Monday, December 31, 2012

After the rush & New Year 2013

We figured things would slow down after the busy day we had when the new rig first moved in and the frack team moved out.  But not so much.   We are still averaging 150 to 175 vehicles a day.  We started eating dinner around 4 p.m. so we’d be fed before the end-of-the-day exodus.  Otherwise Jim doesn’t get to eat before 7 p.m. and he goes to bed at 8 p.m.  Not good.  Lots of times I cook something late during my night shift so it will be ready for the next day.  Last night I made posole.

Today Jim went into Pleasanton to have lunch with Jim Mossman and to pick up a set of stairs/steps Jim Mossman designed and built for us. Very exciting. More about that tomorrow.

Tonight is New Year’s Eve with only 20 minutes till midnight.  I will finally see in the New Year which I haven’t done for many a year.  Jim is asleep but with my working the night shift I’m always up at midnight.  It’s fun to see the New Year celebrations in different parts of the world.

As I posted on my Facebook page I use to follow my Polish tradition of eating the poorest meal on new year's day with the idea that things have to get better during the next year. Time and time again that didn't work out and we had one challenge after the other. So about 10-15 years ago Jim and I started having "good" meals like steak, prime rib or snow crab legs. Sure enough things got better and better. So today Jim brought home king crab legs and lobster for our meal tomorrow. That will surely bring us prosperity and joy in 2013.....what do you think????

Happy New Year to you all.  May you be blessed with all of Life’s goodness.

Remember, you are loved.
Read the story behind the saying HERE

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Busy Gate

OMGoodness, day after Christmas the equipment started to arrive for the new pad….and arrived…and arrived!!! Processed nearly 300 vehicles in and 250 out.  Jim and I sat outside for eight straight hours checking in machinery one right after the other all afternoon.  That’s the busiest we’ve EVER been…12 pages of forms.

Since then it’s slowed down a bit…only about 175-200 vehicles passing through our gate, but still busy enough that as soon as I get up I dress quickly and sit outside with Jim.  I handle the portrait clipboard with notebook paper and quickly scribble down the driver’s info while standing in the middle of the road.  When there’s a lull I read the info out to Jim (who sits under the awning) and, with his nice penmanship, he fills out the legal sized form on the other landscape clipboard.  We learned this technique from our buds, Rita and Jerry, and it’s worked very nicely for us. It’s kind of double entry but that long clipboard is hard to handle and write on at the same time while standing up by the gate.  Plus it holds up the line when you are shuffling through the forms looking for someone’s entry when they leave.

We use heavy-duty Velcro to adhere the pen to the clipboard
I purposely blurred the form as not to identify the people and vehicle license plate numbers and our exact location, but you get the idea. Again use Velcro to keep track of the pen. Some gate guards adhere a small clock and book light to see at night.

We are so happy that with the fracking going on at the same time we have been included in the catered, twice-a-day meals provided the workers.  If not  we probably wouldn’t eat.  We definitely don’t have time to cook.  I basically eat standing up in between the trucks that arrive every 5-7 minutes. Last night I tried several times to make myself a cup of tea and never did find the time to get it done. 

We were getting hungry for our own cooking so I asked Jim to take the time today to get out his Dutch cooker and cook up a pork butt we had.  He used the recipe he learned in Louisiana when visiting the Museum Café in Erath for their Cajun jam session.  The pork came out so tasty. 

Saturday-Sunday we get our last midnight catered meal as the fracking is done and that part of the operation will all pull out in the wee hours of the morning.  So I’ll be busy later on tonight. One operation ends and another gears up to start.

I must say, we rather like this busier gate compared to the other gate we were on where we only waved to truckers passing by and only had to give the occasional direction.  Now we feel we are earning our keep, so to speak.

Remember, you are loved.
Read the story behind the saying HERE


Saturday, December 29, 2012

Girls Day Out

Friday I met Linda Mossman in Pleasanton for a Girl’s Day.  We both got our haircut, both picked out frames for new eye glasses, shopped at Walmart, and then went out for lunch at Kadobe’s Bar and Grill.

Take a look at the crazy hat I bought to keep my ears warm at night.  The truckers got a kick out of the outfit.

