BY RACHEL BITTON
The first house we bought just before getting married was the cutest old, red brick, Victorian house. It was surrounded by massive trees and the most beautiful old rose bushes. I never wanted to leave that house, but as our family started growing, we knew something had to change. I love anything old, vintage, antique, and rustic. When we set out to build a new house, I decided I wanted our house and barnyard to look like they were plucked out of life 100 years ago.
I set out on a hunt for an old, large windmill. My husband said it would require a crane to lift and a crane to reset it. I don’t know why, but he figures out how to make my wild requests become reality. I searched for over two years at farm auctions, online, local classifieds, Facebook marketplace, etc. When I finally found my windmill, I was over-the-moon excited. I then had to wait weeks for a crane to make the time for such a small job. Luckily, the windmill came from a neighboring town, in the backyard of a house in a subdivision.
The crane carefully lifted my windmill without disturbing anything in the yard we were removing it from and gently laid it down on our hay wagon. We ratchet-strapped and secured it for the slow drive west to our home. I have decided that my husband can accomplish just about anything with ratchet straps – from welding fence into place to moving windmills, panels, etc. Some guys use duct tape – my dad had a weird love of plywood for his projects – but my husband’s thing is ratchet straps. He says ratchet straps are like having extra hands.
My husband used ratchet straps and the tractor to carefully remove the windmill from the wagon, and it laid in our barn yard for almost another year before we decided on its final place. We could not get a crane to come set it; no one wanted to do such a small job. My husband rented a Gradall, used his favorite ratchet straps, and set the windmill over the front yard fence into place. I even got to take a turn moving the windmill on the Gradall. The windmill was then welded onto brackets cemented into the ground. We were very thankful a good neighbor showed up to help.
The night the windmill went in, we had a bad windstorm, but it stood strong. It’s been in place for months now, but I never get tired of seeing our beautiful sunsets behind that big windmill. Windmills and sunsets are two of my favorite things. Now, I get to see them together.