Archive » August 2014 » Columns

At our routine Tuesday morning breakfast, we gathered at the Duanesburg Diner, in Duanesburg. For most of us, the ride over to Duanesburg was like an early fall morning; the air was crisp and clear with areas of patchy fog. Some of the OFs said they could see their breath around 5:30 to 6 a.m., and it is August. 

This made for breakfast chat of bringing in wood, and telling ways of keeping warm for the winter. One OF said he was going to get another dog.  There may be a three-dog night coming up soon.  To the OFs, it is too early, yet some said it is never too early to prepare for winter. To some OFs, that is not a cheery thought. 

A few of the OFs heard the late summer locusts singing, but they thought these little bugs are in for a surprise if it stays like this in the weather department. How would we start conversations if it weren’t for the weather?

Money matters

The OFs had a brief discussion on money and how much of it is really around. This was brought about by how much money the wife of a Russian billionaire recently received in her divorce settlement. Either she had a darn good attorney, or her ex-spouse really wanted to get rid of her.

Her settlement was reported to be 4.5 billion (that is billion with a B) American dollars. There must have been a conversion for American readers because rubles were not mentioned. 

The OFs maintained they are satisfied when they have enough to pay for breakfast, leave a tip, and buy gas to get back and forth from the restaurant. The OFs brought up how much money the United Arab Emirates have and, with the most populous city of Dubai in the emirate, how much money they control.

One OF said that, if you want to have your house on an island, and you are a big shot in Dubai, all you do is pump in sand and make your own island and go ahead and build your house on it. (On Christ, the solid rock, I stand. All other ground is sinking sand.) Hmm.

Those Arabs that control Abu Dubai are not dumb; they have set themselves up pretty good, one OF said, because, when the oil runs out, the Dubai operatives will be able to control the high-tech plants, like Global Foundries, which is fully owned by the Abu Dhabi government.  The OFs know about that company because of this company’s involvement in the Capital District. 

Old days and old ways

Depending on where this scribe plops his butt, the conversation basically gravitates to the interest of the people in that group: hiking, conservation, work projects, farming, farm equipment, old times (that includes most all the OFs), and travel are among the most frequent, general topics for discussion.

This week, the banter encompassed old times, farming, and old equipment all in one. This happens a lot.

There are some OFs who collect items that will not fit in their living room, i.e., old farm tractors, and equipment. The OFs were discussing what they have, and what process some of the OFs are in of negotiating for some old tractors.

These tractors are vintage machines from the 1920s or so. Included in the conversation was who has what old oil can and who has the most oil cans, and who has the oldest oil cans.

The OFs discussed oil, particularly GLF (Grange League Federation) oil. Two OFs said they own some of these cans. GLF is a farming cooperative, and these cans were from the Petroleum Division of the Cooperative GLF Exchange Inc. in Ithaca, New York.

Many oil containers way back when, were not in cans, but glass bottles and it is a miracle that any of this type of container survived yet they are all over the place with their pour spouts still intact.  

When listening to these OFs talking and paying attention to what they are doing now — collecting, maintaining, and restoring — part of our agricultural history makes these OFs accidental historians. These OFs could tell book-type historians what past possessions were really like.

Some of the OFs’ homes are like museums for what they have collected and saved from the dump or scrapyard. It is not only large agricultural equipment collected or restored by the OFs but cars and boats should also be included in the large-collected-items category. Ah, and then there are the smalls — that is another story.

It has been brought up from time to time whether the OFs are hoarders or collectors. There is one big difference: Hoarders just pile junk upon junk and have no idea what it is or what they are going to do with it. The OFs are collector-restorers.

They purchase with a specific purpose in mind like spare parts, or restoration, or they might even disassemble for needed parts at a swap meet. Thank goodness for us OFs — we are of the pre-throw-away culture.

The OFs motto is: Build it to last, not build it with timers installed that make whatever it is quit in a prescribed length of time so it is necessary to go and purchase a new one of whatever. The OFs have spoken (for now anyway). There is another way to look at building something to last.  

