culture, flowers, meeting, technic, travel, world

visiting a tobacco farmer

600_7692-s_wAs I mentioned in my last post, we also visited tobacco farmers. One got the patches from his father 5 years ago, when his father was 80 years old and too old to do that work anymore. He told us much about producing cigars, while the other one showed us, how to assemble a cigar. The farmers get the seeds from the government. They grow the plants and when they get a certain hight, the start to harvest the first leaves, those at the bottom. They become the outer cover sheet. Later the plants start blooming and the blooms have to be cut and given back to the government. Also, the government get’s 80% of the dried leaves, while the farmers are allowed to keep the remaining 20% for their own use. This is the source for the cigar sellers in the cities I mentioned earlier.

The government operated fabrics assemble their cigars by using leaves from different growing places (full sun, part shadow or shadow), different tobacco species and different farms. The leave ware not only hung up for drying, they also voted by certain marinade for the fermentation process. Each farmer has his own secret receipt for this marinade. On the other hand, the leaves of farmers cigars are all from their own patches. That’s why cigars from different brands have different tastes.

On the table in the above photo you can see the tools needed for assembling a cigar, 3 ready cigars and a few roles / bundles of farmer’s cigars covered by a thin layer of wood as a very basic variant of humidor. In the background you can see many bunches of drying tobacco leaves, as we are in the drying house at the moment. Here in the drying house you have a very distinct smell of fall, autumn foliage and cigar boxes (as I remember from my grandfathers cigar boxes) or tobacco shops. The smell of cigars is already there, but it also smells like fall, when the trees lost their leaves, that are laying on the ground and start drying and fouling. Although, the tobacco leaves won’t start fouling, but drying.

Next week, I’ll focus on the patches and the work outside.

Take care!

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culture, food, people, photo-of-the-day, photography, travel, world

Weekly Photo Challenge: Reflections

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This weeks assignment at The Daily Post is “Reflections”.

This is a quite easy assignment for a photographer, but Ben wrote about reflecting you live. This is, thinking about the past, your past, your life, your current situation and the way you got to the current point in you life.

So, I picked this photo! Try to find some of the symbols inside.

Have fun!

(and try to think about your life, too)

culture, meeting, people, photography, technic, travel, world

Visiting a humidor manufactury

600_7581-sc_wTobacco is very important in Cuba, especially in the north. Not only you find big tobacco patches and cigar manufactories, you can also find workshops, where they build those boxes for storing cigars in optimal conditions, with regard on humidity and temperature. All the cigar and humidor factories are operated by the government. All? No, a few manufactories are already private owned and operated by tobacco farmers (producing cigars) and carpenters (making humidors).

You can visit both, cigar and humidor factories and see people assembling cigars respectively cutting the wood for humidors. But, as in all government operated factories a visitor is forbidden to bring any kind of bag (even not a lady’s handbag) or a camera. On the other hand, when visiting a tobacco farmer or a craftsman, you can ask for permission, as I did.

In case, you think of a humidor of being a simple box made of cheap woods or card box to sell the cigars, so you are wrong. Storing cigars and keep them in good shape is really complicated and need a lot of specific knowledge.

Here you can see, some of the wonderful humidors. They are made of wood from cedar trees, which is best for keeping the right humidity inside the box. More luxurious boxes even have hygrometer for metering the humidity inside the box. In case the humidity is too high, the cigars would begin fouling. Is it too low, they’d drying out. Both conditions are bad, if you want to smoke them.

In the gallery you can not only see many more humidors, you can also have a look inside the workshop.

Have fun and take care!

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animals, photography, travel, world

some cuban birds – part IV

600_8203-ec_wThis is the final post in this little series on cuban birds. In case, you missed one of the previous posts, you can find them here.

In this post I want to introduce you to the cuban national bird, the Cuban Trogon. You can see it in the photo above.

The other two birds on the photos in this posts gallery can be found in a wider area. The brown pelican is at home in the whole Caribbean area as well as in california. While the turkey vulture can be found in all parts of south, middle and south america.

Have fun.

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animals, photography, travel, world

some cuban birds – part III

600_7172-s_wThis week I have another continuation of the series on cuban birds. I assembled some photos of different kinds of egrets I found in different parts of Cuba. In the gallery below you can see photos of Little Blue Herons, Tricolored Herons, Snowy Egrets and Cattle Egrets on the fields following the plough or cows and horses, hoping for an easy catch.

Most of the time, I saw them standing on the fields or in / beside the water hunting and fishing. Surprisingly, they were less shy, then those here in Europe. It was quite easy to come near (20 – 30 meters) without disturbing them. Also, they only flew a few meters before landing again. So, I don’t have any photo of a flying egret or heron.

In the photo above you can search and find 3 different egret species. Try to find them. It’s not that easy. One more post on the birds in the queue. So, stay tuned.

In case, you missed one of the previous posts, don’t hesitate to have a look now.

Take care!

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architecture, art, culture, landscape, meeting, photography, travel, world

I’m back …

600_7419-e_wHola amigas y amigos,

although my series on Cuba isn’t finished yet, I propose another series on a spanish speaking location: Barcelona the capital  of the region Catalonia in Spain. Literally Catalonia has ist own language: catalan. Catalan is also based on Latin, like Italian, Spanish, Portuguese and French, but differs a lot from Spanish. All signs are in three languages: Catalan, English and Spanish. So, you might find you way. 

Catalonia is the home region of some famous artists: the opera singer Montserrat Caballé and the painters Salvatore Dalí and Joan Miró. 

During the last days I was in Barcelona with some friends walking in the spurs of Antonio Gaudí, the famous catalan architect. He lived from 1852 – 1926. He developed a unique style in architecture and created many wonderful and interesting buildings. I’ll write some posts on Barcelona later. But, to give you an idea of his unique style, I attached a photo showing the basilica La Sagrada Familia (the holy family), his still unfinished masterpiece. 

You can click on the photo, to see it in a bigger size. I’ll focus on some of the details (not only on this church) in further posts.

I’d recommend to subscribe to my blog, to not miss any of the further posts.

Stay tuned.