Winter 2006-7

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March 17-18
Last Weekend In Winter

Lots got done this week and weekend, getting ready for warmer weather.  We had a pretty cold winter overall and it may not be over yet.  But Wednesday we move the home page to Spring and that will be a happy day for me and you!
Actually, I worked on the arch during the week and finally got it finished.  The two little pots in the middle have wisteria ready to go in the ground on this side when it warms up a bit.  And I think Sherry's going to plant clematis on the other side.  Can't wait.
Spring can't be far away when the Japanese magnolia starts to bloom.  The pansies in the little garden look so pretty with the pink blossoms all over them.
It was cold Saturday morning, but I got the martin house down
without a major problem and took it up to Travis' house.  Before I put it back up I washed it out good inside and out.  Nothing like a clean house to attract fussy purple martins.  We never got any takers in all the years it was at our house.  They need an open space around it.  I've been wanting to move it for a while but other jobs kept pushing it back.  It's important to have it ready as early as possible because, though the main flocks won't be this far north for a month or so, the scouts are even now scouring Nashville and all other points north for suitable nests!  At least, that's what I have read in the material that came with the martin house.  We will see.
Here we are--up and running.  Looks pretty open around it, so let's cross our fingers.  They each eat three pounds of mosquitos every three minutes 12 hours each day, so Pennington Bend may be mosquito free this year if they decide to move in.
Here's part of the walk that I patched up.  I hope it looks better after it dries than it does now.  Oh well, a little dirt and wear is sure to make it look good or, at least, blend in..
On the garden front, the sad looking garlic got a rain on it this week and several days of warm weather.  It's looking good.
The arugula and other lettuce that wintered over is trying to go to seed, but I pinch the blossoms off and it looks as if we will soon be getting some edible greens. 
The garlic greens look good too.  We tried some last night, but I was disappointed.  Did all the freezing weather hurt their taste?  They were pretty stringy and didn't have much garlic taste.  Maybe after they get more warm weather they'll fill out and get more juicy.
The onions are getting on up.  Hope we actually see some bulbs.  I've never had much luck growing real onions--just green ones.
The peas are all up now, sugar snaps and snow peas.  Should be reaching for the trellis wire in a couple of weeks.
Sunday morning early when the sun was really low it threw a shadow of the feeder and two birds on the maple tree.  Ha!
Right after that Sherry called me to see the piliated woodpecker on the deck rail.  He hopped out of sight and then began banging on the side of the house.  What kind of courtship is that?
After church I went over to Fall Creek, even though I knew the water level was only 484' up there.  Several guys were way out where it is normally 5-6 feet deep working the fish attractors.
I was fishing for crappie with my fly rod, using the 1/64 jig and tube under a tiny cork.  No luck.  But the buck bass were active and I caught 5-6 little ones and two that might go a pound.


March 10-11

Well, Sunday was the first day of Daylight Savings Time and we remembered to change and got to church right on the button.  I caught up on a lot of jobs Saturday and when the fishing proved rotten Sunday I came home and got more done.  All in all a productive and very pleasant weekend.
Big week for birds and other critters at Shelby Bottoms.  Thursday I saw several swallows, back from the south.
Got pretty close to this big red tail hawk too.
But the thrill of the day were these two deer who bounded across the walking path and half way across a field where they stopped, and gave me time to get a long shot.
Friday afternoon I walked out on the deck and there was Hooty, or one of his children, back in the old owl house that was waiting.
Saturday it was supposed to rain, so I stayed close to home and got all the greens planted.  also strung this fencing on my frame to be the trellis for the sugar snaps and snow peas.  And, later, for the butter beans and green beans.
Well, the rain still hadn't come, so I patched up the rock patio out back and the walkway along the side of the house.  Ran out of concrete before I finished (thank you, God).
Saturday afternoon, I got rungs put in on one side of the arch, which will soon have a climbing vine of some sort climbing up.  Sunday I got the other side and two on the top.
Tried Brush Creek Sunday noon, but gave up about 2 pm. Figured I could spend my time better finishing up the work on the arch at home.  Saw these coots trying to eat something white which they dropped as I got near.
Yep, it was a shad.  One that the gulls hadn't found yet.
After working on the arch Sherry and I sat on the deck until the sun went down and it got chilly.  Hooty was there and then, just before we went in, here came Mr. Piliated Woodpecker, our old friend.  I wonder if he'll nest in the Sycamore this year?  We'll see what we will see.

