Oct 14

It was one of those perfect October days, not too hot, not too cold, sunny and bright. I decided to go in early to my deer stand, located at the edge of one of our Tug Hill farm fields. I took along a Louis L’Amour book, got my rifle and camera ready, and laid back for a few hours. This is the part of deer hunting I really enjoy. After awhile, a big doe and twin fawns joined me, and I watched them cavorting on the field for an hour or so, hoping that the buck I knew was in the neighborhood would join them. Just before dark, a pack of hunting coyotes started to make music in the nearby woods, and my deer eased off the field. Although I knew there would be no more deer today, I stayed until the light was gone, then unloaded my rifle, packed my gear, and climbed down from the stand. As I started the half-mile trek across the fields to camp, I could suddenly hear the hunting calls of the coyotes in the trees to my right, and also on my left. Were they hunting me? Even with a rifle in hand,it makes one feel very alone out there. As an instinctive shiver went down my back and the hairs stood up on my neck, I stuffed a clip back in my deer rifle and played my light around the field, looking for shining eyes. But no, as I stood alone in the darkened field for a while, the melodious calls of the hunters faded in another direction. Some unlucky hare was probably the target this night. A welcome full Hunter moon arose, shedding some light on the field. However, I walked just a bit faster as I headed for the distant lights of the farmhouse.

Sep 27

MAPLE RIDGE WIND FARM

(or Flat Rock Wind Farm, or even Tug Hill Windmill Farm, if you will.)

The Windmills of Lewis County:

Took a ride up to the Tug yesterday to the Eagle Factory Road for the official dedication of the great Maple Ridge Wind Farm, finally nearing completion. It was a beautiful sunny fall day, but a bit breezy. Those windmill folks did it up right, as they do everything, with a great program, excellent lunch, thanks to all who were involved for a job well done, and souvenirs for everyone.

It really was an amazing project to see built, and once all the red tape was out of the way, those huge windmills were popping up overnite, it seemed. Awesome. One of the largest such projects in the world, so they say, and just a sign of things to come.

I was somewhat surprised that some of our politicians were not there to take credit, being an election year and all. Well, not so surprising, I guess. George W. and his crowd are seriously tied up in fossil fuels. Hilly and George P. are busy with more lofty goals somewhere in the Midwest. And I am sure Spitzer and Faso have not located Tug Hill on their GPS maps yet.

The folks who did speak were heavily into pointing out the long-term benefits of clean, renewable energy, and the long-term cash benefits of the windmills to an area that pretty much had nothing before. True, I guess. And one can put up with a few inconveniences, like the tourists, for the extra income, improved roads, and such. We got a chuckle out of one speaker going on about how the local dairy farmers would now find it easier to keep the family farms going with the extra income. Many of the Tug Hill farmers we know who are still in operation have been selling their herds as soon as the wind checks actually started coming in, and have gone on to other projects, or retired to watch the blades turn. But I guess the government’s agenda for years has been to put the small dairy farmer out of business, even to buying out their herds, so I guess it all works out.

One thing that does puzzle me is that now the project is completed, they are paving many of the roads in the area. That in itself is worth the hassle, as it seems those roads are paved maybe once every 40-50 years. But, we are only paving those roads that were paved before this all began, none of the gravel roads. Now it seems that if the windmill maintenance folks are going to be driving those roads, every day for the next 25 years, they would want to travel on paved roads. It would be nice for the residents too. Maybe when the towns start getting all that extra annual income, they will see to that.

Anyway, it appears to be a win-win project for everyone involved, and we are glad to see it finally completed. Great job, Maple Ridge, Flat Rock, Horizon, and all you other folks.

www.mapleridgewind.com