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You Say Potato…

Nearing the end of the first week at the new site in Smiley means it’s time for another SPUD meeting. I’m from the Midwest. I know about spuds. I’ve moved from vowel state (Indiana) to vowel state (Iowa) to vowel state (Oregon). Except for a brief 6 month stay in California, Texas is my first consonant state. In Texas, as in most of the West, people consistently confuse Iowa with Idaho.

Iowa: corn and pork. Idaho: potatoes. Here’s an interesting fact about Idaho potatoes; a friend who lives in Idaho tells me you can’t buy Idaho potatoes in Idaho. They ship them all to other states like Minnesota. But apparently not to Texas where we get King potatoes from Colorado. “BORN IN THE MOUNTAINS AND IRRIGATED BY SNOW MELT, THESE POTATOES ARE BOLDER, SMOOTHER AND MORE ROBUST.” This sounds more like a jingle for Budweiser than a potato to me, but clearly the folks at King take their potatoes seriously.

It makes sense that Texans might prefer bold, robust Colorado potatoes. Not being from Texas or Colorado, I didn’t even know that there were potatoes that were born in the mountains and irrigated by snow melt. I’ve learned late in life to value traits like boldness, smoothness and robustness in my potato.

I first heard about SPUD in Shiner. I was working the gate one morning (I hadn’t switched to nights yet) when it got crazy busy. Everyone I checked in said they were there for the SPUD meeting. Bob said he would bring 2 plates around 1:00. If you’ve been following this blog you may remember I’d just watched the crew BBQ a wild boar, so I thought this was another unique Texan meeting ritual, this time centered around potatoes.

It turns out SPUD stands for Starting Putting Up Derrick (there’s something grammatically wrong with this but acronyms are tricky).

The SPUD meeting is the one time everyone gets together to review the well plans. They talk about geological considerations and how to co-ordinate responsibilities between all the contractors, service companies and operators. It’s quite a meeting: The Company Man, the tool pushers and drillers, the foremen, the engineers, the geologist, the various company reps, and yes, Bob and his son, Reed, which brings me back to potatoes.

We had our SPUD meeting here in Smiley yesterday. Having already experienced one SPUD, I knew what to expect this time. I knew it would be a crazy busy morning at the gate. I knew that 25 men in a half day meeting would need meat and potatoes and, of course in Texas, beans! I knew Bob and Reed would come. This time it was grilled beef brisket and the best potato salad I’ve ever tasted! They also gave us hats that say DRILL STRING. Funny!

A complaint you often hear about guarding a gate 24/7 is that you never get to go out to eat. For those of you who are considering gate guarding, be nice and the food may come to you. 🙂 Bob and Reed stopped by this afternoon to say ‘hi’.  They’d just closed a gate down the road and thought we might like dinner. No potatoes this time but the most delicious fajitas! A tip of the hat to Bob and Reed. Nice guys!

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