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Friday, December 28, 2012

Contributing to the Fracking Controversy!! :)

Well, good morning world!!  It has been several weeks since my last post and I apologize for the longevity of my absence from the posting world!  But was in the middle of ending one job and looking for another and getting into the new job! And now I have a "routine" more or less settled, I am back to finding time to do my posts!!  :)

I am "basing myself" out of Tiffany & Cary's place for now...they are showing kindness to an 'ol fart and letting Bertha and Bessie (the Astro and rPod) stay in their driveway while I am out in west and south Texas working.

I like to tell folks that I am contributing to the fracking controversy...I am hauling sand to the well sites that they use to pump down the wells under high pressure to crack the rock to get to the oil and natural gas!

So, you all know me....I have settled down into my new apartment and am almost settled in!!

And of course, I am getting my cockpit setup! The rest of the truck takes a while to get right.


The only thing that's wrong is that right now my truck is in the shop getting an "out of frame" engine rebuild!  She was using over a gallon of oil for every 100 miles that I drove and was loosing oil pressure...So....Harvey (my boss) decided that it was time to give her a new heart (so to speak). I should have her back next week!  Right now I am in a purple people eater Kenworth that has not had a good life! This truck has not been taken care of by drivers and it shows it! But I've been fixing things as I go along and it runs well, so I have survived!  But I can't wait to get my Freightliner back!!!

They are moving so much sand around that the load points are scattered all over the area, ranging from actual sand/rock sites that have been here for awhile.....

to temporary setups that are at railsidings that have been put in for this specific reason.....

To loading out of warehouses!.....
and they are scattered from Houston to Laredo to Midland to DFW to Lubbuck. I have driven from Bryan to Houston to Laredo to get and deliver a load of sand! It is quite interesting.

Right now I'm sitting in Bryan, TX (my birth place) waiting on a load assignment. Yesterday I made two loads to here into a new wellhead that will begin operations in a couple of days.  We were doing what is called a pre-load, getting sand into the site in advance of operations so they can hit the ground running. I'll get some good pics of an actual operation soon and let you see what it looks is quite interesting and the amount of equipment that they stuff into a square that is about 400'X400' is really amazing!

Time to watch some tv, read, surf and just kill some time!!  More to come soon!!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

New job - new places

I've been busy getting settled into new job. :) I'm back to driving a truck - it's like slipping on an old pair of comfortable slippers. I'm hauling "fracking sand" to well sites for oil & gas extraction.

Guess you could say I'm adding to the controversy! But it is quite interesting learning how they go about it & how much work it takes getting it out of the ground.

Each load of sand is about 48,000 pounds. And the operation can go thru as many as 24+ loads in 24 hrs from what I understand. The "sand" has silicates & other stuff in it. And apparently cost/lb is $6 and up, so this stuff is not cheap!

And we have to deliver at all times of day & night!

This pic was my second load. Had to wait 6.5 hours to deliver, & there were trucks that had been waiting for over 10 hours, so if you are an impatient personality you won't last long on this job! LOL

And quite often we get to eat a meal out if the caterer trailer that the well crews eat from - and they do eat pretty dog-gone well! :)

But it definitely helps my food budget to stretch out for more days. ;)

Right now I'm off for several days, my truck developed quite a thirst for oil. I'm getting 5-6 mpg on fuel, but was getting 100 miles to a gallon of oil - not good! But it is getting fixed as of right now, so hopefully I'll be back in it Friday morning.

Guess that's enough for now. I'll get back here in a couple of days. Tomorrow is eat too much day & football all day! :)

The Frog - Posted from my iPhone

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Morning Yard Sale Family Time!!!

This is the ultimately family friendly "family time"!!

Working on store inventory!

Quick nap to replenish energy!!

More to come later!! ;)

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Yard Selling!!

Ahh, the glories of yard selling with the kids! And the crowds are coming!

Now if we can just get it ALL sold we will have done good for the day and getting up at 5am more or less okay! Maybe!!! LOL

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

In Texas!! :)

Made it to Texas....warmth!!!

The weather here is fabulous this week, and I have gotten setup in the driveway for my "stay"....tomorrow the job hunting begins!  Went to see Kyska today, and like I body is jacked up!!!!  But this too will pass with time!  

