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

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Richard Loller

January 12. My oldest surviving friend from high school, 
Charlie Moffat, sent us this impressive look at his new image.  His wife, Jerry, died a couple of years ago and he's managed to dodge the cassarole brigade so far.
January 14. Freezing rain and snow.  Got very cold and  froze our pipes at 2213 Pennington Bend.  Took several days of heating the pipes before everything thawed.

Just looking at these ice icicles brings it all back.
February 2, 2023.  Seven male red birds in this photo and several more males and females in the trees waiting for a chance to dig into the feed.  Not to mention all our other species appreciating the open house.
February 3, 2023.  We had a week of Spring weather in January.  Temps in the high 70s.  That's our little chickadee friend on the feeder. Then a week of freezing cold.  That's zero on our thermometer.
Things are finally thawed out and here is our mystery bird from the last several winters, back again.  We have decided it is the Tennessee Warbler.  Mostly found way up north.  Seldon seen in its home state. Here is Mr. Mocking Bird getting a gob of suet from the woodpecker feeder.  He was ok at first, taking turns and fitting in.  But now he is a real pest, trying to control the entire bird feeding station.  Anyone know how to get rid of him short of committing a crime (he's the state bird). 
daddy red belly

Finally, Momma red bellied woodpecker visits the suet house.  I think it's a new one because she is pretty skittish and the one we had before was bold as brass.

Daddy red belly isn't the least shy.  He likes the corn, the sunflower seeds, the suet, and the peanut butter.  A true gourmet.
A late visitor from the far north stops by on it s way home.  These junkos are a treat we seldom get. Robins are a rare visitor to our feeders.  They stick to worms and bugs, even in the winter.  But they do, occasionally, visit our bird bath for a drink.

February 12.  Here is the new garlic patch.  All came up through their bed of straw and are looking good.
  Here's a view of the tiller work for our arugula patch.  I planted two rows and as I write this (March 14th)  they are doing well and are up high enough to thin next week.
February 9.  Sherry loves her flowers and the buttercups are blooming.  Here is part of a bunch I picked on a big lot now owned by Metro, but before the flood and the buyout of many properties down here by the river, it belonged to one of our neighbors who had planted hundreds of them.  Down at our old house our Japanese magnolia blooms earlier than almost any other tree.  These lovely blossoms were frozen  and dead a week after this photo.

February12.  Cold weather brings the mice in down at our old house so it's time to put out the traps. February 7. Dry enough for 2 days to get the electric tiller out and line out some space for English peas.  Got them planted this same day and they are doing well (March 23) up until now.

Barry and Bonnie Augustine are anchors at our Donelson library yoga class (Thursday nights at 6:30).  Barry is a bee keeper, a gardener, and grows towering cane.  He gave me 20 or so canes earlier which are usefull for my garden fence. Then he gave me this really amazing birdhouse.  Can't wait to see what birds take it on. There is a homeless woman who is always sitting on the bench near the door to the yoga room at the library.  Sherry has bought several of the craft items she makes.  Here is one I think is very well done.
February 20.  Rigged up this peanut butter feeder for the downy woodpeckers, titmice, chickadees and wrens. The mocking bird found it and now tries to dominate the entire deck.  We hope to keep it at bay once we can sit outside and watch the birds from there. Sherry has been wanting a reclining bike for quite a while. Well now she has it.  We are riding together now for 20-30 minutes.  Being cautious until she gets in shape.

Every year we look forward to the little crocuses that sprout in our yards, old and new.  They don't last long, but they give that little glow of promise that Spring can't be far off. Mama red belly woodpecker visits the table top and samples the mixed grains.  She also has tried the peanut butter and is a regular on the suet feeders.
February 24.  Thrashers don't have different markings for male and female, but I think this one is a male.  It just looks like one, don't ask me why. March 2.  On one of the bike rides got a good pic of this red tail hawk with my new Canon SX 260.  It's a tiny camera with a 20x optical zoom.  My big 20X needs work and who fixes cameras any more?  The SX 260 was new and less than $100 on Ebay.

March 5.  That's a hugh limb from our dead pig nut hickory that got blown down last night.  We were lucky.  There were damaged roofs and other items all over town and as far north as Lexington, Kentucky, where son Hanley lives.  He had substantial roof damage. This feeder got blown off and lost some of it's side.