I thought it would make the truckers laugh…and it did!
Here’s the full look with the new orange colored hooded sweatshirt I also bought.

It was so nice to just have a day to enjoy some good “girl talk” with Linda and not have to also fit in doing laundry and grocery shopping. The boys will get together next week.

That’s it for now.  Talk with you tomorrow.

Remember, you are loved.
Read the story behind the saying HERE

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Christmas 2012

Merry Christmas to you all.

This will be the first Christmas Jim and I will be celebrating alone without any friends and family around.  Such is the life of a gate guard. We have friends around but we can’t leave our gate to go visit them. The oil company we work for is one of the few (if any other) who are working during the holiday.  Most companies stopped working December 23 – 25.

Interestingly enough today is very, very windy with winds 10-25 MPH and gusts at 40 MPH.  So here we are “open” but the pad had to stop working when the winds got to 20 MPH.  They are just waiting around for the wind to die down.

It’s been interesting, to say the least, to try and open the rig door to get out and check trucks in and out.  Yes, the wind is pushing against the door and it’s a struggle for me to open it….I can’t stop laughing as I’m doing it….so funny.

The company man said he was bringing in a caterer with deep-fried turkey and ham for Christmas and would make sure we got meals.  But it didn’t happen…when the caterer left he said he salvaged one meal and it looked good but not enough for two people.  Guess we’ll go ahead and bake the bone-in ham I bought as a backup….glad I did.

Jim made us biscuits and gravy for breakfast/lunch when I woke up….kind of a tradition. It was very good. Jim is such a good cook.

A nice highlight for me this Christmas was talking to my sister, Evi, who lives in Costa Rica. Because of the long distance fees I hadn’t called her since we got on the road six years ago. We email a lot. Wish I had inquired earlier and found out how cheap it really is to add the phone coverage for foreign countries. Verizon is only $4 a month and 27 cents a minute to Costa Rica. So yesterday I surprised my sister with a phone call.  We were both so excited to talk with each other; we were on the phone for a half hour. Now I’ll call her every week. Earlier I called my brother in North Carolina so it was nice to have spoken to them both.

Wind is still kicking up so we can’t open the windows.  We put on the air conditioning as it was getting to be close to 78 inside.  But tonight the temps are expected to drop like a rock to 28-30*, so I’ll then put on the heater.  Yes, crazy, crazy weather.

Merry Christmas everyone!

Remember, you are loved.
Read the story behind the saying HERE



Saturday, December 22, 2012

Busy Day in Pleasanton

Got up early as it was my shopping day.  I drove to Gate Guard Services for our paycheck, picked up mail for Mossman’s, drove to Pleasanton and shopped at Walgreen’s (didn’t want to battle Wal-Mart on the Friday before Christmas).  Since Linda was moving to a new gate and wouldn’t meet me till later, I was on my own for lunch.  Linda doesn’t like Chinese food so I opted to go to Yummy’s Buffet.  Delicious!!!! They had homemade kimchee and a good selection of sushi.  Add to that some shrimp dishes and a bunch of veggies and I was full and happy. 

Later I met Linda at the laundromat and got caught up on what’s new with her and her new gate.  Being that we both work nights at our gates, we call each other in the middle of the night, like at 1:00 a.m., so I pretty much knew what was going on. 

After laundry I went to H.E.B. for groceries.  Why, oh, why don’t I remember I have a small refrigerator and limited storage???  After six years on the road you’d think I’d know how much I can buy that will fit inside our rig.  But it’s Christmas so I had to get “goodies” for the holidays, but where am I going to put it all? I buy a lot of veggies for me and have a chore finding places to put it all.


I surprised Jim with two lobster tails lunch tomorrow.  They had them on sale for $5 each and he so loves lobster.



I was bushed by the time I got finished at H.E.B. and by then it was 5 p.m. and I had a half hour drive home.  Oh, no, then I had to put all the laundry AND the groceries away.  I was dead after that and I still had nine hours of “work” to do.


How do you like the Santa hat I bought today?  It has a silver halo hanging over the words “nice” on the brim.  No, they didn’t have a “naughty” one that I should have bought!  The truck drivers got a kick out of it tonight.

