Sight For Sore Eyes At The Ranch Pen

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Life is crazy busy at the Ranch Pen right now and I don’t have much this week, but Gramps has been layin’ down our hay crop–as we call cutting hay out here–and I caught the pretty picture above. That particular field is triticale–a hybrid cross of wheat and rye, good for cattle forage.

Some of the years in recent past have reminded me of the Old Testament verse in Deuteronomy:

And thy heaven that is over thy head shall be brass, and the earth that is under thee shall be iron…

But this year, thankfully, we’ve had good moisture through the winter and spring and the hay and wheat crops are looking good, the cows are fat, and it’s a sight for sore eyes to all the farmers and ranchers in this area.

Until next time, God bless all y’all, and if you don’t do anything else today listen to Hillary Scott of Lady Antebellum singing this beautiful song, Thy Will.

 

Green People At The Ranch Pen

Wind Tower

Since a lot of people are getting geared up for Earth Day, today is a re-post of one I did in 2013.

*****

Contrary to what some in today’s media would have everyone believe, farmers and ranchers are not out to destroy the planet. We are the original earth people. Why? Because we make our living from…well, the earth, and we’d be the first ones to go down if we crashed the planet.

From time to time, Gramps and I might feel some annoyance with militant animal rights groups who make the difficult job of feeding the world even harder for livestock producers, but we’re actually very green out here in southwestern Oklahoma, living as we do in the midst of a wind farm.

The Rocky Ridge Wind Project has 93 turbines spread across about 18,000 acres, and it produces enough power for about 40,000 homes, harnessing our biggest resource out here–the wind.

However, like most concerned green people, I’m worried about the number of birds those massive wind turbine blades strike down. Our granddaughter, Blondie, and I sat out to investigate one day last week.

I am presently unmounted since I wrecked my horse–or he wrecked me, more accurately–but Gramps rides a Cat, so we hopped on it.

K On Four Wheeler

We visited several turbines and found no dead birds–not even love birds which was what Gramps was most worried about–but we scared up several large flocks of blackbirds, took note of happy meadowlark pairs, and even spotted a hawk cruising around. (On a sad, but related, note–there was a pile of scattered feathers in the yard of our house where a cat or dog had feasted in the past.)

These turbines are about 300' tall.

These turbines are about 300′ tall.

For those of you who wonder about the sound these turbines makes, I’ve included a short video.

The closest turbines to our house are a mile-and-a-half away, so I don’t mind them too much. The sun flashing off the blades as they turn is slightly hypnotic and they generate some badly needed revenue in our rural counties. The part I dislike most is the blinking red lights on top of the towers at night. Very distracting.

In conclusion, Blondie and I discovered Southwest Oklahoma birds are not dumb enough to let wind turbine blades cut them down, but they often cannot outsmart cats.

But What Do Y’all Think?

  • Would you like to live in a wind farm project?
  • Do blinking red lights distract you when you’re looking at the stars? (And…um…have you ever mistaken them for the mother ship’s landing lights? Just curious, because the other night–I mean… Oh, well. Never mind.)
  • Are all birds dumb, or just the…er…endangered ones?

*****

 

Until next time, God bless all y’all and enjoy Tenore doing This Is My Father’s World.

Wimpy Barriers At The Ranch Pen

The nacelle of a wind turbine

Before NaNoWriMo kicks off in a few days and I’m too busy to blog tend, I’ll post a few pictures of some of the wind turbine components getting trucked out to the new wind farm location a few miles from our house.

As I mentioned earlier in the year sometime, Gramps and I entered into intense negotiations that lasted at least an hour with a wind power company. The outfit is building a new wind farm around some of our dirt farms and even though they are not setting towers on our places, they have built a power line across our farm and managed to accidentally kill one of our cows by digging a deep hole and fencing around it with some rope. Apparently, they were under the false impression that a visual barrier  would keep our cows from tumbling in. They obviously didn’t know what kind of cattle we raise–nosy, pestilential critters who gallop away with wimpy rope barriers around their horns like victory flags..unless, of course, the cow has toppled into the hole and perished, in which case, the rope barrier would be tangled sadly around the rump roast area. (The price of young, bred cows is high right now, so thankfully the wind farm outfit dug deep into their bank account and reimbursed us.)

At any rate, wind farm construction is coming on apace the past few weeks, and for those who can’t imagine how massive the wind towers are, I’ve snapped a few photos. The picture above is a nacelle that sits atop the tower and is connected to the rotor. The nacelle contains the majority of the approximately 8,000 components of the wind turbine, such as the gearbox, generator, main frame, etc. The nacelle housing is made of fiberglass and protects the internal components from the environment. The nacelle cover is fastened to the main frame, which also supports all the other components inside the nacelle. The main frames are large metal structures that must be able to withstand large fatigue loads.

Wow. I sound really smart there, don’t I? Yeah, that’s not me. I copied that description off the AWEA’s (American Wind Energy Association) website.

I haven’t got a picture of the rotor which is attached to the nacelle with three holes in it for the blades, but they are so big only one at a time is hauled on the trailers.

The next pictures are of a wind turbine blade. The truckers can’t turn these things just any-old-where, so the wind power company has built special turning places on certain roads.

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The picture below is just one of the tower sections.

