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

Richard Loller

Winter 2005-6

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March 18-19
Last weekend of winter.  Whoopee!

On Saturday I decided to rebuild the fence Betty Holt cut down.  What a woman!  Anyhow, it's nice to have a bit of privacy from the north.  The day was cool, but not cold if you were active.  A windy weekend.  The veggies are coming up just fine and I even planted a new one--radishes.  Since we'd had a lot of rain predicted, but none in fact, I watered both days.

Sunday I was going to finish the fence, but the call of the fish was too strong, even though the sun never peeped through and the wind was still strong.  Got very lucky.  In the photo above the slab in on the bottom.  But I decided to let nature determine how the guys lined up.  Since I couldn't find anyone to give them to and we have plenty in the frig I gave them their emancipation.  Felt a good deal like Abraham Lincoln.
Before I went outside I suddenly saw this view of the forsythia beyond the garden and the neat arrangement of vases.  So familiar I looked past it every day and then suddenly saw it.
Just to the left over the stove is the framed hamburger construction Travis made so many years ago.  Truly a work of art that makes me salivate every time I pass it.
Four posts eight feet apart, so I've got a 32' section of fence to rebuild.  It went fairly fast and I got all 4 posts in and set in concrete before I quit for the day.

After the holes are dug the concrete is mixed.
Fill the holes with concrete including a collar so the rain won't sit on the base and seep down inside the concrete later on.
Essential tools include a level for the posts, a line and a tape measure to get them straight and properly separated and flat rocks for the bottom of the hole so they won't sit directly on the dirt.
Little beets are fine and pushing through the straw.
Mesclum mix lettuce is coming along fine.  Started on Jan. 28th.
New parsley growing from the old crop of last year. 
Two rows of peas which I'll thin later on.  The row on the left was the first planted.  The one on the right was planted two or three weeks later when I thought the first had died.
Planted a small area of radish.  They grow fast and a few are usually plenty.  But Sherry found a way to use them as a garnish for soup that was really good, so I decided to put them in.
This is a new variety of lettuce, black Simpson.  It went in on February 12th.  Coming along fine.
Sunday I only caught this one little stocker rainbow trout, but he was so pretty that I thought I'd show him off.
The crappie were biting furiously for about the first 30 minutes I was there and then stopped.  I caught a couple over the next two hours, but that is typical of their feeding pattern this time of year.


March 11-12

Storms predicted for both Saturday and Sunday so I went Saturday, even though it was very windy, a bit chilly, and they were running one generator all day.  Caught nothing and left early to work on chores at home.  Sunday I went back and it was very nice--no generation and warm enough to wear shorts and a tee shirt.  Caught 9 or 10 trout and four crappie.
View of the powerhouse and wing wall with one generator running.  At times this can be good.  Fishing at the end of the wing wall just
outside the fast current in the eddy there is where I caught the large small mouth last year.  Also sauger like the deeper water.  Saturday nothing liked it, or the moon, or the barometer, or something.
When I left around two these guys had just arrived.  One of them helped me load the boat.  They were the last fishermen still trying their luck.
Not huge crappie, but on Sunday I caught four nice keepers in the span of 30 minutes. Then they quit for the day.
Caught this chunky stripe during the same feeding spree.  No more, however, although I got several hits.

Pretty rocks with moss and sparkling water along the cliff.
Before I gave up I decided to try below this fall.  Caught 9 or 10 trout here in the next hour.  Maybe they just stocked.  No matter, it was a lot of fun and I was long overdue.  I kept six to eat.
Trout are so pretty it's almost a shame to eat them.  But, as Sherry says, we are only giving them the opportunity to become Richard and Sherry.
Here is the catch. I'd already cleaned two trout when I remembered to make a photo.  Fine day and the first real day of almost spring.

