Gate 15 Officially Closed….Just In Time….

Last Wed. was our last day at the gate.  On Tue morning Rich went in, and we had hopes it would be the last, but no.   Now the maintainer (road grader) broke down.  The had brought in several loads of rock to spread around the valve area and the ranchers gate.  The maintainer broke down in the middle of the ranchers gate.  They managed to back it up behind the gate to lock it.  The operator waited all afternoon for the mechanic to come, but, no avail.  Theirs always tomorrow.  So Rich came home and told me Wed was my day to close.    lol.  So Wed morning I went to the gate at 6:30 as usual.  The guys started coming in by 7 am.  They finally all drove out around 7:30 to begin to dismantle my gate and replace it with a tall fence to match the existing fence.


They had to take off the 2 – 8, sections of aluminum swing gate and replace it with 8′ rolled fencing.  Finally around 8 am. or so the mechanic came in and fixed the maintainer.  They began to finish their spreading and grading of the gravel.  Now they had around 7 guys to help with this gate.   How hard is it?


After quite awhile they finally had it up, laced the new piece on to the existing poles.  Then they had to put in the 2 metal poles…….Lets back up the truck, put the shortest guy up, standing on the top edge of the bed, and have him pound in the poles with the pounder….lol….The rest just stood around and watched…….AND THAT IS HOW THE WHOLE MORNING WENT……LOL….


My Gate ……….2  8′ swing aluminum sections…..

Finally at 1:05 Pm.  The gate was FINALLY OFFICIALLY CLOSED…….


My Gate after closing………took almost 6 hrs. and 7 men……lol….and this is what they were doing as I left………….sitting…..nothing…

This has been quit and experience for us.   Will we do it again?    OF COURSE….next spring we plan on being available in April.   It has definitely been challenging at times.  Learning how to sleep at the 24 hour gate, learning how to handle 100 degree heat, the attack of the crickets in Carrizo Springs….and now we are infested with ants in the RV, because of where we were staying in our FREE spot.   It was good as it was free, with all hook-ups, but it was not mowed.  Basically it was the back of a service yard that was tall dead critter infested weeds, with tires etc.  stuff people had thrown out and was never cleaned up.  The ground was all rutted with tire marks.  When it rains, the soil turns to a horrible mud.  So glad we got out when we did as the remnants of Hurricane Patricia are now upon us.  We left Wed. afternoon late, and stopped at Walmart and bought 2 back tires for the pickup and Thur. we arrived at East Gate in Harlingen.  ……OH HAPPY DAYS..…Glad to be back…..Of course it started raining, we left last spring in the rain, so I guess it should rain when we arrive.  lol.   Now the last 2 days it has been pouring because of Hurricane Patricia.  We only got around 2-3″ yesterday, but up north, parts of Texas including where we were, are getting 10″ – 12″ or more.  It is so good to be back, just like coming home.  Everyone is so glad to see you and we are to see them…….  Familiar Faces……Friends……Already went and played pool with the girls yesterday, and Rich is playing with the guys this morning…….OLD TIMES……Rain doesn’t stop anyone here.  One good thing that I love, which most people hate………..were back with the Planes, Trains, and Automobiles……lol…In the desert it was total silence…..Nothing….but here we are only a mile from the airport and on the flight path.  I have always loved watching the planes in the air.  At home in Illinois we are around 90 miles from Chicago, but on the flight path for O’Hare and Midway.  The planes are already descending.  Sometimes you can tell the color as to who the airlines is.  Right behind the park there is a train track.  Many times a freight train comes through.  We are also on the main drag in town and less than a half a block from the main road to turn to the airport.  So in the evening, you hear the sirens of the police and ambulance.  But here in the park we are secluded in our own little world…….Love It…..

But the silence of the desert is a good thing also.   We would spend around 12 hours everyday for 6 weeks, just sitting.  Many times we spent hours before someone would come or go to sign.  So we would sit their and become in tune with the area.  What we thought was a horrible desert with nothing but cactus, mesquite trees and nothing, became a beautiful area full of nature.  I have wrote about the turkeys, the Mexican ground squirrels, the quail, deer, but not the Road Runners.


