First Time Gate Guarding – Days 12 and 13

Day 12

Since it was Championship Football day, Lee and I changed things up a little bit and right after I had some breakfast and took a quick shower I took over for him.  It was REALLY windy all day.  Lots of gusts and even though the wind was behind us it was coming through under our rig with enough force to knock over chairs and tables.  The temperature was OK, but the dust was really getting to me, so Lee had a brilliant idea.  He pulled the truck over and I used that to sit in and log trucks in and out.  Not sure why we didn’t think of it before, but it worked brilliantly.  I still had to get out on occasion to log in a truck or person I didn’t recognize but it was so much more pleasant.  And the truck drivers didn’t seem surprised by it and quickly adjusted to looking at me in the truck.

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The most interesting thing that happened was they brought in another huge CAT.  The scale of these things never ceases to amaze me and since they unloaded it right by the gate I got a couple of pics.

See the driver for scale. It was crazy huge

See the driver for scale. It was crazy huge

The unhitch the trailer and then drive the cat down then hitch back up. Quite an operation.

They unhitch the trailer and then drive the cat down then hitch back up. Quite an operation.

I went inside around 3pm and watched both games.  They were both pretty boring, but since the Patriots won I was still pretty happy.  I did feel a little guilty though about being inside during Lee’s time, so decided to go ahead and clean the carpet.  Between beets and Christmas trees the carpet had taken a beating, but the small carpet cleaner did a wonderful job and it didn’t take that long to get it really clean.  I have been trying to save tasks that are quiet for the night-time (gotta fill that time until 4am), but louder jobs (or things that require phone calls) I am doing during the day when I am inside.

Nice clean carpet

Nice clean carpet

Oh and in case you missed it my gate guarding neighbor said the deer may have been killed by a cat.  There are bobcats, cougars, and possible jaguars in this area and since the ranch across the street is 33K acres, there is lots of room for them.  I guess a cougar was killed on the road not that far down from our gate in December.  Not sure how I feel about all that, other than it would have been nice if our company had mentioned it, but maybe that’s just something folks down here know about.  Once again our neighbor came through with great info and it’s really been a blessing knowing her.  We IM every day and she’s always available to answer questions for me.  Really nice. (For those unfamiliar with this wildlife, I have included some pictures for reference. – Lee) 

Bobcat

bobcat
Jaguar

jag

Cougar
cougar2

 

I also wanted to mention that she and her husband are campground managers in Minnesota in the summer season, and they are looking for some part-time help (2 days a week for full hookup site) in their campground this summer.  I don’t know if anyone wants to spend time in that area this summer, but thought I would pass it along since they have been so great to us. Here’s the link to the job ad if anyone is interested. OK back to working on the recipe book.  I am currently going through all my pictures and finding generic ones of cooking stuff so I can use them on the title pages.  Fun, but a little time-consuming. Oh, and I will say going out to open the gate in 50 degree weather, really helps with staying away.  That night air gets a little nippy sometimes!

Day 13

My neighbor invited me down today to see my oil rig since she has a great view from her location.  I also got to see her guard shack, which was very interesting, and meet the person she and her husband are sharing the shifts with.  Some of the gate guarding jobs are from your rig, but others have a shack.  I really liked how it was set up and they even had satellite TV inside.  According to them, some gates still make you go outside to check in trucks, but theirs was awesome because they were allowed to stay inside.  They had heat and AC, and even Millie the resident cat.

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The trailer

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Entrance has a fly screen hanging down

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Pretty roomy inside. Didn’t make me feel claustrophobic at all

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Cat just hanging out

And here's a picture of our rig

And here’s a picture of our rig

It was great talking to both of them and I think my biggest take-a-ways were all companies are a little different, and don’t be afraid to negotiate terms. They also explained that many gate guards took long-term contracts and then subcontracted a couple of weeks or months to someone else while they did some traveling.  I was wondering about that, because I can’t imagine staying here for an entire year, but I understand the appeal more.  If you get a good gate, it sort of makes sense to hold on to it and then just get someone to cover for you.  I don’t think we will go that route, because we would need to be here part of the summer, but you never know.  I also talked to my neighbor about the fact that younger white men seem to have a bit of an edge when talking to Lee.  She said her husband runs into the same thing (they have been very polite to me) and thinks it’s because in the oil business we are the lowest folks on the food chain.  Older men and Hispanics have been unfailingly polite to both of us but the younger guys do have a bit of an edge.  It’s not a huge problem, but it is slightly irritating so I thought I would mention it.

Speaking of slightly irritating, I met someone who works at the ranch next door and he told me he dumps his deer carcasses behind that gate.  The smaller deer was not one of his but the other pieces were.  No wonder the hawks are hanging out over here.  It’s a buffet.  Not sure how crazy I am about that since it’s less than 50 feet from my front door, and since there are wild cats and coyotes in the area not crazy about anything that would draw their attention.  I didn’t say anything though, but hopefully now that we are here and I told him I could smell it, he will discontinue the practice. On the plus side we have picked up a very cool Northern Mockingbird that hangs out near Lee in the daytime.  He likes to drink from the AC water that goes into the trough behind us and doesn’t seem concerned about us at all.  Allowed me to take some nice pics.

Northern Mockingbird

Northern Mockingbird

On a completely different note, I have had a series of failed recipes in the last couple of days.  They weren’t awful, just not to my liking, and they culminated in a particularly spectacular Cookie Dough Drop failure.  I found this recipe to make cookie dough and drop it in a deep fryer and thought I could shortcut it by buying prepacked chocolate chip cookie dough.  What I ended up with though was melted chocolate dough in the oil and a bit of a mess to clean up.  It wasn’t a total loss though as I made cookies out of the remaining dough but still, kind of a bummer.  I seem to hit these streaks where several recipes are great and then have multiple failures in a row. Ah well, what can you do?  Just have to keep plugging away.

That’s all from the land of gate guarding.  We completed another week and as you can see from the chart below the hours are getting longer.  The traffic isn’t super busy at night but there is enough of it to lower the hourly rates some and keep me awake. Now that the rig is up we will see what this next week holds.

weekly-tracking-sheet


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