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Texas Oil Patch Talk

Blog Posted:5/15/2013 8:49:00 AM
Here's a primer on some Texas oil drilling terminology you might not be familiar with if you have read some of my poetry:

"Keep it turnin' to the right" is a phrase used to mean "be efficient and don't stop the drilling if not necessary". Time is money. Oil rigs drill continuously 24X7 until they either have to add more pipe to the drillstring (the bit and the 30' joints of pipe), change bits, or have a problem. 

"Oilfield Trash" is the term that oilfield workers and their families use for themselves. It is not a perjorative term, although it likely started out as one, but like many such, reversed itself into a proud badge of recognition.

A "tour", pronounced like "tower", is a shift on the oil rig. Back in the old days, there were only two twelve-hour shifts, morning tour and evening tour, seven days a week until the job was done, which was either when you hit oil or the hole was no good, known as a "duster".

"Caliche" is a sedimentary rock, a hardened deposit of calcium carbonate. Caliche is also known as hardpan. It forms a significant portion of the surface in West Texas.

"Forty-two" also known as Texas 42, is a trick-taking game like bridge, but played with a standard set of double six dominoes. 42 is often referred to as the "national game of Texas", and continues to be very popular in much of the state. It was invented to get around the Southern Baptist prohibition of card playing.

A "norther" or "blue norther" refers to a swift-moving cold front marked by a dark, blue-black sky with strong wintery winds from the northwest or north and temperatures that may drop 20°F to 30°F in a few minutes.

"Devil's brew"  is slang for the smelly hot sulphur water sometimes hit when drilling a hole. It also refers to alcohol, at least for Southern Baptists.

If you're not a Southern Baptist, Lone Star beer is the national beer of Texas. Drinking any other beer is treason, although they'll close an eye for Shiner Bock, of course.

Dr. Pepper (AKA Texas holy water) is the Texas national soft drink.

Frito pie is a dish made with chili, cheese, and corn chips. Sometimes it is baked as a casserole, but the classic Texas version is served in the Fritos bag. To make it 100 % authentic, you need Wolf Brand chili (no beans), Austex Ranch Style beans, shredded cheese, and chopped onions. Heat up the chili and beans, open the bag and pour them on top of the chips, add the onions and cheese, mix and eat. I have seen all these ingredients (except the onions) at the Dollar Tree stores at one time or another, which speaks well for their nutritional quality.

Wash it down with a Dr. Pepper (or Lone Star), and wait 30 minutes for the fireworks to start. For a Texas Trifecta Perfecta, have a fried pie (a real one, not Hostess) for dessert. Wait 30 more minutes and call 911.
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  1. Date: 5/15/2013 4:53:00 PM
    Fried Pie - not the same as Frito pie, although it translates the same from Spanish. It's a mostly Southern thing, but West Texas makes the best. You can make them from scratch, but a bought pie crust shaped into a square and then quartered will do. About 2 tbsp of thick fruit preserves (apricot is my favorite) in the middle. Fold over into a triangle and crimp the edges with a fork. Fry until golden in a tasteless oil. Sprinkle lightly with powdered sugar. Enjoy one. Then get someone to handcuff your wrists behind your back.

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  1. Date: 5/15/2013 4:41:00 PM
    Frito pie - There is some controversy about its invention with both Texas (where Fritos were invented) and Santa Fe, NM both having a paternity claim. It goes by the name of a "walking taco" in the Midwest. I think you know where my allegiance lies.

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  1. Date: 5/15/2013 4:31:00 PM
    PS.........tell us more about the fried pie! (we had one of those recipes too!)

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  1. Date: 5/15/2013 4:30:00 PM
    I may not be familiar to all the oil drilling lingo.....but I am definitely familiar with Frito pie !! Somehow I thought maybe my own family invented this gooey, easy, and completely unhealthy but yummy meal. Campers that we were, it was a staple we could throw together after a long day's hike in the mountains...warming those beans up on a camp stove or fire..adding onions/cheese...pouring over corn kids loved it! Me too! My mom used to make something similar adding canned tamales.....baked in the oven with corn chips on top. Maybe sounds terrible.......but it was delicious!!! (healthy?? ..........NOT!!!)

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  1. Date: 5/15/2013 2:11:00 PM
    well, I scanned this and decided to read about the frito pie. I think I have heard of it before. sounds like something I would sure like to try!! I think I saw you were big winner of the pub challenge. Congrats!!

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    Hunter Avatar Painted Hunter Date: 5/16/2013 6:08:00 AM Block poet from commenting on your poetry

    never had frito pie?...Its good. my wife makes it sometimes.
  1. Date: 5/15/2013 1:49:00 PM
    Ha...enjoyed seeing these oilfield terms...I'm gonna refer to Dr. Pepper as Texas Holy Water until the day I die!

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  1. Date: 5/15/2013 10:47:00 AM
    MY MY! now that's the Texan way. Dr. Pepper LOL the Texas holy water. :-) a big grinner on that. mostly hotter than sauce - when chili time's around the corner. ~SKAT~

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    A  Avatar SKAT A Date: 5/15/2013 10:49:00 AM Block poet from commenting on your poetry

    I'm from Houston Texas. 3 hours away from my sissy pd :-)
  1. Date: 5/15/2013 9:29:00 AM
    You're a riot! Love local stuff!

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