Thursday, December 29, 2011

Mud, Cacti and Tears

(Guest Post by our Daughter, Caitlin)

Sounds like a country song doesn’t it?

First let’s discuss the mud part. I know my mom already talked about the mud but you really can’t believe how much mud there is until you see it. Believe me when I tell you there was a TON of mud. I mean a TON. So much so that Mom and I were worried we wouldn’t make it down the road because of the amount of mud… in fact Mom has to take a couple deep breaths before we attempt. We did make it, it was scary making it through all the mud puddles but Mom (and the truck) were troopers and we made it through. Luckily Dad was there waiting to take pictures of us going through the last big mud puddle.

Now the mud eventually dries and it turns to dirt and it really does get everywhere! My slippers and pajama bottoms all had an orange tinge to them… Mom and Dad do a great job of keeping the house clean as it can be, props to them! I would have just given up and gotten mud and dirt everywhere!

Onto the Cacti. One of the first things I noticed was that Texas looks exactly like Kansas except for the Cacti. Good thing they have Cacti otherwise I would have felt like I traveled all morning and ended up back in Kansas. Texas is flat, with lots of trees, dirt and cacti and that’s about it. It was fun seeing big ‘ol paddle cactus, I have never seen a cactus not in a pot before.

Lastly, the tears. I felt like I cried a lot on this trip. First Mom and I both cried when I finally got off the plane. When your used to see your parents all the time it’s hard not seeing them for 4 months! The second set of tears came when we got back into the truck after lunch in San Antonio and my luggage was gone. Unfortunately, somebody popped the lock on the driver’s door and took my suitcase. Luckily my Nook, cell phone, charger and wallet were all with me inside and there wasn’t anything of value in my luggage. Sadly, my parents Christmas presents, all of my cloths, toiletries, etc… were in there and we had to make a trip to the store to get some essentials. We quickly decided to get over it (okay so it took almost the whole drive back to Cotulla) but we decided we wouldn’t let that person ruin our time together too! The third set of tears came when I opened my last present on Christmas day… my Nana’s pearls. I immediately started crying and thought it was the best present ever! 

Dad got out the camera to take pictures and when he was done we saw that he too had started crying… he may act tough but he can be a softy at times! 

The last set of tears came on Wednesday when it was time to say goodbye. Although there wasn’t much going on at the Ranch I still loved hanging out with my parents and could have stayed a lot longer! No matter how old you get it’s always nice to be around your parents, and I will never out grow being the baby!

My time at Yarbrough Ranch was very uneventful but I still managed to make some new friends (hope Mom is feeding them – they were running low on carrots and apples by the time I left), those horses got used to getting some treats everyday and a good ear scratch. 

Despite all the mud and tears it was still a great trip, no matter where they are I am just happy I got to spend  4 whole days with them. 

SHOUTOUT: Snickers and Skittles – even though they can’t read I thought it was only appropriate as they were just as excited to see me as my Mom and Dad!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011


The very definition of what makes me comfortable.  Our 5er is cozy.  Our bedroom is cozy.  My chair is cozy.  My bed is cozy.  My life is pretty cozy right now.

Co-zy [koh-zee]  adjective, -zi-er, -zi-est, noun, plural -zies, verb, -zied, -zy-ing


snugly warm and comfortable

The only thing to make it cozier would be to get some wonderfully tight hugs from my kids and grandkids!  Sometime in May I think.  This Saturday I'll be getting hugs from my youngest when I pick her up at the airport.  And she will be getting some extra hugs to pass around to everyone when she meets the other kids, there spouses and our grandkids on Jan 1st!

We cleaned up this week and put out the Christmas decorations.  That made the 5er even cozier.

I used to have over 100 Santas in the S&Bs.  It would take me several days to remove them from the cabinet they lived in all year long and place them around the house.  A chore I loved.  2 Christmases ago I was happy to let my daughters and daughter-in-law pick and choose which ones they wanted to take home.  As they picked we talked about when, where and sometimes from whom I acquired them.  My mother got me started collecting them and every year she would send me a new one.  She's been gone now 12 years and I still have happy memories of every one she sent me.  

This prompted me to start giving my girls (daughter-in-law included in that, as she is most definitely one of my girls) their own collections each year.  Adrienne gets snowmen, Jennifer gets fairies and Caitlin gets angels.  I so enjoy the adventure of hunting out the perfect one each year.

