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Note: The debate is raging in my hometown about the viability of wind energy in our small community. Rather than enter the debate, I present this as my own perspective. This is something I wrote up several years ago after viewing a large wind farm outside of Bloomington, Illinois.

I have to admit, it’s impressive, but the view was a little bittersweet. You see, my father was a wind farmer in the great tradition of the old family wind farm. I remember how hard he would work making wind. Some days you’d see the grimace on his face and the intensity in his furrowed brow as he worked up a little breeze. He’d wipe the sweat from his forehead after squeezing out just the smallest bit of wind.

Of course, other times you’d see the expression of pure joy as he would harvest an entire gale-force blow (usually after a big meal). With a sigh of relief–knowing he had done his job well–he’d let out a whoop and say, “How about that one, boy!?!?”

It’s true. We were all very impressed.

Yes, my dad was the epitome of the old fashioned wind farmer. Not only did he make wind for others, but for his own family as well. There were many cold winter nights when all we had to keep us warm was the hot breeze Dad had just produced.

And of course, like any farm, there was plenty for us kids to do. There was no time to sit around playing video games…when dad was in the mood to get a crop out he’d clear the room! He also involved many of us in the wind production. I can’t tell you how many times I myself was given the task of pulling his finger.

Riley Hammond, wind farmer

Riley Hammond, wind farmer

But times change and the day of the old family wind farm is all but gone. Heartless suits in big business and the government produce more wind in a single day than my dad could work up all year. Still, there are nights when I get a little sentimental and with my kids gathered around me I show them how we used to make wind back in the old days. To be honest with you, it always brings a tear to my eye…and to theirs too.