I will be uploading some (actually quite a few) pics over the next few days and evenings to cover the past couple of weeks and the end of the beet harvest.  It was interesting and met several great folks. But not sure that it will be done again by me!

So stay tuned and be ready to read!!!!  :)

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Laundry Day Again!

Gotta love the weather here!  It has been windy for the past 2 days, relatively steady winds of 30-40mph, then gusts of up to 50-60mph. Today has calmed down a little, just 50mph gusts.  We were shut down night before last due to rain, and we didn't run last night due to both rain and wind!  So was off two more nights. They fired back up this morning at 7am, so I guess I go in at midnight, unless I get a call not to come in. 

Finished my laundry and have to make a couple of stops on the way back to the trailer, then get some more sleep before the night starts up again. At least I don't have to worry about washing clothes but every 2 weeks!  And I do love the front load commercial washers...makes life just so much easier!

Til tomorrow...have a great day, gang!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

When I got off this morning, there was a farmer digging beets just outside the gate to the plant, so I decided to get a couple of pics and some video of the operation.
It is quite an operation, and none stop. And this is one of the smaller farmers. The large farms have machines that can do up to 12 rows at a time!  That is a scary thought! Thats a lot of beets fast!

I just thought that you might like to see some of the actual harvesting. I also got a quick couple of shots in the yard where the "pilers" are. Quite a neat operation!

This is a "piler"...the trucks pull thru on each side on the left end, dump their load into the feeder holes, the beets then move up the conveyor and get "shook" up to get dirt off of them....

when they are "sorted/cleaned up some, they are run out the main boom and "piled up" while they wait to get run into the plant to be cleaned/sliced/crushed/boiled/cooked and sugar extracted from them.  The pulp that is left over is piled back up outside and farmers and ranchers and feedlots buy to supplement feed for their cattle/pigs/etc.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Out of here by 31st, probably

The beet harvest is rolling along rather well. Looks like it will be done by at least the 31st. Could be done sooner.

Being on 3rd shift makes you appreciate not being on 3rd shift. But I have been getting some reading done. And the dust here is wicked! I know all about the dust in the desert, but this is is so line that it goes everywhere! It is powdered dirt -almost like talcum. You can't hide from it at all!!!!

I will have another post today or tonight. Have pics to get up from my run up to Ft Union and the only tunnel in ND! Pretty good pics of them both plus an old electricity drawbridge. It was a relaxing afternoon, but I definitely will not bee walking 3+ miles any time soon!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Another Nite of Beets!! :) Last week sometime

Last night was a quiet nite overall, the only "bright spot" was that it snowed/sleeted lightly here for about 4 hours. But it was warm enough that it didn't stick to the ground. It stuck to the van some, but ground just got moist. :)

Patrick is a guy I have met here that I really like. He travels around the country by bicycle! A really nice guy…and I had figured he was about 30-35 years old. Well, I missed this one…he's 45! And I still don't believe it! He travels all over the US and might be riding with me when I pull out of here. He's wanting to get to Australia and work the harvest down under. I'll try to remember to get his picture before I get gone from here. He's more of a vagabond than I am!

Tonight is almost dead, there won't be any trucks coming in until about 3:30am, so it is just real quiet so far. And I'm not sure anymore how long this harvest will last. I've been told until first week of November, that it will be done by October 31st, that the night shift MIT be done early…so I have no idea how long this will last. But I'm still trying to figure out if this is worth coming up here for. Seems like nothing has been like they said it was and you know how that rubs me. So I guess I'll just have to ride this one out and see what happens. But as it stands right now, I'm headed south for AZ (possibly) when I get done here. :)

So far tonite, it's 6am, I've seen a small herd of deer pass thru the yard & 2 raccoons. Now I'm waiting to see if a coyote might pass thru! LOL But it does help to make the time pass.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Ft Union, ND

Spent the afternoon at Ft Union, is a fully restored Trading Post from the early 1800's (I think). Anyway, it was a nice was/is a combined project between MT & ND. The parking lot is in MT, you cross into ND walking up to the fort!  I thought it was funny but the ranger said that working together they were able to get the funds to do the restoration.

There was a nice little museum in the main house. There were several short videos about the post, the company that ran it, the indians that traded there and how life was in the day of the fur traders.  They made a killing between what the furs "cost" them and what they were able to sell them for back east!

