October 27, 2011

The Lifetimes of the Tobacco Farmer!

I have been trying to get some good videos to show just what it takes to get our crop to market.  I have finally succeeded in getting 2 videos ready to view and am still working on the 3rd.  I decided to go ahead and show the first 2 because there may be a chance I will not get to the last one.  The last one would be of the workers bailing the tobacco.  The later it gets in the season, the darker the crop is coming out of the barn and my hubby is really adamant about what the tobacco looks like if it is going out to the world wide web.

So for now sit back and enjoy these 2 videos!

Priming Tobacco!
Priming is the term we use to describe the process of removing the leaf from the stalk.  The men wear gloves and literally break the leaves with their hands. They do not use any tools.



Putting The Tobacco In The Barn
This video shows just what it takes to get the tobacco in to the barn so it can be cured and readied for market.

If I can get the 3rd video of the workers bailing the tobacco, I will be back later and update the post.  I have shown photos on my blog early this spring of the workers riding on the back of the tractor when they were planting.  Next year I will try my best to get a video of that just to show you how much happens in a split second atop the planter. It always amazes me that the planter can take the plant down and put it in the hole, give it water, give it fertilizer, cover it up, and pack the dirt around it to keep it standing upright... and do this over and over as fast as the tractor clips along. I would like to count and see how many plants are planted in a 60 second period.

Enjoy!

22 comments:

Needled Mom said...

Very interesting. I guess I have never thought about how the leaves were harvested, but it does involve a lot of manual labor. The frame that they use for the stacking looks as though it, too, takes labor AND strength.

Merry said...

That sure is interesting Thearica....thanks so much for sharing. A lot of work goes into this crop. I am amazed at the speed they can pick the leaves. Tobacco used to be a big crop on the Tablelands West of us.

Angie said...

It's always amazing to see the day-to-day operations behind products we take for granted. I had no idea there was such a thing as tobacco sickness; being from a medical background I had to Google for more information. Thanks for sharing part of your world!

Marj said...

i CAME BY TO VISIT FROM BONNIE HUNTER'S BLOG. YOUR VIDEOS WERE VERY INTERESTING TO WATCH. WORKING ON A TOBACCO FARM LOOKS LIKE VERY HARD WORK. THANKS FOR SHARING.
ALSO POKED AROUND YOUR BLOG, LOVE YOUR QUILTS.

sarafiedler@gmail.com said...

That was really interesting. Thanks for sharing.

Lois said...

Thanks for posting the videos about tobacco farming. It's too cold "up north" for us to plant that crop. Chanlady

Linda in NC said...

Thanks for posting videos of tobacco harvesting. I love seeing the tobacco fields and old log barns, so it was interesting to see the process.

Judy said...

Thank you for posting about tobacco farming. My parents grew up in Kentucky and during trips to visit relatives I saw tobacco barns and heard about the crops but never really knew how it was done.

Came to your post via Bonnie Hunter's - you have a nice site. Thanks again.

Lois Arnold said...

No matter what you farm, there is a LOT of work involved. Thank you for sharing. We raised corn and soy beans mostly plus a few animals on the farm when I was growing up.

Frieda said...

This was very interesting. It takes a lot of hard labor to farm tobacco. Thanks for sharing your process with us.

Lady of the Cloth said...

Very interesting, thank you for sharing. Here in the Northwest, all we see being harvested is fruit and different grasses (hay). What a lot of hard work!

kwiltnkats said...

Thanks so much for all your efforts. This was an eye openner for me. I'm from Maryland and have seen the tobacco growing and then drying in barns but never what happened in between. Looking forward to your next clip. Sandi

Jeane said...

Bonnie Hunter sent us over here to see your video on harvesting tabacco. Thank you, it was so interesting to watch. I live in Saskatchewan, Canada and one year we got some tobacco seeds and started seedlings and planted 100 plants near our irrigated garden. It grew and had beautiful purple flowers but our growing season is too short so we had to pick it green and didn't have a place for it to cure. It smelled terrible when it was smoked! We had fun and now we know how it is done the right way.

Bonnie said...

Really enjoyed your videos. Didn't realize that tobacco is so labor intensive. I thought more was done with machine. I grew up on a farm in Iowa, so really like seeing farm life that is different from ours. Thanks for sharing.

Lisa said...

Fascinating. Thanks for sharing. I came from Bonnie Hunter's blog.

Saska said...

Thanks for showing this! I grew up on a peanut farm, and we raise milo and wheat now. It's great seeing how other people work the land to make a living.

Barb in Mi said...

Wow, so interesting - thanks for sharing! Coming over from Bonnie's quiltville.

laquaqltr said...

Thanks for Sharing, interesting another visitor from Bonnie's Blog.

Phyllis said...

Grew up on a tobacco farm in the 50's-60's. Was much more labor intensive at that point. Have never seen it prepared for the bulk barns. Very interesting!

During the years that I worked in it, we did not prime the whole stalk, usually only 3 leaves per plant, per "priming".

Was surprised at the way the leaves are "mashed down", would have thought that would have caused it to turn black and be worthless.

My number one requirement for a husband was that he would NOT be a farmer!

Anonymous said...

Thanks so much for taking the time to make the videos.Very interesting.

Anne in The Netherlands

Anonymous said...

Thank you for doing the videos. I am used to the old harvest methods used in Kentucky. I came from Bonnie's blog.

Catherine in SW Indiana

Cindy said...

I grew up in Southwest Virginia where my grandparents grew tobacco each year. They planted by hand using a peg to make a hole in the soil and then laid the plant in the hole. As a child it was my job to help set the plant upright and give it water. By the time I was a teenager, mid '70s, they'd bought a tobacco setter that was pulled behind the tractor. The plants were suckered by hand but it was a while before I was tall enough for this sticky job. When it was time to put the crop in the barn they'd put sharp metal conical shapes called spears on the end of a tobacco stake and spear the stalks onto the stakes. Several plants could be hung on one stake as they were five to six foot long. I wasn't allowed to do the spearing or hanging in the barn because it was considered quite dangerous. Once the leaves had cured they were stripped from the stalks, a handful were tied together with a leaf, and the bundle was placed in a flat square basket with shallow sides. These flats went to the tobacco market. The money that my grandparents made from their crop was used to pay their taxes and insurance. My grandfather who is now 94 put up tobacco up into his 80s. It was hard work and I did complain about the heat but I'd do it again in a heartbeat if I could with all the family helping and working together.