The Old Men of the Mountain met at the Home Front Café in Altamont on Tuesday July 12th, and for breakfast we had samples of ice cream (homemade with nitrogen) and strawberries. The OF’s at our end of the table thought it was very good, and different. There was a group of OF’s that ate out in the ice cream parlor and watched the ice cream being made; this was almost like a little show that went with the breakfast.

This morning our topic was the Village of Cobleskill and that a good number of the OF’s realized what a unique small town it is. For the OF’s it was the number and quality of hardware stores in the town. One OF put it as hardware heaven, and if there is anything the OF’s enjoy is the ability to browse hardware stores. Women have their shoe stores, dress shops, notions, and accessories stores, so at least the OF’s can have their lumber yards and hardware stores.

This led to a brief discussion on tools, and why the OF’s were in the hardware store. The advice from some of the OF’s is that if a tool is only going to used infrequently get the least expensive one that will do the job, but if the tool is going to used over and over go for the good stuff.

The OF’s like the smells of new mown hay, grass, and fresh cut lumber, oh, and maybe a cow barn or the horse stalls. They say (and who “they” are no one really knows) the smells of these places trigger memories more than sight and sound. One OF said that can be a good or bad thing, but then again so can sights and sounds.

The OF’s chatted somewhat on how the government can say something about the environment, or a safety issue, and the press runs with it and it scares everybody when really there is nothing there. It is just a comment. One OF told about how the government said this particular strain of algae was toxic, and might make someone sick. This was not new information; it was old information, and the algae in question was less than 1/10 of 1 percent of the algae out there and one person out of thousands at this particular lake happened to get sick from contact with it this year. In all the previous unknown amount of years no one became ill from this same lake. The press made one great big deal of it and virtually shut down all the docks and businesses around the lake. These went out of business because no one was coming to the lake because of the algae scare. The OF’s said, “That same algae has been there for years and is in almost any lake or pond that has algae.”

One OF said these half truths happens with other things besides plant life. For instance, someone uses something completely out of context for what it is intended and then has some kind of problem with it. Now we are told that a perfectly good idea or piece of equipment is a hazard and should not be used.

Another OF did mention that it is hard to draw the line; some manufactures do make crap and should not be allowed to sell the stuff. So one OF said this is where common sense comes in and that is what seems to be lacking. Common sense is needed for all who do not really understand the complete ramifications of what is being said or reported. One OG said that a government agency might innocently say something “could happen” because of a certain situation, and then some alarmist runs around like chicken little, and the originator of the information is there scratching his or her head wondering what the heck happened.

We have a weather report again. Friday, the 8th of July, the OF’s on the hill had a fair share of rain. Some with rain gauges recorded between 1½ inches of rain to around 2½ inches, however, in Gallupville (in the town of Wright) some OF’s reported that as much as 5 inches of rain fell. Driveways and culverts washed out, roads and cellars flooded. These OF’s said that it was quite a mess, and the rest of the OF’s could understand that. Some of the country is short on the wet stuff, while others have too much. One OF said this just shows how much geography the USA covers.

One OF mentioned that they have exchange students stay with them from time to time and when they drive to visit relatives and have to stay overnight because of the distance traveled and no one has to show papers, or cross borders it is hard for the exchange student to comprehend this, unless of course they are from large countries themselves like Canada, Russia, China, etc.

Those gathered at the Home Front Café in Altamont and hoping Cindy didn’t burn herself making ice cream were: Robie Osterman, Joe Lubier, Jim Watson, Roger Chapman, Roger Shafer, Miner Stevens, Mace Porter, Gary Porter, Harry Coton, Duane Wagenbaugh, Rich Donnelly, Dave Williams, John Rossmann, Ted Pelkey, Arnold Geraldsen, Don Moser, Frank Pauli, Harold Guest, Harold Grippen, Mark Traver, Glenn Paterson, Ted Willsey, Mike Willsey, Jim Rissacher, Gerry Cartier, Bob Albert, Jay Taylor, Herb Sawotka, Roger Fairchild, Bob Benac, Art Frament, and the scribe hopes nobody’s name is missed, and me.