The next stop on the clock for the Old Men of the Mountain was Tuesday, the 11th of April, at the Middleburgh Diner in Middleburgh. And Happy Happy Birthday to our assistant scribe Bill!

This was a beautiful morning; a little after six most of the OMOTM noticed a beautiful sunrise starting in the East, and a full moon to the West which was encased in a pastel yellow-orange glow, and was sharing in that sunrise. Then those OFs headed off to meet with other OFs for breakfast at the Middleburgh Diner and have a laugh or two ─ what a great way to start the day.

One of the OF lives by Warner Lake so close that when the OF gets up his feet are in water told a story that took place about this time of year. The Canada geese are returning for their summer stay in the locale of the OFs. For many of these geese it is not far from their winter gathering places. These geese now make their way to Cornwall, Cornwall-on-Hudson, Carmel, and Lake Carmel where they are really not welcome because they make a mess of just about everything. One OF who made business calls in that area said when pulling into a parking lot that was by a pond he stepped out of the car and was surrounded by geese. The OF then would have to walk in a 10-to-12-foot circle of geese all the way to the door of the main office building that he was calling on.

Back to the OF with the geese at Warner Lake. This OF said the geese landed on the lake and overnight the lake froze with a skim of ice and most of the geese got out OK. However, one goose was trapped and could not get out no matter how hard it tried. Another goose that was able to free itself from this situation watched the predicament of the goose flailing to get free. After awhile the goose that was free went over and started pecking at the ice around the trapped goose. Eventually the goose that was pecking at the trapped goose was able to free it, and the trapped goose took off.

Then another OF picked up on the recounting of the Warner Lake event and  told how the Canada goose was responsible for our lakes, ponds, and waterways being populated with fish. This OF said that many years ago thousands of Canada Geese landed on a very large pond that was loaded with fish. It was the beginning of winter and just like the Warner Lake situation there was an extreme drop in temperature during the night and all the geese were frozen in this large pond.

The OF said that in the morning when the sun came up the geese, one by one, tried to extricate themselves from the ice. This did not work and for some reason all the geese tried to free themselves at the same time.  Ultimately, the geese all took off in unison taking the fish laden ice with them.

The geese flew encased in ice trying to find a place to set down and free themselves.   As they flew over the lakes, ponds and waterways fish fell from the ice into these lakes, ponds and waterways. These falling fish populated all the lakes, ponds and waterways they fell into.

This OF said eventually the ice melted and all the geese were free and they separated and settled into many different bodies of water. The geese quest to free themselves from the ice took them over much of the surrounding landscape and they covered many square miles dropping fish as they sought to fly free from the ice before they became exhausted and crashed to the ground.

The OF said, “You can thank the Canada goose for all the fish that are in our lakes, ponds and waterways today”.

“Yeah,” one OF retorted, “I will remember that each time I have wiped the purple goose poop off the bottom of my boots.”

“My heart knows what the wild goose knows

And I must go where the wild goose goes.

Wild goose, brother goose, which is best

A wandrin’ foot or a heart at rest.”

Now there is an old song that will put our teenage grandchildren’s knickers in a knot.

There are many signs of spring like the Red-winged Blackbirds returning, the stink bugs beginning to show up, of course the geese honking as the penetrate the sky, some of the early flowers poking their heads through the snow, and the peepers. Most of the OFs heard the peepers for the first time Monday night. Some of the OFs thought these harbingers of spring were a little late this year. “These little frogs are amazing,” one OF mused, “For the size of them they make a lot of noise”. The OF also said that when you approach the marshy area where they are peeping they all shut up at the same time like someone turned off a switch, and once the OF said he walks a certain distance away from them they all start in again. The OF said he has placed a stick in the ground from when the peepers stop, and where the peeping starts again and looks for some kind of trip wire.  At night when the peeping usually stops there are generally a few frogs that did not get the message and they do a few little individual peeps and then it is quiet.

The OFs able to break away from the beauty of the sunrise/moonset at the same time and make it to the Middleburgh Diner in Middleburgh were: John Rossmann, Harold Guest, Marty Herzog, Roger Chapman, Bill Lichliter, David Williams, Robie Osterman, George Washburn, Jim Heiser, Ken Parkes, Roger Shafer, Sonny Mercer, Ray Kennedy, Don Wood, Lou Schenck, Mace Porter, Gerry Irwin, Herb Bahrmann, Bob Benninger, Bob Fink, Mike Willsey, Elwood Vanderbilt, Ted Willsey and chauffer Denise Eardley, Harold Grippen, and me.

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