March 3-4

Saturday I started on the trellis for my garden.  Got five sections of slender trees that had fallen down up in the marshy wood lot by the bridge.  Some of them still had bark, which might attract woodpeckers.  We will see.  After liberating enough long bamboo (I'm getting too old for this)  and making the top bar I ran out of juice and called it a day.  Sunday I went fishing at Brush Creek and got skunked except for a couple that got off.  The gulls were all over the place, probably eating shad injured by the freezing nights.  Who knows?  Anyhow, the bud are coming out and one tree was in full bloom.  Spring is a few days away.  Can't come too soon for me!
These posts may be too slim, but I'm hoping they will hold up the peas and beans we wish to see later on.
The peeling bark probably hides many yummy insects and could attract woodpeckers, which I would like to see.
The bamboo is securely attached at the top.
A flotilla of gulls and many more above circling and diving down into the water after shad. 
I don't know what kind of tree this is, but it's full of blossoms.
I guess the white are going to turn red, or vice versa.  Pretty.
Walking at Shelby Bottoms on Tuesday and got this nice photo of a chilly Mocking Bird all puffed out and enjoying the new risen sun.  I was pretty glad to see Mr. Sun my own self.
Going home Friday I got behind these two guys holding a table on top of their car.  Reminded me of college moving days.

February 24-25

It was pretty warm and fair all week, but Saturday morning it was cloudy and around 40°.  So I went up to Travis' house and retilled the strip James and I had got ready for peas.  Planted sugar snaps and snow peas as well as musculum mix lettuce, garlic, onions, and spinach.

Saturday night Hanley, Denile, and Natasha came down for the Redwings game with the Predators.  While we were all milling about doing various things on Sunday I got my garden weeded and the  wall finished.  The final segment separates my veggies from Sherry's flowers.  It's somewhat like the Great Wall of China in purpose and looks.
Tilled this strip thoroughly.  The soil is full of grass roots but is rich and soft.  Should do very well.

This is the little chart of where everything is so we can remember when the little things start coming up.  I had a lot of spinach so I just filled in the gaps anywhere there was space.
It rained overnight, so I couldn't plant anything with the soil sticking together so I weeded and I'll plant as soon as it's dry.
The great wall between the veggies on the left and the flowers on the right.  As we all know, good fences make good neighbors.

February 17-18

Well, we have had two pretty cold weeks in a row (overnight temperatures in the teens), so I hope we've killed some chiggers and mosquitoes.  Next week is supposed to be warmer, so I'll be able to finally get some peas, beats, spinach, and chard planted in my garden and the one up the street.  Friday I bought an Old Town Otter two seater kayak which I stored in Travis' basement.  Maybe we will get to use it this summer and maybe Travis and James can take Zinnia for a float.  Really big snow all night Friday and all day Saturday until around 10 pm.  Made driving Saturday night risky.  Sunday it got up to 40, so I got the retaining wall around the garden finished. Couldn't plant anything yet because of the frozen ground.  All the freezing weather had finished off the arugula.  The garlic and onions look yellow and poorly, but they may come back.  We will see.
We woke up to this on Saturday morning and it continued to snow all day and most of Saturday night.  No fish, no planting.
See how it warmed up on Sunday?  But the ground is still frozen so I finished repairing the wall around the garden rim.  Maybe next week we will see some planting done.

February 3-February 11

Well, it's been too cold to fish or work in the garden, so mostly I've just been fooling around at home.  Big event that put all others in the shade was the birth on February of a grandaughter, our first grandchild, to daughter Travis and James Nichols.   Maybe in another few weeks there will be some garden or fish news, but for now she's the main event.
Well, it's been too cold to fish or farm.  I did get this photo of a towhee in our front yard.

Evidently there is something of interest below the leaves.  I also saw a male towhee on our feeder in the back but didn't get a pic.
Big pile of pallets destined to become walkways or retainer walls for the garden.
Sunday I got them knocked apart and distributed to the various piles that determine what they will be good for.  Stay tuned.  Won't be long before these hard freeze days will be over and planting will begin.

