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

Richard Loller

Summer 2006

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September 14-17

My bud, Frank Mann, flew in Thursday afternoon and left Sunday morning.  We fished Friday and Saturday--not hard and not too much--just enough--and then we quit.  Thursday we visited the mouth of Creek J where I've had good luck this year.  However, the bass above was the best we did there although we caught bream and enjoyed calling the turkeys who live around there.  Also the creek itself is very nice and has a unique feature--the current sometimes reverses and takes you upstream and then after a while goes back the other way!  This is because it is affected by the lock on Cheatham Dam which sucks water out of the lake and then backs it up.  Interesting and useful for a guy who wants to get up a creek without a paddle!

But where, you ask, is the write up for September 9-10?  Answer--I can't find any photos and don't remember what went on.  Is there any better reason for having a journal?
Here's Frank with one of our many bream catches on Friday up the creek.
Here's a shot up the creek at a time when the current was running upstream.  Well, it happens.
This is as far as the boat will go and Frank is trying his wading skills. Not much luck but there are huge small mouth bass up here.
This bunch of ripe Elderberry reminded me of Daddy and the wine he used to make.  Maybe someday, if I keep my strength, I'll try my hand at wine making too.
Here we are on Percy Priest Lake up Fall Creek.  I fell down on the photos this trip.  Too busy fishing, I guess.  One I especially regret is a kid with a twenty foot long sea kayak who was coming in to the ramp when we got there.  He and his parents had just moved here from California.  It was truly a unique sight.  Not photographed.  We went home early and dolled up for the concert at the new Schermerhorn Symphony Hall.  Excellent.
I put Frank on the plane early Sunday morning and after church Sherry wanted to go kayaking, so I took her up to Center Hill Dam and put her in and went down to Happy Hollow and put myself in.  I fished at the top of the run up near Mr. Judd's Island and caught this really fine 15" rainbow on the third or fourth cast.  Caught a couple more little ones, but that was it.  Three hours later Sherry floated past without even recognizing me.  Lost in the rapture of the float, I guess.  Anyhow, we packed up and came home and it was a very full few days.  We ate this guy and now he has moved up the food chain--he is now Richard and Sherry (Sherry's gag).

September 2-4
Labor Day

Long weekend, so I began Saturday by cleaning up the garden.  Pulled up the bush roma beans and most of the tomatoes.  Left a few cherry tomatoes that are still trying, but the big ones are gone.  Planted lots of winter stuff where they were: several kinds of lettuce, onions, swiss chard, parsley, and garlic chives.  Still have lots of peppers and the bell peppers are getting big.  The string and butter beans may come on yet.  We got enough string beans for a meal and there are lots of blossoms on the vines still.  We will see.  Sunday I explored Stones River and Monday I tried the Duck.  Neither was very rewarding.  You can always tell when the fishing is bad--I have lots of bird and flower photos.
I chopped these bean vines and the tomato plants up with the mower and scattered the bits back over the new rows.
I found this beautiful glowing fly, dead and insides eaten, while I was pulling weeds.  That's a green tomato he's on.
Got a nice shot of this swallowtail in Sherry's small garden.
The flowers around the front door are still very nice.
The flowers in the big garden are booming along too.
These calla lilies just keep blooming.  They came back from last year even though they were supposed to be annuals.
The creeping cedar and the morning glories have now completely hidden the new poles I used to prop up their first climbing rig.
Sherry found this female imperial moth in a spider's web.
The jalapenos are doing great.  Very hot this year.
I don't know why I got these purple bell peppers.  They turn red after a while and when you cook them they turn green.  Pretty.
This eggplant is about the size of a softball.  Others are coming on and we should have a good crop.  They will go until the frost kills them. They thrive on cooler weather.

