It is Spring! It is Spring!

It is certainly a blessing and tides of great joy that we have reached this time of year to see the grass greening through the tan leftovers of winter’s dregs. The previous solstice reminds us of the extreme cold and blah sky.

I need the sunshine. I need the blue. I need the green. I need the flowers. They remind me of a new beginning of life. Each and every day promises more and more surprises.

If you take notice of the trees while journeying through the county, there are the early bloomers sprouting buds. My willow tree is tinged with yellow-green new life. The maple trees in my front yard have flowered and are dropping a bazillion-and-a-half little red buds across the yard and porch.

I warned it not to get too quick on the draw. I am sure we are not done with the cold that lapses into spring.

Mark Twain once said, “In the Spring, I have counted 136 kinds of weather inside of 24 hours.” I believe that!

We did receive a valuable amount of precipitation recently. We acquired close to 4 inches in our rain gauge. It filled the ditches and ravines between our home and our neighbor’s.

The ponds and lakes are happy. So are the ducks and geese and swans that have been wintering with us here in Miami County.

This is the first year, in my whole life, that I have seen absolutely beautiful swans on a pond and Lake Miola. A wondrous experience!

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We recently made a trip to Wisconsin. On the way north, we encountered wind farms along the highway in Iowa. The windmills are huge, with three blades turning independently on each wind turbine. They are quite a sight to behold.

MidAmerican Energy has strategically placed these “wind turbines” together into farms. The company provides energy to 1.6 million customers in Iowa, Illinois, Nebraska, and South Dakota. They situate the farms together for the best energy productivity.

MidAmerican Energy initiated their wind power project in 2004. By 2019, Iowa was receiving 42 percent of its energy from wind power, which is more than any other state.

Each windmill has a controller that starts the blades when the wind is between 8-16 miles-per-hour. It will also power down the blades when the wind reaches 55 miles-per-hour or more. Where there is nothing around but hills and endless crop fields, I’m sure the wind sweeps right across the plains.

There is also a gear box and a shaft that connects the rotors to a generator. They are built with three blades, each being upwards of 175 feet long...a little over half a football field, so each has the momentum to stay constant and rotate evenly. As we drove by, the blades became a bit mesmerizing.

Each turbine reminded me of Origami paper cranes in flight. They are quite large.

There are many jobs associated with wind energy. A “wind tech,” as they are called, can make about $53,000 a year and up. The projected job future is expected to rise 61 percent in the next 10 years.

A farmer who happens to have a wind farm on their land can receive $4,000 to $8,000 per windmill. So, if a farmer had a dozen windmills on his land and he received $6,000 for each of them, how much would he make? Yes, indeed: $72,000.

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I do encourage you to go outside and check on the seasonal changes in your yard or neighborhood or park.

I saw cherry and apple trees with small buds, as well as my gooseberry bush. I have even seen worms, roly-polys, and snails on the move. The lizards, snakes and amphibians are also in the mood to move.

Please, check them out!

Beth Conner is a Miami County resident, teacher and outdoor enthusiast.

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