|Our windmill tower. January 2004|
Now I have to make a decision to either tell the story like it happened, in chronological order, or flash ahead and then retrace my steps in another post and go back. What to do? I've asked my three most faithful readers (Carl, Joel and Ann) for their opinions and even Carl (who hates flashbacks) said I should finish up the tale of the windmill first, and then fill in the blanks in the time frame next.
So here we go:
A whole bunch of other stuff went on for the rest of the winter; for me the usual housewife chores; sewing some clothes and more intense house-cleaning (because during the growing season who has time to clean house?) For Carl, more planning and working on the Next Project, but more on that to come.
The spring and summer of 2004 were taken up with installing the aforementioned Next Project, a wedding, a garden walk and of course, working on the Quarry construction, until finally, in late August, we began to get ready to put the windmill head up. Carl built a stand to place the windmill on so he could work on it in our driveway. When it was time to retrieve the windmill, Carl and Joel hooked the mill onto the Super H with chains and carefully brought it out of the machine shed at Mom's, placed it gently on our little trailer and towed it home.
Once we had it back here again, Joel lifted the head with the tractor once again, and Carl guided it carefully to the stand. The head weighs around 350 pounds, so it is cumbersome. Below is a picture of the two guys putting the mill on the stand:
|Late August 2004, Carl and Joel putting the windmill head on the stand.|
|David, age 14, takes his turn spraying the windmill.|
Another very bittersweet memory to share here; Joel's best friend, Marty, had been diagnosed with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy as a youngster and was in a wheelchair. I have never known another person, young or old, with such a cheerful disposition in the face of great adversity.
Marty was more involved in school activities than my two kids ever were, and was an honor student. His wheelchair didn't hold him back from typical guy-like outside activities, either. The two friends would go tearing up and down our side road, Joel on his bike, Marty in his wheelchair, just having a good time. They also went cross-country through the farm fields here and when they'd get back from the field, Marty's wheelchair would be dragging tall grass and cornstalks underneath. Marty loved tractors as much as Joel, and used to come over and watch Joel hauling stones off the pile for the Quarry construction.
Here's a picture of Joel and Marty after we had painted the windmill:
|Joel and Marty, juniors in high school, September 2004.|
Below, Joel and Carl are coming down the lane with the windmill head, Carl is steadying the mill so it doesn't spin on the chain suspended on the tractor bucket:
|Approaching the tower. Joel on tractor, Carl and David.|
Once again, we could not afford to hire a crane to put the windmill head up, so Carl came up with an idea. He had a system of pulleys, ropes and angle iron rigged up like a temporary crane hoist to raise the head which also, once again, required me on the tractor, pulling. Carl had worked on the idea of how to raise the head for weeks, and was confident it would work.
|Joel, preparing the tower for the lift.|
|Marty, in charge of tools.|
After Joel got everything in place on the stub tower and Carl had everything hooked up to his satisfaction, we were finally ready to give the rope and pulley system a try. I backed up ever so slowly and the head started to come off the stand. We all held our breath as it ascended higher and higher, but when the mill was about 20' in the air, the angle irons on top of the tower suddenly bent. Oh, that was a scary sight! We were pulling at too much of an angle.
Everyone was safe, yet, so Carl had me drive ahead slowly so he could lower the mill back onto the stand. Back to the drawing board, Carl made some changes to the hooking arrangement and we tried again.
By now it is getting late in the day, close to sunset again. There I am, below, holding my breath and praying for all I'm worth that this works and Joel doesn't get hurt.
|Me, staring hard at Joel and keeping steady feet on the clutch and brake.|
Carl was standing in front of me, orchestrating this whole deal---he looks like a musical conductor with Marty by his side in the picture below:
|Carl, on ground, conducting; Marty watching, and Joel doing his best not to fall off the tower.|
Joel needed a few more tools hauled up the tower again and I volunteered to climb up there with him as I had so much nervous energy to burn off.
|Joel and me, hanging around on top of the tower.|
|Joel, going back up to do some final adjustments and unhook the ropes and angle iron hoist.|
Sadly, the following spring, May 2005, Marty passed away shortly before high school graduation. The world lost a very, very special young man that day. He was the most remarkable person I've ever met. Whenever I look at the windmill, I can still picture Marty the day we put it up, hauling that bucket up and down, always with a smile.
May I always remember to be courageous and positive, just like Marty.
| Marty, 1986-2005|