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

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Winter 2007-8
Richard Loller

March 3-March 18

Well, my computer broke down around the first of March, so I haven't posted anything until now (April 2).  I am too far behind to write much about the photos.  I'll just tell you when and where mostly.  Once I'm caught up maybe I'll go back and fill in details.  Maybe not.
Monday, March 3, early at BiCentennial Mall.  Gulls are circling in an ascending spiral.  Never knew they did it. 

March 3.  Squirrels eating young buds at BiCentennial.

Tuesday, March 4.  Wet and drizzly morning at Bells Bend Park.
I saw several herds of deer.  Some with 15-20 in them.

It was very wet and the tracks were everywhere.
Thursday, back at Shelby Bottoms.  Cold and frost on these blackberry leaves.
Saturday, March 8.  Snow started last night and by morning we had three inches on the deck.
By Saturday afternoon most of the snow was gone.  Only in sheltered spots.
Tuesday, March 11, at Shelby Bottoms.  Another hard frost.

An angry sunrise.
Thursday, March 13, at SB.  Cold and clear, but not freezing.  You can see how much pollution the air craft contribute to the problem.
On the brighter side, I got behind a happy guy on my way to the Y.
Friday, March 14.  The mesclum mix is coming up, despite the freezing temps.
The Japanese magnolia spits in the eye of cold weather.  It defies it.
Sunday, March 16.  Too windy to fish, so I made a gate for the deck.  The final link in the baby pen chain.  While we can move the gate we won't have to unless we have a party.
Adults can step over.  Baby can't. Took a lot of thinking and looking at possible solutions to come up with this one. 
   
Tuesday, March 18.  Saw the first courting Towhee singing his heart out.
Visited the footbridge over the Cumberland from Shelby Bottoms to Two Rivers Park.  It's not open yet, but at 6:30am there is no one to say, "Keep off."
I've been told the cables are for show.  However, they look pretty substantial to me and I expect they are a real contributor to the strength of the whole.
This hill lets wheel chairs climb gradually.  The pit the dirt came from is a nice lake. 
These cables aren't just for show.
On the Two Rivers side the path from the tunnel to the bridge was still  rock and mud.  But by March 29 the asphalt was down.  Grand opening should be soon.

February 25-March 2

Well, it's been warm and cold and warm again this week.  Monday it was warm and rainy.  Tuesday it was really warm and misty at Shelby Bottoms.  The frogs were singing their little hearts out.  Wednesday it snowed all day with not much accumulation on the roads but plenty in the woods and in the garden.  Friday it rained some and was warming up and Saturday I worked outside in a light shirt and Sherry and I sat out on the deck later on until the sun went behind the bluff across the river.  March finally made it.  Daylight savings time comes back next Sunday.  Hot Damn!  Spring is almost here.
Here are our first buttercups and some tulips from Ginger.
Here is the garden Wednesday when I went to the car.  I had no problems driving, but my two yoga students at St. Ann's decided not to chance the roads.
By Thursday the snow was over and a cold front with a harsh north wind was here freezing my hands painfully until the sun came up.  The frost was very thick.
This little diving duck had the half frozen pond to himself.
At the pavilion snow had covered part of the deck and a curious bird had checked it out before I got there.
When the sun finally got up good my hands started to thaw out and things got a lot better.

Saturday was warm and nice.  I started on the baby guard project using 1/4" poly vinyl rope with 3" openings.  The space at the bottom will get another 2 x 4.

I used 1 1/4' staples and pulled it tight with a winch.
No, not the wench you are thinking of.  This is a "come along winch" that my daddy left me.  It is extremely handy for many things, including getting baby barriers tight.
Saturday night we went to The French Quarter on Woodland Street to see Tom Pallardy's band.  They were great.  The place was packed and everyone was having fun.
Our neighbor Billy Anderson played a mean keyboard.
Ginger and I cut a rug.  Sherry took the photo.  I am feeling no pain, yet.  That came Sunday morning.  Oh, well.

February 18-2 

Whooping Cranes

Well, I didn't get any photos this week until Thursday.  On Monday it was cold and raining at BiCentennial Mall, so I went early to the Y.  On Tuesday I waited until 7am to leave, since Sherry had been throwing up all night and I wanted to see if I could do anything for her before I left.  Thursday it was cold and windy at SB, but I made a decent walk.  Saturday Sherry and I went to Bells Bend Park and had the woodcock viewing to ourselves.  Saw two and heard more.  Sunday I went back to see if I could locate the Whooping Cranes that visit that area.  Bingo!  Got over 200 shots, some half-way decent.


