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We like to think of Peterman’s Eye as an old fashioned interactive community newspaper (if there is such a thing) focused on travel and curiosities. Talk with us about today’s post. Tell us about the places you’ve been. Or take a trip using J. Peterman’s exclusive travel services (coming soon). Read more...

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Martha Pollay

"Of all the forces of nature, I should think the wind contains the largest amount of motive power—that is, power to move things..."

So began Abraham Lincoln.

Windmills have been trying since at least the 1st century AD.

That was when Greek engineer Heron of Alexandria began using a wind-driven wheel to power a machine.

Don Quixote, as you recall, had his legendary battle with a Spanish windmill in the 17th century.

Horizontal windmills, usually more efficient than vertical ones, were in their heyday a hundred years later.

Sensible people go to Bruges for the chocolate.

But take a walk out of the city center and around the perimeter and you'll see something memorable — the four remaining windmills out of the original 25. 

One of them is Sint-Janshuysmolen built by a group of Bakers in 1770. 

Visit the tiny museum inside and you'll learn it still functions as an active grain mill. 

Today, a lot of old windmills are tourist attractions, most of the active ones pump water and some plucky wind turbines are generating electricity. 

I was pleased to read that a modest $3 million federal grant to a University of Maine research center will build windmills to harness the strong winds off Maine's coast to produce energy. 

By 2012, the Global Wind Energy Council expects that wind power will grow by more than 155 percent.

Channeling the wind or tilting at windmills?

We're still trying.

J. Peterman


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52 Members’ Opinions
September 09, 2011 12:15 AM
Com-100Com-300Com-500First-comHr-1Hr-10Hr-5 lotlot said...

Mr. P. says above:

"I was pleased to read recently that a modest $3 million federal grant to a University of Maine research center will build windmills to harness the strong winds off Maine's coast to produce energy."

Shucks, if we could just harness the incessant hot wind of politician persons,
we would have enough energy at no cost to run Washington 'til the staggering national debt is paid off.

September 09, 2011 12:27 AM
Com-100Com-300Com-500First-comHr-1Hr-10Hr-5 lotlot said...

Have a raconteur friend – the best in the business, really -- who told of a rancher who claimed he had three windmills but that there was such a little amount of wind he had to take two of them down just to get enough wind to turn one.

Come to think of it, another place windy politicians would come in handy, huh?

September 09, 2011 12:30 AM
Com-100Com-300Com-500First-comHr-1Hr-10Hr-5 lotlot said...

I've found that sometimes, instead of tilting at windmills, it's better to just grab hold, hang on and go for the ride.

September 09, 2011 12:33 AM
Img_2558 10photoviews10videoviewsCom-100Com-300Com-500First-comFirst-photoFirst-reviewFirst-videoHr-1Hr-10Hr-5 Jonathan Eells said...

I'm a big fan of wind power. Ye gods, I didn't realize what I was writing just then. BUT STILL. Check my photos for a recent upload that supports my assertion...

September 09, 2011 12:37 AM
4224 10photoviews10videoviewsCom-100Com-300Com-500First-comFirst-photoFirst-reviewFirst-videoHr-1Hr-10Hr-5 RoadYacht said...

Rhode Island. 8armed wind mill. National heritage. will upload a picture I took, soons I find it....a "ting -o-beauty, an a joy ta behold"   (direct quote)

September 09, 2011 1:07 AM
Com-100Com-300Com-500First-comHr-1Hr-10Hr-5 lotlot said...

Sweet, lasting, cherished memory: Alone, except for my loyal camera, on a far-as-the-eye-could-see West Texas ranch as the day tick-tick-ticked toward its conclusion and in the blessed and blessing stillness and the rewarding quietude of that place, capturing on film and in the mind’s eye a windmill that had survived all that its long and productive life could brutally throw at it, as the sun -- its colors and shadows ever changing and yet colors and shadows that somehow seemed to remain the same -- began to bed down for the night, giving me the abundant promise of restorative rest and deep, deep peace as it did.

September 09, 2011 1:54 AM
10photoviews10videoviewsCom-100Com-300Com-500First-comFirst-photoFirst-videoHr-1Hr-10Hr-5 Stoney said...

The view from the second floor porch at this place is splendid and minimally represented on their site.

On a beautiful May evening we were amazed to see an extremely incensed woman sputtering and fuming in disgust at the sight of a couple dozen wind generators on the other side of the lake… more than ten miles away.
She didn't get it that I didn't get it and got more outraged when I said I thought they were beautiful.
She managed to spit out that I would live to regret ignoring her.
"I suppose," I said, "that after that first major toxic wind spill, I'll look pretty foolish."
Then I bailed… it's a long way down from that porch.

