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Mortimer Snert and the Renegade Windmill

It was a destructural day in the neighbourhood when Mortimer Snert arrived at his favourite farm for a weekly session of slave labour. The object of his attention this week was none other than an abandoned well house, one which in fact, had an active and uncapped casing which extended into the water table from which the real well drew it’s water, and which was a direct route for nasty contaminated water to reach the water table during seasonal floods. Now mort had complained for years about the unsanitary nature of this whole mess of stuff, but nothing had ever been done about it until recently, when the local electrician had arrived for some other project, and had disconnected the mains to the wellhouse, thus allowing it to be put into a position to be safely dismantled.

Now this particular structure had been in place probably since the early 1930’s, having started life as a wind powered well, complete with tower and all the associated mechanical contrivances that adorned windmills. At some point in time, electricity was installed, and a house was built nearby, and the windmill was replaced with an electrically operated well, because windmills just did not provide the proper amount of water at the proper pressure for houses and such likes. Now this conversion precipitated the necessity for a well house to be constructed, because the mechanical equipment that was involved in this particular well was rather large in size, and subject to freezing in the winter. So being the ever so efficient farmers that they were, the owners of the place constructed a wellhouse of concrete blocks, within the confines of the legs of the windmill tower. This seemed to work for a while, until someone else took over the farm, and decided that the wellhouse needed some insulation around it, and they proceeded to construct an exterior wall around the concrete blocks, with insulation added between the exterior plywood and the block wall, and another roof on top of the existing roof. This served it’s purpose for however long, until someone else took over the farm, and decided that the north side of the structure needed some corrugated iron to enhance the weatherproofness of the thing. And while they were at it, they added yet another roof. By now the legs of the windmill tower were completely enclosed in the additions of exterior walls, and the whole thing was in quite a state. It was about this time that the initial well crapped out for some unknown reason, and the owners had another well sunk about 100 feet downrange of the wellhouse, and installed a submersible pump. This negated all the mechanical equipment inside the wellhouse, except for the pressure tank and electrical switch.

This was the state of things when Mort’s parents took over the farm, some untold number of years ago. Now this would not normally have been an issue, except for the fact that the wellhouse had an access door on the south side which was 2 feet square and about 4 feet off the ground. So to do any kind of work on the thing, one had to crawl through this small access door, and then wade through tons of abandoned mechanical equipment. So eventually it got to the point that Mort’s dad could not physically get in to change the filters or do whatever else farmers do to water wells, and it fell upon Mort to do these activities. Now Mort was not particularly fond of confined spaces, especially ones filled with spiders and rusty mechanics and things of that nature, and he informed his parents in no uncertain terms that he would not be getting into the wellhouse any time soon, and they had best take that into consideration.

So after dealing with clogged filters and malfunctioning pressure switches and having to call out the well mechanic on several occasions, they decided that it might be in their best interest to invest in an alternate structure to house the well mechanics. They finally located a well mechanic that was to Mort’s dad’s satisfaction, meaning that he was the absolute cheapest one that they could find, and the guy came out and relocated the junk and provided a high tech fiberglass structure to enclose all the stuff. One that you could open and have direct access to all of the things. So it was decided after a year of having the new well and deciding that it wasn’t going to totally spaz, that the olde one could be abandoned and taken down. So this was the adventure that Mort was about to embark upon.

When Mort arrived on that fateful day, his dad was busy watching some football game on the telly, something for which Mort was eternally grateful, because this meant that he could work by himself, relatively unimpeded. So loading up the crowbars and sledgehammer and any other implimehts of destruction he could find, Mort and his mom and the Dog headed out for the wellhouse.

Mort was hoping to make short work of the structure, until he actually had a chance to look at it and see how it was constructed. It was readily apparent that they would have to remove the layers of material from the outside of the block structure before anything could be done with the rest of it. So armed with a crowbar, Mort attacked the north side first. After about an hour, he had managed to pry off one piece of corrugated iron, which had been nailed on with 137 nails. The rest of the structure was exactly the same way. It occurred to him that if he were to just demolish the framework that maybe the iron would come off more readily, so that was what he set about to do.

He quickly discovered that the framework was nailed together equally as efficiently as the corrugated iron, and the process of dismantling the rest of it would be just as impossible as removing the iron. It was at this point that Mort lost his patience and started bashing the side of the structure with the sledge hammer. He succeeded in making several gaping holes in the plywood, through which he jammed the crowbar and pried for all he was worth. Eventually the wood started to splinter, and once that happened, the outside peeled off in layers like an onion. It was about the time that he had peeled off the wooden exterior and exposed the legs to the tower that his dad showed up, complete with John Deere tractor and bale spike. Being the fine farmer that Mort’s dad was, he immediately began a salvage process in which he attempted to save all the scraps of broken lumber and all the bent nails and the sheets of bent and rusted corrugated iron. This could not have worked better for Mort, since there was a huge pile of rubble, it kept the man busy and out of what was left of Mort’s hair. Now it had become apparent earlier that the windmill tower would need to be gotten rid of before anything else could be effectively done, so Mort set about unbolting the legs from the anchors that were imbedded in the ground. He was on the last bolt of the last leg when his dad discovered what he was doing, and promptly had a huge stomping thrashing fit because he was convinced that the tower was about to fall over any second and smash everyone in sight. Mort carefully explained the fact that there was no way the tower could fall over by itself, it was suspended by at least two layers of roof which was attached securely to the legs, in addition to being jammed outside the concrete block structure.

It was about this time that Mort’s mom created a diversion which caused his dad to have to take the truck back to the house and find some obscure implement that his mom supposedly could not do without. This left Mort with the John Deere which had a bale spike attached to the front end loader, and a windmill tower that was completely unbolted and waiting for some assistance to fall over. It took Mort almost no time to position the tractor so the bale spike was under a support, Hauling back on the hydraulic lever, the spike raised up one side of the tower nicely. Continuing the process, he heard the sounds of splintering wood, and saw the roof disconnect from the concrete structure. The tower was now on two legs, and approaching the point of no return. Easing the John Deere up a bit, Mort gave it a last shove, and the whole thing took a dive, just as Mort’s dad reappeared with the truck.

Seeing the splintered plywood and the corrugated iron that had formed the roof, his dad forgot all about the windmill falling over, and mounted yet another salvage mission on the remains of the roof. While he was doing that, Mort connected a chain to the tower and dragged it away from the work area, freeing up enough space to contend with the block structure. Working quickly, he removed the spikes from the front of the tractor, which left a flat plate where the scoop attached. Repositioning the tractor to the north side of the block structure, Mort lowered the front end loader and drove it quite through the remains of the wellhouse. The results were quite impressive, the whole thing toppled over, and the impact separated all the blocks from each other, so all that was left was a huge pile of concrete blocks and mangled pipes and electrical wires.

Mort spent the rest of the day collecting and stacking concrete blocks around a tree, while his dad salvaged all the splintered boards, his mom loaded the truck with junk, and the Dog chased mice around the pasture and yelled at random cows that came by to see what all the ruckus was about. By the time the sun went down, there was no sign that there was ever a well house there, other than a huge pile of concrete blocks and a mangled windmill tower.