Along the Natchez Trace

Thursday, April 25, 2013

It's Wednesday evening...  been really quiet here this week since the fracking is done.  We don't know how long we'll be at this site, but there are still trucks coming in and out each day to monitor the wells.  This doesn't mean this well is finished...  the next step is to install tubing.  Right now there's just a hole in the ground with a valve on top.  To get the oil and gas out of the well the tubing and pump needs installed.  

Is this a stand-off?

What's with Wile E Coyote ....  he's supposed to be chasing the Roadrunner isn't he? 

I received a few comments that I'll try to answer...

Adjusting to night hours...  well, anyone who knows me knows that I'm NOT a night person.....  never have been.  Since we have to "guard the gate" 24 hours a day, I was kind of antsy about my ability to work the night hours.  We started out with me taking a long nap in the late afternoon and then working from 8pm up until around midnight.  Bill would sleep during this time, and relieve me around midnight.  We worked 2 hour sifts during the night for a few nights...  but after a couple or 3 days we worked longer (and slept longer while the other worked).  This worked okay as there was a lot of in and out traffic during the peak frac time.  But then it slacked off...  the real slow time was between 1 - 4 am.  I found that I did okay with this...  I think that the nighthawks and the insects were interesting enough to keep me alert.  I sat outside...  so that I could get to the gate quickly, and also so as not to disturb Bill's time to sleep.   Even now that the traffic has slowed WAY down (no night traffic), we can go to bed as usual, but we still have the monitor on to alert us if someone is at the gate.  There are other wells being drilled nearby and we frequently get trucks who are at the wrong gate and need directions.  But...  I think we've both adjusted to the weird sleeping hours....  though I will have to admit for a couple of days I felt just like I had jet-lag.

One of the night critters...
No wonder the nighthawks are so prevalent at night... those flood lights sure bring in the insects!

 Another question...  Isn't this job boring?  In a word... NO.  But I don't think I'd want to do it alone.  Working together as a team allows us both to leave the gate  - just not at the same time.  That means we can take a walk through the area...  or go to the grocery....  or the post office...  or wherever...  we just can't do it together.  One complaint we've heard is eating out....  since we seldom eat out anyway we don't miss that. 

A few of the birds we see each day...
 Curved bill thrasher...  she has a nest (with young) in the cactus just across from our rig.

There are lots of different flycatchers in the area...
 Western Kingbird....

 I haven't ID-ed this flycatcher yet...  there are many around.

This Harris hawk is beautiful!
 He looks like he's King of the Mountain!

We see lots of Lark Sparrows...
 He's got quite a beautiful color pattern on his head.

This Orchard Oriole was in a mesquite tree just outside our rig...
We also have Bullock's Orioles...  but no photo of it yet.

So what do we do?  Well, we both have our Kindles with lots of books waiting to be read.  We both have our laptops, though the internet service is really bad here.  Yeah... we have all kinds of antennas and boosters and stuff like that... but if there are no Verizon cell towers, there just ain't no Verizon service. 

We each have our own interests...  Bill has been doing genealogy for years and continues his research with our limited internet service.  I work on my Spanish lessons every day. 

Bill found these geophones in the field across the road...
They are used to determine what the different strata are below the ground.  They transmit to a computer signals that bounce off whatever the earth below is made up of.   It always amazes me how much Bill knows about stuff like this.... but I guess with his being a geologist it shouldn't surprise me.  If I came across these on my own I'd never had a clue as to what they are for.  The thing that surprised me is that about a half dozen of these are just laying there...  looks like an expensive set-up to me!

We both enjoy the birds here.  Bill found two ponds...  one just across the road and one in back of us.  There aren't many birds there...  some herons and turtles.  There are lots of critters...  I scared up a deer today.  Sometimes we hear packs of coyotes nearby. 
Looks like a watercolor of a Green heron...  but even my 300mm lens had trouble picking this guy up.

And the birds!  Birds we don't see very often....  right now (8:45 pm) there are several nighthawks swooping just in front of our rig.  We have to keep the floodlights on all night and those light attract lots of insects...  so... a whole herd of nighthawks!

There are lots of wildflowers blooming...  my photography interests keep me busy trying to get a good photo...  and then trying to ID the plant.  I have my watercolors with me but still haven't done anything.  I have yarn to knit a sweater...  but haven't even picked out a pattern yet.
 I haven't checked this one out yet...  but it's pretty, isn't it?

 Devil's Bouquet

Mexican Hat

So... are we bored?  No...  but we aren't folks who get bored easily.  Even though we have our electronic toys we both find our surroundings interesting enough to keep us entertained.

  One of the scissor-tail flycatchers that visit us each day...

A kind of blurry shot but here you can see the red-orange under the wing.

I'll admit that I've found the (lack of) internet service frustrating, but am coming up with some options that help.  I'm now typing my blog on Word...  loading the pertinent photos in a folder, and then when I drive into Carrizo Springs to the grocery I can stop at McDonalds and compose my blog.  I won't do this every day, but if I can manage a couple times a week I'll be happy.

Now y'all know way more than you ever wanted to about what folks like us do while we're out in the boondocks of SW Texas guarding a gate!
The End!

That's All For Today!
See where we are - click on the line below to get a map.


  1. Isolated, but wonderful country to see lots of new birds! I'd probably love that part of it!

  2. What would we do when we travel without McDonalds and Starbucks to provide emergency Internet access? I'm enjoying reading about your adventure. It doesn't sound boring at all.

  3. You're keeping us up to date and making yourself a wonderful travel diary.

  4. So glad to hear you both are adjusting! Seems like you have the birds and flowers all to yourselves there! Cant believe the pic of the roadrunner and the coyote...hope they don't bother you either!

  5. I would be happy with the quiet time and all of the wildlife, but couldn't/wouldn't do this type of work alone. Definitely needs to be a couple or team. I liked the comment yesterday, "Where is the gate and why does it need to be guarded." I first found out about this type of work a year or two ago by reading RV blogs.

  6. Sounds like you have it all under control now.

  7. It's just amazing how much flora and fauna exist in the desert! You have captured some great photos.

  8. It sounds like you're settling in just fine. Nice to have the HEB nearby for groceries. Since I have to be in touch with my employer we carry both an AT&T card and a Verizon card. I even carried a Sprint card for a while but turned it off after I found out that it didn't give me anything that the other two didn't.

    Your insect is an adult Antlion. You know those little guys that make the cones in the sand to trap ants and other insects? That is the adult form.

    Have fun!!