Switch from traditional farming to solar farming?

Switch from traditional farming to solar farming?

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We have traveled along the highways and observed the natural beauty of farmlands – seeds or immature plants installed into fertile soil to bring about the satisfaction to the palate and nutrition to the whole being.

What a delight to see these crops mature and experience the waves of grain or corn or – you name it.

solar-panels-with-pine-tree-farmHave you traveled along the roadway enjoying plush, green countryside and then practically out of nowhere you see a new type of farming?

Let’s consider solar or wind power for instance.  I never considered solar or wind turbine farms before but I believe it is beginning to take hold.

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While traveling torward Roxboro, North Carolina on U.S. Highway 501 – there it was!  A solar farm right beside the highway.  I’m not sure if the term is truly a solar farm but that’s how I would classify it.  What would you call it?

north-carolina-solar-park-and-grazersI turned the car around and had to take a closer look.  I then noticed a smart concept.  There were animals around the solar panels with sheep and cattle keeping the grass manageable, and a donkey.  I’m not sure how the donkey is used though.

north-carolina-solar-park-signPerson County, North Carolina has a solar park. They seem to be popping up throughout the rural areas.  It makes sense though so the individual communities could have alternatives for their power needs – and going green at that.

I had to investigate further and checked out Person County’s website about the solar park at http://www.researchtriangle.org/news-and-events/person-county-solar-park-expansion-nears-completion.

According to the website a new solar installation covering seven acres in the Person County Business and Industrial Center features row upon row of ground-mounted solar panels – 5,376 in all – angled toward the sun and visible from U.S. Highway 501.

The website identifies Carolina Solar Energy LLC in collaboration with Strata Solar LLC as designer, builder and operator of the 1.25 megawatt DC solar electric generator located in Person County for project owner Gehrlicher Solar USA.

With the new installation it appears the total annual estimated energy production will exceed 2.5 million kilowatt hours, enough to power 210 average North Carolina homes annually.

How would this compare to how many people could benefit from the crops harvested on this same land?

I like what Barbara Currier, director of the Person County Economic Development Commission, said about the use of the land for solar energy.  “This project represents all that is environmentally sound for our community, including the sheep that graze along side the solar panels keeping the grass trim without fossil fuels, an increasingly recognized ‘best practice’ in landscaping circles.”

wind-turbines-in-vermontWhile reaching one of our destinations in Vermont, I noticed the wind turbines.  They are not hard to see unless obscured by the mountains.wind-turbines-in-vermont-2

Do you think these wind turbines provide more power than the solar panels? Well, they certainly benefit those who live in the mountainous regions.

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But, there are wind turbine fields in the coastal part of wind-turbines-near-elizabeth-nc-4North Carolina mixed with solar panels and agricultural farms as well. We discovered this while traveling U.S. Highway 17 Bypass near Elizabeth City, North Carolina.  I think this is an excellent mix of technologies combined with ancient techniques of producing food for our tables.

I’m not accustomed to seeing these large wind turbines, and I don’t notice them in urban the terrain. However, they appear more prevalent in rural areas. I guess they aren’t windmills any longer.

wind-turbine-in-germanyWhile traveling in Germany I also noticed the large wind turbines stretched across the vast land and they looked HUGE.  I really enjoyed watching them turn although I had to keep my focus while driving on the Autobahn.

According to AENews, future of wind power is bright and shining as detailed studies by American Wind Energy Association (EWEA) have already shown that power generation from wind energy is most economical.  “The consumers are reaping good benefits financially from wind power.”  The article further mentions that wind is already directly curbing European electricity prices.  http://www.alternative-energy-news.info/wind-energy-instruments-bigger-better/

AENews states “renewable energy production and demand growth is gaining momentum in many ways across the world. There is a booming demand of wind power today and all wind energy equipment manufacturers are gearing up to meet the demand and take advantage of it.”  Based on their estimate Asia should now be leading the world with installed wind capacity.

So … where are we today?  I surmise we can create our own electrical power, at least in rural areas, while creating fuel for the natural body through the continued creative use of our traditional farmlands?  I think there is a way to combine it all.

 

 

Travels through North Carolina

Travels through North Carolina

It seems like I’ve been on a lost journey since my last post about travels to the Northeast United States. So here is a little taste of traveling northward through North Carolina.  I like to see some of the small towns and a little taste of life there.

Do you travel sometimes and something catches your eye?

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I stopped along the highway in North Carolina and just pondered about this location.  Notice the faded, antiquated sign.  I wonder what was previously here and how this place once flourished.  Now, silently – the frame remains and the stories of long ago are withheld in the locked walls waiting for someone to unlock the past.

As we continued our trek, meandering along the main back road highways, I’m looking. What is next?  While easing through the little town of  Fuquay-Varina I see the small shops and the signs of a peaceful life.  north-carolina-fuquay-varina-street

There are little shops, local bakery, restaurants and coffee houses mixed among the businesses.

