Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Tilting at Windmills

Cousin Charlie is helping clean up neighborhoods following Buffalo's freak snowstorm

Slept until 10:00! But I felt refreshed. Guess I needed it. Just as Becky had warned, it was windy and rainy. Still, I wanted to drive out to visit Kathy in Orangeville. When I talked with her on the phone, she said “you’re not coming out here!” It's too stormy, she said.

First, a visit to Taste, where I had the longest wait, just for a toasted bagel. As mentioned before, their service is not the greatest. (But their treats make up for the shortfall.) Refueled. The price of gas is steep in New York: $2.45 for regular here in East Aurora.

The ride out to Kathy's house was "stimulating". Very strong southerly winds and driving rain. But I wasn’t bothered. I knew it was just a short drive - a half hour, perhaps.

Kathy was busy downstairs in her Tackberry Trophy shop. I'm impressed that she bought this trophy business, having no experience, and has made a successful go of it. She showed me around the operation, and even put me to work in the "Receiving Department", checking a few incoming orders against their packing lists.

Behind the scenes at Tackberry Trophy, it's cousin Kathy!

We talked about the debate raging in the Warsaw area over wind turbines. The turbines have begun popping up on nearby ridges. Farmers, seeing dollar signs, are leasing space to the energy companies.

I consider them an eyesore, of questionable long-term benefit. (Have we really looked at the complete life cycle of these things, from resourcing materials, to recycling once they've died? I have to wonder if there is any net energy gain. And how do these windmills affect the local ecology? We know they are a hazard for birds, but what about the alteration of localized wind patterns and temperature gradients?)

My perception is clearly colored by the blight "wind farms" have brought to such places as Altamont Pass and Palm Springs in California. At Altmont, hundreds of windmills crowd the ridges, many of them no longer operational, standing idle, their towers rusting. The landscape has been permanently scarred by access roads. Birds of prey frequently fall victim to the active wind mills.

All to feed an insatiable, and increasing demand for energy.

Cousin Charlie showed up briefly. The enterprising young man is extremely busy with his handyman business. He's making a pile of money doing clean-up work in the aftermath of Buffalo's snow storm, which brought down a multitude of trees. There's more work than he can possibly handle.

Cousin Kathy's son Charlie

Enjoyed some of Kathy's wonderful corn chowder, a perfect meal for a day such as this. Talked with Dan about computers.

A cigarette, glass of wine, umbrella and barbecue. Life is good.

Kicking back on Walnut Street with cousins Priscilla and Kathy

Priscilla puts Kathy to bed, instructing her on the alarm operation

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