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

Visit Storyhouse.org--my site for writers and readers
 
Spring 2009
Richard Loller
June 12 - June 21
Well, this episode brings us to the end of Spring.  I love Spring and Fall, as almost everyone does.  Summer is fine too, but a little warm sometimes.  Still, after the seemingly endless days of wet, dark, and cold last Winter I swore I would never again complain when it got hot.  So I'm not.
I have three chayote plants growing up the high climbing stakes I put in for them.  They are from Central America, although the plant is world wide now.  It looks like a pear and tastes like a cross between a squash and an apple.  I like them and when and if they finally begin to fruit they are supposed to produce quite a few.
Instead of the main vine winding around the support it sends out tendrils.  They had a hard time gripping the wood, so I wrapped string around the stakes and now the vines are climbing nicely.  Hope things work out.  I'm really excited about this plant.  No weeding!!!
Garlic is supposed to be ready to dig around July 4th.  However, it's only June 13 and this is looking pretty dry.  They say to dig it when the stalk is half dead.  However, I've found that if you wait too late the stalks disappear altogether and you can't find the bulbs, which are sometimes going bad. 
Well, I decided on the 20th of June to go ahead and harvest mine.  The next week I harvested Travis'.  Her's was very small and disappointing.  I think the ground where they were planted was pretty hard. 
These are the sweet potato hills.  On the left is the corn, the plants on top are okra, at the bottom are the beans, and at the right is th sweet potato.  This was on the 13th of June.  So far, so good.
My beets are coming along well, but Travis' are fighting the weeds.  I doubt that they will produce much.  I just can't weed both patches and Travis and James have the babies and their jobs, so not much time for weeding.
One thing that has done ok, even with the weeds, at Travis' are the lettuces.  They grow above the grass and the broad leaves help choke the weeds out.  Even though there has only been one weeding early on they are producing lots of food.
The potatoes have a virus that curls the leaves.  James thought it might help to add lime to the soil.  We have, but I think it may not help, or at least be too late.
On Sunday I fished at Cheatham and caught this one decent bass.  Had a nice quiet time, however, and only a dew of rain.
Back at the dock I had to land amidst three of the fattest swimmers I have ever seen.  And on the bank was the aunt, who was the fattest of all.  They were jolly and friendly and seemed very nice folks.
At Shelby Bottoms I saw this very mud covered turtle crossing the path.  He stopped long enough to pose for me.
I got this shot through our smaller telescope.  It's pretty good, but the mechanics of hauling it around with the tripod aren't too appealing.  Think I'll stick to the tripod and the camera, but no telescope with a camera mount.

