On Tuesday the 28th of March (thank goodness this month is almost to the end) the Old Men of the Mountain met at the Hilltown Café in Rensselaerville.

The following OF report will be from notes that did not make previous reports because this scribe has one of the hardest colds he thinks he has ever had and so he did not make the breakfast. One reason was because he had so much Coricidin in him that the drousy bit was really working; the other reason was that he would not want any of the other OFs to catch it, for some of these old codgers it would do them in and the scribe would feel real bad about that because this scribe now hates to get dressed up.

This scribe is going back to March 7th, on a topic of buzz saws. One of the unusual uses of a large 36” buzz saw was at a horning. The OFs have conversed many times about what we used to do in the forties and fifties that was considered fun but would have the OFs arrested today. When young couples got married in small country towns generally a horning was planned. This was not a secret to the young couple because they may have participated in a few horning’s themselves. They also knew that when the horning was to happen was a closely guarded secret. The Pentagon could take lessons on how well the farmers handled this secret.

The young married couple would take part of their wedding money to prepare for this event. The OFs remember having a damaged buzz saw hung in the machinery shed on a farm just for this event. The night of the horning, the buzz saw was put to good use. The saw was placed on a pry bar, or a length of heavy duty pipe which was brought to the horning location. Two guys would hold up the saw and another guy would pound on it with a good size hammer. Big Ben would not ring through the night as loud as the buzz saws ring.  We have long and fond memories of these (now obsolete) gatherings.

This next subject we discussed, and was found in our backlog of topics, is one not used from January 31st, and the note in the book is just noise. This scribe remembers what this was about but does not remember how the OFs came to talk about this. The feeling that people say they are going out to the quietness of the country are in for a rude awakening especially when the milking machines start running at four in the morning, and the milk truck makes its first stop around 5:30 or 6 am. The country is not quiet. The noises are different balers pounding, tractors running, blowers whining, belts slapping, fans whirring, and all kinds of other unexpected noise. Then there are the noises of the night. It is just like the city only different.  There does come a time at night when the country becomes eerily quiet, and those not familiar with this sensation wake up wondering what has happened.

February 14th was a discussion on the Metric System versus our Fractional system. The OFs wonder why the whole world can’t be one or the other. Why hasn’t the United States ever converted to the Metric System?  Short answer:  It’s complicated.  One OF mentioned that Thomas Jefferson tried to convert us to this quite a few years back and it never took hold.  When they attempted to have the US go to the Metric System it ran into many problems. The OFs were taught a smattering of metric at one time, but so little that it soon was forgotten about. Now there seems to be more metric labeling and equipment built overseas that incorporate some metric, however, just some of it is rubbing off on the OFs.

“Today,” one OF said, “If you are going to do any mechanical repairs it is necessary to have two sets of tools: one metric, and one fractional.”   “Yeah,” another OF said, “When looking at a nut which I think is ¼ inch but half the time it turns out to be 6 mm.”  Another OF commented that he had put a bucket on a John Deere tractor he owned the tractor was metric, and the bucket turned out to be Wentworth, which measured sizes in inches. What a mess that was. The OF said the bucket and attachment’s fasteners had to be taken out, holes re-drilled and Helicoils (a metric coarse thread repair kit) were put in with fractional threads. One OF said when we ship overseas we have to use the dang metric system, but when they ship goods over here they use metric, and not our fractional system, which makes for a very unlevel playing field.

Yep, what they are doing by osmosis is so that eventually this country will go metric. Doctors talk metric, i.e., it is a 2 liter bottle, and speedometers now have both metric speed and fractional speed per hour. “It will be a long time before it is complete ─ if ever,” one OF said. “Look at all the old tractors and hit-and-miss engine clubs that are around. Old cars and trucks that people keep running will still be fractional.”  One OF said he would never get used to 34-26-34 being 91.44-56.04-91.44, cm, or they might just call it 92-57-92.  What a shame when they change that!

The Old Men of the Mountain that met at the Hilltown Café in Rensselaerville, and this scribe has no idea how they got there but at least they did, were: Robie Osterman, George Washburn, Glenn Patterson, Mark Traver, Chuck Aelesio, Marty Herzog, Bill Lichliter, Otis Lawyer, Harold Guest, John Rossmann, Mace Porter, Jack Norray, Gerry Irwin, Ted Feurer, Herb Bahrmann, Wayne Gaul, Lou Schenck, Jim Rissacher, Mike Willsey, ( with guest Amy Willsey), Gerry Chartier, ( with guest Winne Chartier), Elwood Vanderbilt, Richard Frank, Harold Grippen, and not me.

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