Monday, December 24, 2012

Happy Birthday Linda Lee

Happy Birthday Linda Lee
Linda's birthday is today and being so close to Christmas it is sometimes overlooked. Linda's mom Maggie made sure that she got her birthday presents before anyone opened their Christmas presents.
I have tried to do that also.
I went into town the other day to pick up a few things and wanted to get one of those small cakes that some of the grocery stores sell. The H-E-B in Pearsall did not have any, or else they were sold out, but I spotted a cherry covered cheesecake that looked like it would do the trick.
I will not say how old she is, but she started drawing her social security this past year. Early.
Happy Birthday my Dear, I love you more that I could ever say.

One another note, I keep telling you how dust it gets here. This part of the country has been in a drought for quite some time and the calichi seperates into rocks and dust.
Here is the road without a truck
And here is the road after a truck went thru
Hope you have a wonderful day and may Santa be good to you
love to all of ya
Jim and Linda

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Beautiful sunrise

Yesterdays sunrise was spectacular. The first light coming onto the clouds was this beautiful redish orange color. I missed the best of it while checking in the day workers but here is the rest of it....
some of God's wonder

Pretty spectacular, huh
Remember, you can click on a picture to enlarge it

At our last gate we had lots of clear space around us. One of the ranchers said we would not see many, if any, snakes because there was no brush for them. Here we have brush and some trash right behind us. The people we relieved had put out rat/mice bait. Hope that takes care of those critters.
Linda went into town to do laundry and picked up some mothballs and I spread them around. They are supposed to help with snakes and other critters.
Very slow, 1 oncoming so far today.
Have a wonderful day
love to all of ya
Jim and Linda

Friday, December 21, 2012

New Location and steps

We got a phone call last night saying we were relieved. Meaning our assignment was over and they would be out today to get us disconnected so we could head back to the yard in Whitsett. We were both kind of excited that we would have some time off, but again, we would not be making any money and who knows how long we would be in the yard because of the holidays.

When the serviceman came this morning they told us we could move down the  road about 2 1/2 miles, closer to the highway or go back to the yard. The gate guards there were leaving and we could take that position.

We both thought about that and were about to say no, but again, did not know how long we might be in the yard and $125 a day is better than nothing.

So here we are. This is a much slower gate as far as activity goes according to the people we relieved. They said they are only getting about 10 ins a day and that includes the hunters....holy cow....I thought it was slow where we just left. We were getting 20-50 ins a day.

I designed and built a set of steps that we could use while we are gate guarding. Using the rv steps is difficult when you are going in and out so many times a day, and it is very hard on the steps. The steps I designed come apart into seven pieces for when we move and there are no screws or other fasteners holding the sections together. We have been using them about a month now and they are much easier going up and down.

Looks like it will be a lonely birthday for Linda and a lonely Christmas for us.....
Hope all is well  with you and you have a very happy Christmas.

Merry Christmas to all, and may your new year be prosperous and healthy.
love to all of ya
Jim and Linda

Thursday, December 20, 2012


This morning shortly after sunrise I was outside in the cold and saw these dark things flying past. They were wildlife. When Linda got up, she noticed something between the rear window and the sunshade. It was one of the bats. We thought it might be dead, but after removing it from its resting place it was very much alive. It finally crawled under the trailer where we assume it will stay until dark.

About midnight a storm front started coming thru with strong winds from the north. About 2am I had to get up and put up the awning as it was making lots of noise. Layed back down with my clothes on as I had to get up in about an hour and a half. Suposed to stay cold (60's during the day, hight 20's at nite) for the next two or three days, than back into the 70's.
Have a great day
Love to all of ya
Jim and Linda

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Hunting and hunters and breakfast

  Some of the land owners where we are gate guarding allow hunting on their property. One place has an actual hunting camp where the hunters come in for several days. The land owners give us a list of who is authorized to come onto their land, and we have to abide by the list.
  The other day one man came in before daybreak and left before noon with a buck. He came back later in the day and got another buck. One guy got a cougar, aparently big enough he is going to mount the head. Another one got a couple of havolini's (kind of a wild pig) (not sure I spelled that right)
  One of the land owners was talking to us one day and telling us that the hunting is big business at some of the ranches. They have large areas fenced off with high fences to keep their deer in. He told us that some of the bucks can go for up to $200,000 dollars as breeding stock. They breed to get larger deer.
Some hunter pay us much as $10,00 to kill some of these trophy bucks, and some of them kill the bucks while they are caged up and unable to move.  After paying that much money the "hunter" does not want his trophy to get away.

  Now on another note....I love breakfast. When we got out to eat breakfast my standard order is,
egg's over east, bacon still soft and wiggly, and fried potatoes with a little onion. A glass of milk when the food comes out.
  When I make breakfast it consists of: spam and pancakes, spam and french toast, spam and scrambled eggs. I love spam. And make great scambled eggs. Have to tell you how some time.
   I rarely make eggs over easy, as I tend to undercook the eggs, and they are too runny...can't seem to fix that problem.
This being Saturday morning I have not had a customer yet and it is, 7;22am, almost 4 hours. Now that it is daylight I should see a few coming in.
hope your day goes well.
Love to all of ya,
Jim and Linda

Monday, December 10, 2012


That cold north wind they have been predicting has finally got here. It's supposed to be 20 degrees we don't got us no union suit to keep us warm....
The wind is blowing very strong, 20-30mph, and of course it is full of dust. I can only hope we are not too busy today.
Oh, by the way....a union suit is a set of red, one piece, long underwear with the trap door in back....yes, they still sell them here in Texas.