September 09, 2011 4:04 AM
Stage_2 10photoviewsCom-100Com-300Com-500First-comFirst-photoHr-1Hr-10Hr-5 JALOPKIN said...

lotlot:  You are in Great Form this morning ... GOOD  ON  YOU !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
As far West in Texas as my Family goes, is Shackleford County ... Two and a Half Sections, and only Four Windmills, three of which are older than I .......

Mr.ISLES:  Good To See You, Sir !!! Best To You and Your Krewe !!!
STONEY:  GREAT  STUFF !!!   I'm getting the Image of the Little Old Woman in the Campaign Hat, from COLD TURKEY .......
ROADYACHT:  The Body of that Windmill must be painted to look like, a Bottle of Red Rooster ... to elicit such a Response .......

September 09, 2011 5:51 AM
Com-100Com-300Com-500First-comHr-1Hr-10Hr-5 hazel leese said...

Isles~ Just went out into the Village to check if the streets are aired, and still laughing at your first sentence.

September 09, 2011 5:58 AM
Com-100Com-300Com-500First-comHr-1 bebe said...

My father in law loves windmills & whenever we travel I try to find a windmill postcard to send to him. Good to see all of you so's Friday, enjoy it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

September 09, 2011 6:33 AM
8251 10photoviewsCom-100Com-300Com-500First-comFirst-photoHr-1 Kentucky Curmudgeon said...

I'm under the influence of a goodly amount of some of Kentucky's finest, in particular, Buffalo Trace. A fine bourbon made only a few short miles from my current location. So, that is why I've chosen to ignore today's topic and chime in with my own brand of enlightenment. I would say something more profound right now but damned if I can think of anything. At least the spelling and punctuation are close...

September 09, 2011 6:38 AM
4244 Com-100Com-300Com-500First-comHr-1Hr-10Hr-5 ChefDeb said...

Kentucky can't thank you enough for the Rat Pack link! What a great way to start the day!!

September 09, 2011 7:02 AM
8251 10photoviewsCom-100Com-300Com-500First-comFirst-photoHr-1 Kentucky Curmudgeon said...

And now...for something completely different...I really should learn to stop at three high balls...

September 09, 2011 7:54 AM
10photoviewsCom-100Com-300Com-500First-comFirst-photoFirst-reviewFirst-videoHr-1Hr-10Hr-5 Lynn830 said...

Windmills seem so wonderful.  They are simple and in some places wind is pretty constant.  The down side, of course, is what it does to birds.  The large windmills tend to have a pile of dead birds at their base.  The birds can't figure out what a windmill is and fly right in ("through") them.  This has been our season of WEATHER and so forth.  We had a terrible wind strom on July third, Hurricane Irene, an earthquake and aftershocks, and now, the "remnants" of Tropical Storm Lee.  We have had at least a half a foot of rain here in Arlington, and parts of southern Fairfax County have had 12-15 inches of rain.  Trees have toppled from being washed out, and there are large chunks of road washed out here and there,  And there today will be another day of rain.  At times the rain is incredibly hard, as bad as a monsoon in Asia.  And here's a treat from YouTube of a man tubing down Rt. 29 in Fairfax:

September 09, 2011 7:56 AM
10photoviewsCom-100Com-300Com-500First-comFirst-photoFirst-reviewFirst-videoHr-1Hr-10Hr-5 Lynn830 said...

And here's one of flooding in Reston:

September 09, 2011 7:57 AM
Waldo 10photoviews10videoviewsCom-100Com-300Com-500First-comFirst-photoFirst-reviewFirst-videoHr-1Hr-10Hr-5 Tommy Typical said...

All great achievements begin with humans observing some aspect of nature and creatively utilizing that information for our use and pleasure. Wind is no exception.

September 09, 2011 7:59 AM
First-com Taffy not Toffee said...

On the subject of the power of wind... This little fella is heading off into the chilly
katabatic breezes of Tasmania's Central Highlands for a couple of weeks to
embrace the opportunity to utilise one of the side benefits of the other pure
form of energy - Hydro Power. With a fair wind behind me I'll be wading in the
pristine waters of Tasmania's Great Lake hunting trout.

So two weeks in the winds of the Tasmanian Central Highlands followed by 3 weeks on
the Island Of Sumba. (Come on now, tell me know where Sumba is - without going
to Google of course).

All in all I'll not be blowing any chill winds here for the next 5 or 6 weeks!
Adieu my new-found friends. :)

September 09, 2011 8:51 AM
Com-100Com-300Com-500First-comHr-1Hr-10Hr-5 hazel leese said...

