Friday, January 13, 2017

The Old Windmill




I love windmills and through the years, heaven knows, I've worked on more windmills than I ever imagined I would. I have learned to read hand signals with the best of them and those of you who are ranch wives and work along side your husbands, know exactly what I mean by that. We become professional mind readers as this wave means one thing and that wave means another, unless it's accompanied by a head tilt then it means the same as the first. LOL. Honestly, we ranch wives have a sense of humor for a reason.

I wish I had pictures from the days when we were first married and we worked on windmills all the time, but it was just the 2 of us and that required all hands on deck. The ranch we lived on had 24 and nary a week went by when we weren't working on at least one. When the wind didn't blow, we had to hook up pump jacks to them and that required a whole other set of repair skills.


Poor DH married a gal that didn't know the first thing about windmills, but I'm a fast learner, although I might have dropped some sucker rod down the pipe once or twice. That won't make any sense to those of you who are not well versed in windmill speak, but in a simplified version, the sucker rods are jointed, and sometimes there were 12 or 15, and you often have to pull them using a block and tackle in order to replace the leathers or fix the check which is seated at the bottom. If you drop the sucker rod before they are connected, then you get to pull all the pipe to retrieve said sucker rod. In other words, this does not make for a happy hubby. Most of you could care less, but for those of you who have a mechanically inquisitive mind, I've included a simplified diagram:


I look back now and laugh, but there might have been a tear or two during those marathon windmill sessions and I think I ought to be awarded some kind of honorary degree since I'm pretty sure I have reached some sort of windmill pulling sidekick status through the years.


I still love windmills though and I have a hard time passing one by without capturing it with my camera:


Thankfully, this ranch only had 2 working windmills on it and we've converted them to solar wells so my windmill pulling days are over.


And you had to slog through all of that for me to tell you that I am working on a windmill once again:


I started this last year, or maybe the year before, but I became frustrated with the chart. I've done a lot of cross stitch through the years, but this chart is printed so tiny - each square is less than an inch - and I just could not keep track of what went where. It may have something to do with my aging eyes too:


but even with a magnifying glass and my reading glasses, I was unpicking more stitches than I was stitching so I laid it aside. Then a few weeks ago, I took the chart to town and had it enlarged for .33 cents.


 Money well spent and I am back to windmilling.


I had to pull a few stitches from when I worked on it previously, but at least I haven't dropped the sucker rod!

13 comments:

Shelly said...

I think that's a much easier windmill to work on. I love them, too, but thankfully, we don't use them around here. I am sooooo bad at the hand signals! My Cowboy gets so frustrated with me.

Tired Teacher said...

Wonderful memories! I learned to communicate with my brother in much the same manner - when feeding, when pulling a tractor, when surveying, etc.

I love to photograph windmills, too.

Aren't copy machines wonderful! Glad you got the chart enlarged and have settled in to finish your windmill. Enjoy.

Libby said...


I never worked on windmills, but I know what you mean with the
hand signals and head nods. Love your stitching ! Can't wait
to see the finished project !

Loved your story !!

carol fun said...

I love all the info on windmill… I learned something new! As for the Crosstitch now take some colored pencils and color in at least the outside edge where you have a big block of the same colored ... it takes a little time but it helps me with stitching .

Anonymous said...

I just picked up a piece of cross stitch yesterday after an absence of at least a decade. After about a dozen stitches I realized that reading glasses were not enough to see the holes in 16-count fabric. Luckily, Jo Ann's is having a 60 per cent off sale (with an extra $5 off on purchases over $35) on Ott Lights. I picked up a magnifying light today. Wish I could have solved my problem as inexpensively as you solved yours.

Cindy in NC

Sherrill said...

I love windmills, too! Just something about them... But you were talking greek there for a little bit when you spoke of sucker rods and stuff! LOL That cross-stitch is gonna be so pretty and you persevered!!

Judy said...

There is a place on highway 88, toward Jackson, CA, that has a yard full of windmills. I love looking at them as we drive by. I'm not good at directions. I get into trouble with easy, west, north and south when looking at a map! I'm not the best navigator traveling back and forth from Texas. We will be home in a day and back to my bed with a roaring fireplace. Looking forward to it!

Nancy said...

What a fun post, Karin. And windmills look like such simple structures! Now I know they're not. What a great idea to enlarge the pattern. Those cross stitch patterns always look so tiny, and complicated, and how does one keep track on the pattern of the stitches already finished.... Great idea to enlarge it. Now it will be much more fun for you to work on.

Pauline said...

Well who doesn't love windmills! I've only been around them a few times, so don't really speak the language, but by golly I believe you must be quite fluent! Hanging over my sofa in the LR I have a picture, painted by a dear departed friend, of a lonely windmill (aren't they all lonely?) in the middle of a field of blue bonnets and other wild Texas flowers. Guest may not all comment on it but I see their eyes going back to it again and again.
I'm anxious to see your finished cross stitch. So far it looks wonderful. Clever girl to get it enlarged.

Chantal L. said...

Very educational post this morning. Most interesting too. Glad to hear you didn't drop the sucker rod and can now finish this lovely xstitch. Enjoy! ;^)

Rebecca said...

Gotta love the enlarge to button on a copy machine.
I was having problems with a tatting pattern until I blew it up so to speak.

Alycia Quiltygirl.com said...

your cross stitch is going to be wonderful!! my FIL has a windmill and everytime we visit he is doing something on it

Lisa Spencer said...

You have stirred up a lot of memories. As you probably know my Dad and DH Granddad drilled wells for a living. We went with them often in the summertime. For me it is a comfortable, peaceful sound of the wheel turning, the clank of the rod and the splash of the water into the tank. A hot summer day putting out salt with mineral for the cattle and drinking from the pipe or out of an old rusty can tied to the leg of the tower just for that purpose. We played a game as we traveled we called Zip. You cried out zip if you saw the windmill first. Windmills represent life, precious water for livestock and man as well. Sweet memories......Thank you!

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