  On another note, I am sitting here kind of bored as usual and thought that I would comment on the quote from Mark Twain in our header above. I found that one day on another blog and thought that it kind of reflected on our lives the past 12 years plus. Actually longer than that, as we have both wanted to see things and do things and enjoy life. Not sitting at home and withering away as some people do who are afraid to get out and explore, see new things.
  For years we knew we were wanted to see the country and live in an rv. We read everything we could find on the subject and subscribed to the magazines that talked about rv's and the lifestyle. We tore out all of the articles on travel and places to see and put them in a binder, seperated by state. And afterwards, when we went on the road, we would check our file and remove the article after we had visited that area. It sounded great to us, and it has proved to be so.
  Oh, we have had some setbacks. A number of repairs, things failing, blown tires...days in repair shops while something got fixed. It's not fun sitting in a motel room waiting for your house to get fixed, and hoping they fix it right.
  We had to go back to work for three years, and we are sitting here in south Texas gate guarding because we need the money...but overall we have had a great time.
  Obviously this life style is not for have to really like, love and respect your partner as you are spending a lot of time together in a very small amount of space. But we have made it work, as have thousand of others that share the life style.
  We have met some great people over the years and become friends with a number of them. Some of them we only see occasionally but they are still friends and when we meet up on the road, as we often do, it is always hugs and smiles and talking of times past, and where are you going next.....maybe we could spend a little time together going down the road.
  O.K. enough of that stuff....I am getting misty eyes. Besides it about time for the day crew to start coming in and I need to put some more clothes on.
Take care our dear friends and family
we love you all
Jim and Linda

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Dust, Dust and more Dust

Not much to report.  We are starting our 7th week here and, more than likely, will be here until we leave for home the end of April.  We have been told that we are here at the request of the ranchers and that as long as they are doing any kind of work on these sites, a Gate Guard is required.

The excitement for the week was going into town to do laundry yesterday, having lunch with Bobbie, getting my nails done and picking up a few things at Wal-Mart.  Now how is that for an exciting day?????

Those of you who know me well, know that I am somewhat of a "neat freak" you all can imagine what I think of the these images:

Tell me again why we are doing this...........oh yeah.......MONEY!!!!!

Y'all take care......

Linda and Jim

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Sameo sameo

We are in our 5th week here and traffic into the sites is still strong. We have gone thru drilling, fracking, coil tubing, flowback and who knows what else. They are hooking the wells together and hooking them to the pipeline.
We are averaging about 50 vehicles in each day, mostly during the day from about 5:50am to 6:00pm. Since I work from 4am to 4pm I get most of the work. Linda gets very few customers durning the night and it makes for very long nights. TV programing is even worse after about 10pm so she does a lot of reading on her Kindle.
During the day I play a lot of spider solitare, regular solitare, and freecell....can't tell you how many thousands of games I have played.
It appears there is no end in sight for us on this site....they keep doing things. One of the supervisors told me they were going to start a new project the first of the month.....we are hoping that they relieve us soon so we can go back to the yard for a few days of "normal" living.
Yesterday Linda went into Pleasanton and took Walker to a groomer. He was turning brown from all of the he is bright white again. It is a 80 mile round trip into Pleasanton and either one of us usually makes it once a week or so. A while back I made  two trips the same into town and stopped at the lumber store and went to pay and did not have my billfold....damn...had to come back out here and get it than go back into town.
Hope all is going well for you
Let us know whats up with you these days
Love to all of ya
Jim and Linda
p.s. we are able to Skype with our kids, not the greatest video, but it works

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving

Hope that you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving day.
We should have a quiet day today. Most activity is shut down on the seven well sites that we guard. So it will be more boring than usual.
The other day I drove 20 miles into Pearsall, TX to the H.E.B. store (think Jewel/Osco only about 25 percent smaller selection). Bought two slices of deli turkey breast about 1/2 think, a ham slice for Linda, a package of instant potatoes, can of chicken gravy, can of cranberrys, and a can of sweet potatoes. Now how is that for a great
My goal was to loose some weight this winter. Cut way back on the beer, from a case a week to one can about every two days. But the boredome has gotten to both of us and we are snacking way too much.
This can be a very frustrating job. You sit around bored to tears and than decide to watch something on tv or to read, or maybe try and eat supper. Than the traffic starts up....and you are up and down loging trucks in and out....than it slows back down.
Again, have a wonderful Thanksgiving day, don't eat too much......and no naps!!
Give us a call. We have phone service and intermittent internet service. We bought another signal booster that works pretty well especially for phone and texting. Internet is spotty and somethimes good, but slow.
Love to all of ya
Jim and Linda

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

OMG.....where has the time gone.  We have been very lax keeping our blog up to we're going to try and bring you up to speed.