January 27-28

Not much fishing news.  Went to Creek B and struck out completely.  Very windy and cold overnight, but it got up to 49 during the day.  Sun was spotty though and it was cold on the water.  Saw a llama, however.  Sunday Sherry and I came home from church to a cold house.  Fiddled with the thermostat and seemed to fix it.  Then we went by the house on Oriole and checked it for cold weather.  Finally we went to look at plots of land north of Joelton, across the river at Ashland City and north of Johnson's Creek, and finally out past Van Leer, west of Charlotte.  None looked very great.  Do we really want a plot of land?  I guess we won't know until we see one that is irresistible.  Travis due soon.  Full moon due next Friday.  Will that get her going?  Stay tuned.
These are my best crappie logs on Creek B.  Last time they were way out of water, so the deeper water was good, but the cold front was bad.  Not even a nibble all day.
Last time I fished up here I got a shot of the camel.  This time the llama was grazing along the shore.  Hi, guy! 
This is the house on Oriole that Tom Bush sold Sherry.  She has worked on it hard and may finally get it sold at a profit.  We were there to put antifreeze in the toilet and turn off the water, etc.  Supposed to get down to 17 tonight.  Man, that's cold.
This place is pretty far north of Joelton and east toward Springfield.  The acreage is across the lake, but the road ended at a house with a "No Trespassing" sign, so we aren't sure what is for sale and how to get to it.  Sherry will check on it.  Possibility.
West of the lake property we passed this field full of turkeys.  They took off running when I stopped the car, but there must have been 25 or more.  Turkeys are taking over!
This place is northwest of Bellsburg off in the middle of nowhere.  Has a small structure with a potty in a cleared area near the road and that's about all except for the woods that go down a 4-wheeler track to a small creek at the bottom of a long and steep hill.  Might be a possibility, but probably not.


January 13-14 and 20-21

Well, I got back from Florida on the 13th, Saturday.  I spent all that day doing chores and got a lot done.  Sunday it was cloudy and misting rain but not really cold, so I went up to creek B and caught 4 good little crappie which we ate that night.  I'm combining that weekend with this one (20-21st) because I got no fishing done this weekend, so the combined weekends sort of make one good one.
This weekend I spent tilling the garden and replacing lots of my walking boards with good ones I got at the furniture factory on the way home from work.  The pallets they were throwing away this week had 2x4's and 1x8's in them--just what I needed for replacing walking boards and the little retaining wall border.  You can see the new walking boards in front.
Detail of the healthy arugula.  In the photo on the left you can see the long row of it.  The square patch is the garlic and onions.  The bush in the foreground is rosemary and the smudge of green at bottom left is oregano.  Guess what?  I forgot I had parsley and plowed it under.  Oh my chin and whiskers!
Remember the garlic I planted really close.  This is it.  On the left are the cloves and on the right are the tops.  We'll soon have enough to eat and it is taste in salads and sautéed by itself.
Detail of the greens coming up from the buds on the tops of the garlic plants.

We don't have a lot of the black seeded simpson lettuce, but what survived looks very good.  It need to grow a bit more.
My working pile of wood for the border.  Mostly oak 2x4's. 
I got about 1/3 of the wall done Saturday.  Sunday it rained so the rest can wait.  Not a bad job if I do say so myself, as, naturally, I shouldn't.  The price?  Back is killing me today.
Quite a contrast in the new walking boards and the veterans.

January 5-January 13

Florida Trip

Got down to Ft. Myers around 1pm on Friday the 5th.  Went to the woods and hunted for a while.  Nothing seen.  Ate dinner with the boys and got to bed early.  It was hot for a change.  Hunted Saturday morning and went back to Alva Saturday to unload my stuff.  Back to the camp and up early Sunday morning.  Took the swamp buggy with Campbell to the far side of the lease and waited patiently, but no go.  Ian killed a button buck and Lin a fairly large hog.  Sunday afternoon we went home and cleaned up and had the pleasure of Wiley and Betty for dinner, along with Mr. P and Buddy. All kinds of other stuff.  Look it over.
I'm covering the front of the swamp buggy, but never got to fire my shell.  The turkeys were just not doing their part.

Frank and Campbell in the swamp buggy very early taken without flash.  Campbell was quiet and observant.  A real hunter in the making.

These turkey vultures were our closest approach to game.  Each one was warming up on his/her favorite post.

The real attraction of the hunt is the scenery, the open land and sky.  I never get tired of seeing it.  This area would normally be under water, but this year was dry.  As dry as I remember.
The fire at camp was always burning to clean up scraps and trash.
This guy was crawling around in the back of a pickup, so I put him on a plant and he seemed to appreciate it.

