Elegant and clean powered milling

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Water Wheel
Water Wheel

[youtube=http://youtu.be/g9GT0vgJH7U] When I was in Tennessee last month for the Food, Faith and Farm conference, at the final dinner I was mysteriously seated next to a couple who wasn't part of the conference.  They weren't sure why they were invited to the dinner either, but when we found our conversation centering on wheat, they got very excited.  They told me about their beloved neighbor who runs a grist mill - could they take me on a field trip the next day?  You betcha!

I grew up in a household where everything mechanical was a delight to my father who was an MIT engineer, so I love practical and elegant machinery.  Visiting this mill combines the best all of all worlds, both old and new;  it's a beautiful and elegant design, it's practical for milling all kinds of grains and in a world where we keep searching for renewable and clean energy - there couldn't a better design.

Here's a description of the water wheel:  Water Wheel

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The owner John.  One can smell the river water and feel the spray from the water wheel.  The aesthetics are mesmerizing.

The mechanical room powered by the water wheel.

front room
front room

At the far end of this room are two stone mills that grind the grain into flour.

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hopper
hopper
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After the grain is  cleaned and fed through a hopper it falls between the mill stones and is ground into flour.

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An old french buhr mill stone.  The flat surfaces are called the

lands

and raised parts are called

furrows

.

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An old printing press was donated to the mill.  The owner, John, uses it to print his bags.  Another example of elegant and practical design: 

Printing Press

As I left this magical spot I kept thinking about relationships.  Our relationship with the earth, with grain, with water and the respect for the power of Nature.  This mills works with Nature, not against her - it's also about our human relationships, seeing people enjoy what they do and believe in what they do.