Sunday, 21 August 2011

To Your Health

It doesn't happen very often, but when it does it makes so much sense: seeing the bigger picture, the fact we're all connected and do need each other. No one is an island - even though we sometimes like to think so.

But Thunder Bay's NorWest Community Health Centre gets it and did something about it, too. On August 17 they organized the first Rural Health Fair, offering everyone who somehow works on physical and mental well-being for the folks in our extensive rural area. Anything and anyone from Addiction Counselling to healthy food options and from Community Centres to churches and everything in between was there - all in all 67 different organizations.

Of course we were very happy to accept their invitation to be present; what better place for an environmentally-related organization to be? Living a greener lifestyle is so much healthier and saner, combining both body and mind in one fell swoop.
The busy afternoon provided a good way of introducing that idea to many folks for whom it was all new, or to those who are considering going that route. With almost everyone there it was also the good place to reconnect with others and to get to know some new faces and organizations. Who knew this area was so rich in resources, with so many skilled and community-oriented people?

A big thank-you to Shaun Peirce and Kendra Williams for putting it all together and making it happen. We're already looking forward to next year's edition!

Sunday, 14 August 2011


The weather forecast called for a chilly day of rain and thunder storms, but it turned out to be a gorgeous day after all. A perfect day to lower our wind turbine for its annual inspection - and hopefully repair. It hadn't been performing well since a bad wind storm did some damage to it last April, it was now a matter of finding out how much damage.

Coming down carefully...
As usual, Frank "the Solar Guy" who designed and installed the system was in charge of the operation. Lowering a 306-feet, $9,000 tower is not something you do lightly, it takes thorough planning and smooth team work. Fortunately we had a good group volunteering to help us out, which included a powerful Bobcat to do most of the heavy lifting.

Once the tower had come down we quickly found out what the problem was: a frayed tension wire in the turbine head had overheated and shorted the system. The good news was that we had the skills and the tools to repair it. Other than that there were no further issues or repairs, thank goodness.

Many hands...
Getting the tower back up proved a bit more of a challenge. Because of the slippery tall, moist grass under the Bobcat, its wheels began to spin. The solution proved simple: everybody pile on top of it to give some extra grip - and there we went.

All aboard!
Lowering & raising a turbine, even a relatively small one as ours, is always a hassle and time-consuming. On the other hand, it's also a great exercise in community building, with everyone pulling his/her weight, learning about wind power and adding to a wonderful day. But the end of the afternoon the turbine was back to happily cranking out green energy again.

Thank you, Frank, Jane, Mark, Dana, Paul, Brian, Will, Joey, Mel and Tyler for your help and positive attitude. Oh, and the happy dogs Will & Kate and Amber, too!

Tuesday, 9 August 2011

Comin' Down!

It's that time of year again: time to lower our wind turbine for its annual check-up. Our solar system has been performing flawlessly since it was hooked up 7 years ago and doesn't need any maintenance, really. But with wind, it's different...
All those moving parts at often high speeds make it a very good idea to make sure those parts are still performing adequately. Right now the wind turbine has some issues since we got hit by that big wind storm last April so we'd better have a look-see and fix what needs fixing.

Last year's wind turbine inspection
The date: this coming Saturday, August 13. Time: 2:30 pm.
Why are we posting this on our blog, you may well ask. Well, lowering a 106-foot steel mast is always a bit of an operation, so we could sure use a few good men and women to help us out (and ideally someone with a truck).

So if you're interested in being part of our annual wind turbine maintenance routine and have an up close & personal experience with green wind energy, give us a quick call and we'd be happy to fill you in on the details. Oh, and we'll provide the drinks, munchies and other goodies - and those dorky yet strangely sexy hard hats!