Wind Turbines Gone Wild

The other day, in a cornfield near me, a wind turbine collapsed.

So, naturally, I had to go out and track down the cornfield, and the wind turbine, and get a picture.

Yup. That is one very collapsed wind turbine. They don’t know why it collapsed, but they do know it went off line at about 5 o’clock in the morning. A rather peeved farmer comments that you wouldn’t want to be out in your field when that happened. A different rather peeved local was muttering about how people don’t have much of a choice about leasing their property to the company. I don’t know about that, but there are definitely fairly solid campaigns against these things whenever they even think about putting them in.

In case the (very not local) company that runs them missed it, people are pissed off.

There’s no question about what this would do to someone, if they happened to be working under it when it fell. And considering the electrical element… And the irrigation in that field… they might not even have to get hit to get dead.

“Wouldn’t wanna be spraying when it happened?”

I don’t even know what that translates to in city people.

Probably getting out a tire iron and beating the shit out of the other guy’s city-people Mercedes to drive. home. the. point. YOU. DROPPED. A. WINDMILL. WHERE. MY. KID. WAS. ABOUT. TO. GO. SPRAY. THWACK.


(probably about the same thing a tire-iron does to a windshield.)THWACK.

You can’t do that in Nebraska.

Well, you could… but after you render the Mercedes undrivable, you’re probably going to have to get out the winch and tow the damn thing back to town (’cause nobody else is going to.) And anyway, there’s a lot of Mennonite blood around here. (TRUE FACT: Mennonites can’t swing a tire iron worth shit.)

For people who are missing the point… I took that picture while I was standing on the section road south of the Turbine.  That Turbine is about half way up the section, which means that it is no less than a quarter mile from where I’m standing, and probably half a mile away. If you look very closely at the still-upright portion of the windmill toward the left, you’ll see a dark-arch shaped thing. That would be a full-sized **door.** And by the way… it is at the top of a staircase that you can’t see. So… it’s a full sized door, that is already six to ten feet off the ground.

We are not amused.

Chickens Rising

My neighbors are planting chickens. They’ve torn up most of their yard for the plants to support these chickens–or at least, for a chicken yard. And they’ve built a coop. It looks like one of those redwood play structures, and is… without a doubt… the most solid chicken coop I’ve ever seen in my life.

It’s about ten feet tall, and there was Tyvek involved.

Their yard is not actually big enough for the chickens, the eggs, or anything else they grow to be certified organic (as I understand it) and I’m pretty sure it takes a long time to recoup your money off the chicken coop for the ages, anyway.

I know a different couple who are raising eggs–organic, start to finish, feed, everything–and they’re selling them on the upper end of $5.00 a dozen.

Also, I know someone who gives away unexceptional, non organic pullet eggs for free, and a whole stack of farmers who sell their eggs–if you go to their farms–for in the neighborhood of $2.00 a dozen.

I’m not sure they’ll last long.

There are places in this world where you can raise chickens in town, and you wind up being called a hippie.

This is not one of them. I don’t know how long chickens will last, after Neighbor Wife has gotten an earful of those other words, most of which imply that you also have a still, and probably a rocking chair tied to the top of your pickup.

Anyway, so I’ll get to watch chickens until they go away, and I won’t have any actual chicken work to do.

Neighbor Husband is probably behind this. He’s easily the more interesting of the two, and he has projects, some of which are large enough to be seen from space. Neighbor Wife… well, she’s pretty tolerant, although he has driven her to chain smoking. We’ll see how his chickens and her German Shephard mix.

I like these neighbors–chickens and all–a whole lot better than the last ones. The last ones had a lawn mower the size of a Sherman tank, and consistently crushed the life out of my underground sprinklers. Chickens don’t involve me digging up sprinklers, and anyway, I’m up early enough that the noise won’t bother me, so Yay, chickens!

The Answer is Tourism. Always Tourism.

I live in a historic town.

You can tell by the road signs and billboards, and by the fact that here and there, you have a building that is more than a hundred fifty years old.

It’s not a particularly exciting history.

And honestly, it’s not that much different than the history that the other 4,683 historical small towns in my state have on display. By the luck of the draw, we were first at something, once. There’s a plaque.

And if you go on a tour of downtown, you’ll find a lot of plaques. The downtown committee put them up a few years back, so that you can read all about what the empty buildings and tumble-down ruins used to be.

There’s not a whole lot left to bring outsiders here. A few old papers in the archive, and an eclipse that will come and go this August. We got eclipse glasses printed up with our name on them.

So did the towns next door.

And down the street.

The “historic” market share is minuscule.

Sure, it worked for Williamsburg, and that picturesque little town on the river–the one with all the B&Bs and the arts festivals, every summer. The one that grows to five times its size, every year. But they got their start decades ago. Before the market was divvyed up.

Before any of the bigger towns even realized they would need to be historic.

Back when we still had businesses in those empty buildings.

Back when we were modern, and proud of it.

A-to-Z Challenge: Freeborn, Minnesota

I’m working my way through the alphabet, one M-word at a time, and for F, we have the small town of Freeborn, Minnesota. I like small towns, and I like Minnesota, so it’s more or less a no-brainer. Also, the Freeborn bar, TB3’s apparently mixes up some strong drinks, which I’m probably going to need after an entire alphabet of M words.

