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Beet Harvest Day 14 – Extra Break Time Today

Beet Harvest Day 14 – Extra Break Time Today

Morning Conditions:

🌡️ Temperature: 37 degrees F

🌤️ Weather: Partly Cloudy

💨 Wind: 5 – 10 mph

The Slowest of Mornings

A sugar beet carved like a pumpkin on a beet piling machine.
Karma’s Sugar Beet Art

When we got to the safety meeting, our piler was closed and the night crew was sitting in their van at a different piler. Another piler was also closed.

While the day shift yesterday processed 1,024 trucks amongst 4 pilers, the night shift only processed 200 between midnight and 8 am.

We opened up the piler and were told to only have one side open to limit traffic.

During the first hour, I paced to stay warm and Karma carved a beet like a pumpkin. We processed a single truck.

We started our break cycle and just after our first break ended, the foreman decided to close our piler.

They wanted the trucks to cover the last of the two piles with ventilation culverts before we continued. J the Greaser told us he’d never seen piler 6 (ours) catch up to piler 5 before. However, we have a loyal band of truckers who come to us everyday all day. And, we only give candy to the safe drivers.

“Go Wait in Your Vehicles”

Blogging from the swiveled front seat of a converted campervan with a man in the background.
Blogging on Work Breaks

Around 10am, the foreman came by and put cones up blocking our piler. He said our piler was closed for now and to go wait in our vehicles.

On the 11th straight 12.5 hour shift, we immediately said, “cool” and left.

Karma watched Netflix and I caught up on my daily Instagram reels/Tiktok videos. I was one day behind…but no more!

Time went by, we ate lunch, we chatted. Then, we got a text from our piler operator that our piler would open with one end dump.

So, we scrambled to get our safety gear on and jumped back out.

The Boom is Actually More Work with Less Trucks

I worked the boom for the first hour back and forgot how much more work it was when it was slow.

Since our piler’s boom remote got thrown into the pile last year by some disgruntled employees, we have to operate it only from a switchboard. 🤦‍♀️

It’s doubly hard because the piler got started just a little bit crooked. Thus, the bigger side of the pile is on the left and the switchboard is on the right. Essentially, you’re filling the left corner blind.

I waited for choice moments where I could safely leave the boom in a good spot on the left corner and walk over to it to make sure the beet-valanches (beet avalanches) went where I needed them to go.

The higher-ups say we’re running out of space so we have to get the pile all the way to the edges every time.

Piler is Closed Until 7pm

A super dirty campervan parked in the yard at the sugar beet harvest.
Dirty Van

After about 3 hours, they closed us again.

I took a nap.

Our van has gotten suuuuper dirty from having to park in the yard. We’ll have to give Polysprout a bath after this!

Then, we visited the scale house ladies. We got to watch the trucks getting weighed and their beet temperatures taken. It was a very nifty process.

We also heard some very snarky trucker comments. On the ground, we can’t hear too much of what they’re saying because the hydraulics and piler are super loud.

Evening Conditions:

👣 STEPS WALKED DURING SHIFT: 12,138

🌡️ Temperature: 59 Degrees F

🌧️ Weather: Cloudy, Overcast, Drizzle

💨 Wind: 10 mph

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