The OFs who attended the breakfast at the Duanesburg Diner in Duanesburg (and none showed up in a Duesenberg) were: Roger Chapman, Dick Ogsbury, Karl Remmers, George Washburn, Robie Osterman, Roger Shafer, Steve Kelly, Art Frament, Herb Sawotka, Bob Benac, Roger Fairchild, Bill Bartholomew, Dave Williams, John Rossmann, Frank Pauli, Harold Guest, Mark Traver and guest Tanner Spohn, Mace Porter, Jack Norray, Lou Schenck, Ted Willsey, Bob Lassome, Joe Loubier, Rich Donnelly, Bill Krause, Duncan Bellinger, Andy Tinning, Duane Wagonbaugh, Mike Willsey, Gerry Chartier, Elwood Vanderbilt, Gill Zabel, Harold Grippen, and me.


The Enterprise — Michael Nardacci

Damoiselles: A pair of sunglasses shows the size of the tiny structures near the entrance to a Clarksville area cave. Pebbles in the clay matrix have protected the sediments beneath them, forming little columns.


The Enterprise — Michael Nardacci

Hoodoos eroding out of a glacial drift on the Normanskill at “Ghost Fire Bend.” These structures change radically from year to year because of heavy precipitation.


The Enterprise — Michael Nardacci

A sweeping view over Tent Rocks State Park stretches to Sandia Mountain near Albuquerque.


The Enterprise — Michael Nardacci

A sweeping view over Tent Rocks State Park stretches to Sandia Mountain near Albuquerque.


The Enterprise — Michael Nardacci

A few stubs are all that remain of some very old hoodoos. Others show the classic shape while newly forming hoodoos emerge slowly from the surrounding slopes.


The Enterprise — Michael Nardacci

A massive boulder compressed the sediment below it, protecting it from erosion — a textbook example of hoodoo formation.


A point I have always tried to make with my students or participants in one of my field trips is that geologists have a name for absolutely every natural process involving the rocky sphere that is Planet Earth.  And one of the wonderful things that has happened in recent decades is that scientists have sent robot probes to examine the surfaces of other planets, as well as asteroids and comets, and have found not only that many of the same processes occur on worlds as alien as the Moon, Venus, and Mars, but have discovered exciting evidence of other geologic phenomena unknown on Earth and waiting to be explained.

Over the past few days, the Internet has been sizzling with reactions to a rock photographed by the Curiosity Rover that has a passing resemblance to a thighbone.  Given the fact that not one of the robots sent there has yet found persuasive evidence that anything as large as a microbe ever lived on Mars, the curiously shaped rock is unlikely to be anything but that:  a curiously shaped rock.

But the various chat rooms that dwell on such things are buzzing with charges that NASA (the National Aeronautics and Space Administration) is once again concealing evidence of macrobiotic life on Mars and those who disagree are denounced in vitriolic (and often hilariously ungrammatical) language.

Yet the fact is that the natural processes which change the shape of Earth’s surface are sometimes capable of producing very curious results:  hence, the chess-piece shapes of the rocky towers of Bryce Canyon, the elegantly sculptured mesas and buttes of Monument Valley, and the granite profile of New Hampshire’s Old Man of the Mountains that collapsed ignominiously some years ago into a heap of rubble due to frost-wedging.

A few weeks back, on emerging from a trip with some students through one of the caves near the village of Clarksville, I noticed some odd, miniscule features on a pile of muddy debris at the cave’s entrance.  The debris was glacial drift, deposited on the Clarksville area by one of the streams pouring off the melting Ice Age glaciers thousands of years ago: hundreds of penny-sized and smaller pebbles in a matrix of packed clay.

But many of the pebbles stood atop a small, thin column of that clay, forming tiny structures geologists call by the French term “damoiselles”— which loosely translates as “little maidens.” Evidently, to the French-speaking geologists who coined the name, the pebbles resembled broad bonnets perched atop the slender structures below.

This happens when rain water or melting snow cascades down an exposure of soft sediment, washing away anything that is not protected by the tiny pebbles; their weight has slightly compressed and hardened the materials on which they sit.

