Two Weeks On The Pipeline…..

This last week and a half has brought much change.   On Friday, Sept. 11, we were still 16 miles from Carrizo Springs Tx. gate guarding an oil well.  We were Gate 3, and our neighbors next door were gate 2.   They were a married couple and her twin sister and 3 dogs.  Down the road was gate 1.  The new couple had just come in on Wed. and taken over, as the other couple left.   They were new and were going to get their license.  We had a really hard rain on Thur. nite and their awning was torn off the trailor.  Well, if you remember, my last blog the crickets were so bad.   Well they just got worse.  Friday nite, we all got the call around 9:30 that all 3 gates were closed………….Wow………..Now were were expecting it but, to have all 3 at the same time….rather surprising…..We were to be off duty 6am. Saturday morning and pack to leave.   So this is what we got up to……

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More Crickets…….Horrible Horrible…..the smell was getting so bad.   They were everywhere…..Piles under the wheels.   So Rich got out the Raid and sprayed the screen.  Then we pulled our patio rug out the the road and sweeped and dumped all the crickets.

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They were so Gross………Grrrrrrrr……..We actually were very glad to leave.  Then the worst part, when we put in our slides, Rich chased the crickets off the bottom, but when they were in, Guess What…………..Crickets came in on the top of the slide……….Oh No………We ended up killing Crickets the next several days…..We even went to bed at nite hearing them in the Motor Home…..Yuck….

We had asked Chris our supervisor if their were any other jobs.   He said their were 12 hour gate jobs in Tilden.   It was 2 hours away straight east.   We could also have free hookups.  It wasn’t what we really wanted, but we decided that we would go.  We stopped to see the neighbors and Carol came out and said, “See what happened”…..They started up their 1986 Motorhome and a huge pile of liquid came out underneath.  We felt bad, but had to leave.  Their car and broke down on Thursday, in town.  The parts couldn’t be ordered till Mon. and now this.   I text them on Tue. and found out they had to be towed to San Antonio and they were in a motel, waiting for one of the vehicles to be down.  I hope they are doing well now.

We arrived in Tilden and found it to be a small town of 450 people.  It is the County Seat,  and is also the home of Boot Hill Cemetery, one of the 2 authentic cemeteries of its kind in the southwest. It was so named because many of those who were interred there died violently, “with their boots on.”  I will be investigating this before we go….Sounds so interesting.   It’s main income now is due to the growth of the oil industry.  It is the home of many of the employees of the oil or pipeline company’s in the area.  The area is full of wells, but now it is really slow as the Oil boom has really slowed down.   They have lots of housing, and trailer parks for the employees.

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Here is some of the housing.

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But this is the nicer one.  Right now, many of these units are empty.  We found our place to park and hooked up……Not really nice at all………..but FREE………everything we needed.  Our new supervisor came, John.  Here we find out its a gas pipeline and he is going to give us not only one, but 2 gates…………Yea…..Double Money………..”The catch”….its 32 miles from town.  He gave us directions……travel 23 miles south, turn left, after 7 miles turn on San Diego Road……drive approx. 3.5 miles on gravel road.   You’ll find 2 gates across from each other……..Be their 6 AM. Monday………….What!!!!………..its dark out at 6…No lights on the gates……Their are NO NUMBERS on the gates either…….How do we know?……No signs……lol….We decided to go out the day before and find it…..Thank Goodness…It is a horrible gravel road the shakes the truck from front to back…..You cant go over 15 to 20 mph for the 3.5 miles…..It is desert, cactus, mesquite trees, and they call them ranches………..lol….

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Wild Turkeys, roam the roads and ranch property.  Groups of a dozen or more….

We found it….It turns out this pipeline is gas and is nearing done.  The pipeline is over 32 miles long.  It is connecting 2 gas plants that are 32 miles apart.  Right now they truck it over and it is over 90 miles one way.  So this will be quite a savings.  Our gates are right in the middle.

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Richs’ Barbed wire gate……he has to open it for each truck and log their plate and signature

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My Gate on the left.  It is a double swing nice galvanized gate….lol…This is our canopy were we hang out.   The Guy is Bruce…..We called him Louisiana for most of the time.  lol..We didn’t know his name.   He was from Louisiana, lives in Arkansas, but works for this company in Texas.  He is a welding inspector.  He spent more time washing his truck and talking than working….lol….But that’s where we learned a lot of info.   He was very nice and loved telling us all about the industry.

