Ah! The Old Men of the Mountain are at it again. On Tuesday, September 7th, the OMOTM met at the Voorheesville Diner in Voorheesville.

Some OF’s that are occasional OF’s (and they really don’t know, or maybe don’t understand the by-laws by being occasional partakers of the Tuesday morning repast) missed the news that the OF’s would be at the Voorheesville Diner, and not the Middleburgh Diner that is on the schedule. Well, it will be all straightened out shortly, and on the 14th the OF’s will be at the Middleburgh Diner.

The OF’s talked about baking, cooking, and eating (see the OF’s are a domesticated sort). One OF mentioned that he was poking around in his freezer and found a strawberry-rhubarb pie that had been frozen for three years. He said he remembered baking that pie and making the crust from scratch. The OF said he thawed it out, warmed it up a tad and tried it and it was delicious.

The conversation turned to how long the OF’s can keep items in the freezer. The length of time came to be rather long, like eight to ten years, and some food was still good, however, one OF said some of his food was full of ice. The OF’s did not discuss what was the longest item kept, but more than likely it was either meat, or turkey, or chicken. As long as it was never thawed out, and the freezer never went on the fritz, the OF said why not cook it up and see what happens.

The OF’s started talking about freezers and they recommended the upright kind. One OG said that his aunt would take what was left over at the breakfast table (like left over pancakes or waffles) wrap them up and freeze them. The only problem with that was that she had a chest-type freezer and these leftover collections always went on top. The OF said he thought the bottom was never found or looked at; everything put in the freezer was put on top.

The OF continued on in the vein of what we did “back in the day” like churning butter, cranking ice cream machines, and spinning separators. The separators were used to spin the fat off the milk to make butter, etc. and believe it or not the rest was thrown away, that was skim milk, today skim milk is preferred and costs more than whole milk – go figure. One thing about being a young lad and being assigned the chore of cranking one of these machines – it made a young arm get tired in a hurry.

The OF’s mention having gooseberries, currants, and elderberries on the farm. Elderberries are still around, but currants and gooseberries are not. One OF told that he used to make gooseberry jam for his kids for Christmas, and now he has to send away for the berries. After doing this for some years one of his kids said, “Dad, why do you keep sending us this gooseberry jam? Nobody likes it; it is awful stuff.” The OF told his kids that he thought they did like it so he kept making it for them, and he still has a bunch of it in his freezer. The OF’s wondered how long that will be there. It may be an archeological find many years hence, and they will marvel at what it is and still edible.

All the OF’s agreed it was a miserable job hulling elderberries. Those little purple berries take a lot of work just to make one pie, but the OF’s again agreed there is nothing like an elderberry pie. The other thing with elderberries is the race to get them before the birds do, and those feathery little things will eat the berries while they are still not ripe.

Now for an observation by this scribe. It is noted that with the exception of just a few OF’s, women are never mentioned. The discussions revolve around current events, taxes, sports, cars, trucks, tractors, how “it” is done now (as to how “it” was done 60 to 70 years ago) the weather, farming, those with military experiences — their travels, and the experiences they had while in the military– travel, who needs help, who is ill and needs visits, pills, doctors, and doctor visits, cooking, gardening, animals, housework, and many other topics. This scribe has heard people say that all we do is talk about women, and gossip. Not true. Some of the OF’s even say “Woman, what’s a woman?”

Finally, one OF was driving on 146 head toward Gallupville and not too far beyond Benninger Road when the OF had to slam on the brakes and maneuver into the left hand lane to avoid hitting a turkey. The bird never flew or attempted to get out of the way. After the OF moved slowly out of the way the bird continued its leisurely stroll across the road. This in itself is not unusual except the turkey was brown and white. None of the other OF’s can remember ever seeing a brown and white turkey. One of this bird’s parents had to be messing around with some Rhode Island Red. This OF said he had his camera with him — he always does — and should have gotten out and taken a picture because the bird wasn’t in any hurry, but for some reason he didn’t.

Those meeting for breakfast at the Voorheesville Diner in Voorheesville, and making the Randy Travis song, “Forever and Ever Amen,” real were: Duane Wagenbaugh, Harold Eck, Bob Benac, Jim Watson, Robie Osterman, Art Frament, John Rossmann, Arnold Geraldsen, Harold Guest, Don Moser, Spike Taylor, Ted Pelkey, Frank Pauli, Gary Porter, Mace Porter, Gerry Chartier, Mike Willsey, Harold Grippen, Miner Stevens, Jim Rissacher, Ted Willsey, and me. (And this scribe counted one more than he has names and can’t figure out who was missed so if some girlfriend or spouse says, “Why weren’t you at the breakfast?” you probably were. This scribe is sorry for any frying pan welts on the head of an OF that was here but not recorded.)

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