February 23rd 2016 was a Tuesday, and the Old Men of the Mountain met at the Duanesburg Diner, in Duanesburg. One of the OFs who taps trees and makes his own maple syrup has already collected his first sap so the OF is just about right on time. This year (with no snow) tapping is much easier than it would have been last year, and also much earlier because warm days are needed for the sap to flow.

One OF mentioned that his son brings his own maple syrup to restaurants when he has a breakfast that requires syrup. The Old Men of the Mountain once had a member (who has now passed away) that did the same thing. This OF had his own sap line, but brought sap in that was so old it had mold on it. The OFs remember him bringing in this delicacy and passing it around to those that ordered pancakes or French toast. One OF would occasionally put it on his oatmeal. Great treat.

An OF who went to the recent Home Show in Albany (to check out solar energy) and he brought in a brochure from the show. The brochure was from a company there that would RENT out chickens. The brochure rented 2 chickens for 6 months for $400.00. The company supplied everything. Coop, chicken feed…the works. The next thing you know it will be rent a cow, or rent a dog or cat ─ how about a guinea pig?  How about rent a kid, or rent a wife? There are entrepreneurial types that will come up with just about anything. Better yet rent an OF, the options and price will be up to the one renting the OF out. It could be called ROOFS, “Renting Out OFs” they make great mentors.

The OF reported he thought there were takers at the booth renting out the chickens. Suppose someone thought this was a good idea and rented a couple of chickens and then found out there was an ordinance against it where they lived?  Just wondering if things went wrong would the company that rents the chickens give the renters their money back or would they take the chickens back? If that did not happen it would be a pretty expensive chicken stew.

Also, chickens are not like cats that can be left alone for awhile if the owner wants to go someplace. In the case of cats and dogs when the owners want to go away for a couple of weeks they can take them to the kennel, or friends, or have someone check in on them. Chickens are with you just about 7 days a week, 52 weeks a year.

Most all the OFs order coffee when they arrive…something to get the juices going. A few have just water, or juice but not many. This morning the OFs were rating coffee. Some of the OFs were downright fussy on their coffee, while others didn’t give a hoot, as long as it was hot, black water. Some OFs even thought yesterday’s coffee was good. It is a good thing that beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and taste is the same thing. Taste can range on coffee from spitting it out, to asking for seconds and thirds and it comes out of the same coffee pot.

While speaking about food and drink, the OF that was going to cut out bread, and chew, chew, chew his food announced he has lost 57 pounds, and his son has lost considerably more. Hey!  Some of the OFs think this may be the way to go if an OF is serious about losing weight.

Who knows what antique cars, trucks, tractors, wagons, or whatever is lying around in the woods with shrubs and weeds growing around them, and through them, just waiting to be found. The OFs were discussing some of the old equipment that was in this type of condition when the OFs found them. They took these relics, and restored them to running condition. None of the OFs said how much they spent on the restoration process but some of the other OFs suspected they could have gone out a purchased a new one for less money. There is one big however here ─ what fun is there in that?  It also put the old adage “idle hands are the devils workshop” to rest by not having idle hands. There is effort required in getting these old relics out of the woods without serious injury being the result of this undertaking. Then getting to where these remains can be worked on, then analyzing what parts are needed, rounding these parts up from hither and yon, then doing the work, and all the little details in-between. It takes awhile until the sense of accomplishment takes hold and something from the past, in the OF’s memory, is running again. Without these endeavors what would the OFs talk about on Tuesday mornings?

Some of the OF’s kids build skating rinks for the OFs grandkids out of lumber and large sheets of plastic. Cover the plastic with an inch or so of water in late fall and the kids can skate during the winter. This year even those rinks were a disaster. The warm days would melt the top layer of the ice, then the wind would blow and ripples would form and freeze at night; now the ice is not very smooth and a tad tough to skate on. So far this year it has been an unusual winter, like last winter was an unusual winter, only the other way around.

The OFs who made it to the Duanesburg Diner in Duanesburg and did not skate to get there were: Roger Chapman, Dave Williams, Bill Lichliter, Roger Shafer, Miner Stevens, George Washburn, Robie Osterman, Mark Traver, Glenn Patterson, Chuck Aelesio, Harold Guest, John Rossmann, Lou Schenck, Mace Porter, Gerry Irwin, Wayne Gaul, Jack Norray, Bob Fink, Bob Benninger, Jim Rissacher, Elwood Vanderbilt, Harold Grippen, and me.

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