Talk of eating milkweed, missing bobolinks, and trains that never come

On May 18, the Old Men of the Mountain met at the Middleburgh Diner, in Middleburgh. It was a beautiful day to go for a ride, but as the OMOTM keep saying, anytime the OFs go for a ride, it is a ride in the country, so Tuesday the OFs went for a ride in the country — to eat.

Eating is a favorite topic of some of the OMOTM, along with old stuff, jobs, cars, trucks, gardens, etc. The group at our end of the table was talking about places to take a ride to have some good eats.

The OFs gave a plug to Saltsman’s Inn (Hotel). The OFs say this is a historic hotel, which is out by Ephratah, on Route 10, north of Canajoharie. This is another OMOTM day trip of not much traffic and into real country. Take Route 20 west to Sharon Springs; at Sharon Springs go north on Route 10 until reaching the inn. The restaurant is not open regular days so the OFs recommend getting the inn’s phone number or using the net to obtain the hours.

Why this place came up was because the OFs were talking about eating plants and flowers and, when milkweed is in season, the OFs who have eaten milkweed at Saltsman’s Inn say this dish is to die for. This is just a suggestion from the more sophisticated connoisseurs of the OMOTM who used to eat dandelion greens that their moms would show the OGs how to pick from the dandelions growing in the yard.

There was even dandelion wine, and people call these things weeds. The OMOTM know better.


For the birds

Another one of the early conversations was that this year some of the OFs have seen birds they have not seen in some time. One was the Baltimore oriole, and the other was a yellow-throated warbler.

One OF was telling about getting orioles to come to his feeders. The OG said he takes a regular hummingbird feeder and drills out a couple of the holes to make them larger. The OF said these birds love the stuff he puts in his feeder.

He said he takes half a cup of sugar to one-and-one-half cups of water (which the other OFs thought was really sweet) and the OF says that is what he uses, and the orioles love it. The other thing he does is hang the feeder close to a branch, which the birds can hang on to because the regular little hummingbird perches are too small for the orioles.

A couple of the OFs commented on not seeing certain species in years and they still haven’t seen them this year.  A particular bird they miss is the Bobolink.

One OF mentioned that his father would not start haying until the bobolinks left because they nested in the grass, especially the timothy. The OFs feel that so many family farms are disappearing and the fields are just turning to brush so the bobolinks have fewer places to nest. The scribe’s dad used to say the bobolinks left the fields in plenty of time for him to get the first cutting in while it was still good hay.


Voting confusion

Voting on the school budget was another subject discussed — especially concerning Berne-Knox-Westerlo. However, not the weather, or if the taxes were high, it wasn’t anything like that, but where to vote.

The OFs are OFs and are so used to going to the auditorium that they didn’t even know where the elementary school cafeteria was. One OF asked if anyone knew if they were going to take our temperatures. None of the OFs knew.

This scribe assumes this is all moot now because when this is being typed the elections have come and gone, and this scribe hopes no one got lost. That’s all we need — some OG wandering around the school in a daze with an OMOTM hat on.


On track

The OFs also discussed the eventual coming of the trains through Altamont and Voorheesville. That will be like old times, when there were more trains traveling the tracks headed towards Delanson.

However, the more the OFs talked, the more the issue drifted to the electric railroad that once was supposedly coming this way. Lots of noise, no action — that railroad never came. Some of the OFs think this might be the case also with all the chatter being bantered about the mile-long train (or so) supposedly coming to the villages.

I’ve been meaning to make a list of bad railroad puns — but I’ve been getting side-tracked.

Those Old Men of the Mountain who made it to the Middleburgh Diner in Middleburgh for a great coffee, and came by car and trucks, not trains, because the Schoharie Railway has been out of service for quite awhile, were: Wally Guest, Harold Guest, Miner Stevens, Glenn Patterson, Peter Whitbeck, Joe Rack, Bill Lichliter, George Washburn, Robie Osterman, Otis Lawyer, Jake Herzog, Lou Schenck, Jack Norray, Herb Bahrmann, Paul Whitbeck,  and me.