April 30, 2009

Death of a Windmill

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I'm heartbroken. The white corrals windmill bit the dust.  How could this have happened you may ask?  Believe it or not, it was the wind.  What does that say about our wind?  Our windmills can't even take it. Windmills are supposed to be self-regulating, meaning they turn or fold in to protect themselves from too strong of wind, but I guess the wrath of the wind this year proved to be too much. This spring we've seen more heavy duty winds than I can remember in a long while. And if you think it's bad in town, you should come to my house.  And if you think it's bad at my house, you should go up to the white corrals. 

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The windmill is a western icon.  From Americanheritage.com, "The windmill, even more than the railroad, was crucial to settling the West. Windmills permitted ranchers and farmers to live and work on land where there was no reliable natural water supply, which was most of the frontier... Today only a handful of windmill manufacturers survive in the United States. Working windmills are rare, and many stand abandoned, their broken blades and bullet-riddled tails making eerie silhouettes against the sky."

Luckily I snapped a shot of it the other day before they pulled it down.

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Here's the best/simplest explanation of how a water-pumping (American) windmill works that I could find.  From Backwoods Home Magazine:

How a windmill works

"The windmill’s wheel (fan) has 15 to 40 galvanized steel blades which spin around on a shaft. The shaft drives a geared mechanism that converts rotary motion to an up-and-down motion like a piston in a car engine. That motion drives a long pump rod (aka sucker rod) going up and down inside of a pipe in the well. Attached to the end of the pipe is a cylinder with a sealed plunger going up and down in it that forces the water up the pipe. The seals (cupped seals that ride up and down in the pump-cylinder) are called “leathers.” (Neoprene instead of leather is used in most cylinders today.) Each up-stroke pulls a certain amount of water into the cylinder, but on the down-stroke a check valve (aka foot valve) in the bottom won’t let it be pushed out, so the water has nowhere to go but up (with the next upstroke). It’s a simple efficient design that has remained virtually unchanged for more than 100 years."

Note:  If you are pumping the water for cattle to drink, a pipe is attached that takes the water to some sort of drinker or to a storage tank where it can then be gravity fed or pumped to other drinkers.

The windmill at the white corrals pumps...or used to pump :(  it's water into two big metal storage tanks.  One tank has a drinker right on it and it also gravity feeds several smaller drinkers in the vicinity. (Hayes is drinking at one of the tanks below)

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This tire drinker comes off of the white corrals storage tank. It's on the other side of the corrals.

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With no plans (YET! we'll see what I can do!) to replace this windmill, I feel sad to lose a little bit of the West's heritage.  Platt Land and Cattle tries to do most things the old fashioned way, to honor the cowboy tradition (plus they just love it that way).  They still use horses  to gather and move their cattle instead of ATV's.  They still rope their cattle to brand them instead of using a chute.  And they definitely dress the part...you should see the bill to outfit them !$$!


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The thing that makes me that saddest is that I will never again be able to photograph that windmill.  I loved having it in the background of all the branding pictures.  Can you tell that I am seriously mourning?   

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If you want to see a nice animation of how a windmill works, check out Aeromotor's website below. It helped me understand the inner workings of a windmill :)  You can click on it to make it bigger.  The White Corrals windmill was an Aeromotor.  See the picture below I took last summer.


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Just a few more pics in memoriam: (When I started going through my photos, I couldn't believe how many I had taken of this windmill...I have tons...I even have numerous pictures of its shadow!)

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Adieu my beloved windmill, adieu.

April 28, 2009

A Day With Honky Tonk

The cowman contemplates the water situation.

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The next horse due is Sandy.  She does not like Spence trying to milk her...can you blame her?? She did a quick move and got away without the gyno exam! :)

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One of the few days this spring that the hay didn't completely blow away as they boys fed it. A little still blew away.

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The water out of this well is DElicious. We should bottle it and take it home to drink and stop buying it from the store.

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Da bulls. And a little steer.

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I love this tree.  It has a great shape.  I hope it doesn't bite the dust like the windmill did.

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The horses were a long way off, so I had to use the digital zoom.  It made them appear "wavy" like looking at them through heat waves.

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The calves stare at me wondering what I'm doing crouched down in the cow pies while their mama's stuff their faces with the fresh hay we've just fed.  Love that AZ sky!

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April 23, 2009

The Horse Whisperer

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Hayes gets up every morning, dresses and heads out to see the baby before any of the rest of us are even out of bed.  This is the boy whom I normally have to force to get dressed at some point because he's content to run around in his underwear all day.  It is so fun to watch him with the animals.  Spence and I get such a kick out of him.  He's always worrying about and caring for his cats and dogs and horses.  He's his daddy's boy!

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At what age does it hit you that your little boy or girl is growing up and it makes you want to stop time and keep them little forever? 

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I can't believe that some day this kid is going to grow up and leave home.  The only consolation I have is that one day when Hayes was 4 or 5 we were driving around in the truck and Hayes asked if we we're going to get a bigger truck when he got married so that we could fit his wife too! :)  He has also asked us where we are going to live when he gets married since he plans on living in our house. :)

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He wanted to touch the cows, but they aren't gentle like the bulls.