In many places in the world, these structures appear on a much larger scale.  Chimney Bluffs State Park on Lake Ontario features enormous examples, which are often given the name “hoodoos” when they form such massive structures.  A somewhat smaller display of hoodoos appears on the mysteriously named “Ghost Fire Bend” of the Normanskill, though these are currently not accessible by car with the closing of Grant Hill Road due to road work.

In June of this year, while on a hiking trip to New Mexico, I had the opportunity to visit Tent Rocks State Park on the reservation of the Cochiti Pueblo, southwest of Santa Fe.  The preserve was originally given the Keresan language name Kasha-Katuwe, which is usually translated as “rocks that resemble teepees.” 

Here, between 6 million and 7 million years ago, the land was buried under the debris from an incredibly violent volcanic eruption that formed the Jemez Caldera, a giant bowl-shaped depression to the north.  Layers of the soft, spongy-looking rock known as pumice, compacted rock fragments called tuff, and volcanic ash buried the region in layers hundreds of feet thick.

The weight of all of that air-borne sediment compacted the strata into a crumbly matrix rock that weathers easily due to the wildly varying seasonal temperatures and is poorly resistant to erosion by the occasional rainfall or melting snow.  But mixed in with the smaller rock fragments are boulders, some the size of an automobile, and these had the effect of compressing and compacting the sediments that lay beneath them. Thus the sediments were protected from the raging, highly erosive waters that flow during those occasional periods in arid climates when sudden torrential rains fall.

The results are the hoodoos of Kasha-Katuwe, and they are marvels to behold.

Those found near the parking area for the preserve’s trailheads gave Tent Rocks its name. There are a dozen or more of them, ranging in height from a couple of yards to 20 or 30 feet, but these represent the last stage in the erosion cycle of the hoodoos.  They have lost their protective boulder caps and, in respect to geologic time, they are not long for this world.

Though this part of the Southwest is currently experiencing a severe decade-long drought, every drop of rain that does fall is washing them down to ground level, the eventual fate of all hoodoos.

To get a better idea of nature’s inventive sculpting talents, one must hike up one of the two major trails that head into the park.  They are easy for the experienced hiker, though the lack of shade and the unforgiving summer sun make it mandatory to carry a couple of quarts of water.  In addition, signs warn of poisonous snakes lurking in the underbrush — sufficient cause for those inclined to bushwhack to stay on trail.

A textbook example of the formation of the hoodoos lies on the edge of the eroding mesa around which the trail meanders.  Rising some 20 feet from the middle of a dry wash, the structure is crowned by a large boulder of pumice.

Farther along the trail, the hoodoos become larger and more varied in shape and one particularly steep slope offers a view of their entire life cycle:  some eroded down to mere stubs, some proudly displaying their protective caps, and others just beginning to emerge from the eroding cliffs.

They derive their weird shapes from the varying hardness of the rock strata from that they form. A slot canyon cut into the rock by raging waters offers a shady respite from the heat and climaxes in a hair-raisingly steep and exposed series of switchbacks leading to a jaw-dropping view out over the canyon to Sandia Mountain above Albuquerque.

The American Southwest — particularly in New Mexico and Arizona — features some spectacular geology due to its diverse rock types; its wildly varying elevations; and its climate, which tends to be arid but is subject to sudden intense flooding.

Terms such as “weathering,” “erosion,” “resistance,” “strata,”  “frost wedging,” and other prosaic expressions may seem lifeless on the page of the textbook.  But, in an environment such as Tent Rocks State Park, these dry words describe nature’s endlessly varied talent to create wonders in the rock from which Earth is made.


At last week’s Guilderland Board of Education meeting, seven of the nine board members voted to direct Superintendent Marie Wiles to refocus the discussion about a consultant’s report and set aside its recommendations to close schools.  I applaud the seven members’ decision.

At last week’s Guilderland Board of Education meeting, seven of the nine board members voted to direct Superintendent Marie Wiles to refocus the discussion about a consultant’s report and set aside its recommendations to close schools.  I applaud the seven members’ decision.