Now we seen many of them.  They are so cool to watch.  They are not as personable as the ground squirrels, but they are not afraid of us either.  They would run with their head forward and I would say, “Hey Mr. Road Runner”.  They stop and look around, and then continue their mission.  Always looking up the road and around for a bug or food item.  As they run, they hold their lean frames nearly parallel to the ground and rudder with their long tails. Roadrunners eat poisonous prey, including venomous lizards and scorpions, with no ill effect, although they’re careful to swallow horned lizards head-first with the horns pointed away from vital organs. Roadrunners can also kill and eat rattlesnakes, often in tandem with another roadrunner: as one distracts the snake by jumping and flapping, the other sneaks up and pins its head, then bashes the snake against a rock. If it’s is too long to swallow all at once, a roadrunner will walk around with a length of snake still protruding from its bill, swallowing it a little at a time as the snake digests.  Did you know they can our run a Human?


Roadrunners reach two feet from sturdy bill to white tail tip, with a bushy blue-black crest and mottled plumage that blends well with dusty shrubs.  They are really a beautiful bird.


The first weeks we were their, they would be climbing on our truck.  They would hop on the hood and peck at the window.  He would also try pecking at the windshield wipers.  Then he would hop to the back of the truck and peck at the back window.  We had the windows down all the time, and thought he might hop inside.  He would hop on the outside mirror and then in the window but never inside.  He would do it over and over.   Quite an interesting bird, but always with a goal in mind……running…..stop…..look…….run again…..


Another animal that is prevalent here is the Javelina…pronounced with an H…..We seen several of them dead on the road from being hit.  I only seen them once.  I was going to the gate on the gravel road, and came over a rise and right in front of me was a small herd of them.  I don’t think they are too smart as they didn’t seem to know what to do.   I had thought about it, I would have been able to take their picture.  They are a medium sized animal that resemble a pig.  Its eyes are too small for its head.  They are a social animal and run in herds. They are 2′ – 4′ in length and are 20lb – 40lbs.

As we sat their everyday, I began to realize, the oil and gas company’s that come in and dig up the land, really don’t do that much harm.   Yes they do destroy some of the habitats, but they strive to put it back as is was.  After an area is done, the rancher has contracted what he wants done with the land.  It is seeded with native grasses, and it then becomes a great grazing area for the cattle.  The ranchers that have deer, set up their feeders in the clearing.  Then it is a great spot for there blinds for hunting season.  All the little animals and birds adapt during the construction process.  Have you ever just sat outside in the woods are fields, or even in your back yards?   Do it sometimes……Listen to the sounds of nature……..As we sat their, I would close my eyes……


I would hear the birds overhead in the trees….even flocks of geese going south…..


I heard the turkeys in the brush about a block ahead of me……


then from behind, a little soft sound of peeps….the quail were coming out and going across the road.  and the my little ground squirrels….


.Their high pitch chatter….to the left………then to the right in the cactus patch far away…..they were communicating…..I was sitting in their environment……This is their daily life…..Now the gate is closed…….We said Good bye to all the Ralphs…….lol…..


Our first Ralph was sitting by his hole the day before we left, just observing again……Now he can return to his life without humans…….

………Life goes on in the desert……


Our Little Mexican Ground Squirrel Friends…..Ralphs

We have been Gate Guarding now for going on 9 weeks.  The first 3 we were on the oil rig in Carrizo Springs and then we moved here to the gas pipeline in Tilden.  We are Gate 15, one of the last 3 gates to be open of 25.  Our gate holds the valves at the half way point of the 30 miles it runs.  They are now finishing it up.  They were suppose to have had it all done by the 1st.  Well that didn’t happen.  Every time we think it might be our last day, something changes.  The company gave the contractor a deadline of next Wed.  The inspector came in and said they needed to pour another concrete pillar to hold up the valves.  They only put in 2 and they need 3.  Soooooooo, that means they built the new forms on Sat.  No concrete delivery on Sunday I guess, but we guarded anyway.  Concrete poured yesterday, Monday, and they also put up the fence around the valves.

(Did you know, here in Texas, the concrete trucks mix on site.  The trucks have a separate water tank and then the sand gravel mixture.  Interesting fact ya think?)

12175946_10204929469824173_2116345045_o This is a 24″ gas pipe line….I believe it’s larger than the norm.  They wanted quantity.

 So now today is Tue.  All they have to do is take off the forms and backfill.  Bring in gravel for the base, clean up the extra stuff and then replace our gate with permanent fencing.  Do you think they can get that done in 12 hours…….NO……….


