On June 2nd 2009 The Old Men of the Mountain met at the Home Front Café in Altamont. We must thank Cindy, and all those that worked with her, in bringing the Medal of Honor recipients from WW II to Altamont. It was quite an honor for the village to have these gentlemen here. Some of the OMOTM attended the event that was held and were quite impressed by these war heroes and they related stories to the gathering this morning.

Late spring and early summer (to many of the OF’s) brings out the desire to plant. It is in the OG farmers blood, like ink is to printers and paint is to artist, and cement dust is to those that work in the cement plants. The OF’s still have the will, but not the way. At one time way back when most of us could lift just about our weight with ease today we look at fifty pounds of potting soil and wonder how we are going to pick it up. Even if someone puts it in the trunk of our car we still have to get it out when we get home. The smart thing to do is purchase two twenty five pound bags, but are we smart enough to do that? The OG’s are always looking for a deal, and the fifty-pounder costs considerably less than two, twenty-five pounders. Some OF’s, when purchasing large bags of dog food or bird seed, have someone put it in the vehicle, and when they get home they open the bag in the trunk and place it in smaller containers.

This scribe wonders why they spend so much time on developing hard-top convertibles, where the trunk raises up and the top disappears into the trunk. What they really need is the trunk lid built like a rolltop desk. The trunk lid would roll back leaving the opening of the trunk completely clear. Now the floor of the trunk would be on a scissor lift which, when a button is pushed, would raise the floor of the trunk up (with whatever items are on it) to waist height; then us OF’s would not have to struggle getting parcels out the trunk. There ya go Detroit, the scribe of the OF’s says this idea is free.

To complete this part of the conversation when most of the OF’s were on the farm, and working 365 day a year, the young OF’s could grab one sack of grain from the combine under each arm and the weight was nothing. It was just a matter of course and each sack weighed about 100 pounds. The same way with hay bales…tossing them up on the wagon and some of those were heavy! The young OF’s worked all day in the hot sun, baling hay, or earlier than that shocking hay, and all we got was room and board and lots of love from our parents. Even so the OF’s say that on looking back it was fun.

The other unusual discussion was on the return of the rabbits, and the woodchucks. We have not seen these little critters around in any quantity for awhile, now some of the OF’s are overrun with these varmints. When we were kids one of the fun things would be clearing a field of woodchucks so it was possible to pasture cows in that field without the cow breaking a leg in a woodchuck hole. One way was to take and place a hose on the end of the exhaust of the tractor and stick it in one hole. Then someone would stand at the other hole and when the chuck popped up because of the fumes whack…end of chuck. Just like the game at the fair only this was not a game. The OF whacking did not want to miss, a mad chuck can be pretty nasty. Another way was to smoke them out, but the real fun was to go out with the twenty two, and whistle them up. They would come up out of the hole, and stand up and look around to check where the whistle was coming from, and wham…end of chuck. That is, of course, the shooter didn’t miss, but farm lads were pretty good shots. The young OF’s were AKA Sergeant Yorks. Then the young OF’s would have to go around and throw rocks in the hole and fill them in substantially enough so a cow would not break through and get hurt. The OF’s bet the urbanites never even thought of this problem. They also bet that if some fat cat politician’s high priced race horse broke a leg in one of these holes there would be a law to exterminate every woodchuck in the country.

The Old Men of the Mountain would like to offer our condolences to member Henry Witt on the loss of his grandson. Our thoughts and prayers are with you during this time.

Those that made it to the Home Front in Altamont, and brought along all the time-jumping chatter were: Jim Watson, John Brooks, (Golly another John), Ted Willsey, Gary Porter, Mace Porter, Paul Paulsen, Bob Dietz, Carl Walls, John Rossmann, Ted Pelkey, Frank Pauli, Harold Guest, Mike Willsey, Dennis White, Harold Grippen, Gerry Chartier, Carl Slater, Miner Stevens, Bernie Sisson, and me.