Ta ta, Toffee not Taffy~ Hope you have a great time - Sumba ... never heard of it.

September 09, 2011 9:20 AM
10photoviews10videoviewsCom-100Com-300Com-500First-comFirst-photoFirst-videoHr-1Hr-10Hr-5 Stoney said...

The Danish Vestas we are able to see every (clear) day across the lake and even unclear days thirty-five miles south on the interstate are all perched atop the western Niagara Escarpment a prominent, rock ridge and suitable platform on which to build them with good exposure to the winds.
They are at two hundred and sixty odd feet in height, just immense. The turbine itself sitting atop the standard is larger than a school bus and the blades of which there are three, are one hundred forty-eight feet long.
A college friend related that they were the salvation of his parent's land: the town was fixing to tax their acreage at highest value which would be residential use and that would have meant that the tax bill would have risen exponentially and forced them to sell.
They agreed to two wind turbines which provide a significant yearly income and the presence of which have downgraded the value of the land for home building.
A win win depending on how you feel about living near those behemoths.

We've all heard of this guy and… that's about it for Tasmania.

September 09, 2011 10:54 AM
1521 10photoviewsCom-100Com-300Com-500First-comFirst-photoHr-1Hr-5 Shandonista said...

The wind turbines are one of the most attractive features of driving through Scranton, PA.  Others have mentioned the birds having trouble with the blades - I wonder what are the odds of bird-blade collisions?
As for wind, I will be channeling Isles this weekend - off to a regatta with my dad and brother.  It will be one of the only times we've ever raced on the same boat which will make for some rather interesting strategy 'discussions.'  We'll be dancing to Maalox, the Wind God, to provide....

September 09, 2011 10:55 AM
1521 10photoviewsCom-100Com-300Com-500First-comFirst-photoHr-1Hr-5 Shandonista said...

And, of course, sacrificing a few six packs.

September 09, 2011 11:03 AM
4244 Com-100Com-300Com-500First-comHr-1Hr-10Hr-5 ChefDeb said...

A wild ride through the links today...Kentucky, Lynn, and of course, the Alpha, Stoney....and in between trips to Sumba (haven't googled yet)with a drop off for cuppa with Hazel, its a good thing the topics is windmills because thats about where my brain is right now.

I lived in the Netherlands for a year and never tired of seeing and observing windmills. Everyday, many times a day my heart skipped a beat when coming upon one. Equally when driving to Colorado with my son the fields of wind turbines were spectacularly beautiful and made me believe in the future more than ever.

Admittedly Don Quixote is my mentor, but what better target than a windmill?

Only barely on topic, if you have not seen it, The Mighty Wind is a hilarious movie, good for a laugh.

This is a somber weekend and its hard not to feel guilty having fun and feeling the wind in my hair. Our family and the world lost someone very close to us on the 102nd floor of the north tower and it is really unbearable to watch it on tv, at the same time in the words of Arthur Miller "Attention must be paid." I suppose I am jumping the gun on the topic here, but its as if it were yesterday not 10 years ago so I thank you all for the diversions t his morning. Joshua Michael Piver, an almost perfect young man. As they all are....

September 09, 2011 11:36 AM
10photoviews10videoviewsCom-100Com-300Com-500First-comFirst-photoFirst-videoHr-1Hr-10Hr-5 Stoney said...

Shandonista ~
Replace the belaying pins with long necks and you're good to go. Have fun.

And, with that in mind: ChefDeb ~
When a friend of ours died, Guest and I were instructed: "When you get done blubbering, go have chili dogs, pints of Spotted Cow and laugh about the time I couldn't find my glasses or hat."
He'd been wearing both and we did as instructed the point being that the best tribute to fallen friends and loved ones is to live on and laugh without guilt.

September 09, 2011 11:52 AM
4244 Com-100Com-300Com-500First-comHr-1Hr-10Hr-5 ChefDeb said...

STONEY thank you and you are absolutely correct! And I was talking to my daughter on the phone the other day and while doing so I was looking everywhere for where I put my phone!

September 09, 2011 11:59 AM
10photoviews10videoviewsCom-100Com-300Com-500First-comFirst-photoFirst-videoHr-1Hr-10Hr-5 Stoney said...

 Look in the fridge... there's a story there.

September 09, 2011 12:01 PM
10photoviewsCom-100Com-300Com-500First-comFirst-photoHr-1Hr-10Hr-5 Rusty said...

