11/9/21 – Hillsboro, ND
2021 Sugar Beet Harvest – yes, it was an unbeetable experience!
After stopping in Fargo for the night, I headed to Hillsboro for the beet harvest. It was fun to meet people who were there last year, and meet new friends as well. The weather was beautiful, which kept us from starting the harvest. Fortunately, we got “stay pay” this year, 4 hours per day when we weren’t able to work, which encouraged us from leaving. We had to wait about 2 weeks to actually start work. I took a few side trips and cooked a bit so I wouldn’t have to worry about it during the harvest. I made Risotto with sausage and sun dried tomatoes in my electric pressure cooker, which was very yummy! I will make that recipe again. I also made pasta with meatballs and had plenty of food for the harvest. Sandwiches filled in for real food while I was working and I even had some food to share. And I shed a few pounds, which is always helpful.
I met Cheryl from Iowa/San Antonio, who was a car camping and a hacker like my friend Katie. I was very impressed with the way she built out her mini van and we shared some food and lots of ideas. We had dinner at Sirirath Thai House, a restaurant in West Fargo. I had my usual, chicken pad Thai and went to bed very happy and full. Sadly she had to leave before the harvest started because of a family emergency and a close relative passed away from COVID-19. PEOPLE, PLEASE GET VACCINATED!! If you care about your health, family, friends and community, it’s the logical thing to do. That’s all I’m going to say.
We went for training one day and I met my friend Elsa, who was the piler operator on #3 last year and with whom I worked. She was there with her sisters, Mary and Jessica, and these ladies worked the for at least 10 years. It’s an honor to work with them because I feel safe and secure on the job. We had a lot of time off because of the weather and didn’t actually start the beet harvest until Oct. 11. I was assigned the night shift again. Working nights is not fun, but being paid makes up for it, so I managed. I also worked with a couple, Jacqui and Steve, whom I met last year during the Michigan harvest. They are hard workers and very cool people. It was almost sad when we were released, as I got to know a lot of people and made new friends. Sometimes it’s hard to say good bye, but I gave my contact cards to them and plan to keep in touch.
Another co-worker, LeMont and I saw a meteor explode one night and it was close. The rock was on fire are burst into pieces. We just happened to be looking up when it happened. That was awesome! One night the Northern Lights were glowing in Grand Forks and one of the workers took a snap of it on his cell phone. Unfortunately, we didn’t see it at the site. The pix was pretty amazing!
I also got hit in the chin by a beet and had to report it. That was a pain, literally. I was lucky that it didn’t hit me any higher, as I could have lost some teeth. Whew! I decided that this was my last year at the piler as ground crew. I was in pain most of the time and was constantly medicating. I asked the Agriculturist to work in the scale house next year, and will keep my fingers crossed. I really like working at the beet harvest because I meet new people and make a lot of money in a very short time. It’s hard to beet!
A couple of side trips: First, Terry at the recruiting desk mentioned going to the Itasca State Park in Minnesota to see the headwaters of the Mississippi River. It was a long trip, but so worth it! It all started at Lake Itasca as a small creek, flowing over large stones and was very small. The signs explained a lot of the history and the trail was a beautiful walk. There was a visitor center and a gift shop and pieces of equipment placed along. It’s amazing that the mighty Mississippi begins as a small creek! I drove back along HWY 113 that was very scenic, with winding roads and hills. It was a great day!
I also drove to Fargo where there was an art walk, and spent the day roaming around looking at some really cool stuff. The university Art Department was open and I spent most of my time in their art space. Very nice!
Next stop: HOME!