The last work day of any SOWER project typically goes one of two ways. Either you’re working feverishly trying to finish up a particular assignment, or everything is done and since it’s too late to start anything new, you spend the day picking up tools and generally just tidying up where you were working. This project was just a bit (understatement) different! We did start the day wrapping up some outstanding chores – the ladies finished up the monthly newsletter and the guys wrapped up anything that still was on the list. We all gathered back at the dining hall around 11 AM for an early lunch. Dry Creek, once a month from September to May, puts on a Community Catfish Dinner. It was happening on our last day so we not only got to enjoy the meal (camera was in the truck, but imagine fresh fried catfish, the best hush puppies you have EVER had, creamy coleslaw, and a yummy dessert)but then we got to help serve it to the 250+ folks that came to the meal. It was a very fun way to finish off the project, but hold on – the day got even better. 🙂
After all that goodness, we were all (including the entire staff and their families) treated to a good old fashioned Louisiana Crawfish Boil!
Here’s how it went –
First there was the gathering of all the equipment.
Cook pots, coolers, the grill (for the hamburger folks!) – there’s a lot that goes into this process!
OK, first thing is to fill the pots with water and get them to boiling.
You can tell this is serious business!
Here, Dad – do you need this yet?
While the water comes to a boil, it’s time to start on the crawfish.
You dump them in one of the coolers and then fill it up with water to give them a good rinse.
Actually you do that a couple of times. Let’s face it, these critters aren’t called mudbugs for nothing!
OK, it looks like the water is pretty clear, and the water over in the pots was bubbling away.
Meanwhile, there was another activity that was just starting up –
This is call a “candle”. One of our SOWERS makes these all the time at his church (in Wisconsin), and the folks at Dry Creek were curious to see how it might work for them. You take a hollow log, cut a little hole in the side and set it up on blocks and then start a fire at the base. The plan is that the flames will come out the top and light up the area (like a candle!).
There was still plenty of daylight, but everyone was excited when they saw the first flames come out the top!
OK – back to the crawfish….
Did I mention the seasoning?
Good ol’ Zatarains! It was great!
The first batch goes into the pot. Bring it back to a boil and let it boil for about 7 minutes. At the end, pull the liner out of the pot,
hold it still so I can take a picture
and then dump those little beauties into a cooler.
Add another generous dose of the Zatarains and a good swig of the lemon juice
then close it up and give it a good shake.
A really good shake.
Then they mellow in the cooler for about 20 minutes. 🙂
And then you start up the next batch. They had gotten 150 lbs. of crawfish – so let’s just say there were several more batches!
Meanwhile, the crowd was beginning to fill out –
and the candle was doing great!
Once the crawfish was done they did a pot of the fixins’ – potatoes, corn, sausages and mushrooms. Yummm!
And got the burgers and dogs going for the non-crawfish eaters!
And then, my friends, it was directly onto the tables –
And we dug on in!
Oh, my. So very messy – and so very good!
And it wasn’t just us chowing down –
(The folks at the white table were the burgers and hotdog crowd).
And the candle?
It was awesome!
The two Garys found just the right spot to let all that crawfish settle,
and some of the bigger little kids were trying their best to get a pine cone into that little square hole!
Let’s face it, it pretty much held the attention of all of us!
And at the end of the evening, we all gathered ’round that candle and had a time of prayer – thanksgiving for the work that was done (and the wonderful food we had eaten), for safe travels for those leaving the next day and more thanksgiving for blessings of Dry Creek Camp and the folks there.
Oh yes, now that was a fun end to a wonderful project!
If you’d like to see some additional pictures of the Crawfish Boil – there are Here. (Unfortunately, they are not in order – Flickr is being goofy tonight!)
Real time update – we are just finishing up our second 12 hr day on the road, heading to Marysville, OH for a nice long (and productive – Toby and Gary are finishing off the basement) visit with the kids (big and little). Right now we’re in Lexington, KY and have about 200 miles to go tomorrow. The weather report is dismal – calling for snow in the afternoon, so we’ll be on the road pre-dawn to try and beat the flakes. Really? Winter storm warnings?
Gary is better :), I’m sick with a cold :(, and except for a sweet lunch with my niece Chris in Chattanooga, this has been simply a “get-us-there” drive. We Can Not Wait to get to see the kids! Hopefully we’ll both be well enough to hug them!