Desert Messenger

December 1, 2010

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P��� 22 Just Rambling... by Elmer London THANKSGIVING Space doesn’t allow me to tell all the things I’m thankful for. here are a few. 1. My family and friends. 2. That my life has extended beyond my expectations. 3. For the sun that rises and and sets each day. 4. That I’m a small pebble in the Rock Capital of the World. Brought to you by Elmer London & Desert Messenger Voices from the Past Excerpts from “In the Shadow of Saguaros” By Rosalee Oldham Wheeler The Desert Messenger is proud to feature excerpts from Rosalee Wheeler’s “In the Shadow of Saguaros.” Volume I, circa 1540 to 1839, begins with the first recorded history in Southwestern Arizona; Coronado and the Conquistadors searching for the Seven Cities of Cibola. Pattie’s RV Park OPEN YEAR-ROUND! LARGE LOTS! 455 E. Main St., Quartzsite ~ Walk to shopping! - Propane Sales - Open 7days/week • 7am-5pm ~ Laundromat ~ RO Water ~ Thrift Shop ~ Propane 928-927-4223 Benefiting Quartzsite’s No Kill Animal Shelter Check out the newly remodeled gift shop & boutique with new designer jewelry! 455 E. Main St. Quartzsite Open 7 days 9-2 951-764-6072 ���.D�����M��������.��� D������� 1, 2010 1937 looking east into Quartzsite, (near where McDonald’s is today) The Windmills of the desert My romance with the windmills of the desert began in 1937, on my very first visit to Quartzsite. As we drove into the peaceful little valley where the town was situated, my eyes were drawn to the many windmills that were quietly turning around and around in a slow and lazy, yet dependable sort of way. The little one-house-wide town was strung along a wide gravel road for about three miles where windmills of various description were drawing an erratic stream of life-sustaining wa- ter from the aquifer below. I started counting the windmills and marveled at how these tall mechanical devices could harness even the gentlest breeze as they pumped water into the storage tanks at each home. Each windmill offered up a most deli- cious water, almost sweet to the taste, with enough water to wash clothes, saturate plants, and to even wash the bodies of crusty old miners–if they so desired. Many windmills had been erected over hand-dug wells during the late 1800s and were crucial to the surviv- al of the livestock that roamed freely over the desert range. Both cattle and cowboys depended on water from the windmills at the Leadwell and at the Two-Mile Well, just two miles north of Quartzsite. Further out on the desert range were the lonely windmills of the Twelve-Mile Well and the Eight-Mile Homestead. Even further out, up in the Kofa’s at the Scott’s Ranch, was another windmill. These windmills also provided water to the wildlife that regularity visited the troughs beneath each windmill. Every now and then my romance with windmills would wane, especially if I was in the midst of doing our laundry in two tubs with a rub board when, without warning, I would run out of water. The storage tank was empty and all I needed was a little wind to come up to turn the windmill and fill the tank. Waiting on a breeze, I would sit un- der our windmill, praying that it would come soon so I wouldn’t have to resort to hauling the water up from the bot- tom of the well the old fashioned way– hand over hand with a bucket tied to a rope. Using a windlass, I would have to let the two-gallon bucket down into our 63-foot well, let the bucket fill, and then pull up the bucket. I stared up at the blades of the windmill, “Please,” I urged, “turn.” The blades were often immobile. Not a turn, not even a creak of the blades! Where was the wind when I needed it? When the wind did blow, causing the blades to turn and  SEE WINDMILLS ON PAGE 23 Pets & Children Welcome! Animal Refuge Thrift Shop

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