These are about the only butter beans so far.  Lots of blooms.
Really had to hunt for these.  Skimpy crop of tomatoes too. 
These are the new rows getting sprinkled.  Let's hope...
Travis' basil is doing great.  Ours never did much.  She has good sunlight and rich soil and she worked hard so her first garden is a success despite the grass that keeps trying to make a come back.
She's got lots of okra, but tends to forget to pick it when it's finger length.  These are already too tough to eat.
Travis has banana peppers out the bazootie.
Also bell peppers, these were green until they got really mature.
Her ichiban egg plants were wild.  She got them early and she is still getting them--note the blooms.
She is still getting good tomatoes and all ours are gone.
Travis' cherry tomatoes did great too and are still blowing and going.  They have dried and frozen lots.  Yum for this winter.
The real triumph of her garden.  She had two and we helped eat one today.  It was excellent.  And the remaining one is bigger!
Sunday I decided to explore the Stones River.  These are two young strays that live near the ramp at the end of Neeley's Bend.  I counted six in all--three orange and three gray.  There were people putting food out for them when I left.
Not much to say about the Stones.  I did get this photo of a night heron--not sure which variety.  The fishing was poor and the scenery wasn't much either--too much mud coating rocks and vegetation high up the banks. 
On Labor day, Monday,  I decided to try the Duck.  When I finally found a ramp it was far downstream near highway 13.  Not a single hit.  I did get this shot of a little green heron.
My only other thrill was a dead tree full of swallows who let me get very close before flying off.  Well, not every trip is a winner.

August 26-27

Well, we go back from Quebec on the 19th and I worked my tail off in the 95+ heat last weekend, so this weekend I said to hell with it and fished both days.  Saturday I visited the mysterious Creek J and Sunday took a cooling paddle on the Caney Fork.  All I can say about the garden is that it needs weeding, the tomatoes are mostly done, the pole and butter beans may yet do something, the peppers are all over the place, and the egg plants are coming on.  It's time to plant (past time really) fall lettuce, spinach, onions, turnips, etc.  Maybe next weekend.  We will see.

OK.  What do I see while paddling in Sherry's kayak down to the mouth of Creek J but a box turtle at the bottom of a 100' cliff.  He is trying to climb back up.  Quick as lightning, my trained brain concludes: "This idiot has tumbled down and can't get back up."  So, I grabbed him and looked for a better site.
I had to hold Don Quiote down as we paddled toward less steep territory.  He scratched and fussed and tried to bite my toe.
Finally, I found a gulley that washed down the bluff and made it easy for Don (impossible dream...get it?) to climb back up to level ground.  He certainly didn't appreciate it and didn't even say thanks.
However, my good deed was soon rewarded with a fine 16" smallmouth who carried not one ounce of fat and fought like Rocky Graziano in his prime.  Caught 3 or 4 smaller ones too.
The elderberrys are ripening.  Reminds me of Daddy.  He used to get me to help gather them for wine in the fall.  He didn't drink but the wine he made had a whallop, some from alcohol but most from sugar.  He added sugar until an egg would float.  The result was a sweet wine that made Mogan David seem dry.

Rounding a corner and looking down a side stream there was a flock of turkeys crossing.  I got one decent photo of this last one.
Sunday on the Caney Fork.  Again it was fairly high to start and going down slowly, so the kayak got me where no one else was fishing.  Saw this pretty creature on the lovely cardinal flower.
A real fighter with little canine teeth.  This brown trout was one of only 3 fish I caught the entire day.  Lots of sun.  I'm sure the action picked up when I was on the way home.
This rainbow was a good chunky 14 inches and fought like a world champ. I let it go since I didn't want to keep just one.
Saw this flock of turkeys on the side of Briley Parkway on my way home from work Monday.  Looks like I better get a permit.