As I'm typing away it's pouring rain outside.  Which of course means more mud!  They are supposed to come tomorrow with trucks and trucks of caliche for the road up to our gate.  The road grader came today.  I hope they are still able to do it.  AND I am supposed to be going to Pleasanton tomorrow morning for a day of spa and shopping.  I sure hope I will be able to get down the road.  Maybe I'll send Dave down it first to make sure it's OK.  I'll let you know.

According to the weatherman, at least the one I watched, it's supposed to stop by 5 or 6 am, then be sunny and in the 60's.  I guess we'll see!

We have no traffic tonight.  They are done with the fracking on site 2 and have moved mostly everything out.  They are welding pipe on site 1 and only work daylight hours, soooooo we get to sleep at the same time, sort of.  Dave went to bed hours ago and I'll be hitting the hay about 11:30.  If i go to bed any earlier than that, I will be up at 4 or 5 am and then be ready for a nap WAY too early.  I would prefer to stay awake for my drive home from Pleasanton!

OK, enough.  I'm off to bed and sweet dreams.  Here are two last pictures for you.

Yesterday's Sunset

Cozy.  Yes?

It's the Winter Solstice.  Happy Holidays!

Sunday, December 18, 2011


As in the footwear, not the rather large leathery creature.

I remember when Crocs first became popular.  Lots of little kids in brightly colored shoes.  Easy to put on and easy to clean. Then more and more adults started wearing them..on the beach and in the garden.  Then I started seeing them as everyday, everywear footwear.  Still didn't care for them.   There was a woman at work who wore nothing but Crocs.  Every bright color she could find.  Still didn't care for them.

Now, I am not one of those women who LOVES shoes.  Never have been.  I have one good pair of tennis shoes, one pair of slippers, one good pair of boots, one pair of sandals and at the most, two pairs of good shoes for work.  Or at least I did.  Now I have ONE pair of good shoes to go with my one set of "just in case" nice clothes.  AND a pair of Crocs.

I like them.  Easy to put on and easy to clean.

I received them as a benny on a job I was working.  I used them to work in the yard, run up to get the mail, walk outside when it was wet instead of my slippers.  Now I use them to run out to open the gate.  Easy to put on and with all this red dirt, easy to clean.  But, I do not wear them to go grocery shopping, go to the drug store, Laundromat or Walmart.  That's what tennis shoes and sandals are for. Yes, even though I like them, I am a Croc snob.

Dave does not have a pair of Crocs.

He leaves his tennis shoes loosely laced and slips them on and off.  Not quite as easy on and off as the Crocs.

All of our shoes have that red tint hanging on to them.

Maybe it will come off.  Maybe not, but we have determined that when we leave here new tennis shoes are definitely in order.

Other things we will need to replace?  Some towels, white socks, water filters, possibly new bag chairs.  AND we will need to take a week off between this gig and our summer gig to completely clean the house inside and out, as well as the truck.  But I bet we will find red dust in out of the way places for 6 months after we leave Texas.

By the way, how do you like the new look of the blog?  I've always been the kind of person that re-arranged my living room, bedroom and whatever room every few months or so.  Since I can't re-arrange this house (much) I have to find other things to re-arrange.

Leaving you a picture of Snickers and Skittles.  Skittles won't eat until Snickers is there to eat and then they act like someone is going to steal their food.

 This also shows the black plastic we put on the floor instead of using sheets.  Mud dries, mud sweeps up.  Thanks to Dianna for the idea.

Another blog down.  Goodnight!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011


Mud soup, that is.  

And here we've tried to protect what's inside from the mud

We pulled the other dirty sheets up, shook them out, vacuumed, swept and then put down more sheets and taped the edges to the floor.  By the way, the old tablecloth over the dish rack is to keep the dust off of the clean dishes while they dry.  We've decided that if we come back next year we will be buying a roll of plastic to put on the carpet.  The stuff that is sticky on one side like they use in open houses and RV shows.  In fact we may go ahead and get it this spring to use in the "house" during festivals.  We get pretty muddy and dirty at some of those too.  