I wondered about the history of this place.  So, I had to do a little research.  The website http://www.fuquay-varina.org/423/History-of-Fuquay-Varina provides some insight.  It states Fuquay-Varina, first known as “Piney Woods,” acquired her unusual names from the fates of history. Among the early land grant families were the Burts, Joneses and Rowlands, but it was a French veteran of the Revolutionary War named William Fuquay who moved his family to the exact site, purchasing 1000 acres of Jones Land in 1805.

Now I realize those of you in Europe and around the globe think our areas don’t compare to the rich history you have; however young we are in the U.S. I think it’s still a long time ago, relatively speaking.

While plowing a field, circa 1858, William’s son Stephen or grandson David Crockett uncovered a mineral spring. “Taking the waters” became an attraction for people with all types of physical ailments, leading to the annual celebrations at the spring on Easter Monday and the Fourth of July. Conveniently, the early timber rail provided a ready means of transportation while hotels, catering to long term visitors, surrounded the spring.
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Varina

During the “War for Southern Independence,” a young soldier named Ballentine, born just south of the spring, received morale-boosting letters signed with the pen name “Varina.” He later looked up the Fayetteville lady, married her and brought her to live at his homeplace. Continuing to call her Varina, he named his post office and mercantile establishment across from the mineral spring for her. When two timber rail lines crossed nearby, “Varina Station” was born.

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In the early 1900’s tobacco farmers, fleeing the Granville wilt devastating their crops, began migrating into Southern Wake County. Their “golden weed” fostered a large commercial tobacco market. Railroads flourished and traffic flowed along Main Street in Fuquay Springs and around the Broad Street station, now known simply as Varina.

Fuquay-Varina

Fuquay Springs, incorporated in 1909, joined the neighboring community of Varina in 1963 as 1 municipality. Since that time, Fuquay-Varina has become one of the fastest growing small towns in North Carolina. The town with the hyphenated name and 2 historic districts has been able to successfully retain its small town charm while successfully adding modern amenities and rewarding business opportunities that have attracted residents from all over the United States.

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I enjoy the mixture of brick, history and the application of modern business.

The railroad is still an active part of the community and whistles to the silent past, inviting it to come forward.

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Journey from Florida – finding time to blog

Journey from Florida – finding time to blog

Finding time to blog is a bit of  a challenge sometimes, at least for me.

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On the road again – Interstate 95 north in Jacksonville, Florida heading northward toward Georgia.  

I’ve been traveling a few days now and wanted to write and post a few times already. However, when traveling so much throughout the day and arriving at the night’s resting place I don’t even have time to download all the photos.

I see many things I want to write about and share but finding the right time to just let the thoughts translate to the printed word is not as easy as one would think.

I’ve read about blogging and listened to audio books to gather more insight.  They are helpful.  To me it centers around just writing something each day to keep in the habit – being consistent.

Well, I have much to improve in order to be consistent but it’s my goal.

I have many stories still to write from my previous trips to Europe and the western part of the U.S.  They are still there – somewhere in my brain – even though they have not been placed in word content.

With so many stories yet to share what kind of routine can I create – and stick with it? Combining full time employment, family life, house projects and maintenance, and life itself can be a challenge.  I mean we only have 24 hours-a-day, right?

My goal is to be consistent with writing a few minutes each day.  I think the routine will be incorporated into my lifestyle eventually.  Besides, if we don’t tell it who will?

Here we are now on another journey.  I intended to write a blog each day but maybe that’s a little too much.  I don’t want to inundate the world with my daily thoughts. However, I should at least write some of my thoughts from the day and eventually the blog will flow in a consistent pattern.  What do you think?

The travel journey we are now completing is from Florida to the New England states in the northeastern United States.  Combining this travel with my previous travels I’ve been able to visit each one of these states, if only passing through:  Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vermont.

I’ve traveled an untold number of times throughout the lower U.S. states such as Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia – on and on.  Even though one travels extensively through various parts there is ALWAYS something outstanding that is worthy of explanation.  Every day is filled with life of some sort and has a story untold.  That’s my mission.

This time I wanted to explore some of the back roads instead of the Interstate.

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It’s amazing that more than 100 million people visited Florida in 2015 and here I am leaving the “Sunshine State” to visit the northeast.  So the saying goes – “variety is the spice of life.”

We traveled to North Carolina on Interstate 95 and then ventured westward slightly to take in some of the smaller towns.  It’s enjoyable driving the slower lanes of traffic and experiencing local cultures.

One of the first places within about 15 minutes from I-95 in Dunn, North Carolina is a classic car showplace – East Coast Classic Cars.  I wouldn’t have known it was there by staying on the Interstate.  There were some very nice vintage cars that were restored.  http://www.ecoastcc.com/

It was a pleasant ride through North Carolina into Virginia and northward.  I’m thinking about what story I need to post next with more photos.  Oh the joy!

So, let’s get off the beaten, fast lane a little and slow down to enjoy the beauty all around.