Home » Gate Guarding » A River Runs Through It

A River Runs Through It

A river runs through it, or at least it did … all night last night.



And all night a solo vacuum truck came and went, hauling the river away.

When the CM said he had a vac truck coming in to do some clean up, he wasn’t kidding!



It worked kind of like a gigantic shop vac, sucking up thousands of gallons of water.

And all night, the guys on the rig continued to work. It’s such a regular part of life on a drilling rig, no one even comments.



Except me, since I’m not quite as Texas-seasoned as the rest. I surely appreciated  having an automatic awning. When it wasn’t windy, it helped. When the wind picked up, it came back in.



The rain stopped just in time for Heidi to meet 15 semis of casing  yesterday morning. By evening, most of the remaining river had seeped into the greedy Texas ground.



During the storm, not being remotely mechanical, I worked in the dark, in the rain, without outside lights or a bell. We’re so close to the rig, the lack of lights wasn’t a big deal.

But no bell meant I had to keep the shade up all night. I felt a little like a mannequin with poor posture and an ugly orange vest in a window display after closing time at Macy’s. Not that anyone was looking. 😉

I know how to reset the switch on the generator. And I did. Several times, but it would trip instantly. I’m easily resigned to fate.



Heidi, on the other hand, lives to problem solve.

By the time I got up yesterday afternoon, the problem was solved. 😀



I know it worked because it stormed again tonight and the lights stayed on and the bell rang at many appropriate times!

The bugs in the above picture are kind of like Texas-sized flying ants and are so thick the ground looks like it’s moving.


Two-legged creatures we are supposed to love as we love ourselves.  The four-legged, also, can come to seem pretty important.  But six legs are too many from the human standpoint.  ~ Joseph W. Krutch


Thanks to all of you gate guards who kept in touch. In spite of the wind and the warnings, it sounds like everyone came through it OK.

And so ended another action packed day here on the ranch.



In a couple more days, we’ll be back up to our ankles in caliche. If we could just get the vac driver to swing back around for that:

He’d be riding a gravy train with biscuit wheels.                              (odd Texas saying)



When your dreams turn to dust, vacuum.

36 thoughts on “A River Runs Through It

  1. At night, I feel we’re living in a fish bowl. You have an orange vest so you could imitate a goldfish. We, on the other hand, have lime green vests…haven’t seen many fish of that color in the ocean. I guess we’d have to be the mannequins in Macy’s windows (as you described).

    The bugs are something! At night, around our lights, we have moths, beetles, gnats, lightning bugs and who knows what else. During the day, we see ants, ants, ants, beetles, gnats and more gnats, not too many flies and no mosquitoes. Hallelujah about no mosquitoes, they think I’m their buffet line.

    This certainly is an interesting job.


    • Susan –
      Oh fellow traveler, I hear you!
      I like just about everything about working nights except the bugs.
      They’re just crazy down here under these great lights! I come back inside and end up drinking them in my coffee, throwing my shirt on the floor and stomping on it, brushing my hair upside down etc…
      When we were down by the Texas bayou the mosquitoes were terrible.
      The rest of the time, we’ve hardly had any at all. Of course all last year we were in a drought so they probably dried up.
      We’ll see what this summer brings!
      Now lightning bugs, I LOVE! I’ve never seen one in Texas! That’s a bug I could smile at!
      We have reflective windows so it’s impossible to see in, in the daytime. Night time is a different story. I always have at least the day/night shades (do I have that right?) down. But of course, not on a night the bell doesn’t work!
      I need to stop by and pay you a visit!

  2. Hello. Glad you made it safely through all the bad weather. I bet the farmers were glad of the rain, eh? We’re loving being 6 miles from the family. I’m trying to stay current on the GG happenings. Thanks for your wonderful blog and be safe.

    • Hi Penny!
      Oh yes! I think all of Texas is glad for the rain. It was a little too much at once in some places but even at that, few are complaining. The Aquafer levels are finally climbing. We have a mix of sunny and rainy days ahead, so hopefully it’ll be enough to help without carrying us all away!
      So very happy you’re able to have this family time! How wonderful!

  3. I’m delighted you are OK … Oh yes people we’re watching you in your snazzy vest. Shop acts are awesome machines, btw. A suburb and apparently southern Texas must have. Have dust, must suck it up. Same with water! Yay you guys!! I’m glad Heidi likes to solve problems. I like to cry rally loudly first.

    Will be back online soon. In the same Starbucks Jen and I were in Friday night getting ready for the mega bus. Love you to pieces!!!!! Mel

    • Hey Mel!
      Living for 4 years on the Oregon coast, we’re used to wind and rain – of course it’s a little different when you have an ‘in and out’ job. In spite of the triple double threat, it never got as bad here as the 80 mph gusts we weathered out there! (but the ocean was sure a lot more interesting to watch in a storm than dust and cactus)!
      Glad you’re home safe and pretty sound. 😀
      I look forward to tales from the trip!

      • Oregon. Ah Oregon. Much prettier to see the waves. Huge waves. Dust, cactus … prickly and thick … you girls, jeesh! I’m missing Jen already … but we had a really nice visit … it’s just too far in between for me.

