Water is important because we aren’t that removed from the fish we once were

This scribe would like to have a nickel, no, maybe just a penny, for every time the following has been said: “Why do the weeks go by so fast?”

Tuesday has rolled around again, and it seems like it was just Tuesday the day before, but here it is Tuesday, April 22, 2014, and already 112 days of the year have gone by.  My goodness, the OFs will have to start their Christmas shopping pretty soon.

To add to this, in just a few more weeks, the Old Men of the Mountain will be right back at the Blue Star Restaurant in Schoharie ordering the same breakfast — or maybe not.

According to the OFs, spring has sprung because the peepers are peeping. Most of the OFs say, don’t count on it; one day does not spring make.

With the temperature hovering above freezing, and not by much, except for the aforementioned day, the snow does melt. With the snowmelt, the water table goes up and the OFs were talking about how much water they have. Some have their wells overflowing.

One OF said that he has water coming up all over the place, but this OF lives between two hills so this is understandable. However, one who has a well overflowing so the water is running from under the casing cap down the drive lives on top of the mountain. The OFs surmised there must be a ton of pressure on the water table to push the water up like that.

Then comes mid-summer and the OFs hope the water is still there. Generally it is.

One OF said occasionally some of their friends come up from the city to spend time with them and to be in the country for a while. They have day trips planned, and they do some farm-stand shopping, but what drives this OF up the wall is their indiscriminate use of water, “like there is an infinite source of water.”

The showers these friends take are long, and then long again. When trying to help in the kitchen, they turn on the tap and let ’er run. They have the water running and then walk away to do something else.

It is a good thing they are only here for a few days, the OF noted, and he stressed again that they are great friends and nice people.

Another OF chimed in that they have similar friends, again from places with public sources of water and apparently no usage tax. They don’t really know about being on a well with the energy to run the pump and the possibility that the water may be low in a long dry summer.

“Somehow,” the OF said, “we have to remember how important water is because we really aren’t that far removed from the fish we once were.”

 Sorrowful Friday pervades Easter

Easter is an event that is not celebrated like many of the others.

The OFs do not wish each other Happy Easter. Maybe at some ends of the table it was said, but nothing like the expressions heard at Christmas. Happy Easter does not have the ring to it as does Merry Christmas.

There were only a couple of OFs that even asked, “How was your Easter?”

On Thanksgiving, most of the OFs are curious about what the other OFs are doing for Thanksgiving, like family coming over, or checking to see if the OF was going anywhere.

Even the first day of deer season sparks more conversation than Easter. Good Friday, in many circles, is such a downer that it carries over into Easter. (No one really knows why it is called Good Friday, conjecture applies, so take your pick, only in German it is called Sorrowful Friday, everyone to their own interpretation. There that answers the OFs’ questions.)   

Dealing with

an aggressive cardinal

Some of the OFs discussed having birds attack the windows of their homes. The OFs were talking about deliberate attacks, not the occasional bird that flies headlong into a window.

Most of the time it is the cardinal that becomes so aggressive. One OF reported having one of the cardinals becoming such a nuisance that he was making a mess on the side of the house.

The OF said that this bird would attack his hand as he tried to shush it away. The OF said that the only thing between him and that crazed bird was the glass in the window.

This OF called the Cornell Cooperative Extension Service in Voorheesville for advice on how to handle the situation. They said that cardinals were very territorial and the cardinal saw his reflection in the window and saw what he thought was another cardinal.

The extension service said to hang newspaper on that window and the bird would not see his reflection and stop trying to attack the reflection. Did not work!  The dumb bird just went to the next window. More newspaper; the bird just went to the next adjacent window.

Finally one old farmer friend said he should get an owl from the garden shop and hang it where the bird will see it. Cardinals in the wild are afraid of owls and they can’t seem to tell the difference between plastic owls or the genuine bird.

The OF said he went and purchased two owls. Bingo! The next day, the bird was gone. The OF said he still has those owls, and no birds with aggressive behavior wailing at his house to date.


The Old Men of the Mountain would like to offer their condolences to the family of Bob Dietz who passed away at his winter home in Tucson, Arizona.

Bob was a loyal member of the OMOTM and graced the company of OMOTM with his stories, and humor.

Those OFs with the courage to get out of bed, and ambulatory enough to make it to the Blue Star Restaurant in Schoharie were: Roger Shafer, Steve Kelly, Otis Lawyer, Jim Heiser, George Washburn, Glenn Patterson, Dick Ogsbury, Karl Remmers, Robie Osterman, Roger Chapman, Miner Stevens, Andy Tinning, Harold Guest, John Rossmann, Frank Pauli, Lou Schenck, Mace Porter, Gary Porter, Ken Hughes, Jack Norray, Don Wood, Bill Krause, Jim Rissacher, Ted Willsey, Elwood Vanderbilt, Harold Grippen, and me.