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

Richard Loller

Winter 2004-5

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 March 19--20

Sherry had my camera so I have no photos of the two nice crappie I caught at Brush Creek Saturday.  They were the only two I caught, except for a smaller one that flopped off halfway to the boat.  It was cold and windy and altogether not such a great day.  I was ready to quit when I caught the first one.  So naturally I stayed an hour or two longer and got an ear ache to go with my sore throat.  I talked to the guy with the house on the point.  He's got it up for sale.  I've watched him working on it for years.  He said he's a single parent and  needed to sell it to keep his kids in chool, the older one in Belmont and the younger in some Christian school.  I can't believe those kids are grown up.  I've seen them playing in the yard for years and they should be in jr. high at most.  How the time do fly.  He is asking $500m for the house and 5 acres.  If it doesn't sell by April he's taking it off the market.  Great location, but much too much work to keep it up.  I'll get a photo of it next time I'm up there.  Also met another crappie fisherman about my age.  He said he and his buds had been sinking  apple trees on the south side of the bend where I fish.  That's where I've been catching fish, when I do at all, over one of the trees.  I can just barely see a few twigs above the water now since the water is high.  I believe it was 385' downstream.  Two weeks ago I could see three of them above the water.  Today I only found the one--but it's the one I caught the big crappie on.
    Last night we went to a new Persian restaurant with Ginger and Billy.  The owner is an engineer and an Iranian married to an American.  Been here 30 years.  Very large and elaborate layout for Nolensville Road--white table cloths, etc. Food was good too.   Never run a restaurant before.  I told him I liked to trade stocks but he was the real gambler.
  Sunday--Here it is, the first day of Spring and a beautiful day.  Naturally, my sore throat of yesterday, the last day of Winter, has developed into sneezing and a full head.  Almost made it all year without a cold.  Well, I guess I was lucky at that.  Still, I got busy and worked on the income tax.  Almost finished except for a few numbers I need from work.  So I'll be able to file without an extension.  Maybe everything really does work together for good.  As Hemingway would say, "Wouldn't it be pretty to believe it."

Here we are at the Persian restaurant.  Sherry, our nice but 
clueless waitress with a name I can't pronounce--something 
like Nusheen, Ginger, Ron--the owner, me, and Billy.

Got back before Sherry, who is painting Tommy Bush's
old house that she bought over on Oriel.  She had left
the camera, so I took a shot of her Japanese Magnolias
which are going crazy.  They look good once a year.

March 12-13

    Saturday was cold and so windy I stayed home and did a lot of chores--finally putting the new icemaker tap on the line under the house.
    Sunday I went to Center Hill below the dam.  It stayed low all the time I was there.  Caught nothing but a few skip jacks.  Got a good photo of the Big Rock Market.  It had evidently suffered an insurance fire.

One of the jobs was thinning the kale.  Poor little dying things.

I haven't had to thin the peas.  Just build the trellis.  See the
little appendages reaching up to grab it.  Won't be long.

Much less wind on Sunday, but no fish.  A long weary day.

I hated to see Big Rock Market gutted.  But I guess the
time had come to move on.  We'll miss it and I don't know
where we'll rent canoes now.


March 5-6

    Saturday was warm, but too windy for fishing, so I want over to Jim Taft's house and got the large bamboo he offered.  We tied it on top of the truck because some of it was 25-30' long.  I worked on the trellis for the peas and filled in all the spots where no peas were showing yet.
    Sunday I fished Brush Creek and was almost ready to give up when I caught a big
crappie.  First in a long time you could truthfully call a "slab."  She was 15" long and gave me a great fight.  I ended up with another nice one, not as big, and two small ones, so we have enough for a meal.
    While I was cleaning the crappie a HUGE motor home pulled in next door.  I went over, bloody hands and filet knife and all, to tell them the campground was on down the road.  But, no, it was the new guy next door.  His wife was driving a little white car behind.  He's from New Orleans and she's from Mississippi.  We spent some time talking and what all.  They've been here a week "dry camping" at the Shoney's near Music row.  He likes to dance and play the guitar and is in with some country song writer/singer.  Seems like we are the hub of music in Music City.
    While we were talking some more new neighbors came buy walking their three dogs.  They bought Bill Faris' old house.  I asked them if the pot he planted on the river bank was still doing well.  Looks like we'll have to have a street party to get to know everyone.

Built three rows of horizontal rungs 
Saturday and finished tying them on Sunday.

I've gone pea crazy.  Planted two
rows of regular peas (kind you shell)
that are supposed to need no trellis.

Pretty easy to tell which is the slab.

See her tail at the 15" mark.  And her lip is
sticking out beyone the cooler top!  Slab baby!

