Cold weather fuels talk on frozen pipes, deep frost, and furnaces

The first Old Men of the Mountain’s breakfast of the New Year was held at the Middleburgh Diner in Middleburgh on Jan. 2, 2018. Now all the OMOTM have to remember is to date everything 2018, or ’18.

This will be tough because many of the OFs have trouble remembering if it’s right leg in the pants first or the left leg. This may sound weird but this particular practice not only the OFs have, but most people — if they unconsciously slip out of their routine — become confused or irritated when doing many simple tasks like getting dressed.

To get the day started on the right foot, the best thing to do, at least according to the OFs, is take the pants off and start with the foot that is normally used when getting dressed. It is the same with many functions most do out of habit, like what side of the face to start when shaving; do we tighten the belt or pull the zipper first? One OF thought, for us OFs it is for the most part very important — just pull the zipper! This is true.

We all should realize now how a major portion of the country is going through quite a cold snap, and the OFs don’t think it is over yet. One OF said he knew a winter like this was coming because we had such a beautiful fall.

The OFs started talking about frozen pipes and the cold going so deep it is driving the frost deep in the ground where there is no snow cover. On the Hill and in our general area, an OF pointed out that, with the dribble of snow we have, he feels it does not mean much, as far as keeping the frost at bay, so the OFs should be careful with their water pipes.

One OF mentioned the people south of the Mason-Dixon Line must be having a lot of fun with their pipes. He bets many of these trailer parks have their water lines right under their trailers and unprotected.

“Even here,” one OF added, “most OFs are OK if the power stays on.”

Another OF said he has a whole-house generator but if the power is off for an extended period he worries about fuel because he uses propane and it is not easy to judge how much propane he will need. It is not like running to the gas station and getting a few extra cans of gas.

This brought up a conversation on the outside wood-burning furnaces and the power required to run the circulators because, if the power is out, the circulators are out. One OF who has one of these furnaces also has a portable generator to keep the regulators running. For the most part, the OFs are a resourceful lot.

The OFs continued chatting about the weather and how much extra fuel they are consuming to keep the castle warm. “The last two years have spoiled us,” one OF said. “Last year, we were riding our bikes and worrying about dandelions sprouting up in the lawn in December.” Another OF said he noticed in this cold weather how the miles per gallon on his vehicles has dropped.

The OFs have short memories because they have been through weather like this before.

Global warming

The subject of global warming came up and, as with most topics like this, there are OFs on both sides of the issue. The OFs on the warming side have a tough road to hoe when we have six or seven days below zero, the wind blowing a gale up your pant leg, and the OFs’ cheeks glowing red in just a couple minutes of being outdoors.

The OFs who have ponds that are close to the road are worried about how much salt has been spread so far this year and how much has gotten into their ponds. One OF said he may have to change his fish to saltwater fish.

Another OF said, unless these ponds are like a bowl of water and just sit in a hole in the ground, there should not be a problem. Most ponds have an inlet or maybe are springfed, but they do need an outlet so that salt will purge itself out of the pond. But this OF did admit that there is so much salt on the highway it is like driving on a dirt road.

One OF said he would rather have it that way than sliding into the ditch. Then the other argument started about which is best — driving on cold, hard snow, or wet, slippery, slushy snow.

Subsequently there were the OFs who preferred just using the old-fashioned sand and keeping the salt off the road. These OFs maintain that the roads and vehicles would last much longer than with all the chemicals that are dumped on the highway.

One OF said, “We don’t hear the environmentalists complaining about that one.”

Another OF asked, “Have we ever noticed how the cold weather follows along with a full moon? The moon is so bright at night that the moon shadow on the white snow is beautiful, or would be beautiful, if it wasn’t so d--- cold.”

Winter swim

An inquiry was contemplated. Did any of the OFs have any inclination to run and jump into Lake George in a bathing suit like that group of nuts we saw on TV?

“Yeah, right,” an OF offered, “as soon as my big toe would hit that water, I would have had a heart attack.”

A second OF yelled back, “Or maybe it would kick your ole ticker in high gear and get it running again.”

Harassment charges

Then an OF suggested he wouldn’t want to get that OF’s ticker running again. It was reasoned there wouldn’t be a girl safe on the planet with that OF’s blood pump in high gear.

Another OF said, “I noticed all these harassment suits are against guys. What about the guys? If the same thing happened to them and they brought charges to the distaff side, they would be laughed out of court, especially if they were OFs.”

This scribe’s wife comment on these OFs’ comments was: “Dream on, guys!

Those Old Men of the Mountain who made it to the Middleburgh Diner in Middleburgh with none ready to complain about harassment were: Roger Chapman, Harold Guest, George Washburn, John Rossmann, Bill Lichliter, Robie Osterman, Jack Norray, Gerry Irwin, Lou Schenck, Jim Rissacher, Mike Willsey (our oldest member who is still getting to the breakfast like the postman), Marty Herzog, Elwood Vanderbilt, Harold Grippen, and me.