Palm Trees in southern Florida

Friday, October 6, 2017

The Beet Harvest, Day 6

There was a beautiful sunrise this morning, an orange crack on the eastern horizon. 

This is the 1st indication that the long day is nearing it's end!

I saw it as I was stacking 30# beet sample bags in the sample container, they have to be stacked as there are too many to just dump in from the front loader any more.

The work is really not bad, dirty but not bad. All the people are great, all of them!  
The hours suck.... 
I'm writing this during my sleep time as I woke up early..

12+ hours ( I have NOT hit a 14 hour day yet) at the beet piling station in Minnesota, a 20 min drive from the campground in North Dakota. Half an hour to walk down to the shower house to shave-shower-whatnot, a small something to eat while I look at the on-line comics, check the blogs & glance at my email then off to bed in our "blacked out by cardboard" bedroom in our RV to sleep during the day.

Some time later I wake up (5.5 hrs of sleep today, 7 hours yesterday!).  It's warm, too warm (inside). I have 2 hours before we leave for work.

Coffee, the internet stuff, eat now, fix something to eat at 2 am (the mid point of my 12 hour shift) and get dressed for work.

We hit all the thrift stores in Grand Forks for work clothes, before the season started & I found five pairs of blue jeans for $6 ea, I bought two new ones at Walmart for less than $10 each. That gives me 7 pairs.

My initial guess was three days a pair but reality changed that to two days.  Then there were a couple of days that they only made it one shift (I could not believe the mud!). I'll have to spend some of my sleep time in the next few days doing laundry at the local car wash/laundromat here in Drayton.

The Drayton, ND laundromat 

I was hired as a foreman. I make decisions, watch over everything, carry the keys and am an on site maintenance-grease & lube oil person. I had forgotten just how dirty you can get greasing machines that need a lot of lubrication!  

I also move dirt.  The beets grow in the ground and the piler produces a lot of dirt. I move it.
The work is good, the people are good, the money is good. Some of the sun rises have been spectacular but mostly it's just dark when out from under the lights of the pilers.

And there are trucks carrying sugar beets, lot's & lot's of trucks carrying sugar beets. 

Hundreds, even thousands in a day, bringing beets to be piled. 

Good drivers, experienced drivers & ones that look to be backing out of the piler for the very first time in their short life, so we all have to be careful. 

They have to back out because the dirt is still mud, won't support an empty truck. 
This morning, right after I was relieved, the 1st truck made a successful turn out of the piler!

Did I mention that the money is good? That we are treated really well by everyone? The campground shower is really nice? There is free coffee at the piler station? That this is just for a short season?  15 days, give or take, is expected for the site I'm working at and today is day 6. The money is really good.

I can't send this out without mentioning the beet piles themselves. These things are huge & so far away from my "normal" that I'm still amazed every time I see them in the day light. We built these!

I've got to go.... supposed to get down to 34 degrees tonight... did I mention that I had to buy thermal underwear again? I got rid of all mine when I left Minnesota in 2003.  

Time to break them out.


  1. I did not realize the harvest only lasted for 15 days. I am glad your hard work is well paid but most importantly that you enjoy it.

    So sorry to hear it will get down to 34 degrees me chills.

    1. Thank you Ms Belinda, the work is almost over & I'm ready to go somewhere warmer!