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

Back to Index...

Visit Storyhouse.org - my site for writers and readers. 



             Fall and Winter

Richard Loller

September 5 - December 31

Christmas 2012

This is the snack plate Sherry made for the babies (girls).

Here we are for what was to be our last Christmas is our beloved log house, finally restored after the flood, but soon to be left behind as we moved down the street to our newly built house at 2313, 100 numbers higher, but only 4 houses away.

November 21

Trip to Manchester with Jim Taft

Well, I'd been seeing a kayak a lot like mine on Craigslist, but it was in Manchester 80 miles off. So I called Jim Taft to see if he wanted to ride up there with me to check it out.  The owner was working but he said we could go by and look at it..Here's a pic of Jim and me just after the flood when I borrowed his trailer and he gave me a gas electricity generator.  Nice guy!

It was a nice day for a long drive and we found the farm way out in the boondocks.  The kayak was stored outside and was  bleached and in bad shape, but just as we were leaving the mother of the guy selling it pulled in behind us.  She called her son and tried to get him to sell it for $100 since I didn't really want it except at a low price.  No sale.

So, it being lunch time we cruised the court square and got directed to the cafe the politicians and lawyers used just off the square a block away.  The Coffee Cafe is really nice and the food was excellent.  As an added attraction the greeter and the waitress were not only efficient and helpful but also quite pretty.

The walls were decorated with old signs, tools, and other stuff.  Jim asked the waitress if the owner would take $100 for this sign.  He collects such stuff. She said to ask him. When he came over (he was cook too) he said no, he didn't want to sell it, but that maybe Jim could buy one down the road where they were made.  So much for antique motorcycle signs. We found the place but the owner said they only sold wholesale.  So we gave up both unsuccessful quests and made our way home where Jim found the door locked and his key inside.  We putzed around until Doris got home.  While we were waiting Jim put two auxiliary rear view mirrors on my truck.  They work great. Thus ended the Manchester adventure.

November 3 - November 12

Saturday Harry and I fished below Center Hill  dam.  No current and the water was low and almost calm.  Got a photo of some wild flowers at the mouth of this cave.

Close up of these violet colored flowers and the red leaves.  Nice.

Harry's big catch of the day was this colorful brook trout.

I didn't do much better with one rainbow and a barely legal crappie.  We let them go.

On Monday around 10am a neighbor called and told us to look out the window.  A blue and white boat was floating downstream.  Almost no wind or current it wasn't in a hurry.

As a retired person I have plenty of time for projects, so - since my jon boat was in the yard at the time, I hitched up and dragged it down to the ramp at Shelby Park, maybe 5 miles downstream.  I expected to find the boat somewhere way downstream.

As it turned out, someone had pulled it up on the gravel bank just past the old ferry landing at the end of McGavock Pike.  I could have walked down there from my house in 5 minutes.  So, after a long cold ride I found it.  Evidently stolen or set adrift with the license numbers painted over.  Since it could float off and on downstream at any rise in the river I called the Coast Guard.  But they said they couldn't do anything with it unless it floated off again.  They called Metro and I suppose someone eventually did something with it.  Interesting but no cigar.

On Thursday I went fishing at Brush Creek and as I was shoving off this girl called and asked if she could take my photo.  I said, "Sure, if I can take yours."  Turned out she and her girlfriend were doing a class assignment to take outdoor shots for their photography class at Nossi  School of Art. You never know.

But the good news is that I finally caught some crappie.  Four were big enough for two meals for Sherry and me.  Whoopee.

Saturday Harry and I went down the Stones River from the Lebanon Road bridge to the takeout at Two Rivers ramp.  It was a little rough getting the kayaks down to the river, but not too bad.

We fished our hearts out, but Harry only caught one, a small mouth that got off at the boat, and I only caught two, a 4 inch yellow belly bream and a small stripe.

The current was strong when we started, but the last mile or two it was slow and the wind was against us, so we had to paddle a lot more than we has hoped to.  It also got colder and I was glad to finally get to the ramp where I could put on a long shirt and pants over my shorts and t-shirt.  That's my little kayak cart we used to help get the boats into the water at the bridge.

This is a truck Harry got behind.  Pretty elaborate and not too concerned with worldly things, such as having a valid license.

Sherry planted this gingko tree some years ago and it has done well, despite the big hackberry overhanging it.  It is nice all year, but especially nice when the leaves turn.  Yellow is, as you may know, my favorite color.

