Birds, bees, bears and building
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - Looking back on his life, Roger Lee recalls failing third grade. Twice. But Roger is far from a failure. In high school he discovered a gift for art, and he’s turned his artistic vision into creating a world of his own.
“I’ve worked all kinds of jobs, construction. Work with what funds I got, and most of my funds are going in on this mill. I ended up never marrying because I’m an adventurous type. I’m always on these missions,” says Roger Lee as he overlooks his newly built grist mill.
“I’ve always loved water mills, and I finally figured out the only way I can get a water mill is build one.”
So, he did, because somewhere along the way, Roger developed a sense for self-sufficiency.
“The alternator charges through the disconnect into the batteries and then that goes through a 3,000-watt inverter to A/C power, and I plan on running lights with its own power. The pulleys over here - that’ll go upstairs to run the grist mill for making corn; the shaft will turn that mixer that mixes feed, also will turn the wood splitter out here. I’m not going to run out of water. I split as long as I hold out.”
When he isn’t busy adding to his mill, Roger is looking after his birds and his bees. He harvests honey from his hives and raises quail.
“My bees are wild bees, and by that, I mean I catch bees in the woods around old beehives in a bee trap and I put them in these hives, and these bees, I think, are heartier.”
Roger has had some problems lately from a bear population helping themselves to his corn before it ever makes it to his mill. “Two nights in a row, they hit this patch and I had to do something, so I got the biologist and we put up the hot wire fence. I had to spend the night here one night to keep them out until we got the fence done.”
Of course, a few bears aren’t nearly enough to slow down Roger Lee or his spinning wheel. “I’ll probably be working on it, long as I’m able till I die because I keep adding new functions for the waterpower to do. Right now, I’ve got about five going, but I’ve got more in my head that I’m going to do to it.”
Copyright 2021 WBRC. All rights reserved.