Gate 15 and 16 are right across from each other on the country gravel road.  The pipe is a 24″ pipe, that is already buried.  They are right now cleaning out the pipe and getting it ready to fill with gas.  It is quite a process.  My gate is the center of the project and is where the valves are.  They are cleaning them out with Styrofoam “PIGS” as they call them.

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 They are the same circumference as the pipe and some have bristles.  They are shot threw the pipes under pressure, from the plants to the valves.  They clean out the inside.  It takes one, 3 hours to go 15 miles.  When they come out at the valve area, their is a big boom and lots of dust is stirred up in the air.

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After filling with water, they also build up the pressure for 8 hours to make sure it is sealed.  Then after draining they have to shoot more pigs through to dry the inside of the pipe.  They said the pipe held 2 million gallons of water in the pipe.  It was then drained into the ranchers pond and the remainder over the next hill.  During the drying process, they told us it could take up to 150 “pigs” to dry the pipe.  Now the drying process is over and they are connecting the 2, 15 mile sections and welding them together at the valves.  We have maybe 2 weeks tops here and it will be over.  My gate will be last, as it is were most of the activity is.

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Heavy Equipment crossing the road on tires, from gate to gate…

They are now grading and cleaning all the areas of the pipeline.  Some places will be reseeded as to what the rancher wants.  Then all the gates the contractors installed, will be replaced with new fencing.

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The 2 ranches that we are on have the most interesting, beautiful iron works on their gates.   The rancher gates are left undisturbed and the contractors installed their on gates about 50 ft from them. The ranch on my side is owned by a man from Houston.  He uses it for hunting.  He has a pond, deer stands, and his house trailer for his stays.  We were told he has over $800,000. worth of white tailed deer on his property.  Hunting is quite an industry in this area.

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The owner was down last weekend and was Quail hunting on his property.  Other wildlife in the area are Turkeys, Javelinas, Wolves, some Bobcats, lots of Ground Squirrels and Road Runners, and of course the dreaded Rattlesnake.

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Now on Richs’ side is the most beautiful Proud Deer standing over the gate…..Standing so tall and Proud….

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This rancher feeds his deer with a product called “Record Rack”…..We have seen deer, but only the young ones.

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12008418_10204766348346238_1649205244_oAll in all, this has been a long 2 weeks but we’ve learned and experienced so much.  And of course above all me made some nice money so far.  In 2 weeks or less, we will be done and on our way….Don’t know where Yet……lol…..That’s the Adventure……lol….

Until then, we are getting up at 4 am.  Packing lunch and coolers, leaving to buy a bag of ice every morning.  We arrive at our gates at 6 am.  We stay till 7 pm. and then head back home, arriving by 8 pm.  Eat and to bed by 10 or earlier.   It gets to 95 in the afternoon…..we drink lots of liquid….I eat ice and run water over my head also….lol….and the worse part is ….NO PHONE SERVICE….NO INTERNET .until we get home….So not a lot of time to write this blog….But the wildlife is breathtaking.  We are spending everyday in their environment and can watch their daily activities…..We have lots more stories to tell….

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Invasion of the Crickets and Seismic Trucks…..

Today is 9-11…..A day we will never forget……and will always remember

Around 3 am. I was woke up by a very loud semi noise.  All last evening we had heard this noise from a distance.  I walked to the road and couldn’t see it.  Later threw the mesquite trees across the road we could see moving headlights.  We knew the seismic trucks were in the area.  We were told over a week ago they would be coming.  We had seen some company trucks and 4 wheelers in the area, but last nite they arrived.

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So I got up and looked out.  Their were 3 of them. They came to our gate by mistake and then went over to the neighbors gate.   After they signed in, off they went in the darkness.  When I got up this morning, I could still here them working in the distance.  After I went outside, they came out from the area over by the neighbors.  They are very big.

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The seismic trucks are used to plot out the land and decided where the oil is.  Their are 2 ways to do this.  One is to dig a hole and stick in some dynamite.  Then send down sound waves that bounce back to help them diagram the land. This is the other way.  If you look at the picture, in the middle of the truck, their is a huge metal plate on the bottom.  The travel along together and then stop.

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The metal plate goes down and all the weight of the truck is put on it.  You here the engine revving, as they send sound waves down through the plate into the ground.  The instruments in the truck record it and after about 3 minutes they move to another spot together.   We had heard this all nite.   It sounds like when a truck is stuck in snow and trying to rev the engine to get out.  They finally came up the lane and left around 1 pm.

