Baton Rouge Louisiana Temple

Baton Rouge Louisiana Temple

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Good, Better, Best

Today was one of those days that started off great and just got better. We left home around 6:45 am for the Baton Rouge 1st ward Building. This is the "Bishop's Storehouse" for our area. Every other Saturday a bobtail loaded truck comes from the storehouse in Slidell MS with the welfare orders for our area.

We unload the truck and take the goods into the cultural hall where tables are set up, labeled and waiting for boxes and crates to be unloaded. It runs like a well-oiled machine with volunteers stacking, stocking, pushing (shopping carts), pulling (items off the tables), checking, boxing and bagging. Pretty impressive organization. Today there were actually 2 trucks because of Thanksgiving.

After a few hours working at the storehouse we drove out to Maringouin to get a "tour" of sugar cane harvesting. Pat Newchurch, a member of our branch, has acres and acres of cane on her property and offered to show us around when it was time for harvesting. The problem is that the harvest season is from early September until, sometimes, early January. And when they start in her fields they could actually get finished before we have time to drive there from Baton Rouge. Fortunately, they were getting close to her area, so we actually made plans yesterday, and it worked out perfectly. The day was beautiful, warm enough to not need a sweatshirt, and no rain. Muddy Louisiana dirt roads are the last thing we wanted to deal with. 

Six foot rows
The first 2 pictures of  fields that are already harvested and starting to grow. Right now LA is in the process of changing from 1 row every 6' to 2 rows every 8.' Which means for 24' they'll be able to get 6 rows of cane instead of 4. Cane doesn't need to be replanted every year--just every 3, but they're working on every 4. On the off season they grow soybeans. As far as planting cane goes, they actually lay a few stalks lengthwise down the rows. Cane stalks grow like bamboo with little knobby kind of joints. That's where the sprouting happens. Wikipedia might be a better place to search if you want something more technical than "knobby" and "joints!"

The rest of the pictures are just the trucks harvesting, loading, and dumping the chopped cane, which is taken to the processing plants. There are about 3 of them in the area, and during harvesting season, they run 24/7. They process the cane and separate the syrup from the sugar. Then that's sent to the refineries to turn in into a variety of sugar products. And I have no idea where those refineries are.
Eight foot rows

Harvester chops the cane, dumps the stalks into the wagon, and blows the shuck back into the field

The shuck, or chaff, being blown back into the field. It'll be burned later.
The wagons are perfectly synchronized with the harvester

As soon as one wagon is full another one is right there to be filled
Wagons unloading cane to be taken to the processing plants

Each large truck (on the right) carries about 95,000 lbs of cane. No wonder the LA roads are a wreck!
A better view of the fields

As much as we enjoyed the storehouse experience and sugar cane tour, the best is yet to come. Our grandson, Marc, put his mission papers in a few weeks ago, and today's the day we learned about his call. But first, a brief explanation. Marc has been at BYU-I this semester, but he was having his call sent to his home in California. About 2 weeks ago his home Bishop told his mom that Marc's assignment had been made and that his LETTER should arrive by the end of the week. Sure enough, it arrived last Saturday, and Marc was still in Rexburg. We had to wait a whole week for him to get home for Thanksgiving. So today we've been on pins and needles waiting for him to get home. He drove down with his uncle on Friday, and they stayed at their cabin in Apple Valley, then went rock climbing with Karina and Tanner all day. The entire family has been dying from the anticipation.

It's now 10:15 pm and we just facetimed with the family, and here's the 2 things everyone wants to know--where and when. The answer is the Italy Rome Mission, entering the MTC in Provo for 8 weeks on March 4, 2015! Wow! With all the conjecturing I don't think anyone guessed that one. OK, so we had 405 or so places we could have chose. I think he'll be there for the dedication of the Rome Temple, which should be toward the end of 2015 according to

So, to Marc, our eldest grandchild, congratulations and thank you for making a lifetime of good decisions that have allowed you to be prepared for this calling from the Lord and from a Prophet of God! You've been such an outstanding example to your brother, sisters, cousins and friends and will continue to be so as you serve in Italy. In your heart and actions you are already "The Fourth Missionary." I love you, Elder Blocker. Vai con dio! 

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