Oh, I forgot to tell you Jim called me about noon and said the company supplied 15,000 watt generator took a dump. UGH… electricity.  So he had to get out our little 2000 Honda to run lights, etc.  It was 8:30 before they got us another generator.

Our catered meals have been pretty good.  Last night was pot roast. Lunch today was a huge half-pound burger.  Midnight dinner was sausage and brisket.  Jim is enjoying all the meaty meals.  I taste it but don’t eat it all.  I’m trying to be good.

I’m really blabbing a lot tonight.  Well, it is 1:55 a.m. and I’m trying to stay awake by keeping busy, but I best close out and publish this thing. 

Goodnight…..know for sure that you are loved.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

We’re Getting Fed

Got to this new gate Sunday and today they started fracking. Happened quickly.  Yippeee… addition to a LOT more traffic they start catering the crew when they frack.  So for lunch we were delivered two huge rib eye steaks with whipped potatoes and a nice salad.


I made some chili for dinner but gave the leftovers to one of the truck drivers who had gone to the closest gas station/convenience store but they were closed and he couldn’t get anything to eat.  He was happy to have the chili.  I bake a lot of banana bread as I can’t seem to eat the bananas fast enough and end up every week with 2-3 really ripe ones.  I like to pass out slices of banana bread to unsuspecting truck drivers. 

Then about an hour ago here comes yet another catering truck into the gate.  What, what, two catered meals in one day????? Yup, tonight’s midnight meal will be pot roast.  Oh, yes, they will leave me two dinners when they leave.  Jim won’t have to cook for himself for a while. 

Yesterday we had the air conditioning on all day because it was muggy and warm.  Today we had the cold front coming through with lower temps, so we put up the awning and poor Jim fought 25-30 MPH winds all morning. The hips begin to hurt after 50 trips up and down the rig steps so we just bundled up and sat outside to check folks in and out.


In between drivers I sit and read on my Kindle,


but with the caliche dust whirling by I put my Kindle in a plastic bag and read through the plastic. That caliche dust is so fine and gets into everything. No, I don’t leave the Kindle in the plastic bag for long, only for the time I’m outside.

It’s 11:15 p.m. now and the temp is 39*, but is expected to go down to 28* later on.  I’m sitting here inside with sweat pants and shirt, a jacket and a wool cap on my head in preparation of having to go outside about every 20 minutes throughout the night till 3:00 a.m. when Jim and I switch shifts.  Then the next couple of days the temps are suppose to go back up to the 80’s.  Crazy weather for sure!

Remember, you are loved.
Read the story behind the saying HERE



Wednesday, December 19, 2012

A Perfect Texas Sunset

We’ve seen some stunning sunrises and sunsets in many parts of the country in the six years as fulltime RVers.  Some of best are in Arizona and Florida for sure; but the other night we had a stellar sunset right here in south Texas.


Now wouldn’t you agree?

Remember, you are loved.
Read the story behind the saying HERE

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Moved to a New Gate

We knew from the onset that this time we wouldn’t be spending our entire four months back at the ranch we were at last February-March.  We knew the oil company was working towards eliminating our gate, as it was one of four gates on the property and no longer needed.  So we had two months on the ranch and deepened our friendships with the property owners as we so enjoyed being back there.

Because we didn’t have Verizon service out there we didn’t receive their notification Saturday night, so we were surprised Sunday early afternoon when two trucks arrived to move us to another gate.  But we are resilient folk and we buttoned up the rig, put away the barbecue, chairs, mat and satellite dish and were ready to go in 20 minutes.

We moved about 20 miles northeast onto a fresh, new pad with little traffic.  Now we DO get to check people in and out, which we are happy about.  This time we have folk to converse with and joke with which is much nice IMHO than just waving to folks and giving the occasional direction.  We’re happy!


This place is just gearing up so there isn’t much traffic. Happily we are right along the side of the highway that doesn’t have much traffic. That’s the highway right behind us in this photo.  There isn’t miles of caliche road to stir up the dust. My window casings won’t be as dusty as they have been before.

