The Hay Ride

Hello friends! Tonight’s feature image is titled “The Hay Wagon” and is available for purchase by the instructions at the bottom of the article.

The cool night air bites at my cheeks as I stare up into the crystal clear sky. The sun disappeared behind the mountains early in the evening but there’s still a soft purple hue on the horizon. There was a few streetlights dotted throughout the rural community but not so many as to ruin the view of star. The night sky is unbroken by the blinking lights of passenger jets in those days. By the time I was a sophomore in high school I’d had enough allergy treatments to allow me to participatein a hay ride. I had tucked a few antihistamine pills in my pocket just in case I started to have a reaction but they were unnecessary. I leaned back against the wooden sides of the wagon and thought about how much the stars resembled sugar sprinkled across the opaque dome of a late fall night. The only sounds at the moment were the steady clip clop of the horse’s hooves on the hardtop lane. The hay helped keep the youth group warm in the bitter night air and we were covered by beautifully designed Appalachian quilts. And there was rich hot chocolate made with whole milk. Then I felt someone take my hand and I looked down to see the new girl in the group looking up at me. We never spoke. I was too shy in my teen years and seemed to babble and stutter around the girls. Fortunately for me she didn’t speak either. We just cuddled up under the quilt and looked at stars. Nobody seemed to notice us as the horse pulled the wagonload of teenagers through the hills. That is, until the wagon pulled up at her house and she gave me my first kiss before she went inside.

When I see a hay wagon I’m always taken back to a simpler time. A time when the simple things in life were the most important things and we took the time to enjoy them. And, our lives were fully enriched when time was our own.

Hello Friends and thank you for your support of my page. If you have enjoyed the photos or the writings please let me know by commenting and sharing my work on your social media. I also want to invite you to Follow Lloyds Lens Photography on Facebook

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Did you know that I also do portraits by appointment? If you’re interested in a portrait session either message me on Facebook or Use the Contact form. The YouTube link below takes you one of my slideshows.

https://youtu.be/FDcrY6w8oY8

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I’m now using Zazzle to fulfil orders. What this means for you is a secure way to place an order, discount codes & a broader product selection! Simply message me on Facebook oruse the contact form on my websiteand tell me which image you want and I’ll reply with a direct link to where you can place the order.

Clicking on the photo takes you tohttps://www.zazzle.com/lloydslensphotos?rf=238248269630914251

Lastly, all of the photos and writings are my original work unless otherwise specified and are not to be copied or reproduced without expressed written permission from the photographer.

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A Late Summer Break At Kanawha Falls

Hello friends! Tonight’s feature image is titled “Kanawha Falls 82219a” and is available for purchase by the instructions at the bottom of the article.

The late August sun pours down on the Kanawha River as my big blue truck comes to a rest under the arching trees. The roar of the falls drowns out the days noise and pushes away all of the pressures of civilization. I watched as the geese flew in and landed on the bare rocks that stand out from the falls. One by one they meander along until they find just the right spot to settle down for a break. It seems that they instinctively know that this place is a fortress to provide isolation from the modern world. I can feel the air flowing from the top of falls as it spills into valley. Occasionally the bird chatter is strong enough to breech the sound of the rushing water giving a contrast to the droning falls. Small flashes of sunlight dance among the ripples on the river’s surface as the minnows dart around in the shallows. A little farther down the banks a trail of smoke rises into the air and travels downstream as a fisherman prepares for an evening of trying to get the one that got away last time.

I wander around taking notice of the odd shapes of driftwood and color variations on the sandstone pebbles until my sense of peace is contented. Before making my way back to the big blue truck I raised my lens for a few shots of the falls so I can bring the peaceful feeling to you.

Hello Friends and thank you for your support of my page. If you have enjoyed the photos or the writings please let me know by commenting and sharing my work on your social media. I also want to invite you to Follow Lloyds Lens Photography on Facebook

If you would like to Follow me on Facebook the web address is

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If you’re enjoying my blog and don’t want to miss a post then you can sign up for email alerts on my website.

https://lloydslensphotographyllc.com/

Click here to visithttps://lloydslensphotographyllc.com/

Did you know that I also do portraits by appointment? If you’re interested in a portrait session either message me on Facebook or Use the Contact form. The YouTube link below takes you one of my slideshows.

https://youtu.be/FDcrY6w8oY8

Have you checked out the Zazzle Store?