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I thought they may come over here to this property, but maybe tomorrow.  or tonite?  For the last several days, we have noticed the crickets were getting thick.  Well today was horrible.  You could see them come crawling over the road to our screen.  They would jump on me.  I looked at the awning top by the roller bar and was  ….AMAZED…..Time to do something.  They were thick on the top of our awning.  They were like this on the inside and outside.   They birds just sat on the fence across the street and just looked at us……….ARE THEY ON STRIKE…..THEY MUST WANT US TO LEAVE…..LOL….

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I bet their were couple thousand all together.  I got out the mothballs………Nothing………They didn’t care.   So finally I got out the ant and roach killer.   I started spraying…..OMG………They were dropping like fly’s from the awning.

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They  were thick around the tires in the sand.   Then by the charcoal bags they were ……HORENDOUS…..YUCKKKKKKKKKKKK………….If you look, they were thick between the bag and the smoker….Horrible…

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So I sprayed and sprayed……..they were jumping like crazy, then some were flying….they would land on me.

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I walked around the rv and sprayed the back side.  They weren’t as bad.

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I was thinking, maybe because rain was predicted, they were looking for a dry spot.   I don’t know but these birds had better start working around here and stop watching us from their fence…….

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This is the aftermath by the smoker….but if you look at the bags you will still see more still alive…..Well I still have a half a can left, and more in the cabinet.  Stay tunned and we’ll see what tomorrow will bring……lol….

…………..Any Ideas on Cricket Control…………Any help will be appreciated……

I also had this kinda cool moth on the screen.

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But I did wait till it left to start massacring the crickets….

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This is the moth on the screen compared to the crickets.

Also another visitor yesterday was this little bug….

.Look like he stopped on my log paper to take a short bath….

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Also had some Quail this morning….

The other day, a very nice Escalade with 2 women dressed very nice stopped.  It turns out they are the property owners from San Antonio.  They come down every couple of weeks to check.  They were wondering if the seismic people were here yet.  They also said they have hunters leased to the ground.  Soon they will be coming in to deer hunt.  After that will be quail…..So what does the future hold for us……we don’t know………They came by yesterday and pumped our septic, filled our gasoline tank with 200 gallons, and our water tank is also full……So time goes on…..

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Labor Day Weekend in the Desert…

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……..Isn’t this a Beautiful Southwestern Texas Sky……….

Happy Labor Day weekend to All

…..Here we are Celebrating the Holiday working….lol…but doing NOTHING….About 3 days ago, the oil company (Sundance) decided that they couldn’t fix the well and moved everything out.  Of course we weren’t told anything about what was going on.  The first we knew about it was just before sunset.  One of the workers, Randy, came up from the rig.  He gave us his grill, 2 bags of charcoal, lighter, tinfoil, and 2 pkgs of baby back ribs with a jar of rub.

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He said they were packing up and leaving in several hours.  Wow.   We were so surprised…..Surprised they were leaving, and really surprised, he would leave us all his Goodies…….. He had been going to grill that nite for some of the boys, and when they got the word, he decided to get rid of it all.     What a Nice Guy. So back down to the rig he went.  Little by little they started leaving that nite.   The tower had already come down, but the spot lights remained all nite.  Randy was out before 10 pm.  He was heading home to Laredo.  The next morning more men and equipment left.

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2 water tankers left.  They are a rather strange design, but common here in Texas.  The spot lights left, flat beds and drop decks came in to load equipment consisting of cranes, pipes, tower, and etc.  Finally the portapottys and the garbage cage even left.

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Almost last came the company trailer.   84′ of trouble….lol…This guy had quite a hard time getting it out.  Our gate is right at a curve in the road, which should make it easier, but was still hard.  He managed to scrape about a foot section on the side of the gate…..Ouch…I seen that one coming.  Finally, it was out.  Later only one last thing…….The people came in for the rest of the rig which was folded on a trailer.   So went through the log and ….Yes everyone who had came in……..had went out…..So I wondered, what does it look like down their………..So I took a ride down to the oil pad….

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It was a huge area, that had been filled with gravel and compacted to make a huge flat area.  Dead center was the oil well.

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That is all there is too it.  I don’t know what I expected, but everything was cleaned up and gone….Just like that….In the distance, you can see a light….That is our gate area.  Notice how dirty the truck is….lol…So now we wait…………….Nobody has said anything to us, and when we ask, every one has a different story, from…..”We Don’t Know”   to   “They are bring in a new huge rig to drill a new well.  Their going to concrete this one over and move over on the pad and drill again.  You haven’t seen nothing yet”.  So we don’t know what to believe.  We now have a supervisor that comes in and checks every morning.  That’s it.  We sit here and Rich sleeps in the recliner, just in case, cause that’s what were being paid for……lol….easy money….In the mean time, they have been working on the road right outside our gate.

