June back in 1917 meant that it was time to go north. With my stepdad John. Much of our farmlands here in Oxnard was dedicated to sugar beets and beans. It wasn’t time for harvesting then, but it was time in what would become known as the Silicon Valley.
This valley, in Santa Clara County, was mainly orchards and dairies. Apricots, pears, cherries, plums, walnuts and almonds thrived in the rich alluvial plain. Much of the fruits were dried and shipped all over the planet. I wrote a little bit about in the post called Working the Pits. Here’s the link: https://jedwardnajera.wordpress.com/2013/08/29/june-1917-by-carlos-najera/
This was a great experience for me and I enjoyed every moment of it. It was exciting for me to have my mama cook outside and to eat under the trees and sleep in the tents.
At seven in the morning everyone would go to the shed. I would stand at the end of my mother’s table and help pit apricots and spread them on the flat wooden tray. When the tray was filled mama would let me yell “Tray” then two men would come and take the tray. They would carry it over their heads to a sled.
When the sled was filled a man with a team of horses would hitch it to the sled and drag it to a place a short distance from the shed. They placed a measure of sulfur in a hole under the sled and lit it. Then the workers placed a wood frame covered with heavy paper over it over the sled. They set a paper clock in front of the box for the time that it was supposed to be uncovered and spread out in the sun to dry.