Fencing finished around the valves.  These valves are the midway point between 30 miles of pipeline.  Still need the forms taken off the 3rd pillar.  Our gate is about 100 feet from here.

.Rich called and said everything is done but the new fencing replacing our gate. That will happen tomorrow……….So looks like I will have to make another trip out……Bummer.   Nothing like them being slackers…..But it does guarantee me 8 hours pay….lol


So now to my favorite subject this blog………..OUR NEW FRIENDS….RALPH and his buddies….

We first started here, you might remember, this little guy would go up to Rich’s shoes and chew on them.  He came every day.  I researched on him and found him to be a Mexican Ground Squirrel, native to Southern Texas and Mexico.  He has 9 stripes of irregular rectangular dots down his back.  An adult can reach 15″ from his head to the tip of their tail.  They live in burrows in the ground and have several different openings.  They eat grains, nuts berries,  bugs and even road kill.  They do like meat.   So I put out some wheat bread.


Wow, instantly tamed.  They loved it.  So they started coming over to my side.  Rich named the one Ralph.  Ralph grew as we feed him….As you see his belly is really filled out.  In the sun his fur is shinny.  He became a pest.


Next we tried left over corn.   I think he could smell it from the distance.  He came right over.  I put it on the chair and he knew it.


He climbed right up.  Several times he even tried to climb my legs.   Scared me…….lol….One day Rich was taking a nap, he woke up and Ralph was on his lap…………….hahah……..They also eat and store it in their cheeks and go back to their burrow and store their food.  We knew right where Ralph lived.  He lived at near the edge of the road where the rancher pulls into his gate.  Not a very good place.


He gets up in the morning when the sun gets hot.  He sits by his hole for 5 to 10 minutes in his erect stance and watches everything around him.  If the guys were working in his view, he would watch them for awhile.  After awhile more showed up.  One came from my side in the cactus area.  Rich named him George at first.  He would cross under the gate and come and take food.  Then he would run back to the gate and eat it.


So cute.   Some times they would hide behind the gate and stare at us…..


I would say,   “Hey Little Buddy, I can see you”  Then he would come running for food.  They are so darn cute.  When they run, their tails fly up in the air and they are so fast.  I think the tail is used as a rudder also for many things…When they sit. the tail is straight out most of the times.  When they run it is flung over their back towards the front.  It helps with their gravity points.  Many times they will run just a foot or so, the tail is flung over their back, and then they stop suddenly and the tail fly’s to the ground.


One day Rich was eating his cantaloupe and he decided to cut the rind up in pieces.  We took a baggie and WOW, they loved it.   They also love Watermelon rind.  They eat it like humans, the eat the meat of it and leave the skin….lol…It think this is the way they must get their water.  They live in a dry arid area, and the only way they can probably find their water is from the cactus plants.  Their is plenty of them.


Now I also set out water for them every day.  I use a bottle top and put ice in it to melt.  We have attracted more of the little guys.  At first, there was just one over by Rich, we named him Ralph.  Then several more showed up.  One over by me in the cactus area beyond the fence, George.  Then by Rich at the other end of his gate was a sand mound with a number of holes.  Another one came from their.  Now the sad thing is, we used to know who Ralph was.  Now we’ve fed them so much, they are all beginning to look alike………Chubby………Now were up to at least 3 Ralphies…….and 1 new little guy………………….BUT………They are NOT SOCIAL among them selves…..


They live alone and don’t like others around.  Their tail is small until they get upset.  Then it fluffs out and they play tag.   At least that’s what it looks like.   They chase each other in circles and off into the cactus.  Then one comes back….then the other one, and it starts again.  Even though the history I read says, that they aren’t social, I sometimes got the feeling they were playing.  I could be my imagination though.   They also make several sounds.   When they are spreading their tail, ready for attack, they make a teeth chatter sound.  Some times, when they sit and another one is near it is a low pitch vocal chatter.   The one I love to hear is the one when they are projecting to a distance.


They stand up erect and their mouth is fully open.  They project a high pitch shrill chatter, almost like a bird sound.   I think it is a sign of claiming territory.  They have been so much fun.  What else do you do for 12 hours in the Texas desert….lol….

They also love peaches, and one day I gave Ralph my empty yogurt cup.  He loved it and carried the cup away to his hole.  He put it over the top.   lol.  maybe his sun shade?.    But finally the wind took it away, so I picked it up and put it in the trash.


