Tuesday was the opening night of pea season. This meant a couple of things- 1) its my 4th season overall, 2) its my 3rd season right seating(driving alone), and 3) that I have to train freshies(first year drivers).
Now points 1 & 2 don’t have much bearing on the first couple days aside from the fact I am the *senior* driver on the crew. I have the unique pleasure of having my lovely foreman from last season and on Tuesday night I made it clear to him that I had *CHOOSEN* his crew over everyone else’s because I like and respect him as a foreman and would prefer to be with him.
Point 3 has been the one that has been driving me most insane as we are on a second shutdown night tonight(last night was my night off but the crew ended up not running). Which means that I will have trained drivers on Tuesday and Wednesday nights and go back tomorrow and have to RETRAIN them again.
Now with the driver I had Tuesday night that will be fine. I had him left seating for about an hour before I let him drive and he caught on very quickly to driving. He was good enough that I felt comfortable booting him out of my machine and into his own machine(even though we had and continue to have only 2 machines) after about 3 hours. He did swimmingly well and I was quite proud of him.
I was actually comfortable enough that I felt okay going out and snapping some video of the peas falling off the podder chain into the bin while he drove:
The driver I trained Wednesday night was a little different. He was much slower to catch on(never really did actually) and really frustrated me. I had him left seat with me while I helped to finish up a field and even had him drive a little but he was very nervous and didn’t fully seem to listen to me or my instructions (I.E.- “Now you go to full throttle, that’s the rabbit”) . I demonstrated how to open a field, and dump and everything I could.
Then I put him in the driver’s seat and left seated with him coaching him gently through everything, prompting and guiding. I finally got up and went out on the catwalk for a while because he just was NOT getting it and I thought maybe if I got out of his hair he would have it click. Nope. So back into the left seat for another round of coaching and prompting, then down to the crew truck to help the foreman for a while.
As I was trial by fire’ing the driver he not once, not twice but at least 3 times couldn’t remember how to engage the harvester(pull up on the GIANT yellow knob) or how to idle down. I was in and out of the machine a few times but the last time I came back in, I asked him why he hadn’t idled down while waiting for the truck to pull up. He points to a button(not the throttle that is labeled ‘throttle’ and goes “well I was pushing THAT one and it has a rabbit and turtle on it” turns out he’d adjusted his reel speed(how fast the picking reel that pulls the peas in spins) down into the 150’s range(it was supposed to be up at 200RPM). I took over for a while, getting the reel speed back up and finishing the field(we were almost done).
Needless to say I am really hoping that tomorrow when we go in(as right now its about 90% chance we ARE working) that we have the Tuesday drivers.