March 11.  Sherry wanted to ride her bike around the lake at Radnor Park.  Her friend Gabriella had been earlier and sent her this photo of two blue herons nesting.  She said the male would bring a stick and the female would look it over and throw it away if it didn't meet her standards.  Sounds familiar. March 17.  Here's a photo of the male piliated woodpecker that visits our dead pig nut hickory now and then.  The wood is probably too hard to have many worms or ants in it because he never stays long.

March 22.  Sherry took this of me working on a t-shirt drawing.  It helps to pass the time on dreary cold days like today. March 23. In case you can't read the message, "Damn! I'm sick of meal worms!"

no mo mow
Her's another one I did today.  "Richard and Sherry reincarnae as rufous-sided towhees." Here is a T-shirt I painted for Zinnia and Lucas, one each. We were talking about letting your lawn grow for the bees and butterflies and I said "Yes, No Mo Mow!"  They liked that and so I made them the shirt.

This is one of my first and my best.  It is also the one that has faded least.  It was done with cheap fabric pens I got a the Dollar Tree store. This one is another acrylic done some time ago.  Harry Murphy and I went to Maine for the fishing and I had an uncomfortable feeling when we checked in at motels that we were suspected of needing only one bed. So I decided this would be a good one to wear next time. You would probably be able to sell a bunch to NRA types.

March 20. The crews that keep electrical lines clear did a scorched earth job on the bushes and young trees across the road from us.  In the past they just topped anything near the wires.  We plan to plant cane and other shrubs there.  It's what screens us from looking at the condo parking lot. April 2.  Here are the bamboo plants we bought to the tune of $1,800 to repair the damage.  We wrote NES and told them that we would be maintaining this right of way and to warn their contractors not to damage the plants.  They were not cooperative, but so far no attempt to remove them.

April 15  Big treat this morning.  At our regular early morning bird watching out onto the deck saw a white breasted nuthatch.  Sherry and I both saw it when she looked up from her morning bout of Spelling Bee. May 15.  Here is a chickadee nest I got out of the blue bird house we placed at the far side of Travis' big field.  After the chickadees were gone a blue bird took the house over..

June 5. Here is the mama blue bird bringing a goodie for her babies. June 6.  Here's a shot of a wren coming to the bird house on our deck with something nice for a baby.

June 13. Here's little junior trying to decide if the outside world is really that much better than the bird house. June 2.  Here is a huge volunteer gord plant growing in the ditch beside the road.  Later on the people across the street killed it by piling dead limbs over it for metro pickup.

April 16.  a bit out of sequence, but I wanted to show you my English peas planted along the south fence at my garden at our old house.  They covered the fence and were excellent eating.  When they stopped I planted blue lake string beans along this fence.  They did even better. June 24.  The cherry tomatoes and okra are starting to come along nicely now.

June 12.  Our old Genie garage door at the old house finally gave out.  We put it on the door some time around 1975 and it held out with patches and make-dos until now. July 10.  Finally got our new door.  At 12 feet wide it had to be ordered from the factory.  We hooked up the old Genie motor and it works like a charm.  What a motor!

July 1.  Mom was taking Pilates classes that were helping her back so we bought this Pilates machine.  She has been really good about climbing on "The Rack" and doing her exercises every day.  She has a great view of the trees, sky, and birds from it. It's that time of year and these pretty toadstools  popped up in the ditch across the road.

July 20.  There were three hen turkeys and over 25 young ones in this line crossing the gravel road to Gleaves farm house.  Here is a stag party of Tom turkeys having a pow wow across the road in Josephine's front yard.

August 1. Now the bounty of the garden is breaking loose and we have cucumbers,cherry tomatoes, okra, kale, string beans and collard greens to give away.  Our regular size tomatoes didn't do as well, so we mostly ate them ourselves.  Speaking of eating tomatoes--what could be better than a thick slice of tomato with gobs of mayonaise on toasted wheat bread?
August 27.  Loaded up all four kayaks in our faithful old '97 Toyota pickup and went to Brush Creek with Sherry, Travis, Lucas and Zinnia.  The kids were using my fly rods with corks and worms and caught quite a lot of small to medium bream.  That's Lucas above posing for the birdie. Here's Zinnia unhooking a bream.  She and I shared the big two person kayak so she caught quite a few fish since she didn't have to manuever the boat and fish at the same time, as Lucas did.  She also had me to bait her hook and stringer the fish.  Next time Lucas gets the easy ride.