Here’s 2 more cute pictures, and these are the original Ralph, I caught him eating my shoe.  These little guys are so cute to watch.  They are so smart, and have an awesome lifestyle to watch.  No matter what happens here with the pipeline, they have adapted and stayed out of the way.  But they watch everything.  Its amazing to me, you think your the only one out here for miles sometimes, but you have no idea the eyes that are upon you from the bushes.  lol.   Could give you the creeps couldn’t it……lol…..Now as our days are starting to get chillier in the mornings….lol….65-70…..I notice they aren’t getting up as early.  They wait for the sun to shine and heat up their burrows.  They are suppose to hibernate very soon, but some say the southern Texas ones may not.   I bet it depends on the heat of the winter.  I was going to write about the Road Runners also, but I will leave that for next time.   They are awesome also.

Nature in Southern Texas is Beautiful……


Still at the Gate….and Hill Top Cemetery

Chris came the other morning and finally brought our License.   We are now Level 2 Private Security Agents registered and certified by the state of Texas…..Rather impressive I think….lol…We can now get jobs at any Company in Texas that is looking for Security.  It is really quite a business down here.  The fingerprinting stations rotate in different towns through out the state.  Their were at least 6 different towns just in our section of the state open when we were fingerprinted.  They move around every week within that section, so no one has to drive very far.


We are still at our Gate 15.  They don’t have much left to do, but they are spending most of their time at other gates, trying to get them closed.  Out of 25 gates, only 3 are still open.  We thought we would be done last weekend, then we were told this Friday.  Now today we were told they might not be finished till next Wed.  Hopefully we will be done by Sunday.  Their not closing the gate this weekend, working through to get it done.  They still have concrete work to do at the valve area and build a fence around the valves.    So the days stretch on.  Last Friday we had a bad rain storm and left early.  When it rains in Texas on the back roads its not good.  They had to grade the gravel road because of all the ruts.  The weather has turned hot again, It was over 100 degrees, the last several days.  So glad this is almost over.


I went to visit Hill Top Cemetery the other day.  It was formed in the late 1800’s after Boot Hill Cemetery was closed.  When Choke Canyon Reservoir was formed in the 1980’s, the remains of another Cemetery was relocated in the Hill Top Cemetery.  I didn’t find as much history on it as I thought, but did find some interesting stones.  You might think it rather strange that I seem to enjoy Cemetery’s, but many people do.  Many stones tell a story of a person.  How many children, what type of job in life, how old they were and sometimes how much they were loved by their family.


Here is one that I thought was special, as the wife had written this beautiful passage about her husband, for all to read.  They must have shared an amazing Love.


Some were very sad.  This plot was a father on the left Abel and his 2 little children, Mark 4 and Alicia 8 on the right.  All three died on Oct 9 1994.  One would assume it must have been an accident.  The wife is still alive.  They planted palm trees and bushes on either side.  On the far left is another stone.  I believe it was Abel’s mother.


This is the back of her stone.   It is a family tree of her children and Abel’s name is on it also. This was a very beautiful setting, but so sad when you try to imagine their story.

I also found some simple stones, some cross’s.  Homemade. The one on the left is simply wood.  The one on the right was made with concrete with colored stones pressed in to decorate it.  He passed in 1948.


Many of the plots are surrounded by rusted iron fences.  It must have been the thing back then to surround the family with fence to keep intruders out.


This must have been an infant.  Behind this plot across the road was another family plot.


It was surrounded entirely by a crumbling stone wall.  Ironically, their was no gate or way to easily enter.  The stone on the left was Mary, she died when she was 29 in 1889.

As I walked around you can see the grass was dead and brown.  The heat has been 90-100.  I seen many places that there are water spigots located through out the cemetery.


Some were actually being used.  The family must spend lots of time coming out to take care of their family plots.


I seen only 2 mausoleums.  This one was really old and crumbling.   The headstone  was on the top and at the other end must have been a ventilation pipe.


Here Lies Our

 Beloved brother

Tommy Sotello

There was a lot of love and thought put into this one.  I has a concrete base with wooden sides.  Alphabet beads were used to write his name and a plate of glass was sealed over it.


Another one similar to the last.  It is formed with concrete.


This lady was also very loved by her family.  Her photo was their along with a coffee cup, and a ceramic grocery store.  Flowers, a solar light, metal rose and an arbor completed the plot.