October 20 - 25

I was tooling home on McGavock when I saw these gobblers in the yard of 2920.  They were crossing to a better lawn, evidently.  Most of the gang had already moved off by the time I got my camera in play.  Wish I'd had a longer lens with me.

This batch is all Toms with big beards.  Who said turkeys are dumb.  Hunting season opened the 13th.  The woods and fields are too dangerous just now so here they are.

I went out to Percy Priest and could find no crappie or anything else, although I fished hard and even tried these tough bushes that are covering a lot of the shoreline.  Fished a buzz bait through and over them with no result.  Sad.


These are the tough weeds.  Note the air sacs on the stems.  Anyone know what this is?

Joe sent me this picture of  some crappie he said he caught on my condos.  He was kidding but at least he is catching fish (glad someone is) and he said he will look for the condos next time..  

Sherry and I took Scott kayaking Wednesday the 24th.  It was a warm  and sunny day with not too much wind.  Water clear and almost bare of fish.  But good!

Really, does it get any better than this?

I found a kingfisher den about 10 feet up from the creek and a couple of feet below the top of the bank.  Never got a chance to snap the owner.

We passed a huge persimmon tree just full of fruit.  I imagine there is a regular possum convention there after dark.

Here is a close up of the orange balls.  I tried one and it was not too stringent.  But it would take a good while for me to develop a taste for the things.

Up the Creek on a Windy Day, 10/17/12

It was windy from the west and that meant a hard pull from the ramp to the creek.  Once I got there it was still windy, but from no particular direction.  I guess the wind followed the creek.

This is the wide shallow run that almost always produces fish.  Today nothing.  In fact, while I almost always see bass on this creek, today I saw none.  Water was crystal clear.  Air was like wine.  Who cares about fish?

Another favorite stretch.

Since I couldn't find fish I used my camera.  Sometimes if one thing doesn't work it forces us to look around and find something better.  And this day was really something once I began to look.  I wish you could see these photos full size.  If you want to let me know and I'll send one or more.

Floods of leaves painting the creek with color.  They may be as bright and varied tomorrow, but who knows?  Today they are wonderful and if I never get back to this creek again I'll have this to remember.

Sometimes the individual can stand out in the crowd.  Maybe for only a brief moment, but still...

Going back now and the wind is pushing me so I have to do nothing but keep the kayak straight and paddle a little in the lulls.

The trees may be more colorful later on, after a frost maybe.  But today they were fine and I felt very grateful and content.

The Great Crappie Condo Caper
and garden doings 

Well, I got excited by Joe Reece talking about all the crappie beds he had placed in various lakes, so I got on the internet and found a site on how to build them from bamboo cane--something I could get lots of for free. This site was put together by two Bubbas from South Georgia, so I figured they must know their condos.   So I went down the road and loaded my new old truck up with  a fine batch of bamboo.

Here is the first load ready for the process.  Note new old truck.  The old green '96 Tacoma was pushing 291M and this '97 has only 140M.  Besides, it was nice and clean.  Son Hanley loves the '96, so it went to a good home and may outlast this one.

I decided that the 60 pounds of concrete plus the cane would be hard to get into the boat if I had to lift it from the ground so I decided to construct the condo on the boat.  First mistake.  

Well, here is the bag.  Just mix water.  Watch my dust.

The old wheelbarrow holds it fine.  Mix, mix, and mix some more.  Then take it to the boat and.......

Pour, pour, pour.......Give it a day and a night to set good.  Then we are ready to go.

You probably can't tell from these photos, but the canes are pretty big.  The directions on the web site said up to 1 1/4" diameter.  That's big.  And guess what?  Those big cane have lots of air in them.  This was the second mistake.

Well, I decided to haul this first condo to Percy Priest.  Harry came over to help and he noticed that my boat tail lights were covered by the bamboo so he followed me out in his truck.  We then scouted around for a spot and found one near a large buoy and not far from the point of an island.  We put the bucket over in what was supposed to be 35 feet of water.  But it was on the edge of the old river channel, so the depth dropped off quickly to 65 feet.  Also, the wind was strong so the boat was drifting.  Also, the condo sank so slowly I wondered if it would stay put once it got to the bottom.  I could just imagine it bouncing lightly down the slope to the deepest part and then moving with the waves who knows where.  Anyhow, Harry tied a string to the top and we tied a plastic jug to that.  We sighted from the jug across the buoy to a tree on the bank, estimated the distance from the buoy and hoped to find the condo again.  So far, after several searches we've had no luck.

