Sustainable Energy: Then & Now

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A mid-December trip took me on roads I had never traveled before, much to my delight. I had traveled through Lubbock before, but never had the opportunity to spend any significant time there.  My nephew’s graduation from Texas Tech University gave me that opportunity as well as new sights to see along a new route. Exploring really is my first love.

My oldest grandson was making the trip with me and while he was totally absorbed in his phone; I was engrossed in watching the changing landscape. The drive had progressed well for several hours as we traveled through little towns, making a turn here or there.  Two courthouses called me to remember them on the way home (I did) and I found a world of sheep and wool processing I didn’t know existed. The country grew more and more rugged as the morning went by; the temperature dropped, too.

Then over the top of an approaching hill appeared three windmills, new large modern sleek bladed windmills. Suddenly I had the grandson’s full attention.  We quickly found a place to pull over and were snapping pictures like typical tourists.  Looking back we laughed at ourselves, but at that time we were in awe.  Windmills right before our eyes.  Little did we know that we would see many, many more as we passed farm after farm. Some blades turning, others still, some in groups, and all facing many directions. I was still in awe and we stopped again to make more pictures.

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The weekend passed, my nephew graduated, we celebrated and packed up his apartment. On Sunday morning we began the trip home, retracing our path from the trip north.  Only this time I realized we had been climbing on the previous trip; we rounded a curve and there below was the most amazing view of the Texas Panhandle Plains.  It was a cold, hazy morning, but even in the limited visibility it was beautiful.

As we descended into the valley my thoughts turned, as they often do, to those who had first come to this area.  The Native Americans, the explorers, and the first settlers who carved out homesteads and ranches in this harsh land.  I imagined those cold mornings in a wood house (or less) with no running water and possibly no real fireplace to generate any warmth.  Walking out into the cold to feed livestock and perform chores.  The challenge of scraping an existence from a rugged, barren landscape.  The threat of natural disaster as well as attack from hostile Indians was always there. Many moved on, many did not survive, yet somehow others learned to adapt and co-exist with the land. It was difficult, and yet they persisted and they overcame.  They survived.

Soon we passed a small ravine where a traditional windmill was working, blades spinning and, presumably, pumping water into the nearby tank. Many of these familiar icons have disappeared over the years as electric pumps took their place and the windmill was left to deteriorate.  This one was fairly new and in good order. The hardy, adaptable settlers realized the value of the wind that never ceased; they dug wells, hooked up the windmill and had water for themselves and their livestock. The wind was a sustainable resource that brought improvement to their lives.

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Windmill at the Hill County Safety Stop along I-35 South

On the surrounding hills the modern, technology driven windmills were also working, capturing that same wind and funneling its energy from the sky into electricity for millions of homes (including my own).  The wind farms are a little more complicated than pumping water into a tank, but they have provided a much needed method to generate electricity using a sustainable energy. Yes, they changed the landscape and the environmentalists think they are damaging, but they really aren’t intrusive and when you realize the service they provide the offset isn’t catastrophic.

I marveled at the idea of the old and the new working side by side, both using a resource that was readily available and would never run out or pollute the earth.

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Decorative windmill on display Becker Vineyards, Fredericksburg Texas

 

The end and the beginning

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So the month of November ends; likewise tomorrow the new month begins. I’ve always thought of November as my favorite month of the year.  November is when we gather for Thanksgiving meals and my thoughts always turn to Thankgsivings past, spent with loved ones now gone from this life. November is when we start preparing for Christmas, too, and I enjoy those early preparations. Our weather turns cooler, skies are a deep blue on some days and a misty gray on others, and finally, the fall colors will appear here in the heart of Texas.

I’m a lot happier this November than I was a year ago and I’ve enjoyed November a lot more.  In fact, I’ve made it a point to enjoy it as much as I could.  Walks with the dogs just immersing myself in the beauty of the day, road trips to a few places that bring me joy, gathering my family at my table for a Sunday dinner, and decorating my house for Christmas.

