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On the Fence

I’m on the fence about some things tonight.

This blog for one. As many fellow gate guards have recently written, we’ve been told not write on our blogs about anything referring to/but not limited to (that seems to leave a rather wide open door):

  1. the equipment used
  2. the name of the company drilling on site
  3. information about drilling and fracing
  4. the amount of traffic coming and going on site
  5. our activities while on site
  6. the identity of the visitors coming and going
  7. the oil company’s communications with us
  8. information about the traffic logs
  9. any information about the company we are assigned to
  10. photos

While many of these points are rather obvious and clearly inappropriate, all 10 points taken as a whole and adding “not limited to” I would say pretty much eliminates writing about gate guarding – period.

All my activities are “on site”. I don’t have any activity off site, since, as most of you know, I only leave once every month or two. I think I’ve already written about all I have to say on Walmart and H.E.B and the Second Hand Grocery Store. 😀

So… I have to give it some thought. I may take the Cabbages and Kings route and talk of other things or just stop altogether.

I have this free speech issue.

Everyone we’ve ever worked for has had access to Fork with no complaints.

I don’t think I’ve ever written a single negative thing and I’ve always thought this blog was a pretty good ambassador for both the industry and the company that employs us.

Tonight I’ll write and then re-think what course to take for the future. To those of you who been so kind to read, between 2oo – 300 every day –  now nearing the 100,000 mark, – I thank you and it’s been my honor. 😀

Before last week, I would have agreed with Jarod Kintz:

Neighbors, I’m on the fence about them.

One typical aspect of this job is that you and your partner are pretty much flying solo. In nearly 2 years, we’ve never shared a gate or a spot with other gate guards, although I know some folks who have.

We learned, as soon as we got here (I will no longer say where we are except that it’s a safe bet we’re still in Texas) that a second rig (company to remain unnamed) was going in behind us – really close behind us – about 20 feet – with their own gate guards.

I wasn’t sure how I felt about it. It’s sort of like when your neighbor’s house goes on the market and you start praying for someone who mows their lawn occasionally and doesn’t spit tobacco over your fence or poison your dog.


Our neighbors and their rig are on in the middle and left. We’re in the middle on the right with ours. This photo of our current, undisclosed location was taken off the property, which is why it’s so tiny. 😀


Anyway, once again, we’re walkin’ in high cotton. James and Marylee are absolutely the nicest neighbors we could have hoped for. I have no idea if they would say the same about us? They don’t bring a computer with them so we’ll never know! 😉



Everything has changed. New blogging rules, new neighbors and no cotton!

The day after my High Cotton post, I got up to what looked like snow everywhere. I have no idea why it was just cut off and not picked but I do know that Heidi and James both nearly had heart-attacks looking up and finding me walking in the middle of the freshly cut field of cotton.



I received a kind, but thorough, talking to from H about the massive number of untold dangers that were most certainly slithering and crawling about in the disaster zone that they had, only hours before, called home.



I didn’t meet anything  dangerous out there but you can be certain, I know when I’m licked. I haven’t wandered off again and I’ve stopped taking photos. And I’ve stopped posting under gate guarding.

24 thoughts on “On the Fence

  1. Pingback: Happy Together « FORK IN THE ROAD

  2. Hi Debbie,

    Wow really sorry and shocked to hear that news. There are many blogs out there on gate guarding along with a forum. I have really enjoyed your blog and think it gave me a good option of something I might want to do one day. I guess I can see where the company is coming from, so much for your freedom though. Hope you do continue to blog. It will make for a very creative and interesting blog to see what you come up with.


  3. I have worked in the Oilfield for over 30 yrs, so here goes:

    1. the equipment used

    Any fool can drive by and figure out the configuration, Derrick, Mud Pumps and company man’s truck preference (GM, Ford or Dodge).

    2. the name of the company drilling on site

    Gee, read the sign, required to be posted.

    3. information about drilling and fracing.

    Look in the State of Texas, Railroad Commission Open files, confidentiality holds are limited to a certain time frame. But then buy a Roughneck a beer and he’ll tell ya what you wanta know.

    4. the amount of traffic coming and going on site.

    We are talking about a wellsite in Texas, not the Normandy Invasion Plans, but most of this information would be interesting to the local SCOUTS which already have spotters bird dogging the interesting drill sites anyhow!!!

    5. our activities while on site.

    Even poor Henry’s adventures could be compromised and he is already on a short leash.