I had to run into town and I sure was worried about driving through that stuff.  I made it, but it was a little iffy a few times.  Once I got through the first 200 or so yards the road wasn't muddy.  Of course the truck, which got most of the dirt washed off by the rain, is now pretty muddy.  It cleared some today and the sun even came out this afternoon.  It got up to 80 and a little breeze blowing, so things are starting to dry out.  BUT, rain is in the forecast for the next 4 days.  We're hoping most of it bypasses this area, but doesn't look like it.  So, we will most likely be back to having a morass of mud soup!

We've got a little (very little) break from our gate traffic.  They have finished the fracking on one site, moved everything over to the other site, but don't start fracking until Friday or Saturday.  No sand trucks or any other middle of the night traffic tonight.  I hope.  Last night I only had 2 vehicles around midnight and then went to sleep in the chair until Dave got up at 3.  I think I probably could go to bed for the night, but sure as shit someone would need in or out.  I'll just kick back in the chair again and snooze.

The company man told Dave that they shut down for Christmas for 3 days.  Half day on Friday and then off for Christmas Eve and Christmas and back at it sometime Monday.  It will be nice to enjoy our visit with the youngest for a few days without having to run out at all hours.  I pick her up in San Antonio on Christmas Eve and take her back on the 28th.  Dave is graciously allowing me to go to lunch while in San Antonio.  Olive Garden here I come!

Today while I was in town I picked up two red bows at Family Dollar and they now adorn the gates.  Puts me in the mood to decorate the "house".  I kept some stuff from the sticks & bricks, but don't want to put it up too soon and have it get all dusty.  

I also want to make cookies but don't want to use the oven until they finish fixing the generator, so that we have 50 amp.  We told our service man that I can't make cookies and he can't have any cookies until it's fixed.  Of course it's not really his fault.  The man that came out and looked at it last week had to order a part.  Apparently he is now on vacation and it's not in yet.  Hopefully tomorrow or Friday.

Here's a picture before I sign off to give you a smile. (and me too) Our Grandboys.

(well, so much for my night off.  Sand truck just came through.  I guess they are starting fracking tomorrow, so more trucks expected tonight.  Damn.)

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Rain Rain go Away

I guess being from Seattle it's not the rain that bothers me. It's the mud.  It's the messiness.  It's the cold splash of mud on your pants from a truck going out the gate.

Sigh.  I guess Texas needs rain so I probably shouldn't complain, but damn!  It's messy!

So, nothing going on today but work and trying to keep the mud out of the house.  Towel in front of the door and a sheet laid out towards the living area. Long enough so when the dogs come in the door most of the dirt/mud on their feet stays on the sheet.  So far so good.

As for us, whoever is on duty keeps their coat and boots on.  We sit in the office chair next to the door with another sheet under our feet.

That's me going out to dig a little channel for that big puddle to drain

We found a bag to keep the clipboard in to stay dry.  It's an old sucker bag.  You know, one of those bags you pack stuff in and then suck all the air out with a vacuum.  Big enough to fit the clipboard and your hand to write on it.

The last couple of nights a Great Horned Owl has been keeping me company. He perches on the closest telephone pole or a fence post and once in a while swoops down low and then to another perch.  He has deserted me tonight, probably to find somewhere less cold and rainy.

On a positive note, I have finished my Christmas shopping for my youngest.  She is coming down to visit for Christmas for 4 days.  Two weeks from today!  I wish all the kids could come but they would have to drive and that's just not gonna work in the winter.  The oldest will be going to her in laws for a week or so and our son and his family will likely spend some time at his in laws too.  The youngest will meet up with them all on Jan 2nd for a family celebration.

That's it for tonight.  Still watching it rain.  Dave will be up soon and then it will be bedtime for me.  I'm looking most forward to taking my boots off.  Aaaahhhhh.


Saturday, December 10, 2011

I'm tired and it's late

Depending on your perspective it's either late or early.  1:30 am.  Late for me as I've been up since about 9 am, but if  you are just getting up, it's pretty damn early.

I didn't get a nap today because I had to run into town and get drugs, mail and some groceries.  Dave didn't get much of a nap either, about half an hour late this afternoon. He had been up since 3 am (early for him, late for me). Perspective.

Out normal routine is for me to sleep from 3 am to 9 or 10.  Dave takes a nap around 11 am or Noon.  Then I'll take a nap after he gets up.  Dinner around 5:30.  Dave gets in the shower by 7 and then off to bed for him and my shift takes over.

