Why Mow When You Can Moo?

We’re getting ready to skid over to drill a second hole sometime next week, so there’s not a lot of activity. There’s also been NO connectivity. Even though we have both AT&T and Verizon air cards, the internet seems to go down with the sun each evening.

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We’re still in the same spot, somewhere south of Kenedy (not misspelled – just one n – Texas is a red state, y’all). We’re maybe 150 feet from the rig. I’m really not much better with feet and yards than I am with north and south so that may be way off but, as you can tell from this photo, we’re close.

Our RV is in the left front, then the rough-necks trailer and then it’s time for a hardhat. We’re sitting in pea gravel. To a gate guard, pea gravel is pad heaven. No caliche! Well, that’s not entirely true, there’s always caliche, but it’s on the road, not under us!

The picture below is rather remarkable. I took it a few days ago when we had clouds. We almost never have clouds.

No matter which side of life she was looking at, Judy Collins would have nothing to sing about if she lived between Beeville and Kenedy. Except possibly, next week if Tropical Storm Debby (don’t you hate it when they name something destructive after you – at least they spelled it wrong) takes the path predicted and turns away from Florida, landing here about Thursday.

Just a reminder, in the right margin, you can always check your weather at Weather Wunderground or track Hurricanes and Tropical Storms by clicking on the live links.

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One of the guys came by to pick up our garbage. Heidi was asleep and I don’t know where she keeps it. I know, how could I not know that? There doesn’t seem to be any anywhere. 😀

It’s probably bagged up in the truck but I didn’t want to make him wait. It’s that or the shoemaker’s elves. I did get a partial picture out of the right to your door service. Sorry I cut off the forks which, of course, is where the garbage goes.

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Since moving to Texas we’ve spent a surprising amount of time with cows. I don’t have a farming background. My Mom grew up on a farm, but I’m more of a town/city girl.

What makes the picture below rare is that this cow was actually on the other side of a fence from us. Normally, we just share the space, so I’m getting to know a lot more about cows.

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We had  a lot of cows in Iowa. I saw them from the window of the car. There are a lot of cows in Texas. They lick the window of the car and just about everything else.

This cow is a good example. I stopped to take a picture because she was just wandering along the side of the road. She walked right up and licked the truck.

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There doesn’t seem to be an unappealing part of our service wagons.

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The picture below was taken when we were in that really weird patch of 8 foot tall weeds last fall. I think this is where Heidi mastered the art of throwing water on the cows (calves) since they were bent on eating our satellite.

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In the end, we bent it ourselves. In a missed relay from me to Heidi to the ground and it fell on its nose. We now have the little dome kind that finds the settings for you and is impervious, so far, to cow licking. Which is kind of surprising because it looks a whole lot like the salt licks we used to have back home.

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As apparently so do I (look like a salt lick).

Those of you who’ve been reading for a while, know about the night I tried to open the door to check out the constant whacking sound and it wouldn’t budge.

When I finally got it open there were cows and calves everywhere – swatting flies and the RV at the same time.

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I literally tumbled onto one. Although he was temporarily startled, I was soon surrounded and received some serious licking. I had my camera in my pocket. I have no idea why I thought this was a great photo-op moment.

The little bit of white in the bottom of the picture is my t-shirt – clearly salt-lick looking.

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Their joy came to a halt when I had to wrestle the lawn chair away from one and the leather tire cover away from a particularly hungry guy.

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I took this photo yesterday. I’ve heard of people keeping goats so they don’t have to mow. Our neighbors have gone Texas BIG and substituted cows for goats! No mowing, just mooing!

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Notice the open gate in the above picture. It’s not at all unusual to have to pull over and wait to see why the cows crossed the road.

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She always says, my lord, that facts are like cows. If you look them in the face hard enough they generally run away. ~ Dorothy L. Sayers

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Dorothy Sayers was a great writer who clearly didn’t cross the pond to hang out with Texas cows.

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Some people talk to animals. Not many listen though. That’s the problem. ~ A.A. Milne

When the bulls talk, we listen. There were 3 (although you can only see one in this video. There was another behind him and one across the road – not fenced in of course. We asked the rancher (this was a while back) if we needed to be worried since the not-fenced-in-bull hung out right outside of our RV.
Apparently they were all three trying to impress the lady cows, so Yep.
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Greatness alone in not enough, or the cow would outrun the hare.  ~Proverb

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All is not butter that comes from the cow.  ~Proverb

I now know this to be a fact.

When Things Went South

Since we last talked, things including but not limited to us, have gone south. The actual origin of the phrase, going south is a little uncertain, although it’s universally understood as going bad. Here’s a summary of what I found @ wise Geek.com.