    6. the identity of the visitors coming and going.

    identity? did not think so.

    7. the oil company’s communications with us.

    Company Man Instruction covers it all, If its a tight hole, he will speak up, otherwise, keep the Salesman from overrunning the site.

    8. information about the traffic logs.

    SEE VISITORS, also see SCOUTS at #4,

    9. any information about the company we are assigned to.

    As an oilfield hand, I like to check out the company I keep, some are better than others.

    10. photos

    The USSR, The Third Reich and most villains do not like pictures, self explanatory.

    Heidi and Debby, I enjoy reading your blog, thought about doing something like that when I retire from the ACTIVE OILFIELD and just get a job where my biggest worry is keeping the Salesmen/women from swarming the rig, keep a head count and host the rig poker game on a slow night.

  4. Sheesh!! Where’s the beef? or oil? or cotton? I’m with Mel on this–I don’t take in any details beyond the Whos that I care about: you, Heidi and Henri. All I know is that you’re in TX–but honestly, I’d be hard pressed to say “gate guard” with any slim semblance of “she knows what she’s talkin’ about”. Like Zero. The photos were nice–but only to see y’all in your orange vests, and the ones with Henri and other “friends”. Even with the commentary, I didn’t really know what or where I was lookin’ at. I repeat, Sheesh!! But you can always start another blog, Debbie, so we can keep chatting–“cabbages and kings” sounds good to me–I’m easy, as you know, when it comes to talk-talk-talkin’. God bless y’all BIG–much love from your sis Caddo

  5. I love how you handle even this with grace, Debbie! If there’s a way, I think you’ll find it . .. you have such a great mind, kind heart and fun sense of humor. Reading the comments from all the people you’ve helped really shows what a blessing you are. Thinking of you with love and prayers! the other deb

  6. I’m with the others and hope you will keep blogging. I completely understand how difficult it is… As a consultant potential new clients understandably want to know what you have done and how you quantify that success, etc. But you’re bound by confidentiality agreements not to disclose anything. I can see both sides.

  7. So sorry that this has happened. As an ex gate guard I was enjoying your posting. But it was getting so political when we left for the summer I just don’t think we will ever go back to it. Good luck and you guys stay safe email me once in awhile so I know you guys are okay. I don’t think they can stop you from sending personal emails LOL. Take care.

  8. WOW, this is shocking. This is a huge infringement of your First Amendment rights. But i understand your concern that your employer is not happy about the blog, notwithstanding their blatant disregard for the 1st amendment. You have to pick your time and place for revolution ;-).

    AND, to tell you the truth, the details of drilling and WHO you drill for do NOT sink in. I could care less about who they are, or how many gallons or lodes or whatever they accumulate or disperse or spray, or sell come to … i simply love reading about you and Heidi and your experiences, and your HUGE heart and sense of humor about this New Adventure and New Land. It’s fabulous! Shame on those people for squelching Fork. May they NEVER use silverware again!

    Love to you and Heidi, gate guard(s) extraordinaire!!! xo mel

      • This is really upsetting!! Right? You know, i’m assuming these “people” who are squelching Fork eat with their hands anyway. Forgive me (Me Judgeth not) … not my place … but it’s not their place to stifle the Adventure of Heidi Ho and Debbie … Debbie the …. I have to work on a Title for the Adventure duo. Help?!

  9. The honor is ours!

    We must keep the masses powerless, because information is power. BUT the right to free speech is ummmm, constitutional …still???

    I really do understand proprietary restrictions though, is this the reasoning? How limiting is the limitation really?

    Anyway hope you keep on blogging!

  10. I am so sorry to read this! Reading the Fork every day is like waking up with Al on the Weather Channel. Its amazing to me that they don’t take off the smut you see online instead of worrying about us gate guards chatting about stuff that mostly only we understand. I hope you can find a way to keep your blog going Deb. Otherwise I sure will miss you. BTW ~ we are also in Texas working for a company on a farmer’s ranch parked on a caliche road with lots of critters. Sending hugs!

  11. Please don’t stop blogging. We love you posts. I agree that Free Speech is at issue here and would have a hard time accepting their demands but until everyone is able to get a better distinction on the what and why I would hate to look at you blog and see nothing new. You always have great things to say and a wonderful way of saying it. Use those abilities! Please!

  12. i think you should tell your employers that i too have thought about gate guarding as a mid-life adventure. heidi, what does lock and load mean?

