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

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Richard Loller

Well, 2017 so far (this is February 28th) has been pretty good.  Only one week of cold weather back in early January.  After that we have had lows above freezing, sometimes with lows in the 50's and highs in the 70's.  A lot of records set.  But hey!  Couldn't be global climate change since we know that's a liberal fantasy.  Right?

I got my garden soil analysed and found I needed 15-15-15 fertilizer. This means 15 pounds each of Nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium in a 100 pound bag.  The rest is inert stuff.  The application is 3 pounds per 100 square feet. Since the garden is about 650 square feet, around 20 to 21 pounds should do it.  Bags come in 50 pound units so maybe I'll douse it again in the fall. Daughter Travis is taking the master gardener course at Ellington Ag Center, so she can probably clue me in on how and when to spread it.

New Year's eve it was misting rain, but warm--note shorts and flip-flops.  The girls burned their sparklers and shot their roman candles despite the rain.  They seemed be having fun and we enjoyed watching, all except Puppy who did not enjoy it at all.  Sherry had to hold him in her lap until it was over. Up in Eastpoet, Maine, sister Ann got a real blizzard in mid-February and sent us this shot from her window.  She had to go outside and clean a hole off in order to see out.  

This little bird began visiting the feeder in early February.  I need help to identify it.  I can tell you that his rump is yellow although I didn't  get a shot to show it.  Another view of the mystery bird.  These photos were shot through the window at a pretty good distance.

This was also back around Thanksgiving 2016. It was Grandparents Day at our granddaughter's school.  Fourth graders had to waltz with their grandparents.  Here I'm taking my turn.  Sherry got hers next. The grandbabies daddy was a New Hampshire hockey whiz when he was a lad.  He even got a scholarship to Amherst on it.  So, naturally, the girls play now that Nashville has a kiddy league. Teams are mixed and the girls hang in there with those bigger boys like champs.

It's February 28th as I write this and we have had one below freezing night this month.  But most of the budding and blooming plants came through ok.  These are the buttercups in front of Travis' fence. The Japanese magnolia at our old house was beautiful before that one freeze but has now started to brown and drop the blooms.  Too bad we couldn't have missed that one night.

This is the ornamental cherry tree outside our bedroom window.  It is still going well and was one of the first to bloom. These crocuses in the front yard of the old house made it ok.  They are always one of the first things to bloom.  Hope we don't have more freezing nights

This plant (Sherry can't remember the name) is mighty pretty and has held up well.   It grows at both front corners of our new house.

On the 25th I came into the living room and saw this hawk perched on the deck rail.  We think it is either a red tailed or a red shouldered hawk but both these pictures were taken at a distance after it flew up into the sycamore tree.  Any identification will be welcome.

Our friends Sylvia and John visited Plains, Georgia, and attended the Sunday school service of President Jimmy Carter. He and Ros look pretty good for 90 somethings. February 26.  Well, the garden news is pretty much these creepy and creeping weeds.  They were pretty much taking over and my arthritis was keeping me from doing much about it.  I was almost ready to go for hip surgery, but went to see my GP first.  He suggested I try drugs before surgery.  I've always avoided them, even aspirin, but considering the . . .

alternative I started the pills in the middle of February, two weeks ago  The relief was amazing.  So out came my faithful electric tiller and I spent 3 hours ripping up those green invaders.  I was wondering if I'd have to pay for it the next day, but no, still feeling pretty good.  Not like age 30 or even 60, but pretty good.  This mocking bird kept me company, swooping down behind me to get the worms.

 By the way, I highly recommend this tiller.  It is really strong and sturdy.  My gas tillers were always failing to start and wearing me out pulling the cord trying to get them going. Of course, as with any tiller, you have to stop and clean out the tines now and then.  But how much easier to just push the on button when you are ready to go again instead of pulling on the starter cord!

The garlic is coming on fine with all the warm weather. Those are fallen blossoms from the Japanese magnolia you see on top of the weeds.  I'll have to weed this by hand next week. These collards are pretty hearty and may make it through.  I've pulled the leaves several times since fall. They were planted in August last year.

The spinach has furnished several meals since last August and looks like it might be good for more.  I'm planning on planting more spinach, arugula, kale, and chard as soon as I get the fertilizer scattered and tilled in. February 26th.  As you can see the garden is fairly small (650 sq. feet), but even one this size can produce a lot of food and, of course, a lot of weeds.  I've learned to do only a part of the weeding each day so I don't end up too sore.  Thanks for the pills, Doc.

March 1.  Well, March roared in with damaging winds all over Middle Tennessee.Willow tree from our neighbor on south of our house blew over and was leaning against the peak of roof.  I couldn't pull it off without further damage so I called the tree man. 

Tree man to came Wednesday and cut it up for $350.  Just one big fat guy who was the boss and two worker bees.  The guy who climbed up the tree looked like Gus from Lonesome Dove. I told him so but he had never seen the movie.  Boss asked if Gus was as ugly as Blue.  I said, "Not quite."  Big laughs.

Big tree from Bruce's yard, next door neighbor at our old house which is now a vacation rental is on top of my garage with damage to the house too.  Considered "Act of God" which means we have to pay to fix it, not the neighbor.  Power line from the road was cut by electric people until tree gets off of it.  We have commercial homeowners with Lloyds on this house because it is now a vacation rental.  Adjuster to come soon.  $1,000 deduct.  Total cost of all repairs and reflooring our deck came to over $7,000.  Not fun, but there you go!
     Notice how warm it is.  Everyone in shirt sleeves.  Flowers and blooms on trees still going strong.
March 11th.  Only a week later we get snow.  Grandaughter and Puppy dressed for the cold. The girls got a lot of fun out of the brief snow, but it was hell on the flowers and buds.

Poor little buttercups.  My spring favorites.  This yellow rose of Texas, given to me by Milwant, got whacked too, as did all the rest.
March 19th.  Still cold as blazes, but the snow is gone and my long time friend and lifelong turkey hunter came up from Florida to visit.  We went up to my friend's farm before daylight and set up a camouflage screen under the shed roof of an old corn crib next to the big field.  We were there when the turkeys began to stir in the trees and, one by one, flew down from the 
roost.  There are four Toms strutting in this pic, but the line of turkeys was probably 50 yards long.  We watched them land not 60 feet in front of us and get organized and socialized before they marched off up the field and away.  Neither of us touched our shotguns.  It was too amazing.  I've got a video of it on Vimeo which you can watch.  Click here.

March 23rd.  Now the cold snap has past and the redwing blackbirds are appearing at the feeder.  Our faithful winter birds are still here and enjoying the feeders.  This downey woodpecker liked my invention that foils starlings and other big birds from sharing the suet feeder.

On the 26th we got a rare visit from a strange colored mouring dove.  
On the same day this hawk visited the sycamore tree that shades our deck.  Maybe he was stalking the dove.
March 31st.  Puppy and I visited the hugh tract of undeveloped land north of  Lock Two Park which is on the Cumberland River upstream from us. These toadstools were popping up all over the path through  the woods.  A big reward of our ramble into the woods was sighting a group of deer with two fawns  and this osprey nest high on a power pole on the edge of the bluff of the Cumberland River.  

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