The town has a population of 297, and rests between 645th Avenue and 656th Avenue on 285th Street. We have a lot in common. The postal service has been assigning nearest large-city based addresses all over the countryside. You know that corner where 655th Avenue suddenly turns into 4th Avenue? Oh, yes. I’m so there.

Reminds me of that time I spent half the night in (Name of Town) Tavern waiting for a tow-truck that was wandering around nearest big city looking for the Name of Town Tavern. Well, the official address was….

Anyway, Freeborn is in southern Minnesota, and there’s a lake, so what am I still doing here? Oh, yes. That’s right. Day job.


Explaining the Self-Explanatory

Well, hell. Sometimes it just gets down to that choice of getting up or lying in bed counting down the moments that you could have been sleeping… if only you could sleep.

Good morning, world. Time to eat my English muffin and pretend to be awake.

I’m not really sure what got me up this early. It could be the scene I was writing last night. (Possibly I need more time between when I finish writing, and when my head hits the pillow.) Or it could be the fact that I’m having one of those “conversations” at work. You know the kind: I said something I figured was self-explanatory, and apparently, it’s not.

It’s going to need to be fixed.

I’m still vaguely hoping to have a manuscript by the time I leave for Colorado. That may be at least slightly optimistic, but my characters were cooperative last night (and probably any night where I have time and a little bit of discipline) So, it could happen.

I think about going to the library to work on things on my days off, and then, I realize the library opens roughly eight and a half hours after I wake up. That’s a whole work day! I’m not sure what is open, right now. Truck stop cafe might really be it.

In further small-town related news, the junk-yard burned last night. Thick black smoke everywhere. About two miles of road was closed down… not that the fire was that big. It’s just that two miles is the smallest section of road you can close, and still have a place for traffic to turn off without having a giant rut of u-turns.

I liked that junk yard. Meanest dogs in town. Nearly licked me to death, the last time I was there, and when that didn’t work, they tried drowning me in an ocean of slobber. I was lucky to escape with my life.

Things to Do in A Small Town In Autumn, or Gratitude for the Internet

So, here I am squeezing in a blog post mid way through my walk home. Stopped to get a Coke and do some typing.  Summer keeps reappearing around here, and the trees are starting to turn some real colors.

I’m not much of a small-town girl, but the scenery has some definite perks.

Seriously… Get me the hell out of here!!! Or at least airlift in some entertainment.

So, I have NaNoWriMo coming up around the corner, and the team is coming together in ways I wouldn’t have expected. I think I have about ten pages of buddies. I added my profile to the links and follows page in the left menu bar, so you can buddy me on Nano and Follow me on Twitter and stalk me in whatever other ways strike you.

Recently, the thought that I might be writing a young adult or even **gasp** middle grade novel for Nano fluttered  through my mind. Of course, it immediately fluttered back out, when I realized my characters grow up at some point in the novel, and I’m not even sure I read middle grade books when I was in middle grade.

Two and a half days until the next Storytime Blog Hop.

I’d better get on that.

Acupuncture, Abortions, and Denver

When I was a kid, I lived in one of those towns. Big enough to have some entertainment, and quite a few restaurants, and isolated enough that as far as it went, there was no driving to a bigger city just for fun. Bowling  alleys, a small summer carnival, and a sadly misshapen swimming pool. Enough to keep people happy.

Or at least, quiet.

If somebody went to a big city, there was a reason.

9 times out of 10, it was because the local hospital ran out of options, and the choice was Denver or death. Well, I know. Some people did take a while to think about that one.

But that 10th time? Well, that was interesting.

If you went to Denver, and you weren’t dying, there was probably a good story about it, and if little girls were very good, and very quiet, and looked like they weren’t paying attention, they could probably hear that story. And why not? Everyone else already had.

We had a family friend who went to Denver regularly. She wasn’t dying any time soon, but she had M.S. and she saw an acupuncturist. (If you’re reading that right, you heard it in the same voice you’d use for “She sacrificed chickens.”) An acupuncturist! And I wasn’t even allowed to get my ears pierced.

My mother asked her about it, once. I remember sitting and listening while she described the general idea of acupuncture, and showed us the black dots the acupuncturist drew on her skin, so that her husband could keep up her treatments at home.

They did a demonstration for us. He took out a long, skinny needle and a glass tube, and tapped that needle right into a black dot on her leg. Sure enough, the muscle–which she couldn’t use, herself–twitched. Yup. That was it. A twitch.

Hope, more than anything else.

The other thing you could do in Denver was get an abortion.

I didn’t find out about that one–or abortions in general–until I was eleven or twelve, and a friend’s mother… her recently divorced, and even more recently pregnant mother… went to Denver.

Her father–my friend’s grandfather–made the appointment. He was the one to drive her to Denver. And in all honesty, he was also pretty much the one to bully her into thinking about it.

No one needed to know.

Except, of course, that she was still pregnant when she got back from Denver. Tough to hide that. Even tougher to hide a ten pound baby boy.

Oh, the humanity! The thought of that five hour drive to Denver with him and then the five hour drive back, when there wasn’t any abortion, and just being trapped in the car all. the.way. back. Ugh.