Signs of fall: Dark mornings, brown leaves, disappearing robins

The early morning rides to the various restaurants are now taking place in the dark for many of the Old Men of the Mountain. On Tuesday morning, Sept. 17, on the way to Mrs. K’s Restaurant in Middleburgh, it was just that way, but the darkness was becoming thin as the sun was beginning to come up.

Some of the OFs think this is the best part of the day, while others “yawn and stretch and try to come to life.” The early risers are already at Mrs. K’s getting their cup of ambition.

The darkness of the morning brought out “night” driving — again. The problem happens because of the blue and white lights, especially when the oncoming car does not dim them.

Even on low beam these lights may cause momentary blindness until they go by. The high-rise trucks that bring the headlights to eye level are also a real problem for oncoming drivers.

The OFs think there should be a law that limits the height of headlights off the ground. That way, trucks and these modified vehicles would have headlights down where they belong and not at windshield height. One OF said this is one of those cases where people think only of themselves and not about the people around them.

Autumn watch

The OFs are watching the end of summer, and the fall approaching. Many of the OFs have commented the signs indicate an early start to winter.

The amount of apples on the trees (including the old trees with their little wild apples) is a good indicator of the weather, the OFs say.

The OFs have noticed these trees in our area are loaded with fruit. The leaves on the trees are turning basically brown and falling off. So far there is little color to them.

One OF said it is still early and the color will come when it is supposed to. Another OF said the trees were done early this year in making sugar for the winter and they started getting ready for winter earlier.

One OF commented it might be earlier, but he thinks it is going to be easier because he has not noticed a real bird migration yet. Another OF said it is still early for the birds to pack up and leave also but he has noticed all the robins are gone.

Then one OF said he has robins year-round and not just a few of them, but lots of them. Then this OF said to take a close look at them and the OF bets they are all males.

This OF said the male robin has a black head, and white throat, and the female robin is duller in color. So the other OF said he would check that out.

The OF said that the OF with the year-round robins must have lots of food and protection for them to hang in there through the winter. That OF said he doesn’t know but he has about one-thousand feet of sumac on one side of his property, and it is loaded with a thorn berry bush, and that bush is a pain in the butt. Some thorns on that thing will puncture a tractor tire.

“That’ll do it for the birds,” the other OF said.

Bird lesson for the day from the OMOTM.

Dearth of workers

Some of the OFs talked about some cities having it tough and others rebuilding nicely. The OFs thought it had to do with weather, taxes, and manufacturing plants locating in the southern states, leaving the states close to the Canadian border that used to have heavy manufacturing jobs struggling.

In our area, we seem to be doing well, but up north, not so.

One OF thought it was states with high taxes and tough unions that drive businesses to states with fewer regulations that are receptive to industry. One OF said that today there are more job openings than unemployed workers to fill them. Another OF said he read that, too.

An OF was asked if he wanted to go to work part-time. The fellow who asked this question told the OF that right now he has to take the best of the worst to fill the job.

One OF said he doesn’t think these jobs pay well or have any benefits that will keep a family going. This may be the problem, some thought, and the major reason for the comment is because there are not enough workers to fill the jobs out there.

“Yeah,” one OF mentioned, “statistics can be maneuvered in many ways. If you have lost a job paying $30 an hour with bennies, and have a wife and two kids, working at McDonald’s is not going to cut the mustard.”

The OFs who can still drive at night, and get up early enough to be the early birds at the restaurants, met at their usual early time at Mrs. K’s Restaurant in Middleburgh. However, once all had gathered, those OFs were: Roger Chapman, George Washburn, Wally Guest, Paul Nelson, Robie Osterman, John Rossmann, Bill Lichliter, Roger Shafer, Pete Whitbeck, Bill Bartholomew, Rev. Jay Francis, Dave Williams, Jim Heiser, Joe Rack, Mark Traver, Glenn Patterson, Ken Parks, Chuck Aelesio, Richard Frank, Art Frament, Bob Benac, Otis Lawyer, Jake Lederman, Ted Feurer, Gerry Irwin, Lou Schenck, Marty Herzog, Jack Norray, Herb Bahrmann, Mace Porter, Warren Willsey, Mike Willsey, Rick LaGrange, Elwood Vanderbilt, Allen DeFazio, Fred Crounse, Rick Donnelly, Bob Benninger, Bob Fink, Harold Grippen, Harold Guest, and me.