I’m now using Zazzle to fulfil orders. What this means for you is a secure way to place an order, discount codes & a broader product selection! Simply message me on Facebook oruse the contact form on my websiteand tell me which image you want and I’ll reply with a direct link to where you can place the order.

Clicking on the photo takes you tohttps://www.zazzle.com/lloydslensphotos?rf=238248269630914251

Lastly, all of the photos and writings are my original work unless otherwise specified and are not to be copied or reproduced without expressed written permission from the photographer.

Thank you again for your support of my page!❤

Echoes Of A Lifetime

Hello friends! Tonight’s feature image is titled “Echoes Of A Lifetime” and is available for purchase by the instructions at the bottom of the article.

The cool morning air sweeps across the weathered wood and rusted tin roof of the old barn on Muddelty Creek. The marsh in back of the barn seems oddly silent. All summer the reeds and rushes were teeming with life. Today only a single yellow butterfly skips over the cattail down and ruby red rose hips. I turn my attention to the old barn. It seems to be missing more of its rusted tin roof. It sags a little more than I remember from my last trip.

Barns are the heart of the homestead. They house the animals and store the feed. It’s normally where at least some of the equipment is held. It’s where the hands are happy. Busy hands are happy hands of course. Barns are the engine that powers a life close to the land. Sometimes they smell like hay and grains. Sometimes it’s the animals or even grease and oil from the machines. It all depends on the purpose of the barn which often changes in the course of a lifetime. The sounds of a barn will range from the livestock to growl of a diesel engine but it always includes human voices. Conversations between fathers and sons, mothers and daughters, siblings and friends and any combination there of are soaked into the rough hewn walls and beams. The voice of the barn is their echoes and the story it tells us is that they slept in the house, but they lived here.

Hello Friends and thank you for your support of my page. If you have enjoyed the photos or the writings please let me know by commenting and sharing my work on your social media. I also want to invite you to Follow Lloyds Lens Photography on Facebook

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If you’re enjoying my blog and don’t want to miss a post then you can sign up for email alerts on my website.

https://lloydslensphotographyllc.com/

Click here to visithttps://lloydslensphotographyllc.com/

Did you know that I also do portraits by appointment? If you’re interested in a portrait session either message me on Facebook or Use the Contact form. The YouTube link below takes you one of my slideshows.

https://youtu.be/FDcrY6w8oY8

Have you checked out the Zazzle Store?

I’m now using Zazzle to fulfil orders. What this means for you is a secure way to place an order, discount codes & a broader product selection! Simply message me on Facebook oruse the contact form on my websiteand tell me which image you want and I’ll reply with a direct link to where you can place the order.

Clicking on the photo takes you tohttps://www.zazzle.com/lloydslensphotos?rf=238248269630914251

Lastly, all of the photos and writings are my original work unless otherwise specified and are not to be copied or reproduced without expressed written permission from the photographer.

Thank you again for your support of my page!❤

The Turning

Hello friends! Tonight’s feature image is titled “The Turning 2019” and is available for purchase by following the instructions at the bottom of the article. The title refers to the fact that these are the first true Fall leaves of 2019.

Don’t let the warm days fool you and take the calendar date with a grain of salt. Summer is over. The Almighty has commissioned a change in the season. I have seen it with my own eyes. I’m speaking of my natural calendar. For me Fall is when the leaves change color. The Yellow Poplar is among the first to change. Even with the long dry spell that we’ve had the leaves turn from a rich green to a cheerful yellow. A lot of people think that the color comes from cool weather but it’s actually in response to the wavelength of the light coming from the sun. Plants are vreally very efficient. The green chlorophyll is only able to use certain wavelengths of light and when those wavelengths are no longer available the chlorophyll dyes and the green goes away. The other colors were always there but they were covered by the green. The yellow color comes from Xanthophyll and the reds from Rodophyll. The tree is still processing sunlight into sugar and will continue to do so until the leaves drop. But the green is no longer needed so there’s no sense in maintaining those cells. Different types of trees have different llevels of the yellow and green pigments and so we get the beautiful mice of colors in the Appalachian Mountains.

