Wednesday, July 29, 2009

When the wind blows

photo by Aubrey Ellison

Dave and I just finished a week long canoe trip in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. We had a wonderful time! There were great people, great scenery, great food, and best of all, there was the wind!

The mosquitoes were bad. On the portages and in the woods where we pitched our tents, the mosquitoes swarmed around our heads and feasted on any bits of uncovered or unsprayed flesh. The wind saved us.

We always chose campsites on large expanses of rock that ran right up to the lake, rocks that thrust out into the wind, sweeping the mosquitoes away from us. When the wind died in the evening, even a fire couldn’t keep the mosquitoes from invading; so we took ourselves early to bed. After a fierce massacre of all the insects that had followed us into the tent, we lay in our sleeping bags and listened to the mosquitoes buzzing just beyond the tent netting, and the wind high up in the trees.

At home again, I still feel grateful for the wind. We’ve had a wind generator in our hay field for thirteen years now. It supplies about one half of our electricity. Because we can’t use all the electricity generated by our tower when the wind blows, we sell about three fourths of the electricity generated to the power company. The machine has nearly paid for itself and is now producing clean, pollution free power for us and for our electrical coop.

The wind also helps us at ground level. Dave began cutting hay today. With warm sun and a nice breeze, the hay will dry rapidly and we’ll be able to bale it before it can be rained on and ruined.

And finally, Aubrey weeded the asparagus patch. The breeze kept the mosquitoes out of her way – only four bites in seven hours. Life is good when the wind blows.

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