We are still hooked up to 30 amp.  Repair guy still hasn't returned with whatever part it was he ordered.  I doubt we'll see him until Monday.  Good thing we still have the 30 amp switch.  Knock on wood!

The deer herd has become commonplace.  They are out across the road every day and today, all day.  We also have a couple of horses that usually show up late morning or early afternoon.  When they notice us outside they come to the fence.  I believe the people here before us fed them treats.  That would make sense as they were putting out food for the wild cats and the coyotes.  Silly silly people.  I'm just thankful that we haven't had any coyotes hanging around looking for handouts!

We have gotten pretty busy.  Fracking starts tomorrow with one test run and then in earnest on Sunday.  I have one more sand truck to go out and then maybe i can doze in the chair until Dave gets up.

I want to apologize to Bob for freaking  him out today.  He hit me up on google chat and I chatted back for a few minutes.  Normal, except I was driving at 70 miles an hour at the time.  I told him that and that is what freaked him out.  I wasn't actually texting or typing.  My android phone has microphone capability on it.  When I am in a chat box I just hit the little mic symbol and talk into my phone. It types what I say, most of the time, then I hit send and off my text goes.  Still not good at 70 mph, so told him I had to go.  Sorry Bob!

OK, I'm off to try and doze.  Talk at ya later!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Clackity Clickity Clack

That was the sound I heard late last night as I was standing outside waiting for Skittles to do her business.  For the life of me I could not figure out where it was coming from or from what.  Today I saw what it was.
We couldn't get close enough, fast enough to get a picture of the happenings, but here's a picture of one of the culprits later in the day.

Isn't it purtty?  There were 3 or 4 of them clacking there antlers together this morning within our sight and that was the AHA moment for me.

Elk or Deer or one of each?  You hunters out there will have to tell me.
We see one of these herds about once a day.  They just hang out over there on their side of the fence and it doesn't seem to bother them that we are around.

Today I went into Cotulla again.  I had more mail to pick up and decided as long as I was going I would do laundry.  I picked up Debi from over at our old gate and we headed in. First stop, the post office to pick up a new cookie press and some unmentionables.  I have one more package but it wasn't in yet.  Then over to the laundromat.  

Now, there ARE two of them in this little town.  One that looks like it has seen MUCH better days and the one I always go to.  It's on the east side of town in the same building as a flower shop.  The building is newer, but they don't take care of their machines.   At least 4 washers and 5 dryers are out of order and have not been fixed in the 4 weeks I have been going there.  They were a reasonable deal, $1 for washing and a $1 for 40 minutes of drying.  Sometime between my last trip and today they all were changed to $1.50.  Now I've paid that much before for washers, but usually in a place that is well kept and 99% or better of the machines are in working order.  They also had the added benefit of having enough folding tables and enough transfer baskets.  This one has 2 small folding tables and if there are more than 3 people in the place  you have to wait for someone to finish folding to get a basket OR a folding table.  They have plenty of room for more, just don't have more.  If someone wanted to make some money in this town, just need to open a decent laundromat with at least 20 washers and 20 dryers.  Some heavy duty washers and enough tables and baskets to go around.  With all the oilfield employees and all the gate guards needing to do laundry it could be a goldmine for the right person.

While at the laundromat we ran into another gate guard.  He asked us if we were gate guards and after telling him yes, I asked if  he had a blog.  Turns out it was David Wendel of the Wandering Wendels.
I have been reading their blog for awhile now, so it was real nice to finally meet one of them.  Go on over and have a look.  They have a great blog!

After the laundry we went over to the Dollar General so Debi could look at holiday decorations.  On our way home we stopped at the Mickey D's for lunch and took some to go for the guys.

Got back home to the generator still on the 30 amp plug.  Our service man came this morning about 8:30 and the generator maintenance guy about noon.  He had to order a part to come overnight, so hopefully he will be back tomorrow to continue repairs.

I'm off to watch the Law & Order I DVR'd earlier, then off to bed I think.


Wednesday, December 7, 2011

A Burst of Activity

I guess that's a little misleading.  What I really want to say is that after "a burst of activity" on Monday, it's been pretty slow again.

