Electricity

  We flirted briefly with electricity.  Dad had optimistically wired the house in 1914 when it was built. Ever ingenious with machinery, he put together a windmill and attached it to the roof of the house.  We stored several batteries in the attic.  The windmill action was supposed to charge the batteries and we would have light at our fingertips.  We didn't have the $200 to hook up to the power line, which ran down the road in front of the house.
    The windmill arrangement did occasionally provide light at our fingertips, but not for long.  It was weak and yellow and dimmed continuously before it faded out.  That meant the batteries were dead again, even though the prairie winds chewed at the windmill as if to tear it up by the roots, the roof with it.
    Dad also installed a pressure-tank in the basement, which was connected to the well by the pump-house.  This arrangement was meant to provide drinking water from the faucet at the kitchen sink instead of our having to bring it in by the pail from the well.  But when those batteries in the attic died, we girls had to push the long handle of the pump back and forth for an hour or so every day to build up enough pressure in the tank to make it all work.  It was a big day when we got the $200 together to hook up to the lines at the end of the driveway.