Thursday at SB a long blackbird kept me company.  He was calling in vain for a mate.
It was cold and dark until around 7:30 when the sun peeped through and then went back to bed.  Rain begin.  I left.
I did check out the boat at the pond.  Still there, but seems to have been tumbled downhill a bit.  Maybe the wind.  That is the paddle on his end and a rudder at the other.
Saturday Sherry and I went to Bell's Bend Park to try to locate the place where the woodcocks court.  We weren't sure of the place, but had a pretty good description.  Not 400 yards from the parking lot this old barn sits on top of the hill.  Just beyond it if where we found the woodcocks.
Before we located the birds, Sherry trudges gamely up the hill to try to listen for them.  We heard a buzzing a lot like an insect, but it was evidently the woodcocks.  Then I saw on flying fast past me and past the barn.
We saw two woodcocks fly up from the creek bottoms and plop down in the field below the barn.  Then we saw one make a really spectacular circling flight overhead to a great height.  Couldn't hear any song though.  Later the other one flew, but not as high and he was soon gone for parts unknown.  It was almost full dark by then. Those are the lights of the uncompleted visitor's center across the valley.  We were cold, but satisfied so we left for home.
I had heard the whooping cranes also visited that area.  So Sunday I went back and got lucky.  Got a lot of photos, but not many were very good.
I'm still learning to shoot photos with Sherry's spotting scope.  It was cold and cloudy.  That may account for the blue glow above the birds. 
There were two birds in the field.  At one point they got pretty close, but I had detached the camera.  Naturally.
A cold and pale eye.  They probably are descended from reptiles or dinosaurs or fish or possibly republicans.
There were huge flocks of gulls farther out in the field and a large flock of geese on the pond to the right.
Going home I stopped in the road to make this shot of part of a flock of 40-50 turkeys.  They were on the edge of the road in someone's yard.  Game and fish did a great job.

February 11-17

ell, this is the third year when we have had snow in mid February.  I didn't have my camera with me on Wednesday when it was coming down, so it was Thursday when I finally got a photo of what was still left.  Some cold weather still to come, but I went ahead and planted some greens.  Won't be long until Spring!
Tuesday morning it was fairly warm and raining at Shelby Bottoms.  Lots of water now, not like Summer and fall.
This mating pair of geese had the pond to themselves.
Way down the dam, back behind some bushes, someone had been boating and fishing.  Found a cork and stringer too.
Wednesday it snowed pretty hard, but most of it was gone by Thursday when I got to Shelby Bottoms.  Just patches in the shade here and there.  This is the third straight year we've had snow near or on Valentine's day.  Romantic?
Thursday it was cold as heck.  Had to keep walking fast.
Friday Becky and I were crossing the Shelby Street Bridge just as the Music City Star came tooting in.  Love to watch the train.  Need to ride it to Lebanon and back.
Saturday I got half the garden tilled when the tiller broke down.  It's getting old.  Got enough done to plant some cold weather stuff, however.  That's last falls turnips on the left and the onions and garlic to the center.
Put in two rows of beets, a row of mesclum mix, a row of spinach, half a row each of experimental stuff--broccoli raab and celery.  We will see if either of them do.  Of course, this is only mid February, so all of this stuff may freeze. 
Still alive from last fall's mesclum mix, this radiccio may actually be edible.  We will try it out next weekend.
Sunday morning it stormed and, although the rain stopped, the wind didn't.  Below Center Hill Dam I couldn't keep the boat in place.  The anchor kept dragging.  No fish biting either.  Got this photo of a rainbow where the wind was blowing the falls.

February 4-10

Well, it's been cold again and somewhat wet too.  But the birds are starting to show signs of courting and it won't be too many weeks before Spring is blooming.  Finally got the garden started for this year.  Still have turnips and garlic and onions from the fall planting, and maybe some of the lettuce will come back too.  Won't be long before we start working in the dirt in earnest.
Tuesday water was to the top of the overflow at SB pond.
It has been draining out of the pond too.
The marshy ground is now part of the pond all the way to the asphalt path.  The saplings are in a foot of water and soon, I hope, the beavers will be back to begin to harvest some.
Saw my first red winged blackbird Tuesday.  Heard him first.  You can just make out the red on his shoulder.
Several bands of geese flew over while I was there.
Thursday I found this good deer track on the edge of the pond.  There were several deer down here to drink.