May 26--June 11

Well, Spring is wearing down and Summer is coming on.  Hope you like these late spring images.
Last Tuesday in May and the mulberries are perfect.
Towhees, indigo buntings, yellow throats, and various sparrows--they are all up on the high limbs showing off and hoping it works.
On the way back to the Y, these brave lads clean the windows of an almost empty condo.
Thursday the fox squirrels were working out in the mulberry trees.
This baby bunny let me get up close and take his photo. 
This mulberry variety gets purple, not black.  Not as good eating.
Went fishing Sunday and found Fall Creek at Percy Priest much lower, near normal.  This Red Admiral would not leave my shoulder alone.  Salt eating.
Worked hard, but this barely legal crappie was all I caught.  They don't call it catching.  They call it fishing. 
When I take out there are usually people fishing from the bank at the ramp.  They have less in equipment than I do, and mine is pretty minimal.  I always wish them the best and give them my fish if the want fish.  Mostly they don't.  They are just there for the same reason I am.  To relas and fish.  Catching is optional.
The bees are working over the thistle blossoms.
Tuesday I started at the end of Moss Rose.  The entrance to SB is shaded by cottonwood trees.  Their fluff is deep on both sides of the trail.
The indigo buntings are even more shy than the towhees, but not so shy as the yellow throats.
On the way out I saw this big garter snake trying to decide whether or not to cross the asphalt.  They have trouble moving on smooth surfaces.  Nothing to catch their scales on. 
Hello, Mr/Ms/Mrs Snake.  Maybe someone can tell us your name?
Click here.
Woke up late the first Thursday in June, but was rewarded by these magnolias when I decided to walk at BiCentennial Mall.
Saturday we went to Bret and Anita's PIG PARTY.  Bret usually cooks a whole pig in his cooker, but this year both of them are ailing, so he cooked shoulders and ribs.  As usual, they were simply delicious.
Some brilliant family brought two half border collie puppies to the do, plus several cute kids to show them off.  Sherry almost fell for it, but Travis said no.
Wild roses come and go so quickly, but they are so nice when they are here!
I have seen these ant swarms before, down at BiCentennial Mall.  What are these little ants up to ?  I've tried the internet but can't find an answer.  If you know what they are doing please let me know. Click here.
Tuesday I got this nice shot of an indigo bunting way up on the top limb getting ready to advertise his availability as a good husband.
Wednesday Tommy and I took off and went to Cuba Landing.  Got there around 2 pm and stayed until 7.  Going late and leaving late was a good idea.  It wasn't as hot and the fish got more active as it got later.  We had been told wher and how to fish by Barbara at the Y, whose husband, Barry, is a fireman and fishes a lot--he enters a lot of the local bass tournaments.  Anyhow, Barbara and Barry were at Cuba Landing the weekend before and she told us to use buzz baits or spinner baits back up in the shallow weed beds.  Naturally, we tried a lot of other stuff before we gave up and tried it.  Tommy caught 7 or 8 nice hefty bass and I hooked several big ones.  But it wasn't until we were ready to leave, within 50 yards of the ramp, on my last cast, that I hooked and landed (not just hooked) the nice one at the right.  We guessed between 3 1/2 and 4 pounds.  19" long. Was I a happy camper?  About as happy as she was when we put her back.
Thursday, before going to SB, I went to the back deck to get a couple of lawn chairs to take to volleyball.  Something had knocked our round pot off its place, evidently trying for the eggs or baby wrens. 
No evidence of either eggs or dead babies, so we think it was probably still eggs. Sherry thinks it was a big snake because we have had them after the wren's nest before in that same pot.  Could be.  Or maybe a possum or a coon or a cat.  All the same to the wrens.  This is their second unsuccessful nest.  The first one, in the ivy pot by our front door, was raided several weeks earlier.
At Shelby Bottoms I found the mimosas in bloom, but the mulberries are gone.
Buck and a doe in the meadow to the West of the pavilion.

 

May 18--Memorial Day
(May 25)

Well, things go by so quickly sometimes.  How did it get to be the end of May?  How did I get to be 68?  Ha!  Dumb Luck. Should have been dead any number of times. Grand babies are growing by leaps and bounds.  Little ducks are swimming around and getting to be big ducks.  Spiders keep on building webs and bugs keep on flying into them.  On and on.  Good thing too.


Heard running water on the dam at SB and poked around in the bushes and found this drain with the second cock open.  Fancy dancy!
Mulberry report.  Almost edible.  Next week for sure.  Yes, the seeds stick between my teeth, but that's what floss is for.
Early morning sun caught this spider's web just about perfectly.
Remember last week when that daffy duck scared the pants off me?  I went back and, sure enough, there were two in the little cleared space between the walking area and the tall weeds.  They let me get within a few feet before flying off.  I could understand a mating pair staying near the nest, but what are two drakes doing hanging out there.  No food.  People going by.  Are they nuts?
Thursday Harry and I took a day off work and went fishing with Tommy on Kentucky lake at Cuba Landing.  We wanted to beat the holiday crowd.  That's Tommy in the front of the boat and Harry proudly showing off his catch of the day.  A not quite legal crappie.  Had to throw it back.  Shucks.
I saw a gar gliding by near the bank and got a lucky cast just in front of it.  It took the tiny jig and after that it was sky walking and tornados.  Finally....
...got the sucker tired enough to let me get the lure and shake it off.  Whew!  We ended up with 5 or 6 good crappie which I brought home and we ate them for dinner Saturday night.  Yum.
Back at work on Friday and took a stroll in Centennial Park.  Lots of ducklings and goslings cluttering up the landscape, much to the delight of everyone except the folks who have to clean up the mess they make.  Oh, well...
Saturday I worked mostly on Travis' garden.  Those are the snow peas we have been getting and further down the trellis are sugar snaps.  The sugar snaps are on the shady end and didn't do as well.
I tilled up two rows behind the trellis and planted Christmas Limas, Lazy Housewife String Beans, Tiger Eye Bush Beans, and Country Gentleman White corn in these rows.  See the chart at top of section.
Sweet potato hill with sweet potato (left) and two tiny okra plants.  Also planted two country gentleman corn seeds and two empress bush bean seeds on each hill.  See chart.
Sunday was 80% rain chances and it did rain early, but I went out to Fall Creek and found the water much lower.  Fished most of the attracters, but caught almost all on the shallowest one.  Estimate water level around 485.
Caught these five nice ones and threw back as many, so it was a pretty good day.  Made it all day with only a very light shower, soon over, that didn't even force me to get out my rain jacket.
Sherry's front flower garden is bursting out all over.
The great arch is lovely with these clematis .  The wisteria have come and gone, evidently.

