Wednesday, May 9, 2012

National Windmill Day


(Google Image) 

By Diane Forrest

Don Quixote is an imaginary character in a novel with the same title written by Miguel de Cervantes in 1605.  It is the story of a man who sets out to prove that chivalry is not dead.  In one of the more famous scenes in the book, Don Quixote is on his trusted horse, his lance drawn to attack a windmill, perceiving it to be an imaginary enemy.  Every time I think of windmills, I think of Holland, Tulips, and Don Quixote.

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A Windmill is a machine which converts the energy of wind into rotational energy by means of vanes called sails or blades. Originally windmills were developed for milling grain for food production. In the course of history the windmill was adapted to many other industrial uses. An important non-milling use is to pump groundwater up with windpumps, commonly known as windwheels. Windmills are also commonly used for generating electricity.

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Today, around 700 windmills across the Netherlands will turn their blades in honor of National Windmill Day. Most will also feature special activities to celebrate the national event, such as music concerts and an art exhibit.

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If you can't make it to those, you can always head to your local dollar store, pick up some hand windmills and spend the day blowing at them to watch them spin.  You may not be able to mill grain, pump water, or create electricity, but you can sure have some fun.  I have a small windmill in my yard, pictured above, so I will be enjoying it turn, weather permitting.

(Google Image)

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