Near the entrance these two males were playing court to the one female mallard.  Must be nice to have a choice.
Saturday was supposed to be warmer than Sunday, so I went up to Brush Creek and tried for crappie.  This downed tree was an ideal spot, but not a nibble.
It wasn't very warm on the lake.  A strong wind was blowing and my little trolling motor just barely had enough juice to get me back to the put in.  Not a great day, so I quit early and came home to do some chores.
Sunday, I worked on the garden.  First, I had to get the board walkways out.  I washed the slugs, sow bugs, worms, and mud off the bottoms and then stacked them to dry.
Next I spread the brown gold from Ned's cow barn over the entire garden.  I'll till or dig it in later, when I'm ready to plant.  After that I can put the board pathways back in.  First time I've fertilized in two or three years, so the plants should really show the difference.
My truck held 4 of these 45 gallon trash cans full.  I spread three and kept one for putting directly into the holes when I plant tomatoes and other big plants.

January 22--February 3

Well, it has been cold and rainy and the photos have been sparse, so I'm covering more than one week here.
This is where the pond at SB drains.  Water is at the top.
We celebrated our 43rd wedding anniversary with James, Travis, the baby, Ginger and Billy on the 26th.  It was a delayed celebration but lots of fun and good food.
Earlier that morning, Travis spotted this beautiful hawk in a tree almost over our house.  Got his shot through Sherry's spotting scope.  Sent the photo to an expert and he said this is an accipter hawk, due to the long narrow tail.  Could have been a Coopers Hawk, but the end of the tail is squared, not rounded, so it's a Sharp Shinned Hawk.  How about that!
One of the few at the dam below Center Hill on Sunday, the 27th.  He and I had it almost to ourselves.
This trout was, I believe, a cross between a brown and a rainbow.  Little canine teeth like a brown, but the rainbow stripe.  Need to look that up.
The big log is still there, but the crappie aren't.
On Monday, the 28th, I got within a few feet of this red tailed hawk and his kill.
Tuesday at SB, three deer way across the misty field.
The buck stayed longest so the light was better.
Thursday and wet.  Water all across the slough.  A week or so ago it was almost dry.  That's ice along the edges.
February 2, Saturday, and I decided to give James a load of flat rocks for his birthday present.  Man, what a dumb idea.  The rocks at the bottom are no good.  You get the flat ones up in the woods at the top of the bluff.  Then you roll them down and hope they don't split.
Some of the big ones had to be rolled to the truck and flopped in over the tail gate.  I'm lucky to have made it without a hernia.  Anyhow, James was pleased.
Sunday seemed like a good day for fishing, so I went to Fall Creek on Percy Priest.  Water was very clear, but no fish.
Couldn't ask for a smoother lake, but the fish had lock jaw.
Oh well, maybe next week.

January 14-21

Well, on Tuesday I finally got up about 30 minutes late, but made it to Shelby Bottoms.  It was very crisp and frosty.  The pond is way up, which is good, but no ducks or beavers or otters.  So I just walked.  On Thursday it had warmed up a little to around 35 degrees so instead of frost it was misty rain.  The guys who empty the trash containers are tearing up the grass paths so I guess I ought to complain to someone.  Saturday it was really cold all day, so no chance to go fishing and Sunday was down to 8 degrees when we got up.  Tomorrow is MLK day, so no work.  It is also supposed to get up to 40.  Fishing may be an option.  Stay tuned!
These colorful blackberry leaves were glittering in the dim light of dawn.  How much longer will they hang on?
The pond is back up to near capacity.  The shoreline I was walking not long ago is gone.
Here is where the outlet from the dam is.  Another foot and water won't stay in the pond at all.
The maintenance crew is using the grass walkways as a short cut between trash containers.  Not good.
There are lots of these blue bird houses along the walks.  A big hawk swooped down and settled on this one just ahead of me on Thursday.  Naturally it flew just as I finally got the camera out.
Lots of hawks passing through now.  This may be the one I saw earlier.  Spotted two more before I left.
Saturday I spent part of the day learning how to hook up my camera to Sherry's spotting scope.  Hello, Dove.
The Downy Woodpecker is pretty shy, but he darts in and gets his share of the peanut butter when bigger birds, the mocking birds and starlings, will let him.

