Southern Matters

Southern Matters

Bo Swindle (Perry, Florida)

Although one shouldn't make a habit of it, occasionally, it pays to humor one's spouse. Thus, a family outing that began as a quaint furniture search ended as a cane-syrup mission. Either would have been fun, but the combination was simply great. Anyhow, Mr. Swindle has a unique business down a dirt road near Perry, Florida: he sells old-growth cypress and furniture he makes of it. It was spiritually comforting to observe a person spending life on his own terms and creating products of value to others. I expect this trip will continue to cost me.


Slides 1 and 2 show a Corley sawmill, the heart of Mr. Swindle's operation. Although he could not remember the date of manufacture or model, it is enough to note that this mill dates from the 1800's, when it could be purchased for $395. Mr. Swindle is in this for the long haul; he has two other (disassembled) mills nearby.

Slide 3, is an overview of Mr. Swindle's syrup operation. The Golden No. 2 is powered through a vehicle transmission and the right-angle converter is a differential. Sprockets are mounted on the axle and the mill. The background shows Mr. Swindle's syrup house.


Slide 4, is a close-up of the mill. My wife, Nedra, provides perspective. Slide 5, taken inside the syrup house, shows the kettle. This is the first furnace that I have seen in which the door is perpendicular to the stack. A pile of fat lighter, with all the aroma that that implies, was at ready. The background shows cases of syrup, silent testimony to Labor's ability to extract
goodness from Earth.