47 thoughts on “Breathing Room

  1. I was never as entranced by the image of a metal windmill vs. the older wooden ones, but as the years pass, so do the wooden windmills. Every year claims more of them, and as the metal windmills age, their character improves, at least for me. Very nice image.

    1. I agree that, aesthetically, wood is almost always better than metal when it comes to windmills, but their day seems to have passed. As my great-aunt Rilla was fond of saying, “Tempus fidgets.” Still, there are a few reminders of the past still with us. Here’s one just for you, with a nice chunk of Panhandle geology behind it and a little modernity strung through the middle.

    1. I never thought of counting them, but thanks to number-savvy you, now I know there are eighteen. On the other hand, I did notice five birds in the photo. One is perched atop the shrubs, and four are flying: almost directly east of the windmill’s center and just below a line drawn from that point.

      1. 18, plus 1 to grow on—as people used to say when counting candles on birthday cakes—if you include the big non-rotating one at the right. I wonder how the designer settled on 18 blades.

        1. Since this one’s relatively local, I need to go back and see if I can find the manufacturer’s name. Some have the name printed on the vane, but other names are tucked away elsewhere. The history of their development’s interesting, and in the heyday there were several popular brands. The eighteen blades might be nothing more than one company’s attempt to outdo another.

          1. I was wondering if having 18 blades with that amount of space between them somehow optimizes rotation. There are many situations where more than a certain number of whatever or less than that number produces suboptimal results.

  2. Reminds me of West Texas, and you’re right — there’s LOTS of room to breathe there! Sure, I’ve seen some of these old windmills in the Midwest, but for some reason, this photo breathes ‘Texas’ to me!

    1. It looks like Texas to me, too. Of course, I know it’s Texas, so there’s that. But it occurred to me how much fun it would be to collect some photos like this — just windmill, sky, and a bit of ground — from a number of states, and then let people try to match photos with states. It would have to be a long term project, because of the traveling, but it would be fun.

  3. I grew up with a metal windmill on my grandparents place in Orchard, TX. It pumped cold water into a large cement tank that my Grandpa used to water the trees in his nursery. It also provided a place for kids to play in the heat of the summer. On one of the ladder rungs going up to the blades hung a enamel cup. It was the best place to catch a cup of water out of the mossy pipe…. fresh, cold, pure. The best tasting water I ever drank…

    1. Anyone who’s had a drink from a windmill could relate to your memory. We didn’t have a windmill at my grandparents’ place, but there was a hand pump, and one of those enamel cups. Now, they sell those old cups at antique malls (or new, faux enamelware in high-end shops) and sell water in bottles. It’s not the same.

      I miss the sounds, too. Of course someone’s posted a nice, creaky one for our delight.

    1. Breathing is good — keep it up! I’m glad to hear you’re painting, and clouds are a wonderful subject. These are especially nice, I think. I wish I’d centered the windmill in the clear blue sky a bit better, but I really liked the movement in the clouds that day, and think the photo captures a bit of that.

        1. If it worked for Georgia O’Keeffe, I can’t think of a single reason that it won’t work for you. After all, there are as many ways to see the world as their are people in it — you’re just finding a new way of seeing!

    1. We have had a lot of rain, with more to come. And tomorrow, the north/northeast wind will pick up even more. The windmill and the clouds will be in overdrive, I suspect.

  4. The windmill pinwheels
    as the sky exhales its breath
    across the breadth of green.

    Haiku attack! Lovely picture, I love the way the clouds align along the diagonal.

    1. We actually have mostly clear skies this morning. How long it will last is hard to say — until this afternoon is the forecast. Still, it will be fun to see a sun and cloud mix again. I like your haiku. It left me with an image of the business end of the windmill coming unattached and pinwheeling across the fields, finally able to play in the winds that surround it.

  5. Definitely a pretty sight with all those big clouds sailing by. I love those windmills, but I’m not sure I’ve ever seen one in working condition. Usually I’ve seen them disconnected, and they don’t move unless the wind gets really strong. But some of the farms now have pretty tall ones, with the two blade turbines, to generate electricity. A few years ago, I drove under some of those giant turbine ones, on top of Hawk Mountain in Pennsylvania. It was pretty late, no traffic, and the car windows were down, and those things make kind of a spooky whooshing sound, and I found myself wondering if any of those 175 foot blades ever come right off. (Looked it up, and it turns out, once in a while, yes they do!)

    1. I laughed at your s’pun. Well done.

      The first time I came across one of those windmill fields, I was surprised by the sound. It’s not that I expected them to be utterly silent, but I didn’t quite expect that sound. There are a good number of cruising boats that use wind generators for power, sometimes in conjunction with solar panels, and when someone forgets to set the regulator and the winds really crank up, the sound of those blades spinning is something. It’s easy to imagine the blades are going to spin off.

      I’ve never heard of a generator on a boat catching fire, but the industrial-strength ones certainly do. Needless to say, there are online videos galore documenting that kind of event.

  6. A windmill evokes long ago memories of how the countryside appeared many years ago. It seems such a shame that most of the windmills have been sold for scrap metal or been dismantled or simply left to the elements to meet a slow fate. I adore them all, but lost relics of the west and of the farmland. One upon a time I had set out to photograph windmills in Central Texas but I only found about two or three and then I became ill and never went back to the project. Besides I would have needed to drive a great deal to find these old beauties. I really like your photo because you have aptly named your capture.

    1. Some of those old windmills have been put to creative use. A friend has the frame of one still standing, minus its blades. She uses it as support for her grapevines. And I always enjoy seeing the ones that have stars on top at Christmas time. There’s nothing better than sighting one of those in the middle of a dark Texas night.

      When it comes to Texas icons, I’d put the windmill right up there with Longhorns, bluebonnets, and barbeque. Of course other states have them, as well. Still, if I ever find a group of longhorns gathered around a windmill tank in the middle of a field of bluebonnets, you can bet I’ll be stopping for a photo. I guess the barbeque would have to wait until I got to the next town.

  7. Windmills like that were favorite sights for me as I explored many of the remote area of the Arizona desert. They are there to provide water for cattle but they also serve all kinds of wildlife. It was always to camp no closer than a quarter of a mile from them so as to not hinder their access for wildlife. Most of those old windmills were metal and made by Aermotor.

    1. I was sure I had a photo of an old Aermotor, but all I could find was this Eclipse. It actually is in the middle of the town of Panhandle, Texas. They have a little historical district that includes the windmill, and old house, and a replica of a soddy. There was a great fence with cattle brands emblazoned on it, too.

      I’d not thought until recently of the wildlife that makes uses of the windmill tanks. Nearly every article I’ve read about them points out their importance for far more than cattle and horses (and humans, for that matter).

    1. I’ve always thought that a few clouds made the sky more interesting — and prettier — than a pure blue one. When we get nice, fluffy clouds and blue, haze free skies like this, there’s nothing better.

    1. When the title came to me, I knew it was the right one. It not only captures the openness of that piece of prairie, it made me think of the number of times I’ve stood in a field and taken a nice, deep breath of pure happiness.

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