March 4-5

Well, I knew Sunday would be warmer, and even though rain was expected I knew the fishing would probably be better on a warm front than a cold front.  Still, Saturday wasn't really cold.  Just a wind that made you pull your hood up now and then and one that shifted from north west to south west.  Still I caught these three very hefty crappie below the dam at Center Hill.  Got there at 9:45, just before they stopped generating and left at 1:30 since all my crappie action happened within the first thirty minutes and after that nothing.  Worked on the garden when I got home.  Pulled the faithful mesclum lettuce that was finally frost burned and bolting too.  Planted the corn lettuce Sherry wanted and the carrots.  The carrots are an experiment.  I dug a hole three feet long and 15" deep and filled it with compost, fertilizer, sand, and potting soil.  This is to give them a soft and rich medium in which to grow.  If all goes well we should have nice well shaped carrots.  In the past they have been stunted and warped.  Soil was too tough.  I also spread the straw mulch over all the garden to see how that will work.  Will the little weak things be able to push up through it?  Hope so.  I fudged a bit and spread it sort of thin.

Sunday I finally bit the bullet and built the trellis.  This one should be just what the peas and beans crave--nothing but vertical supports and those quite close.  Last year I built an elaborate system of horizontal supports only to find they ignored them and only used the vertical supports.  OK.  You got what you wanted.  Now grow, damn you, grow!
These are really heavy crappie.  The largest is 13" and the three, once I filleted them, were easily enough for two meals for us.  Got to use my new electric knife on these guys.  Worked great.
Not a very big carrot patch, but they really grow close if they have loose soil.  Besides, how many carrots will we use this year?
I worked all day on this thing.  Finally had to steal more cane from the old place on the corner.  Didn't get caught, so all was well.
There are five posts set 18" deep, so this sucker ought to be good for anything short of the end of the world or a force 5 gale.
I got smart, or a little less dumb, and used aluminum wire and heavy cord to hold everything in place this year, vs. the duct tape and grass twine I used last year.
Here you can see the straw mulch and a neighbor walking her dog.

February 25-26

Saturday was supposed to be warm but wet and Sunday was supposed to be cold and wet.  So I decided to go fishing Saturday.  Good luck in the pool below Center Hill.  Nice and no rain and warm enough so no gloves were needed.
Sunday was bright and cold with a strong wind.  Got lots of chores done, including patching up the leaks in the boat.  Went over to Percy Priest and checked out an old fishing place the greenway makes accessible.  Finally I dug a pit and filled it with compost to make carrot bed.  They've never done well before in my soil.  Give 'em what they want.
First thing Saturday morning I saw these wood ducks on a tree limb on the river bank.  The new camera did a good job.
A really nice day.  Most of these are over 12" and filleted out enough for three or four meals.  During the filleting my trusty old garage sale electric knife groaned and died.  Goodby old friend. 
The stripe were active too and I caught several.  But not a single trout did I catch.  Fish can be very strange.
This bridge over this creek is on the Stones River Greenway.  It's about .7 of a mile from the dam.  I haven't fished this creek in years since the only way to it has been covered up with apartments and other crap.
This is the mouth of the creek where it empties into Stones River.  This is where the crappie come to congregate when the turbines are open at the dam.  Really a good place to fish in the winter and spring.  Not today (Sunday), however.  I'll try again.
This is the carrot patch.  I dug a deep hole and filled it with sand and compost so they'll have soft growing.  Hard soil makes them stunted and tough.  I'll add manure to it, mix, and plant next week.
I checked and found quite a crop of turnips under the greens, which were burned by the cold.  We'll have some this week.
Finally, the miracle of the peas.  Here they are, safe and sound, after all the freezing and snow last week.  Go, Peas, Go!