August 19-20

Well, this was the Saturday and Sunday after our trip to Quebec.  We didn't get home until late Friday night, so Saturday was spent cleaning up and catching up.  Yard chores and garden chores were done and we even had time to sit on the deck and view the hummingbirds.  Sunday I went up to Happy Hollow on the Caney Fork.  It was supposed to be no generation from 6am until midnight, but at noon, when I arrived, the water was still up to the bottom of the boat ramp.  It was very foggy and misting or lightly raining all day.  This was good for me with Sherry's kayak, since I could go upstream where the waders could not.  Had a good time and caught 4 or 5 trout, all browns which I threw back, since none was over 18" (I wish) and besides, I didn't want to clean them.
A survey of the garden showed these banana peppers ready to pick, although there weren't many still coming on.
I thought both string beans and butter beans would be in full harvest when we got back, but Travis and James said there hadn't been many at all.  I did find these few butterbeans.  Depressing!
We harvested a lot of beets before leaving and I told Travis to get all she wanted.  She got a lot, but there are some still left.  I'm afraid they are probably too old and woody now.
Our purple bell peppers are full and there are a lot of them.  Some of the more mature ones have gone red, which is a pretty sight.
I pulled some carrots and most are still small or short.  I guess I should have thinned them more, but they will grow a long time still so I'll let them go and see what happens.
Lots of jalapenos, many now red or purple, so I need to pull them and pickle them.  Lots of hot stuff for the winter.
Travis and James pulled our tomatoes while we were gone. Not many left on the vine, but we have a lot picked and in the freezer.
Sherry's big garden is in full blast, lots of really pretty stuff.
Sherry's little garden by the walk is really sweet and lovely.
I finally got a fairly decent pic of a hummer.  We sat outside and chilled out (in 90 degree weather) after the long trip.  In Quebec it was always cool and sometimes quite chilly.  Best part of the trip.
It rained a lot on the way to the Caney Fork and kept on off and on while I was there.  At times you couldn't see where the lure hit the water.  But perfect for trout fishing in that clear water.
Self portrait.  I wanted to show the yellow slicker and the blue kayak, but my arm just wasn't long enough.
I didn't take the camera with the 10x lens, so this one of the butterfly on the cardinal flower is pretty small, but nice!
A nice chunky little brown trout.  Three or four would make a nice meal, but Caney Fork limit is two over 18".  If I ever caught one over 18" I'd call up every fisherman I know and BRAG.


August 9-18 

Trip to Quebec Province and Quebec City

It's French from here on up.  Good thing Sherry is semi-fluent!
"Never Forget," or something to that effect.  These guys don't really accept the fact that the British won.

Here is our little hotel in Quebec City, which we found by the hardest.  If you want to get lost try to find your way in a car.
I got up early and took a lot of photos.  It's a beautiful city with touches such as this window box to make it even prettier.
The little courtyard and garden in back of our hotel.  It was mostly damp from the drizzle, but nice to look out at the birds and flowers from the dining area.
The Fontenac Hotel where we didn't stay is a huge wonderful building way out of our price range.  But nice to visit and look around.  It's right on the bluff over the river.
The Canadian Flag flys proudly over the fort and the soldiers there are real--it's an army base.  But mostly they are there to give the tourists a good show at the changing of the guard.
The regimental mascot with it's gilded horns was very well behaved. 
Flowers love the climate and everywhere you looked there was a fancy arrangement.  Sherry was in hog heaven.
Street performers were frequent in the large and beautiful public squares.  Note the skimpy clothing on the Canadian tourists and the cold weather rig Sherry has on.

This was further east in a nice B&B with woods and fields behind it.  Only 25 miles or so from Quebec.
Lots of birds and pretty flowers. 

Booze is expensive in Canada and hard to find until you know the secret of the SAQ stores.
This was North of Quebec on a farm run by a very thrifty Canadian who ran his B&B like a penal instution.  He locked the kitchen away from us suspicious looking guests at night.  He also charged for fishing in his trout pond.  I talked him into letting me try, but it was no fun with him peeking to make sure I didn't catch one.
The farm was near a large natural area and we drove all over it and enjoyed the plants and animals.
We first saw this large hawk in the road where he sat for a long while.  When he flew it wasn't far.  He acted unafraid and another hawk flew by him and made him duck while we were there.  We figured he was a young one too innocent to go away.
Lots of these blueberrys in the area near the lake.
This grouse was beside the road and let us get a good photo before wandering off.  It wasn't much worried about us either.
This is the fancy way the chef wrapped up my leftovers.  It got a bit mangled in the cooler, but it looked exactly like a bird earlier.
A scenic wonder in the park, but once this was the route for timber to get downstream.  It never really worked well, even though the water was channeled down a flume.  Heavy rains ruined the shute and they finally gave up on it.
This was the explainer lady at the zoo.  She was a mess.  Here she is blowing her kazoo to get our attention
They are feeding the polar bear in it's outdoor digs.  It doesn't mind the Canadian winter.  Probably thinks it is pretty warm.
Way over East of Quebec City we waited a little late to find a B&B.  But lucked into this quirky spot.  It was actually a bandit B&B next door to a real one that was full.  Fine for us, though.
I found this birch log on a creek that ran into the St. Lawrence on an early morning walk from our bandit B&B.  Beautiful.

