prune picker

This is the blog of a prune picker. (Native born Californian) Retired oilfield. I am an old man. (91) I blog a lot about my body and getting old. As I approach death life gets more interesting. More interesting is not good. I still drive. I attend sports, music, and civic events. I am writing my memoirs. I attend swim class three times a week. Some of my blogs might be interesting. A lot of my blogs are silly and trivial. None are very long.

Thursday, March 14, 2013


Guayule is a shrub in the aster family that is native to the Southwestern United States and Northern Mexico. It is a source for latex or natural rubber. The US was cut off from latex after Pearl Harbor. A government project to produce latex from guayule shrubs was started. I worked on a surveying crew in Kern County, California that was involved in guayule production.

I was a chain-man in a surveying crew. I must have been 16. I learned how to "throw" a hundred foot chain. A chain was a metal measuring tape. At the end of the day the tape would be coiled up in one hand. At this time you had a coil of metal tape with about a 2 to 3 foot diameter. If you knew how, you could grasp the tape in two opposite places on the coil and twist in a way that gave you a coil of half the previous diameter  This made it easier to store the tape. It took some experience, but I mastered the skill. You did not know that the old prune picker could "throw" a steel surveying tape did you?

I would venture to say that this is an obsolete skill.

After I got the government started on a solution to the natural rubber shortage I went into the Army.

I do not ever recall meeting a person who worked in Guayule. Some 10,000 people worked on the project during WW II. 

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