Stella d'Oro lily

Forget-me-nots
Have three chayote that are waist high, so I made a frame which I hope they will be able to climb. 
From all I read they are great climbers, but so far I'm having to help a lot.  Maybe they will do better as they get stronger.

 

May 4 - May 17

Well, the main story for this period is rain.  We got it almost every day and sometimes it was quite heavy.  Still, it's spring and the critters are mating and the plants are blooming and fresh tomatoes are just around the corner.

Wild roses.

Deer at the far end of the pavilion meadow.

King Bird.

Mulberries just beginning to grow.

Two days of rain.  It's been wet, folks!
Sunday I went to Fall Creek on PP and the ramp was under water.  Only two of the attracters were visible, the rest were under water.  Caught zilch.
Sometime in March, while digging up a flower bed for Sherry, I uncovered a little tubular thing about two inches long.  It looked like a tiny cigar round on both ends.  When I touched it it moved, so I put it in a jar with some dirt and a cover with holes.  Today it hatched and was a large moth.  Took it outside and put it on a limb so it could blow up its wings.  Next day it was gone.  Hope it made it to wherever moths go after they hatch.
My new compass which I enjoy using just to check the actual direction against what I have in my head.  So far I've been pretty close to the compass reading.
Walking toward the lake something whirred from behind and scared the doodley out of me. Then a duck whizzed by over my shoulder and landed twenty feet ahead of me on the road.  He studied me and I studied him.  After several photos I walked slowly nearer and he walked slowly farther.  Finally I walked fast and he flew up and back over my head and his mate flew up out of the bushes and joined him.  They made large circuits of the field several times and then settled back down near where they started.  Must be nesting, but his behavior was definitely bizarre.  Warning me away?  Who knows?
Crossing the bridge near the pavilion this green head rapidly made off. 
What is the evolutionary reason for this guy to be so handsome.  Not to mention other birds such as the painted bunting.  Bit of overkill, what?

One week after the first photo.  Mulberries growing fast.
When I'm taking the grass paths I wear my waterproof boots.  The grass was up to my knees and soaked my jeans.  Been too wet to mow.
First bee of the year on the honeysuckle.  At least, first for me.

Only two days since the last photo.  They'll be ready next week.

I think this may be crabapple.  Pretty, whatever it is.

First Tulip Poplar blossom for me this year.  It's the Tennessee State tree.
Got a new telescope with a pretty good camera mount.  Saturday was too wet to go outside, so I caught up on my computer work and checked it out.  This swing is in the yard across the river.  That's a pretty far piece, as we say.
Sunday it turned cooler and the clouds began to break up.  This is a potato blossom on the plants I put in at Travis' house in March.
I checked to see and sure enough, there are fair sized potatoes already along with a lot of smaller ones.  Should be plenty by next month.
I dug a trench in the middle and piled the dirt into mounds on each side about 18" apart for sweet potatoes.  Then I put down a thick layer of straw mulch.Never grew any kind of potatoes before, so I have high hopes for both kinds.  There were 25 mounds.  After putting down the mulch I uncovered each mound and planted the slips.
Here's a little sweet potato "slip" on it's mound.  I also planted two okra on each mound so if they all come up that will be 50 okra plants.  Since the potatoes are vines and will spread over the ground the okra can grow up and over them and should be no problem.  We will see.

