Solid advice on fences and fond memories of real camping

Sometimes this scribe has a tendency to schedule too much in one day and Tuesday, Aug. 20, was such a day. It started at the Chuck Wagon Diner in Princetown and continued from there. The Old Men of the Mountain found their way to Princetown and the Chuck Wagon all in good fashion.

The first discussion was on fencing, not the type where a couple of people don a specific uniform for the sport of swordplay, but fencing to keep animals in or out, whichever the case may be.

The OFs were again talking about bison (remembering the ones that escaped from their Schoharie County farm). The discussion centered around how a fence should be built to keep that type of animal in.

One OF said that on the farm cows were kept in with just a simple fence; some used electric fencing to do the job. That, also, is just one strand of wire.

Another OF, who has had horses, said they were kept in with a strand of wire with flags on it. The OF said the horses honored that type of fencing and they never had a problem with them getting out. This OF imagined the buffalo were the same, maintaining that some of their draft horses were larger than the buffalo.

Yet another OF said that, if any animals like cows or horses wanted to challenge any fence, it wouldn’t stop them, i.e., barbed, electric, little white flags or not. One OF said that a high enough, and solid, stone wall would — something high enough the animal couldn’t jump over.

An OF said he knows how cows trained the young calves to respect the fence, but how do the animals know what is their territory?

A smart OF said that, when they were on the farm and an animal got out, his father always said: Let the dumb thing go; don’t break you neck trying to catch it. Cows are homing animals and they will come back at milking time and wait to get in the barn.

Camping the old-fashioned way

The OFs discussed how they used to go camping all over with the family. Load everything into the station wagon, tent and all, and head out.

What prompted this was a discussion on one side of an OF’s family doing just that, and how the OFs said they could no more sleep on the ground in a tent now than they could flap their arms and fly.

The OF reflected that it was a lot of work and arguing when putting up the tent. Once the tent was up, and all the cussing and shouting was done, it was all forgotten. Camping was a lot of fun.

One OF said, “This type of camping was where we met a lot of nice people.” The OF further said that one family they met while camping years ago are still their friends today.

Another OF pondered how many people still tent, use a Coleman stove, and eat on a picnic table under a flap today? “Not many,” an OF supposed.

How about sleeping in sleeping bags on the ground? If you look at even small motorhomes, or tow-behind trailers, it is like not even leaving the house. What fun is there in that?

Another OF said when they tent-camped, they hauled bicycles, canoes, and everything else they thought they would need. This stuff all went in their station wagon.

The kids did all sorts of crafts, learned to swim, boat, and make friends quickly. The OF saw these same kids he raised leave in a camper the same way.

However, he noticed their kids (his grandkids) did not help load the camper or anything like that. All the grandkids did was stare at that little screen all kids have nowadays. The OF said he did not want to interfere but he was really frustrated as they left.

License tax

The OFs talked about the newest tax put on New Yorkers. That would be the new license plates.

One OF said, “This, once again, is upstate taking care of downstate. The people in the city, (those five boroughs in New York City) many don’t drive, or even own cars, and, if they have to go someplace, they rent a car.”

This OF deduced that all of us upstaters have to drive just to go shopping, or to the doctor’s ,and we are the ones who have to own cars.

One OF said, “Well, if we don’t like it, we can move out, or move downstate, but 20 bucks for the freedom to move around is OK by me.”

“There is always two sides to everything, but it isn’t easy,” another OF said, “To have something shoved down your throat and you don’t have anything to say about it.”

Animals predict weather

The OFs continued their conversation from last week about dogs, and animals seeming to know ahead of time when a storm is coming.

One OF added to that saying, “With cows, it doesn’t even have to be a storm.” The OF said, “Cows know when it is just going to be a steady rain. They will all lie down ahead of the rain to keep the ground under them dry, so if you see all the cows lying down in the pasture you can be pretty sure it is going to rain.”

(Spoiler alert) This led to a discussion by the OFs on the paranormal, which will carry over next week, if the OFs don’t have too much to say next week.

The OFs who made it to the Chuck Wagon Diner in Princetown and are all pretty normal, except for maybe this scribe, were: Miner Stevens, Roger Chapman, Bill Lichliter, Josh Buck, George Washburn, Robie Osterman, Wally Guest, John Rossmann, Harold Guest, Roger Shafer, Jamie Dairah, Peter Whitbeck, Art Frament, Bob Benac, Ray Kennedy, Rich Donnelly, Chuck Aelesio, Richard Frank, Wayne Gaul, Ted Feurer, Joe Rack, Otis Lawyer, Glenn Patterson, Mark Traver, Lou Schenck, Jack Norray, Herb Bahrmann, Mace Porter, Mike Willsey, Gerry Chartier, Rev. Jay Francis, Duncan Bellinger, John Dabrvalskas, Elwood Vanderbilt, Harold Grippen, and me.