It was rainy or threatening much of the time we were in Quebec.  Here the river is very wide and sea going ships have no trouble going all the way over to Quebec and beyond.
The shores are solid granite here with pools of water from the tide reflecting the sky.
Two crows take a rest on the local church.  Note the swoop at the bottom of the roof.  A common feature wherever we went.  It is there to throw the sliding snow away from the foundation.
Cutting back across a farm I saw there sheep in their barn waiting to be let out to graze.

Another public nature area, this one in the bogs near the St. Lawrence.  Who is that distinguished gentleman?
We are high atop a four story observation tower.  Saw lots of ducks and herons but no beavers or otters.  Maybe we were there at the wrong time of day.
Pretty berries.
Nice blossoms.  Some sort of morning glory, I think.
On the way back.  This was a luxury hotel beside one of the many lakes.  We splurged somewhat, but it was very nice.
One of the perks of the hotel was that you got the use of their kayaks, something Sherry had wanted to do all the trip.  We saw minks or weasels playing on the bank but couldn't get a snap.
One of our final stops.  This is the Bread and Butter Puppet Theatre Museum and storage barn.  They do happenings for peace parades and educational events.  It was a return to the sixties and seventies for Sherry and me.
The souvenier shop was a retired psychodelic bus.

Some figures stored in the musuem.  There were thousands.  There was so much that it was dazzling and tiring.  I finally had to give up on seeing it all.  Every inch of space was covered. 
Next day we left Canada and flew home.  It was a great trip for August.  Cool to cold the whole time.  We got to Nashville tired but satisfied.  When we stepped outside the terminal the heat hit is like a blow dryer.  Still, it was good to be back home.

August 5-6

August 5, Saturday, I worked on the yard in the 90+ degree heat to just short of a sun stroke.  However, I eventually finished and cooled off and cleaned up in time to go to Phila Hach's B & B for Sherry's Birthday Dinner.  Mabel Clodfelter rode with us, as did Travis and James.  Liz O'Brien bravely drove herself and found the place, which was a major miracle.  It's a really great location, down in a hollow by a spring fed creek.  The food and Phila were excellent.

Sunday I took Sherry's sit-on kayak below the dam at Center Hill and ran into Jeremy Darnell, the guy who I met several years ago with a big string of bass there (see Earlier Days).  Caught a few stripe and bream, but it was overall not a great fishing day.  When I got home I found the great morning glory tower has toppled so I exerted great efforts and with Sherry's good help managed to get it back up hanging from a tripod of large bamboo.  Next year maybe we will have the great arch over the driveway.
Here we are, the happy party goers.  Phila, me, Sherry, Liz, Travis, Mabel, and James behind the camera.  Yum, we ate enough to last several days.  But good!
Here's the bubba I met at Center Hill several years ago.  He was fishing for bass and had a good string. I took a photo of him and his string of bass and it was one of the first ones I put on this site (see Earlier Days).  I hadn't seen him again until today.  He is Jeremy Darnell and he races dirt bikes as well.
Remember how the morning glory tower was leaning a week or so ago?  Well, when I got home from fishing today...
the dern thing had crashed.  I went down the road and got some really huge bamboo and after a very sweaty time got it back up to vertical suspended from a triangle.  Hope it lasts until the morning glorys die this fall.
Here's the new rig.  I think it's pretty stable.  We will see.
After I finally got cleaned up we sat on the deck a while and got a shot of the little female hummer.  We also have a male who is a bully and chases her off whenever he's around.  No manners.