We had hoped to be able to go back in the yard for a day or two so we could have a couple of drinks (can’t drink while gate guarding at most gates) and we wanted to go out to dinner together….maybe snuggle a bit since we don’t sleep together while gate guarding.  But alas, they had an immediate gate for us and off we went.

We’re about 15 miles closer to Pleasanton and all on good highway roads with potholes so it won’t take me as long to get there to do our shopping and laundry every two weeks.

The biggest plus is that we have great cell and internet service here.  We have a consistent three bars on phones and internet.  Yippee!!!!!!  Those who know me know I am an internet nut….to say the least. I can spend hour upon hour online enjoying looking up the most absurd and strange things.  I tell Jim I just have a wide range of interests, but he’s not buying it LOL.

On the ranch we could occasionally get one or two bars on the hotspot on Jim’s smart phone.  But it took f-o-r-e-v-e-r   to look up anything.  I usually just shut the computer down in frustration!  Phone service was very sketchy but we could get text messages, albeit hours and hours after they were sent.

So we are a pretty happy lot to be able to get online and call people whenever we want.  So give us a call or email us frequently as we are now available.  I usually wake up by noon and Jim goes to bed about 8 p.m.  We change shifts at 3 o’clock with Jim starting his shift at 3 in the morning and me taking over at 3 in the afternoon.

So right now I am outside under the awning with the computer on a small table typing away until a truck pulls in or goes out and I can get online to my heart’s content.

I fear my Kindle reading time and knitting project will suffer now that I can get online.  Lory, don’t worry I’ve already started your new cancer “warrior” hat and Shelly, last night I finished the wool knit cap you wanted. 

 The pups are happy to be sniffing out all new scents and it takes them forever to do “their business” now that we are in a new place.  Haven’t seen any snakes but Jim did see a few deer at twilight.

We already like this location and hope to be here until we leave the end of February.

Remember, you are loved.
Read the story behind the saying HERE

Monday, December 17, 2012

Waves…the hand kind

Remember I wrote about my greeting arriving and departing vehicles with my “jazzing hands”?  Well, doing that kind of a wave has produced some interesting responses.

During the day Jim sits outside and waves to the truckers and gives well directions as needed.  We stay outside until the sun goes down and then go inside and turn on all the lights so I can be seen outside at the big window. 

Since I started my “jazzy hands” wave, the truckers not only smile and wave back, but some take it a step further.  A few turn on their cab light and will do the “jazzy hands back at me.  Some flash their lights, others beep their horns, but most all the truckers smile and wave. For each I say a little prayer to keep them safe on the road.  Oh, there are a few curmudgeons who look straight ahead and ignore me.  I just say a little extra prayer for them to feel God’s love and blessings.        

It’s nice to bring a smile and a little levity to these hardworking truckers and rig workers. They seem to get a kick out of waving to Jim and I.

Remember, you are loved.
Read the story behind the saying HERE

Friday, December 14, 2012

Christmas Season on the Ranch

One of the ranch owners put up a tree at the first gate of the ranch.  The gate guard there decorated it with 500 red balls and many strings of lights. It’s a beautiful sight at night.


It is a welcoming sight for all the truck drivers,  as we get closer to Christmas it becomes even more meaningful to the drivers as they approach the ranch. 

We get a number of sales people visiting the drilling rig.  They are a generous bunch and have been supplying us with pound cans of coffee as CIMG1200thanks for giving them directions. It certainly is not expected, but is appreciated.  It’s been mostly Folgers, but the other day a sales person stopped and gave us this gourmet coffee called Texas Thunder.  It was wonderfully bold with a delightful taste.

All the ranch owners are really, really nice and we so enjoy being on this ranch….it’s like staying with friends.

Remember, you are loved.
Read the story behind the saying HERE

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

“Helmet” Knitted Hats

Last summer while we were in South Fork, Colorado, I knitted a little cap and booties for the new baby of the managers of Wolf Creek Ranch and Ski Lodge, Jennifer and Mike.  They are both HUGE fans of Alabama’s Crimson Tide football team and Mike asked me if I would knit a cap that looked like a football helmet in Alabama’s colors.  Huh???? Knit a football helmet???  OK !! 