We had frack tanks coming in for 4 or 5 hours and then not much after that.  The Chesapeake rep told us fracking would start on Friday.  The ranch owner called to tell us they called him and said it would be Saturday or Sunday.  Then we had someone else yesterday tell us it would be a few more weeks.  I suppose it's anyone's guess at this point.  We'll figure it out when LOTS more traffic starts coming through the gate.

Drove into Cotulla today as we had mail waiting at the Post Office.  I've ordered a few things on line and those should be coming in the next few days.  It looks like from my orders that most of them are coming via USPS, but I have one that is coming FedEx.  I will need to call the hardware store in the morning and let them know it might be dropped off there.  They will accept it as long as they have our name.  Stopped at the grocery store to get a few things and then stopped at the truck stop to dump our trash.

Since we have nothing going on at the rig there is no trash bin to throw our trash in, so we take it to town to throw out.  When they bring in all the equipment for the fracking then there will be a place to throw it out down there.

Stopped on the way out to visit Jack and Mary Neal who are at a gate around the corner from us.  I introduced myself and then we sat and chatted for about 30 minutes.  VERY nice people.  Their gate is not too busy either, but busier than ours.  I'm hoping they will return the visit and stop by to see us soon.

Tonight while we were watching TV the power suddenly went out.  ??  The generator was still running and the lights on the tower were still on.  ??  Dave checked our breakers and all seemed OK. ?? So he threw a coat on, grabbed a flashlight and went out to see what was up.  A burning smell coming from the panel on the generator where all the circuit breakers are.  Apparently something burned out on the 50 amp portion.  We plugged into the 30 amp and all is fine with it.  Dave called our company guy and he will be out tomorrow to see what needs to be fixed.

It's cold tonight.  Supposed to be 28 or 29, so we disconnected the water hose and have the on board heater running to keep the belly (and us) warm.  You know, the idea in spending the winter in south Texas was to get away from cold weather...not working out so well the next few nights.  Of course it's supposed to be in the high 50s tomorrow and 60 on Thursday, so not all bad.

Even though we don't expect any traffic at night I don't want to get used to going to bed early and then have a hard time adjusting when the traffic does start.  I've been going to bed late the last few nights...after midnight....and last night slept in the recliner.  I COULD probably go to bed, but as soon as I do you know someone will show up at 3am to get in the gate and there I will be running out in my winter coat and pajamas!

I'm off to watch Miracle on 34th Street, one of my all time favorite holiday movies.  Just waiting for my all time favorite, White Christmas and then I'll be right in the holiday mood!  Good night and stay warm!

SHOUTOUT:  To our daughter-in-law Jennifer.  Happy Birthday!!

Monday, December 5, 2011


It's still been pretty quiet here at the Circle Y.  Had a truck sound the alarm at 4:30 this morning.  He was lost.  Funny enough, he was looking for the site we left to come here.  Dave gave him directions and sent him on his way.  It was kind of comical when the bell went off and we both sat up in bed, kind of confused and then Dave sprang into action.

Other than that very dead today.  Dave drove over to visit Mike and Dianna.  I went yesterday to visit.  Even though we have nothing going on, we still can't leave the gate unattended, so only one of us can leave at a time.

We have had a few visitors.  Yesterday afternoon, we just sat outside for awhile enjoying the sun.  While we did, we had a little visitor that wasn't shy at all.  Here it is;
It landed on the page first and no jostling or moving around scared it off.  It moved just enough to land on my hand and then stayed there for quite a while, 20 minutes maybe.  I finally shooed it off so I could go inside.

Our next visitor did not come until this evening.  It's been pretty misty all day and then raining off and on so we figured all the deer, cow and pigs were hunkered down somewhere.  And they must be, because we haven't seen any at all.  This evening we noticed this fellow.

It appears to be a Great Horned Owl.  Shortly after this one landed, another one landed across the road on the other fence.

Well,  you can kind of see it on the left.  It's the best I can do.  We fiddled around for about 30 minutes trying to get a good enough picture.  I don't have a tripod and with the long lens it is very sensitive to movement, especially at night.

The closest owl stayed around for a long time on that pole.  The furthest one was there for about an hour. The closest one, which was the first to land, didn't leave until about 10 minutes ago.  I guess it would have been around 3 hours it was out there.

