Conversation at the dinner table often becomes too technical for me. My husband and four kids are very math and science-minded, with lots of hands-on experience turning their ideas into something useful.
Many of those discussions turn into real ways to make our small farm operate more efficiently. They’ve created parts that no longer exist for the ancient implements we still use to bale hay, turned old furniture into bathroom cabinets, and reconfigured our home heating system to run entirely on wood (utilizing our acreage full of ash trees killed by emerald ash borer).
I remember a few conversations about wind power after my sons read last year’s geeky inspirational blockbuster, The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind: Creating Currents of Electricity and Hope. At the age of 14, Malawian villager William Kamkwamba built a windmill to generate power for his family using discarded motor parts, PVC pipe, and an old bicycle wheel. His example spurred my family members to consider wind power. They consulted an electrical engineer friend and checked out our area’s average wind speed. They also did all sorts of calculations about net energy output, metal fatigue, and payoff time. But the topic died when other, seemingly more feasible projects grabbed their attention. So we were delighted to pass around Build Your Own Small Wind Power System by renewable energy experts Keven Shea and Brian Clark Howard.
[Read the rest of Laura Weldon’s review at GeekMom!]