On Tuesday, Aug. 12, The Old Men of the Mountain met at the restaurant they were supposed to be at. The restaurant used to be the Alley Cat, then the Blue Star, and now (if this scribe has the correct spelling) it is The Scho-Co Diner. The “Scho” stands for Schoharie, and the “Co” stands for county. The way the pronunciation sounded to the OFs was “Sko-Co” which does have a particular ring to it, but will take some getting used to.

To most of the OFs, the only changes were physical. The “pinkish-red” became “yellow” on the interior, and on the walls hung a collection of very nice photographs. That was about it; the food was plentiful, and good, so that didn’t change and neither did the phone number.

Middle East a big mess

The OFs at one table were talking about the skirmishes, or wars, which have been ongoing in the Middle East. Among the splinter groups were the Jews, and the Palestinians, the Kurds, and the Shiites, Al-Qaida, ISIS, or the Taliban (whatever that group is calling itself now) along with others who have become innocently involved.

The OFs can’t quite figure out what is going on — only that it is one great big mess. One OF said that this battle has been going on among these different factions for centuries and that OF sees no end.

Creatures great and small

The OFs were also talking about Shark Week that is currently on TV. Some of the OFs seem fascinated by it.

Some OFs are just as fascinated by what is in the ocean as the water itself. What is swimming around in the oceans?

Many OFs say they have no idea of what some of it may be, from microscopic to monsters. One OF conjectured that our fascination with water might be that it is from conception, and during the first nine months of our lives we live in a sack of water.

Some of the largest creatures now on the planet are sharks and whales. The OFs included whales with their discussions on sharks. Only a few of the OFs have seen sharks in the wild, but many have seen the docile whale on whale watches, and sometimes whales are spotted just by accident from land and from cruise ships.

One OF wondered if we ever had the senses that some of these creatures have, i.e., if all the research is valid. Man is so puny, so how did we get the upper hand?  It really could be the Planet of the Apes if survival were based on just size.

One OF said size doesn’t matter, and neither do brains; rather, it is organization and numbers. If a couple of million ants take on a human being, the human — though a hundred times larger than a single ant — doesn’t stand a chance.

Full-moon romance?

The OFs discussed more science Tuesday morning.  The next topic was the moon and its closeness to the Earth a few days ago.

The OFs wondered if there will be any increase in babies being born nine months from now because of this super full moon. Some OFs said they had kids born on full moons.

One OF mentioned that one of his kids was born on a full moon and was covered in a fine hair. Wolfman, where are you?

None of the OFs noticed any unusual animal behavior, or anything out of the ordinary with the super moon that just occurred. An OF mentioned there are so many made-up names nowadays that he is surprised there wasn’t a kid named “Perigee” in the paper.

Digital dilemma

On many occasions, the OFs talk about birding, and the birds they see. One OF swears he spotted a golden eagle. He says he put the binoculars on the bird and still maintains it was a golden eagle.

The OF was asked if he got a picture of it and he said that all he had was his little camera with him, and by that the OF meant digital and that camera at long distances seemed to be “shaky.” The OF said his “big” camera was back at the house (meaning the type of camera that used regular film and one he could put a long lens on).  With that big camera, the OF said he has some beautiful nature shots.

The OFs said these new cameras on computers and in phones, and the cameras no bigger than a pack of cigarettes, are only meant for taking these new photos called “selfies” and not for taking real pictures.

One OF mentioned how slow the digital cameras are compared to the film-type camera. By the time the OF pushes all the buttons to get the digital going, what he wanted to take a picture of is gone.

To show how hip the OFs are (not) the OFs wondered if you can still get film for these older cameras. There was not a real “for sure” uttered by many of the OFs, just some “I don’t know”s to “I think so”s tossed around. The answer is yes, and the cameras are also still available.

They also make some large digital cameras with interchangeable lenses that are very good. This scribe thinks that information collected by a bunch of numbers recorded on a disk can be more lasting than an image recorded by light on a chemical film.