 The "main house" was quite awesome. The ranger was telling me that during this time, the average family income in the states was $50. The workers here started at $100-200. Trackers/trappers $300-400.  Blacksmith/craftsman $500-600.  If you were an accountant type....$700/yr. The guy running it, at the least several thousand/yr plus a commission on all sales.     

As I was saying, the museum there was actually quite interesting. There was a pretty nice collection of era items, and expecially the "peace medals". That was quite interesting. I don't remember hearing about these things, and they were quite nice. In fact, being as big as they were, the amount of gold/silver in them would make them valuable today on any standard!!

 While looking around, the ranger was telling another visitor that when one of the head guys was leaving, he sounded like an arrogant idiot, he had all his stuff loaded on a bunch of wagons and parked out front of the post. He then proceeded to burn them so that the company could not have any of it!! They have never really done any excavation for any of the metal stuff left, but hopefully one of these days they will be able to get some of it found.

I had to show you this, they didn't think a lot about the angle of attack for attackers! If you didn't get right in front of the gun, you had a pretty good chance of not getting hit at all by it!!  LOL  But the Yellowstone River was only about 40-50 yards in front of the gates, and that was also where the landing wharf was. Over the decades, the river has rerouted to the south, so it is now about 3/4 of a mile in front of the fort. But the drop off of the original back is still there.

The fort was self supporting, so they did it all here. The blacksmith was pretty well outfitted, and the "fur press" was outside the gate. They would take the furs traded for, place them under the "press", the start bringing down the pole to pack them into 100 pound bundles for shipment back to the east. Kind of neat operation.

I don't think that they put a sign like this over the original gate, but it is a nice little touch for the restoration.
These two shots do give you an ideal of the size of the fort. It was not large at all. I think you could safely say that it was about 120 yards square. Not much room, but a bunch of people lived inside the walls of the fort.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Night before last I stepped out of my little shack at the gate for a smoke break and was looking around at the sky. It sure did look foggy to the north of me.  Then the longer I looked, the stranger it looked until I realized that I was looking at the "northern lights"!!

I almost missed them, they had been a little bit brighter, but at least I got them!  I am watching out every night now to see if I can catch some more of them!!

Ft Buford, ND

Ran up to Ft Buford, ND on this past Sunday. Well, to the site of the old fort. It is pretty neat, because they have several buildings that they have restored or moved into the old border of the fort.

I thought the outline of the fort boundries was interesting. It is right close, about a mile, from the junction of the Missouri and Yellowstone rivers.
The Post Commander's house is still standing, and restored. It is in amazing shape from what I can see. (any interior pics you see were taken through the windows, it was closed for the season, I think).

I hope that I can get back to it one of these days when it is open. They seem to have a pretty decent collection of period furniture and the displays seem to be quite well set up.  :)

I think the pic below is of a billiard table...I really want to see the rest of the "table" that is covered.. the legs are fabulous!!

Also on the grounds is a (I believe) reconstruction of one of the enlisted barracks, with an attached mess hall and kitchen. They have the place pretty well fully furnished.

The mess hall looked like a school cafeteria...LOL  

But the kitchen was well appointed!!

I forget where it was moved to, I think Williston, ND, but the fort hospital was sold and moved to become a motel in a town not far away. 

I thought it was interesting that the Sgt of the Guard's little building was about like living in my little trailer!  LOL   It has most of the needs of an apartment, just really small and compact!!

From the signs there were at least 3 rows of "Officer Quarters", but all that is left is the outlines and slight depressions of where they were, and what looks like an excavation into one of the basements for a house.

The "Powder Magazine" is a solid building! It has stood the test of time! The roof has been reworked, but it looks like the rest is original. The lock might now be "original" to the building, but you don't find them like this anymore!!!  

There is a cemetery about 1/2 mile from the fort boundaries. They say that there are only about 5-8 of the original graves still in it. Most were moved by families to get them closer to the current families.

And on the way home there was a glorious sunset!  This pic just does not do it the respect that it deserves!!

It was a nice little excursion. Fort Union is about 4 miles from it, on the Missouri River bank. It is a fully restored "trader post/fort" that was closed when I got to it. I am going to try to get back to it within a week or so and get pics of it.  It is fully restored and looks fantastic!!