Sunday, April 21, 2013

April 21, 2013

Spring continues to inch its way forward, however slowly.  There are only a very few small patches of ice left in the most shaded, low hollows around the lake, and tiny signs of spring can be found here and there, such as Red Maple blossoms, and the blueberry buds just opening.

Red Maple
Blueberry Buds
Still no signs of any wildflowers pushing their way up, but the animals are returning.  This pair of White Tail Deer came walking down the road one morning, calming nibbling on whatever new growth they could find along the way.

In the afternoon I saw bird of prey soaring over the lake, and grabbed a camera to see if I could get a picture.
Osprey over Lake Wicwas

I didn't even realize what I had captured until I blew the pictures up.  This is something you don't see every day:

An Osprey with a huge pickerel in its talons.  It flew well off looking for a place to feast in peace - or perhaps back to its nest.  Later in the afternoon when I was on a run, I flushed it - or one of its friends - out of a tree hanging over the lake.  It looks like we'll have osprey to watch again this summer!

On a walk up to Meredith Center we stopped to look at the ruins of the old mill on the river between Lake Wicwas and Lake Winnisquam.  Because all the leaves are off the trees, I saw something I hadn't noticed before - a large metal wheel near the river.  I'm pretty sure it is the turbine from a hydro-electric generator, probably put in place to power the mill once electricity replaced mechanical power. 
Hydro-Electric Turbine

From this side you can see the vanes where the water flowed down and through - the turbine would be mounted 90 degrees from its current resting position, turning a vertical shaft which drove the generator.  The water exited through the fins seen on the outside of the prior picture.

I can't figure out exactly how the river was diverted to flow down through the turbine, but I'm guessing it is sitting pretty much where it was used, so the water probably flowed through the stone channel and then reentered the river off to the left through the granite opening. 

My curiosity is now heightened about the history of this mill site.  The water of Lake Wicwas has served a lot of purposes over the years.   
Mill Site in Meredith Center

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