What? Decorate before Thanksgiving? For shame, but I did and I’m glad I did! Now that is done and I’m enjoying the decorations and the slowly changing lights on the tree without feeling hurried. After all, tomorrow is December 1st and we start the Happy Holidays activities.

So goodbye to November, you’ve been good and I’m ready for December.

 

Experiencing the seasons

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We’re past the middle of October and fall is in full swing; the wait is over.   Pumpkins on the porch, football teams are winning and loosing, and we’ve had that first “cool” front that brings a deep blue sky and cooler days. I always enjoy watching the seasons change and find myself anticipating each one.

I’ve always thought the seasons are much like life in that the seasons of nature and the seasons of inner or spiritual growth that we experience are very similar. Let’s take a look:

When our spirits are in the season of winter there is a quietness much like the stillness of a cold winter day. Or, perhaps the spirit has been laid bare much like the trees that are leafless. This is when we find ourselves drawing within and contemplating our true self, the inner self.

The season of spring begins slowly in our hearts as we emerge from the cold of winter. Our hearts quickly open and fill rapidly with new understanding and maybe a sense of a new direction to follow.  Remember that first is the bud, then the bloom and then the full, open flower in this season.

The long days of summer filled with activities that stretch late into lingering sunsets are much like the pleasant days when your spirit is content and moving from one day to the next with a sense of direction.  The growth of spring has given a sense of purpose to life that has blossomed.

The colors of fall come as the summer foliage begins to look a little tired. Fall is associated with the harvest season and so it is with the spirit.  The long shadows in the afternoon offer an invitation to reflect on the season of growth and where our spirit will move next on the journey.

The Pit – and beyond

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The saga of The Pit continues.  While this may bore some I feel compelled to share this little adventure simply because I like stories and I like sharing them through words. And, if you’ve ever been through this you will appreciate this little tale.  Through it all I find a great sense of calm and some humor, too.

The broken, root filled pipe has been replaced.  I won’t show a picture, but the pipe was crammed with roots. A final check of the pipe involved running a camera through the roof pipes which revealed another leak.  My first reaction was I’m not fixing it, I’ve already spent a fortune, I’ve got to go back to work to pay for it and I’m just not doing it. The technician told me that I probably had several years before it presented a problem; I had the thought that I would make sure I was “outta here” by then.

However, while drinking coffee on the deck this morning and contemplating the status of this project I had the wisdom filled thought that I should at least get an estimate on the repair.  As long as I have the pit dug it might a good idea to fix the other leak. So, while it will cost more money tomorrow the excavation crew is coming back to extend the tunnel 5-feet under my house.  Five feet of tunnel and a hurricane is heading right toward my house. Plumbing company assured me it wouldn’t be a problem.

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Meanwhile, inside the house things are going very well.  Molding wood floor, entry way tile, and lovely 1970’s bright yellow vinyl bathroom flooring has been removed.  The 5 fans who were guests in the hallway departed this morning, much to the cats’ delight. Poor Fat-Shadow was terrified and had not left my bedroom for 48 hours.  She’s still freaked out by the bare floors.

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It’s ugly, but still a relief to see some progress.  However, the restoration assessment manager has determined that all the wood floors will have to be removed as it is one continuous floor.  The bathroom will have to be completely redone as water had seeped into the baseboards and under the lovely vinyl.  While I look forward to having the project completed and a new modern bathroom will be enjoyed I do know what is involved.  So, into the pit and beyond.  This, too, shall pass.

 

The Pit – everyone wants one

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This is my front porch. No, it’s not common to have a 7-foot pit on your front porch.  Just when I thought life was crazy enough the HVAC drain pipe decided to start leaking.  In the house, under the unit, into the wood floor and beyond.  So now I’m dealing with plumbers, insurance claim prossesors, and a clean up contractor.  Lovely.

On the funny side I’ve had one family member suggest that I try to sell the pit as a burial plot and another one suggested that rather than fill it back in I fill it with water and let the dogs swim in it.  My son told me to enjoy the tunnel under the house.  You know, when things like this happen I just have to laugh.

