A Journal Of
Fishing and Farming
 Along with other good times and interesting discoveries

Richard Loller


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Spring 2007

June 16-17

On Saturday I went down to Travis' garden and worked hard digging up weeds and laying down a row of plastic mesh.  I planted bush limas.  The previous week I had done the same thing, so there are two strips planted now which should provide plenty of beans for both of our families.  Sunday I took the boat to Fall Creek and ran up as far as you could go.  I had intended to wade fish the shallow creek part, but it was extremely low and choked with moss.  We are having a real drought and no relief in sight from here.
This is a special garden mesh that stops light from going through but lets in moisture.  We will see whether it works.  Good idea if it does, especially for Travis, where crab grass and other grass still comes back strong from the roots.
I poked a hole through the mesh and planted two seeds each time.  Just to be sure one worked.  Birds ate some and others couldn't find their way out, so I replanted the next week where there were gaps.

At the south end of the garden it's pretty hard and near the old rock drive.  But the okra and melons seem to do ok there.
This is the end of the line for the boat.  You can see how dry and flat the creek is at this point.
Upstream where there should be a large hole there isn't much but moss.  Water is there, but it is very shallow and the small openings aren't fishable.
I finally gave up and went back downstream and caught five or six largemouth.  Not a bad day, but hot and windy.

 

June 9-10

If I don't have a photo I forget what happened, so June 9 is lost in the fog.  On June 10, Sunday, however, I fished Creek J's upper portion and had a fine day.  I probably only did something dull on Saturday anyhow.
Lovely creek with flat rock bottom.  Smallmouth paradise. 
This big momma was in a hole under the big tree on the right of the photo to the left.  Fell for the old plastic crawdead gag.
Mr/Ms Deer and I watched one another for quite a while before she/he decided I wasn't at all the thing and hoofed it.
A rustle above and this 4 foot long water snake came tumbling down the cliff.  It was embarrasses and climbed back up as soon as it got its wits reassembled.
This is where I turn around.  Upstream you can see a series of shallow pools.  Pretty, but hard to fish and not really good cover.
Back home I picked beets, cucumbers, and chard for dinner.

June 2-3

Well, we were off to New Mexico  on the 24th and came back on the 29th.  I'll get those pics up sooner or later.  This weekend Saturday was the day we caught up on chores.  Also got my garlic dug and hung up.  Then I helped Travis in her garden.  Pretty stiff on Sunday, but I managed a trip up to Creek J where I forgot my trolling motor battery when I left.  But all came out fine after I called E. J. Boyson and left a message on his machine.  Eleanor ran down to the landing and rescued it.  After that we cooked a beer can chicken. Travis, James, and Zinnia helped us eat it.
 
Sherry's new calla lilly is just as pretty as the one last year.
The wisteria isn't very big yet, but Sherry is letting this wild clematis grow on both sides of the arch and it's moving up fast.
Digging garlic makes you wish you had grown less.  But, after it's all over you are glad you grew as much as you did.  Normally, this garlic should have been ready around July 4th, but it was half dead and Jim Taft says that's when to harvest.  He was right.  After digging, washing, and tying we let it hang so the juice from the tops can run down into the bulbs and the bulbs can mellow out.  It's ok to eat after about a month.  We usually are able to enjoy it well into late winter or early spring.
I may actually get some real bulb-type onions this year.  It'll be a first.  Most of those I've planted from seed never make a bulb.  This time I used sets.  Looking promising.
The snow peas are mostly gone, but the sugar snaps are still coming in, nor many, but those that do are really nice.
The tomatoes are golf ball size now and it won't be too long.
I tried this shallow bay-less than a foot deep most palces-near the mouth of Creek J and caught one and hooked two more.  Caught nothing in the main creek.  But a pretty day and good to be alive.
Nice healthy young bass with lots of fight.  Where was his mom?
These nice wild flowers were growing along the bluff.  Sherry says they are called "cigarette plant" but are really Indian Pink.

