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windmill on denman islandUnfurling the blades
One morning a few weeks ago Cynthia passed us as we sat in the meadow above the road. She was leading her donkey and she told us she couldn't stop because she was afraid the donkey would balk and she didn't want to miss the raising of the windmill at Bob's place.
By the time we got there the windmill was standing upright, secured with guy wires and a few ropes. Bob built the windmill out of wood and cable and he used house wrap for the blades.Once Bob and his buddies were satisfied that the windmill was level and secure, Bob climbed up his wooden ladder and began to unfurl the blades that had been wrapped around the spokes. He unfurled every second blade halfway because he was worried about what might happen if the windmill suddenly attained full power.
After the unfurling, Bob climbed down and disengaged the brake, a contraption that looked like the lever mechanism from a pole pruner, and when nothing happened Bob yanked on the pully that would eventually be driving the power wheel and the windmill went around a few times. Then the four-year-old pointed out that "It's stopped" and we stood around exchanging bright ideas.
A few minutes later, without our doing anything, the wind picked up slightly, the windmill began to turn, and we whooped and hollered and Bob said that was enough excitement for one day and it was time for some beer.
Click here to watch a tiny video.