The colors and smells and food of fall are here

Ah yes, it is another Tuesday and the Old Men of the Mountain met at the Country Café in Schoharie. This Tuesday, Sept. 24, the OMOTM formed in front of the Country Café to partake of their first cups of coffee of the day.

While standing there, the OFs noticed how festive the front of the café was decorated for fall. They looked up and down Main Street and saw that the decorations seemed to say, “Come in and have some hot cider and a couple of cider doughnuts.”

One OF mentioned that each season has its own particular smell. The air was crisp, and the straw bales in front of the restaurant enhanced the early smell of fall and the barn.

Unfinished work

Some of the OFs have some construction projects going on, and they would like to have them completed before winter’s winds begin to blow. Thus began a rousing conversation on contractors not showing up after they start a project.

To all OFs who were having work done, the complaint was unanimous. The percentage done on each job was different but all jobs were not finished, and, on one job, the contractor could not even be found.

One OF said there seems to be a universal connection between all the contractors. It seems that they start one job and then go to another in a few days, and maybe even another one after that.

Then, when each one of them is underway, the contractors will come back to you, drive in a few nails and then go on to the next until your job (which was supposed to be done in a few weeks) stretches into next year.

One OF said he thinks it is the little private contractors way of having job security.

Another OF said that he had his kitchen redone, and had the same experiences only the contractor never came back to do the finish work. The OF said he finally finished the work himself and found that the contractor had gone south to work on a big job.

This led to furnace work. One OF asked if any of the OFs knew of anyone who was good at maintaining furnaces.

Some names were thrown out but the OFs didn’t really know any of them personally. They did know some who worked for fuel oil companies but were not able to come up with an independent guy who went around fixing furnaces.

Spectacles needed

Then the OFs got on the scribe who really screwed up the names. The scribe reported one OF as being in attendance and he wasn’t, and he did not report on another OF who was in attendance but not accounted for.

To this scribe’s defense, in a way these two are alike in height and build, and from a distance they could look alike.

After the column was done, this scribe received an email from the one listed as in attendance but he wasn’t there. He was in Texas on a leg of a 4,000-mile motorcycle trip. (See what you can do when you retire young.)

The one who wasn’t there didn’t complain. Apparently, the scribe needs better glasses.

Water wheels

This column mentioned some time back the subject of water wheels as a source of power. For some reason, we began talking about this again.

The reason may be because the working wheel that runs the Caverns Creek Grist Mill, on Caverns Road on the way to Howe Caverns, in Howe Cave, New York, has been closed for some time. The OFs thought this was a shame but, as one OF reported, it is need of extensive repair.

Another OF remembered going to this mill a couple of times and buying a few sacks of cornmeal. You could watch the cornmeal being ground by the stone in the mill.

The stone was run by the water wheel. At those times, this mill was being run by a young couple who were dressed in period garb. The OF thought at that time this had to be a labor of love because they surely were not going to get rich off this operation.

Finding checkpoints

This scribe forgot how this conversation began but it was somehow tying in sports cars and gymkhanas and hikers. The gymkhanas had chec points and trinkets to collect and the hikers were leaving notes in boxes and taking a trinket, then leaving a trinket for someone else.

Somewhere along the line with the hikers, latitude and longitude became part of it. The scribe does not remember if the information was from where the hiker left or not, but this is interesting because it teaches how to use this important information when hiking, or even traveling, especially if the OF is a pilot of a plane.

Many sports cars are open vehicles and, at some of the checkpoints, one of the trinkets to carry would be inflated balloons — maybe four or six tied with a string. The trick is to drive down the road in an open vehicle and keep those things in the car and maintain the legal speed limit.

Keeping peace

The OFs talked about keeping peace in the family, This scribe doesn’t know about this.

This scribe thinks, if the family squabble is really out of whack, don’t come to the OMOTM for advice, get professional help, but the OFs did talk about it.

Oh, and about the lost boat in a previous column? It was found. It broke free from its moorings and the wind had blown it clear across the lake.

Those OFs who were at  the Country Café on Main Street in Schoharie, and how the peace talk of family battles using the OFs’ suggestions might lead to all-out war, were: Rick LaGrange, George Washburn, Miner Stevens, Roger Chapman, Bill Lichliter, Robie Osterman, Roger Shafer, Glenn Patterson, Joe Rack, Mark Traver, Otis Lawyer, Harold Guest, Wally Guest, Pete Whitbeck, Richard Frank, Chuck Aelesio, Bob Benac, Jamey Dairah, Wayne Gaul, Jake Lederman, Ted Feurer, Mike Willsey, Joel Willsey, Elwood Vanderbilt, John Dabrvalskas, Allen DeFazio, Harold Grippen, and me.