May 19-20

Worked around the house and in the garden on Saturday.  Sherry worked on her flowers.  Went up to Travis house and planted more okra and three rows of corn behind the bean trellis.  Also planted pole butter beans so they will climb the trellis when the peas are done.  We hope.  Sunday went fishing at Creek J and found it clear and nice. Interesting as always, of course.  Plenty of Bubbas and Bubbettes and Bubblitos and Bubbalitas out.  Others too.  Suprise.
I used the broken back rapala for a while, but nothing was interested, so I changed to the tiny torpedo and this little guy whacked it, or it whacked him.  Nothing like big ambition.
I got four or five real heart stopper hits, but nothing stayed on until this nice largemouth.  You can see a difference in this one and the baby on the left. 
On the way out I passed Mr. Beef and his girl friend.

Almost back to the take-out ramp and passed these colorful young girls who were not the normal country lasses.  The one in the rear was taking photos of birds and the one in the front was pointing out the flowers.  Variety is good.
Got home and was sitting on the deck.  Got this shot of a downy woodpecker eating from the humming bird feeder. They've never eaten seeds from the regular feeder or necter from this one before this year.
I did get this nice shot of a red bellied woodpecker eating sunflower seed from the feeder.  The downys and hairy woodpeckers have figured that out as well.  Downys are feeding their babies sunflower seed too.  It's cute to watch.

 

May 10-12
Trip to New York City

Well, this is seperate since it was a block within a block.  Went to the big city for a "Hispanic Diversity Conference."  I must have been the only one there with no Spanish.  Anyhow, I got to see the Diorama of the City at the Queen's Museum, so it was worth while.
Travis and James said I should see the Diorama of the city and since it was near LaGuardia I went there right off the plane.  The Queen's Museum was the New York City Exhibit Building at the 1939 World's Fair and some of the structures are still in the park.  It is all near Ebbit's Field and the subway, so I got downtown without much trouble after my adventure.  Above is lower Manhatten with the twin towers still in place.  However, except for them, anytime a building is taken down and a new one takes it's place the diorama is updated, so it is accurate for modern New York.

One of the huge structures from the fair.  Maybe the Unisphere?
Time capsule for the 1939 World's Fair.

My hotel was just off Time's Square.  11pm on Friday night.
I took a walk across town and passed the famous library lions.
Also passed the equally famous New York Times building.
After our conference classes on Friday we had dinner and drinks at Havana Central, only a few blocks from the hotel.  I walked back around 10:30 and got some shut eye.
Travis had wanted a cheese cake from Veniero's on East 11th St. in Greenwich Village.  So since Sunday was her first official Mother's Day, Saturday morning I studied the subway routes and made my way there.  Forgot to take a photo of the place, so got this one from the web.  Most fun was trying to keep the airport police from smushing it while they searched my pack for my forbidden water bottle.  I had it on ice in three plastic bags and it made it to Sunday dinner with only a few bumps and bruises.  We all got a piece or two and it was as advertised. 

May 1--13

I've been busy outside and spend less time on the computer, so pictures back up and things get shoved together.  This segment contains a lot of stuff that needs to be posted but not in a particular order.  I just need to remember some of this and roughly when it happened.  Oh, I finally took a pic of the General Jackson just as it was starting to turn.  We take it for granted since it turns around abaft our deck every evening around 7:00 or so, but our visitors are charmed.  High point of our relationship with the General Jackson was when Mike Denney mooned the tourists to a general cheer and round of applause.  Mostly we just wave.
May 1--Got this Indigo Bunting at Shelby Bottoms.


May 3--Rose Breasted Grossbeaks still here on our feeder.
This is Shadow.  Long story, but basically he was loose with a leash dragging when I got to Shelby Bottoms May 3.  Called the number on the collar and his owner came to get him.  They are from Scotland and have been here 15 years.  Still have the burr.
Just after this I got a ticket from the park police when I passed a crawling van.  Have to pay a fine and go to school.  Weird day.
Blackbirds have taken to coming in to our Sycamore tree late in the afternoon.  They stay awhile and then go.  I don't mind them but I do mind the nasty starlings.
Redwing blackbirds are courting now.  They get up high in a skinny tree and blow themselves up big as they make a love call.
At the Bicentennial Mall the magnolias are blossoming.  It smells sweet and decadent around them.
I finally got the straw around everything in the garden.  It was an all day job, but it will save a world of weeding.  On the trellis near us are snow peas and at the far end are sugar snaps.  Next two rows are beets, then volunteer tomatoes I moved from all over to their own row, then mesclum mix, then romaine, then simpson, then parsley, then butter crunch.  On the far side are several kinds of tomatoes, onions, and Swiss chard.
Sherry is also working on her beds.  The little bed near the house still has the pansies from last winter, but she is digging out the weeds and planting new flowers.  Same with her bigger bed near the front.  We both have a fine crop of chiggers.  They seem to be especially bad this year.  And Sherry doused herself with Skin-So-Soft, which had been a great deterrent last year.  I used nothing and got about the same number.  Go figure!
Beets.
We have greens running out our ears.
These are the onions from sets which we hope will make big onions for slicing.  I also planted some green onions which are rather skimpy.  We will see.
The Swiss chard is coming in, but it didn't do well in spots.  I think the seeds were old.
The tomatoes are coming along.  See the little one just starting.
Snow peas.

