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