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Spence easily talked him into tasting the water out of the iron-filled pipeline.  He declared it "not bad".

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Another horse who's willing to follow Hayes around the pen.  (Joker)

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Signing out after a long day of animal care!

Full of Bull

Some of you may have read about how I forgot to get a picture of the bulls that Spence and I went to pick up in Kanab on Monday.  Well, today I remembered.

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Aren't they cute.  They are a Saler/Angus cross and are only yearlings.  They were good travelers.  When we got home one of them was lying down in the trailer relaxing on the trip home.  They knew they were in for the long haul when they left Montana on Sunday!

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Can you guess what were naming them??  Yep, 81, 83, and 84.  And that's no bull.

April 22, 2009

A Baby is Born!

April 22nd, 2009, around 5:00 am, Bell had her baby.  She's bay like her mama, and came out kicking.  Within a few hours she was bucking around and trying to kick the dogs.  She's already attached to Hayes and will follow him around in the pen.  We're calling her Bella for now.

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Like it says on the sidebar, animals dig Hayes.

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They come out pretty scrawny, but she is surprisingly strong.

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Trey held her while Spence put iodine on her umbilical cord.

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Chase was THRILLED.  He's been looking out the back door saying "baby" for weeks in anticipation. 

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Oh, and I found out that BOTH Spence and Hayes tasted the milk last week.  Way to go guys.  And for our records, Bell waxed and her milk turned opaque and then had the baby within 12 hours.  I think she was due on the 7th, so she was 2 weeks overdue. 

Who says you can't take great pictures from a moving vehicle with a bug splattered windshield??? Ha ha

Spence's dad needed someone to drive to Kanab, UT to pick up some bulls.  So when Trish volunteered to watch the punks (thank you SO MUCH), I decided to make the trek with Spence. He wouldn't stop to let me take any pictures, so here is my photo journal of the trip...almost all taken through the windshield at 65 mph! (I did occasionally roll down my window to avoid the bugs on window)

Of course my first shot was Spence driving. Ooooo exciting! He wouldn't let me post it....what a bum. 

Somewhere on the res outside of Flagstaff.  We argued about whether to take the Jacob Lake route or go through Page.  We settled on one on the way up and the other on the way back.

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You can't tell, but before we zoomed by them too fast, these trees looked so cute in the descending sizes.  By the time I finally got a shot off, we were past and they all looked the same size.

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I tried to catch a picture of Lee's Ferry as we crossed the bridge...you can see the water right???

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I loved all of these crazy rocks that had rolled of the mountain and perched in the most precarious positions.  How's that for alliteration? Someone had even built a little house under one...but I missed that shot.

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Yes, the antenna and radio were working just fine...just checking. I tried to take one by holding the camera out the window. 

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So we did stop once at the Lee's Ferry Anglers Flyshop. Spence got jerky. 

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Who knows what possessed me to take a picture of a crow.  It was the only living thing around I guess.

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Almost to Fredonia.  It must be weird to have the two towns (Fredonia, AZ and Kanab, UT) only miles apart, yet there is an hour time difference due to daylight savings. 

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A lonely, old homestead.  I liked the colors of the grass and hills and skies. I got in three whole shots before we passed it.

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After we met up with friends for lunch in Kanab and picked up the bulls, we headed back home the Page way.  I only took a couple of pictures, but I had to get the two rock formations I remember best from all my childhood trips to Utah.

Can you tell what this one looks like???

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It's an Indian chief lying down.  You can see his flat chest, feet, profile, and even the feather above his head. See if you can get the next one. I didn't quite get the right angle...I should have waited longer to take the pic so it would look more like the item.

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It's supposed to look like a diesel with to trailers behind it.  Not so hot from this angle, but I promise it really does.  The cab is on the left with the two trailers following behind on the right.

Anyway...we had a nice time alone without the kids even if it was all driving. I did spend about an hour on the phone just chatting with Hayes because he was bored.  Funny kid.  Now that I think about it, I didn't even get a picture of the bulls....oops!

April 16, 2009

FOM Time! (foaling out mares)

Wow, it's been a while since I've updated my blog.  What happened?  I have no idea.  I guess I got sucked into the swirling vortex of life.  I've got to go back to Spring Break, but first I thought I'd post from today.

Bell is about to have her baby.  In fact, she's a week overdue.  This morning I heard a knock at the back door and it was Hayes with horse in hand needing a little help getting her into her makeshift birthing pen in our back yard. Chase wanted to go out and see her, but it was time for school, so the first thing he did when he got home was take a little ride in the pen. 

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Big smiles all around.  We have two more horses due this spring (Sandy and Sweetie), so it should be a lot of fun.  Spence watches and dotes on these mares more that he ever did when I was pregnant.  I can guarantee that he didn't once get on the internet to research anything about pregnancy or lactation for me....but for the animals....the skies the limit! :) He knows about softening and waxing and milk color and consistency...he even wanted me to taste Bell's milk the other day to see if it had changed from salty to sweet...I refused and told him to do it.  I don't know if he did or not...I'd like to know! 04 16 09_4880ee

I'll keep you updated on the maternity ward out at the potato farm...hopefully there will be a nursery soon!