Our summer at home was very busy and enjoyable.  Let me recap for you:

-we arrived back home the 24th of May and spent the Memorial Day weekend with our old camping club friends.
-on May 29th, my Mom, Maggie, and I took my youngest grandson, Jordan, to Washington DC for a week to visit my brother and his wife and to see the DC sights.  Two years ago Jim and I took our oldest, Jamie, so it was now Jordan's turn.  We had a wonderful time and Jordan can't wait to go back!!!!!
-the month of June was spemt bouncing between Indiana and Illinois spending time with family and friends.
-my favorite time of being home is our family vacation with Jeff, Lorie, Jamie and Jordan and this year was no exception. We left the 23rd of June for a 2 week vacation.  Our whole family loves amusement parks and we spent a few days at our favorite, Cedar Point in Sandusky, Ohio.  From there we headed to Niagara Falls for a few days and finally ended up at Greenfield Village in Detroit, Michigan.  What a wonderful time!!!!!
-the months of July and Augut were again spent between Indiana and Illinois and some "camping" weekends.
-the end of August found us on our way back to my brother's in Washington DC for a family reunion which included celebrating my Mom's 85th birthday and Christmas. Allthough my family is not large, it is difficult to get us all together at one time.  This was the year and my brother and his wife put together a fabulous weekend.  We all stayed at their house and played games, had wonderful meals and just spent some real quality "family" time.  Most eveyone left for home on Monday but my Mom, my brother Kelly and his family, Jim and I stayed the week and spent time seeing the DC sights.  We can't thank my brother Danny and his wife, DeeDee enough for all the thought and time that went imto planning that weekend.  We all left with a lot of wonderful memories.
-again it was back and forth between Indiana and Illinois until we left on October 12th starting our way south for the winter.  We stopped in Rockville, Indiana for the Covered Bridge Festival but were very disappointed.  We had attended this festival a number of years ago and thoroughly enjoyed all the local arts and crafts vendors.  This time is was more like a "flea" market.  From there we continued to Talequah, Oklahoma and spent a couple of days with our dear friends BJ and Bob who we had not seen in a couple of years.  After that it was on to Lake Texhoma where we met up with Jim and Bobbie Chapman for a week before continuing on to Whitsett, Texas to start our winter jobs as Gate  Guards.
And as usual our luck in Texas results in repair work. Our water heater sprung a leak and it will be replaced tomorrow.

So, that brings us up to date.....we are now sitting out in the middle of nowhere....about 40 miles from the nearest town......making plans for next summer!!!!!

Love to all of you

Linda and Jim

Monday, September 10, 2012

Shattered rear window

While we were in Virginia for the big party (more about that later), my brother called me with a very distraught sound in his voice. He told me that while he was mowing the lawn, he had to stop and refuel. He heard a loud noise and started looking around and looked at the rear window of the trailer. It was shattering into millions of pieces...and I do mean millions. He thought that a rock may have hit the window....
After many phone calls and much worry they finally located someone who thought he could replace the window. Tom covered the opening with some plastic that he taped in place.
Yoder Auto Glass of Goshen Indiana showed up this morning and removed the outer frame and what was left of the glass and will order new tempered, tinted glass. It will take until next Thursday to get the glass and they will come right out and install it.

the top picture shows thousands of little pieces sitting on the window sill. The bottom picture is what it looked like when we got home. you can click on a picture to enlarge it.
Have a great day
love to ya all
Jim and Linda

Sunday, August 19, 2012

How quicky the summer passes

The summer is moving along very fast, already it is Mid August. We are back at our son and daughter in laws house in Woodstock, IL. This next weekend is another club weekend, our next to the last one of this year.
I keep talking of being back in our sons, or my brothers driveways, and finally took a picture of them
This is at my brothers place. After pulling off of the highway, we have to pull into a bank driveway, back out going the other  way and back down 1/4 mile of road and make the turn into their drivewayl
and this is our son's place. They added the new parking area this year, widening out the old one and adding electric and water for us. Plus a hookup for their trailer as well.

Before we left South Bend this last time our sister in law Peggy made us a traditional Polish wedding supper. This consisted of Polish sausage, fried chicken, mashed potatoes and Polish noodles with gravy, sweet and sour cabbage, and rolls.Thanks Peg for a great meal.
South Bend has/had one of the largest Polish communities in the US, second only to Chicago in size. Over the years we went to a lot of Polish weddings, including my first wedding, and this was the traditional meal served, family style. There used to be several butchers in South Bend that made Polish wedding sausage, but today there is only one. As the old Polish die away, the traditions die with them. Now all of the Polish bars and restaurants are closed or reopened as Mexican bars and restaurants.

Linda and I went to the RV hall of fame and museum a couple of weeks ago for an rv show. The admission price included the museum which I have wanted to see for a very long time. It was well worth the wait. It was laid out in an camping setup with rv's on both sides of an aisle that meandered thru the building, with picnic tables and bushes scatterd around. They had the very first rv's to the latest and greatest and a lot of them were open to go into. Quite an experience to go into some of these very small rv's after living in a very large one for so many years.

In two months we will be heading back to Texas to start gate guarding again. Hope to do about 5 months this time.
It has been an unusual summer, what with the drought and all, with no mosquitos or other flying critters that bite. It has been nice to sit out and enjoy the outdoors without tons of bug spray on.

Hope your summer has been good.
Love to all of ya
Jim and lInda

Friday, July 13, 2012

Long time no post.

   The summer is moving along very fast. Lots of things going on. We had a great vacation, altho Cedar Point was a little disapointing. I was too fat to ride 3 of the coasters. The seat belt on 3 of the rides that have the over the shoulder bar with a seat belt connection were too short for me, as well as a lot of other men and women. I could fit into the seat ok., but the shoulder bar would not lock in place.
   We had good weather thru the two weeks until the last few day in the Detroit area. Luckily the day we did Greenfield Village it was overcast and not bad out.....the rest of the time it was HOT.
We had a great time with the kid's and grandkid's. Niagra Falls was as touristy as ever, as was The Henry Ford(that's what they call the museum/village/Ford Rouge plant/imax theater these days). We did the factory tour where they build the F-150 pickup, but the plant was shut down for vacations, so it was pretty boring. It was part of a package deal.

