I took this picture from the house, out of the window with THE best view of the gardens out back...the bathroom! Yes, that's right, the best place to see the garden is from our potty. How sad is that? Once again, our lack of planning in action. Our Grand Plan for the distant future is to remodel our tiny house a bit so we can enjoy the garden from the kitchen and dining room. Someday.
I should mention the trailer here, too...these pictures were taken during the Thing Garden construction this year:
|The waterfall and start of the hill from the other side.|
Or so we thought.
I hope you don't mind this detour from the garden construction, but here we go:
It was now near Christmas and I had a surprise up my sleeve for Carl. Well, not up my sleeve, it was WAY too big a surprise to store it there. I have never had good luck surprising Carl with Christmas presents. He doesn't get excited by much unless it's tools or something 'cool' (no shirts or socks, please).
When Carl and I had gone to Arnie's scrapyard in the spring of 2003 and found the Manley Wrecking Crane instead, another thing we'd seen in the man's vast collection of All Things Useful was a windmill.
An Aermotor Windmill. (I wish I could cue heavenly music to play...)
Here we go down memory lane again...our farm used to have a windmill, but it was way before I was born. There are two windmills about three miles from here that stand on either side of a road much like ours. Whenever Carl and I would drive by those old windmills, it was so nostalgic, we used to think how nice it would be to own one. (The people who do own those two mills aren't selling, by the way.)
For nearly a century, a windmill was a common sight on farms, they were the workhorses that supplied water to cattle. Aermotors were considered to be the Cadillac of Windmills, at least around here. With the advent of electricity, windmills fell out of favor and were replaced with electric pumps. Many windmills literally fell over the years from lack of maintenance and windstorms, but I think the biggest problem was the demise of the family farm.
When I was a kid, we were surrounded by family farms, there were dozens of them. You knew everyone and they knew you. Now that's all changed. The trend is now to the Mega Farm with thousands and thousands of cows...one operation near here has over 5000 cows on one farm; I find it hard to wrap my mind around that many cattle all in one place. When times got tough in the 1980's, many farmers simply quit and sold their land off either to the huge farm operations or for housing developments or to another concern who is offering top dollar. It was just too hard to keep trying to make a living. I understand that, but I sure miss the family farm. I'm the only one left on this stretch of road who still has all the original farm land intact. In the past, people have asked Mom and I to sell them parcels to build a house and though we could use the money, we've refused. We rent it out to one lone neighbor who is still farming. The old farmstead means too much, it is too dear. I want to hang on as long as I can.
They don't make land anymore.
I guess that's why the nostalgia bug bit me so hard when we had seen the Aermotor sitting on the ground in front of a pile of other scrap metal at Arnie's house. I thought about it constantly, but didn't know if Arnie would want to part with it. I enlisted the help of my father-in-law to help me with this mission as he knew Arnie. One fine day in December while Carl was at work and the boys were in school, my father-in-law and I headed over to see him. Arnie said he had purchased and taken the windmill down from an abandoned farm over a decade before, and he had intended to put it back up to run an aerating pump for his pond, but he never got around to it. His health wasn't what it had been and putting up a windmill is not easy work, so he decided to sell it to us for $250. I was so excited, maybe, for once, I could surprise Carl.
My father-in-law and I loaded up the windmill head on the back of his truck and brought it home. But it was three weeks til Christmas and where could I hide something that big from Carl? I decided to put it in Mom's old machine shed where we store our greenhouse and shelving in the off-season. The boys knew all about it too, but managed to keep it a secret.
I purchased the biggest red bow I could find, tied it to the center hub and waited for the 25th. On Christmas morning, when everyone was done opening their presents, I told Carl that Mom needed some help with some plumbing at her house. "Can it wait until tomorrow?" he asked.
"No," I said, "She says the faucet is leaking badly, so we'd better go before dinner and get it fixed. Come on, the boys and I will help you, it won't take long. By the time we're done, it will be time to eat."
Carl groaned, he didn't feel like fixing a leaky faucet on Christmas Day, but being the dear heart he is, he obliged. When we got up to Mom's, I had to think of some reason to get him to go to the machine shed.
"As long as we're here, could you move the shelving unit in the shed closer to the door? As soon as Christmas is over, I really should get at starting the geranium seeds for spring."
"You want me to get the shelves out now?"
"Oh, could you? And Joel and Dave are here, too, it won't take that long." Once again, he obliged, but grumbled a bit.
At this point, I think he may have been suspicious, though he hid it well. However, I will never forget the look on his face when he shoved the old shed door open and came face to face with an 8' tall Aermotor Windmill head sporting a big red bow. After 24 years of marriage, I had finally surprised him!
With more work.