Category Archives: Workamping

Sugar Beet Harvest 2014

The 2014 Sugar Beet Harvest in North Dakota was my ultimate destination after leaving the farm in South Carolina.  The steam show at Rollag, MN was a great target to stop along my route, but I had to get to work.  This years harvest kept me so busy I didn’t have too much time to take pictures, but I managed to get a few.  Each shift, working nights, I saw the sunset at the beginning of my shift and the sunrise at the end.  Here are a few shots I managed to take of some of the more notable ones.

 

I did manage to have time to repair some water damage we had in the floor of the bus, here is my plywood patch and the linoleum replacement pieces I managed to cobble together.  It looks much better than before and it is holding up nicely.  Mornings after work often required breakfast before going back to bed.  Sometimes I had to take a nap while waiting on my food, or wear a crown if it was my birthday.

I also managed to use my handy dandy grill to make some good meals on my days off.  The campground filled with beet workers even had a karaoke picnic complete with BBQ pork from the Scholl Bus Smoker.

The largest Modern tractor I have ever seen in person came to the beet yard to tow a broken down tri-axle beet truck out of the yard.  This think is 600 HP, and much larger than the dump truck.  The factory was in full swing as we started a new pile of beets on the new piler in the yard.  It was a different experience this year having a 7th piler to be responsible for, but the crew I had chosen to operate that machine did a great job and made my life much easier than it could have been.  The 3rd picture is one of the beet piles near the end of the season.  Oh, the 4th picture is a Beet-O-Lantern one of the more industrious crew carved out and displayed on the new piler 7.

 

A few minor boo-boo’s were had during the season, but we all survived.  The harvest required the consumption of a large number of Tootsie Pops, but we made it through alright.

 

On the return trip to the SC Farm, I had a stop to make to pick up a Volkswagen Bus.  This bus was hiding on a Minnesota farm for years, but I hauled it back to someone that would give it a little much needed TLC.  It was nice to have a loaded trailer on the way back, that proved I didn’t haul an empty trailer half way across the country for no reason.

Baby Bunnies and Snake Skins in July

NOTE:  This post contains a few graphic images near the end, viewer beware…

The produce on the farm began overflowing in the fields.  Our table at the farmers markets looked full, and a CSA was started to help with some of the extra.  Ten families in the Charleston area were delivered 10# boxes of produce every 2 weeks.  The boxes were filled with fresh farm goodies, and everyone loved the variety.  The wooden bowls, goblets, and dollhouse plates I turned on my lathe made a great addition to the display, and I managed to sell a few of them too.  Chas made her crocheted doll blankets, bags, hats, jar holders, and gloves which also added some variety and color to our booth.  Baked Delicata Squash with brown sugar, pecans, and yogurt also managed to be photogenic.  Lilah named the 10# squash Timmy, and they loved wrapping it up in Chas’ doll blankets she crocheted and getting market goers to guess the weight.

 

The farm was alive with wild mushrooms popping up all over the place.  We have a few resident wild edible experts at our disposal here, NEVER eat mushrooms that have not been identified by an expert!  The first two images are a Reishi mushroom, these have been used in Chinese medicine for centuries.  The basket has Chanterelle and Bolete mushrooms, the Boletes were sliced and sautéed in butter and were AWESOME.

We had some interesting storms blow through, but the low hanging clouds and rainbow with this one were cool   It was a very hot day, but when the clouds were directly overhead the temp had to drop 20 degrees.  As soon as the clouds blew over, the temp popped back up again.  I also had to smoke a beef brisket using some pecan wood, it was required by my hungry belly.  It turned out to be the best one I have ever made.  Pecan wood is now hands down my favorite wood to smoke with.

The bunnies were happily making new bunnies, and they started to hatch in July.  The girls were very happy to help take care of their tiny little fuzzy friends.

 

The snakes came out in force in July, the few chicken eggs we had available were disappearing before we could collect them.  I found this rat snake and decided to keep the skin and meat for future use.  The skin was nice, and hopefully will make some interesting crafts sometime down the road.  The meat is going to be involved in a snake fry in the future as well.  While I was busy happily skinning my critter, the neighbor drove up and said there was a dead rattlesnake in the road.  I hopped on the RTV and went to pick it up.  I didn’t want to let that skin go to waste either.  I thought about eating it directly off the road since I knew it was killed within the previous 2 hours (It wasn’t there when some of the farm crew went to lunch).  The 90 degree day on the asphalt cooked it perfectly, the meat smelled awesome and was steaming as I was skinning it.  I didn’t take a bite, but we did save the bones to use in craft making in the future.  The corn snake is a copperhead mimmic, the coloring on the skin was amazing.  I wouldn’t have killed that one, but it was run over by the tractor, so that skin went in the freezer too.

 

I began attending one of the many local weekly auctions, and noticed this posted by the office.  It really fits my life perfectly, so I thought I would share it.  I had to use my quick mechanical wit to come up with a way to shut down one of the John Deere tractors.  Diesel engines don’t simply shut down by cutting an electrical connection like a gasoline engine.  The shut-down solenoid fried itself for some reason, so the tractor started but there was no way to shut it down without getting a little creative.  This actually applies to large diesel engines, but I wouldn’t recommend doing this on one of those since you are most likely to be injured in the process.


June Farm Produce

May brought the first trips to the farmers market, but June really brought the goods.  The farms focus is growing mostly heirloom varieties of fruits and veggies using organic methods.  Many of the folks in this area are set in their ways, and have no idea what these veggies are.  The ones that are willing to step outside what they consider normal and try our produce come back for more and bring friends along.  Some of the unique arrivals in June are Armenian Cucumbers, Asian Long Cucumbers, Golden Honey Watermelon, Chinese Red Noodle Beans, Daikon Radish, Jumbo Okra, and Lemon Cucumbers.  The wooden bowl and goblet will be featured in another post coming soon…

 

 

Here are some of our booths at a few different farmers markets.  We had many comments on our variety and the uniqueness of our produce.  We hand picked and processed everything at our booth within 24 hours (usually the morning of) of attending the market.

We even had an amazing discovery.  Apparently the tool box on the roof of the bus is filled with Leprechauns and their gold.

Halve Ewe Herd - June 2014

The next post will be about our trip to the East Tennessee Crank-Up where I made the large walnut bowl in the pictures…

 Stay Tuned…