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It is nothing but sand.  When the wind storms kick up it is terrible.  So the other day, a road grater, water truck came in and started watering down the road and plowing it.  Next thing ya know gravel trucks were lining up and dumping gravel.

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They all turned around right outside our gate.  I don’t think I would be overestimating at over 75 trucks came each day for 2 days.

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The water truck was continually watering the road and backed into our gate and the neighbors and kept us watered all day.  That really helped keep the dust down.  So I think most of that is done and now we have a much nice road to drive on.  But as I think about all of this expense, it makes me realize about all the money it does cost to drill for oil.   We wonder why it cost so much at the pumps. We are getting an education.  First the Oil Company’s have to write contracts with the land owner.  The land owners can require guards on their property, and if they lease out their grounds for hunting, which many of them do, they can require during hunting season no drilling on site.  Then all the prep work.  We had Seismic people come in the other day.  They drive all over and test the ground for oil veins.  As the drilling starts, it seems like everything is contracted out with different company’s.  The Gate Guards are another company in it self.  The Electrical company’s bringing in the generators and spot lights for the gate guards, and for the drill site.  In fact the amount of generators and the size was amazing to see go through the gate.  The semi flat beds and drop decks, cranes, port a potty, and even a garbage trailer. All contracted or rentals with other company’s.  Even the workers were from several different company’s.   One guy told me that if you don’t hit oil in a drill site, its 3 million dollars down the drain.   So what Rich and I would like to know………..Even with all these expenses, how is it the Oil company’s still make all that money…..fascinating……They even have to build these roads and leave them in good shape, per the land owners contract……The money they put into the road back to the pad and to form the pad at the site had to have been a fortune.  On the other hand, the gate next to us has at least 2 or more trucks a day coming in to take out the oil that is pumped.  and I know that many days it is a lot more than 2……So now here comes the profit….lol…

So here we sit, just watching the gate.  We had been told about a blimp far away that was on the border.

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We can see it at night.  It is a white blimp that is tethered at all times.   It sends down readings and the cameras view the land for many, many miles.  It helps them to catch the illegals coming across the border and to confiscate drugs.   It guess it is doing a great job, and they will be putting in more across the border in the Rio Grande Valley.

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If you look closely at the picture it looks like a fish…lol…We were thinking we were closer to the border than we had thought, so today I asked the boss who came in to check, how far were we, he isn’t from this area, but he was told only about 10 miles…..Wow…..No wonder so many illegals here.  He said they caught about 10 several days ago.  He had one the other day jump out at him as he was driving cause he was ready to give up and wanted water.  So sad.   He said many of them are found dead.  I so believe that.

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We have been sitting out side at dusk enjoying the nite life.  The skunk hasn’t been back in a few days.  Many deer are around.  We seen this herd of about 6 deer.

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Then they just slowly walked across the road one by one….You can see one already in the bush on the left, one on the road, and several more still to cross.

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Then late one evening, this one just came slowly eating and walking right across the road from me.  He looked at me

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And then went on his way and out our gate……And we also have many, Many, MANY Rabbits……

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This little guy was right in front of us the other nite.  He just looked at us.  I went in a brought out some lettuce….He didn’t even leave….but he didn’t want my lettuce….He was eating all the yucky dead grass…..So many rabbits play in the morning and evening hours.  You can see them all up and down the roads…..Late evening and morning are the coolest times……Now how do ya like this temperature……This picture I took inside the sunscreen in the shade….

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HOT……….HOT………..Hot………….

One Week Done…..Life is Good….

We arrived one week ago today.  It has been a rewarding week full of new things.  The trucks are busy moving in and out, but not really fast.  The scenery and wildlife around us is amazing to watch.  We are living in their ecology and watching the lives of the birds animals and insects as they survive.

The trucks still have not been heavy, still less than 38 a day.  They brought in an 84″ office trailer.

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That was  quite a feat, as the driver had to make a sharp turn to get in the gate.  After 15 minutes of jockeying around, he made it  Good driver.     Much more equipment has come in.  From what we understand, the bore doesn’t match up.  Problems…lol…They might have to pull up the casing, if that makes sense.  A lot of time has been spent by the crew waiting for management decide what to do.