   We are currently in my brother's front yard and will leave here next Wednesday to go back to the kids driveway for a few days before heading to Wisconsin Dells for a weekend of boating
   We have been having problems with the Verizon Mifi that we connect to the internet with for some time now and ended up taking the device and our computer to a Verizon store. They spent over an hour removing old software for the first two devices and adding the latest upgrades in softwar to the device and also some to Vista that I had not installed. So far it is working fine.

   Other than that, just trying to cope with the hot, dry weather. My brothers yard is brown, and like most areas we are under a no fire ban.

   Hope all is well with you, write when you can and let us know how your life is getting on.
Love to all of ya,

Jim and Linda

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Home again

After an uneventful trip, we arrived safely at Blackhawk campground in Illinois where we spent the Memorial Day  weekend with 7 other couples including our son and daugher-in-law and grandsons. Monday morning we left and drove to South Bend, IN. to my brother's house where we spend time in his front yard.

Linda and our grandson Jordan, and her mom Maggie left for Washington D.C. Tuesday morning at 5:50am and arrived safely about 12 hours later. They spent a week and returned back to South Bend on the following Wednesday and we left for Illinois on Saturday morning.  Jordan had a great time in DC and is anxious to go back and spend some more time with his Uncle Danny and Aunt Dee Dee.

We normally stop on the Indiana toll road to dump our holding tanks, but they have closed all of their dump facilitys. We went on to the kids house in Woodstock, IL and than on to a state park to dump the tanks.

Jeff and Lorie suprised us by doubling the size of the camping pad and putting all new gravel in with a water and electric connection right on the pad so we do not have to run extension cords to get power or an extra 50 foot of hose to get water. Very nice. Thank you Jeff and Lorie.

We will leave on our family vacation next Saturday morning, driving almost 400 miles to Cedar Point amusement park in Sandusky, OH. to spend 4 nights before moving on to the Niagra Falls area for 5 nights. Than back, via Canada, to the Henry Ford museum and Greenfield Village near Detroit, MI.

Hope all is well
love to all of ya
Jim and Linda

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Free, at last

Jamie (our boss at Gate Guarding) called Thursday morning an told me we would be relieved at about 11:30 or so. So Linda got to sleep in until about 10am. We were all hooked up and sitting in the truck with the air conditioner running full blast when our reliefs showed up right on time.

By the time we got off of the site and they got on and we briefed them on their duties it was pushing 12:30 and we left and drove about 85 miles to the northeast side of San Antonio and got two nights at a campground. We rested up, took showers, and went out to Red Robin for an early dinner/late lunch and went back home.

Friday about 1 pm we went over to our niece Ally and her fiance Paige's house to visit. Ally gets off at noon on Fridays and we spent time visiting with her. Than we drove into San Antonio to the river walk and wandered around, stopping at the Hard Rock Cafe for some souvenirs. We met Paige about 5:30 at an upscale Mexican restaurant for a great meal and than moved on to our trailer for more visiting and to show Paige the rv lifestyle. He had no idea about  the size of our trailer and wondered why we did not park in their driveway.....our truck barely fit!!!

Today (Saturday) we drove a little over 360 miles to Mt. Pleasant, TX where we are spending the night and will move on to Tunica tomorrow after another 360 miles. That's a day early, but the driving has been easy with a tail wind most of the day (that's very rare for us).

We will spend two nights in Tunica now since we are getting in early and leave there on Tuesday morning with a two day trip to Rockford, IL to camp with the kids and some friends (about 5 couples) from our old camping club. We were hoping for cooler weather, but it looks like it will be in the high 80's for Memorial day weekend.

Have a great day

love to all of ya
 Jim and Linda

Friday, May 11, 2012

Another close call

Yesterday it rained almost all day in varying intensity's. Including hail, severe thunderstorm warnings, tornado warnings. severe wind warnings, flash flood warnings.....By early afternoon it came down by the bucket including hail about half the size of a marble down to pea size.

I had tripped the breaker on the generator and pulled the electric plug out of the trailer. The dish was down. All electrical things I could find were unplugged. Not taking any chances this

Somewhere around 4pm the company man sent a man down in a truck to tell us to follow him back up to the "safe house" at the rig as there was a tornado. By the time we had gather up the dogs and the safe w missed seeing what building he went into so we sat there in the truck. We found out later they were all in  the crews changing room which is an all metal trailer with no windows.

Later reports from truckers and people on the rig were that a tornado did touch down about a mile from us. Between us and Karnes City which is about 7 miles away as the crow flys. We could not see anything because of the rain. Finally the safety man came out and said it was all clear and we went back to the rig about 4:30 and put the slides back out, turned on the breaker and put the power cord back in but did not plug in all of the electrical stuff or put up the dish until later.

We sat and read very apprehensively the rest of the evening as radar off of the computer was showing strong storms still coming at us.I finally went to bed about 10pm and Linda woke me up about midnight to plug the stuff back in so she could put up the dish and turn on the tv.

She had a very quiet night and morning and when I relieved her at 6am it is pretty foggy. They are predicting more rain today. And flash flood warnings have been going on since yesterday afternoon.
Have a great day
remember we love ya
Jim and Linda
6 days and counting
p.s.  Just saw on the weather channel that there were 7 tornados touching down from the Mexico border and our area during the big storm yesterday (7:03am this morning)

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Invasion, cow trees and other stuff

It finally cooled off after the rain yesterday. Some reports of about 3 inches total. Next few days will be in the low 80's.
After it got light this morning, I was out checking in a trucker and saw these flying insects moving all over the place. I asked the driver and he told me that they were flying queen ants and they are looking for a new place to live. He suggested squishing them. Which I did, by the hundreds....those I could not reach because they were under the trailer I sprayed with wasp and hornet killer. Do not need giant ants in the thanks!
Remember you can click on pictures to make them larger.....

