Home » Business » All In A Day’s Work

All In A Day’s Work

I’ve talked a little bit, here and there, about our business. We drill water wells and do service work related to water wells. My husband does all of the hard physical work. And, believe me, the work is so physical that every single time that I work with Jim I gain a new appreciation for the work that he does. Jim works alone almost all of the time. I don’t know how he does it. He’s exhausted most nights. He used to hire someone (with muscles) to help during the summer, but since the economy tanked the business really can’t afford to anymore. It sure would be nice for Jim to have at least a part-time helper to take some of the load off. I just don’t cut it in the muscles department, but occasionally he will ask me to help so that he has another set of hands. 
The bulk of what I do is desk work – billing, logging, bookwork – you get the picture, but I also have to, at the drop of a hat, run a part to Jim, or pick him up from a job site, or move the well drilling rig to a drilling site:
We generally try to move the rig in low traffic times. We usually only go about 5 miles below speed limit, but some drivers lack the patience to deal with a tad bit of a slow down. Jim likes me to stay a ways behind him to give drivers enough room to get in between us while they’re passing us. They usually just pass us in one swoop pass anyhow. And quite often come from behind a couple more cars behind me.

Often when we get to where we’re going, Jim has to back in. That always makes me nervous because of the traffic. Besides lacking patience, some drivers just aren’t paying attention and they can seemingly come from nowhere. Thankfully, even though this is a paved road, it was not busy at this time.
This is simple backing up for Jim. I’ve seen this man maneuver that thing between trees, shrubs, and buildings with just enough room for the rig to get through. Don’t know how he does it.

Sometimes he’s drilling to replace an existing well so there’s a house already there (this one was vacant at the time). Other times he’s drilling on a vacant property for customers who will be building a house…that doesn’t happen all that much in the last couple of years.

The rig weighs 22 tons so he will more than likely leave tire ruts, depending on the time of year and how wet and muddy the ground is. This is why, during the spring and autumn weather, we can virtually be at a standstill. When the ground is wet, the rig will sink and become hopelessly stuck. We just can’t drill. People will tell us that their piece of land is dry since they can drive their car on it without getting stuck. There’s a big difference between their car and this rig! It was somewhat dry on this day and he didn’t have far to go off the driveway.

And now we set up the rig. Errr…by we I mean Jim. I do help…if I’m not wearing good clothes or taking pictures. 🙂

Lowering the mud tank.

See that block Jim is carrying? I can barely drag it to where it needs to be. He’s a strong hunka man!

The blocks go under the outriggers. The outriggers level the whole rig so that Jim drills a straight hole.

Setting up the mud tank and I remember specifically that we were distracted by  a strange sounding bird and trying to figure out what it was.

Raising the derrick.
Levers and gauges to me mean mass confusion. I know which ones I need to know about. The others…not so much.

Jim knows what they all mean though.

The derrick holds the drill pipe. Each length of drill pipe is 20 feet long and that is what he uses (with a drill bit attached to the bottom) to drill the hole.

The derrick is about 35 feet high.

Attaching hoses. I would actually be doing this if I wasn’t taking pictures.

Jim would probably have preferred me helping the process along a little faster, but I’ve never photographed the setting-up process before.

See how those outriggers work? The rig has to sit level meaning that sometimes the tires have to sit that far off the ground, which, quite frankly, has always made me nervous.

This is the very first vehicle that the business has had that we hired someone to paint our business name on the doors. We found a very good artist, who is one of the few who still hand paints trucks. She has a large shop to paint trucks in but it wasn’t big enough for our rig, so she came to our place to do the painting. She insisted to Jim that my name should appear somewhere on the truck. My middle name is above the other headlight. I wasn’t thrilled at first, but I like it now.

All set! I take Jim back home and he’ll drive back out with his water truck and get to work.

Sometime this summer I will have to take pictures of the actual drilling process…except that I’m usually too muddy to take pictures. Even when I go to help with something simple and clean, for some reason I always end up with mud on me. Someday I’ll learn…maybe.

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9 thoughts on “All In A Day’s Work

  1. I so applaud men like your husband. They are the ones who build our houses and keep the world running for us. For me as I sit in my comfortable house spitting out words on a screen. Your Jim is a treasure!

  2. p.s. I wonder if you have a few minutes, Laura, to do me a favor.A friend is trying to help me get my book in a library, and she just told me that they look at Amazon reviews to see how people are responding to it. Would you do one for me? Some people write an entire essay mostly repeating the story. That isn't necessary especially since my publisher has posted some of the advance reviews that describe it. A brief paragraph is sufficient, and then there's the star rating. If you haven't posted one before, it's easy to do. Even I did it!If you can do this, I would appreciate it SO much!

  3. This was really interesting as I'm so clueless when it comes to this kind of work. I really admire Jim for what he does. And, your pictures are great! :)I had to laugh about maneuvering the truck as I could just imagine myself trying to do that. I was lucky I passed the maneuvering part of my driver's test, and I was driving a tiny Nissan. Coordination is not my strong suit. :DHappy weekend to you!

  4. What a nice explanation, with photos so we can see how this works, Laura! Your hubby is obviously such a hard worker. Can't believe he lifts those blocks by himself pretty much every day.As Donna Summer sings: "He works hard for his money!" And in Jim's case, it's more than true.Thanks for sharing, gal. 🙂

  5. Thank you for reading about our work! Yes, drilling is not only (very) physically but also mentally challenging.Now, I will be following him on a drill job (whether he needs me or not!) so that I can create a photo essay of the actual drilling process. He's drilling now, but has an audience of, not only the customers (husband and wife), but the neighbors all lined up on lawn chairs watching. When he's just drilling down the work can be rather tedious and boring for others so he wonders why anyone would sit for hours and watch…And as far as where he determines to drill and witching (Jim doesn't witch), I will cover that in another post. 🙂

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