March 1 (Tuesday)

That's snow out the window of my truck at 5:30am.  Sherry's flower bed in the foreground and my
garden in the back.  The bridges were frozen and we got it off and on all day.  Poor little veggies--will
they survive?  Who knows?   Tonight we are suposed to have a low of 24f.  They are tough.  I hope.

February 26-27

Tried Percy Priest at Fall Creek Saturday.  Water at 484' 
and almost too low to get the boat out to the channel.  It was
quite warm and almost no wind. 

This is attractor number 5 looking North.  Normally the 
stobs would be 2-10 feet deep, sometimes more.  No fish 
at all except...

This one little sport that gave me some fun.

This big drum and a little crappie was my only action on
Sunday.  Sun was warm and bright when I left home.  It
got colder all day below the dam at Center Hill.  A cold
front that put the fish out of action

Self portrait in the truck window

The buttercups were going wild on the way back 
home.  Probably where an old homestead was taken 
by the interstate.I stopped and picked Sherry a bunch.

February 19-21

Well, Saturday was cold and cloudy, but ok for fishing.  I tried at Center Hill under the dam.  When I got there
the water was still high, but the generators were stopped.  Fished hard, but caught nothing but a single crappie.
Finally gave up and started using the fly rod to fish for river herring.  They were all over and must have caught
15 or 20 before I decided to go home.

River Herring or Skipjack

Lonely little crappie
Sunday it rained all day, so I stayed home and worked on the computer and various other things.  Seemed like I got
a lot done, but what?  I cannot say.

First Buttercups of the year picked along the interstate on the way home Saturday.

Monday was President's day, so I was off.  Still, since the Y was open, I had to teach Yoga at 7am.  Glad I did, because five students showed up and it did me good.  The weather was very stormy in the early AM and I passed areas of
unmelted hail along the road.  But by the time I got on the road for Center Hill the sun had come out and it was warming up.  I caught a crappie (32nd oz. jig with a white tube with chartruse filiments) by the waterfalls, but then nothing until I tried the wing wall.  I caught a nice 15" bass there very deep and broad and I'm sure she was full of eggs.  Later I caught a nice stripe and many river herring.  All by letting the lure sink to the bottom and jigging it back.  Another fellow with a boat was pulling into the fast current and letting the boat slowly go back downstream, holding it with the motor.  He was holding a shad rap out and letting it trail behind the boat.  Said he was catching trout.  I tried it but had no luck.  Finally quit and went home.  They were generating all day and the water kept rising.  Almost got my truck so next time I'll park higher up.  They had advertised no generation that day, but the heavy rain changed that.
No photos since Sherry had my camera to photograph Stanley's house.

Febuary 12-14

The crocus are blooming and on my morning walk last Monday the 14th I saw a great neon sign in a tobacco shop
in the arcade, so I cropped it and diddled with it in Photoshop and made it into a valentine for my sweetie pie.  Her
flower garden has a few shoots showing now, so Spring can't be far behind.

Well, the weather warmed up and Saturday was quite nice.  I fished below Center Hill and got there around noon, about two hours after they stopped generating.  Caught three crappie and a nice bream right away fishing over the log which was still invisible.  Then the wind shifted and the fish stopped.  Around three thirty I caught the big catfish below on a gold Little Cleo (spoon).  I was letting it sink and then jigging it slowly back across the deep part near the log.  The catfish hit it on the drop.  Not long after that I began to catch river herring on the same lure and one lone trout.  But, that flurry soon ended I gave up and got out around 4 and went home.

Sunday was dreary and colder with rain all day.  Gave me a chance to check out the veggies and they are almost all showing their tiny heads now.  Even the peas have a few above ground.  Only the onions have yet to show.  Yum.  Won't be long now until we start to have some fine munchies--unless, of course, frost, sleet, snow, or earthquake hit.

Mr. Catfish covered the top of the cooler.  I think around 4-5 pounds.  Don't know what kind he is.  Maybe a flat head, certainly not a channel cat.  I thought channel cats were the only ones that would take a lure.  Live and learn.  I had already cleaned the 3 crappies and the one trout I caught, so no pic.

This is the kale and it is coming out all over.  I'll probably
need to thin it soon.  The onions next door are still hiding.

This is the mesclum lettuce mix.  Good to see and better to eat 
as soon as it gets big enough.  Another 3-4 weeks, I guess.

Only two or three peas up so far, but after this rain I
expect a lot more.  Maybe another month or two and
we will be popping them into the mouth.  Goody!

February 5--6

No new photos of the garden since nothing is showing above the ground yet.  Should only be a matter of a week or two and I'll need to begin putting up a trellis for the peas.  Still deciding how to do it.  Once they show, though, I'll get going with or without a blue print.