I started looking for a pattern with earflaps to more closely resemble a helmet.  I actually found two different patterns so I also made a hat for John, Mike’s friend who works with them, who is also from Alabama.

Here is the results

Jim was my reluctant model…..

Front view to show the white stripe down the center
The black circle is to simulate the hole on the side of the helmet
CIMG1214 CIMG1217

I wanted to hurry up and finish knitting the hats before January because Alabama will be in the next national championships.  If Alabama wins I would have to change the “14” to “15” LOL!!!

Tomorrow I’ll get the hats mailed out and on their way to South Fork….hopefully there will be enough snow on Wolf Creek Pass so Mike and John can wear their hats on the ski slopes.  Enjoy…..

Remember, you are loved.
Read the story behind the saying HERE

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Another Great Dinner

Uh, uh we came up with a great dinner idea.  After 31 years of marriage I found out during a recent conversation Jim likes cooked green peppers….who knew?  He always takes the green peppers off his salad and gives them to me, so I never put it in any dishes.  He also puts aside the red and yellow peppers I cook in dishes….see I don’t like cooked green peppers but love them in sandwiches and salads.

So when we decided to have a shrimp something dinner tonight, I figure I’d give green peppers another try since I bought some for my salads.  I made a shrimp spaghetti primavera thingie. 

I sautéed onions, garlic, portabella mushrooms, tomatoes, broccoli and green peppers along with a few shrimp on top of spaghetti and fresh grated Parmesan cheese.  Whoopi….it was a delicious success.  I now like cooked green peppers.

How about trying anew some foods you always thought you didn’t like??? 

Maybe your taste-buds have changed like mine did.  Maybe I’ll try lima beans or parsnips again.

Remember, you are loved.
Read the story behind the saying HERE




Wednesday, December 5, 2012

E-Reader Kaddie

I found this e-reader cover pattern on where I buy most of my knitting supplies.  I love knitting up small gift items and this one was perfect. I knitted two in cotton in different shades of blue

E-Reader Caddie (1)                   E-Reader Caddie (3)

E-Reader Caddie (2)                 E-Reader Caddie (4)

I think they came out cute.  It’s nice to have a couple of gifts on hand just in cases.

Remember, you are loved
Read the story behind the saying HERE

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Animals in the Area

We have seen some interesting animals on the ranch where we are gate guarding. There are breeding deer, of course, but these are especially bred and have huge, huge antlers/racks.  We’ve seen a lot of bucks in Colorado, but Jim said he was even impressed with how huge these are. No photos…never have the camera available when we see them.

Then there was that coyote Jim saw while chatting with one of the drivers.  Another day Jim was looking down the road and saw a long Blue Indigo snake slithering across the road about 100 feet away.  “They” say you shouldn’t kill a Blue Indigo snake because they eat the rattlesnakes.  I don’t care, I don’t like ANY snake!!!  Luckily I haven’t seen any snakes.

One of the ranchers said about 4 a.m. every morning there is a small pack of wolves that comes through the gate we are guarding but I haven’t seen them so far.

One thing we have noticed is that around 2 p.m. every afternoon we see a whole bunch of butterflies flying from the west to the east right in front of our rig.  Every day….weird.

Then quite often we get a large flock of black birds swoop in.  They fly in a nearby tree nearly covering it all. 

Other times they line up on all the nearby electric wires


or simply gather on the ground. 


Then something spooks them and they take off all together.


 Unlike last time we were here last February/March, we haven’t had all those pesky black, hard-shelled bugs at night.  That’s good.  We do have biting flies during the day, so we have to use a lot of sunscreen and bug spray.  We’re more tanned now than we were this summer.  I don’t have to go outside much at night, but when I do I haven’t seen any bugs.

Today I looked down the road and this is what I saw……


See those black things in the middle of the road?  No? Here let me get you a better view…..


Can you tell what these are?  No?  OK, let me zoom in for you…..


Yes, yes, those are javelinas.  Kind of fun to watch but don’t want them too close.

Well, that is my animal report for now.  I’ll let you in on any new ones when they come around.

Remember, you are loved
Read the story behind the saying HERE