Sunday, October 6, 2013

Sugar Beet Harvest - Day # 6 - One Hundred Six

The low temperature for Saturday morning was 24 degrees.  As you will recall we stopped piling beets when the beet temperatures dropped below 32 degrees at 1:30 am.  As a result the Saturday morning shift did not report to work until 9 am giving the beets a chance to warm up somewhat.

I only got 4.5 hours of sleep Saturday and felt like death warmed over as we drove to start day six, and another 12 hour shift.  The temperatures got up to 55 degrees, but the temperatures were already plunging as we recorded our start time on our time cards using the time clock date and time stamp.

The first two hours things were pretty quiet as several trucks were turned away from FP4 as their beet temperatures showed their beets had frozen the night before requiring they be dumped over behind FP5 where the transit trucks would pick them up with in hours to be processed.  Frozen beets begin to rot when they thaw so they must be moved to the front of the processing line.

Around 9 pm the truck traffic picked up significantly, and with the lone 30 minute exception around 11:30 when we (Dallas and I) were given a 30 minute lunch break, we worked non-stop the rest of the evening without a break of any kind.

Around 1 am the conveyor belt on the "boom" broke, so FP4 was out of action the rest of the night necessitating we move over to our LEAST FAVORITE piler....FP2.....for the rest of the evening.  There were never fewer than 5 trucks waiting in line all the way up to 7 am when the day shift came on duty.  At 7 am there were 8 trucks waiting to dump.

I noticed around 4 am that a couple of rollers on the boom on FP2 had come loose, but our supervisor had us keep going hoping there would be no adverse effect......FP2 is the only other piler than can handle the trucks with 45' trailers, so if that was closed down we would be out of business for the night.

As it turned out FP2 held up, and nothing else broke.  As the dawn approached to clear skies we passed 100 trucks processed by Dallas and I over our 12 hour shift.  We ended the shift at 106 trucks....almost double our prior volume.  We worked the midnight to 7 stretch....7 hours....without a break, other than a couple of quick restroom breaks for moi.

The temperatures got down to 28, and we came close to having to shut down, but we made it to 7 am without stopping.

I managed to sleep for 6.5 hours today, and I feel much better as a result.  Karen (of Krash and Karen) wrote to me this morning asking if we were considering "re-upping" for next year after the last blog entry.  For us it is really the money we are here for, and it looks like we'll be making a pile of money with overtime kicking in after 40 hours of work (we work 84 hours a week).  At this point I would have to answer "yes" to her question, but we are only 6 days in to the gig, so we'll see when it's all over how we feel, and how fat our bank account looks.

Today, Saturday, the high will be 77, so we're wondering how that will affect beet temperatures.....well, we'll know if a few hours.....3 to go before we do it all again.

Thanks for stopping by!

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