Nashville weather...what a change from last
week.  This is Center Hill Dam on Sunday.
Warm, no wind, and sunny most of the day.
I fished Fall Creek Saturday but forgot my 
camera.  Too bad, since the water was almost
to the bottom of the ramp.  Ten feet or so lower than last week!  I caught nothing and no one else did either.

This is Sunday's catch.  Not much, but better 
than Saturday and last week.  That's two 
crappie, a stripe, and a drum.  At the last I let 
them go, since I had wanted at least three 
crappie for me and Sherry.  Not shown here 
are the many river herring I caught on the 
32nd oz. jig I was using for crappie.   A white tube was the magic color.  I caught nothing
on the others I tried.

When I was packing up I recognized the two people in the boat I'd shared the area with.  Junie Fisher, who writes the column for the Trout Unlimited newsletter, and Ray (?), the
guy who works at Cumberland Transit in the fly fishing department and guides as well.
They were in Ray's new boat, a 20+ foot flatbottom which was very narrow with a casting platform at the front.  He had a jet motor on the back, so it is probably good for shallow rivers.  They were very friendly and chatty and helped me load my boat. I took Junie to lunch last year to talk about doing a collection of her stories, but she hasn't done anything about it.  Just as well, since my energy level ebbs and flows regarding such things.  Also, where is the photo of the interesting boat?  And Junie? And Ray?  Duh...

January 29--30

When I went to Brush Creek (near Ashland City) on Sunday the water was almost to the top of the ramp.  It was pretty cold and windy and I had
the lake to myself.  Fished pretty hard for one
lost young bass.  No crappie at all.

The day did give me the perfect opportunity
to try my Christmas present--a catalytic heater
that helped me keep the hands warm.  It also
felt good between my legs.  A pancho would
be a perfect garment to capture the heat.

January 22--23

I got more planted today.  Finished the two half
rows of snow peas, but somehow managed to lose
the packet of sugar snaps.  Duh...  Also planted green
onions, red swiss chard, mesclum mix, spinach, and
beets.  Ought to have a great early crop.  Or not.  It is
rather early.  We shall see what we shall see.

The new feeder set up seems to be keeping the 
squirrels from trashing the feeders.  Something
for birds of all tastes and descriptions.

I set this table up with the top flipped and
it makes a good tray for mixed feed.  All the
birds that can't use the feeders like it, especially
cardinals, doves, and sparrows.  The squirrels use
it too, but that's ok.  I have seen the red bellied 
woodpecker on it several times too.

Sunday it was just too cold to get out
and definately too cold to fish, so I
stayed home and caught up with my
web sites and reading.  Got this shot
of the frozen ground and what was left of a 
puddle when I did go out for a while.

January 14--17

Trip to Memphis and back on Friday, January
14, for Aunt Mary's Memorial Service.  Here 
we are afterward for a late lunch.  Ainsley, Ian,
Anna, Ann, Me, David, and Randy.

Slipped in a brief fishing trip to Percy Priest Saturday
before Travis and James arrived.  Cold and windy and
about 5 of these before I gave up and came home.

I had tilled the garden sometime earlier.
Can't remember just when.  Here I've planted
two rows of snow peas on the far end and sugar
snap peas on this end.  Only got half done, however,
since the stores don't have new seed yet and I had
to use the old ones.

Sherry's perennial garden waits for spring.

James, Travis, and I took a walk Sunday in really 
cold and windy weather.  Here we are at Two Rivers
park at the new greenway going under the road.  We saw
5 or 6 blue birds just to the right.  What a treat.  But cold.

Monday morning was Martin Luther King day, but
I had to get up early to go to the Y to teach yoga.
My car was on the street to avoid blocking Travis.
Someone had thrown a brick through the window and
slashed the two driver's side tires.  All day job changing
out tires and getting the window guy there.  It got done
finally.  No idea who did it.  Bruce next door had the
same thing last November.  Because of our Kerry signs?
Maybe just random teenage destructiveness.  Hope so.

January 1--January 7
Florida Trip

Frank picked me up at high noon at the Ft. Myers
airport.  We went home and picked up Mary and 
headed for camp.  The rocking chair is where I rode
around the lease with my shotgun at the ready.  Woohaa!

New years day is ending and we watched one of the most 
dramatic sunsets in my experience.  A perfect week of sun and
warm temperatures that is rare even this far south.

Linn and Park were butchering a deer when we 
got back to camp around 6 pm.

This is a shot of the cooks at work.  Ian and Frank.

Sunday before dawn and the morning star is lovely and cold.

In the blind at the Sanctuary I had a view of our decoy.  It
was the only turkey I saw that day.  This area is called the
Sanctuary because the lumber company has, for some reason,
left most of the tall pines they've cut elsewhere on the lease.

