Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Which Way Does the Wind Blow?

The pair stand side by side, like soldiers on watch, duly carrying out their orders in syncopation. Relentlessly they serve day and night. Yet their resulting labors don't produced anticipated results.

Instead of complementing each other, the pair seem determined to produce their unique interpretation of each assignment, when they should be duplicating and verifying each other.

Yes, the windmills in our yard are cantankerous soldiers of the wind.

These windmills were located at different positions prior to the Great 1000 Year Ice Storm of 2009. Even then their faces did not move in syncopation. After all the wind generally blows in one direction at any given point in time, doesn't it??? Maybe NOT.

During the Great Ice Storm, we had to move one windmill to allow the tree trimmers access to a portion of our front yard. My husband moved it adjacent to the other windmill. Maybe they are jealous of each other!!!

We noticed their indication of wind direction varied. They rarely faced the same direction in unison. Some days they face each other in intense argument. Other days they are diametrically opposite, as if pouting. then again they are 90 degrees to each other.

The past two weeks the winds of March have arrived; the windmill watch has intensified.

Our windmills are decorative lawn windmills. If you are interested in a short discussion of windmill history and their many uses, here is a Wikipedia link.

The phenomenon of the two windmills situated adjacent to each other has an explanation in physics and the study of the physical forces of wind and resultant kinetic energy. I'll spare you the scientific and technical details.

Hero of Alexandria, an engineer, described a windwheel operating an organ is as early as the 1st century. This description is probably the first instance of a wind powering machine in history.

Read about how a series of wind turbines are used to capture green energy to generate electricity here. There are many sites about wind as a source of kinetic energy to be used to generate electricity. Windmills have been used as a source of energy to power grist, sugarcane and corn mills, pump water and many other tasks where kinetic energy is needed.

In Texas windmills were the major source of pumping water for many uses from household to field irrigation and water for livestock. I remember a multi-purpose windmill at my paternal grandfather's farm. My Dad had a windmill for awhile on his gentleman's farm.

Photographers love them. I remember an epic photo of a windmill with a gorgeous sunset behind it, and another with gathering thunderclouds.

There are two functioning windmills within driving distance of my home in Arkansas. We pass one of these windmills each Sunday on the way to church Sunday.

My husband and I are trying to get good photos of this anomaly, but to date we have been total failures, as indicated by my post today. I expect we'll have plenty of opportunities to work on our techniques. The camera is not seeing what we are selectively seeing.

Truthfully the location is not conducive to good photos. I am going to have to try a little f-stop magic, I guess.

Is it not interesting that a source of energy from the 1st century is now considered one of several options in generating "green" clean electricity, thus playing a part in diminishing use of dirty fuels and their toxic emissions?

Back to the Future, anyone?

1. Windmills - approx. 45 deg. to left
2. Windmills - approx. 45 deg. to right
3. Windmills - approx. 45 deg. to left


Arkansas Patti said...

Have you thought of putting their flailings to use by having hubby hook them up to batteries. Bet they could charge some D cells.
Am I still seeing Christmas lights on them??

Lisa said...

Sometimes even the wind mills seem like they are against you!

I think your pictures are really good!

jinksy said...

I'm almost tempted to go and look for the explanation in a Physics book - but not quite...

NitWit1 said...

AR Patti: HA HA I knew somebody would spot those Christmas lights, the remnants of my husband's past fetist of lighting up the town with an overabundance of lawn decorations!

Lisa: Yep! Life is tough when the windmills revolt.

Jinksy: Unless you have so much time on your hands, I wouldn't delve into the boring physics books. I barely passed the course. Most of what I know about wind I learned while a member of the air force ROTC and needed to know about the aerodynamics of flying planes.

lakeviewer said...

They are spectacular! Lawn ornaments? Doesn't the wind knocked them down?

Linda said...

The windmills in your yard remind me of Congress and the way it works

CHERI said...

I just came across your blog. I am thinking you are a am I. I've been doing genealogy on the family for many years. Think some of my husband's folks migrated to TX but can't prove the link so far. You definitely are an adept writer!

faye said...

.... where is Don Quixote ???
Tilting at your windmills.

Lorna said...

Back to the future indeed! Everything old is new again.

flowerweaver said...

Thanks for visiting my Texas blog! As a coincidence, my 'adopted' brother lives somewhere around Bull Shoals. Your dueling or dueting windmills are interesting!