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The Florida agriculturist. [volume] (DeLand, Fla.) 1878-1911, March 01, 1909, Image 17

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Persistent link: https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn96027724/1909-03-01/ed-1/seq-17/

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CUBAN TOBACCO
The Culture, Harvesting and Preparation of the Weed
From Which the Fragrant Havana Is Made.
By Carrie S. Betton
The average man as he leisurely draws
from his pocket his cigar case, and take&
from within a choice “Habana,” seldom
stops to consider through how many pro
cesses, and how many hands, the little
roll of tobacco has passed.
It takes him but a few minutes to
smoke his cigar, yet it’s preparation has
required many days of labor. The fol
lowing is the usual process:
A wooded low land is chosen for the
seed-bed, the trees cut and burned, and
the ground well fertilized. The best va
riety of tobacco comes from the province
of Pinar del Rio, Cuba.
The time of planting is usually about
the 12th of August. When the plants
are forty-five days old, they are trans
planted into very richly fertilized soil,
one foot apart. After the transplanting
it is necessary to water the tobacco
night and day, and often many me* are
kept busy removing the “Cachazuda ve
guero,” a small green worm, the tobac
co’s worst enemy. In forty days from
the transplanting, the top of each plant
is cut off; this is to prevent the tobacco
from growing high, and to keep the lower
leaves large. When twenty days more
have passed, if the weather is good, the
tobacco is ready to be cut. This is done
so that two leaves are on a stalk and is
called a “mallas.” The “mallas” or twin
leaves are next hung on “cujes” or long
poles; each “cujes” holding 210 “mallas”
or 420 leaves. If the weather is fine,
the “cujes” are left in the air for two or
three days, but if damp, they are put
immediately into the house of tobacco.
This house is divided into compartments,
called “aposentos.” The next process
after the tobacco has remained for about
two months in the “casa” or house, is,
when the weather is good, and the wind
from the south, to have the useless or bad
leaves removed, and the remaining per
fect ones tied together with a piece of
dried palm leaf, two hundred and ten
leaves in each “matule” or bundle.
Avery dry place has been prepared
previously of banana and palm leaves,
raised a short distance from the ground,
and into this are packed, one upon anoth
er the “matules,” and over all its put a
thick layer of many more dried leaves.
This is done to keep the tobacco perfect
ly dry. For twenty days the tobacco is
kept in this “pilon,” where it undergoes
a fever, and during this time it cannot be
opened or in any way exposed to the
air. The “vega” or first part of the
work has now been completed;
The “escojida” or choosing and select
ing, according to color, quality, size, etc.,
is the second part of the business.
“Govillas,” or bundles are made, each
according to its different selection, and
these are tied with a fibrous plant called
“majaqua.” Four “ga villas’ form a
“manajos,” and it requires ninety “ma
najos” to make a “tercio.”
In twenty days these “tercios” or
very large bundles, are sent to the man
ufacturer. Here the “tercios” are opened
and sprinkled with water, and the central
THE FLORIDA AGRICULTURIST.
vein removed for each leaf. This opera
tion is called “despalillar,” meaning to
disjoint or separate. This work is usu
ally done by women.
After the tobacco has been pressed for
twenty-four hours, it is ready to go to
the cigar maker.
or experts drawing a
salary of $125.00 a month, separate the
cigars, according to size, color, etc.
Then women again take up the work, by
putting around each cigar the little paper
bands.
Now that the cigar has passed through
more than twenty hands, it is ready to
be packed in boxes containing twenty
five or fifty each, and shipped to all
parts of the country —even to your little
cigar case.
From the imperfect leaves and clippings
from the cigars, is made the “picadura,”
which is used to make cigarettes.
RURAL TELEPHONES.
By J. A. Starkweather.
Good roads, rural free delivery and the
rural telephone as benefits to the farmer,
can hardly in equity be compared as they
are not in competition with each other.
Good roads have always been a benefit.