February 18--20

This was the President's Day weekend and the week before had been beautiful and warm.  So what did we get?  Sleet,
snow, and below freezing temps.  Saturday was very cold as was Sunday.  Monday warmed up enough for me to get to the lake only to find it very low and clear and no fishes interested. Thank you very much!
The purple finches and others found the feeders delightful.
This little downy woodpecker loved the suet cake.
The cardinals had to work hard to get food out of the feeders, which are built for smaller birds.  Plenty in bowl on the ground, but they didn't like that half as much. 
This little Carolina wren is fine when he sticks to the suet cake.  But when he trys the feeder he throws sunflower seed out like a back hoe.  Evidently he thinks there must be something better hidden under all that yucky stuff if he can just dig down into it far enough.

White capped sparrow.
Gray Squirrel.
Eppie is getting too old to hunt, but she likes to watch from her warm perch.
Remember all the seeds I planted last weekend.  It was 20 degrees two nights in a row.  Oh, oh.
Nothing showing above the ground yet except the lettuce I planted several weeks back.  Will the peas, beets, chard, spinach, etc. make it?  I'll probably know by next week end.  If not we'll plant again.
The hearty turnips looked a bit chilled, but by Monday most of the snow had melted and they looked as if they might still make it.
It's hard to believe, but these tiny lettuce which were buried under snow and ice on Saturday and Sunday looked as if they might survive on Monday.  Tough little guys.  I love them.
Monday I taught my yoga class at the Y and then came home and moved the phone cord for Sherry.  It took several hours and I had to climb under the house after trying every other way.  Not much fun.  I finally got to Percy Priest around 2 and found the lake very low.  This attracter is almost out of the water.  Level 284.
I didn't want to bother with the boat, so I fished from the bank.  I tried hard for several hours but not a twitch or a nibble.  Still, after two days more or less house bound it was good to get outside.  The air was cold, but clear and sweet.  Life is good.

February 11-12

Saturday started out cold and dark after sleet, snow, or rain all Friday night.  We went to the Conservation Voters party and auction Friday night despite the weather and I bought a 21 speed bike ($650 value for $400) which I need like another hole in my head.  Still it's a good cause and maybe I'll take up biking rather than walking.  Or maybe Cumberland Transit, who donated it, will help me sell it.

Saturday started out wet, windy, and cold.  Went to Lowe's and bought a water heater for our house Travis and James are renting.  Got it in next to the old one and will leave it there until they get back so they can help put it in.  They are on a vacation with some friends cross country skiing in Yosimite.  I was going to stay around but by 10 or so the sun came out and it was so warm I decided to go fish below Center Hill.  As I climbed higher out of the Nashville Basin it got colder and by the time I turned off I-40 for the dam it was snowing pretty heavily.  So I cursed a bit and decided to turn back.  Then, after a few miles homeward bound, it quit.  So I made an illegal turn across the median and went back.  Mighty cold out there on the water, but the fish were active.  I caught two nice trout and two crappies for dinner last night.  Also caught a mort of stripe, which I threw back.  I'd rather eat crappie or trout.  All this catching happened within the first 30 minutes or so.  After that it got windier and colder and the fish went back to sleep and I just froze until about 3 o'clock when common sense surfaced and I went home.

Sunday the temperature stayed around 32 degrees and light snow fell all day.  Still, I worked on the garden, planting new things and replanting some that showed no sign that they were going to make it from the first planting two weeks ago. The only thing that I can see above ground is tiny plants of the Mesclum Mix Lettuce.  And that will surely get slaughtered if we get a really hard freeze.