April 20 - May 3

Well, Spring is finally here and we have had some pretty hot days.  I finally saw a turkey at SB along with some tadpoles in a temporary pool and a pair of towhees feeding beside the path.  Worked in both gardens weeding all Saturday and by Monday the little devils were back, or maybe late starters.  That's the way it goes and no use complaining.
On Tuesday I heard crows in a strip of woods not far from the path at SB and when I got closer I saw three regular crows and one huge crow.  Only it was a turkey being harassed on his/her roost by the rest.  I got fairly close before it flew.  Took my turkey call back a couple of times, but no luck.  There may be a flock down there but I haven't found them yet.  When you listen hard you realize how much noise there is just across the river from the traffic and the trains and the warehouses with their whistles and thumps and crashes..
We are finally getting lots of rain and these baby frogs took advantage of it to hatch.  Hope they make it until the next one refills their pool. 
Thursday I tried for a shot of the new moon and Venus close together.  Need a tripod or a steady post next time.
I don't know what it is but it is really nice.  Everything is coming now.
The crawdeads are putting high walls around the tops of their holes to keep the rain water from washing them out.
Nothing new about honeysuckle blossoms, but the first ones are the best--every year.
At home Sherry's azalea is in full bloom.  It doesn't last long but......
...while it does it's spectacular.  The new garden by the house is pretty too.
Sunday Harry and I went over to Fall Creek landing at Percy Priest and fished for crappie.  It was slow and the wind was really strong.  Harry wanted to try out his Achilles and 4 hp motor and I took my boat so I could fish. 
I caught several of these little bass but no crappie until just before we left when I found a gathering of crappie on the only shallow attractor I fished.  The deeper ones were no shows.  Took home four nice fish and we ate them next day. 
More rain on the way, but just before sunrise the pond is mirror smooth.
The beavers have been adding to their dam where the pond used to drain.  Still, it may get pretty low this summer if we have another long dry spell, so I wonder if they will stay here or give up and move on.  Haven't seen either beaver or otter in several years now.
Another problem for the beavers is this new walking path that will run across the dam of the pond...
...and then go across this deer meadow, the one the pavillion is in way up to the left, and end up near the river at the overlook.  All the new traffic at the pond will surely be a negative for the beavers and otters at the pond and the deer that I see often in the meadow--if any stay around at all I'll be surprised..
New sycamore leaves just breaking out of the bud.
The vetch has lovely little blossoms, like frozen purple waterfalls.
I've seen one or two towhees and indigo buntings singing at the tops of saplings, but they are still shy and fly away quickly as I get near.  Later, when they get more agressive for a mate they will stick to their chosen spots and let me get pretty near.  Thursday I saw this pair feeding along the road.  It's not often I get even a long shot of the female, much less a pair.
Not far away a neighborhood cat checks me out before dashing into the bushes.
If the cat got this shrew it must have disliked the taste.  I see them fairly often this time on year dead but intact.  Do they starve or drown or what?
Saturday I went out to Flowers Nursery on Eaton's Creek Road and bought the seedlings I'll need this year.  It was crowded and several things I wanted were sold out.  You can see it was wet out there.
It was wet at home too.  Three inches in the few days since the first of May and it was soon over 5 inches.
It was so wet I couldn't plant these seedlings Saturday so they had to wait a full week longer before I could get them into the ground
I got half a load of mulch, well seasoned wood bark and applied it to two...
...rows before I called it a day on Saturday.  It took almost all day to get some of the little things done that needed to be done and I still had more than half the mulching left to do and none of the seedlings planted when I said "Let it wait."
Sunday I went out to Fall Creek.  The water was over the top of the ramp and into the parking lot, as you can see on the left.  It was raining off and on.
But, I caught a lot of crappie on the two attractors in the shallowest water.  Normally not more than 4-8 feet deep, they were at least twice that.  Caught nothing on the deeper ones.  Kept the three biggest and threw 10 or 12 smaller ones back.  The largest one here is over 14" long.  A big crappie.

April 16-19

Well, old friend Frank blew into town Thursday night and we had two things lined up--turkey hunting and fishing.  Buddy Tommy provided a boat and we went fishing Friday morning on Kentucky Lake.  It threatened to rain and was windy, but we managed to find a few crappie and a few bass, so we felt we had done our job.  We slept late Saturday after attending the St. Ann's auction and wine tasting Friday night.  Heard some turkeys gobbling and saw some at a distance, but never got close enough for a good shot (camera shot, that is).  Before he left Sunday we visited our alma mater so he could buy a few souvenirs for the home folks.  Good time was had.
Frank gets to hold baby Elizabeth who is not sure if he is an Uncle or not.
Gassing up Tommy's boat at Dickson after a huge Cracker Barrel breakfast.
It might not be big, but it's the first fish in the boat.  It got liberated to bite again.
Tommy was wearing out the crappie, but most were small.  After a while the wind got up and the clouds threatened so we went back to the vicinity of the marina in case the rain got going for real.

