Sunday, March 30, 2014

...and the crick didn't rise...

As promised in my last post, if we got to go on the tour of the wind farm there would be pictures. Here we go.

Now, I may not have mentioned why it was iffy whether we would go. Himself was having some medical issues that might have prevented it, and the weather might have limited what we would have been able to do. If it had been wet we might have only been shown a video. Now that would have been a let down. And on Friday when we traveled to Othello for the Sandhill Crane Festival of which the tour was an option we had signed up for --  and paid and had been looking forward to since last year when we were too late to get in -- IT WAS POURING DOWN RAIN.

That changed. And Himself was feeling quite well.

Now Himself thought he was going to get to climb up in the tower if he felt up to it and boy did he feel up to it.

Myself, I was afraid that we were going to get to climb up in the tower -- he had me convinced.

He was not disappointed that we could not.

Our Puget Sound Energy guide told us the story of the 100,000th visitor to the Wild Horse Wind Farm visitor center. By special arrangement, the company had decided that the 100,000th visitor would get to climb up in the tower (or take an elevator, or a helicopter view.)

The 99,999th visitor was an electricity fanatic, drove a Tesla up to the ridge from Seattle to charge, and was so excited about the whole project. They had to tell him he missed the special prize by one. (I don't know if he knew about the possibility in advance or was just really excited.)

The 100,000th visitor was afraid of heights, and chose a family dinner catered at the visitor center.

Remember the old-fashioned windmill? It is not the oldest version, of course. Windmills were in use in the 1400s--the ones we remember from childhood stories of Holland.

This type was introduced in the 1880s to pump water (and later did generate some electricity.)

This one is on display. They had it working, but after having to repair it three times they just left it broken. The wind on the ridge can be very fierce.

It was pretty fierce when we were up there, and a fraction of what it could be.

And remember I told you last week of the two experimental wind turbines in the Goodnoe Hills? This is a picture of them.

They were successful in generating electricity, but otherwise not so much, as they did not at the time have the infrastructure thought out to transmit the power. After the experiment they were dismantled.

The generators for Wild Horse are made by a company in Denmark which has had continued success with their wind energy generation. PSE decided, when they started construction of the Wild Horse Wind Farm above Vantage, that they would stick with proven technology for their generators. This is the only one they have had fail, and they use it for display.

The nacelles are the size of a bus.

And these are a sample of the transformers that are used.

The Wild Horse Wind Farm has 149 wind turbines.

It is called Wild Horse because of it's location, across the Columbia River from the Wild Horse Sculptures.

This is an example of one of the blades of the wind turbines. The members of our tour give you an idea of the size of those things.

This picture from 2008 taken below the Goodnoe Hills when the new Windfarm there was just being built also shows the size. Compare the blade with the truck pulling it and the trucks following. Don't be confused, though, as this is a totally separate windfarm from the Wild Horse and also totally separate from the earlier experiments, though the fact that there is enough wind there does relate them.

Here is another good comparison to show size. Those holes are for the bolts that hold the blades to the nosecone (Is that what they call it?)

There are ninety of them. 

This lightweight blade --it only weighs in at seven tons--

Well, this particular one was dropped--from a height of one foot--and damaged. So they have it as a display.

Imagine lining up and fastening ninety bolts

while this is hanging from a crane at around 200 feet in the air

on a windy ridge.

Here are a couple more images that will give a size comparison.
Our tour group gathered inside the bottom of one of the towers. There were nine of us altogether--with room to move around and examine everything and look

...where Himself...and fortunately Myself...were not going to climb. BTW, the ladder and the lights are held on by magnets.

The Wild Horse sculptures are on the ridge across the river.
Technology side by side.
I'm sure there is lots more that I have forgotten, but I hope you have enjoyed a peek into our tour of the Wild Horse Wind Farm.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014


I presented the headbangers group the topic "Diptychs" and this article from the Digital Photography School with lots of lead time, so we should see some very interesting headers this week. I didn't have anything planned in advance when I gave it, but I knew I could combine some pictures from my files to pull together some great ideas and probably get some new shots. Life got in the way in the meantime, but I think while I was working on it I came up with some cool stuff.

The definition of the diptych being two images juxtaposed that tell a story. It might be a contrast, a different perspective...lots of possibilities.

Here are the combinations I put together.

Then and now:
Living in a rural area in the West and traveling frequently by car, we see lots of examples of the old and the new. The windmill on the left is one we saw at the San Tan Regional Park in Arizona, though I could have used a shot from Washington, Oregon, California or possibly Idaho, Utah, or Nevada. Though sometimes still in use to pump water, most of this type of windmill that remain are a relics of history and the early electrification of rural America.

The wind machines on the right are a descendant of the old ones, producing electric power in many parts of the world. These happen to be in South Central Washington. They are in the Goodnoe Hills where wind turbine research took place for many years before the scene shown here became common. We have seen such wind farms in other parts of Washington, in Oregon, and in more than one area of California. We are scheduled for a tour of a wind farm (good Lord willing) this coming weekend and I expect to have some great pictures to share.