January was so warm and now February is making up for it.  Hope I'm not planting to early.  We will see, as the farmers always say.  However, we are still eating the arugula and another hearty lettuce from the mesculum mix I planted last fall.  It is really amazing.  Also, the turnips are still growing and haven't lost their pretty green leaves yet.  If they make it through we will have early greens galore.  Parsley from last year still alive as is the rosemary and oregano.  Hooray.
Biggest stripe of the day ran around 14 inches.  They are strong and fun to catch, but as cold as it was I hated to spend the time with my gloves off necessary to unhook them, towel off, and don the gloves again.  Even so I got three sets of gloves wet today.
I had already started cleaning the fish when I remembered I didn't have a photo.  This is on the big table in the dining room.  It was just too dang cold to do it outside.
These are regular peas--you eat the pea and not the hull.  It's a bush variety.  We had a few last year.  They were great, but I planted too late and they didn't do much. 
Why a photo of a stob in the ground?  Mainly to help me remember what I planted and when.  This is Black Seeded Simpson, a loose leafed tender lettuce that I wanted to try. 
Another regular pea of the bush variety.  Supposed to grow to 24".  I planted a long row of these today..
I've gone pea crazy.  These are Little Marvels, a dwarf variety supposed to get only 18" high.  I planted two half rows in the southeast corner.  Next to it is a half row of red swiss chard.
Only about a 3 foot row, but plenty if it comes up.
Actually, this beet variety is what I planted two weeks ago.  When I dug a little there was no indication that they had lived, so I planted Detroit Dark Red since I had a lot of them.
Only a half row, but that will be a lot if they do well.
I planted another row of Sugar Snap Peas next to the one planted two weeks ago since those may not make it. This is at the north edge, running east and west.  That is because they have to have a trellis and I don't want to shade out the rest of the garden.  Note the roots from the trees on the neighbor's lot.  They just keep moving in.  I dig them up when Tree Beard isn't looking.

February 4--5

Saturday was cloudy, windy, and cold.  I did some chores and stayed close to the house except for some errands.

Sunday was cold too, but sunny and the wind wasn't too bad.  Went over to Percy at Fall Creek and fished from the bank.  No fish, but I got a good shot of a heron and me.

Yep, I fished a deep rock bank but had no luck.  Around 3:15 I decided to try Shelby Park lake because I'd seen guys fishing there last Thursday morning.  Four trucks all along the dam near the overflow.  They said they were fishing for trout and I remembered that the Game and Fish has stocked it last year. 
I got to Shelby park around 4:15 and caught no trout.  The only guy there said he caught 10 yesterday around 5pm, but had fished all day before that and caught none.  I did get a good pic of Mr. Heron, so that made the trip worth while.


January 28--29

Saturday I tilled under the chopped up leaves and compost I had spread on the garden and it looks very good.  This took until two.  Then I went fishing at Creek B on River Road.  Wind was very high and it was hard to keep in one spot.  I did, however remember to bring the battery and trolling motor, so I didn't ruin myself today.  No luck, but I did get two nice photos of a hawk and a goose.

Sunday I laid out the walkway boards and planted sugar snap peas, Alaska early peas (just a 1/4 of a row, all that was left in the package), a row of beets, and a row of mesclum mix lettuce.  I should get the rest of the early things planted by next weekend.  Weather yesterday and today was very nice.  Today it was shirtsleeves only.  Even Sherry took off her coat when she went walking at Shelby Bottoms with Travis.  Global warming?  Oh, excuse me. Global climate change.
I saw this beautiful hawk in a field beside the road near the model airplane field in Ashland City.  It swooped down on something and then took a seat on this post where it let me shoot several photos.  I think it is a red shouldered hawk.  If you know better, please let me know.
Geese aren't that rare around here, but this one was a long way off and I thought it might be a loon.  I shot several photos at extreme long range from a rocking boat, so the image stabilization aspect of the new Canon is working well.  Very satisfied with it.
There is a lot of work represented here.  Just glad it isn't bigger.
Sherry took this for me.  I wanted something to help me remember what I looked like when I get too old to hoe and till.

January 24

Dan O'Brien died last night.  Liz called Sherry this morning.  We visited Sunday and he did not wake up but was not sleeping really, just tossing in a daze.  He had had morphine.  Yesterday when I called Liz all his children were there.  It has been a trial for Liz and one she faced with courage and character.  Dan was a great guy and a lucky man to have her.

