Sunday, October 30, 2016

Bucket List

Morgan Freeman Explains, "The Bucket List".

The full official trailer of "The Bucket List"

People ask me from time to time, "What's on my bucket list?"  I have to reply, "I don't really have a bucket list".  They want to know if there are things that I feel I just have to do before I "kick the bucket".  I think for me it's more of a bucket statement.  

I want to go somewhere I haven't gone yet.
I want to do something I haven't done yet.
I want to see something I haven't seen yet.

Of all the species now or ever in existence we, humans, have the ability to experience, learn and appreciate our life's experiences.  Our's is not an instinctive response but an actual appreciation for the experience and it's results.  You can train an animal with rewards and they can respond accordingly time after time.  But the question is, "Do they really appreciate the experience or just the reward?"  Humans can reflect on the experience time and again even if never having the experience reoccur.  Humans can enjoy the experience over and over in their minds and share it with other humans. 

Life is so short that I find it difficult to select a numerical amount of places, events or things that I feel I must do before I can't do anything anymore.  After 64 years of existence I'm finding out that I hardly know a sliver of the things that exist that I would love to see or do before that time.

I am fulfilling my Bucket Statement by volunteering at various entities and seeing the world as I go.

Below are a few things I would never have thought to put on a bucket list but all fit the bill of my bucket statement.  These were all:

Somewhere I haven't gone yet.
Something I haven't done yet.
Something I haven't seen yet.

There is no way I could have pre-thought these things as something I wanted to see or do but all were thoroughly enjoyed and appreciated. There are more things I have had the privilege to experience that are not listed here.

So, my Bucket Statement is:

I want to wake up tomorrow,
I want to go somewhere I haven't gone yet.
I want to do something I haven't done yet.
I want to see something I haven't seen yet.

Until I can't do it anymore.

And as always stay safe and...

Happy travels,


Saturday, October 29, 2016

2016 Sugar Beet Harvest

Below is a good YouTube video of what goes on during a Sugar Beet Harvest.
(Posted on YouTube by Jody Scholl 2012)

I arrived in Fargo, ND on Sept 26th to check in.  The harvest didn't officially start until Nov 1st. (Starting date seemed almost ritualistic.) Once they start the plan is to run 24/7 until finish.  They figure the usual run is 14  days.  They run two 12 hour shifts around the clock until done.  They only stop for bad weather.  They stop if it is too warm (above 60 degrees). They stop if it is too cold (don't know what that is.  It was 28 degrees one night).  They stop if it rains.  Once we started we stopped for three days for weather.  After several days in a row you began to pray for rain.  But not on the weekend.  In a 12 hour day you receive regular pay for the first eight hours.  The last four hours is time and a half.  On Saturday you receive time and a half for the entire 12 hours.  On Sunday you receive double time for the entire 12 hours.  You can make over $500 just on the weekend.  I only worked 16 days.  Got in two weekends.

Many people had pets.  Many day and night workers looked after each others animals on their off shift. We stayed at Lindenwood Park Campground ( A very nice city park.  The campground officially closes Oct 15th.  It is kept open afterwards for the sugar beet workers.  It included water and electric.  There were no sewer hookups.  There was a dump station.  However, they provided pump out service for the beet workers, (probably because of the long work hours).  

They also informed us of MET, Inc. (Motivation, Education & Training)  A program for migrant and seasonal farm workers.  We were considered qualified if we made at least $800 doing farm work.  MET, Inc provides paid training and education to farm workers in a variety of fields farm and non farm related including welding, trucking driving and other areas.  So you can camp free, get paid and get an education to boot.


Helper/Sample Taker

Piler Operator

How big is a sugar beet?
The beet piller at night.

A moon lit night at the piller.
Sunrise over the pile. A welcome sight for night workers.

A Little About Sugar Beets
(All the information below is taken from American Crystal Sugar website)

Sugar Processing
Running the longest sugar beet processing operations anywhere in the world takes precision planning, high level technology, and an intense double focus on safety and quality. For approximately 280 days our factories operate 24/7 churning out 150 pounds of beet sugar every second. In total, we make about 3 billion pounds of sugar and 800,000 tons of agri-products every processing season.

Sugar Beet Harvest and Storage
American Crystal members typically begin sugar beet harvesting on a limited basis called “prepile harvest” at the beginning of September. The prepile harvest allows the sugar factories to begin processing, while allowing the majority of the sugar beet crop to continue maturing. Historically, American Crystal begins its full stockpile harvest around October 1. Once stockpile harvest begins, operations run 24 hours per day until the full harvestable sugar beet acreage is lifted from field.

Making Beet Sugar
American Crystal’s sugar processing takes place in specially designed processing facilities. At each factory, sugar beets are washed and sliced into thin strips called cossettes. The cossettes go through a large tank called a diffuser where raw beet sugar juice is extracted. The cossettes are gently lifted from the bottom to the top of the diffuser as hot water washes over them absorbing the beetsugar. After the sugar-laden raw juice is drawn off, the beet pulp is left behind. This beet pulp is processed separately and formed into pellets for livestock feed and other products (See the Agri-Products section of the Web site).

Sugar Beet Agri-Products

Retail Sugar Products

And as always stay safe and...

Happy travels,