They are huge, about 5/8 of an inch long...the last one is without the wings.

Across the highway is another ranch and they graze cattle. I saw the trees but did not pay much attention until one day the cows were out in this area. They eat the leaves and branches off of the trees up as high as they can reach. Never saw this before.

They TD'ed (reached the end) (do not know what TD stands for, may be total depth, or touchdown?)the well last night at 18.362 feet. They still have 3-4 days work before they can skid the rig over about 25 feet to start the next well.
  This is also crew change day. They started coming in yesterday and the old crew left last night and this morning. They work two weeks on, two weeks off and get paid for four weeks plus any overtime. They are on site the whole time, except to go off and eat or drink. The Marathon bosses all live in mobile homes that have an office and living quarters. They are quite nice.

Yesterday they came thru and unloaded the pipe for the pipeline. They had to put down the tires on our road to keep the loader's tracks from tearing up the road. The pipe is about 6 inches in diameter and looks to be about 40 foot long. Do not know when they will be in our area to weld it together.

We are down to 8 days on site. Do not know if they will send in a relief crew for us or we will just leave. Lots of folks, like us, are leaving for the summer as it is too miserable down here in the summer.

Have a great day
love to ya
Jim and Linda

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Pulling casing

Yesterday afternoon they shut down drilling. Rumors from vehicles coming out are that the drill bit is worn out and needs to be replaced. Up in the "dog house"(control room )where the "tool pusher" (the man who runs the rig) works there are a number of monitoring screens and they know about how fast they should be drilling. When it drops below a certain point they know that there is a problem.
They started pulling pipe late yesterday and finished up sometime during the night and started back down. They pulled approximately 12000 feet of pipe out. You can see the pipe on the right side of the rig. It comes out in three sections which are about 90 foot total.
                                        This first one is when they were  starting to pull out

the last 3 were taken this morning after that had started going back in.

Sometime last night the wind shifted from the south to the north-northeast and the thunder and lighning came in. Linda put the dish down right away. When I got up and ready to work I went outside and it looked like the lightning and thunder was way tooo I turned off the power and unpluged the power cord from the generator...
Right now, at 8am it is 68 degrees and very windy, but with the wind from the northeast....a real blessing....but it is supposed to get up to 95 today.
Since we gave you the sunrise yesterday I will finishwith the sunset and moon rise last night.

Have a great day, and remember.....we love ya
Jim and Linda

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Relief is coming

According to the weather channel the temps will drop to the high 80's on Tuesday. Blessed relief!!
Yesterday was 101 (yes you read that right 101) degrees. The AC is barely keeping things livable. Of course, since we have to open the door and go out and sign people in and out we loose cool air.

Yesterday I was pretty busy. 55 customers from about 7am to noon. It would help to sit out, but our rig faces east so we get all of the morning sun, and the wind prevents me from putting the awning out. I tried yesterday as the wind did let up (for about 2 minutes) but had to put the awning  back down.

I had 11 truckloads of casing(drill pipe) yesterday. I counted one load and it had 42 sections that are approximately 45 foot long. To save you the math, that is 1980 feet. Not every truck had 42 pieces, some had maybe 30. That's still a lot of casing.

When we started gate guarding some of the service guys said that it would be wise to by a surge protector as the generators sometimes lose a belt which causes the voltage to spike. Which can damage every electrical thing in your rig. We bought one, as did Jim and Bobbie. They lost a belt, and did not have any damage. Kind of expensive to buy at $400 but well worth it.

A couple of days ago our service man Mark came over to change the generator oil, filter and diesel fuel filter. He shut off the breakers and did his thing. After restarting the generator and letting it settle in, he turned the breakers on and our surge protector started making strange noises. I called Pete at Techno RV where we bought it and he in turn called Progressive Dynamics who made the device, telling them that I needed a replacement right away and authorization to return the one we have.
Long story short, I got the new device yesterday and will return the original.

This mornings sunrise. The excavator in the foreground has a vacuum pipe loader attachment on it. They will be unloading pipe for the pipe line to connect the rigs.

Have a wonderful weekend

ya' gotta know we love ya'

Jim and Linda

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Two Weeks

A couple of days ago we had visitors. Some of the local cows came by, but did not stay very long. The one came by its self and was curious, smelling our lights and the sign, and giving me the evil eye as I was taking the pictures. Some calf's with them.

Yesterday was a bad day at the rig. The mud pump/motor that is at the end of the pipe with the drill bits broke down and they had to pull out a few thousand feet of pipe and make repairs. This took all day and into the evening before they started putting the pipe back down.

Today marks the beginning of our last two weeks. We are both getting tired, and body's are sore. Mostly from going up and down the steps. If the damned wind would stop blowing we could sit out, that is until it gets so hot that you can not sit out......can't win. This morning the wind is down, so maybe I will put out the awning for a while. Temperatures for the last several days, and for the next 7 days are/have been in the low to mid 90's during the day and low 70's at night. Humidity runs around 90-95 percent.
Have a great day, and know that we love ya.....
Jim and Linda

Saturday, April 28, 2012

da wind

I thought that showing these pictures of our flag would give you an indication of how hard the wind is blowing. I could not get the flag standing straight out due to the lag in the point and shoot camera. The other picture is of the swatch they cut thru the brush and tress in about an hour to an hour and a half. it is about 12 feet wide and a couple of hundred feet long. The brush is standing from eight to 15 foot tall. Very inpressive piece of machinery.

