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Jun 22, 2009

Beginners.

Ellensburg is a town that is about an hour and a half's drive from Wenatchee. If you take the main road towards Seattle, you will find it on the way. The town is situated in a very wide valley that is pretty and green, especially at the moment because of spring rains and snow melt. We spent this last weekend there because my second son,Cass, took place in the All Stars Championship tournament. It was all very exciting. There were quite a few other teams from different towns, all sporting their different colors. They all looked very smart. All the parents and other family members turned up in the seating areas with baseball hats, fold-out chairs, blankets, snacks, and lots of energy to cheer the teams on. The matches took place at a facility called the Rotary Park. Rotary had raised many funds to pay for this large area of fields to be converted into a sports ground for baseball and soccer. It was all very nicely done, neat, clean, and organized. Well, the matches took place, and our Wenatchee team got into the final. The boys were so excited! Oh, but the emotions were up and down. Sometimes the ball was hit well, and other times it wasn't. Sometimes the opponents' balls were caught out, and other times they were dropped. We parents cheered and moaned, moaned and cheered. Finally, the last inning came and went, and our team took second place. But well done to them! They had worked hard all weekend.

Grammar notes.

Preterite practice: to spend time, to take place, to turn up.

Exs:

We spent a lot of time with our cousins this vacation.

The concert took place out in the open, near a forest.

The guests turned up an hour early; the party wasn't ready at all.

Advanced.

 One sight that you may be lucky enough to see near Ellensburg, in Kittitas county, is that of wind turbines. They have become a familiar feature in that area, and are giving the town the reputation of green and forward thinking. On visiting Ellensburg recently, I realised just why wind turbines are a good idea on the surrounding hills. The wind, out on the plains of the sports facility, was unyielding. It literally didn't stop. Spring, I know, in many towns, is windy. But the wind around Ellensburg is a power to be reckoned with. That is exactly why state incentives have pushed for the setting up of these giant, white wind machines. There has, of course, been some resistance to the project. Some locals believe that some views are ruined because of these great whirling towers. But, the question is, are they worth it? How much clean energy do they actually produce? Bearing in mind that the average U.S. household uses 10,000 kWh of electricity per year, a 5-MW turbine can produce more than 15 million kWH of electricity per year. That is enough to power about 1,400 houses. Excess electricity can be sold back to the national power grid (which is the national supply). Apparently, if the wind speed is 12 miles per hour or more, it is worth installing a wind turbine. It is certainly a growing trend here in the U.S. There is a lot a land on which turbines can be placed, and a lot of windy areas, like the West coast and Texas, where this energy can be produced. With the need for alternative sources of energy, these large, spinning statues are quickly becoming a welcome source of power.

Grammar notes.

Useful vocabulary: a trend, a feature, unyielding, a force (power) to be reckoned with, to bear in mind.

Exs:

Jeans with a very low waist-line are still the trend in jeans.

Her eyes are her best feature.

The army was unyielding; it continued to press forward all day, inspite of casualties.

That boxer is a force to be reckoned with; he will be a challenge to anyone.

He will help you fix your car, but please bear in mind that he has a bad back.