Safe journeys to the two travlers.  May the wind be behind your back.
I just added the picture of my daughter's playhouse-windmill that their papa built for them.  It was two floors with a nice staircase even I could go up ever so carefully.  Over the years it was a place of great enjoyment for the girls and their friends.  As I noted the blades did not move, a caution I demanded so no one would decide to go for a swing out one of the windows all of which opened.
The picture along with others of the girls inside was in a local paper around 1975.

September 09, 2011 12:12 PM
4224 10photoviews10videoviewsCom-100Com-300Com-500First-comFirst-photoFirst-reviewFirst-videoHr-1Hr-10Hr-5 RoadYacht said...

May I be the Devil's advocate? All this talk of wind, and not one mention of Beano

September 09, 2011 12:26 PM
First-comHr-1 Lady J said...

The Horse Heaven Hills of Washington State bristle with the new era of windmills. The hills rise on the north side of the Columbia River creating a gorge which funnels wind from the Pacific Ocean at speeds which can exceed 100 miles an hour. The power of nature generating power to run our world. The price? For our area it is the birds (something I think could be addressed with a cage around the blades) and the introduction of the Hobo Spider, a nasty little creature. During the day they look like giant white sunflowers, and at night they blink like red Fireflies.

more on the honor roll
September 09, 2011 1:34 PM
Com-100Com-300Com-500First-comHr-1Hr-5 George Hall said...

Thanks to the privelege of going off subject, I humbly raise my hand to my hat to salute Marine Sergeant Dakota Meyer who will be awartded the Medal of Honor next week. His story is too long to tell here  but its worth finding and reading.
Semper Fi and! Anchors Aweigh to all who serve, have served and will serve in any capacity, with special thanks to those who keep the home fires burning.

September 09, 2011 1:41 PM
Com-100Com-300Com-500First-comHr-1Hr-10Hr-5 hazel leese said...

Let's get our defintions right here, a windmill is a thing that mills. Flour and suchlike. A turbine is a wind-powered thing that makes electricity. As RY mentioned. certain foods can turn us into wind machines. There was a man who made a living in the old music halls of London by farting tunes as a stage act. Back the day when I baked my own bread, I would drive miles (it was a fun, bendy drive) to a lady who kept a windmill, to buy a sack of wholemeal flour. Great if the day was blowing and the mill was going, cracking and grinding newly harvested grains. Lovely aroma.

September 09, 2011 1:42 PM
10photoviewsCom-100Com-300Com-500First-comFirst-photoHr-1Hr-10Hr-5 Rusty said...

The girls did consider themselves very lucky, ChefDeb, but they loved to share the windmill with all their friends. 
Roadyatch, the "Dutch" came when they got old enough to sneak out to it late at night.  It was getting a bit delapidated by then. 
What was interesting, Carol, is it became a landmark in this little village for a while, and we have had people who moved away returning and asking where the windmill is.  Usually they are disappointed that it had to be torn down.  So it is sort of a memory for many.  We're really glad we have the newspaper article and some nice pictures.   

September 09, 2011 2:07 PM
Me_and_dave 10photoviews10videoviewsCom-100Com-300Com-500First-comFirst-photoFirst-videoHr-1Hr-10Hr-5 Andy said...

KC - your 5:22 am -- ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh - The King, be still my heart  All of the links, the Rat Pack, all of them, were wonderful - but Elvis....,mmmmmmmm.  Thank You!

September 09, 2011 2:52 PM
Com-100Com-300Com-500First-comHr-1Hr-5 George Hall said...

Lotlot~ Re: yuor 1:07 AM post...did you respect it the next morning?

September 09, 2011 3:02 PM
Waldo 10photoviews10videoviewsCom-100Com-300Com-500First-comFirst-photoFirst-reviewFirst-videoHr-1Hr-10Hr-5 Tommy Typical said...

Had lunch today at Bien Trucha in Geneva, IL and must say it's one of the best Mexican Restaurants in the Country. Guac of the day outstanding.

September 09, 2011 5:20 PM
Stage_2 10photoviewsCom-100Com-300Com-500First-comFirst-photoHr-1Hr-10Hr-5 JALOPKIN said...

I am Wishing Y'all a Safe and Enjoyable Weekend !!!
All the Best of Everything That is Good ... Friendship, Family, Food You Love, Good Wine, and Not a Dark Cloud in The Sky !!!   Be Well, and Forget about Work ... It Will Keep Till Monday ... All Happiness To Y'all !!!
To the Tribe:  A GOOD SHABBOS .......
Have a Good Rest, with Peace and Joy ... Pleasures To You Delight .......
"Taste and See How Good is The Lord ..."
May Our Rest Be Pleasing Unto Him Who Brought Us This Far .......
Blessings Upon You All .......