September 30.  Our friend Betsy grew several monarchs from eggs until near hatching.  Then she and Steve had to leave for something or other so we took over watching out for them. Sure enough, in only a few days they all began to hatch.  Here is the first.  They need several hours to blow up their wings and make other preps before they can take off.

When they did take off  most disappeared in a southern direction.  But two stuck around and had a bite to eat first. Here is another one enjoying Sherry's zinnias.  I think it is a pipevine swallowtail, but Sherry will correct me if not..

October 1.  On one of my bike rides up and down the Bend I suddenly realized that there was no street sign at the south end. After a call to Metro it was 5 or 6 weeks later when they finally put a new one up. October 5. Saw this Achilles inflatable for sale in Lexington, Ky. where Son Hanley lives.  He negotiated and it turned out he knew the seller.  He bought it for me and brought it here and we blew it up.  Too wide for my trailer, so I had to have trailer widened. Still doing this and that on it but hope to get it on the water soon.

October 5. Heavenly Blue morning glories finally start blooming.  There they are way up high over our front poarch.
Here are the ones at our old house (now rented for vacationers).  Not long after this a big wind broke the cane but didn't hurt the vines so I draped the vines across the top of the fence where they still looked good.
Gleaves farm sign buck deer
October 22.  The huge Gleaves farm across the road from us is finally going to be sold.  A large camping operation will run it to include indoor rooms, mobile home parking, tent camping, a restaurant, a lake, and plots for organic farmers to grow vegetables for a farmers market.  Of all the possible buyers for this property this is probably the best option.  And, most of all, they will not allow access via Pennington Bend Road. One of the reasons the camping option is a good one is the new owners concern for the wildlife that shares the property. 
doe and fawn
cat book cover
This Momma and baby eating left over Halloween pumpkins will be glad when the property is off limits to hunters.  And our flocks of wild turkeys say Amen to that.
We did this book back in 2001.  It has 29 of the best stories from our cat story contest begun in 1998.  That's my daughter with Eppie and Cosette on the cover.  We have just reissued this book so check it out and buy a copy or a dozen for yourself and your cat loving friends.  Only $10 at Amazon.
havaheart trap cat eats dog food
Bunny and Rosy kept getting Miss Jane Tabby's food when we moved her feeding indoors.  Sherry had the bright idea of using our old Hav-A-Heart trap as a dog baffle.  Big enough for Miss Jane--too small for the dogs. However, life isn't always fair.  That's Miss Jane Tabby sharing Bunny and Rosy's dog food. She only tried it once. Evidently it wasn't up to her standards.
122223 Barrys owl house
old owl house
December 23.  Our friends from Donelson library yoga, Barry and Bonny, left this gift on our doorstep.  It's a great big screech owl house--beautifully decorated and just the right size.  I plan to put it down the street at our old home since we don't want an owl eating our birds. I made this one in 1972 and we had a succession of screech owls living and raising their families in it.  Barry's is a lot fancier than this one, of course.  I hope the owls like it as well.
122223 barrys bee house general jackson
Barry also gave me this beautiful little bee house earlier.  It's for mason bees that are smaller than flies.  They are great pollinators, however, and are being used in commercial orchards.  They put pollen at the back of each tiny tunnel (5/16th inch wide).  Then they lay an egg on it.  Then they seal it and start another cell.  Amazingly, they lay female eggs toward the back and male eggs toward the front so the males will be ready for love when the females emerge.  Whoa! December 24.  Our long time and cherished neighbor, Bruce Kessler, who lives next door to our old house, sent us this photo of the General Jackson turning around.  We used to love seeing it turn and we would wave to the tourists from our deck down there (four doors south of where we new live).  We also had some fun memories.  One night after a few more beers than prudent our good friend Mike climbed up on the rail and mooned the boat.  This was greeted by clapping and cheers and was, I'm sure, the highlight of many a visitors visit to Nashvegas.

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