Here is a row of  identical cross’s.  Their wrapped in Christmas tinsel that has faded and grown old with time.  It makes you wonder how long its been since the last family visitors’.


This one was really constructed with LOVE…..concrete blocks and wood posts….created a garden fence with flowers inserted.  The flowers were all silk and also very pretty.  They hadn’t been faded or wind beaten yet.


This plot was all by itself under a tree.  It contained one headstone and had a single faded silk flower attached to the gate.   ……Simple Beauty……It is a really beautiful Cemetery sitting on a hill top.


This is the view looking out over the country side.  So tomorrow is another day.  My turn at the gate.  The temperature is coming down a bit.

“I think only 94…lol…”

A Quick Trip to Harlingen & “Boot Hill Cemetery”….

Last Friday was Richs’ day to go to the gate.   They closed the gate at 3 pm. for the weekend for the hunters.  We think they were trying to pacify the landowner because they were running past the Oct. 1st deadline.  We don’t have to go back till Mon.  Sat. morning, we got up and did a load of laundry and decided around 1 or 2 to go to Walmart for cat treats and litter.  We decided to go to a town called George West. {weird name}  We headed east out of Tilden and first came upon the Choke Canyon Reservoir which is run by the state.  Well they wanted  $5 a person just to enter.  So much for that.  On down the road to the next town.  Its name is Three Rivers.  From a distance we could see that it had a HUGE Oil Refinery in town.  Looks like Star Wars Town Doesn’t it….lol…


As we pulled into town, you could see that the town was attached to the Refinery.  The town was wrapped around the refinery on several sides.  Obviously the town survived on the refinery jobs.  Again several NEW motels in town and lots of campgrounds.  As we drove from Tilden, we could see we were in the heart of oil country, but the boom was over.   So many campgrounds, now deserted or just with a handful of campers.  Several places were trailers all in a wagon circle or lines like little streets.  They were similar to Fema trailers.  They also were deserted or just a hand full of vehicles out in front.   As you look in the distance across the land scape, you could see many oil tanks in the fields from wells that had been drilled.  The highway is just busy with tankers carrying oil to the refinery.

On we went, with the next town being George West.  It wasn’t what we expected.  It didn’t look big enough to have a Walmart.  We seen a sign that said McAllen 150 miles.  I jokingly said.  ” We should go have pizza at Mr. Gatti‘s.”   Its a great pizza/salad bar in Harlingen.  Why not? We had the weekend off.  Three hours later we pulled into Eastgate Park in Harlingen.  It felt like going home…….We pulled in front of Debbie and Ricks house {managers}.  They came out totally shocked, thinking we had come early.   lol.   “No, we were just on the way to Walmart”……lol…Had a nice visit with them and went down to visit more friends.  Bev, Roberta, and Ken were just wrapping up a garage sale.  We had a wonderful visit with Bev.  Her husband Ernest had just passed away several weeks before.  They were Workampers. Bev cleaned and Ernest was the I.T. man.   He was so smart with computers.  Last year, he had spent all season trying to get the new internet system to work with the outside company.  He was not health, but a “Super Guy”.  He will be so missed.  Not only for the work he did, but as a friend.  Then we ended up at Roberta and Kens.  If you remember from last winter, Roberta has the Parrot and the little cockatiel.  “Maui and Love Love”.  Had a great visit with them and finally found a motel.  Of course no clothes or makeup, so a stop at the Dollar Store to buy make up and Cat treats and litter.   lol.   The whole purpose of the trip.   In the morning we were next door to the Golden Corral, so after breakfast we headed back up the road towards Tilden.

But it won’t be long………We’ll be Back………

Back in Three Rivers, we stopped at DQ.  In pulled some really cool cars.



It was a Car Club from San Antonio, out for a cruise.



This one was really neat….




The engine area was painted bright purple and right inside on the nose, above the grill was this signature.

12076653_10204863062444030_1565727732_o Beautiful cars……

We were back home before 3.   Poor Kitty, he was deserted……Gave him lots of treats and he was “Happy” again…..Monday was my day at the gate and Today was Rich’s.  Its getting slower and slower.  I decided to walk to the store today.  It is always closed when we get home.   How silly.  It was in the 90,s again.   Lucky I didn’t die of heat exhaustion.   The store was nothing to brag about.  All I bought was a sack of Ginger Snaps, and a Drumstick ice cream.  Had to eat it FAST…..