The wind, the heat, and other things

the wind has been blowing for several days now.....very strong, 15-25mph with gusts higher. It does not even let up at night, but the temps do get a little cooler. Saving grace for us is that the wind is coming across a field with grass and trees and not down a dusty road. So Linda does not have to dust 2-3 times a day like she had on some sites. We like to have the awning out during the day to sit under and help keep the heat off of the trailer, but with the wind we can not do that. In fact we do not even sit out. As I am writing this the wind just picked up speed and is blowing even harder in the gusts.

Daytime temps have been as high as 98 degrees, averaging about 88-90, while the nights are about 62-65 degrees. Our poor air conditioner is working very hard, and is barely keeping things livable. We are using two small fans to help.

So far no snake sightings for the last couple of days. One of the truckers told me that he has had reports of  5 foot rattlers, and one report of an 8 footer......thank goodness we have only seen small ones. Don,t know what either of us would do if we saw one of those big ones.....probably call the company safety man and tell him to do

We are under three weeks now, but we are not counting.....right.....

We are using the wifi from the rig. Verizon service is not good in south Texas. Plus on this rig site we are down in a hole, and while we can get on the Internet with Verizon it is extremely slow. The wifi is not blazing, but livable.

Traffic is more than we thought it would be on a drill rig. We are averaging about 120 visitors a day that have to be signed in and out. One day we had 145, a new record for us. I think the least we have had here is about 60.

We are both fascinated by the amount of specialized equipment that is used to drill a well. When we first heard about gate guarding I was visualizing the old fashioned rigs that you saw in the movies....a tapered wood structure with some equipment to drill the is is all specialized and automated. The rigs are very portable and break down so they fit onto specialized semi trailers, some with as many as 5 axles on them. It takes about 2-3 days to take down a rig, and the same amount of time to put it back up.

A few days ago they reached 6000 foot and took the casing (pipe) out and put down larger pipe. A crew came in about 10pm in several semi trailers, assorted other trucks and left at 3 pm the following day after cementing in the new larger casing, working thru the night and next day.
Special tankers bring in "mud" that is used in the drilling, and special dump trucks take the used mud out to a dumping facility. Typically about 3 trucks, making several trips each bring in the mud. This happens every 2-4 days.

After cementing in the larger casing, they will now start to turn the hole sideways and drill another 10-12000 feet. They will drill another well on this pad, and there is another pad about 1/4 mile from us. They came in yesterday with a huge brush hog mounted on a front end loader and cut a 12 foot wide path thru the scrub trees and underbrush to the next well site. They will now come in and put about 12 inch diameter pipe above ground to connect the two wells, and build some sort of facility to store the oil for pickup by tanker trucks. They will not be hooking these three wells to the pipeline.

We will be gone before all of this is done.

We have not been posting pictures as we are not supposed to take them.....but we have been taking pictures and would love to show them to you. have to come see us.

O.K. y'all have a great day, and know that we love ya, and miss ya.

Jim and Linda

Wednesday, April 25, 2012


There is a bunkhouse for the crew about a 100 foot or so from us. Earlier this evening one of the crew came running down the road saying "did you see the snake:" and pointing to where our access road meets the main road. It is all blacktop and there was about a 3 foot rattler slithering across our driveway entrance. He proceeded to catch it using a stick and our awning rod, saying one of his friends in Mississippi had never seen one and wanted it. O.K.

Long about 9:30PM some of the crew come down and said they had caught (yes that's right caught) three rattlers and were looking around and checking out the bunkhouse and our trailer. They moved in a large flood light that they use on the rig to light it up at night and put it across from the they can see the snakes better????????

Linda had me go out and spread the box of moth balls that we had in reserve in hopes that the moth balls will keep the snakes away.  As you can all imagine.......she is really scared.  One of the crew told her that the snakes like to lay on the blacktop road at night for the warmth!!!!!!!  And she has the night shift!!!!!!!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

New Site

  We finally got moved off of our other site. Someone at Marathon messed up and did not call Gate Guarding to release us, so we spent a little over a week doing much of nothing and both going to bed at night. Worked out well as we were still getting paid....but it was really boring.

  We went back to the yard in Whitsett and lost two days pay waiting for a new assignment. We are at a drilling rig this time. First time for us. Most people who working the drilling rigs stay with the rig when it moves to the next site. The folks that were with this rig were going home, so we ended up here. It typically takes about 2-3 weeks to drill a new well.

  We will most likely be with this rig until we leave on May 18th.

  Most people who are gate guarding do not want to be here in south Texas during the summer. It is way to hot and humid, plus all of the critters are out and about.....rattlesnakes, scorpions, and lot of assorted bugs. They even sell snake repelent in the farm stores, but reports are that it does not work very well. Reports are the moth balls work better, and on our first site Linda spread a whole box of them around the rig....really smelled bad!!!!! Plus its not healty to breathe all of those fumes.  No snakes thou..
I took one of Linda's socks and put mothballs in it, and taped it to our water hose to keep the mice away.

  An update on the storm damage......the new satellite dish is installed, the new refrigerator is installed and after installing the new dish we discovered that the HDMI input on the tv was also burned out by the we will be replacing the tv in the living room as well. The insurance covered the full cost of the new bedroom tv and the home theater system.....but only a small percentage of the refrigerator and dish...they prorated these items. Cost was around $7600 and we had to pay $4650 of that.