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The turbines are set with huge cranes and it’s quite a process. Ironically enough, the wind can’t blow much at all in order for the construction guys to accomplish that job. Apparently, they don’t want those giant pieces lying in a mangled heap on top of our cows. (Which would be most unfortunate for the cows, but–greedily rubbing my hands together–a pretty good payday for us.)

And in other news, two of the grandkids, Blondie and Roper, have been learning some horsemanship skills and yesterday, for the first time, Blondie on the pony Frisco, and I on my mare, Sis, went on a ride together. I couldn’t be more pleased.

Blondie on Frisco

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Roper learning to be the boss of Frisco

As always, thanks so much for reading. Throughout November, I will try to post how the NaNo 50,000 word challenge is coming along.

Until next time, God bless all y’all and enjoy Southern Gospel Revival doing When They Ring Those Golden Bells.

Wind Farming At The Ranch Pen

[youtube.com/watch?v=z64XqQl80Kc]

Some people are opposed to wind turbines for a variety of reasons–they kill all the birds, they make too much noise, they’re ugly and a blot upon the face of the earth. All of those arguments have merit except the birds one, which is ridiculous. My granddaughter, Blondie, and I investigated that claim in the post Power To The Green People In Southwest Oklahoma. Our in-depth investigation revealed that cats are far more dangerous to birds than turbine blades. If I had my druthers, I’d rather not have three-hundred foot tall windmills everywhere, especially at night when the red, blinking lights are a distraction, but can we hold back the march of energy technology in an energy demanding world? Probably not. Wind energy is clean, constantly renewing, and efficient, and the turbines turning is oddly fascinating. (See video clip above, which I made one early morning a year or two ago.)

Recently, Gramps and I have been in intensive negotiations with the wind power company that have lasted for at least an hour. Basically, the present wind project where we live, the Rocky Ridge Wind Farm, is expanding right across some of our farms. The new phase is called the Big Elk, or Little Elk Something Something, I forget, now. We had hoped for a turbine or two since those generate a larger income for the landowners, but our neighbors are getting all of those. However, some underground power lines and overhead power lines are crossing the properties, so all hope of income is not lost. I decided to take some before project and after project pictures. I’ll try to update as the work commences for those who have never seen a wind farm under construction.

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The wind turbine-less skyline

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Proposed staging area for equipment and supplies

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Proposed area for overhead power line

Wind farms tend to be built in sparsely populated areas–which also tend to be super-windy–so the impact on the population should be minimal. However, one person affected might be our crusty, octogenarian neighbor who lives on a small acreage carved from the middle of one of our farms (which used to belong to his parents back in ancient times.) He claims his property is protected by Smith and Wesson and I don’t think he’s kidding. For sure, I wouldn’t want him blasting away at me. Hmm…Could that be why they bypassed us with the turbines?

Until next time, God bless all y’all and enjoy these kids of Dave’s Highway doing a superfine job on Because He Lives.

Power To The Green People In Southwest Oklahoma

Wind Tower

Contrary to what some in today’s media would have everyone believe, farmers and ranchers are not out to destroy the planet. We are the original earth people. Why? Because we make our living from…well, the earth, and we’d be the first ones to go down if we crashed the planet.

From time to time, Gramps and I might feel some annoyance with militant animal rights groups who make the difficult job of feeding the world even harder for livestock producers, but we’re actually very green out here in southwestern Oklahoma, living as we do in the midst of a wind farm.

The Rocky Ridge Wind Project has 93 turbines spread across about 18,000 acres, and it produces enough power for about 40,000 homes, harnessing our biggest resource out here–the wind.

However, like most concerned green people, I’m worried about the number of birds those massive wind turbine blades strike down. Our granddaughter, Blondie, and I sat out to investigate one day last week.

I am presently unmounted since I wrecked my horse–or he wrecked me, more accurately–but Gramps rides a Cat, so we hopped on it.

K On Four Wheeler

We visited several turbines and found no dead birds–not even love birds which was what Gramps was most worried about–but we scared up several large flocks of blackbirds, took note of happy meadowlark pairs, and even spotted a hawk cruising around. (On a sad, but related, note–there was a pile of scattered feathers in the yard of our house where a cat or dog had feasted in the past.)

These turbines are about 300' tall.

These turbines are about 300′ tall.

For those of you who wonder about the sound these turbines makes, I’ve included a short video.

The closest turbines to our house are a mile-and-a-half away, so I don’t mind them too much. The sun flashing off the blades as they turn is slightly hypnotic and they generate some badly needed revenue in our rural counties. The part I dislike most is the blinking red lights on top of the towers at night. Very distracting.

In conclusion, Blondie and I discovered Southwest Oklahoma birds are not dumb enough to let wind turbine blades cut them down, but they often cannot outsmart cats.

But What Do Y’all Think?

  • Would you like to live in a wind farm project?
  • Do blinking red lights distract you when you’re looking at the stars? (And…um…have you ever mistaken them for the mother ship’s landing lights? Just curious, because the other night–I mean… Oh, well. Never mind.)
  • Are all birds dumb, or just the…er…endangered ones?

Until next time, God bless all y’all and enjoy The Punches Family doin’ Steppin’ On the Clouds. (These kids are great. )

*These artists don’t necessarily endorse my blog, I just like ’em.

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