January 21-22

It was pretty cold on Saturday and the wind was gusting up to 20mph.  However, Sunday was supposed to be rain all day so I went up to Creek B near Ashland city, a place I used to fish a lot.  When I got there I discovered I'd left the battery for the trolling motor at home, so it was sculling slowly from the front of the boat all day.  I did my best to keep on the windward side of the banks to avoid as much headwind as possible.   Caught seven really nice crappie and let them go after deciding that, since we had fillets already in the frig, it was a good day to avoid cleaning fish.

Sunday was rainy, as promised, but warmer.  We went to visit Liz and to check on Dan, who is very bad and not expected to make it.  He barely recognized us last week.  His condition is puzzling to the doctors.  He is in pain and won't or can't eat.  He has lost a shocking amount of weight.  Prayer is all there is at this point.  You might remember him if you will.
This was shot during my walk at Shelby bottoms early Tuesday morning.  Pretty good without a tripod.  I am testing the new Canon S1 IS with the 10x optical zoom and image stabilization.
This is a shot back to the ramp (arrow)  from the far limit of my sculling Saturday.  I stuck pretty close to the bank on the right when I could.  It knocked off most of the headwind.  It was easier going back.  The wind helped push.  Notice how cloudy it is.
I tried to shoot a photo  of a woodpecker in this tree from a long way off, but it looks as if I missed him.  Nice pattern though.  This was during one of the brief periods of sun.  Felt nice.
There are two arrows pointing to a bush on the bank and a vertical limb on the tree.  Lined up this way it locates a large pile of submerged brush which the crappie like.  Not today, however.
Another shot with sun shine.  This was around 3.  This tree still has live branches under water and I caught 4 of the crappie there.
I really planned to take these nice guys home and eat them, but I didn't have enough ice or a cooler to put them in so they got their photos made.  All swam away with great gusto to go home and tell their fantastic tale which I'm sure none of their friends believed.

January 14-18

This was the long MLK weekend.  Saturday was very cold and Sunday was pretty cold.  On Sunday I helped Travis get the garden tiller started and we both worked on plowing until we got the hang of it.  The corse grass in her yard made it fail to dig in and then it would scoot away with one of us in tow.  We finally got it down to dirt and then it went better.

Monday I was off and it was pretty warm so I went up to Center Hill pool.  Charlie Faulkner came and fished with me for a couple of hours.  He caught nothing, but got one big brown almost into the boat.  I had had three takes on a dry fly, but nothing that stuck except a small shad.  After Charlie left I tried the big log and caught the 12" rainbow above.
That was about it.  It got colder as the day progressed but I stuck until around 4:30.  Pretty long day and very little action.

The snow in the photo is from today, Wednesday the 18th.  Last night, coming home, the snow was hard, but wasn't sticking yet.  I called Sherry at her French class and she came home early.  This morning it was slick in spots and around 30 degrees.  But by noon it was up to 50 degrees and the rest of the week is supposed to be warmer.  Just to keep us in mind that we do get snow here and sometimes pretty deep.  As when it was 8" deep on the deck.  Click here and scroll down to see the big snow of January 16, 2003..

Travis and James lawn...

...became a garden after some hard tilling.

This baby took a 64th oz. jig with a white tube.

Very nice view of the snow and the Parthenon.

January 4--January 11
Florida Trip--Click Here!


December 31--January 2

Saturday, the last day of 2005, was sunny and mild.  It got up to 50, but working in the garden I got hot with nothing but a heavy shirt on over my regular shirt.  I chopped up all the okra stalks, bean vines, and leaves Sherry had paid to have raked up last week.  These will be tilled under soon and will make the new garden more fertile.  It will losen up the soil and put a lot a good minerals back.  Tonight we are going out for dinner at 5pm.  A geriatric wild time on New Year's Eve.  Actually, that got cancelled because the hostess was sick, so we went Monday night instead.

