This Tuesday (the day the Old Men of the Mountain met) was the same day that, that rodent weather prognosticator in Punxsutawney, Pa. (I got the spelling from the internet, I ain’t that smart. This is similar to people not being from this area who try to spell local names, like Schenectady, or half the towns on Long Island) was going to advise the whole Northeast what the rest of winter was going to be like. The OFs say that rodent isn’t necessary because his predictions are generally wrong. Just ask any of the OFs that have lived on the mountain for years, they can tell what the winter will be like right down to number of snowflakes that are going to fall just by looking at the color of hills across the valley precisely at 11:36 am, on January 10th. That will be as correct as any rodent shaken out of a great nap by a bunch of Norman Rockwell-type old goats, in tall hats can predict. However that groundhog is a lot like a construction worker because they whistle at perspective mates. When the groundhog is awake that is.

This brought the OFs to talking about the ice on the ponds and lakes this year, specifically how little there is of it, and if there is any how treacherous it may be. One OF reported that there were some ice fishing shanties out on Thompson’s Lake and the ice is so thin at the shoreline that planks are laid down so those stupid enough to go out and fish could go across open water to get to their shanties out on the lake. One OF said they had better be pretty good swimmers if they do head out to fish. It has been a very open winter so far, and the OFs are hoping we do get substantial snow fall sometime before the winter is out because the wells and reservoirs will need the water. One OF did mention that a couple of years ago we had plenty of snow and still there was a water shortage the following summer. The OFs couldn’t argue with this OG because they were unable to recall this particular weather event.

Many of the OFs are good cooks, some because their moms taught them how when they were young, and others by necessity, and some because they went for beauty instead of brains and were forced to learn how. One OF started giving a brief lesson on how to take care of the pots and pans especially when making fried eggs and bacon. This OF said, “Keep your eye on the bacon and don’t let it burn because once that starts the eggs will stick to the pan where the bacon burned.”  One OF said he didn’t have that problem because he uses two pans. What? Now you have two pans to clean. Start cooking the bacon first, then throw the eggs in after the bacon is cooked some, that way the bacon grease is used for the eggs. “Nah,” was a reply, “That way everything is too greasy.  I take the bacon out and put it on some paper towels to soak up the grease.” “That spoils the whole thing,” came a response, “By the time the eggs are done the bacon is cold.”  “No. it isn’t,” was the answer.  “I cook the eggs in another pan.”  “Not another two-pan job for simply frying up two or three eggs and bacon for breakfast,” was the comment.

“You guys have it all wrong.  I throw in half a stick of butter, then the bacon; when that is about ready I crack in three eggs, and there is about an eighth of an inch of grease in the pan.  After that I put my plate over the pan for a little while (that warms up the plate) then I take the spatula and wave some of that grease over the eggs. When the eggs are the way I like them, I take them out, and the toast off the back of the stove and I am ready to go.”

“All that fat, what about your cholesterol?” question was asked.  “What about it?” the reply was, “My last check up it was 150 which is not that bad.”  “When was that check up?” an OF inquired, “When you were ten years old?”

The OFs discussed drones again, and how in the Netherlands the Dutch National Police are training eagles to hunt drones down and attack them. One OF said if he sees a drone over his property if he can’t get his shotgun in time to shoot it down he will throw rocks at it.  If this OF brings down the drone he better hope that it doesn’t land on someone’s head.

The subject came up again how most technology, not all, but most, generally is an improvement.  This morning the discussion was on tools. It was mentioned how much safer most tools are these days, and how much easier they are to work with. One OF mentioned the Hougen magnetic drill and cutters. The OF said they used to have to climb poles and drill holes in steel for the appropriate fastener. This  process took two men and a boy to handle the drill to drill the hole, and when the hole was about through the bit would catch and the drill would spin and twist your arm, or snap your wrist, or could even knock you off the pole. Along comes this Hougen tool, and one guy carries it up with little effort, sticks the drill to the steel and just feeds the cutter in and the tool does all the work.  No more dangling from a harness because the drill has twisted the OF around and dislodged him from the pole.

Those Old Men of the Mountain that are lucky enough to escape the pitfalls of farming and heavy industry, sundry wars, and the occasional whack with a frying pan and make it to Mrs. K’s Restaurant in Middleburgh were: Harold Guest, Bill Lichliter, Dave Williams, Roger Chapman, John Rossmann, Robie Osterman, George Washburn, Miner Stevens, Glenn Patterson, Chuck Aelesio, Mark Traver, Roger Shafer, Mace Porter, Wayne Gaul, Lou Schenck, Bob Fink, Bob Benninger, Jim Rissacher, Ted Willsey, Bill Herzog, Ellwood Vanderbilt, Harold Grippen, and me.