[Homestead] gas wells
erthnsky at gmail.com
Wed Nov 24 11:55:26 EST 2010
Last week I had to call the well pump repair guy, and in passing, he
mentioned that there was some drilling going on for natural gas wells a
bit north of me. Apparently, the company involved with that had offered
him a job or contractual work. As soon as he mentioned it, I thought of
Since my neighbor moved a few weeks ago, we have endured 'hell on
wheels' next door. Their 4-wheeling and noisy Big Boy Play has all but
ruined anyone's chance of putting food in the freezer. It is the first
time since I've lived here that I have given serious thought to moving.
I'm not getting any kind of warm fuzzies about the future of this valley.
Happy Turkey Day Keith-thanks for the post and it is good to hear from you!
On 11/24/2010 10:38 AM, keith bellinger wrote:
> Hey gang,
> been a while. Happy T-day to all.
> Not much happening homesteading-wise, just chickens as far as critters
> to feed and gardens, where B-sprouts, cauliflower and broccoli still
> stand waiting for me to get my boots on, to bed down for winter. The
> recent posts about diesel, especially the subject line--what we
> already knew or guessed--forced me out of hiding.
> Lynn, you still here? Have you leased your place yet? Here's what you
> have to look forward to...
> Watching the Big Boys Play
> As I sit at this desk, to my right is a sliding glass door through
> which I can see into and out of the sunroom, across the lawn, past
> the dirt road, into the neighbor’s hayfield where an excavator is
> being warmed up. The operator’s silhouette is barely visible as he
> circles the machine, flashlight reflecting off yellow paint and
> steel tracks. Daybreak hasn’t come yet but it looks like the well-
> drillers are going to be making noise again. Things had been quiet
> for a whole three days—much too long when such big money is at stake.
> That field was stripped by four monster bulldozers—Cat D8ts, each
> pushing almost 350 horses, topsoil heaped neatly and covered with
> rolls and rolls of erosion-control cloth, to be spread back on the
> field after the wells are drilled.
> A dairy farmer had been leasing the field from my elderly neighbors
> since before we moved here and has hunted the bordering woods for
> years. I see his truck parked near our mailbox and almost hear him
> sigh. We’re two weeks into archery season but he hadn’t seen a deer
> yet as of yesterday. I haven’t seen any wildlife at all, unless you
> count the exodus of field mice. The cats have been eating well.
> A representative for the gas company brought papers to sign last
> week—in order to test our water. We learned there would be six gas
> wells drilled across the road, less than one thousand feet from our
> water well. The company would shoulder the cost—over six hundred
> dollars. If we notice any change in our water after the gas wells
> are in they will test it again.
> Yesterday a pair of young men came with more papers and a dozen empty
> water bottles which they filled at our kitchen sink. They also
> brought a gas tester and walked through both this house and the old
> cabin checking for methane and other natural gases. Then they removed
> the well cap (after a lot of penetrating oil and elbow grease) to
> check for gas at water level but couldn’t force their probe past the
> first plastic “spiderweb” (cable guard) our local plumber installed
> around the wires to prevent twisting (after pulling all three-hundred
> feet of pipe and wires and submersible pump to find a broken lead five
> years ago).
> One of the men said they had not gotten any readings at all of methane
> and it seemed to me they were trying hard to document even a tiny
> amount. I am pretty sure they will be able to find it after the wells
> are drilled.
> Yes, we signed the lease and took their money—more than ten times
> higher than many got only two years ago, but are smack dab in the
> middle of a huge environmental disaster waiting to happen. The worry
> is a constant strain on our minds.
> The oilmen call it a “play”—this Marcellus shale formation two miles
> below our homestead—and the big-boy-toys moved a lot of dirt around
> this week. The worst part of it so far is the constant beep-beep-
> beeping when the trucks back up and the slamming of tailgates. But
> we’ve been lucky that the haulers haven’t been using our dirt road or
> the one that Gin takes to work every day. Let them ruin the roads to
> LeRaysville and Towanda; we’ll go the other way—toward the New York
> border where their politicians wait to see how much trouble
> Pennsylvania can get into.
> Yeah, it’s all play until someone gets hurt.
> I haven’t been closer to the action across the road since driving past
> last month, and really don’t know what they are doing. Our son walked
> over Sunday afternoon and took a few photos—one of their port-o-john
> standing alone—fitting for the environmentalist in me. I just came in
> from shooting a couple trucks—with a Nikon not the Savage. I’m not a
> terrorist, promise. I just wondered what kind of dump trucks,
> bulldozers and other big-boy-toys were over there—for the tool man in
> me—argh, more power!
> Dump trucks are rolling again today, bringing more loads of stone—
> about fifty-thousand pounds at a time. A big Cat roars in to knock the
> piles down before another Mack or Peterbilt or International beeps into
> I finally took the time to investigate my neighbor’s ex-hayfield. There
> was nothing there but a fairly level pad of packed stone—ten feet thick
> at the western edge, between the long mounds of topsoil, separated by
> drainage ditches. Where all the stone came from I don’t know; John
> Denver’s song comes to mind—tear the mountains down and bring in a
> couple more.
> A helicopter was thumping and fluttering in the valley below our
> homestead yesterday afternoon. I grabbed the camera and snapped a few
> shots before realizing the chopper had a long cable dangling from it
> with what appeared to be a bright orange bag attached. I doubted it was
> Santa but later did a bit of research to verify. According to Google
> the sacks contained seismic equipment and we could soon expect loud
> blasts to echo through our hills.
> Big Kenworth flatbeds are delivering equipment this morning, though I
> can’t tell what they haul; maybe the drilling will soon begin. Those
> trucks aren’t moving too fast because our road (the one Gin drives) is
> getting new blacktop—started two days ago in Warren Center and continued
> all through the weekend. I bet it doesn’t last the winter; with the pad
> nearly complete the dumps will be replaced by water trucks, probably
> leaving ruts like a wagon-train crossing a muddy prairie.
> Outdoors it smells like tar and diesel exhaust, and even inside my
> office it sounds like a construction site; these log walls can’t hold
> back the loud idling, backward beeping, screaming air horns and roaring
> Jakes as more trucks slow for flagmen.
> Just think—only a year or so longer and we can return to the quiet,
> peaceful Pennsylvania I remember…or can we?
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EarthNSky Farm 34.498N 85.076W
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determination, stubbornness, perseverance, hardiness, stamina, go, do,
nerve, spunk, pluck, and grit. It's like "Just Do It!"& "Go for It!")
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