Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Sugar Beet Harvest - Day #2 - And the "Beet" Goes On, the "Beet" Goes On....

Of course, come on, you knew that was coming.....I'm sorry, I just couldn't resist the Sonny and Cher reference.

I went to bed Tuesday morning around 8 am.....some of us have to take showers, because some of us actually worked up a sweat working Monday evening/Tuesday morning, while some of us mostly sat in heated offices reading books, drinking hot chocolate mixed in with some napping.

By the way since I go to work on one day of the week, and get home on another day of the week my blog entries may tend to blend into one another.  Just like at last Fall in Campbellsville, KY, I get a little mixed up on what day of the week it is.....even with my Day Clock hanging there on the wall less than 10 feet away.  This morning when we got home from work, Wednesday, I kept thinking it was Tuesday still.  I say good morning to people when it is clearly afternoon, because I just got up.  One thing I have learned is that a lack of sleep, and working the night shift tend to heighten my sense of humor, and my sense of the absurd.

After I put up a picture of the dawn breaking over Sidney Sugars factory location signifying the end of my work day a friend posted this on Facebook......"Say what you want....working nights SUCKS!!"  I would have to concur with this one's not a career, it's just a temporary job.  After last year at Amazon, and my first two days here at the Sugar Beet Harvest, to be referred to in the future as SBH, I can only say this with all sincerity.....I have the utmost respect for people who do this kind of work day in, and day out for 12 months out of the year....not just for a few weeks.  I could never see myself doing the night shift for years on end.

TLE continues to put up pictures of her work environment seemingly to taunt area  few from last night....

Spacious, heated, well lit....and quiet

Spacious, polished aluminum.....okay, maybe not well lit, but it has a window

Okay, granted, her restroom is still portable in nature, but compare this one with the typical blue, windowless porta potty the rest of us working stiffs must endure.

Why are they always blue?

After clocking in, and bidding adieu once again to TLE as she walked over to her cushy,  well lit office for the evening, I headed over to FP4 to start my 12 hour shift of breathing dust, inhaling diesel fuel fumes, and scraping squished sugar beets off the soles of my boots, and off the metal surfaces of my work environment.  As I rounded the corner of the road I was greeted by the site of at least a dozen trucks lined up at FP4 waiting to be emptied of their homely cargo.....not quite as quiet as my first night already.  Each truck takes about 10-12 minutes to disgorge its tares, so I was looking at 2 hours plus of non-stop work right off the bat, and that did not include the additional trucks that would arrive while we emptied the first 12.  On top of that one of our crew of 3 had to go to the doctor about a strained muscle in his chest from the shift before, so I was hopping back and forth from one side to the other for a good 2 hours before relief shift supervisor, Amanda, told me to go take a break while she took over for me, so I headed over to the 'Bird climbed inside, and just closed my eyes for about 30 minutes.   By the time my break was over the line of trucks had been cleared, and the rest of the evening settled in to resemble the night before.

 I learned last night, or maybe it was sometime this morning, that the beet piles we are creating will remain here for up to 5 months as the beets are processed into sugar at the local Sidney Sugars factory located just behind FP4.  Of course, the weather here during that 5 month stretch is pretty cold, so the beets keep just fine.

Around midnight one of the conveyor belts broke on FP4, so we had to move over to FP2, which appears to be the oldest piler of the 6 at this site, and is not as user friendly as FP4, but I had time to get to know "her" better on this shift, and am a little less put off by "her" clumsiness than I was the night before.

Around 1 am I headed over to TLE's oasis for "lunch".....isn't it funny how we still call the meal we eat at work "lunch" even if it happens at 1 am?  She, I'm sure to make it up to me just a little bit, had lasagna heated up for me, and it was very good.   After eating my "lunch" I rolled out my yoga mat on the floor and became unconscious for about an hour.  The first half of the shift had whipped my butt!  Just in case you're wondering, no I don't do yoga, but in a pinch the mats make a nap on the floor a little more comfortable.

Around 3:30 the trucks began arriving again, and I headed back over to FP2.  The rest of the night the trucks came at a steady pace of one about every 15 minutes, so it was difficult to take a break.  Fortunately, by this time the 3rd member of our crew returned from his visit to the company doctor, making it possible for me to take a few minutes here and there to visit our luxurious blue porta potty.

It's easy to lose track of time when you are working steadily, and suddenly I realized that dawn was approaching, and here is the one picture I snapped last night....about 6:30 am....what a good feeling it is to know you're just minutes away from the end of another 12 hour shift at the SBH.

I arrived at the break room around 6:59 am to find TLE waiting for me, clocked out, and we headed home......2 days down, and 19 to go.  I am really feeling soreness in my muscles, but it feels good.  I'll have something to show for that soreness on Friday when the money I have earned from my physical labor flows into my bank account, just as it will every Friday for the next three weeks.  

We arrived "home" around 7:30 as TLE needed to stop off at the local IGA to buy some eggs, etc......I sat in the car while she ran in wondering how I'm going to do this for 19 more days.....but it is only 19 more days.

Thanks for stopping by!


  1. Wow, the midnight shift sounds intense, particularly since it is a 12 hour shift. Will you get a day off at all during these three weeks?

  2. No days off unless it rains hard, or snows, or is below freezing too long.....21 straight days......similar to the INDY 500 where we worked 16 straight 12 hour days. Our hours are 7 pm to 7 am.

  3. Kudos....I'm not sure my body or mind could handle that kind of work any more. But like you keep's temporary.


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