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Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Sugar Beet Harvest - Day # 8 - A new world record...

When we were at Amazon this time last year it took me several weeks to switch over to being awake when I'm normally asleep.  I don't have a few weeks here in Sidney to make that transition, so you can imagine my glee this morning.....hahaha.....okay, my brain is still having trouble with the concept.....this AFTERNOON, when I woke up and saw it was 3 o'clock in the AFTERNOON!   A new world record......at least in my tiny corner of the "world". I slept for 7 hours.......finally!  It only took 8 days, so, hopefully, the next two weeks I'll be giving my old bod' a better chance to recuperate.

Now back to the regularly scheduled reporting of the the misery that is my life right now.....I mentioned in yesterday's installment that due to the high temperatures they might have to stop piling for a while, and that is exactly what happened around 1:30 pm Monday afternoon.....our fellow workampers here in the Richland County Fairground RV ghetto began filtering back in from work.   We usually see them at the job site as we start our shift, and they are heading home.  TLE called the employee hotline pretty quickly and found out what had happened and informed me our start time for Monday evening had been pushed back to 9 pm....YAY!  A chance for another nap!

When we arrived for our shift the entire Factory site was eerily quiet, with no trucks in sight anywhere.   Vanessa, our over all supervisor, said the growers where instructed to not start loading beets for transit until 9 pm, so we had a while to relax until the first trucks arrived around 9:30.  When they arrived, they came with a vengeance.  Within minutes Dallas and I were up to our armpits in trucks going down both lanes.  I was hopping back and forth from one side to another taking "tare" tickets, and where required, samples for the lab.  

When a truck comes into the unloading area the driver hands me one of two "tare" tickets....the small business card sized one is just put in a box to be collected later.  If I get a "note" card sized one that means I must collect a sample for the lab to test for sugar content, etc.  I must place a bag in position to receive the sample beets, then pull a lever which activates a large scoop that swings through the beets pouring onto the conveyor belt and collects 7, or 8 victims.  I seal the bag, place the sample card in a little pouch on the side of the bag and then stack it with the others until they are picked up.  When each truck is in position, and the necessary samples, if required, have been taken then I pick up a rake and start cleaning the area on each side of the piler of beet residue.  We all try to keep the area as clean as possible so we aren't walking through it and having to scrape it off the souls of our shoes.

We all spend a lot of time scraping the mud, and beet residue off the bottoms of our boots......if we don't we will find ourselves with a few inches of gunk on the bottoms of our boots,  and our overall weight increased by several pounds as a result.

Most people I have talked with who have done the beet harvest before have done what we have done as far as buying used clothing (sweat shirts, pants, shirts, etc) to wear on the job.  They just throw their clothes away at the end of the harvest because there is no way they will ever be clean again.  The padded overalls I bought will end up in the trash at the end, too with a few shirts.

The traffic stayed pretty steady all night, and the time flew by.  The night time lows were not bad, and I never put on a coat, or vest over my long sleeve t-shirt.  Looks like Tuesday will be more of the same, which is fine with us!  We are concerned about Friday, as rain is forecast, so we'll see.....they don't usually pile in the rain as it gets tooooo muddy, and clogs up the machinery, as well as the trucks.

I was greeted around 6:30 by a pretty sunrise........I'm feeling much more optimistic about the remaining 13 days of this gig......thanks for stopping by!


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