Sunday was warm and nice with not too much wind.  Fished below Center Hill Dam and caught four crappie and four trout.  Left early in order to clean them and go visit our new neighbors who were having an open house and chili supper.  Monday was a holiday for me, but didn't get to fish since I had to put up the Christmas stuff and do various little chores.  Then we went out to eat in Smyrna.  I'll be leaving for Florida Wednesday.

Here is Sherry's large bed near the road.  A few perrenial stalks still standing but everything else cleared out.
The smaller bed near the house.  Sure looks bare now compared to a few months ago.
Here you can see the full garden with a few stands of hearty green rows still standing.  Along the right border the sage, rosemary, parsley, and oregano are still hanging in there.
This is mostly arugula.  You can see the chopped up vines and leaves all around.
The garlic on the right is a little yellow and frost burned, but it will make it through and start growing again in February.  That's the turnips on the left.
A nice turnip and the leaves aren't too burned.  They may make it through.  I thought about covering them with chopped leaves but I think they will do better getting what sun they can.  It may be a mistake, but it they die I can plant again in February.
This is the stob that belongs to the large log in the middle of the pool below the dam.  This is where the deepest water is and where I catch the biggest crappie--when I catch any at all.
The slab crappie I caught near the log.
Here's a shot of the wing wall near the outlet from the dam.  I caught the large small mouth (5 lbs. plus) just at the end when generation was beginning again.  She was in the eddy off the current waiting for dead or injured shad to fall into her mouth.
Good view of the falls and outlets coming from the cliff.
The reddish area on the right center is where I put the boat in.
Catch for the day was four trout and four crappie.  Fourth trout is near the crappie on the left.  Hard to see because his back is up.


December 24-26

I had the boat loaded with everything necessary for fishing on Saturday morning.  But, as the morning progressed, it became more and more cloudy and cold.  It finally began to rain--cold rain--and I had to unload the boat and hope for a better day on Monday.  I knew there would be no chance of any fishing on Sunday, Christmas Day.  However, Monday was just as cold and windy too, so I ended up with no fishing the whole weekend, unless you count the few minutes I spent fooling around at Percy Priest Dam late Monday afternoon throwing a hopeless lure.  And tomorrow it's supposed to get up to 60!

In the end, I was forced to enjoy a long restful Christmas holiday.  To help celebrate we had Travis and James and Vivian, Travis' friend from Chiapas days (now in graduate school in Austin, Texas).  They met us a St. Ann's for the midnight service and helped greatly with preparation of Christmas dinner.  These represented the younger element.  Hanley and Denile, the other part of that element, were in Lexington, unable to come.  Ann and Tom were in Calias, Maine, pretty much snowed in.  To help us fill the empty places at the table Bill and Mabel Clodfelter came over.  Mabel told me a lot of interesting things about growing turnips and I decided to let mine try to make it through the winter.  I'll be mulching them with chopped up leaves to help them survive.  We will see.  To sum it all up we had a lovely Christmas and hope you and your family did too.
Vivian and James fool with the computer trying to make it work with a remote connection.
Sherry checks the glasses before we sit down to a beautiful goose with all the trimmings.  The table setting was a great plus too.
James hurries back from the deck where he was testing the range of the remote connection.  Just in time to open Christmas gifts!
Mom tried on her favorite present--knee length wool socks.
James and Richard ham it up with their highly appropriate gifts.
Mom shows Travis our cards and even found one for her.

The new palm tree proudly displays the colorful ornaments.

Travis helps get all ready.
All are now gathered.  Sherry, Vivian, James, Mabel, Me (in the painting on the wall over Mabel's head), Bill, and Travis.

Travis and James cooked the goose to perfection.
I did my best to carve with grace and style, but the goose was very slick and I finally ended up using my hands.
When my hands got too slick, Travis gave me a towel to use and helped me hold it down.  In the end the goose got carved, we all got fed, and a Merry Christmas was had by all!  Thank you, God!

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