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.

December 31, 2016.  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 didn't know the name then, but have now pegged it as a
yellow rumped wabler. 
They don't show up here often since they winter in Canada and the northern U. S.  I think this one was just on its way south for warmer weather.  

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. 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
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 February 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
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.  It is 15-15-15 as
recommended by the state ag office that analysed the soil.  
Not artificial.  Strictly organic.
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 shirts 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 29.  First butterfly I saw this year.  Probably laying eggs on the parsley that made it through the winter.
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. A big reward of our ramble into the woods was sighting this osprey nest high on a power pole on the edge of the bluff of the Cumberland River.  

On the way back to the car Puppy smelled something good underground.  He dug and snorted and dug some more.  Notice, he still has the locust shells the girls decorated him with.  See it on Vimeo.  Click Here.April 13th was a lucky day up at Brush Creek off River Road on the Cumberland River.
Well, just too cute.  This baby finch had a wild feather that made it easy to recognize at the feeder where its mother would feed the greedy little thing. Sister Ann in Eastport Maine sent this pic of rubarb coming up.  Look!  No snow.  Was she happy!!!
May 5th on Brush Creek.  No luck on the fishing,
but did get a nice shot of this Canada goose brood.
Well, there is the May 7th birthday boy and some lovely woman who can't resist him.

These crocus are some of the first to come up in our old house down the street--the one we now use for friends and as a short term rental.  Also where my garden is.
May 15th and caught this guy and 5 others at
Creek J.  Boy! it is nice to sweat rather than shivver.  
Flash forward to July 28th. Here we have the big project that was supposed to provide many quarts of Christmas lima beans, which we love.  Crop was minimal (see November).  Probably planted too close.  Next year I'll get it better. For all the work and worry involved this could be
called Richard's folly.  Yuk!
Here are the momma turkey and three of her brood of five.  Somewhere along the way the momma and two polts got lost.  But we had the three left until October when they got lost or maybe eaten as well. Here are the three young turkeys that spent a lot of their time on our deck pigging out on the bird's food.  We didn't mind. They got really tame, which isn't good since some folks think they are better to eat than to watch.
Sister Ann gave us this fancy hummingbird feeder.  Didn't think it would attract them, but this one seemed to like it. Throughout the summer we got almost all females.  One male showed up but only stayed a few days. This is a gulf fritillary butterfly that Sherry grew from the caterpillar in this mesh cage.  We raised quite a few and it was a thrill to see them build their chrysalises and then hatch.  I have a video of us letting one go.  Pretty neat.  You can see it on Vimeo.  Click here.  
September 9th.  Harry and I visited Franklin, Kentucky, to go to the races at Kentucky Downs.  Pretty neat.  They race on grass and you sit in lawn chairs.  Gets pretty hot in September, though. These are four University of Miami foreign students who came to our rental house during the Hurricane Irma.  We didn't charge them and that seemed to be OK with them.  Nice kids.  They cleaned up when they left.
Puppy and I took a walk up at Two Rivers lake and found that some organization was creating a rustic playground and garden up there.  Here is the cutsy fairy tree. The reason Puppy has his tongue hanging out in the previous photo is because he ran everywhere and it was pretty hot in mid September.
Pretty nice bat house.  There were three here and there.Great sandpile for kids.  
A bit of art work to decorate the big rocks.Lots of flower beds along to road to the site.  We saw this big mantis on the way up.  Saw her again on the way down with a half eaten bee in her paws.
September 22nd.  Went up to Churchill Downs to watch the ponys run.  I actually won about $30 on some kind of bet.  Wish I could remember so I could do it again.Here is the jolly quartet of sportsmen.  Left to right, Wayne, me, Ron, and Harry.
Here is the young future mogul, Grandaughter Elizabeth. She is selling her tiny clay items at the flea market up the street.  At $5 each she doesn't have to make many sales to take home a tidy sum!Here is a mesh bag of my garlic which was harvested in June.  The photo is somewhat out of place and the harvest was about three weeks early due to a hot spring.
More garden produce.  Most of these are sereno peppers which is a new one for me this year.  A few are jalapenos, the fat ones.  Why I grow them when I no longer eat them?  Well, Milwant likes them, so he gets them.Something we do like a lot, pattypan squash.  Sherry makes a great cassarole with it and it's also good sauted.
September 28th.  Here we have a variety of things.  Banana peppers, bell peppers, jalapenos, serenos, and roma tomatoes.  The bigger tomatoes were gone by this late.Elizabeth is always coming up with something different.  Here she poses with some paper shoes she made.
October 7th.Sherry had her Spanish class over for dinner and we couldn't get everybody in in one photo so here...are the rest of them.
The heavenly blue morning glories were late this year.  They are always fairly late, but October 11th?The ones on the board fence at the old house came earlier and a lot thicker.  They get more sun down there.
Planted this sage this year and it is doing well.Elizabeth turned 9 this year and they had a HUGE bouncy house for all the kids to enjoy.
I needed to run my outboard so Travis, Ann, and I ran up the Cumberland to the mouth of the Stones River and back.  Still warm and sunny on October 26th.November 7th.  The three half grown turkeys are still around and making free with the bird seed.
Here they are, all girls, by the way.  Could you call this a "hen session?"Remember all those lima bean vines?  This is the crop.
November 22nd.  Sherry still has some flowers on the deck and this poor little gulf frittillary butterfly is trying to get a meal in order to get out of town ahead of cold weather.  Hey, it might be one of those we raised!Oh, Elizabeth got a new puppy for her birthday.  That's Raven, the black one.  I took her, Raven, and Puppy down to Stones River landing where there is a huge open field and they all ran and ran until they finally ran out.
December 19th.  See this.  It is a cap from my front tooth that broke off when I foolishly used it to try to tighten a lock tie.  Pretty expensive shortcut.  I though we got smarter when we got older?December 20th.  Zinnia and Elizabeth and Puppy and Raven  came over to help grandmother put the stuff on the tree.   There they all are.  

It really is a big help for the girls to decorate the tree. Now that they can reach the highest part it saves Sherry and me from dropping one of the handmade orniments our kids or these grandbabies have made.
I call it a "tree" since it has been our Christmas tree for many years.  I made it way back out in the dark ages out of dowels and lathe. You should see it when the lights are out!   No sooner typed than done!
This is our deck with white lights strung along the rails.  It's in the back over the river.  We can see it and the folks across the river can.  Just something to say "it's Christmas."Laury Nichols made these exquisite wood carved figures. She lives and works in New Hampshire and is a genius with the carving tools.  She's mother to my son in law, James.

Here's Mr. Mouse to keep Mr. Bunny company.  He's ready to be a tree orniment, but since he's new we kept him on the kitchen island so everyone could get a close look.
Christmas is over and we are babysitting the granddogs. The girls are off somewhere, probably playing hockey or Dungeons and Dragons.  Puppy and Raven are patiently awaiting their return.  All is well.  See you next year.

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