Pray for Rain

Everywhere you look, the buzzards are circling. Not a good sign. I’m afraid to stand still for fear they might mistake me for something dead and delicious.

Rain is grace; rain is the sky descending to the earth; without rain, there would be no life.  ~ John Updike

We’re getting precariously close. Today is officially our 35th straight triple digit day. According to one of the ranchers at the second-hand grocery store, in the ten or so miles between Nixon and Smiley, we’ve had 2.4 inches of rain in 11 months. Another said that’s an exaggeration – 2 tops.

I passed the chicken houses on my way to the post office. They’re silent except for the constant hum of the giant fans. The drought is hostile to all but my alien foliage.

In Austin, only watering by hand is permitted during the day under current Stage 1 rules. The next stage would further limit watering to once a week, shut down the city’s fountains and allow water to be served in restaurants only upon a customer’s request.  Water bills are running as high as electric bills for Austin residents, prompting the city utility service to initiate a summer extended plan. http://www.time.com/time/nation/article/0,8599,2087489,00.html#ixzz1UhAo3Hui

There’s nothing left of the fields but dirt. Even the cactus are dying. Three summers ago, I left a city underwater. Cedar Rapids is still struggling to recover. I don’t know what it will take for Texas to recover. The ranchers said they’ve quit praying for rain. They’re praying for a hurricane. They said  that may be the only thing that can save them.

I’m not a Texan. My own daily gate guarding life is a little hotter and a little dustier than it would otherwise be. An inconvenience, not a devastation. But you can’t live in a community of people, even temporarily, without your heart breaking for their suffering and their loss. If you’re given to praying, would you pray for rain?

Rigging Up – A Pictorial (2)

After spending 3 hours trying to make a slide show, I’m giving up. I’m afraid you’ll have to keep on scrolling – which rhymes with rolling – which is what we’ll be doing this morning. After a month and a day with Lantern 3, we’ll be moving 10 miles to Smiley to re-join one of our former Company Men who’s bringing up Lantern 17, a horizontal drilling rig  from Louisiana.

Maybe we’ll stay with17 until we retire?  Hmm… When I went to bed yesterday morning, I didn’t know we were moving today so it’s not likely! You just never know in this business. 😀

We’ve been at this site for 4 days. I still have some interesting (I think) shots of rigging up here at Lantern 3, so I’ll continue to post them for the next few days.

Everyone  is lined up and waiting to unload, which didn’t happen for another day.

The whole process is, of course interesting to the locals. While no one (except the owners) is allowed inside the gate, we do get a lot who stop to watch from the road!

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I don’t know about you, but there’s something about the position this guy’s in that makes me kind of uncomfortable. He survived, though!

I believe this is called a ditch witch – JoJo – you can correct me if I’m wrong.

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The night ended with some real tired guys heading home. These three are characters. Jared (driving) is the son of a preacher back in Idaho. Cheyenne and Dakota (brothers) say their Momma watched too many westerns. 😀 Stay safe, guys. It was great fun getting to know you!

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They left as the next group arrived. A couple of guys are  from east Texas and the rest are from Arkansas. It’s a long commute to work  from Arkansas: 11 1/2 hours, which means they spend 2 of their 7 days off, driving.

More tomorrow.

All lit up but still down

All lit up but still down.