Miniature Memory

Midwestern farms, especially a few decades ago, needed to be for self-sufficient then our small town or city friends. One feature of this was that each farm (and in some instances homes in small towns or edges of larger ones) needed their own water and sanitation systems.

Our water supply was green. No, not the color. But in energy use. It was not the sort you would find in the small town — unless it was grandfathered into the regulations from a farm absorbed into the boundaries.

We had one of these:

There were differences. The one on our farm was forty feet tall and pulled the water up over 300 feet. Able to rotate and use wind blowing from any direction, it served us well. And if the wind didn’t blow for a day?

Good question. We directed the flow from the well into a cistern. We also had it fixed up so with a little practice a person could move the pipe and fill the stock tank. (Dairy cows are thirsty.) From the cistern the water moved with a combination of gravity and an electric pressure pump and tank in our basement into a dependable supply.

It was a small chore to turn the windmill either on or off or move the pipe. But we kept track of the time when filling the stock tank (and to a lesser extent the cistern). Water is precious and not to be wasted by making a large muddy puddle.


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