At the first sign of changing leaves I start to crave the taste of homemade beef stew that’s been simmering on a woodstove all day. I have already been looking for my favorite oversized flannel shirt and have my boots ready for long walks through open forests. During the summer months the underbrush is likely to be hiding a venomous snake in my area so I get the most use of the trails in cool weather.

The big question this year is will we get to enjoy the Fall colors or will the dry weather drive the forest into an early dormancy. If the tree can’t get enough water to make sugar then it doesn’t need the leaves and shuts down until Spring.

The pop of yellow in this clump of trees does give me hope that we’ll see a beautiful and colorful Fall if it rains soon.

Hello Friends and thank you for your support of my page. If you have enjoyed the photos or the writings please let me know by commenting and sharing my work on your social media. I also want to invite you to Follow Lloyds Lens Photography on Facebook

If you would like to Follow me on Facebook the web address is

https://www.facebook.com/aviewfromthelens/

If you’re enjoying my blog and don’t want to miss a post then you can sign up for email alerts on my website.

https://lloydslensphotographyllc.com/

Click here to visithttps://lloydslensphotographyllc.com/

Did you know that I also do portraits by appointment? If you’re interested in a portrait session either message me on Facebook or Use the Contact form. The YouTube link below takes you one of my slideshows.

https://youtu.be/FDcrY6w8oY8

Have you checked out the Zazzle Store?

I’m now using Zazzle to fulfil orders. What this means for you is a secure way to place an order, discount codes & a broader product selection! Simply message me on Facebook oruse the contact form on my websiteand tell me which image you want and I’ll reply with a direct link to where you can place the order.

Clicking on the photo takes you tohttps://www.zazzle.com/lloydslensphotos?rf=238248269630914251

Lastly, all of the photos and writings are my original work unless otherwise specified and are not to be copied or reproduced without expressed written permission from the photographer

Thank you again for your support of my page!❤

Making Molasses & Rediscovering Heritage

Hello friends! Tonight’s feature image is titled “Purification Of Molasses”. Typically this is where I state that the image us available for purchase however tonight’s post is a little different. The photos in this post are not for sale.

The alarm on my phone insistently assaults my ears as I rub the sleep from my eyes. I haven’t had to get out of bed this early on a Saturday for a long time. Even my little buddy Scout raises his head slowly and opens one eye as if to say, “Dude, it’s still dark outside.” But I’m excited to get out of house even if it is a rough start. Today I get to do something that I have not been a part of for over thirty years. Today my cousins are making molasses.

My big blue truck rolls down the long gravel driveway. I neglected to ask what part of the farm they’ll be set up on but it wasn’t long until I heard the familiar rumble of the tractor’s diesel engine. Daniel and his son Matthew have been already been working for quite a while.

Daniel and Matthew working the cane mill.

 

 

Daniel’s father Wesley was a master farmer in my opinion. As I questioned Matthew about his renewed interest in making molasses I learned that my great uncle Wesley used to make 300 gallons of molasses per year and one year he produced 500 hundred gallons of the sweet treat. To put that in perspective, it takes about 10 gallons of Sorghum juice to make a gallon of molasses. Which means that he had to process about 3K gallons of raw product.

Gif depicting what processing 3000 gallons of Sorghum juice must have felt like.

 

In real life Daniel makes it look easy. That’s what I lifetime of experience does for you.

Matthew says that his interest in molasses was rekindled by stories of his grandmother’s molasses cookies. I remember those cookies. Every year at family reunion and again at Christmas. As I read Matthew’s answers to my questions I can smell and taste those sweet spices from my own childhood memories. Nothing from a factory could ever compare to food made with ingredients that was raised and processed on your own land.


A tractor load of Sorghum going through the mill.

Matthew became intrigued the process because his dad (Daniel) started raising sorghum to help suppliment the crop of another farm in the area. If the sorghum wasn’t needed then it could be fodder for the animals they raise. Even when they strip the leaves from the cane they’re fed to animals. Nothing goes to waste. Matthew and I both have concerns about how well most people in the world would survive if they had to go back to living off the land. It’s one thing to raise a few veggies in the garden but it’s another thing entirely to provide proper nutrition for your whole family plus the animals.