  A real bad day for us.....just as we thought were going to be in good shape for money for the summer and until we return here in November we have to pay out $4650....
I guess at least we had it to pay out, but it will sure put a crimp on this summer.

  Hope all is well with you.....write when you can, and hopefully we will see some of you this summer.

Love to all of ya
Jim and Linda

Sunday, April 8, 2012


As of last Thursday we have been on this site one month. They finished and turned the well over to production about a week ago. Marathon said they would get back to us as to our far we have not heard anything.

Yesterday the land owners stopped by to say HI. They said as far as they were concerned we could stay as long as we wanted....yes, but we need to get paid also. I told them that it was kind of sad as Friday was our 38th wedding anniversary and we could not go out to celebrate. They were going into Kenedy to visit Walmart and see their parents. Richard asked me if I knew anything about the well and I told him that I had heard some time back that it was flowing about 25 barrels an hour. He seemed happy with that. Later in the afternoon Richard came over with a cake his wife had baked for us for our aniversary.

From what we can find out the landowners get about 20 percent of the oil from the well. This after all the bills are paid to bring it in. 20 percent of 25 barrels an hour is $500 an hour at $100 a barrel. That's $12000 a day and $360000 a month. They will be drilling 4 more wells on this property..

  The latest of the storm damage now includes the satellite dish and the home theater receiver. The parts I ordered to repair the dish did not fix all of the problem and Weinguard says that they will not warranty or offer technical assistance if I order the rest of the parts needed as they are very difficult to install. So we are returning the other parts and ordering a new dish thru our rv repair guy. We also started a claim with the insurance company. We were reluctant to do this at first as we figured that with the big roof repair last year and this storm  damage our rates would go up. But the costs are too great now.

Ordered the home theater system and a new tv for the bedroom thru Walmart and are having them shipped to the office in Whitsett. There is very little available from the Walmart in Kenedy as it is a small all of the oil workers have cleaned out the audio/visual area of small tv's.
Hopefully by this time next week we should be back in full operation. The fridge was fixed on Thursday afternoon and we  put things back in on Friday. We are watching tv using the bedroom Directv standard definition receiver and the portable satellite dish.

Last day of work will be May 17th. We will spend the 18th in San Antonio visiting with our niece Ally (and Paige). Than on to Tunica, MS for two nights before heading to Illinois to meet the kids and grandkids at a campground for the Memorial day weekend. That Monday we drive to South Bend and spend some time in my brothers driveway, while Linda, our grandson Jordan, and Linda's mom drive to Washington DC to visit her brother and sisten-in-law for a week.  We had taken our oldest grandson, Jamie, two years ago to Washington and promised Jordan that we would also take him to see the sites.

Hope you have had a great Easter weekend
love to all of ya
Jim and Linda

Saturday, March 31, 2012


The coil tubing crew finished up and left yesterday and the flowback crew came in and started setting up.
This crew will hook up the well to the pipeline and monitor all flows and seperate out the oil from the /sand/water/gas/other things.
About 7:30 this morning they got the flare off flame going which burns off the excess gas.
We still do not know how long we will be here. We are guessing until they put up a physical gate to close the property off.
have a great day
love to all of ya
Jim and Linda

Friday, March 30, 2012

2nd update on damage

Hi all
I think this is the final survey, unless something shows up later down the road
refrigerator- two new circuit boards
furnace- new circuit board
air conditioner- new control box and new thermostat
Directv- replace both hi-def and regular receivers (will have to talk(or is that fight) to Directv today to try and order receivers)
bed room tv- replace (why it took out the bedroom tv and not the living room tv???)
satellite dish- replace contril box and power supply....if this does not fix the problem than there is something wrong on the roof (Weingard says ship the dish back to the hell do we do that)
Other than that things are going good.
We still have no idea when we will leave this site and move on. They should be done today with the coil tubing job and start moving their equipment out. Since there is not a physical "gate" here we may have to stay here until they build a gate. No one knows whats going on, especially us.
have a great weekend
love to all of ya
Jim and Linda

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Update on storm damage

The repairman got here around noon today........we could not thank him enough for getting here as quickly as he did.  Status so far is as follows:

-a/c has been fixed......fried circuit board.  He had this part with him and was able to repair it today.  Along with the a/c unit, the circuit board for the furnace was also fried.  Will have part on Monday.
-refrigerator......fried circuit boards(2).  Part has to be ordered and will not be here until Monday.  Fortunately, I called the office at Gate Guard Services and asked it they by chance had a refrigerator at the office.....they do and we were able to take some of our food and put in their, we will not loose everything!!!!!!
-satellite....we called this morning and ordered a new power source and hopefully that will fix the satellite.  Part should be here on Monday.  Unfortunately, that means NO TV ......which is going to make my nights even longer!!!!!!

Total costs should be around $1000.00-$1300.00 depending on if the parts we ordered for the dish fix the problem.  Probably will not file a claim with the insurance company as we have a $500.00 deductible.

The strange thing about this is that is was actually a DC problem, not 120V.  That is why everything else, TV, computer, convection oven, was not damaged.  It only hit the items that were DC connected, but did not affect 12 volt lighting.

Take care.....

Linda and Jim


We have whethered many storms through our 12 years on the road...and have never sustained any damage.....until tonight.  We had a storm front come through this evening that produced a lot of rain (prediction for some parts of Karnes County was up to 6 inches) and A LOT of lightning....well, one of those bolts of lightning hit very close to us and, as of right now, our refrigerator, air conditioning and satellite are not working (and we just installed a new air conditioner two weeks ago).  We are going to call the RVcompany that installed our air conditioner and see if they can come out tomorrow and access the damage.  Hopefully, it won't be as bad as we are thinking......perhaps just circuit boards!!!!!