One idea is that when sales or the market numbers are good, they rise toward the top of a chart (North geographically), and when they’re bad when they flow toward the bottom (South). Another explanation, which is much more popular in the North than in the South, is that after the Civil War, the South seemed to be associated with losing. Now that I’m living in Texas, I don’t think I’ll use that one. 😀

The phrase is thought to have originated in England, sort of.  People didn’t say that things were going south, instead they referred to a worsening situation as going west. Possible explanations:

1. The sun sets in the west.

2. Stories of prisoners from London traditionally heading west to the gallows.

This didn’t work as well for Americans who were fond of saying Go west, young man! where the West was associated with a place to seek one’s fortune. Over time, going west became going south which is now used by all around the world, except not so much here in Texas. 😀

To pacify you true Southerners, no one says things are going north to indicate a great improvement in circumstances! Anyway, just before things went south, we spent 2 weeks in Whitsett, waiting for our plumb assignment. We continued to meet nice folks there. More newbies:

Linda and Bobbie (Jim and Jim missed the photo op)

We got a kick out of Mary and Darrel from Arizona. Such fun folks!

Finally, after 2 weeks, the gate we’d been waiting for opened up. Jamie said to be ready at 9 a.m. so of course we were ready at 7:30 (1st law of gate guarding, always be ready hours or days ahead of when you expect to move). Mark was there to move us at 8:00.

Heidi and Mark setting up our ‘permanent digs’

The oil company was Murphy (nice folks by the way). The gate was expected to be easy. It was our first non-24 hour gate. Open it at 6 a.m. and close it at 8 p.m. according to Wayne and Barbara (the folks we replaced). It seemed so right, but right away, went so wrong!

They’re building a plant so the job security was great. It looked like a place we could stay for a year or two. The scenery wasn’t much, but gate guards are used to that.

After 14 months in this business, we’re considered seasoned gate guards. Not experts, just seasoned.  But this time, we made some first-timer errors. The fact that the same couple had been at the gate for 4 months and that our FS had phone service gave us a false sense of security. We didn’t want to spend the money to drive 100 miles to check the gate. Big mistake.

Mark got us set up and drove off. We got out our computers. No internet. We have both Verizon and AT&T internet cards and a Wilson booster… nada.

Heidi made a call to AT&T on her phone. They said we were way too far from any towers (and that the internet and the phone towers are separate).  The call was apparently a fluke, because we couldn’t call out again from the RV – to anyone.

I closed the gate at 8 as instructed only to have guys coming and going until after 11. I stayed up until at least midnight every night and slept like you do when you have a newborn – half way awake, listening for the bell. The padlock was terminally jammed so it was kind of, sort of locked. Heidi got up at 5, which was good since we had people on site by 5:15.

The second day, neither phone worked. My phone found this to be so discouraging that it simply quit altogether and it’s bits faded from view until none could be found. It’s now in the AT&T recycle center.

After 5 trips to Fowlerton (pop. 62) to call the office, we finally got a hold of Jamie and asked for a replacement. 50 miles from a grocery store or Walmart was fine; but 50 miles from a cell tower, not so much. We couldn’t even call 911. That was on Monday.

Jamie said he’d have someone there Tuesday unless we could wait until Wednesday. No problem. Tuesday, Larry came by to say they could have someone there at noon on Thursday. No problem, although I was starting to feel like we were playing out a cheeseburger scene between Popeye and Wimpy.

The traffic from 97 was non-stop and so loud that we had to raise our voices to hear each other, which made Henry VIII think we were yelling, so he threw-up in his bed. Hmm…

Henry in his post-crisis mode

You know the old saying, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Yep. It was. Wednesday evening, we looked out the window at the ditch to see a river running through it. The liquid (something – never quite sure what since it was bubbling) was racing toward the RV.

Pre-flood photo

It was too dark to take a picture by the time we finished trying to build a little rock dam to stop the flood. Heidi drove into Fowlerton to call the only number we had for someone associated with the rig, since the CM wasn’t on site.

A really nice guy came out, crawled around in the dark and found a partially open valve of the something… and stopped the flow about 20 feet from the RV.

We were told to be ready to switch out the gate at noon on Thursday. We hitched up, just past dawn, in the drizzle in 3 minutes! Heidi says she’ll never time it again, since she doesn’t want the pressure to do it any faster. 😀

We had just turned around and pulled out of the spot at 7:30 when the new gate guards arrived. Larry was there by 8:30, and by the time we were have supposed to be ready to leave at noon,  we were already set up in a little RV park south of Seguin.

The 3 hour trip was uneventful, except that we apparently were the target of a random tire-stone- toss. We were already waiting to see if  the RV shop in Houston could move our repairs (from my palm tree tango) up a week or so. Of course, now they have to see how long it will take Coachman to ship out the window from Indiana. 🙂

Otherwise, all is well. We’ll use the time off to tackle taxes. Don’t ask. We don’t know anything yet. We’re talking to a CPA to help us out this year. I may continue to write here at Fork, but since we’re not on a gate, I’ll be writing about rather random topics. If you only read here for gate guard info, please check the side bar for other gate guard blogs. 😀