Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Windmills vs. Koi

Last Wednesday was a field/road trip day for my husband Steve and myself. We were due to get out on the road! My husband has always had a hankering for windmills, so to the Mid-America Windmill Museum we went!

I myself have always just considered windmills just as decorative objects, not really considering their use--something to do with water?? Being a woman with no sisters, married to a man who had 6 brothers and no sisters, being a mother of 3 boys and no daughters, and being a grandmother to 3 boys and only 1 grandaughter (totally a new experience for me!), it was time once again to find out what the fascination was about these windmills, or was I thinking, "Okay, we're both retired, and we need to find some common interests that both of us can share in our days together."

Now that we're both retired, it's
a whole new world for us this year. Think about it. Never in our lives were we both without jobs at the same time!!! My mother-in-law told me this would not be a good idea--did she know something I didn't know? After all, she had a husband and still has 7 sons!!! I felt that if we had the opportunity to be retired and be in good health, that's what we should do! Why wait until you get sick before you head off for the sunset.

Our retirement, I'm finding out, is quite an adjustment. We're not travelers per se, and we don't pick up and go very easily--something we'll have to learn! We're lucky to have our own varied interests, but there needs to be some common ground to further promote the days spent together in our perfect state of marital bliss we have experienced our whole married lives! You got it right--I'm joking! Why should retirement be any easier than working and raising 3 sons! The work is just beginning, my friends, so thus the windmill museum!!! At the same, I feared going to the museum because Steve has always threatened to build his own windmill in front of our house!!!

Reflecting now, I learned a lot about windmills, about my husband, and about myself.
Windmills are not only used to bring water up from wells, but can be used for as a grist mill to grind grain into flour. They've been around for hundreds of years and the concept continues with wind turbines. Sorry, I can't really say this trip has made me anymore interested in windmills, but I did enjoy learning more about my husband.

I knew a little about some of these things, but reminded myself of one of the reasons I married this man--he has always had an easy way about him. "They" say why you marry your husband will drive you crazy and later, and it has (another story)!!! But that is part of Steve's charm--easy-going and pensive. Because he is a man, you won't find out everything you want to know unless a magical moment presents itself. The windmills did present the magical moment. I found out the fascination of windmills for him has always been in the wind that can drive this machine to supply water and flour. It also reminded him of his paternal grandfather's farm.

A windmill was a source of play for him and his 6 brothers when they visited Grandpa's farm. The windmill was definitely a form of play. When the boys continued to pump water to fill the overflowing bucket, Grandma would always complain they were wasting water--if Grandma could only see what goes on today!!!! If they weren't pumping the handle, the boys were climbing the cross members on the side of the windmill frame.

Just below the windmill veins was the mechanical platform that was used to help grease the gear box. This was a great place for boys to sit and dangle their feet until Mom screamed you down before you fell to your death!! If the windmill caught a sudden gust, the whole windmill could turn and off would come some little boys!!

For myself, I have learned that while my husband traveled all the paths of the outdoor windmill museum, I was following my own path--so usually like our interests. I was fascinated by the koi pond located at the beginning of the path and talking to the caretaker who noticed my fascination with the koi. I also noticed a frog on the shore of the pond and took pictures of him, too! Then I was reminded of the windmills when I looked up. Okay, where will I be lead to now? I never was really fascinated by windmills other than to notice their beauty in a farm scene. I saw my husband on his own path, as usual, following the windmills.

I sat down on one of the few benches on this utterly beautiful, fall day and took some pictures of the windmills and the colorful trees behind them. I noticed only two windmills were actually turning on this very calm day. One windmill was making a rusty, grinding sound, and another was doing a better job of rotating in the soft breeze, making a creaking sound. Both windmills said to me, "Look at me. Look at me. I'm still as good as I was 'in the day,' and I'm proud." That's me though at the windmill museum!

I heard my husband comment later, "I traveled through the whole path of windmills, and there she was mesmerized by koi!"

This is why I'm working so hard on our retirement!


  1. I had no idea there was a windmill museum-looks great, if you like windmills. I actually climbed my grandparents' windmill too, like your husband, and loved releasing it to get it to pump water. I understand about the retirement. My husband is retired and I am - almost. We just don't always think the same things about something, or approach things so differently. Amazing that two can be together so long and have those differences. I guess the things that we share alike are the important ones, like integrity and honesty and kindness-those we agree on. Best wishes in your adventures!

  2. Sounds like it was a good trip (maybe the first of many?) It's fascinating to learn what is of interest to each person and the memories tied to that item. Windmills in Holland were very interesting to see in action. Maybe you will get there one day.

  3. Oh, dear! A windmill museum. My husband would want to see that too. He also keeps saying we need a windmill to generate our own power. I'm not so convinced that I want one. Enjoy your retirements!

  4. Uncle Brian said he set the larger windmills. That's his boss's friend who owns that place, and he offered his iron workers to help! Cranes and all!! Small world, eh?

  5. I loved how you weaved your different thoughts into one path and then out again, connected yet exploring. Love windmills! I can see you enjoying the koi though. :)

  6. Nice post! :) How exciting to know that there is a windmill museum, I'm already looking up where it's at and how to get there. I love driving in Indiana and Illinois where the roads go through the wind turbine farms. I've always enjoyed them during the day but got the opportunity to have the experience at night a few weeks ago driving back from Cincinnati. Very cool! We have a local restaurant owner in Schiller Park who built one on his property. Uncle Steve might be interested in this link, http://www.greatescaperestaurant.com/green/. See you next weekend!!