April 23-29

Well, I put a whole week in this segment.  The reason was I saw several things during my walks at Bicentennial Mall and Shelby Bottoms during the week that were just as interesting as the things that happened on the weekend.
On Monday during my short walk at Bicentennial Mall (I have to get to the YMCA in time to teach my 7am Yoga class) I found a dead Rose Brested Grossbeak on the sidewalk in Germantown near the Catholic Church.
They are coming through this time of year.  I looked it up.  They winter in Central America and all the way down to Peru.  In summer their territory is all way North.  The only ones in Tennessee in summer are in the high mountains.
On Tuesday morning I got this photo of a green heron.  Just then it began to call and I saw four others coming in.  This one took off and joined them.  They made a big circle and all came in and landed in the thick willows.  Who ever heard of seeing five green herons all at once?  Whoa!
Friday afternoon I was sitting on the deck and it was very stormy and black clouds were everywhere.  Just before sunset the sun came out under the cloud cover and lit up the sycamore tree in a very dramatic way.  I took many photos of the tree with the automatic function on the camera.  One of them caught the female wood duck coming in to her den.
Saturday morning I went down to Travis' house and worked on her pea patch, cutting weeds and hedge back, putting in the cane supposts and stringing grass twine between them .  It was a pretty good effort and I called a truce with work around twelve.
Sherry has said that rose brested grossbeaks were visiting our feeder and sure enough, as I was eating lunch, two males and a female came to dine.  Got this nice shot of the pair.
I decided to give Percy Priest a try and you can see how bright and clear it was.  Not the best weather for fish.  However, I found a nice spot near the bank where I knew there were attractors in four or five feet of water.  Caught five crappie--one of which was pretty nice.  Forgot to take a photo, however, so you can just take my word for it.
Sunday I worked on Travis garden about 3 or 4 hours, but no photos.  After that I came home and weeded.  Sherry spent the day putting out plants and flowers and worked her little self into a fatigue.  Here you see the peas starting up the trellis.  I put straw around them.  Next two rows are beets, then the old carry over arugula, which I pulled later.  Then all our lettuces just coming on.
This is the new mesculum mix almost ready for picking.  I thinned it well this year, so we have a good variety--not just the arugula, which crowds out all the rest.  If fact, I pulled most of that from this row and planed a row of it by itself.
There are two half rows of black seeded simpson.
And two half rows of bib lettuce.
Same for the romaine.

 

April 21-22

This was Earth Day weekend, so Diane Sessler suggested we clean up the roadway along the Bend (our part, of course).  So, on Saturday morning at ten we got out and got with it.  Good participation.  Bill Turner, Sherry and Me, David and Diane Sessler, Tim and Laura Polk, Skip and Kathy Dworak, Rose Ruthstaz, and James Nichols (Travis gave moral support while she tended the baby).  Many hands make light work, so we got done by 11:30.  I doubt the roadway has ever been so clean and probably never will again.  Just kidding.  Saturday around 1:30 I went over to Ed's farm and staked out for a turkey in the same spot as before.  I took my little saw and made the blind better with a few small cedar trees.  Around 3:30 I looked up and there was a gobbler.  He was so pretty.  If I hadn't been so excited and concentrated on hunting I would have tried to get a photo first.  However, he is now cooking on the deck.