September 09, 2011 6:01 PM
Com-100Com-300Com-500First-comHr-1Hr-5 George Hall said...

Ivan, my friend~ I can't come up with anything better to say than the same back to you! Your blessing, as always, is appreciated and looked forward to.

September 09, 2011 6:11 PM
Com-100Com-300Com-500First-comHr-1Hr-10Hr-5 hazel leese said...

Blessings back to you, Ivan. Goodness, is it Friday nite already again?
Been thinking about windmills. Co-incidence, there was a programme on TV today about windmills that have been converted to dwelling houses. How cool is that? Round rooms with a spiral staircase up the middle. I'm not a sailor, but I was told that you have to trim the sails of a windmill to the wind, just as you would a yacht. A building that wants to be a ship. Being inside a working windmill is an exciting experience. The structure is huge old timbers, interlocking cogs made from wood or metal, ropes and pulleys. The whole thing creaks and groans like an athritic old man and the mill stones grumble like an old lady on her soapbox about "young people today." It feels like a living, breathing creature. It's nearly the end of the holiday season here but the shops still have brightly coloured "windmills" to amuse kiddies. And little buckets and spades for making sancastles on the beach. I feel a bit sad when they are all put away for next year.

September 09, 2011 7:39 PM
Com-100Com-300Com-500First-comHr-1Hr-10Hr-5 hazel leese said...

Duvet time here. Nos Da, dear people.

September 09, 2011 8:12 PM
1-dscn1106-4 10photoviewsCom-100Com-300Com-500First-comFirst-photoHr-1Hr-10Hr-5 PARK4 said...

OH BEBE!  Parkerhouse roll?!!  You are so bebe, there is only one bebe, and no one is more bebe than you.  How you can come home from a day at school and come up with that I do not know.
It must be a bebe thing. ;)
I'm a day late and a dollar short with this but I'm never far away, just slow..

September 09, 2011 9:24 PM
1-dscn1106-4 10photoviewsCom-100Com-300Com-500First-comFirst-photoHr-1Hr-10Hr-5 PARK4 said...

Thank you IVAN!  As always I hope the same for you and yours. pbb

September 09, 2011 9:52 PM
Com-100Com-300Com-500First-comHr-1 bebe said...

PARK.......................I calls em' as I sees em' baby! How did you know I needed a PARK wink tonight?????????? I am smiling & it's not just the wine...................thank you...............................

September 09, 2011 10:18 PM
Com-100Com-300Com-500First-comHr-1 bebe said...

IVAN...............thank you and I send them back your way!

September 09, 2011 10:21 PM
Com-100Com-300Com-500First-comHr-1Hr-10Hr-5 Carol said...

After all is said and done and I've thought about it all day.......Lotlot's opening salvo says it all. 

September 09, 2011 10:32 PM
4244 Com-100Com-300Com-500First-comHr-1Hr-10Hr-5 ChefDeb said...

Okay I tried not to do it, but my grandfather, Henry N. Boucher, used to say on a um, regular basis...Let your wind go free wherever you be, cause holding mine in is what killed me."

September 09, 2011 10:54 PM
Com-100Com-300Com-500First-comHr-1Hr-10Hr-5 Carol said...

ChefDeb--I'm really glad you didn't hold THAT in!!

September 09, 2011 11:24 PM
10photoviews10videoviewsCom-100Com-300Com-500First-comFirst-photoFirst-videoHr-1Hr-10Hr-5 Peter Lake said...

Tommy T, are you in Geneva for Festival on the Vine. If so, check out the All Chocolate Kitchen were the Master Desert Chef owner, Alaine Roby, will be doing wine pairings. They make the best gellato i've ever enjoyed.

September 09, 2011 11:30 PM
Paolo 10photoviewsCom-100Com-300Com-500First-comFirst-photoFirst-reviewFirst-videoHr-1Hr-10Hr-5 paolos said...

You can't produce cement or coral reefs with seawater and wind mills.

September 09, 2011 11:38 PM
10photoviews10videoviewsCom-100Com-300Com-500First-comFirst-photoFirst-videoHr-1Hr-10Hr-5 Peter Lake said...

Just a short side track to wind turbines......

We have about thirty+ turbines south of town and i appreciate the idea of harnessing the power of the wind. They remind me of airplane propellers and when you see a row of them spanning the horizon, like giant guardians of the corn and bean fields..... They offer a graceful and almost delicate image of power...... Especially when compared to the giant electric power towers and the legacy of telephone polls that still dominate the skyline.

Honor Roll

The Horse Heaven Hills of Washington State bristle with the new era of windmills. The hills rise ...

-Lady J

Sep. 09, 2011 12:26 PM

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