There used to be a small stream here that meandered down the hill and went over the edge of the canyon and fell into a deep dark hole below us.
The land’s owner built himself an observation platform, erected a light pole, and built a water wheel that generated electricity to power the light. The chances were good that no one would be out at night and walk over the cliff and fall into the chasm, but it was a place he could bring guests and have a beer as they watched the water wheel turn, throw rocks into the dark and listen to them splash at the bottom on hot summer nights.
There is no water coming down the hill now so the water wheel is stopped, its blades providing climbing opportunities for vines and weeds. Insect webs reach across the gap between blades and the generator is rusting. The water wheel was built with welded iron arms, bolted wood planks, and pieces cut from old tractor tires. The hub of the wheel is a rim off a car.
On a ranch, people get used to making stuff. It keeps them interested and uses junk that accumulates.
This wheel is a John Currie creation. He and Uncle Hugh always tinkered with junk piled in the corner of a barn or discarded in a pasture filled with weeds, dead brush, and cow chips.
The observation deck is often unoccupied and I want to go down some evening while I am visiting Alan and see the light on, throw a few rocks over the canyon edge for the hell of it.
Water wheels are old technology.
They will be resurrected at the next big reset in human history.
Texas roots run deep in our family.