Clear water

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Last week I took a day trip to the Texas coast. I’ve been wanting to go forever and this was the time.  As it turned out it was the perfect time as the temperature was moderate, wind was gentle, the water was very warm and crystal clear.  It’s been over 30 years since I’ve seen the coast like this.  I wished that I had packed food in the cooler with the drinks and spent the day on the beach – under the umbrella. Mild disappointment that the restaurant I wanted to eat at was closed for several days, but the beach made up for that very quickly.

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What is it about the beach that is so soothing? And, why does the ocean fascinate me? I’m not an in-the-water person. Maybe it’s because the ocean reminds me of eternity with the way it appears to stretch forever. I don’t know and I won’t question it! It is the way it is.

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Such a long time

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How many times have I said this?

Yes, it does seem like it’s been forever since I blogged.  I could blame it on the hot weather – you know, it’s just too hot to blog.  I’ve had lots of ideas and it seems that I blog in my mind all the time, but somehow making myself sit down and put together posts has seemed like the impossible task.  Do I keep blogging or do I give it up?

Many of my fellow bloggers have felt overwhelmed with keeping up in the blogging world and have either left or cut way back. I’ve lost readers because I don’t post and, possibly because reading blogs has lost it’s appeal.  Social media is so much easier, just scroll through and you’re done. I’ve also been frustrated because I have reason to believe that certain local sources are using my historic posts for research for publication articles and not referencing their source (yes, my research is based on information from common sources and easily obtained, but I took the time to do the research and write it up).

I have 3 blogs with different subjects and the 4th original blog that I still post on from time to time. Each subject is very dear to me so I don’t want to eliminate one of them. After thinking about this at length I decided that I just can’t give this up. I am going to pace myself so I don’t feel overwhelmed or pressured to get a post up.  Above all I am going to write things that I want to share and that will, as always, will bring peace and joy to my readers.  Write on I say!

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When you see clouds like this in the Texas sky you know it’s hot!

Life and the puzzle or The puzzle and life

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I’ve always loved to work puzzles and generally have one spread out on the breakfast table at any time.  If company is coming and I need to use this table I just spread a table cloth over it and tell the company not to spill anything.  Family knows what’s underneath and will usually pull back the cloth and start working on it!

Each time I work on a puzzle I am reminded that working a puzzle is very similar to life and many life situations. Each puzzle is different, just like every human life, and there are different situations with each one.  So today I’m sharing a few observations about the similarities I’ve found.

Every puzzle worker has a little different process, but I always start with the outline as the straight edge pieces are easy to spot (assuming you are working a straight edge puzzle); the subject and color determine how to proceed. The outline reminds me of our early, formative years when we are babies and toddlers.  As we grow and mature the inside pieces are gradually filled in, usually in sections, until the life is complete and we pass on to the next life.

Many times I end up with a missing piece.  With this puzzle I knew fairly early that the piece just wasn’t in the box.  In life there is often a piece missing, too.  It may be a physical or psychological problem that presents itself at birth or later in life.  It may be something like a desired career or happy marriage that just never is “in the box”. However, I’ve found that sometimes the missing piece does appear later or, as in this case, I accepted the fact that it wasn’t there and proceeded anyway. So too in life with the missing piece.

Most puzzles are challenging and can often lead to giving up and crumbling the pieces in the box or at least being tempted to do so.  The challenge can also become a driving force of determination to finish. If a certain section just isn’t coming together then it is time to move to another section; often when you return to the difficult section it will come together much easier.  I’ve also had the experience of casually walking by the table and oh my, there’s the piece I need and then I can proceed! So too in life with the challenges we encounter.

While working on this puzzle I had another piece that I thought was also missing.  I had tried all the pieces that I thought were the right color and shape and nothing worked. But as I kept working I realized that surrounding pieces weren’t coming together either.  The culprit turned out to be a nearby sneaky piece that was a close match, but not the right one.  After I pulled out the offender the section went smoothly.  So too in life when we let an oversight hinder everything.