Pondering sad events: Fires, floods, and Florence

September — and there is a touch of color on the trees, at least in the area the Old Men of the Mountain trod.

On Tuesday, Sept. 18, the Old Men of the Mountain trod in the fog and the rain to the Your Way Café in Schoharie. The number of OFs has dropped some because the snowbirds have already chickened out and headed to their winter haunts. One is still hanging out with us but eventually he, too, will head out.

The OFs commented how green it is this late in the year. One OF, though, mentioned that the bright green and all the yellow of the goldenrod looks like where John Deere took the idea to paint its tractors.

Another OF said it is the Year of the Goldenrod, and the bees should be happy.

Many of the OFs have friends and relatives living in the Carolinas, and the area of the country where Hurricane Florence visited. These OFs have been texting, emailing, and calling to see how they were doing. Fortunately, all received good reports concerning the ones being followed up on.

The OFs recalled Irene, the hurricane of 2011, which hit Schoharie very hard, and how by looking at all the pictures on television (even as bad as it was for our area) most of the pictures of Florence made our storm look like a shower by comparison.

One question was brought up: How are the government and the insurance companies able to keep up with all these recent disasters?

The fires out west and the floods in the South and East have consumed lots of real estate and upset thousand upon thousands of people. These are certainly sad events.

Farming: Past, present, future

There was more conversation on farming (when the OFs were farming) and how it is being impacted now. The OFs only have information now of farmer friends and relatives that are still in the business, along with what they read in the newspapers.

One OF said, “Forget the news on TV.  It is so short on many topics and says nothing that is informative.”

The conversation jumped from farming to political ads on TV and how most of the OFs mute them; one even shuts off the TV, and then turns it back on. A couple of OFs said they basically are done with TV until November. Then it went back to farming.

To go along with how this report has mentioned the demise of many small or medium farms in the past, one add-on is that, in the recent past, the air waves were bombarding us with how bad dairy products and red meat are for you and you shouldn’t be eating this produce.

One OF brought up the fact that many people are going organic so they won’t eat products that have been raised by fertilizers with a load of chemicals added to kill weeds, to add size, and to increase yield. This may be the right path.

Another OF mentioned that, when we were raised, these chemicals were not around. Our fertilizer was good old-fashioned manure, i.e., horse, cow, pig, chicken, and natural compost. The OFs drank milk from the cow or goat; made their own cream and ice cream; and ate red meat, many times from cows raised just for that purpose. No chemicals here.

As the world population grows, it is going to be tough to feed all these people without the use of some of the chemicals to increase the yield of both produce and milk. Maybe as the population continues to expand and people consume more of these foods that have these growth hormones added, they will adjust and develop a tolerance for them.

In years to come, this could be the norm, and possibly people will be living healthier and more productive lives much longer. The OFs think we are living in one gigantic experiment.


Most everyone in our area knows it rained hard last Monday night thanks to Hurricane Florence. The OFs with weather instruments were reporting from two to three inches of rain fell.

One OF returned home Monday with a van load of stuff he had to unload. Monday was a beautiful day so the OF came home with the windows down. It took some time to unload the van.

The OF said he went into the house after the van was unloaded. He left the van outside and was going to go out after supper and park the van in the barn. This did not happen.

The OF said he completely forgot about it. Then Tuesday morning, the OF said, he went to go out with the flashlight to get the van to pick up his passengers to go to the breakfast. The OF said when he saw that the van was still outside, he immediately remembered the windows were all down.

Front and back seats were soaked, water was in the door-closing wells, rugs were soaked, and he had passengers to pick up.

The OF said he put pillows on the seats. This did not work and the OF and passengers showed up with wet bottoms because the water soaked through the pillows.

A great way to start the day! Come to find out, the OF found that most all the other OFs have had the same experience at one time or another. Thank goodness for pals! That took some of the sting away from the embarrassment incurred by one OF being so stupid.

The OFs who made it to the Your Way Café in Schoharie and who spent a lot of time discussing things of the past and the way they are today were: Pete Whitbeck, Miner Stevens, Roger Chapman, George Washburn, Robie Osterman, Harold Guest, Wally Guest, Bill Lichliter, Chuck Aelesio, Richard Frank, Glenn Patterson, Mark Traver, Joe Rack, Dave Williams, Bill Bartholomew, Art Frament, Lou Schenck, Mace Porter, Roger Chapman, Duncan Bellinger, Elwood Vanderbilt, Allen DeFazio, Harold Grippen, and me.