Giraffes are my favorites. Well, and so are my grandkids. This is Benjie doing his best to be a giraffe at the San Francisco Zoo a couple of years ago. You can see that I did some work on this one to edit in almost the same background, as Benjie's ears and horns were painted on a white wall. Too bad I didn't get him with his tongue out, but the grin is infectious.

Mt. Rainier is infectious, too.
I label my Mt. Rainier blogposts Mountain Madness, because that is what I must have. Can't get enough of it, but unfortunately haven't been there since October. The picture on the left was taken on a hike earlier last year, July if I recall correctly. The other view was about ten years ago when my flight to Arizona took us over the top of the mountain on a relatively clear day. Another grandkid was involved in that as I was a surprise guest at my daughter's baby shower.

Hmm, a diptych of summer and winter in the same location would be excellent as well. Or of the same plants in different stages

Anemone or Pasque Flower
 The one on the left was take mid-July and the one on the right mid-August. (I admit they are not the same plant, but the same kind separated by about a month in time--well in different years.)

From a tiny acorn a mighty oak...
Somehow I think that this one does the best at the part of the definition of the diptych telling a story. And once again a grandson--the youngest, Anthony, who was 3½ at the time we took this last summer. What might he do with those acorns, and if he were to drop them and come back fifteen, twenty, forty years later would he see...?

If this were a triptych I might have put this oak in the middle.
I wonder how long it had been since it was like the acorn in Antosha's hand. (Antosha is a Russian nickname for Anthony.)
It was a challenging theme. Check out my headbanger friends whose links are in my sidebar. They post anytime up to noon my time on Wednesday.

Friday, March 21, 2014

It's not just coming, it is here.

Wind machines this morning.

There are more than one kind of wind machine. We have many wind farms in our region for production of electricity, and lots of the old farm windmills for pumps--mostly just for nostalgia.

The wind machines that speak SPRING are the ones that stir up the air so that the buds do not freeze in the spring.

Scent of manure

We headed to pick up prescriptions by the back roads to town. Ewwwwww. Fields have been manured.

It's spring.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Spring is Coming...

At least Lew hopes so. Living on the East Coast of the US this year, he feels he has had enough of winter, and so he gave us this springy theme.
I pored over springtime files from several years. I could have come up with dozens more images but I think that these epitomize spring or near spring. What will I choose?
So the headbangers--linked in my sidebar--are exploring the coming spring this week. Check 'em out.
I wandered lonely as a Cloud
That floats on high o'er Vales and Hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd
A host of dancing Daffodils;
Along the Lake, beneath the trees,
Ten thousand dancing in the breeze.

nearing spring
finally spring

harbinger of spring

rural spring

Sandhill Crane migration--distance shot--those birds are four to six feet tall


taking advantage of spring

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Almost Perfect

Christine suggested that Almost Perfect could be a shot that would be perfect except for maybe a photobomb or a slight fuzziness.

Now being totally perfect....

Really, it was hard to figure out what to post and I could continue to search if I had time.

I have quite a few like this of Sasha swinging. But they as a picture are nowhere close to perfect.

I thought about using a picture of Spencer, my brother's almost perfect dog. What makes Spencer only "almost" perfect? Well, I think he will be perfect once he goes to Obedience School. Now he's a bit rowdy.

Then there is this almost perfect sunset.
What's not perfect about it, do you say? Well, I remember it was windy, cold, we were hungry, and there was a very long wait at all the restaurants within walking distance.

I will settle for this quail. The quail is perfect, but the picture? I cut off his tail.
At least I didn't cut off his head.

See what the other headbangers have found that is almost perfect. There are links to their blogs in my sidebar.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

The Shapes of Art

Stewart has suggested the theme The Shapes of Art for the header challenge this week. I am posting early because tomorrow is another doctor day.

I could have chosen the art of quilting, which depends on shapes for its designs. But instead I revisited the Maryhill Museum, which, in addition to permanent exhibits of paintings, Native American culture, chess sets, Rodin (I was looking there for "thinking" last week.) Queen Marie of Romania, and the Theatre de la Mode, each year hosts a sculpture garden. These are some of my favorites from visits to the Sculpture Garden.

My header choice comes from this piece, seen here with the museum as the backdrop.
You don't see the circles so much in this view, but when you get a little closer you can look through them to see other shapes from nature.

Here is another of my favorite circles from that year's display, framing the Walking Man.

The Walking Man was moved from the area of the changing Sculpture Garden to become a permanent part of the museum collection. Made up of a collection of parallel metal plates, the piece gives a fascinating illusion of movement. And sometimes a ghostly illusion of the disappearing man.

Maryhill Museum is a unique spot of culture located on a ridge above the Columbia River Gorge, far from the nearest city. The mansion was built by the eccentric tycoon Sam Hill for his wife Mary. She chose never to live there, far from what she considered civilization.
Her loss. Our gain.
Our little family of "headbangers" meet a weekly challenge to design a header that best portrays the theme. You can find the others through the links on my sidebar.

Sunday, March 2, 2014


Your word is truth, O Lord:
consecrate us in the truth.