Swapping stories on sanding roads and harnessing wind

Snow storm. While not a full-blown Nor’easter, it was big enough to test the winter driving skills of any of the OFs if they happened to be out between football games on Sunday. But when you want some pizza, you want some pizza!

Sunday’s snow made Monday the Let’s See If the Snowblower Still Works Day. Sometimes I feel as if it is a race to see which of us will run out of gas sooner, me or the snowblower, as we are both about the same age!

I suspect that more than one OF, after finishing his own personal snow-removal duties, looked around and promptly helped his neighbor. Just like what was said last week, “It’s what we do. It’s who we are.”

After all that exercise, the OFs staggered slowly back to their homes, built a fire in the fireplace, and then promptly fell asleep for a little winter’s nap.

Sure enough, a discussion of naps was overheard at the table with comments and questions regarding favorite chairs that seem to automatically recline to an almost horizontal position with absolutely no help from the OF sitting in them.

Of course there was no help from an already napping OF. Someone wanted to know if the chairs were heated.

That question was answered with a “yes,” which prompted a story about an OF and his wife having a pair of heated recliner chairs they used while on vacation at their campsite. Some people just naturally do it right.

Snowy ride, hearty breakfast

On to the business at hand. This past Tuesday morning found us gathering at the Middleburgh Diner for a hearty breakfast. Next week we will descend upon Mrs. K’s Kitchen.

One OF, who usually travels over Cotton Hill Road to get to the Middleburgh Diner, decided not to tempt Fate and instead took the longer way through Schoharie using the straighter big roads that have guardrails and everything.

The drive was still pretty spectacular, with the new snow all around. Another OF did travel the Cotton Hill Road and said it was perfect.

However, he is a man of the cloth and so may have had an advantage over the rest of us.

The somewhat numerically smaller group of OFs, caused not only by the new snow, but also by the siren song of sunshine, warm temperatures, swimming pools, of warm water, and maybe even a golf course or two just might have accounted for the absence of some of the rest of us.

On the lighter side

The weather was discussed with someone wondering if it was possible to have a January thaw if there has not been a January freeze to speak of. This brought forth memories of winters gone by when the temperature never got above zero for an entire week.

One OF recalled the early days of some towns putting sand on the roads during and after a snow storm by hand! There would be a couple of men with shovels, standing in the back of a truck full of sand, tossing shovelfuls of sand on the road as the truck drove slowly along.

This prompted another comment of: “Can you imagine what today’s OSHA would say about that?”

The story ended with the truck, having reached the end of the street, backing up to turn around when the one side of the truck sort of went into a ditch, causing the truck to tip over, sending the men, shovels, and sand in all directions! Maybe this is why there is an OSHA today.

On the serious side

Also overheard around the table was a discussion regarding an OF’s successful efforts to reduce his carbon footprint to virtually nothing. He has a windmill. Not a great big one, a small one that is designed for a single home.

It has a 100-foot-tall pole (a typical power pole is around 60 feet tall) with the blades only five feet or so in length. The question was asked if there was a “governor” on it to prevent damage from high winds? Yes and no. Not a “governor” per se, but a system that turns the blades away from the very high winds and therefore slows them down. Sort of like a weather vane.

This is not the only thing that this OF has working for him; he has photoelectric solar panels as well. Again, not great big ones, and not acres of them; he is just trying to reduce his carbon footprint.

The end result of his efforts? He does not have to purchase any electricity from the utilities at all.

Good for him, between the combined capacities of the windmill and the solar panels, both of which use only renewable resources, he has reduced his carbon footprint to zero.

By the way, he does not “sell” any leftover electricity back to the power company. With a final tongue-in-cheek comment, he said, if he had any excess electricity, he would probably go out and buy something that uses electricity and run it!

Those OMOTM who enjoyed the snowy scenery and were not worried about getting sunburned were: Harold Guest, Wally Guest, Ed Goff, Russ Pokorny, Warren Willsey, Ted Feurer, Jake Lederman, Pastor Jay Francis, George Washburn, Bill Lichliter, Roland Tozer, Herb Bahrmann, Jack Norray, Dick Dexter, Lou Schenck, and me.