    • Gaye. You’re so funny! I grew up with hunting as a means to survival and it meant to lock the chamber open on the rifle and load the ammo. We threw the phrase around whenever we were riled up about something. Basically now to me, it means preparing to defend, which is my reactionary response. I’m learning to engage the brain also. That helps.

      I want to clarify that I see proprietary restrictions as a necessary evil to some extent as digital and instant-everything abounds. I’m not interested in a discussion of rights nor an exposition on legalese.

      I just wanted to vent a little and we’re both leaning towards changing the blog content to be more personal and no longer addressing the pros and cons of the job we’ve chosen. No one has asked us to take the blog down. We’ll probably make the necessary adjustments and hit the dirt! (which means stay below the gunfire lest we get our hairdos messed up.) We dearly love the job, as any reader knows, beyond our ability to explain anyway, so that doesn’t change. Y’all know where to write us and where to find our other blogs anyway.

      Debbie’s asleep and I promise not to take over…:)

  13. “Lock and load!” was my first reaction to hearing what we can post on a personal blog. I was a journalism student in 1972 with Woodward and Carl Bernstein making daily news! (Math wasn’t my forte, but isn’t this roughly 40 years later?)

    The tipping factor for us deciding to come from Oregon to Texas was Kit and Jerry’s blog about the daily life of gate guarding.

    I’d be interested to know how many people went into gate guarding because she and other bloggers made it appealing enough for others to consider…

    That was the first reaction. Beyond that… OK. I’m not fighting anyone or anything any longer. I make no apologies for promoting GGS and we’ve met some awesome people because of this blog and made some lifelong friends who have followed our lead.

    I’m proud of the work that Debbie has put into our blog.On her highest readership day, we had over 1500 hits. She won’t say so, but I will.

    We both have our other blogs and so far no one is making noises about the content there. We’ll keep in touch.

  14. hi
    please dont stop..i have very much enjoyed your blog….even when it was not about gateguarding…sometimes more so…we gateguarded last year and will be back this fall…i felt the boredom was intense…loved the escape…and you are a wonderful writer

  15. We were given limitations on what we could post when we were Gate Guarding last winter too. Kind of sad….your blog is what gave us the knowledge we needed, to apply for, and go to work as Guards, last year.

    • I love the blog and would like it to continue but… I think an explanation of the company line is in order.. It’s not a free speech thing.

      Industrial espionage is the reason for the limitations, especially pictures of rigs and gates, or what trucks enter or leave on what date etc..

      A guard saying one or the other drove the 18 miles into some town to the DQ yesterday establishes a radius of where a gate is in relation to the area DQs. All that is needed then is to read blogs until the next mention of another DQ meetting of guards and a spy or more than one to stake out the local DQ in some town and to follow a guard or two ‘home’,

      They know what the guards look like, what vehicles and the color they drive etc.(like who all has been meeting at the DQ the first Tuesday of the month etc.) and the deed is done the next meeting…

      That info can lead to a huge savings of time and money to a company that is looking for and finds other company’s successful drilling operations. They can already know the total depth any probelms, how long each stage of completion took, on’n on.

      All that seriously lessens the financial risk of drilling on a hope and a prayer when you know others have found oil ‘right over there 500 yards to the east’..

      And it only takes a little bitty piece of info here and another there and then another and spies start driving around with cameras looking for the RV the gate guards’ pictures showed on their blog last month and they find the site that way.

      For anyone questioning…I worked in Europe on host country air force bases in the 1960s in the nuclear weapons field for a number of years.

      What companies are doing what, when and where posted on blogs, and soon the oil company hiring the company you are gate guarding for is out of business; and their gate guards probably will be too.

      Then you get to go work for the successor company or you do without the income and if you go work for the successor, it may be for less money or perks, benefits etc..

      • Hi Debbie.

        From reading another gate guarding blog, some gate guard companies have the same stipulations in their instructions and some company men have reminded some gate guards of the same stipulations.

        As to how you were notified, being told in person may have had me saying something I’d regret, so email would have been my choice. lol

        The internet is where blogs are found and obviously they want the internet shut down. And Google Maps or Earth are not in real time; I use them a lot and I have seen some that show they are years old..And I’m fairly sure state records aren’t up to the minute either. My guess as to the other reason(s) for their decision would be possible liability in some way. If I read Marty correctly it seems he sees no reason for the decision but it seems about all the gate guard companies have made the same decision ..

        I think you should you should continue the blog.

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