July 29--30

After weeks of hot and dry weather it finally rained last night.  Saturday morning was dark and damp, so around 9am I pulled a bushel of beets and picked the Roma beans, cucumbers, and tomatoes.  Then I weeded the entire garden, thinned the carrots, went down to check out Travis' garden, took photos, trimmed several intruding trees, dumped the limbs, cut the yard, blew away the leaves and grass, and said, "That's enough."  By that time it was 2:30 and I was soaking wet and tired.  Now I'm cleaned up and cool and putting this overdue garden report on record.

Sunday I went up to creek J and had a great time.  The bass were hitting well, especially at the mouth, and up stream at almost the last of the floatable water.  Must have caught 10 or 11 all together.  However, the first one was really a whopper.  Over 18" long and in perfect shape.  Pulled Sherry's kayak all over the place before I got her on shore.
I guess the biggest project is always the bean trellis.  The near beans are blue lake string beans and the far beans are butter beans.  It's easy to see where the most sun hits during the day--in the middle, where the vines are thickest.
I found this one little butterbean.  It won't be long before they come in, though.  Hope we won't be on vacation then.
There are at  least two of these nice tender string beans.  Don't you just love the name, "Blue Lake?"
This is one of the 2-3" carrots I pulled to thin the patch.  There were also some 7-9" ones that got pulled, but most were small.
Maybe I should have spaced them better to begin with.  Still, the soft mulch and sand seems to be what they want.
We still have Swiss Chard and it looks good, despite the heat.
We only had two cucumber vines but they have produced a lot.  The vines are drying out now, but new blossoms are plentyful and I still have to check daily, lest they get too big over night.
Remember the morning glory tower I made?  Three huge cane poles anchored at the bottom and tied together at the top.  A recent storm has left the tower listing heavily.  We will see.
These pretty red calla lilies of Sherry's just keep on bringing out new blooms.  Two weeks ago the Japanese beetles were eating them like ice cream, but the new ones came back and they are still looking great.  See the new blossoms getting ready to open?
My cherry tomatoes are a bigger variety than I've had in the past.  Probably some super test tube variety--but good!
My regular eggplants are coming back from the dead and look strong and healthy.  Note the blossom.  I gave them a shot of epson salts in a quart of water which James said might give them some needed phosporus or something.  It seems to work.
My poor little iciban eggplants are really small and are trying to produce fruit.  It doesn't look good.  Travis' icibans are huge and loaded.  We've been eating them for a month or more.  Maybe the eggplant production line needs to move up the street.
These are the Mountain Spring tomatoes.  They only get waist high and the fruits are mostly the size of tennis balls but some are quite large.  I've been picking them early because a bird or something has been pecking them and all the other varieties.  You can see a wound on one of these.
Travis had beans earlier than I did and they are still coming.  She doesn't have much time for the garden, but she does a good job with the time she had.  Her yard is quite sunny.  An advantage over mine, where the sun is blocked morning and afternoon.
T's bell peppers are big and healthy.  Mine are ok, but not so robust.  I've got some lavender colored variety.  What the....
The corn is coming along fine and doesn't seem to mind being a little crowded.  Plenty of tomatoes getting close to harvest, too.
Some of the corn has already produced silk.  If we actually get some corn it will be a first.  I never tried in my garden with such a small space and not much sun.  Fresh corn will be nice.
Well, as I said, T's icibans are going nuts.  Anyone need some?
The bottom end of T's garden is crowded with cherry tomatoes, peppers, and corn.  We'll have to arrange things better next year.
T's okra was an afterthought planted off to itself in an unweeded area.  I figured it would outgrow the weeds.  It has survived and even at less than a foot high some have okra on them.  Next year we will have to do better.
Another afterthought planted near the okra was two or three watermelon vines.  They are taking over the yard.  Will they produce something yummy?  We can but wait and see.
This 18" plus bass decided she wasn't ready for her photo op so she changed to the other side.  She was a whopper and she was the first fish I caught on a day when they were hitting well.
I didn't take many photos since the camera was such a pill to get out.  However, this one fought so well I thought it worth a shot.