Rural free delivery, from its start in
1897, has been a great help to the farm
ers, and in eleven years, according to the
report of the auditor for the post-office,
has grown to a total of 40,000 carriers.
But the rural telephone, starting since
that time is already outstripping both of
these in the number of farmers it is
reaching and the ways in which it is
benefiting them.
The rural free delivery carrier’s route
rarely exceeds twenty-four miles in
length and serves on an average about
seventy farms. A rural telephone will
operate as far as forty miles, with as
many as thirty or forty telephones on
the line. Of course in the well settled
States the farmers have both, but in the
vast sections of open country, it is ob
vious that it will be some time before
rural free delivery can reach as many
farms as the rural telephone.
The low first cost of the rural tele
phone puts it within the reach of all.
On lines less than twelve miles long the
cost is not more than $5 per mile, not in
cluding poles—the latter to be cut and
furnished by the farmer himself. On lines
over twelve miles long the cost is but
$7 per mile; same arrangements about
the poles. In either case, the cost of his
telephone set complete is $13.00.
The above figures represent standard
“ground” one-wire construction and long
distance telephones. It is a simple mat
ter to build the line, and no operator is
required. The annual maintenance ex
pense is not over 75 cents —the renewal of
the dry batteries in the farmer’s tele
phone. In addition the farmer can run
the line to a neighboring town and there
connect with the town exchange and
long distance service to the rest of the
country.
The rural telephone, in sickness or
emergency, enables the farmer to sum
mon immediate aid. It enables him to
learn the latest market prices and so get
more money for his products. It removes
the isolation of country life; it im
proves the conditions surrounding the
farmer’s wife. During the day and even
ing it is used a great deal for social in
tercourse, everybody being able to “get
in” on the line at the same time if they
desire.
Down South it is the white woman’s
protection in the country districts. In
many sections of the United States where
rural telephone lines exist, it is custom
ary to furnish weather bureau reports
over them each morning. For instance,
at 9 o’clock in the morning the telephone
company in town will give three long
rings over each rural line entering its
exchange and those who desire may, on
taking the receiver off the hook, hear the
operator read the weather bureau re
port. The companies often also give
out at the same time, the prevailing
market quotations.
The rural telephone certainly is the
farmer’s greatest servant. In using it
to do errands, it saves him time. In
dry seasons, he may be promptly notified
of the approach of forest fires, of not in
frequent occurrence if his farm adjoins
a railroad, or in case of fire in his own
home he can summon aid without leav
ing the farm himself. It is hard to say
in what way it helps him the most on
the various things mentioned above.
Wherever, he is, ask him if he would be
willing to do without it and his answer
is “No!”
In the vast sections of open country
away from schools, churches and other
conditions improving country life, the
rural telephone is fast reaching out and
removing one of the greatest disadvan
tages of living in the country; namely,
that one must travel a considerable dis
tance to reach a market or talk with a
neighbor.
It is estimated that there are about
seven million farmers’ families in the
United States today, taking the word
farmer in its broadest sense and includ
ing all families living in the open coun
try. Of those it is estimated that in
the few years since the rural telephone
has been considered seriously, more than
two millions have adopted it and it is
rapidly being extended.
The rural telephone, born of necessity,
and of vital benefits to the farmer, has as
its further recommendation, its accessi
bility to the entire population of farm
ers, many of whom cannot be reached by
rural free delivery or good roads for
generations to come.
The Morton Citrange.
One might be led to believe from press
accounts that this new hybrid was par
excellence the fruit of all fruits in the
citrus family. The fact is, that it is a
very poor but very hardy variety pro
duced by hybridization. 1
Its one quality which is deserving of
public attention, is its hardiness. It will
stand a lower temperature than most
other oranges. The fruit is small ill
shapen, poorly flavored, and will never
find favor m any section where the stand
aid varieties can be produced, so that its
extensive cultivation could never, even in
a slight degree, affect either the Califor
nia or Florida orange trade.
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