On the way I went to “BOOTHILL CEMETERY”……….

Located in Tilden is Boot Hill Cemetery, one of the only two 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.” Many of the early graves were those of people who were killed in accidents, murdered, or who died of cholera during an epidemic in 1869, although some were known to have died of natural causes. The cemetery was established sometime after Frio Rio came into existence in 1858. It is currently located behind the bank half a block north of the courthouse plaza on Highway 72 and half a block east of State Highway 16, across from the new sheriff’s office. In 1877, Boot Hill Cemetery was abandoned in favor of the present Hill Top Cemetery and then neglected for more than half a century. During this time a number of the markers deteriorated, fell down, and became lost, along with the local history they contained. In 1955, when the Cenizo Garden Club was organized, its members began to clean up and restore the cemetery. They cleaned the plots, cleared out the brush, and located as many graves as possible.



The grounds were enclosed by a low border of native stone and the Boot Hill Cemetery sign, a large boot made of masonry mounted on a large slab of petrified palm stump, was added to the cemetery grounds.


The club was also instrumental in obtaining a historical marker, which now stands at the entrance to the cemetery.


This is the only grave that has a name on it…..Glenn Greer….died 1878….. He was thrown and killed while trying to ride a half tamed horse.  His grave is still evident today (July 2002), as his family was notified of his death and they sent a iron railing and marble slab for his grave.  

12119408_10204872068069165_37283567_o                                Epamindondas M. Crain had made a trip to San Antonio in 1869 when the cholera epidemic was raging, contracted the disease and died a few days after reaching home.  His headstone reveals that he was born in 1816 and died in 1869.  He served during the Civil War and was a private in the 29th Brigade Texas Troops Confederates States Army.  Three other cholera victims were also buried here during this time, but their identities are unknown.  All the graves of the cholera victims were completely sealed with rock tombs.   The story that has been handed down is that the citizens of Tilden were so terrified of cholera that they were afraid it  might work up through the soil and infect others, so they sealed these graves in rock tombs.  How true the story is, no one knows.  (Note: When Renee Smelley visited the cemetery in July 2002 these graves were evident by the rock tombs that were on top of the ground, but were falling in and apart.)  

       Dick Gossett was wounded in a gun battle at Fort Ewell and buried here in 1869.  Known as one of the most noted outlaws of this area, a confederate deserter and a ruthless cold blooded killer.  Dick’s brother, Malachi, and their partner, Tom Green, tried to get him to Tilden for help, but he died before they reached town.  Note: No headstone located.

John Smithwick was murdered in 1870 while he was being held prisoner of the law.  The murderer thought Smithwick knew too much and this might be brought out during the trial.  Evidently the murderer was later shot by another person seeking revenge for the murder of Smithwick.  Note: No headstone located.

A stranger arriving in town on the stage coach had the bad judgment of walking around town in a top hat.  Some men from a local Dogtown saloon took notice of the tall hat and jokingly decided to put a bullet through the crown.  Clabe Young, one of the pranksters, had bad aim, shot to low and the unfortunate stranger was killed instantly.  Note: No headstone located

Wheeler, Phelix, infant son of Leonidas and Sarah Walker Wheeler, died of natural causes.  He was born on September 13, 1870 and died on October 16, 1870.  Note: No headstone located..

How many others are buried in Boothill Cemetery we will probably never know, but it is thought  that others were also buried here before 1877.



Tilden was on the caravan route between San Antonio, Dogtown, Fort Ewell, Laredo and Mexico.  Some time during the Civil War a stage route was also added and saloons began to spring up in Dogtown.  These all brought many undesirable characters to the town as well as men who were on the run from the law that used the surrounding area and brush to hide.  Some of these undesirables provided quite a few occupants for Boothill.

In 1877 Boot Hill Cemetery was abandoned in favor of the present Hill Top Cemetery Hill Top Cemetery was originally called Graveyard Hill and many early setters as well as several generations of their descendants have been buried in Hill Top.  Hill Top Cemetery still serves the community today.  I will be checking out that cemetery soon….


This sign was at the corner of the court house…….Rather interesting….I decided to include it for all the history buffs…….Tilden is the county seat of McMullen County

Turkeys, Turkeys, Pipeline Nearing Done……….