We weren't quick enough to get a picture, but we were so busy trying to get a picture of the owls, that we almost missed the skunk ambling down the road.  Fortunately it didn't come our way and disappeared through the fence very near the far owl.  Whew!

That was it for visitors today.  The ranch owner left about 11am and won't be back until Thursday.  He told Dave there was a golf cart at the house we could use and would show us where it was when he came back.  I'm not sure what we would need it for, but what a nice guy.

We are guessing that the water well guys will be by sometime tomorrow to check the well and the frack pond and maybe someone from Chesapeak will be by.  We can ask them when the equipment will be coming in for the fracking that is to start next Monday.

Ok, off to bed.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Sleeping with my Husband

SLEEPING people, SLEEPING.  Get your minds out of there.

The thing about gate guarding is that 99% of gates are 24/7, as was our first gate.  This means that while I am sleeping Dave is watching the gate and while he is sleeping, I watch the gate.  Consequently we have not slept in the bed at the same time in 3 weeks.

At this gate, there is nothing going on.  NADA, Zippo, nothing.  No rig, no fracking, no drilling.  So, we lock the gate at night and go to bed.  Together.  Nice!

Well, we do have the owner of the ranch here this weekend.  NICE guy.  Already has offered to let us use his washer and dryer.  I probably will not take him up on that, but REAL nice of him.  Right now we only have to let him in and out and any friends or family that show up.  We are really trying to enjoy this time because a week from Monday fracking WILL start and we'll be back to sleeping by ourselves.

We are seeing a bit more wildlife here.  A herd of deer, lots of birds and pigs.  Cows too, but they really don't count as wildlife.  Here are some pictures.

The deer were across the road on the other side of the fence and the cows were inside our fence.  Neither the deer nor the cows were easily spooked.  The rancher across the way drove quite close to them on their side of the fence and they barely moved.  The cows let me get pretty close before they ambled off.

Dave spent the day today taking care of some things outside.  Hooking the water hose up to the water tank on the generator trailer, sealing some cracks in the roof seam and he ran into town to the post office.  While he was there he washed the truck.  He just couldn't stand the dirt on it anymore.  It doesn't matter that it supposed to rain tonight or sometime this weekend, he just couldn't stand it anymore.

I spent the time on the computer taking care of business.  Ordering a few needed things, answering emails, scanning and sending documents and a few other things all online.  It's so much easier to get things done when I'm not interrupted every few minutes.  This applies to gates as well as children, phone calls, doorbells and anal bosses.  No Dan, not you.  :)

I'm done for now and off to bed in a little while.  Dave is already snoring in the chair.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

We've Moved

As promised, no day counting anymore AND I will keep going.
***WARNING*** Explicit picture of a dead animal!

Our new spot turned out to be around the corner and down the road, so to speak.
As we went out the front gate where Jess and Debi are guarding, we made a left turn and then the very next left turn on to a dirt road.  Down that dirt road about 3 miles,

another left turn, 

past a dead pig in the road, 

then about 1/2 mile and we're here.  

Turns out, we guess, we are only about a mile or two, as the crow flies, from the other gate we were at.

It's very quiet here.  Mostly because the generator here is broken and the repairman will not be here until tomorrow sometime.  It's the water pump.  We are using our small generator in the meantime to run the lights, TV, water pump and heater.  It's a little chilly tonight.  We are even more out in the boonies then we were before and we are by ourselves, so it's kind of spooky.  We do have our outside scare lights on and our water/gas filler guy brought us a stand up outside light so the gate is lit up....somewhat.  I don't think I will have to go out and open it tonight.  Until they frack there is nothing going on here.  I hear the family and their friends come and go on weekends.  They want us to get to know who is who and remember them.  They won't be signed in and out but we will have to open the gate for them as we are to keep it locked.  We will be keeping notes until we get used to everyone.
Here are some more pictures of our new spot.

view out the front door.  it faces NW

left turn out of the gate

right turn out of the gate

tree across from the gate

we have flowers!
Well, we will see what this gate will bring and how long we will be here.

I can't believe it's the end of November already!  Christmas is on its way, whether we are prepared or not.  I've got the kids' wish list and they have ours.  It's amazing how much our gift list has changed now that we don't have a house.  Small things.  Small pleasures.

Until next time.