Like seemingly everything in the windy plains of North-central Oregon, the windmills are huge too. I have had a strange fascination with these since they started popping up in Eastern Washington. Having a sense that they were pretty big but without being able to get appreciably close to them from the road, I wasn’t able to truly grasp their enormity, kind of like a glacier from a cruise ship. When our friend invited us to his parents’ farm, I didn’t know that they had many windmills situated within reach! But when we were invited to go on the “farm tour,” I jumped at the opportunity to get up close and personal with one of those behemoths.
Now I haven’t been able to get any specific and verifiable information on the exact windmill that I got to check out, but what I heard from our friend’s dad is that the windmill body and stand is 300 feet tall, and each of the blades is 100 feet long, so at their tallest, the windmills run about 400 feet high. The blades are computer controlled and when there is too much power output in the area, not enough need among consumers, or the winds are too high, the blades can be rotated 90 degrees so that they don’t catch the wind and turn the generator.
Now for some scale – the nose cones are apparently tall enough for someone to stand inside.
Oh, and they’re freaking everywhere.
A friend of ours’ parents have a large farm near the town of Arlington, OR. It’s a rural area with an annual rainfall of around 12 inches. The enormity of the rolling windswept hills really doesn’t translate in photos, but the landscape is pretty breathtaking. He invited us out there for the weekend to do some shooting, and we enthusiastically accepted.
We conned my father in law into staying at our house to keep the dogs and cat alive while we were gone, so we left the house at 3am, and started the 4-5 hour drive down there. After a brief stop in Yakima for some McDonald’s breakfast and shotgun shells at WalMart (I am aware how white-trash that sounds), we made it down to Arlington by 8am. We got some targets set up in a valley, and after a quick round of getting scopes on new rifles zeroed, we got set up. A couple hours later, another friend made it over from Portland, and we got down to it.
We did a little pistol shooting at this super cool little “jack” shaped target that tumbles when you hit it, did some shooting out to about 1000 yards with mixed success (strange winds seem to be running through that valley) and then decided to take a break for some trap shooting (that is shooting at a moving clay pigeon with a shotgun).
Trap shooting was followed by a pistol “walkback” drill, where you start up close to a target, everyone takes a shot at it, and those that hit it get to continue. Everyone walks back a little bit, and then another round is started. Things slowly devolved from there. Our buddy let us shoot his short barreled and suppressed AR15, and we had some real laughs when trying to operate this disaster of an Enfield conversion that our buddy got for super cheap.
There was some additional monkeying around with “long range” pistol shots, .22 plinking at a few hundred yards, a rainbow, and a ridiculous photo of a friend and I looking like we are about to sumo wrestle(we weren’t).
After shooting, we did a farm tour. Those photos will come later this week.
I have cut open 3 of the fancy Galeux D’Eysines pumpkins. Something has gone horribly wrong, and I do not know what it is. Either way, I have no desire to eat them.
When we bought the 1/4 cow, the butcher gave us a bunch of extra livers. He had them sitting around, and people don’t generally love eating cow liver, so when I was willing to take everything he had, he seemed elated. The friends that we split the meat with also have dogs that love tasty snacks, so they took their half of the liver that was given to us, and all was well.
Now that the weather has cooled down, I am in gear to start dehydrating things. We haven’t run the heat this season so far, so running a device that blows warm air all over the house is kind of pleasant too. I love dehydrating apples. When I decided to dehydrate liver, I didn’t count on just how intensely the house would smell of liver. Luckily Craig was out hunting, so his super-smeller self wasn’t put through the kind of hell that I went through. I started the liver in the evening when I got home from work, and ran the dehydrator through the night. I actually woke up partway through the night and was certain that one of the dogs had pooped, eaten it, and thrown it back up. It was just the liver. My dehydrator is an orange and ivory colored beast from the 70’s that I got as a hand-me-down from my parents. The brand is Marvelizer. Because why not. It comes with 2 types of tray liners. The “nonstick” grate type, and then a nonstick plastic sheet that is designed for fruit leather type applications. I used the grate type and it was a mistake. Liver goo went down through the grates and got into all the tiny cracks in the racks. I had to soak the racks all day, and scraped the crap out of my fingers trying to scrub it all out.
Here is my advice if you decide to dehydrate liver as dog treats – my dogs, and the dogs at work lose their minds for these treats, they’re probably worth it.
*Set the dehydrator up in a room that has airflow that doesn’t reach the rest of the house. Think laundry room, bathroom with the fan running constantly, garage, what-have-you.
*Use the fruit leather liners. The liver will likely take longer to dry, but believe me, the time payoff is worth it when it comes to cleanup.
*Make sure the liver is very dry if you want to store it at room temp. If not, keep it in the fridge.
This thing is terrifying. I went to check on/top up the ducks’ food the other day, and came across SHELOB sitting in the deck box that I use to house their food and bedding material. You may be laughing if you live in another part of the country, but I have never seen a spider that big in this part of our state. I nearly died. When I showed the photo to Craig later, he said “You let Helo get that close to it?” No concern for my well-being.