Thursday, February 19, 2009

Prevailing Winds

I woke to the sound of the wind this morning. It was steady and LOUD. While I was laying there in bed, listening to the strong winds outside, my mind fell into a stream of consciousness, as it often does, and this blog post is a result of that thought journey.

We'd had very high winds last week while I was in Florida and both we and our neighbor lost shingles from our roofs. When I took a walk through the gardens yesterday, I saw the evidence of the wind. The tuteurs and taller plants were leaning eastward and there was foreign debris caught in the "winter interest."

Wind is a peculiar thing. You can't see it, but you know it's there because you can hear it and you can see the evidence of its presence. You can feel it on your skin. Even more amazing is that it carries yet another invisible wonder of nature to our noses - the scents of the world around us. Just think about that - we can't see wind or a flower's aroma, but we know they exist. Kind of like God!

I remembered a book I'd read last year that had been recommended to me by my former employer. The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafón is now on my list of all-time favorite books. Not only is the story engaging, it is beautifully written and Lucia Graves, who translated it to English from its original Spanish, deserves credit for making it available to us in the English-speaking world. I wonder if it reads as beautifully in Spanish.

The book is listed on a recent meme going through the ranks of Facebook called "Books I've Read." The list of 100 books was compiled by the BBC and they surmise that the average adult will have read six books on the list. I was glad to see this one listed.

In this part of the country, wind is an early sign of spring. Without it, this area might temporarily return to its Great Black Swamp days. We get lots of rain in the spring and while most of it is soaked up by the ground, you'll see water laying in excess in the fields, too. The strong winds help it to evaporate more quickly. Though I get tired of dealing with the winds day after day, I know they will also get me into my garden much quicker for spring planting.

Recently, the wind has been considered for supplying power to our area. Two major wind energy companies have been contacting land owners in an attempt to secure access for constructing wind turbines. The flatness and openness of the land provides a nearly ideal location for the turbines to harness the wind here.

Mom and I saw our first wind turbines in action during our trip to Winterthur, Delaware to attend GardenFair in September 2006. We drove by them in Pennsylvania and we were astounded at their size. If the turbines are constructed here in my county, they could be possibly within sight of Our Little Acre. I find them strangely attractive in an architectural way and wouldn't mind seeing them every day, especially knowing that they are harvesting wind power for our use.

It's afternoon here now and the wind is still blowing. I can still hear it howling and now it's carrying snow. Sideways. Florida was nice while it lasted!

Some Facts About the Wind

The highest recorded wind speed on earth was recorded at Mt. Washington, New Hampshire in 1934. The wind reached a top speed of 231 mph.

The prevailing winds in the mid-latitudes (30-60 degrees latitude both north and south of the equator) blow from the west. In the other latitudes they generally come from the east.

The world's windiest place is Antarctica, where winds blow at over 60 miles/hr for five months of the year.

The state of North Dakota alone has enough energy from good wind areas to supply 25% of the lower 48 states' current electrical needs.

Wind is powered by the sun. The heating of the earth causes air above it to rise and the pressure to fall, and cooler air rushes in to equalize the pressure, resulting in wind.

The instrument used to measure wind speed is called an anemometer.

Photo of wind turbines from


Anonymous said...

Who has seen the wind?
Neither I nor you:
But when the leaves hang trembling
The wind is passing thro'
Who has seen the wind?
Neither you nor I:
But when the trees bow down their heads
The wind is passing by.
- Christina Rossetti

One of my favourite poems -- I love the wind. Thank you for giving us something to think about this morning, Kylee. :)

Kylee Baumle said...

Hi Nancy! I'd forgotten about that poem - thanks for posting it!

Diana said...

Kylee -- What a nice reminder of what the winds bring us. I get cranky about the wind, because we are up on a ridge and very open and they tire me sometimes. And sometimes I think we could put one of those turbines right in our back yard. But you're right, they are part of the sound and scent of the garden, and we should appreciate them.

Gail said...

Kylee, The wind storm that blew through your garden was here earlier and blew over a new privacy fence we had built...what a surprise. But what strikes me about wind is that it isn't being given the serious consideration or support that is still given to coal.

I would love to have a turbine I saw on the Living With Ed TV was not a windmill and looked very effective.

I hope you have a good weekend.

Unknown said...

Wind can damage, but it can also be a great help. There are lots of those wonderful wind turbines near where my grandpa used to live.

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