On the way back to Cuba Landing we saw this rare sight.  A marina on the move.  The whole thing being pushed up the lake to a new location.  How about that?
I caught fewest but one was the biggest.  Using a tiny jib on the fly rod.
Frank has to have his nappy bye.  He even caught a fish while sleeping!
Here we are at Ed's farm waiting for the turkeys to inundate us.  We saw plenty but they wouldn't come in close.  The one in the photo is Frank's decoy he brought all the way from Florida.  Evidently she didn't have much appeal for Tennessee Turkeys.
Here is a fairly decent photo we got of a hen who was trying to decide if she wanted to come see us.  She decided not.
Meanwhile, back home, Frank's 11 year old grandson, Campbell, got a trophy tom with an 11 inch beard.  Way to go, big boy.
Almost time to get to the airport, but time for a visit to the Vandy bookstore for some gifts for the grand kids and others.  Funny, I didn't feel a bit of nostalgia.

 
 
 

March 21-April 15

Well, lots of rain and cold weather, but in between we get some nice sunny days in the 60s and 70s.  Lots to be thankful for and plenty of good things coming now that winter is gone.  Boy, it seemed to last forever.  Thank you, God, for this beautiful Springtime!  What a great time to be alive and out and about in Nashville, Tennessee, USA!
The forsythia is in full bloom on the first day of Spring.  So fine!
Tried fishing Sunday at Dozier's dock, but had no luck.  Neither did these boys.
Tuesday, March 24, at SB and the sky was beautiful at 6:15.
The critters are hatching out or whatever a slug does.
The road building machine really trashed this area near the pavilion.
Sherry's wonderful cooking experiment.  Her made up recipe was out of this world--full of great veggies and meat and spices and other good things.
I seeded the lawn again.  Hope to add a little real grass to our motley mix. 
Sunday, April 5th.  Harry and I were coming back from a paddle down an inlet of Cheatham Lake.  The wind was behind us, so rather than work, I found a new use for my cheapo plastic pancho.
I picked this trick up from James, only he did it with a golf umbrella on a float trip down the Caney Fork.  Works for me.
Suspicions confirmed.  The beavers are making a barrier across the low place in the the dam at SB pond.
This is the new grass path being plowed through from the river (near the overlook) to the pond.  Don't know if I like it, but we will see.
Beautiful sunrise over the glass surface pond.  April 9th.
Spectacular sunrise.  Thursday, April 9th.
Beautiful blue bells at Millone's farm, Saturday, April 11th.
Here he is.  This is Millone and it's Saturday. He is a Sikh.  Millone is in my yoga class.  When I asked his name he said, "just remember MILL and One, then you'll have it.  He has a herd of cows on 100 or so acres of land on Old Hickory between Hwy 12 and Clarksville Hwy.  I met him when he and Upindar, his wife, came to my yoga class.  He invited me to visit the farm and see how he does it. He is very knowledgeable about veggies and other matters.  Great guy.
These cows get left over bread from Provence Bakery as well as cardboard which they seem to relish.  It's all carbos, says Millone.
.
Still Saturday the 11th.  After visiting Millone I went up to Ed's farm and took the camera.  This is a still from a great video I got of a flock of 18 turkeys with two boss Toms.  I think it must be rare for two to share the same flock of hens..  They stayed very close together.  Guess they were afraid to get too far apart lest one or the other take advantage of one of the hens.  To see the video click here. 
Here they are taking a break from trying to look tough.  They are both straining to see me under my camo mesh.  This is a perfect two-for-one shot if I were hunting with a shotgun.  Just didn't want to clean one and the videos are really fun and last a lot longer.
My buddy Frank says the beards grow 5" a year after the first year, but don't get much longer than 11" because they wear down as they drag the ground.  These big toms are between two and three years old.  There were several other younger toms along with the hens in this flock.
Sunday I fished Percy Priest and caught 7 or 8 crappie,  Three were very nice.   Gave them to Ed when I went back up to look for the glasses I lost the day before somewhere out in the turkey fields.  No luck.  Ed said the crappie were good, however.

Visit Storyhouse.org--my site for writers and readers