Wind Turbines, Storms & This Old Lady

 Winter walk selfie on a wind turbine service road. 

Winter walk selfie on a wind turbine service road. 

 

Thursday a devastating tornado hit Rochelle & surrounding towns.  Friends & family were concerned that we took a Wizard Of Oz ride.  Thank you, but actually Rochelle is about half way between here & Rockford.  Somehow it got reported that the Compton area was near a sighted tornado.  I believe the misunderstanding occurred because the person recording the video along I-39 was from Compton, IL.

Erin's Aunt Jill, who grew up in this house, pointed out how she hated storms out here especially at night.  A completely understandable point of view.  Our friend Carl posted a video to my husband's timeline of what a wind turbine does under extreme & rare combination of conditions.  So what a wonderful & interesting topic for our blog.  Part 2 & now part 3 of Lessons Learned From This Old Lady will continue next week.(Apparently this Old Gal has taught me way more then I originally thought)

This Grand Old Lady on hill sits in the middle of one of two large wind farms in the Paw Paw/Mendota area.  The wind farm closer to Paw Paw is called Mendota Hills Wind Farm, comprised of 63 wind turbines.  The one near Compton & the one we are in the middle of is called Shady Oaks Wind Farm, with 71 wind turbines.  When we first moved here I took a look at these big fellows & wondered what would happen in a tornado or gale force winds?  I searched the web & found several videos like the one below.

 

 

I've seen videos of wind turbines extremly close to or in a tornado & left untouched.  The fact is, these wind turbines are engineering marvels.

When you live in the middle of a wind farm you notice that during very high winds they shut down.   If you are real observant, one can see the blades turn to not catch any wind.  You also notice the fleet of trucks that are at one or more of the wind turbines on any given day, doing regular maintenance.  In fact one of these turbine workers stopped to help my husband get out of our driveway that became covered with drifting snow.

 

 Turbine worker giving a helping a hand before continuing to his regularly scheduled duties.  Thank you! 

Turbine worker giving a helping a hand before continuing to his regularly scheduled duties.  Thank you! 

I have stood sipping coffee, watching one of the wind turbine trucks pull up to one on more than one Sunday morning.  The workers are like ants, busy at a turbine or moving between turbines.  Sometimes working as a team on one or working separately on a couple. 

 Taken from the base of a ginormous giant.

Taken from the base of a ginormous giant.

Could one of these spinning giants come crashing down & hit our house?  Sure, but I'm more likely to be killed in a car accident then by an out of control wind turbine.  In fact, in the first couple of months of living in this Old Gal, I heard a window break during a storm.  A random branch broke off  & hit one of the upstairs front bedroom windows.  The wind was so strong it took all my strength to open the bedroom door to investigate. It has never happened again in the almost 6 years we have lived here.

The wind has been so strong I have been knocked flat on my ass by it.  A trip from the house to the garage can turn my pixie haircut into Eienstein hair.  We've had our deluxe Weber gas grill knocked over by angry wind.  The blustery wind provides many challenges out here, but to know that Mother Nature's energy is being harnessed by one of these white, mesmerizing towers makes it all worth it.

 

 Took Calamity Jane for a walk & Bandit decided to join us, we apparently needed his supervision.

Took Calamity Jane for a walk & Bandit decided to join us, we apparently needed his supervision.

To our family they provide extra beauty to the landscape, no matter the season.

 

 These giants make interesting focal points in pictures.  Erin, my husband, took this grouping. 

These giants make interesting focal points in pictures.  Erin, my husband, took this grouping. 

 

Can you hear them? Yes, but the sound is no more bothersome than the gusty wind out here.  When the windows are open in the summer you can hear the hum of the blades if the wind is calm.  Love falling asleep to that sound.  I have many times been lulled to sleep by watching the spinning blades.  Love it when the sun casts shadows of the turning blades on the walls of this Old Lady.

This Old Lady, wind & storms can provide scary fodder to overactive imaginations.  Moya & Erin like to joke that I have bat hearing, which is not far off.  I often hear sounds others can't & go investigate the source.  

When we first moved in, this Lady on the hill sent me in search of many "unexplained" noises.  When the wind comes from the south, Julia's old bedroom door rattles like someone is locked in & trying to get out.  If the wind is coming from the west & you haven't properly bolted the front doors they will burst open.  

My niece, Savannah, spent a night while dog sitting.  She went home after the wind shifted directions & Moya's closed bedroom door opened by itself.  In fact we have several doors that will open by themselves when the wind comes from certain directions.  

In Moya's old room & new room, the doors will open by themselves if she steps on certain floor boards just right.  She loves to freak her friends out with this trick when they spend the night.  Her friends are easy prey because they are sure this Old Lady is haunted.  Thanks to my Mother, who loved to scare the crap out of my sister & I as children, we have passed that on to our children.  Only Moya has the perfect back drop for such shenanigans.

Certain windows rattle in their frames, while other whistle when the wind hits them just right.  Any simple changes to the inside or outside will bring on new sounds.  There used to be tall bushes at the front of the house.  Erin & his Dad, Jim, cut them down last fall.  They were no longer there to block the wind so the windows began to rattle.  Luckily, I had told my daughter that our own Master bedroom windows did this, so she quickly processed the noises.  She prefers the rattle over the branches of the bush scrapping the window.

 

 Top picture with bushes & old living room windows.  Bottom picture without bushes, but new living room windows & no storm windows.  We are waiting for Moya's new windows, which will be on second story right side. 

Top picture with bushes & old living room windows.  Bottom picture without bushes, but new living room windows & no storm windows.  We are waiting for Moya's new windows, which will be on second story right side. 

 

In the above picture you will also notice the new windows on the bottom left side, which is the living room.  Custom made by Marvin Window & installed by local Tod Schlesinger.  We just recently removed the old storm windows causing new noises to get accustomed with.  

The living room window on the side of the house has a tree outside it that is constantly in motion.  At night that moving tree will cause a reflection in the glass that could make one believe a ghostly form is moving in the main hall.

Rattles & bumps come from inside the walls as this Old Gal fights her on going war agaist the unpredictable wind.  Just follow the noise & she'll show you the logical reason for the "unexplained".  Trust her she's been here for 150 plus years & will be here when we are long gone.