Beautiful Buckeye butterfly near camp.

Sand Hill Cranes.

Teddy and T. J.  T. J. got his first shot at a gobbler, but it was so close the pellets didn't have time to spread and he missed.  Wait'll
next year!

Lin knows how to get a pig cleaned efficiently.
T. J. and Campbell came to get me for breakfast Sunday morning. I was wandering around taking photos.

This soft shell turtle was crossing the road as we left camp Sunday.  We gave him a lift across the fence into the ditch.

Sunrise at Mann Farm.  Beautiful scenery and weather.

This otter was in the drainage ditch on the west edge of Frank's property.  He wasn't shy and stayed around for several photos.

Sunday night with Betty, Wiley, Mary, Frank, Mr. P., Buddy, and me.

Frank's oranges and tangerines are so nice. 

I think we went fishing Monday, but can't remember.  Not much luck except for this 15" trout and a couple of sheep heads.  We took them home and ate them later, however.

I believe this was Tuesday night.  Dinner with the Queen Bee at the Yacht Club.  She's 94 and just as spry and sharp as ever.

Ibis in a tree.

Colorful vines.

I took a trip out to Ding Darling Sanctuary on Santibel Island on Tuesday while Frank attended the county commissioners meeting.  Saw this 9-10' gator.  Two young girls on bikes had just passed and asked if there were any gators.  I told them to look in the open places.  The went on and stopped 50' ahead.  There it was.

Betty invited us to her retirement party from the News Press.  Lots of big shots and politicians having their say, but everyone loves Betty and wishes her well.

Wednesday and Thursday we went back to the lease to work on this deer stand.  We expanded the floor space and put up sides.  It was a good excuse to revisit the lease and look around.  Mary went with us Wednesday afternoon.

These Ibis were in a tree next to the pond near camp.

A flotilla of Brown Pelicans near the ramp where we put in to fish.

My plane left at 7:10 and we had to get up at 5am to make it.  We had plenty of time and ate breakfast at the Waffle House.  I got this shot of the sunrise over the wing.


December 30-January 2

Well, the big thing about this weekend is that, because Gerald Ford got buried on Tuesday my New Year holiday was two days--a four day weekend!  I could get to like those.  Anyhow, Saturday I went up to Center Hill below the dam and got skunked completely.  Only one tap just as I was pulling into the take out.  Bad.  So, New Year's Eve was Sunday and we were supposed to go over to some St. Ann's couple's party, but Mom got a tummy ache so we stayed here and watched the Garrison Keillor show from the Ryman Auditorium from 10 to midnight.  We made it!  First time in a long time.  We were helped by our neighbors across the river doing big time fireworks.  A very good intro to 2007.  New Year's day James and I put in the frame for a trellis for peas and beans at Travis' house.  Later Sherry and I  went to Keith Brown's do around 3pm.  He's a St. Ann's guy.  Lots of familiar faces and the new bishop, who lives on Fatherland a few blocks from St. Ann's was there with his three very nice kids.  Tuesday I fished at Creek B and caught four eatable crappie.  Very nice day on the water--cold, but not so cold I needed gloves.  Pretty and sunny too.
New Year's Day and James did the tilling while I dug postholes.  After we were through I was going to take the tiller down to my house to turn over my garden.  On the first pull the crank rope broke.  What are the odds of that?  Anyhow, I took it to the fixer place today.  They said I could get it tomorrow.  Tilling can wait until I get back from Florida.  Leaving Friday.
We dug the holes on 12' centers along the north boundry of T and J's lot.  Nothing grown there last year, but should be a dandy site for beans and peas.  The ground, once you got through the crab grass, was soft, brown, and rich.  It's gonna be a great spot.
There are five iron posts 12' feet apart, so 60+ feet of peas will be the first tried here.  After they are done we can plant butter beans and string beans.  Yum yum!
These cane will be leaned against the horizontal braces (see the photo at left) about 6" apart for the peas and beans to climb.
This log proved to be my best spot for fishing Tuesday.  Caught several bream and three keeper crappie here.
They always say to keep the first catch of the day for good luck.  But this little guy got to go home.  He took the tiny 1/64th oz. jig with a white and chartreuse tube.  It was good for the crappie too.  I fished the fly rod with the jig below a tiny cork most of the day and it was not only more fun, but more effective than other stuff I tried.  Water was clear, so staying quiet and far off the structure was probably a good idea.
Just legal at 10 inches, but also very nice to filet.  Got three of this size and one two inches bigger.  Just right for us to eat.
This is an honest-to-God Camel.  Who says fishing is dull?  The folks who built a house on the narrow point also have llamas and donkeys and something that screams like an angry boar hog. 


