It's about time.

Many of you can relate to Working long hours at your career. Raising your families. Buying a home and paying all the bills related to being homeowners and parents. We're now retired and don't need all that work and expense. Now "It's about time" and what we do to follow our dreams.

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Friday, January 23, 2015

Sugar Cane and Orange Juice Processing and A Turtle Rescue.

Our Location today is Moore Haven, Florida, U.S.A.

After going to bed with scratchy throats and stuffed sinuses last night we weren’t surprised when we woke up with heads that felt like bushel baskets this morning. We really would like to thank the idiots in the big box stores yesterday that were hacking and sneezing while making no attempts to cover their mouths. We both woke before the 7:00 alarm because we needed to be on the road bright and early because we’d already paid for the Sugarland Tour for today and we had to be at the Clewiston Museum before 9:00 this morning. The best we could do was take whatever over the counter meds we had and hope for the best. 

Our Guide Bob.
Of course we arrived before the building was unlocked but as soon as it was we were able to look around on our own. The tour was delayed by fifteen minutes due to a large tour bus stopping in for information and passes to get into the plants as we’d later do. Our guide Bob started the presentation with a ten minute video before giving a personal narration of what was inside the museum. 
The picker looks like a Dinosaur from this angle.
Wagons dumping Sugar Cane into railcars.
Our first stop was on a privately owned plantation that was in the process of their harvest of Sugar Cane. The importance of the burning of the fields was explained to us and we then witnessed how the mechanical harvesting was done. In the southern part of Florida once the Sugar Cane is harvested the tractor drawn trailers are emptied into nearby waiting railcars that will bring them to the processing plant. Bob then demonstrated how the process was done by hand giving us each a short stock each to bring home to plant and a smaller bite sized piece to experience the taste of the raw cane. 

Since sugar cane is not the only agricultural crop the area has to offer our next stop was down the road to the Orange Juice Processing Plant. We witnessed how the hundreds of truckloads of oranges were unloaded and the early stages of making juice every day. The different processes for regular juice and concentrated juice were explained along with the fact that no packaging or bottling was done at this plant. Each producer of juices has a special blend for their own product that is done before the juice is shipped sometimes as far as California by truck. We all were given a taste of one of the finished products. The waste orange products gets processed into animal feed. 
Trailer full of Oranges being unloaded.
Oranges being cleaned and sorted.
Tankers being filled with Orange juice.
Hundreds of trailers full of fresh picked oranges
We then drove back into Clewiston where we were given a driving tour of the area’s history and shown many of the historical buildings. It’s hard to believe that the town Clewiston is only 85 years old. We drove out to the dike surrounding Lake Okeechobee and it was explained its importance and history to Clewiston and its surrounding municipalities. 
One of the original homes in Clewiston.

Lake Okeechobee Waterway from on top of the dike.
Our last stop was the Sugar Cane processing plant where over 700 railcars of Sugar Cane are processed daily seven days a week during the harvest season. All the different processes were described that are necessary before it is suitable for human consumption. At one point the tour bus drove into a warehouse that was over a quarter mile long and all that was in there was Sugar Cane that was only half way ready to be packaged. Even the waste stocks are used as fuel to generate the power for the plant and the excess gets sold to the Florida Power Company.  
Hundreds of railcars full of Sugar Cane.
Sugar Cane processing plant.
The tour ended around 1:30 so Kathy and I needed to have lunch so we stopped at Wendy’s. Since it was over 6 hours since breakfast it took a while before we started feeling better. Kathy then went next door to check out Bealls and found a nice hoodie but they didn’t have it in her size. 
That's all Sugar Cane only 50% ready for consumption
piled four times the height of the bus.
Now we needed to get home and we were following the speed limit until we came to the junction of our road which is on a raised overpass. Suddenly the cars in front of us were swerving around something in the road. Because of the size of the truck the only thing I could do was come to a full stop. There was a huge Gopher Turtle trying to cross the highway. Kathy said it would get killed out there so I threw on the four-ways and went out and picked him up. By then smaller vehicles were squeezing by the truck and it was thirty feet over the edge of the road so I couldn’t just toss him over. Just then a woman whose name we never got pulled up next to me and said to put it in her car and she drop it off down the road. We followed her down the ramp where she released it near a ditch. 
Never found out her name but she knew what to do.

All I could do was watch as the rescued turtle was freed.

Back at the trailer the first thing we did was lay down because our heads were pounding. Just before 5:30 Elaine and Debbie stopped off to see how the tour went. Our supper was a cup of tea and a bowl of Chicken and wild rice soup. We’ll see how we’re feeling tomorrow. Thanks for following along and feel free to leave a comment. Be Safe and Enjoy!

It’s about time.


What do you get if you pour boiling water down a rabbit hole?

Hot cross bunnies.


  1. Looks like a fun day -- glad you guys were feeling good enough to go! Great picture of you guys in the sugar cane field!

  2. What an interesting day! Both tours look like ones Paul and I would enjoy. The next time we are down in Mission, I am going to check to see if they have a tour of the sugarcane fields. They are burning down there all the time.

    That was one lucky Gopher Turtle. Great job in saving its life.