Sunday I fished out of the my new two person kayak for the first time.  Took it to Fall Creek.  It was at 487'.  Caught only two small crappie near the bank.  No fish on the attractors.  But it was a nice day and the kayak was very comfortable and stable.  Only trouble is that it is very heavy and pretty awkward for one person to handle.
This is a pretty big gobbler with an 8 inch beard and 1 inch spurs.  Actually, it wasn't as good to eat as the jake I killed two weeks ago.  So far in 30 or so years of hunting Florida I've killed two turkeys.  In two weeks of hunting at Ed's farm I've doubled my lifetime bag.  But I learned turkey hunting from Frank in Florida.  That training finally paid off.  Thanks Frank.
Pretty bad shot.  I took the little camera with me but left the chip out, so I shot this after I got back.  It does show how big (14') this kayak is.  Still, it handles well and isn't too bad.  Carries lots of gear, unlike Sherry's sit on top.
We weren't sure if our gas grill would cook such a big turkey, but on his side he fit.  I turned him hourly and he cooked from 4:45 until around 8 pm.  Turned out just fine.
I'm sure it is not the height of a turkey's ambition to end up like this, but Sherry says he should be pleased to move up the food chain and become part of Sherry and Richard.  Yeah, sure.

April 14-15

The cold and wet weather hit us again Saturday.  Didn't stop Travis and me going to buy plants for our gardens.  Stopped by Turnip Truck where she bought some heirloom certified organic tomatoes from a lady with a farm on Eaton's Creek Road, the same road that Flowers Nursery is on--where we went later to fill out our shopping list.  I spent most of the rest of Saturday putting in the new plants.  The big freeze is over and I've raked up the straw.  The plants mostly survived well with only a little damage here and there.
 
The yard is thick with the grass we planted and I cut it on Friday.  I also raked up the straw and put it on a round of fencing that I had left over from the trellis.  It'll come in handy for mulch on the garden soon.
Some of the mesclum mix after I raked the straw off.  It looks pretty good.  Just to the right of center is a volunteer cherry tomato plant from last year.  I'm going to see how it does.  There are several.  Will they will be super hardy?  We we'll see.
Sherry's pansies weathered the cold well.  Still pretty and pert.
Some of the Azalias got burned.  I think the ones touching the plastic were the ones damaged.  Note the new leaves coming out though.  It will still look good when the dead blossoms drop off.
It's always exciting to get a flat of new plants.  After that it's mostly a lot of work.  But good work, of course.

Hoping these live up to their name.  Planted four.
This is an old favorite.  Planted four of these.
Planted four of these which always make a lot and keep on coming long into the fall.  Once I count the  volunteers I'll have a lot of tomatoes his year.  May even need to take some out.
Planted eight of the Bradleys.  It's my favorite.
On the right are sweet banana peppers.  Cilantro on the left.
I planted four of these and Travis has some icibans.  Last year her icibans came in early and kept on producing.  Mine came in around mid September.  I don't have the sun she does.
Not to forget the bell peppers--this is Lady Bell, a new one.

April 6-8
Easter Weekend

Poor little turkey!  Went hunting at Ed's farm on Good Friday and followed Ed's formula for success, "All it takes is stealth and persistence."  Not long after I got there around 10am I saw turkeys in the distance across the big open field.  I changed my ambush point several times and finally found one that was fairly comfortable and in the sun--an important factor on a day that was cold and windy.  I had decided to leave if nothing happened by 3pm, but I saw one just about then so stayed on.  Finally one wandered fairly near, but I shot too soon and he flew away.  After wandering around a while just to be sure it wasn't lying wounded, I got back on my stand and an hour later I glimpsed movement and it was three turkeys headed across the big field toward me.  I had been calling regularly, so I think that was why they were coming my way.  Anyhow, I gritted my teeth and waited until they were well in range, took careful aim and killed the largest.  He was a jake with a two inch beard, but just fine with me.  We had Travis, James, and Keith, their New York artist friend, down for dinner Saturday night and turkey was the main course.  It was a fine dinner served up as only Sherry can with all the trimmings and all the best plates and silver.

Saturday I worked around the house and nothing of note happened.