December 23-25

Christmas week end and Ann came in on Friday night after a 12 hour struggle with Delta.  She made it through Cincinnati after a run from one end of the airport to the other and, miraculously, her bags made the plane too.  Vivian and Justine, buds of Travis and James, came in from Austin too.  Saturday Ann went shopping, Sherry was cooking, Travis and her bunch went hiking, and I planted some onions.  Sunday Travis had to be at church for three services, so she was really pooped.  We all went to the midnight service and while we were there soft rain began to fall.  So it's Monday, the 25th, and a damp Christmas, but pretty warm and pleasant beyond that.
This is the frame around the palm with all the little hand made ornaments from Christmases past and present.
James' mother made this carved "Epie" for us several years ago.
Here's another she carved.  It's our Grandcat, Butterball.  Gone, but not forgotten.
This year's gift is a mouse with an acorn top hat, riding in a sled of gossamer milkweed down.
A manger scene from El Salvador done in clay.
Barbara, my bud at the YMCA, gave me this "cork with worm on a hook" ornament.  She and her husband fish bass tournaments and know many secrets.
These Angels decorate our kitchen and are very nice. 
This is a view of the fireplace on the night before Christmas, with all the presents still intact and awaiting their natural end.
In the garden things are still growing.  This is the black seeded simpson lettuce.  Still hanging in there.
The arugula is always a tought cookie.  It's doing very well.
Here's the new area where I'm planting onion's.  Notice the holes where the onions will go.
Here is a little onion in its hole waiting to be covered up snugly.  Above are several waiting to be planned.  Always plant onions and garlic with the pointed side up.
I checked out the garlic hanging outside the house and found...
...that some of it was sprouting and, although it was still good, would not last long.  So I pulled those to plant for garlic greens.
You cut off two or three inches of the tops and the rest continue to grow.  They look like chives.  They are good in other dishes or by themselves steamed or sauted or baked--any old way!
These are the buds at the top of last year's garlic stalks.  I pulled them off as well.  They will also make good greens.
These sprouting cloves are going to be covered to make greens.
Here are the little garlic buds ready to be covered with dirt.  Notice how closely they are planted.  They won't have garlic at the root, but they will make nice greens.
Everything planted now and covered with chopped up leaves.  Waiting for the rain to make it grow.  We didn't have long to wait.  It began to rain Sunday night, Christmas eve.
All the "kids" came down Christmas morning for breakfast and to open presents. Travis and James, Denile and Hanley, and Vivian and Justin.  Ann, Sherry, and I were already here, of course! 
Vivian and Justin are such nice folks.  Vivian had a new camera and took tons of photos, which is why this Christmas is so well documented and also why she isn't in many.  Thanks, girl!
 Epie wasn't left out, but she was too sleepy just then to open her present.
Sherry worked and worked and worked.  The breakfast and dinner food was excellent and the service was exquisite.  Everyone loved it.  She even provided party favors which were a big hit as we enjoyed the  fine dinner.
Hanley lights the candles in the fireplace to get things ready.
Two guests who added a lot of gusto to the dinner--Mabel and Michelle.  They also brought a lot of goodies. 
Vivian, God bless her, took many photos.  This is one of the table as it was being set with all the delicious things we ate later.
Can you beat it?  Asparagus and chard by Travis, sweet potatoes by Mabel, Yankee potato salad by Ann, and ham, turkey, and wonderful little rolls (plus all the other things) by Sherry.  Yum.
Hanley agreed to cut the turkey breast and did a fine job.

Justin, James, and Travis discover the jokes inside the favors.
Ann and Sherry get to sit down and enjoy their meal and the antics of the young folks, maddened by wine and party favors.
Denile, Hanley, and Michelle find the crowns inside their favors.
Mabel gets a whoop out of Michelle's elephant joke.
On the couch after dinner.  Pop, Hanley, Epie, Travis, and little Skeletor, the pet name she and James have for the little unknown stranger that will soon enter their lives. 

Winding down.  Richard and Sherry.
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