River, the "soggy bottom" being the flood plain along the river. Dozens of people gathered on that flat stretch of land, friends and family, young and old. Wonderful food was served, early through late, and the syrup as it cooked smelled so good.

It was a day of real joy, a festival in the best sense of the word.

Bubbling syrup in a Rourkes Ironworks vat

Jars ready to be filled

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