Palm Trees in southern Florida

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Our beet harvest finances

We worked the beet harvest, it was interesting work and the money was good.

We worked out of Drayton North Dakota, staying at the RV park they built for the workcampers there. Our piling site was about 11 miles away in Minnesota


The shift was 8pm to 8am and we ran the machines that piled sugar beets, lots and lots of sugar beets. Each pile ended up 250-300' wide, 20' tall and a quarter mile long. Our piling site had three pilers.

Sugar beet piles

I was hired as a foreman & my wife as a piler operator. They wanted me there to train early in August when they started the pre-harvest, I couldn't make it then. We arrived early in Sept so I could train (12+ hr days, 5 days a week).   
The regular harvest people started showing up (25-29 Sept) the week before the harvest was to begin. The harvest was scheduled to start at midnight  (0001) the 1st of October.

The harvest actually started at midnight Friday night/Saturday (30th) morning, a day early due to weather. 
The last truck for us rolled in about 2 am on Tues the 10th of Oct. and we left early (3:30 am) that morning. 
There was no night shift work on Wednesday and I received the call that the harvest was over for the night shift at 3:30 in the afternoon on Thursday the 12th.

We showed up to work for 11 nights in a row.

The finances are tough to be accurate about. I was a foreman, so my hours & pay were different from my wife. 

I had $3500 deposited to my account for the time of the official harvest.
They did withhold income tax for the Fed, North Dakota and Minnesota, plus social security & medicare.

My wife, for the actual beet harvest had $3020 deposited to her account.

I cannot say enough about the people at the harvest. From the bosses on down to the people on the ground guiding the trucks, taking the samples and pushing the spilled dirt & beets out of the way.  

ALL the people I worked with  were great!

Friday, November 10, 2017

Solar on the bench

Our new RV didn't have solar... so we bought some!

All the parts

Solar is magic, it really is. As long as the sun is shining, you have your lights, your water pump & your electronics going. 
Life is more comfortable with solar.

Two 170w panels off Amazon for $180 ea, an mppt solar controller, a remote read out for the controller too. Two mount  kits,  two "Y" cords, some 10g solar wire & several mc4 connectors (they were a good buy so I bought extras).

The batteries are already there and I already have a few tubes of Dicor self-leveling sealant on hand (shop around, it can be found locally). I was just out taking photos of the solar gear & realized I'll need some bigger wire too, for panels down to the controller, and controller to battery.

The pieces
That's $646 for a 340w system (plus the batteries)

Cable, $48
50 FT - 10 AWG Solar PV Multi-Conductor Tray Cable - 600V Type TC Cable

170w panels, $179
Newpowa 170W 170 Watt 12V Moncrystalline Solar Panel High Efficiency Mono Module

MC4 connectors, 5 pair pack for $5.18
ECO-WORTHY 5 Pairs MC4 Connector Male/Female Solar Panel Cable Connectors

Controller $149
SolarEpic 40A MPPT Solar Charge Controller 100V input Tracer A Series 4210A With Display

Remote readout for the controller $30

SolarEpic MT-50 Remote Meter LCD Display fit for Tracer BN series MPPT Charge Controller NOT FIT FOR RENOGY & HQST MPPT

"Y" cable connectors $10ea (you only need this if you're doing more than one panel)
Signstek Y Branch MC4 Parallel Connector Adapter M/FF and F/MM

Panel mount kit $10
HQST Solar Panel Mounting Z Brackets with Nuts and Bolts -- 4 Sets of RV, Boat, Roof, Wall and other Off Gird Installation

The header picture... I got tired of looking at roads so I went to sun set/rise pictures, then I found this one again. I just like it!

Friday, November 3, 2017


I scraped the roof of the RV on a tree limb. I'm really bummed... 

The part of the tree that clipped the RV

Trashed the awning, put numerous rips in the rubber roof along the edge & tore the refrigerator roof vent off.

Tears in the rubber roof & the missing vent
The awning didn't fare well either

It was a weekend, so the insurance company was no help.  It looked like rain was coming, so I had to do something about the torn rubber roof.

I had a small roll of Eternabond repair tape for small wounds to the roof;  this was more than that. We went to a nearby RV store, and I bought a large roll of repair tape & got the rips patched. Bought a replacement cover for the refrigerator roof vent too. The awning was not going anywhere, but it wasn't usable either.

The story will continue after we see what the insurance company has to say....

New roof & awning is what the insurance company said. 

They took the receipts for the new refrigerator vent cover & Eternabond tape and will deduct that from the deductible.

The RV is in the shop that my wife wanted it in (she was familiar with their reputation) and should be out in a week.

We'll see if this is a happy ending after we're driving down the road!