Tuesday the 17th of November the Old Men of the Mountain met at the Hilltown Café in Rensselaerville.

The OFs enjoy coming to the Hilltown Café and for some it is a hike, and for some it is just on top of the hill. The car pools are as much fun as the breakfasts, and the way the restaurant rotation works out most of the OFs have short rides, then medium rides, and then longer rides. It is only fair Magee.

One OF told about his information, that he has garnered from research, on the genealogy of his family tree. The OF said what came up in his trek down the family path can be quite interesting at times when the paths of history comes up along with the family research .  Another OF is a member of a church that performs this research for many people.  This information can be done for anyone; it is not necessary to be a member of this church. According to this OF the church’s collection and resources for genealogy is one of the best sites for obtaining information on a particular family in the country. The first OF related that he has traced his mother’s side of the family back to a Celtic tribe in Ireland and there he thinks he has run into a dead end because going back this far (especially Celtic tribes) just staying alive was more important than keeping records of who was who.

The OFs were making an observation that many people have made. The OFs think that telephone poles have magnetic properties. Many stories were told of vehicles of all sorts running into telephone poles. One OF said that were he lives the road is as straight as a string and along the road are telephone poles; nothing in between them except grass and brush, there isn’t even a deep ditch or culvert.  “Yet,” the OF said, “Inevitably, vehicles will zip down this road and smack a pole, from ATV’s to cars, to trucks, to motorcycles.  The only thing that has not whacked a pole is a tractor and wagon. It’s like the poles have arms and hands. If the pole wants a little excitement it just reaches out and grabs whatever is going by. It’s like trying to throw a small stone through a chain link fence; invariably the stone will hit a wire while the space between the wires is 10 times the size of the stone. Go figure.”

One of the OFs has a completely electric car which this OMOTM report has written about before. That report told a lot about the vehicle and how far it will go on a charge, etc.  However, today the OFs learned that not only is the car totally electric but at home the OF has solar panels on his roof. The OF says that with these panels he charges the car for free. With this little setup, and the price of gas, the OF is going have the car and panels paid for faster that you can blow your nose. By the time the hanky is placed back in the pocket the system belongs completely to the OF…no more payments.

The subject comes up quite often about the OF’s homes, and the home repair ─ the discussion can be on a minor or major project underway. This morning the conversation was on the construction of some of their older homes, especially when really delving in and attempting a modernization or adding a room, or bathroom. What the OF will find when they begin tearing down a wall that has been there 100 years or better, can be anything. Horsehair plaster that clings to every lathe, spacing that is anything other than 16 inches on center, studs that can be a full 2×4, to even 3×4 or 4×4, or anything close was OK.  They might find studs that can be fish-plated if they weren’t long enough to reach the plates or maybe one nail holding a board, or overkill with ten nails. They may find completely debarked logs for floor joists at random spacing. These homes are still standing, functioning as they should.

The newer homes, the OFs feel, will not last anywhere near the time this old, basically haphazard, type of construction has proven it will. One OF mentioned that he lives across from a new home with new materials and within six months they had to do extensive repairs. Not remodels…repairs. “But,” one OF said, “What one of us is going to be around in a hundred years to see what these newer homes, with the newer materials will be like?”  Another OF said, “Any home, new or old, has to be properly maintained or it won’t last thirty years.” A third OF said he would like to live long enough to see homes constructed out of composite materials like those used in airplanes. This OF said when he goes to build something that requires 2x4s most of them could be strung with string and used as a bow for a giant’s bow and arrow. Someday, this scribe mused, homes will be constructed with walls and roofs out of composites, with solar collectors built right in and all directed to a central Wi-Fi system so no wires will be required.  These homes will be heated with microwaves, and cooking and hot water also completed with microwaves. Each home will be its own energy source. Can happen, this scribe thinks. All waste material will be microwaved and turned to vapor or dust. Can happen. There are probably better ideas out there right now by smarter people than this scribe.

Those OFs that left their humble abodes (no matter how old these abodes are) and some OFs who are still living in tents, made it to the Hilltown Café in Rensselaerville, and hitched their horses and wagons to the hitching post, were: Miner Stevens, Dave Williams, Roger Chapman, Robie Osterman, Frank Pauli, Harold Guest, John Rossmann, Lou Schenck, Jim Heiser, Chuck Aelesio, Glenn Patterson, Mark Traver, Jack Norray, Wayne Gaul, Jim Rissacher, Elwood Vanderbilt, Mike Willsey, Ted Willsey, Harold Grippen, and me.