July 22-23

Went up to Creek J this weekend with Sherry's kayak.  Had good luck on the bass and enjoyed the cool spell (only got up to 85 and a nice breeze all day).   Who knows what you will see in the country?
Before I got started I heard hoof clops on the road and here came three teams pulling buggies or wagons.  This is Mike and Ike and I believe the man is Luther (?).  He said eight or ten families from the area liked to get together with their teams.  Some had horses and others mules.  They seemed a sociable and friendly bunch.
Hornet's nest over the creek.  Fortunately, I spotted it and went way round and didn't fish within 50 feet either side.
The bass were hitting.  The cool spell must have turned them on.
I didn't really see this Cecropia Moth over the weekend.  It was early Monday morning on a marble monument at the Bicentennial Mall.  They are the largest North American moth.  They don't waste time eating during their 4-5 day adult stage.  They mate.

July 14

Actually, this should be a report on July 15-16, the weekend.  However, I find no photos for those dates and have no clue what happened then.  I do, however, have this nice shot of a beaver making his way to his den which is between the Shelby Street walking bridge (where the photo was taken) and the new bridge.  This was shot on our pre-yoga walk that Becky and I take on Friday morning.


July 8-9

Fished Fall Creek at Percy Priest.  Caught a bass and saw a ground hog less than ten feet away.  Sunday I got a shot of a pretty insect, but can't remember when or where.

Pretty lousy shot, but it was a nice bass.  Caught several.
I was going slowly and not making much noise which is why I got very close to this groundhog before he noticed me.
He decided to make tracks and ducked into a crack and was gone in a flash.
Like a giant mosquito, but something else.  Very nice.

July 1--4th
Independence Day

The holiday came on Tuesday this year so, except for a half day working Monday, it was like a long 4 day weekend.  Sherry made the kids and me go rent canoes and float the Piney on the 4th, but it turned out to be pretty good fun.  Later on Sherry shot her Roman candles and we other lawless ones shot bottle rockets at the boats on the Cumberland coming back upriver from the fireworks show at Riverfront Park.  Then we ate watermelon.  The bottle rockets this year were Black Cats, which I thought were good ones.  They constantly shot sparks back, however, and James and Travis both got burned shirts.  Still, fun was had.
Sherry's morning glories look like fireworks when we got up this July 4th.  They are climbing three long fishing poles tied together at the top and we are betting on which vine will get to the top first.
Later we went down to the Piney River along with every other person who could hold a beer can and floated down for three or four hours.  It was a nice way to be with others and to enjoy the 4th.  We even saw a bit of nature, human and otherwise.
One of the sights along the Piney, other than the bubbas and bubbettes, was this wild Michigan Lily.
I caught a huge largemouth bass (18" long) on Percy Priest the weekend before July 4th but didn't have my camera so I used this pic from last year.  The lure is the same exactly--a frog colored tiny torpedo.

June 24-25

This was the weekend James came back from South Carolina with a basket of live crabs.  Most were still alive, that is.  He boiled them and then we all pitched in to pick crabmeat to keep and to eat.  Mighty fine.  I also did some fishing at Creek J, wading this time on the upper part.  Garden going and blowing and Sherry's flowers lovely.
James and Sherry shuck crab meat.  Hershel came by later on and helped.  Richard and Travis were there too.
Cooked crabs had to share the ice.
This is the meal supreme for a small mouth.  This one is lurking.
It's really pretty up on Creek J, and a little spooky too where the trees meet overhead. 

One of the 8-10 who fell for the old broken-back Rapala gag.
Garden is coming along.  These are the Mountain Springs.
Beets have been ready and are still coming.
We got a few carrots, but I didn't thin them and most just got hard and stunted.  Do better next year.
Cherry tomatoes just starting to get ready for salads.
Everything, including weeds, is growing wildly.  Beans will be at the top of the trellis in another week too.
Sherry's morning glories are racing up the poles.
They always seem to glow inside.
Sherry's big flower bed is going crazy.
The pot by the driveway. 

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