A very unusual cocoon.

While we were gathering lighter pine for the fire Frank
reached down within a few inches of this diamondback
rattlesnake.  The snake never moved and we let it go its
way.  We had to really work to make it shake its rattles.

A wild orchid Mary Lee pointed out.

Another sunset at the camp.

Sunrise from Ian's deer stand, a spacious roofed box high
above a large slough.  Chairs for two made it very comfy.

Frank called this hen turkey at upper center came out of 
the trees behind her.  She came down the ditch right past
us and into the trees on our left.  Then she came back out 
and made the return trip.

The vultures that hang around camp have plenty
to keep them busy.  Part of this is the deer Linn
killed yesterday.

Beauty and the little beastie. 

This is a banana blossom on Frank's property at Alva.

A bunch of young bananas on the same tree.

Fire ant mounds are common in Frank's yard and 
elsewhere.  Makes you pay attention where you stop to
snap a photo.  I forgot only once. 

This beautiful sunset was shot from the Mann party barge
on an evening fishing/pleasure cruise down the river to the
first meander. 

Tuesday morning we hit Lake Okeechobee Tuesday 
morning with high hopes--me, Frank, and Robert (Taliban)
Halgrim.  Here is a hydrangea island covered with duck weed
that attracted numerous and various bird life.  Frank got a 
bass on here but lost it.  That was our bass thrill of the trip.

Who says macho guys aren't able to display their feelings?

One of the two crappie we landed.  But fun!

Later on we went to Pat and Gina's for Bee's birthday 
party.  92 and still got what it takes to wow the guys.

A foggy dawn from Ian's stand. 

A handsome visitor.  Trees behind are where the hen
turkey disappeared and reappeared before walking
back across the entire slough in front of our stand wondering
where the hell that other turkey was hiding.

A caterpillar with its long hairs dew dappled.

Two young bulls and their attendant ibis flock.

Big beautiful spider disturbed by our passage
in the jeep.  Next day he had his web repaired.

One of the fine racks of yesteryear decorates
the cook house.

The thermometer Ann gave me and I gave Frank
now gives the camp the temp.

Plays With Fire did just that.

A fine joke or a practical solution?  Both, I think.

An elegant bathroom in the wild.  Just be sure to check
the paper and under the seat for frogs before settling in.

Three macho guys prepare to break camp.

My big fishing thrill was in Frank's pond--a
feisty one pound bass that fought like a lunker.

Sunset from the meander upstream of Mann Farm.

Old Friends Wiley and Betty join Mary Lee, me, and Frank.

Friday morning before my plane at 5pm we visited
the lease once more and saw this pretty thing.

George Mann's homemade decoys still give even experienced hunters a thrill when they come on them unaware.

The plaque to George Mann and other old
timers stands in the old camp while they hunt
without worry or care in a camp beyond the sky.
The almost mythical twin palm.  Not long after we visited
this site Frank dropped me at the ariport and the trip drew
to its official close.  Seven days of beautiful weather, much
good hunting and fishing, if little killing and catching, and 
the wonderful hospitality of some truely fine people.  Thanks.


December 23--31, 2004

Woke up during the night and heard the sleet hitting the roof vent.  Ping, ping.  Decided to get up and go to the Y.  Not
too bad, but pretty slick in places.  Had a really hard time getting the truck door open.  Today is Thursday and we are off
tomorrow for Christmas (Saturday).   Christmas day we visited Stanley Rabold and met Bill and Mabel at the Hermitage for late lunch.  Two nights later Sherry noticed a moldy smell in the toy room.  Looked under the
house through the trap door and noticed dark patches.  Probably water from somewhere breeding mildew.  Look forward to crawling under there to locate the source, fixing it, and treating the mildew.  Never a dull moment in homeowner land.  Spent most of the evening December 30-31 under the house fixing the two leaks.  Left for
Florida at 6:13 New Year's Day.  It was a Saturday.
You can see the frozen sleet on the walkways below my
window at work.  It has stayed in the twenties all day, so
not much melting except where the salt trucks have got the
main roads.
frozen tree
Here is a tree just outside the window.  Each twig
is coated with ice.

We didn't make any photos at the restaurant, so I'm using
one of those we shot on our anniversary after we got back
from the Mad Platter.  Doesn't Sherry look sweet and pretty.
Here is the amateur plumber after about the fifth
crawl up under the house ready to go back down
for one final time.

The moon was a ghostly gallion, tossed in a stormy sky...
My walk was through a bright moon in and out of blowing clouds.
One of the rewards of getting up so early and walking.

I'd been wanting to get this photo for a long time.  That's
Frank, Jim, and Duncan caught as they trudge up and down
in the pool.  The Y folks liked it.

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