Those who attended the breakfast at the Scho-Co Diner in Schoharie and were there as actual people and not a bunch of numbers (then again, maybe that is what we are, maybe everything is just a bunch of numbers) were: Art Frament, Bob Benac, Roger Fairchild, Herb Swabota, Roger Chapman, Miner Stevens, Dave Williams, Steve Kelly, Roger Shafer, Bill Bartholomew, Glenn Patterson, Mark Traver, Jim Heiser, Chuck Aleseio, Frank Pauli, John Rossmann, Harold Guest, Karl Remmers, Dick Ogsbury, Robie Osterman, George Washburn, Duncan Bellinger, Bill Krause, Lou Schenck, Mace Porter, Jack Norray, Don Wood, Duane Wagenbaugh, Harold Grippen, Ted Willsey, Bob Lassome, Rich Donnelly, Joe Loubier, Elwood Vanderbilt, Gill Zabel, Mike Willsey, Gerry Chartier, and me.


Here's a great word we don't often hear spoken but that we deal with (at least I do) all the time: conundrum.

According to my faithful dictionary, a conundrum is an intricate or difficult problem. See what I mean? You don't hear the word conundrum a lot but you sure experience it all the time. Let's take a look at some of the conundrums I deal with on a regular basis.

My kids have all turned out to be good drivers; my wife is, too. (She even tells me she was Driver of the Year in high school.) Empirically, I accept this and yet, when any of them are driving and I'm a passenger, the level of fear, even panic, that I feel is palpable and quite disturbing.

My wife's car has a handle over the passenger door and I often squeeze it so hard I wonder if I'll break it. I really don't know why I feel this way — they really are good, safe drivers and I'm glad for that.

But put me in the passenger seat and I'm sweating bullets. Probably it's the simple lack of control you feel as a passenger, which is reasonable in my case since I'm the driver maybe 98 percent of the time I'm in a car. But that 2 percent! Oh boy, now that's a conundrum.

Cat conniptions

If you've been on the Internet at all, you know that probably 50 percent of it is cat related: photos, videos, Facebook posts, anecdotes, etc. This paradigm plays out in my house as well, as I'm surrounded by cat lovers and not one, not two, but three, count 'em, three indoor cats.

My family gets such intense pleasure and enjoyment from these often quite aloof animals that, if I didn't see it for myself, I wouldn't believe it. Now I don't have anything against outdoor cats; they earn their keep by preying on vermin, though I can't stand when they attack the beautiful birds, nature’s lovely natural singers, that I love so much.

My problem is with indoor cats and specific behaviors of theirs that I just don't like: going up on kitchen counters (and, yes, they do this when you're not there); throwing up all over the house and leaving disgusting hair balls everywhere; hunting and stalking everything that moves; and sniffing the food apprehensively every time they approach it — which is all the time — when it's the exact same food that sits out there 24/7/365.

Suffice it to say I'm not a "cat fancier," yet I'm prevented by the democratic process from getting rid of the furry little pests, er, I mean the lovely wonderful things. Now if that's not a conundrum I don't know what is. Thank God for single-malt scotch.

One time the pastor at church told a story about a cat who left the house and returned six months later. As the congregation oohed and aahed over the almost Biblical return, I'm sitting there going, "What I wouldn't give for six months’ peace and tranquility."

I know, I have issues. Still, to me it was a great sermon. Six months! One can only dream.

One of the cats is on a prescription — probably stress from having so much to do all day — and I was sent to the drugstore to fill it. The druggist calls me over and says, "Palmeri?"

Yes I say.

Then he goes, "First name?"

So, in front of all the other druggists and the customers, he made me say out loud, "Snickers."

How embarrassing is that. Please go away for six months!

Channel-changing challenge

Let's say you're changing channels before the game comes on and you happen upon a Seinfeld episode. Despite the fact that you've seen these over and over and know all the jokes, if you let yourself linger, it's all too easy to get sucked in and then you've wasted a half-hour.

You know it's going to happen and you still can't do anything about it. Talk about conundrum city.

