It looks like one of our biggest concerns is coming true ─ this is going to be a year where the bad weather will fall on a Tuesday.

This Tuesday, the 16th of February, the Old Men of the Mountain met at the Your Way Café in Schoharie and the roads were not in great shape.  One OF thought there was a temperature inversion, because the temperature on the hill was in the forties, and the temperature in the valley at 6:45am was 27 degrees. The parking lot at the restaurant was solid ice and very slippery. The OFs hung on to each other as they did their Tim Conway shuffle to the restaurant. The plows were out doing their thing, so the OFs were pretty sure that when they left the Your Way Café the roads (like last week) would be in better shape. (Scribe’s note, at least for those in our vehicle the roads were better.)

The OFs touched on an unusual topic for them; it was stained glass windows. The real old fashioned stained glass windows cost and arm and a leg, plus maybe a scalp, an ear, and an eye to have cleaned and repaired. Of course this is depending on the size of the window. The cost, which may be understandable, is prohibitive in many cases and small churches simply cannot afford to have this done. What many churches are doing is covering the stained glass window with clear glass, or storm windows, in order to protect the stained glass window. The way the OFs understand it, the new stained glass windows are regular colored glass which is generally applied over a pane of regular glass, not like the old fashioned stained glass window which was cut and then leaded to separate the colors that were fitted like a jigsaw puzzle. The OFs thought the old fashioned way must have been painstakingly slow and meticulous. First a sketch to fit the opening, then locating or making the colored glass, then cutting and now it is time to make the window.

Two OFs have reported seeing red wing blackbirds in our area already. One OF saw the birds in Colonie, and another right in the town of Knox. This is a little early for these birds to make a showing. Those birds may have had a few scouts in Punxsutawney, Pa. and reported back that the fury rodent said spring would be early this year. Now they are hauling butt back north to take advantage of the seeds that should be on the ground from last fall. The OFs know that when the birds first show up they attack the backyard feeders by the drove. It is only mid-winter and we could get a ton of snow between now and April, but maybe these birds know something we don’t.

Most of the OFs that are still married are easy-going types. These OFs acquiesce to their partners on many occasions. More often than not it costs the OF time or money. One OF reported that recently he picked out tiles for under their woodstove that were effective, would do the trick, and looked good. These tiles were 12”x12” and only $.97 cents each. The OF and wife piled in the truck and headed to the one of the big box stores which have everything for the home DIY, OF. The were ready to purchase the tiles when a salesman suggested a different tile to the wife that he thought might work better. Then he went on to show them other decorative tiles. The original selection the OF and the better half decided on when they left the house were 12”x12” and $.97 each, the fancy ones they came home with were 6”x6” and $7.37 ea. A simple little job that would have cost about $16 or so dollars, wound up costing the OF over $450.00. You gals are lucky to have these OFs to lean on. We acquiesce to prevent days of whines and pouts.

Our normal patter about old stuff generally pops in the conversation at one time or another at every breakfast. This breakfast was no different. This morning the OFs compared old tractor engines, and engines in general, to the newer ones. This topic was geared to how good the international engines were in the Farmall tractors. (These tractors are the red ones). One OF mentioned that he was using his Farmall cub tractor when he heard a loud bang. The OF said nothing looked out of place, the tires were fine and tractor ran great so he had no idea what it was. The OF told us he used the tractor for 3 days around his place and it started and worked as it should. Then the other day he walked by it and noticed that the whole top of the battery had blown OFF, but the cables were still connected. If that had happened on one of the newer tractors or in your vehicle there would probably be one heck of a fire.

Back in the day there was a product most every farm kept on hand which was like tar in a can. This product was used to repair cracks in batteries, and this scribe can attest to this invention because on our farm we had an old GP John Deere tractor that had a patched battery and it was the only battery that tractor ever had that this scribe can recall. The OFs remember filling the batteries with distilled water at times and even adding battery acid. Today changing batteries is rather routine, and they are not cheap Magee, just part of our current throw away culture.

Those OFs that made it to the Your Way Café in Schoharie, and sat at their tables without falling down on the ice, were: Bill Lichliter, Robie Osterman, George Washburn, Roger Chapman, Roger Shafer, Glenn Patterson, Mark Traver, John Rossmann, Gerry Irwin, Jay Francis, Mace Porter, Jack Norray, Lou Schenck, Wayne Gaul, Jim Rissacher, Ted Willsey, and me.

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