Good Morning Gentle Readers,
Out beyond the ridge where I walk with the dogs, towers like this one dot the landscape where oranges used to grow. It once held a large, electrically powered propeller blade. The unit, mounted atop the tower, somewhat resembled an aircraft engine and cowling.
On cold, still, cloudless nights, heat escapes from the orchards allowing frigid air to settle and freeze the citrus. When the anti-frost fans are fired up, there is a rumble like a low-flying aircraft. Typically two-bladed, the fan moves air through the groves which, in turn, prevents frost from forming on the fruit.
The technology represented a dramatic improvement over smokey, messy, polluting smudge pots, which burned oil or, later, diesel fuel. Smudge pots worked by warming the orchards with heat and smoke which also left a thin coating of smudge on the fruit, helping to prevent frost from forming. And messy they were, when I was a vagrant little kid, my dog came home black as coal after spending the better part of the night in an orchard.
The nest near the top of the ladder is likely a hawk's nest, though it could have belonged to an eagle.
Photo Credit: TWC 02-29-2008 ©