Mother Cardinal isn't as shy as Papa Cardinal, so she is a frequent visitor.
Papa Cardinal is a good bit more jumpy than Mom, but in really cold or snowy weather he will push right in there.
Little Miss Wren isn't scared of anything.  She wastes more seed than any other.  I think she is hoping to find a grub or insect somewhere inside the feeder, so she keeps digging.
She does like the peanut butter, so she gets food too.
The Chickadees come and go so fast it's hard to get a shot.  You just wish they'd hold still.  Finally got this one shucking a seed he's holding between his feet.  Good trick!  They, too, find the peanut butter yummy.  All the birds do.


Finally, we have the Orks of the feeders--Starlings.  I shoo them off when I'm around, but it's pretty useless.  The
minute I'm gone they are back in force.  It was  all started by a fellow in colonial New York City who wanted a pair
of every bird mentioned in Shakespeare.  All our billions of current destructive pests came from his escaped pair. So
I suppose we should really blame The Swan of Avon for mentioning the damn birds in the first place.  Bad, Bill, bad!
 

January 1-13
Florida Trip

Well, I went down to Florida on January 3 and on January 6 got a stomach virus that put me down for two days and several more of feeling weak and listless.  But fun!  No, not much.  It was good to get home and get back up to speed, which I did by the 12th.  Thank you, Lord.  It feels so good to be well!
Sand Hill Cranes on the way to Frank's from the airport.  Ft. Myers had a record low of 30 degrees this morning.  Frank said it didn't hurt the oranges because it was windy,  This evidently somehow prevents frost damage.
Frank has the greatest garage on earth.  Bays for two tractors and his truck in addition to a workshop and room for his old political momentos...AND a bathroom.  Wow.
This is at Bea's house Thursday evening where a joint birthday party for Bea and Uncle Nev was taking place.  She is 95 and he is 96.  Above we have Uncle Nev, Frank, Uncle Nev's daughter (the Episcopal priest), Pat, and Bea.
Frank Jr's new baby, Mary Grace, looks remarkably like her pop did at her age.
Mary Lee poses with Thomas Edison at Edison College on whose campus resides the Barbara B. Mann Performing Arts Center, where we went Friday night to wine and dine and skip the play, "White Christmas."
Big family photo session before the play in the garden.  I spent my time taking shots of the beautiful koi in the pool.
Saturday we went out to Keri hunting camp.  Fortunately it had warmed up so we didn't freeze.  This big red shouldered hawk liked to sit in a tree above camp and scream,  "Keeee....Keeeee....Keeeeee...."
Got a shot of this big ibis near the pond at camp.
Lots of rain in December, so the woods were unusually wet.  Linn's jeep lost it's 4WD so he got stuck twice before giving up and going back to camp.  He had to shuck down to his cute drawers to attach the tow rope for us to pull him out with the swamp buggy when he tried to cross the canal.
Son of one of the members poses with his first 90 pound pig.  His brother, less wise, shot a huge boar which took three hours to clean.  I'm sure he'll look for a smaller one next time.
Next morning, Sunday, Frank and I waited in an elevated stand from before sun rise.  No turkeys, but we did see these three does.  The other one is in the high grass.
One of the plantings Pat has made. Pat is acknowledged the best hunter of the lot, but doesn't take a gun any more.  He'd rather putter around and do things like this, planting beans and peanuts that the game will eat later.  Sometimes he just strings up a hammock and takes a nap.
After about 15 tries I finally got a half way decent shot of a crab spider, a strange little guy with a hard crab like shell.
Another odd creature makes this strange cocoon from short twigs.  How does it get the last one in?
On the way into camp we disturb the black headed buzzards at work on the remains of the two pigs shot yesterday.
They didn't go far and were soon back at the trough.
Another group comes back to camp with nothing more than tales of missed opportunities.  Linn had earlier bagged the only turkey  killed out of this camp all season.
While waiting for our brunch we watched this palmetto bug, the florida cockroach, get hotter and hotter.  He finally decided to jump for it and left a bit the worse for wear.
Back home Sunday afternoon and I went to bed and stayed most of two days.  It took a week to get completely back to normal.  Some sort of stomach virus.  Not pretty.
Tuesday evening on the Caloosahatchie with Frank and Mary.  I wasn't even up to casting a lure. 
So I bid adieu to Sunny Florida.  The river trip did me good and helped pep me up for the flight home Wednesday. 
Back home I felt good on Saturday and did a lot of chores that had stacked up.  Sunday I fished for crappie at Fall Creek.  The weather was cold and sometimes threatening and dramatic, but no storms broke so I managed to pull in 5 nice crappie before heading home.