Daniel works steady feeding the mill and it wasn’t long before the wagon was empty. But we’re far from done.

Our ancestors were able to provide everything for themselves but they didn’t do it all by themselves. The comunity was extended family and no one branch could provide it all. One branch might specialize in sorghum, another might raise corn and still others would be good making clothes or welding equipment. The cane mill was built in a factory with cast iron parts but gear system that allows the tractor to power it was custom made.


A closeup shot of the linkage between the tractor and the mill. The running gears are mesmerizing to watch.

While they were working they told me that one molasses maker uses a similar mill but it’s powered by a horse walking in circles.

I asked Matthew if making the molasses made him feel closer to our Appalachian heritage. He says yes that it somewhat does.

The mill has only been set up for a couple of weeks but the father and son team has been working together for 40 plus years. They barely need to speak in order to coordinate the efforts. They’ve got most factories that worked in far outpaced in efficiency.


Sorghum juice flowing from the mill.

As the cane is crushed the juice drips from the 4 drums inside and runs down the spout into a large tub.


The first stage of filtering

The juice is first filtered through a burlap cloth. This takes out large pieces of crushed cane and catches most of the foam.

The fine pulp must also be removed.

 

 

The next filter is a fine mesh bag that takes out small pieces of pulp and more foam.

The evaporation pan has to be scrubbed before you can start cooking

 

The evaporation pan is an outside piece of equipment and has to kept with a coat of vegetable oil to prevent rust. The oil is scrubbed off before the cooking process can start.

Daniel lights the first fire to heat the water for scrubbing.

 

The water is heated up for scrubbing process.

Adding juice to the evaporation pan

 

Most people think that the raw juice is clear for some reason. The finished product is brown but the raw juice is green. There are still impurities in the mix that has to be removed.

A second fire is lit to evaporate the juice.

 

The second fire is lit. Fire is called a purifying element. The juice will be slowly simmered over the next several hours. This not only drives off the water but it also causes impurities to come out of suspension.

A handmade skimmer

 

The impurities form a film on the surface and handmade skimmers are used to remove it.

“If you don’t get all the green out it will taste green.”

“If you don’t get all the green out it will taste green.”

The skimming is labor intensive but it’s a necessary part of the process. Daniel never takes his eyes off of the evaporation pan as the juice simmers. His face is a portrait of concentration and discipline as he works. I made a comment about how important it is to keep the skimmer moving. He said that if you don’t get all the green out it will taste green. Earlier, another camera man was filming for local access T.V. and dipped a finger into some of residual juice that didn’t drain out of the first catch basin. He said that the unprocessed juice tasted like peas only sweet.

I wasn’t able to stay for the final product this time but I’ve eaten molasses that Daniel and his father made when I was a kid. It’s probably the best quality food around and certainly better than the corporate version found in the big box stores.

What’s more is knowing that Matthew is preserving a taste of my childhood and an important part of our Appalachian heritage.

Hello Friends and thank you for your support of my page. If you have enjoyed the photos or the writings please let me know by commenting and sharing my work on your social media. I also want to invite you to Follow Lloyds Lens Photography on Facebook

If you would like to Follow me on Facebook the web address is

https://www.facebook.com/aviewfromthelens/

If you’re enjoying my blog and don’t want to miss a post then you can sign up for email alerts on my website.

https://lloydslensphotographyllc.com/

Click here to visithttps://lloydslensphotographyllc.com/

Did you know that I also do portraits by appointment? If you’re interested in a portrait session either message me on Facebook or Use the Contact form. The YouTube link below takes you one of my slideshows.

https://youtu.be/FDcrY6w8oY8

Have you checked out the Zazzle Store?

I’m now using Zazzle to fulfil orders. What this means for you is a secure way to place an order, discount codes & a broader product selection! Simply message me on Facebook oruse the contact form on my websiteand tell me which image you want and I’ll reply with a direct link to where you can place the order.

Clicking on the photo takes you tohttps://www.zazzle.com/lloydslensphotos?rf=238248269630914251

Lastly, all of the photos and writings are my original work unless otherwise specified and are not to be copied or reproduced without expressed written permission from the photographer

Thank you again for your support of my page!