“This gas pipeline was suppose to have gas in it by Oct. 1, according to the contract.  They are behind.  This past week, they finally finished all the tests with the “Pigs” to clean out the pipes and reduce the moisture percentage.  They called in the welders to weld the 2 sections of 15 miles of pipe at the valves.   This is on my gate.  When the welding was complete, they then had to run more pigs from plant to plant.  That would be a total of around 32 miles of pipeline.  They had to send a “smart pig” down to check humidity and cleanliness.  Then they had to send another “smart pig” down to check for anomalies at the welds or any dents or anything out of the ordinary.  This “pig” costs around $50,000.  It has sensors all over and records the whole pipeline, sending print out as it goes.  All of that is nearing completion, but Oct 1 is here.  In the contracts, all the property owners had put in fines if the deadline was not met.  On Richs’ side, the owners had a daily late fee…..We heard $20,000 a day…..Lot of money……On Wed., the 31st, the company gave the workers a deadline.  ” You must have the stretch between Gate 16 and 20 closed off and released to the property owners by midnight”.   So we had to stay on our gates till after dark.  This stretch consisted of around 7 miles.  Unlike Illinois, their is so many roots from the cactus and mesquite trees in the ground.  After they cover the pipe with the dirt, they have to manually walk the pipeline and pick up all the roots.


This is one trailer of many, they hauled into my gate.  Their were at least 3 trucks pulling trailers and cages driving rounds.

It is unbelievable the amount of roots that are collected.  They hauled them to my side and dig big holes to bury them.  Eventually the whole 32 miles will be walked and cleaned.  So Wed. nite, they pulled every man off their job, even the heavy equipment operators to clean.  By a little after 9 pm. they had hauled all the port a pottys from the  other gates, and had picked up the roots, and all machinery was driven across to my gate.  Finally they locked up the gate………Gates 15-20 now OFFICIALLY closed……So now, my gate is still open, and Rich and I will be taking turns with it.  Now we get a day off every other day. …..  Good Deal. …..  We are sure ready for that.

When they first enter an area to dig, they have to clear the trees and cactus.


This is what typical property looks like before cleaning.


This is what the ground looks like after.  These are roots that are still growing.  The brush on top has been cut down, but see all the roots?  When the ground is dug, all these will be in the dirt.  Sure is different that Illinois dirt…..and I complain about weeds?….lol….


This is the section of pipeline now closed.  The road on the right belongs to the rancher.  On the left is the pipeline.  The ground will eventually be taken over by nature and will be a great pasture area for the wildlife and cattle.


This is the property line of the rancher on my side.  Most all of the ranchers mow a path against the fences and the rest is natural land for hunting.  They use it as a path to get around to hunt with their vehicles or 4 wheelers, and it is also a great grazing area for cattle.  This rancher has a high fence for the purpose of keeping his white tailed deer inside.

Their are lots of turkey here.   We can watch them herd up and down the road a half a mile away.  They never seem to come all the way up to us.  I guess they know where home is….lol..


We had heard some guys say they roust on the telephone poles at nite…..Really….That’s a long way up for a big bird.  They other morning at sunrise, one of the workers said they seen them 4 telephone poles away.  Rich and I got in the truck and drove down.  ….. Amazing……


They just sat their and then they were getting nervous, probably because we were watching them, and then flew away one by one….Amazing these big birds can lift their bodies and fly up that high.


Last nite as I was leaving and making my 3.5 mile drive up the gravel road at about 10 miles an hour,  I drove past a ranchers gate, and the flock was running back and forth in front of the gate….It was so funny.   I sat their in the truck and one by one they finally flew over the fence.


 Looked like they were saying………..”Let us in…Let us in….”


Over by the edge inside of the fence was a Long horn Steer watching….Then up came a cow….Imagine what they were thinking…….”Stupid birds, You can fly”…..

Just found out, we will have the weekend off.  They are closing our gate for the weekend for hunting.   I think they are trying to keep the property owners happy….lol….Deer season is almost here and Quail season is here.   As we sit every day, you can see the Quail walking in flocks across the road.  You can hear the little peeps and then here they come….lol…so cute….It you scare them they take off flying.  I tried to take a picture but haven’t succeeded yet.

It will be nice to have the weekend off.  That means a trip to town, probably eating out several times. and a little exploring………….I sure hope that I’m not boring you with some of this info.  Rich and I find it very interesting.  Were always asking questions to understand what is happening.  So interesting…..Were never to old to learn are we…..