Friday, February 16, 2007

A new tack...

Not to upstage the kitty story so soon, but while it's on my mind....

I was just checking out Sydney's blog, and she's got a picture on there of tobacco in the Dominican Republic, which led me to commenting on her blog that we didn't tie our tobacco like they do down there. That led me to investigate the internet to see if I could find any photos of our way, and it occurred to me that in addition to rabbiting on about food and cats I could also use this blog to write down some of the stories I seem to tell less and less.

Anyway, it's hard to tell exactly what's going on in the photo, but it seems to me that they've got the tobacco tied with string. We never did that: we'd use the smaller leaves to bind the larger leaves at the stem, so they hang over the tobacco stick as shown in the picture (no photo credit given, by the way). For a few years--from about when I was 9 until I was 11 or 12--tying tobacco was one of my wintertime jobs around the farm. I had nimble fingers and was good at various sorts of handiwork--and perhaps most important, I didn't have arthritis like my grandmother. Granny, Pa, and I would sit around the woodstove in the "packing house" on the farm--a cinder block building built on the side of a hill. The downstairs door faced the pond, and the upstairs doors opened onto a covered area that would fit a small tractor and whatever was attached to it.

Upstairs in the packing house was dark and fairly creepy, and I don't remember going in there very often until I was 12 or so; downstairs was basement-y, and had two rooms: the back room was used to store the tobacco once it had been tied--and, for all I remember, something may have been done to the tobacco there. For me, though, that room's primary "feature" was its large cricket-spider population.

The front room was the room with the stove, and that's where we'd sit to tie the tobacco. My fingers would get chilly, but the stove helped.

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