December 24-30th

Well, after dodging the sick bullet for a long time, Sherry and Richard were dragging about with colds just in time for Christmas.  Still we had plenty of company to cheer us up.  Sister Ann came in from Maine, son Hanley and his wife, Denile, came in from Lexington, daughter Travis with James and little Zinnia came down the street, Poncho, Rebeca, and Sebastian, friends of Travis and James, came in from Berkeley, Heloise and Daniel, Sherry's kayaking friend and her son, came from Murfreesboro, and friend Mabel dropped in from across Donelson.  Plenty of excitement and presents and food and wine.  By the time it was over Sherry and Richard had perked up and were enjoying themselves along with everyone else!


The old Christmas tree frame straddles a new palm this year.  But the old familiar ornaments
are still there (minus one or two Zinnia examined too closely).  Featured are our treasured
cat ornaments made by James' wood carver mother, Laury.  Butterball and Epy are now playing little
golden harps in cat heaven, but they will live on for a long time on our Christmas tree.

Here we are assembled for the feast--a yummy country ham and all the trimmings!  Poor Sherry with her cold did the major work helped greatly by Aunt Ann, but Ann and James and Heloise all contributed wonderful side dishes and deserts.  The rest of us just enjoyed the feast!
Poncho and Rebeca open their suprise crackers and don their crowns.  Sebastian examines his.
Daniel and Heloise ham it up for the photographer.
Sherry, Richard, and Ann mug it up as well.
Zinnia poses with mother and pop.
Here is an earlier photo of Natasha, Denile, and Hanley.  The one Grand Daddy took at dinner was blurred.  Natasha was visiting in Michigan, but her parents were with us!
Mabel dropped in after having dinner with her family.  She and Zinnia enjoyed comparing red dresses.  Zinnia also highly admired Mabels dangly ear rings.

Mr. Billy Sedberry


After Christmas I was still feeling about 70% of well, so I took the time to scan this photo of Mr. Billy Sedberry, a man I admired and liked way back in the 60's, when Sherry and I were first married.  I worked at a place in Franklin called CPS Industries and one of my co-workers was Zulieme Sedberry.  When she found out I liked to hunt she said I should meet her Father.  I did and we got along famously.  He was convinced that I was a good shot because we went squirred hunting one day and I killed three and he only killed one.  Since we were using single shot Sheridan air rifles this was harder than it might have been with a .22 or shotgun.  The reason I did well was I was so intent on winning his praise that I did everything exactly right--waiting until just the right moment.  Not growing impatient.  The whole thing.  Later we went dove hunting and I killed 12 out of a box of 25 shells, including several doubles.  I never did anything like as well after and never will.  I had taken several photos of Mr. Billy and when he died I had the best enlarged and gave them to the family who framed them and had them there at the funeral.  I think he was my mentor in hunting and fishing and a model of what I wished I could be.
The Sedberry house in Thompson Station was very old.  It was on top of a rocky hill and their water came from a cistern.  There were 40 acres around the house that Mr. Billy let me hunt.  He gave me a hand made fly rod which I still have.  The handle is of walnut.  When Mr. Billy died he was sitting up reading an encyclopedia. His wife went to sleep and when she woke up in the morning he was still in the chair with the book open on his lap.  Who wouldn't choose that way to live and die?  Here is an article that the Franklin paper ran about him.



I hope Mr. Billy and Dolly are living in 
an old brick house on a hill in heaven and 
that he is hunting and fishing and she is 
cooking and canning and they are teaching 
little angels how to do the same.

I felt better on Thursday and made a short walk in SB.  These ducks were my only sighting.  Cold and still.

Saturday I stayed at home and did small jobs around the house.  Sunday I visited Brush Creek.  Cold, but the sun was out and there was no wind.  No fish either.  I guess it is still to early and not yet cold enough.  But I won't complain when the day was so fine and I was feeling much better.
See the new tree down in the water?  It's an oak and the bank gave way under it since I was last up here.  It's by the house with the camel and llamas.  I found out that they are gone.  Spoke to the brother in law of the new owner, who has the pretty horses I saw last visit.  I'll miss the odd animals, but expect the new tree to be a crappie haven before long.
Stopped to take this photo of the geese along the highway just outside of Ashland City.  They are in shallow water.  You can see some of them standing in it.  But it is a wide stretch of backwater, almost a bay, at the mouth of Marrowbone Creek.  There were hundreds of them.  Good ol' Tennessee!

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