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The Windmills

The first thing you would have noticed if you stood on this small hill on a windy autumn day 150 years ago, was that there were hardly any trees at all growing here. They had been chopped down many years earlier , to make building materials, fences and firewood. Apart from the fact that there were almost no trees to obscure the view in the old cultural landscape, most of the brush and small shrubs were eaten by the goats.. Instead, the landscape was dominated by a forest of windmill wings. In the 1860’s, there were about 20 windmills in Solf. In that type of mill, it is the wind that makes the wings go round, in return making two large stones grind against one another. You put the grain between the grinding stones, for example rye grain that had been dried in the thrashing shed, and out came rye flour. The model of this windmill is called a Dutch mill or a smock mill, as it was thought to have the shape of an old-fashioned smock or dress. Most windmills around here looked like the other one here at Stundars, which is called a hollow post mill. Some mills were co-owned by several farmers while others had designated millers who milled flour for others. And the villagers, certainly knew which mills were effective, and which were worthless.