        • Mel –
          My body is temporarily in Texas. Someday, hopefully, I’ll be able to spend part of the year back in Oregon!
          Tell Iowa “hi” for me next time you go! 😉

      • You know it’s funny you ask about Iowa. When Jen and i were traveling there … she wrote an email when we were in Iowa … how ’bout that. We had a little meeting in Iowa. We DID indeed say hi, and i always will. We bury mom on June 15. She’s still in her urn at the FunHome. I’ll say “hi” then, in a formal way.

      • I know you keep me close to your heart: That is never in debate or questioned.

        SOON, Jen and i will report about our visit in IC.

        We had such a great time. We haven’t missed a beat. We have walked different paths, but our total one-ness is intact. A great, and amazing visit with my lovely friend. We are so thrilled that we met you!!!! xo MEL

      • Thank you Debbie. I’m missing Jen a lot already. There are those FEW people who grab you that way! I am so lucky for the HUGE bounty in my life now. You have no idea … i could have never imagined the treasures of goodness i feel today. D’s in bed now … he had to work for “the man”. I planted periwinkles and ivy around his back yard. NO music, NO loud noise …

        just a few Robins and a few ducks. No shit! Ducks! Much love, Mel

  4. I’m in awe of a vacuum truck that sucks up rivers! Wow! And loving your idea of calling it back when you are ankle deep in dust! 🙂 You and Heidi make a great team . .. you can handle anything! love and prayers! And a Happy Mother’s day to you too!

  5. You know, many, many jokes are made about New Jersey…..but the more I hear about Texas the more grateful I am to be living in the butt of the jokes and not the Great state of Texas…..I’m glad you both are safe, hope the giant ants don’t carry you off!

    • Sherrie –
      I think it’s mostly New Yorkers who make up New Jersey jokes. Probably jealousy. 😀
      Texas is an acquired taste that I haven’t quite acquired yet…
      But if you talk to a native, it’s the only state in the nation.
      It pretty much IS the nation!

      It’s the bugs the borrow in my hair at night and fly down my shirt that really get me (I’m mean literally really get me)!

      • Those bugs would freak me out! I hate chiggers, sand-fleas, anything that bites or sucks my blood, oh and fire ants, hate fire ants! Yikes, that alone must make the job you do quite difficult.

        • Hey Sherrie!
          Sad to say I really hate bugs. I particularly hate them on me – tangled in my hair or lost in my t-shirt. Back in the Midwest, we pretty much just had mosquitoes and flies and box elder bugs – and spiders, but not the size of a dinner plate!
          This would be an entomologist’s heaven! 😉
          Did you get my note about Halo Farms? 😀

          • and it probably is an entomologist’s heaven, but it would be my hell…..for so many reasons not just the bugs….It’s amazing how unwelcome Yankee girls like me can find themselves pretty much anywhere in the south…..but I am who I am, so I try to stay home, though I do speak on the circuit and sometimes I end up places that I might not otherwise be welcome, but since I’m speaking as a friend of Bill’s it’s perfectly okay!

          • Sherrie –
            Sometime I’ll have to tell you the story of the time I crashed a friend of Bill’s gathering on a cruise ship. 😀
            If you read Susan’s comment here, you’ll see I haven’t even scratched the surface (when it comes to bugs)!

        • Sherrie –
          I said to tell him “Happy Birthday!” (there was cake)
          I didn’t even know enough to be embarrassed at the time! 😉

        • I like to think I added some laughter to that party!
          They also had “friends of Dorothy meetings” (I think they’ve dropped that name now).
          If they’d served cake, I probably would have found them, too!
          I like cake. 😉

    • Judi –
      Thanks! Safe and leak free!
      We expect to be moving sometime around the end of the week to another town to begin another hole with this rig.
      Lots of sun in the forecast!

  6. Okay, you can see by my 2 likes that my computer issues continue here at Fork’s. Not that I don’t feel you’re worthy of multiple likes, just sayin’…Fascinating life you gals live–I could not do bugs that you describe, and I need to go back to the notes, as I’ve forgotten what caliche is already (I really do try to keep up, sort of). That Heidi–she’s a wonder, ain’t she?!! I always enjoy the quotes–and I do like a lot of Texas sayings, used to have a list of them to tease my cousin in Houston. Well, y’all taker ‘er easy–and I’ll keep up the prayers! God bless you both–much love, sis Caddo

    • Hello Caddo!
      Only one like popped through! 😀
      Caliche is a fine white dust that is an ingredient in cement and also something they use down here to make pretend roads.
      When it isn’t raining, we live in a giant caliche cloud (where the bugs don’t show up quite as much)! 😉

  7. After we taped the plugs like Heidi did, we were also advised to wrap a plastic grocery bag around the plugs to keep out the water. It worked like a charm and I had a bell all night. Even though we’re not gate guarding at the moment, I continue to enjoy reading gate guard blogs. Great photos, Debbie.

  8. I do really like to problem-solve. My grandpa, my dad and my brother were all inventors but all I do is follow advice and it is very rewarding. It would seem that my son probably got that gene.

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