Swan (Monticello, Florida)
three-day fall celebration, beginning the Tuesday before
Thanksgiving, takes place on Abe Swan’s property.
Mr. Swan noted that this property has been in his
family since 1857, as recorded in the Jefferson County
is therefore special to family, as well as family friends,
and attracts about 150 people from all over.
Since I visited on Tuesday, I counted myself lucky
to be part of the pre-shindig shindig.
1 shows Wesley Hollis, my contact for this operation,
feeding the Chattanooga No. 13. Mr.
Swan moved this mill to its present working position about
ten years ago; the old family mill, a Chattanooga No. 12,
greens in the background. In North Florida, greens usually survive all winter.
I let my sister’s birthday, December 29th,
be my reminder to plant turnips and mustard.
friend, Dot, takes over the skimming chore (Slide
2). Note the
very massive furnace that this 80-gallon Rourke kettle
sits in. Construction
debris is the energy source. An outer rim simply serves to increase the kettle’s
they do not use an inner ring, but instead simply skim
from the top of the boiling juice.
Without the inner ring, they do not bring the syrup
to an unruly boil. This
method of cooking in a kettle without the ring is unusual,
though not unique.
Swan (left, Slide
3), Abe’s brother, is the chief cook and supervisor
of cooking. I
had the good fortune to have his chicken, which was just
on, he roasted a whole pig, which puts the size of this
syrup-making frolic in perspective!
A cypress syrup
4), in this case, 100-years old, identifies this
operation as authentic.
As recently as the mid 1900s, these troughs were
common and found service in a variety of ways, such as
feeding and watering hogs.
In the background, chicken pens dominate the
are few things that provide a better root to a homestead
than a chicken coop.