May 24th, 2011, the Old Men of the Mountain met at the Home Front Café in Altamont.

The scribe is typing this on May 25th, and this morning it was 49 degrees at our place at 6 a.m.; right now at 10:30 a.m. it is gray and gloomy and only 56 degrees. Hey! We are only 6 days from June, no wonder the OF’s discussions were questioning whether the weather is the product of global warming, at least in the Northeast…Not. The OF’s were thinking we should really prepare for the next ice age seeing as the OF’s escaped the end of the world on the 21st. “Now,” as one OF said, “I have to wait until October” Then another OF said, “These Bible thumpers really don’t know the Bible as I understand it…neither the time or the place is what the good book tells me. The guy that espoused the 21st of May 2011 as the rapture practices the religion of Scam.”

Back to the Home Front. The OF’s arrived with their basic contingent of yes, OF’s, and it looked like there were a few smaller groups in the restaurant. One appeared to be a group of OF’s, but the other tables did not look so old, and then there was one table which looked like they were the ones who developed dirt. So the place was full, and all were guys except one small table which was occupied by two of the opposite sex, and with this group of guys hogging just about all of the tables in the restaurant the ladies looked like two fish that had jumped out of the bowl.

The OF’s began to talk about the tornados, and storms that have been raising havoc on the central, and southeast portions of our country. The Mississippi displacing thousands and tornados devastating whole communities is putting a considerable strain on our country’s resources. One OF commented that our country should start taking care of our own people instead of sending so much money overseas. What a dilemma. Some of those countries that lost thousands of people are so poor and have so little to start with, and we have people here that need help from the same things (i.e., natural disasters of magnitudes) that no one living now is familiar with. What to do, what to do?

The OF’s went from this to many other short discussions on this and that, and that and this but then did cover some time on stump removal. The OF’s decided that these things can be a real pain because so often little shade trees grow up to be big shade trees, and many of these either live out their life expectancy, or are so large that if the tree topples it might go right through a house. This is when the decision is made to take it down and that leaves a large stump.

The OF’s discussed the hole that is left when that stump is hauled away. One OF said that with good planning a swimming pool could be placed where the stump was — the hole will already be there. The roots of a large tree take up a lot of space and when a tree is gone there is definitely not enough earth left to fill in the hole.

Another OF said he had a large stump from a tree removed for one of the reasons mentioned above. The tree was close to the house and if anything happened the bedroom was the room where it would strike. That would wake one up in a hurry during a wind storm; there is nothing like spitting out leaves in the middle of the night. What this OF did after he got tired of mowing around the stump was have it removed by a stump chipper and the chips generated by the chipper were just left there. Eventually the chips decayed and now he is left with a hollow in the lawn. Earwigs love chips.

All this talk about trees and stumps led to the yard work the OF’s are stuck with so far this year. One OF said we are not different than anyone else. If a big yard is your idea of fun then this year those OF’s are having more than their share of fun.

One OF who received a Kestrel box for Christmas finally got a chance to put it up. The reason is again the weather. The time of year it was supposed to be put up and where it was to be located was complicated by the fact that there was four feet of snow on the ground. The OF said, “Well, it is up now so it will be a go for next year.”

Those attending the breakfast at the Home Front Café with one OF telling a regular patron of the Home Front a great big fib, and thank goodness another OF corrected the fibber were: Frank Pauli, Ted Pelkey, Steve Kelly, Roger Shafer, Glenn Patterson, Mark Traver, Henry Witt, Harold Guest, Bob Benac, Art Frament, Robie Osterman, Mike Willsey, (with two guests, one chauffeured Mike to the breakfast, the guests were granddaughter Danielle Willsey, and friend Anna Kessler), Roger Chapman, Gary Porter, Mace Porter, Lou Schenk, Harold Grippen, Gerry Chartier, Ted Willsey, Jim Rissacher, Willard Osterhout, and me.