Regretting the missed ritual

When my faithful Toyota Sienna died, I had to find another vehicle quickly. I wound up getting another mini-van, and, even though its used, it has a pretty good warrantee, but get this — the warrantee is only in effect if I let the dealer do the oil changes.

You might think this is no big deal, and for some it may not be, but for me it has turned out to be one of the worst decisions I've ever made.

Here's the thing: Today's cars are so complex and full of electronics that there's really not much a dedicated owner like me can do mechanically any more, save for the good old oil change. When I do them, it's like a ritual: a nice warm day, garage door open, with dirty hot oil draining into a pan and "Car Talk" on the radio.

Then I'll go mow the lawn while every last bit of nasty old oil gets drained. Finally, I'll put in a new filter, inspect everything under the car, and then pour in the best oil I can find so I know I'm good to go for many thousands of miles. Now, all of a sudden, because of this stupid warrantee situation, I can't even have the simple time-honored pleasure of doing an oil change on my own vehicle.

What a colossal mistake I made. Unlike many obvious conundrums, I didn't even realize that not being able to change my own oil would be a conundrum until it was too late. Live and learn, ain't it the truth.

To add insult to injury, the one oil change the dealer did do, it royally screwed up. Sometimes it really does go from bad to worse, but at least I learn from my mistakes — I will never buy a vehicle from a dealer that insists it has to do the oil changes again.

Doctor duty

Deciding when to call the doctor is always a conundrum for me. In my experience, most things get better over time, but the self-diagnosis game is not always easy to play (especially when you're married).

The one that always gets me is when you go to bed feeling fine and then wake up with a cold or a headache or a sore back. I thought sleep was supposed to be restful?

For me to have to agree to see a doctor, it has to be something obvious, like an open wound or worse. True, I like reading magazines but I prefer to do it on my own time rather than in a waiting room if at all possible, and, while I do like my doctor very much, seeing her once a year is just fine, thank you very much.

Maxing the motorcycle

My motorcycle is precision-made in Germany and is easily capable of keeping up triple-digit speeds all day on the Autobahn. The conundrum is, we don't have an Autobahn on this side of the pond, so there are not many legal ways to take advantage of this awesome performance.

Every now and then, discretion goes out the window and I wind up with what I euphemistically call a "performance award," that is, a speeding ticket. Lest you surmise that this is simply flippant behavior on my part, be aware that, when your are dealing with a modern, high performance car or motorcycle, it is so easy, because of the smooth and effortless performance, to be on your merry way and not even realize you're over the speed limit, it happens so fast.

I think someday I'll add a sidecar to my bike for the grandkids to ride in; that will slow me down for sure. Until then, for the sake of my license and my insurance rates, I better figure this conundrum out post-haste.

In addition, there are all kinds of mini-conundrums to deal with throughout the day: boxers or briefs (or nothing?); Coke or Pepsi (there is a difference); the highway or the back road (speed or scenery); and many more. It all comes down to making decisions. When you make more right decisions than bad ones you're having a good day. It's as simple as that.
Conundrums can be trivial or complex, harmless or painful, plentiful or sparse, but they are always there and waiting for you to decide what to do. Good luck with your conundrums


Again (and probably more “again”s) this scribe must admit to so much to do, and so little time, but finally he is able to get at the scribing duties. Tuesday, July 22, The Old Men of the Mountain met at the Middleburgh Diner in Middleburgh.

Either it is the number of OFs at the breakfast, or maybe the fact that more of them are becoming hard of hearing, but the decibel rating of the restaurants when we gather is increasing. However, there are enough loud OFs that notes are able to be taken to compose some kind of report.

The old hotel, and later a store of sorts, at the corner of routes 156 and 443 in Berne is in the process of being torn down. (By the time this is written, it may be down). The OFs mentioned this building’s demise was brought about so trucks on Route 443 can make that difficult turn to get into Berne.

This is a case of history meeting the wrecking ball to make way for more modern equipment. One OF mused that Berne — and some of the other Hilltowns — are just like the towns that people travel from all over the country to visit.  Like Vermont, the character is here, or in some cases was here, but not the little gifty shops. One OF said those who try owning one of these gifty places in the Hilltowns are never quite able to cut the mustard.

