When it comes to winter, it’s better to be the ant than the grasshopper

The first Tuesday in October 2017, the Old Men of the Mountain met at the Home Front Café in Altamont.

The Old Men of The Mountain wonder why so many times, when they plan an outdoor event, or plan to attend an outdoor event, the weather so often turns crappy. Such was the case with many plans the OFs had on Saturday, Sept. 30.

The day before was great; the day after was great; the day of the event was a day of a cold wind, damp, and a drizzle that was continuous — the type of day where the cold went right through you. Nothing like what the weather guys said.

On the Hill, it was 44 degrees in the morning and 44 degrees at one o’clock in the afternoon, and the sun hid for the whole day. What a bummer.

Delusions in Florida?

In Florida, there is a retirement village aptly named “The Villages” that many of the OFs are familiar with. Some of the OFs actually winter on the outskirts of this retirement location.

The conversation revolved around how large the community is and the amenities that are in this retirement village. However, it is these amenities that the OFs find interesting.

One “interesting” part is that the older single senior ladies of The Villages get dressed to the nines and go to the shopping areas on the prowl, looking for older single men. One OF said to some these men don’t even have to be sing — they might be just alone with no lady around.

The OFs said it would be worth the price of admission, if there were admission, just to watch the show; however, it is free. Hey, they are old — let them have their fun was a general thought.  This scribe’s wife believes that these OFs must be a little delusional.

One OF said that, in some areas of Florida, the running show is watching seniors driving, trying to get into parking spaces, ignoring traffic signals, traveling 20 miles an hour in a great big older Cadillac, or going 90 miles an hour with just a pair of eyes peering through the steering wheel.

One OF said, “They don’t ignore the traffic signals; they just can’t see them.” To which this scribe says, in this group of OFs, which is the pot and which is the kettle?

The population of The Villages, which is just one of many retirement communities in the state of Florida, is 157,000; for comparison, the population of the city of Albany in 2016 was about 99,000.

The OFs said The Villages have many golf courses, their own churches, shopping centers, and theaters —  and the place is owned by one family. The OFs did not mention fire and police departments, doctors or hospitals, or even mortuaries.

Again, this scribe is sure that many readers are familiar with this housing development in Florida and may know more than what the OFs were talking about.

Smart trees?

Change of topics led us to pine cones. The OFs want to know what is going on with all the pine cones, at least on the Hill, and in the surrounding area.

Predicting the weather by using pine cones indicates a cold winter, nothing about snow. The OFs are saying that, with all this nice weather we are having right now, we are going to get dumped on sooner or later.

One OF said this fall, color-wise, so far has been a bummer, but weather-wise it has been a nice fall, and we have missed a repeat of 30 years ago with the October snowstorm.

This scribe looked up pine cones and found it takes a tree three years to produce a cone so it would have to be one smart tree to predict the weather three years in advance, but we shall see. There are a lot of cones, and they are opening up almost like popcorn, if this means anything.

Hastening global warming

The OFs discussed how this type of weather we are having right now tends to lull many into putting off having their snow blowers looked at and serviced, plus having their snow tires put on.

“Now is the time to do it,” one OF said. “This isn’t going to last until April.”

“Why not?” another OF asked. “Aren’t we in a serious global-warming period?”

A third OF said, “I am going to switch to coal so I can hurry that global-warming thing along. I am tired of shoveling snow.”

A different OF said, “Just you wait — this is going to be a winter where the stores are going to have to put tire chains back in stock; snow tires won’t cut the mustard this year.”

The OF also thought we OFs better have some young bucks signed up to shovel off the roof. Again, we shall see.

Weather wise

The OF gardeners also took part in the weather conversation in a roundabout way. The OFs said they had thought their gardens would produce nothing and all of sudden they have big red tomatoes by the bushel, also peppers. (Red tomatoes and green peppers, side by side, make a colorful combination, and are nutritious if your stomach can stand the acid.)

One OF mentioned he is still picking blackberries, and has more than he has ever had and only from two bushes. The OFs wonder if all the produce (in our area of the world) coming on is another weather predictor.

We have pine cones, abundant crops, squirrels tails, woolly bears, lots of little critters like rabbits and squirrels running all over the place, and little birds, even blue jays hiding somewhere.

The OFs ask, “What does this mean?”

“Who knows?” were the replies.

Yet again, we shall see. That is the fun part — trying to guess what is going to happen when actually we don’t know what is going to happen in the next second. But it is better to be the ant than the grasshopper.

Well, most of The Old Men of the Mountain who met at the Home Front Café in Altamont are ants, and those ants were: Roger Chapman, Miner Stevens, Bill Lichliter, Robie Osterman, George Washburn, Harold Guest, Pete Whitbeck, John Rossmann, Dave Williams, Otis Lawyer, Mark Traver, Lou Schenck, Jack Norray, Mace Porter, Gerry Irwin, Mike Willsey, Warren Willsey, Russ Pokorny, Rev. Jay Francis, Elwood Vanderbilt, Henry Whipple, Harold Grippen, and me.