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Lasses Makin' - an October tradition in Kentucky

A day of helping make molasses on Dennis Whitlock's Green County, KY farm was the inspiration for this poem. The author says, "Loved it but it sure is a hot job."

By Phillip Coffey

After shortened days of my 'cane raising'
Arduous activities of sowing and gathering.
The day of 'cooking down 'lasses' has arrived.
The smell of the brewing has cut off my 'stewing'.

A ' quality time' family affair along with a preacher.
Seasoned up-bringing leads to the annual creation.
Generations of help smiling - 'Oh what a teaching.'
Sunshine and rain leads us to days of our blessing(s).




This story was posted on 2020-10-16 05:45:07
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Molasses making starts with the sugar cane stalks



2020-10-16 - Green County, KY - Photo by Phillip Coffey.
Making molasses in this region begins in the cane fields, bringing in a wagon load of the stalks for pressing out the sugary juices. Aaron Whitlock, at left, and his sons, Atticus and Lucas, work with Rev. Dennis Penick at the mill squeezing out the juices. The juice gravity flows to the Sugar Shack for the next step.

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The Sugar Shack at the Whitlock's place



2020-10-16 - Green County, KY - Photo by Phillip Coffey.
The sign on top reads "Sugar Shack" on the Whitlock farm in Green County, KY and it is where a batch of molasses was being made recently. Helping but not pictured were Stella Whitlock and Mrs. Aaron Whitlock.

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Cooking down the molasses



2020-10-16 - Green County, KY - Photo by Phillip Coffey.
Dennis Whitlock, at left, and his son Adam Whitlock are pictured "cooking down" the molasses on a recent hot October day. Phillip Coffey's poem was inspired here, "...The smell of the brewing has cut off my stewing..." as he helped out. The juices that arrive from the mill, thanks to gravity, go into the vat on the right. The sugar cane juice flows through various cooking trays, getting skimmed as each is heated. Each step is cooked on down and thickened. When it gets to the last vat, beside the chimney at left, Dennis decides when the molasses are perfected and ready to pull the lever that will release them to the flow of the golden, thickened liquid into its bucket. Dennis said he learned this craft from his wife Stella Matney's father.

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