Sunday, after church, I went up to Center Hill and brought back three trout for Travis and James.  All in all, a very good Easter weekend.
Here is a lone turkey feeding near the woods way across the big field where Ed sometimes feeds his cows.  He says the turkeys are so numerous and bold they will come in numbers and scare the cows off the feed and eat it themselves. 
Here is Mr. Jake on the cleaning table.  Note all the corn that was in his craw.  Ed says one of his neighbors feeds them like pets.  I guess the easy food made the one I shot and his two buddies a little less cautious that they should have been. 
I think I mentioned the cold on Friday.  An artic cold front came in Monday night and early morning temperatures have been in the twenties since then.  On Monday, however, we should be able to take the tarp and hay off the tender plants in the garden.
Too bad the azalia chose this week to come into full bloom.  I covered it with clear plastic, but may have done more harm than good.  The flowers touching the plastic withered, or maybe it wasn't thick enough.  Anyhow, it didn't work.
Easter Sunday I fished below the dam at Center Hill and this hefty 12" brown trout was great sport to catch, but I threw him back since 16 inches is the minimum you can keep.
Three rainbow trout and one slab crappie and one legal (over 10 inches) one.  I let the crappie go when I got the third trout.  I had promised Travis some fish and she preferred trout.  She and James are going to enjoy them tonight. 

March 31-April 1

Saturday I weeded the garden and thinned the veggies.  Took a lot of the day.  Also took out some of the bushes way down on the riverbank, near the water.  Sunday I went up to Center Hill to the pool below the dam and hit the jackpot.  Caught all kinds of fish, but mostly crappie--what I wanted.  April Fool's Day was good luck for this fool!
Sherry's winter pansies are still going and blowing.
They are really dramatic and pretty.
The azaleas are just beginning to open up.
They don't last very long but they really light up the yard briefly.

Before and after thinning.
This little pocket between the wing wall and the waterfall was loaded with crappie and other fish too.  It's that time of year!
The oxygen rich water below the falls is a trout and bass hangout, with now and then a crappie or stripe.
The deep water along the wing wall was productive too.  Caught the biggest crappie between the boat and the wall.

This is probably a Kentucky bass. Solid red eye makes it doubtful it's a large mough and it isn't a small mouth.
This 11" rainbow is one of several I caught in the roaring water below the falls.  They all got released.  I kept only crappie.
This spunky smallmouth was hungry and full of fight.
I kept 10 of the largest crappie.  Must have thrown back 20 or more.  Catching them on my fly rod was the most fun, but every now and then I switched to the ultralight and enjoyed that too.  April Fool's Day is now down in my book as a fine day to fish!

March 24-25

Saturday and Sunday I worked hard and got a lot of things done.  Monday I was really needing my yoga class.  I was stiff as a board.  I did go fishing Sunday after church and caught a really nice large mouth and a channel catfish.  Only trouble is that I was fishing for crappie and only caught two small ones.  They started Daylight Savings Time on March 11th this year, so we are already having a hard time getting to bed early enough to get up as usual before 5am.
First job of the weekend was to install a privacy lattice at the end of the deck so we can sit out there without intruding on Lana or Richard when they are in their back yard.
Next job was to take apart the bunkbeds that were in Travis old room and take them down to the storage building.  It took a lot longer than expected, of course--everything does.  When finally done we installed the baby bed in the space created.
Another job that used muscles I didn't know I had was clearing the bank so we can look at the river.  I got most of it done, but not without cuts, scrapes and oh so sore muscles.
Final Saturday job was tilling the yard and spreading the grass seed Sherry bought.  We put down 40# of seed and I scattered 5 bales of straw on top (borrowed from James and Travis).  It was dark by the time I stopped.
First catch of the day at Brush Creek was this 16" female who was really fat and full of eggs.  She went back right away.
This perky little blue gill is great with egg too.  Note the tiny jig I was using.  They all liked it.  White tube with chartreuse tail.
Not quite sure how long this channel cat was since I didn't want to touch her more than necessary.  Probably 2-3#.
I was about to give up when I caught a crappie at the same corner where I caught the catfish--near the llama house where they had their dock last year.  I suspect they sunk brush near the dock so they could fish from it.  Only caught two barely legal so I let them go too.
Sunday, after I got back from fishing, I finished strawing the yard and borrowed Travis' sprinklers, rigged up two hoses, and began to water the new grass seed and my garden.
Here we are with two sprinklers going and really soaking the yard and garden.  It hadn't rained in two or three weeks.  I guess I probably put $40 on the water bill.  Then Monday night and all day Tuesday we got a long soaking rain.  It never fails.

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