Yesterday we were escorted to a Ranch, just outside of Artesia Wells, Texas. The oil company is Murphy. We are learning a lot this week. For example, I did not know that south Texas was full of hunting ranches. To be honest, I didn’t know much about this part of the state except it is closer to the border than I’m used to living.
That does not make me as nervous as the howling and yipping of the coyotes at night (and they do sound close) and the warnings about the wild feral pigs. I grew up on the farm in Illinois and I never heard a coyote in all that time. Now my parents hear them often. From what I’ve read, their populations are growing. The best thing to do is not leave anything around to entice them… like our two little Chihuahuas!
This is our first gate of our own. It’s 70-miles from the Carrizo Springs yard and about 9.2-miles off I-35. But, and this is a big but… that’s 9.2-miles of caliche-rock road… and mud… and sand… and soft spots. So we had to take it very s-l-o-w——- getting to our gate.
First we came through the main gate (now that’s a busy job for sure!). After we checked in with the gate guard there, we proceeded along caliche road. Some spots were good, some were like driving on a rock-studded washboard, and a few spots threatened to swallow us up. It was plenty dicey in those areas. So at 5-8 mph it took us a very long time to reach our gate at the Ranch.
We must have passed 8+ other gate guards guarding their gates along the way (it’s like a whole subculture).
We had no idea how long it takes to get all set up. Our FS led the way to the gate hauling our generator, water, diesel tank, lights, bell-ringer, and various other commodities. Our trailer mounted septic system will be here tomorrow. They had to get that from somewhere else, another yard probably.
Our FS thought we’d be here 3-5 days. But when the ranch owner came by yesterday he thought we’d be here for a lot longer than that. He was very upset that trucks were coming & going and the gate was wide open and unattended. So he got all over the oil company… who promptly called GGS to have someone sent ASAP.
This ranch has some prize deer and he didn’t want them wandering off through an open gate. I had no idea they buy breeding stock to keep the deer fresh (no inbreeding). I knew there were deer leases in Texas and they are very popular during hunting season, but I had no idea there were guides and breeding stock and tall fences to keep them inside the ranch compound.
Now I know why the south Texas ranchers want gate guards!
Yes, we are learning a lot about the process of gas production, ranching and deer hunting. There are two wells on this property and they are getting ready to frac. So looks like tomorrow we may have a lot of vehicles coming through the gate. And of course, we have to open it and close it and open it and close it… you get the idea.
One guy was so nice tonight. He was in a pick up truck with three tankers behind him. At 10:50 pm they got lined up and ready to vacate the gate. As I was on my way out, clipboard in hand, the pickup truck guy was opening the gate. I asked him to wait on me and he said he was going to wait, just wanted to help me out. He figured I’d opened that big gate many times all day and he was helping me out. What a guy!
Last night one of the workers left around 8:00 pm to get a hamburger. He wanted to know if I wanted one. I said thank you but I’d just eaten.
I can’t imagine going out that 9.2 miles and up to Cotulla for a burger. Of course, I don’t imagine they have a cook on site so it’s that or go hungry.
Last night I was going to start my “working nights” stint. I was tired and went out to tend the gate for a truck and heard the yipping… not that far away. Bob told me he’d take the first night and had me go to bed and get some sleep. It helped. When I got up this morning I enjoyed tending the gate. Most of these guys are very nice and give us respect!
I’m still a little scared of the things out there in the dark, but thankfully the company man brought us a generator powered tower light. With the two lights from GGS and the tower light it’s like daylight out there. Thank you… thank you… thank you…
I know this will get easier to conquer (the fear that is). Thank you Debbie for your pep talks, they’re helping!
Till next time,