Kevin, a long time firefighter and now a retired fire marshal, has been interested in and working with windmills for about twenty years now. Never one to sit around on the couch and watch television, he’s always had to have something to do on his days off. Not only that, he has to know how and why things work. After he built our home on our small ranch, he then said, “Now I’ve got to have a windmill to make this place complete.” After the first went up, a Dempster windmill, he started coming across more windmills and parts, and towers, and yet more parts.
Before we knew it, the number of windmills around the home spread started to compete with the number of horses we owned. I gave him an ultimatum, “The number of windmills can’t exceed the number of horses,” I declared, “and I don’t intend to support any more horses.” At the time, we had five horses and were working on six, with a mare due to foal. Well, I lost out on that. The number of windmills far exceeds the horses. We’re down to just two horses now, as the old mares passed on to greener pastures.
One thing about windmills, he tends to find them new green pastures, as he expanded into selling them to other admirers of this bit of Americana. Some have been pressed into service pumping water as they did and still do on many farms and ranches.
Some people have wanted them for aerating ponds, and still others just want them up spinning on their property so they can look at them. Many have found windmills useful for signboards in areas where signs are not allowed; they have the tails custom painted with their ranch names or logos.
He has since donated a complete windmill and tower to the Solar Living Institute in Hopland, CA. where he trained the interns on how to install a windmill. With this donation, he hoped to inform many people that alternative, free methods of pumping water still exist, as they have for well over 100 years. He has worked with several different brands of windmills including Flint & Walling, Dempsters and Aermotors, just to name a few.
He also donates a week of his vacation time each year to go help restore and maintain antique windmills at the Shattuck Windmill Museum in Oklahoma. What else can I say? He’s one busy guy and a good Dad to boot. Both of our kids help with the windmills. And, they’re certainly not afraid to bring their friends home to look at the windmills.