“I can understand that,” another OF said, “because this is New York, and have you ever tried doing business in New York?  It is almost impossible to get started with all the red tape, and taxes. That corner will look really different without the hotel.”

A different OF opined, “Can you just imagine the state building a fake covered bridge there, and the hotel having a gift shop, and the little defunct store across the street something else, like an artist studio or gallery?  Envision the old stage that was in the hotel refurbished and having live music every now and then, and using the stage for exhibitions. A small café overlooking the falls in the old hotel would be slick, too. Too bad all these types of opportunities are now gone.  The Masons could really tout the local produce on a daily basis...Opportunity gone, for now.”

 “Hey,” one other OF said, “our trees turn just as colorful as Vermont’s.”

Phone pioneers

The OFs then mentioned the old Middleburgh Telephone Co. and how the wires used to be strung through the trees and on fence posts and whatever was handy to get to where they were needed.

The OFs also mentioned the actor John McGiver who lived in West Fulton, just outside of Middleburgh, and his connection with the early Middleburgh Telephone Co. One of the OFs mentioned that one of his grandchildren is married to one of McGiver’s grandkids.

The OMOTM wondered if these early pioneers of the phone networks could ever imagine that most phones being made and sold today would not even use wires.

Kudzu of the North

It was noted that most of the vegetation this year is doing quite nicely, and that includes vegetation that is not wanted. Wild grape is one of those that are not wanted, and the OFs on the Hill are beginning to notice that this nasty vine is like kudzu in the South.

One OF noted that crawling in the bushes to get at the root system and cutting it is just making it worse because it is akin to pruning grapes. The more it is cut, the more it grows. The stuff is a pain, but, in the fall, its bright yellow leaves do add to the color of the fall season.

One OF said “Ya know, that is not too far away!” 

This dialogue brought up flowers, which also seem to be doing well this season, and that brought up a discussion on “stressing flowers” to either strengthen them, or have them produce more blooms. Some of the OFs doubted this idea, but, depending on the flower (and there are many), planned stressing does produce more blooms and does strengthen the plant. 

One OF said grass is a case in point. The more often the grass is correctly mowed, the thicker and richer the grass is. The OF said, if grass is planted and left alone ,it soon thins out, becomes weak, withers, and weeds take over. This OF said it has to be “stressed” by mowing in order to do well.

The same with the miserable wild grape vine, only this OF admitted he didn’t know what to do with this stuff.

“Just cut it and make grapevine wreaths; it might be a nice side income,” the OF said.

In checking out this conversation, this scribe found, when Googling “Stressed Flowers,” tons of information came up.

Signs sprout like lilies

Whether a person is a gun enthusiast or not, the OFs say they do not know how we ever got a “gun law” just by the amount of signs in the valley and in the Hilltowns that espouse — in essence — to repeal the SAFE (Secure Ammunition and Firearms Enforcement) Act.

The OFs were not saying much about guns or no guns only that one thing the law did was help to generate a lot of money for people that make signs and to sell guns. These signs have sprouted like day lilies, in the geographical area of the circle of restaurants the OMOTM bother on a weekly basis.

Those OFs who rolled off the hill and bothered the Middleburgh Diner in Middleburgh — the rolling started with a good push from the wife — were: Roger Chapman, John Rossmann, George Washburn, Robie Osterman, George Aleseio, Bill Bartholomew, Jim Heiser, Otis Lawyer, Harold Guest, Mark Traver, Steve Kelly, Bob Benac, Miner Stevens, Frank Pauli, Glenn Patterson, Roger Fairchild, Art Frament, Don Wood, Dave Williams, Lou Schenck, Mace Porter, Roger Shafer, Bill Krause, Duane Wagenbaugh, Bob Lassome, Rich Donnelly, Harold Grippen, Elwood Vanderbilt, Gerry Chartier, Gill Zabel, Mike Willsey, and me.