Monday, September 23, 2013

Sugar Valley

Sunday morning we continued setting up our campsite here at Richland County Fairgrounds, and then around Noon we headed into town to Express Employment Professionals located at the local Microtel to begin our "job" orientation.  Our "job" orientation consisted of more paperwork.....TLE and I both agree there is not much more paperwork involved in signing escrow papers for a home.  After signing and initialing quite a few more forms we sat down to watch a video dealing with the different types of jobs  we will be doing, plus the ever present segment dealing with sexual harassment, and hostile work environments.  Considering that we will be spending 12 hours a day for 3 weeks straight living and breathing in an environment that by it's very nature will be cold, dirty, muddy, dusty, sometimes wet, or as one might say a "hostile work environment" I would think that last thing on anyone's mind would be making it more hostile, but you just never know.

Of course, like many manual labor jobs this job has its particular hazards, and strict procedures for reducing, if not eliminating those hazards.  Periodically we will have to assist in the movement of the largest power cord any of us will every handle.....a 4 phase 440/480 volt power cord that supplies electrical current to the piling station equipment we will be working around.  Based on the clothing and safety equipment we saw being worn in the video at more than one worksite, we will look like a couple of ragamuffins.  Everyone looked quite bundled up against the cold.

Our assigned worksite will be Sugar Valley about 12 miles from our campsite, and is actually located just over, and I mean just barely over, the border of North Dakota.  Our shift will be from 6 am to 6 pm daily for as long as the harvest takes.....typically not longer than 3 weeks.  Below is a satellite view of the piling station.....just across the border from Fairview, MT (see the little red marker with an "A" in it).

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Satellite view of Sugar Valley piling station

You can see some of the equipment is already set up in this satellite view, but there is a lot more equipment when the site is completely up and running.  On Thursday we go out to Sugar Valley for on site job training, and will then have a better idea of what specific jobs we will be assigned.

After our training we stopped in at a local "pub" called "Winners", which is really more of a sports bar with average food.....BUT there are 15, or 20 flat screen TV's with every single NFL game, which is why I wanted to stop there.  They have NO beer on tap, and the food only marginally passes for "pub food".  The link I have given is to the Yelp review, which gives it 1.5 stars I think.....that's a little harsh...I would give it a 2...barely.  If all you want to do is watch football and drink a few bottled brews then it's a nice friendly place, but don't go there expecting any semblance of ambiance, draft beer, or remarkable "pub" food.  One reviewer wrote this: "Perfect place to go if you wish to have your food cooked & served by the cast & crew of 'Deliverance'...".  That's over the top, but very funny......although I did think I heard strains of "Dueling Banjos" coming from the casino attached to the pub.....:D

I'm pretty sure we will not be returning here in the near future, but I thank TLE for humoring me by going in and having lunch with me just the same  I did get to see the end of a few of the morning games, and no one came down with food poisoning.

Much like a lot of small towns in this part of the country on a Sunday, a lot of stores were closed.  The only hardware store open was at the CENEX gas station just up the street.  I've never seen a hardware store as part of a gas station, but it was a very nice hardware store, and they have a wonderful selection of work gloves, which is why we were there.  We didn't buy any gloves on this visit, but once we get a better idea on Thursday what type of gloves are recommended for our job we will return.

We stopped at the local IGA (Independent Grocers Association) where TLE stocked up on a few more staples, and I bought a couple of small six packs of Snap-E Tom's Tomato & Chile Cocktail.  It's hard to find, but the IGA's always seem to have it.

We arrived back "home" around 2:30 and I spent the rest of the afternoon/evening watching football, and getting my beauty about a week we will be getting up at 4, or 4:30 and going to work by 6.

Thanks for stopping by!

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