Good thing we are working..........although this is not how we had planned on spending our money....

Take care........

Linda and Jim

Monday, March 19, 2012

They left us behind

The crew finished fracking Friday and started moving all of their equipment out. We had thought that we would be going with them, but the next site they are going to already has a gate guard. We talked to the Marathon safety man and he kept telling us he would let us or our office know what was going on.
Yesterday we called the office and they had not heard anything from Marathon and told us to just sit here and wait until we hear something. We are still getting paid. And, there are still some people coming in to do clean up work and remove their equipment.  One guy showed up at midnight last nite!!!! how dumb.
The oil companys lease  or rent a lot of equipment and the people to run them. It apparently is cheaper for them to do business this way than to try and buy their own equipment and hire and train people.
So here we sit and wait.

Love to ya
Jim and Linda

Friday, March 16, 2012

Found the gun

After moving in a very large crane and a bunch of related equipment, including two smaller cranes, they started the job of getting the gun and wire back out of the well. Estimates were from 12 hours to two or three days......if they had problems.
By the time all of the equipment was set up, which includes a series of pipe and other equipment on top of the well head towering up about 50-60 feet or so (thats why they needed the larger crane) it was 10pm and bedtime.
When I got up and ready to work about 5:45 they were still at it. Found out that they were lucky and found the gun/wire on the first try and were very slowly pulling everything out. It will be late today before they are done and remove all of the equipment. Than our regular crew can come and and finish the last 1-3 fracks. We may be out of here by tomorrow afternoon, moving to the next site which is about 6-8 miles from here. It is located on hwy 181 about a mile north of Karnes City.
Sorry I can not show you any pictures, but photos are not allowed on site.
Have a great day
love to ya
Jim and Linda

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Broke down

We were scheduled to leave sometime today, according to the rumor mill. But yesterday evening they dropped the wire down the well. Which is a bad thing. When I came on duty at 6am the entire site had been down all night. They are (according to the rumor mill) waiting for a bigger crane to come in.....or ......they may just move out and have the cold coil crew fix the problem..   but, there is still one frack to go before they are done.
I did find out an interesting fact. It takes approximately 320,000 pound of sand to do one frack That is about eight enclosed semi trailers full!!! And they do about 15-18 fracks per well on average.

Will let you know whats going on when we find out.
Looks like we will be moving with this crew to the next two sites. The next one is a one well site and the one after that is a three well site. It takes about a week to do one well if it is average depth of about 15-18000 foot. Hope that we stay in range of this cell tower as we have great internet here.
take care, and love to all of ya
Jim and Linda

Sunday, March 11, 2012


Wow, two updates in a day!!!
I found a website that kind of explains fracking. Look at the video that is on the site. All of the equipment that it shows in the diagram is here at our site. We are still not sure what it all does....
there are several water trailers where I think they mix the chemicals with water and several trailers where they load various grades of sand into. There are also a a large number of very large pumps that have huge diesel motors on them and are built on special trailers. I would guess that there are at least 7 of these trailers. When they all get rev'ed up they make a lot of noise and smoke.
Basically they run a "gun" with explosives down the well as far as it will go and set off charges, which fractures the rock or shale. Than they send down the sand/water/chemical slurry to fill up all of the fractures and than block off that area. Than they repeat the process a number of times until they have the whole well hole fractured.

After this the whole crew moves all of the equipment to another site and another crew comes in and does what I think is called coil piping. We do not know what this is, but think they remove the sand/water/chemical mixture and allow the oil to start flowing into the well.

Than another crew comes along and hard pipes the well head into the pipeline, or in some cases, they build storage tanks and separate the oil from the water and pump both into water and crude oil tankers for removal.

It looks like we will be following the fracking crew to the next site and hopefully will stay with them until we leave.

Hope that makes it about as clear as mud for you.
Speaking of mud, we have been covered in it here....every time a truck or crew come in we have to sign them in, and than out. On the site before this one we had almost 900 sign ins in about a week.!!
take care all of you dear friend
remember we love ya, and miss you
Jim and Linda

OMG - Internet service!!!!!!

We don't know why,,,,,but today we have had internet I'm going to take advantage of it and try and get everyone updated on on Gate Guarding experience.,

I think when we left you last our assignment had come to an end and we were heading back to the yard at Whitsett.  Well, we enjoyed two (2) days of peace and quiet, did some shopping and got the laundry done.  Saturday morning, we got another asignment and headed out to the Day Lyssy site. It was a very busy site as they were at the fracking stage so there were a lot of sand trucks in and out along with the crew.  This procedure takes appox. 5-7 days and we did not know where we would be going after they were finished fracking.  As it turned out, we are going to be following this fracking crew from site to site and on Friday morning we packed up and moved to the Ted Butler site about 7 miles down the road.

As you can see from the pictures, it has been raining here since Friday.  The weather here is as unpredictable as our weather in Michigan.......Thursday we had the air conditioning on and Friday we had the electric heater running!!!!! 

The mud is terrible and according to the weather channel, it is suppose to be rainy for the next few days.We need to invest in some good "mud boots"!!!!!!

This site is quite different from the other two we have been at as we are only about 100 yards from the site and can watch all the activity!!  One of the guys from the crew has been kind enough to explain the procedure to me and, although I don't undertand everything, it is nice to have some knowledge about it.  Unfortunately, there are signs posted stating no photographs so we are unable to let you see what it looks like,.

Take care
Jim and Linda