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 View of the well at sunset…..

Lots of the guys are sleeping and eating in their trucks.  Not fun way to live for me.  Temps get to over 100 degrees in the afternoon.  Imagine sitting in your truck to get relief and eat your meals.  Some go to town to eat and I believe many also have rooms in town.  There are many new motels in town because of the oil industry. Also many campgrounds, trailers and Fema looking trailers.  You can tell the oil industry is really giving the area a  huge boost of economy.

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The border patrol seems to be out frequently.  We’ve seen the helicopter several days but not as close as the first day.  Also the truck and horse trailer have been by several times.  One morning at day break the Border Patrol truck passed going very very slow.  Looking into the brush at the side of the road.  I just can’t imagine these illegals coming into this country, trying to walk at nite through this desert.  Look at that picture.  It is nothing but dense cactus and brush.  The goat heads in the sand or horrible, and at night, when they travel, the rattle snakes are out.  During the day it reaches over 100 degrees.  The heat is aweful.  How can they take their wives and children into this desert.  No wonder many of them are found dead.  How sad for them that they want to escape their country so bad that they put their lives and family at risk.

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Last Friday Rich went to Uvalde and did his fingerprinting.  It was a drive of around 60 miles one way.  So yesterday I had an appointment in Crystal Springs which was much closer.  They are always moving around for the convience of the people.  But beings their is only 2 of us, one always has to be here at the gate, so we took turns.  So now we are done with fingerprinting and our test for the security liscense is also done.  I called Chris and he will be coming to pick them up.  Soon our raise will be in affect….Yessssssss….I also finally got to go to Walmart…….but, it is a small store, not a super Walmart….just a small amount of food….but then I went to a HEB grocery store and loaded up….It was nice to get out..

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Last nite we had a wind storm come up.  Really had no idea it was coming.  I watch the weather channel on the phone and not till it arrived, did it register as coming.   It was only blowing around 23 miles per hour, but that was plenty to kick up the dust.  It only lasted for about an hour an half, but it was enough to make my freshly washed hair of the morning, turn into nothing but sand and grit.  My lips kept getting gritty and later I found sand in numerous cracks and crannies I won’t mention…lol …I was worried about the awning but it held up well.  The sand in the road just kicked up into the air and looked like a snow storm from Illinois.  Sometimes whirlpools would just flow down the road like they were dancing in the wind.  I was so glad when it was my turn to retire into the clean air conditioning of my trailer and take a shower.  Rich does nite duty till 6 or 7 am.

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This morning I had to sweep our carpet of all the sand that had settled.  The tables were just full.  The neighbors black car looks like it was caught in a blizzard…..lol…..Then this afternoon a road grater started going up and down the gravel road.

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The sand had blown so bad they had to plow it……

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Then the water truck came and even went down our lane and back.  It made a  huge difference….for now……but……….It is almost dry already…

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This morning I was just sitting and out of the corner of my eye I seen movement.  Their was a “Roadrunner”.  Rich seen him come close the other morning.  He came right up in front of my chair and crossed over to the sand.  He would run…stop, look….run, stop, tail would go up.   He was awesome to see and didn’t even act scared of me.

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He ran over to the truck and stopped and then crossed the road.

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Their is so much wildlife here.  One nite Rich and I were sitting out about 10pm, and I seen a movement out of the corner of my eye.  My first thought was….OMG…Illegal….but then we seen a deer.  He walked behind the RV and later crossed the road.  Rich has seen a number of deer during his nite duty.  But the one that kind of concerns me is a skunk.   He has been coming over in the evenings and eating bugs by the lights.  He runs around and plays…..Well Rich said the other nite he through a stick at him to chase him away.  The skunk lifted his tail and ran….Well If I was their, I would have ran tooooooo…….the other way when I seen the tail raise…..lol….If he comes around again, I will get his picture, but it might be from through the window.   lol

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In the mornings the black birds come out first and eat the bugs on the ground and road.  They come in flocks and walk the roads looking.  Then the little scissortail birds come out and take over.

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Now this is the coolest little moth I’ve  ever seen….He has 2 long antenna and a big thing on his back that makes him look like a unicorn.   He was attached to the sunscreen for ever……..  But here is the cutest little thing it seen out here yet…………

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Meet one of my neighbors…..Kathy and her pet “Peaches”  She is a 6 year old Dachshund puppy.   Cute and Loveable as can be…….I will tell you more about the neighbors next time…..Can’t tell you everything NOW………CAN I????