Small towns disappear, cars improve, and groundhogs still pose a dilemma

Guess what? The Old Men of the Mountain’s weather report was for three days of reasonably nice weather. Then comes Tuesday, June 25, 2019, and you, dear readers, know the answer.

This scribe will divulge the first clue. There was rain in the morning. One OF showed up on his motorcycle. This OF had to don his slicker for the ride home.

The OF who rode his motorcycle Tuesday morning prompted conversation on these machines. Also, there was mention of the horrendous motorcycle accident in New Hampshire where cyclists were hit by a truck hauling an empty trailer — seven died, and three were injured. 

None of the OFs seemed to know the reason behind this. One OF suggested could it be like the limo accident in Schoharie where something failed on the truck and the driver couldn’t stop. Another OF thought that the driver of this truck might have freaked out; he just wanted to run over these bikers. No one knows yet.

Then the OMOTM brought up the 11 skydivers who were killed in the airplane that went down in Hawaii on June 22. One OF thought that there sure are a lot of screwy accidents happening. The OF mentioned he thinks it might be like the Schoharie accident and the plane should not have been flying, or was overloaded.

The OFs further talked about the building that collapsed in Cambodia while it was being built, which resulted in seven dead and 21 injured. The OFs say they wouldn’t want to hire the engineers who designed that structure.

After rehashing all this depressing talk, the OFs attempted to cheer up.


Sometimes the OMOTM surprisingly leave the past and talk about current events. This particular discussion concerned Facebook and Google. Some of the OFs use these two computer tools sparingly, but they do use them. This scribe is guilty as charged.

The comments on Tuesday morning were that Facebook was becoming so laden with junk it was not the tool it once was. The OFs were also becoming scared of both of these features.

One OF said he researched a tool, and another OF a particular car part, and another OF wanted information on some special adjustable beds for seniors on Google. The latter OF mentioned that no sooner did he do the research on Google then there were ads on Facebook for the same thing.

This is creepy. The other two said it was the same with them only they did not go to Facebook right away. They, too, said this isn’t right. They are afraid now to do anything on either one of them. However, not to worry, the government will handle these complaints.

Groundhog dilemma

One OF is having problems with groundhogs, and the column has mentioned this before. This OF obtained a Havahart trap and he trapped one. Many times, an OF plays a tough guy, but here this OF has a groundhog in a trap and doesn’t want to shoot it; the OF wants to have it hauled away.

Where to haul it?  Should the OF lug it someplace else and let it be a pest there?

One OF advised, “Shoot it and eat it like we used to do on the farm.”

The OF that has the groundhog in the trap said they used to eat them also. This OF even knew how to prepare them for cooking by doing something to a couple of their glands.

This has to be done when getting ready to gut the groundhog for storing the meat so the meat is not spoiled. The OF who knew all this still couldn’t shoot it. Final score: Groundhog: 1 – OF: 0.

Small farms like small towns disappear

The OFs started talking about auctions and smaller farms. One OF said, over the last 20 or 30 years ,the small farms folding have grown from a 150-to-200 hundred acre, 25-to-30-cow farm to now failing 100-to-200-cow farms on many acres, or rented land, not being able to cut the mustard

One OF said New York State is not a farming state. The OF thinks that people living in New York City have no idea where food comes from, and New York wants to turn the whole state into building lots, or parks for the people from the big city to play in, but farming?  Not on your life.

This led to talking about the demise of small towns. Just in the OMOTM’s geographic area, we can see how many of the small towns are having problems. Small towns survive that are close to larger populated areas, the OFs say, where farms may have some support (but not much) from people who move in and start turning the small farm-town into bedroom communities.

Those towns that are too far for this to happen will continue to turn into ghost towns. The farms are gone; the land is turning to brush. An OF mentioned this has been going on for years and the scars are just now really beginning to show.

Autos improve

As always, somewhere along the line, conversations with the OFs turn to tractors, machinery, cars, and trucks. This week, this scribe picked out one piece of the conversation and that was how much better (the OFs have to admit) new cars are than the old automobiles they remember from their youth.

What the OFs were talking about was how the floorboards on the old cars would rot out and the driver and the passengers would see the lines in the road flash by, by looking down, as the YFs drove along in their old Model A, or Plymouth coupe. This was easily fixed with just putting down another board.

Nowadays, one OF said, windows in new cars fog up with temperature inversions, but the older cars were so drafty this never happened. One OF said the reason that the floor boards rotted out was because of all the holes through these boards for the steering wheel, clutch, brake, shifting lever, gas pedal, and dimmer switch.

Dimmer switch? Those were the days all right!

Those Old Men of the Mountain that made it to the Chuck Wagon Diner in Princetown in really air ight vehicles (except the OF that came by motorcycle) were: Miner Stevens, Roger Chapman, George Washburn, Robie Osterman, Bill Lichliter, Josh Buck, Roger Shafer, Ken Parks, Wally Guest, Harold Guest, John Rossmann, Art Frament, Bob Benac, Chuck Aelesio, Richard Frank, Jake Lederman, Marty Herzog, Ted Feurer, Pete Whitbeck, Warren Willsey, Russ Pokorny, Joe Rack, Otis Lawyer, Mark Traver, Glenn Patterson, Jack Norray, Herb Bahrmann, Lou Schenck, Mace Porter, Jim Rissacher, Wayne Gaul, Gerry Chartier, Mike Willsey, and me.


 It is with saddened hearts that the Old Men of the Mountain offer their condolences to the friends and family of one of the earliest members of the OMOTM, Mr. Ted Willisey who passed away this morning after a long and well fought illness.