Here's Harry's buddy, Joe Reece, with the 20" small mouth he caught on the Caney Fork a few minutes after he, Harry, and I worked our way up stream from Gordensville to  the convergence of the Caney and Smith Fork.  It took two hours what with pulling the boats up the shallow parts. Joe is pretty much responsible for the condo capers so I'm hoping he'll agree to go look the two lost condos with his side viewing fish finder.  It's only right and just.

Anyhow, I'm getting ahead of my story because this is the start of the second condo.  I poured it on the ground with tall supports to keep the bucket upright but also to keep the cane together so it wouldn't flop out of the bucket until I got the concrete in.

Here is how the frame looked before putting in the canes.  I needed to get up on the ladder to pound the stakes in and to put in the cane.

Cane in and standing pretty much upright supported by the stakes high and low.

Another look.  Note that I used much smaller cane this round.  Hoping it would sink faster and that the 60 lbs. of concrete would hold it where we put it.

I got it into the boat by lifting it one rung at a time  up the steps of the ladder and resting in between.  At the top I levered it over into the boat with a long 2 X 4.

Safely in the boat now. I tied it down because even with sixty lbs of weight at the bottom the wind  had a lot of surface to work on as  I drove to the lake.

Sherry took my pic with the second condo ready to make the trip to the lake.  Note that tail lights are not covered up this time.

Here is where I dumped it.  Against a deep water bluff under that little cave on the right.  X marks the spot.  And, you guessed it.  I couldn't find it on the sonar and finally gave up after an hour.  Anyone who wants to look has my blessing.  Just let me know if you find it.  I'm banking on Joe.

Harry and I took off one Friday and fished the pool below Center Hill Dam hard for four or five hours.  He beat me with this one brook trout to my absolute zero.  I feel he has an unfair advantage since my kayak is blue and obviously can't compete with his.

Friends Frank and Mary Lee Mann made a short visit on their way to Fall Creek Falls Park for a frat reunion.  Frank and I got a bit turkey hunting in Wednesday afternoon (with a camera only)  and Thursday morning he got to try out my bass boat.  Naturally we fished. Above is Frank's competition winning small mouth.  It won him honors for most fish and biggest fish caught all day during our brief trip to Percy Priest.  Pretty good for a Florida boy fishing against a Tennessee veteran.  

Well, here it is October 16th and we still have lots going on in the garden.  I planted these roma beans in late August and they are well up and blooming.  May get some beans before frost, but they grow slower in the cooler weather.  The first and second planting are long gone now so here's hoping these make it.  They sure are good.

  The arugula is looking a lot better since the nights got colder and should be good for greens until it gets really cold and it will probably survive the winter and begin growing again around February.

The ichiban eggplant had a hell of a time getting started and is still not very plentiful.  Still, we have harvested several and there are a few more on the plants.  They like the cool weather when the bugs stop tormenting them.

Milwant gave me these garlic shoots.  They will grow until it gets really cold and then wait until February and start to grow again.  He says to harvest in late May or early June, but Jim Taft always said to harvest when half the stalks were dead, around the 4th of July.  That seemed to work well too.  Maybe I'll split the difference next year.

No, I'm not showing off this volunteer morning glory.  It's growing up through a jalapeno plant.  Had a big crop and they keep coming.  I pickled lots of them and gave a jar to Hanley who likes the hot stuff.

We were blessed with a ton of okra this year.  The babies love it cooked any old way.  But they really love it pickled, so I've pickled 4 or 5 quarts, which should keep them going all winter.

Got four rows of turnips in, half purple top which has the actual turnips, and half seven top which is just the leaves.  We should have greens and turnips in a month or so and all winter and spring.

The potatoes looked sad and sick  most of the year, but now that the weather is cool they are perking up.  Plan to dig them as needed as I understand they keep fine in the ground.  We shall see what we shall see.

Sherry hasn't been able to keep her flower garden going this year, but a few of them survived, including this cosmos.

I planted heavenly blue morning glories on both sides of the great arch of Pennington Bend, but they didn't make it.  However, these which I planted in the northeast corner of the yard climbed up and almost took over the big wisteria vine there.  So now the wisteria has stopped blooming we have morning glories to enjoy.

This photo doesn't really do justice to the deep blue of these guys.

The shortcut into the yard is still there but between the wisteria and the morning glories you have to duck to get through.

Back to Index...

Visit Storyhouse.org - my site for writers and readers.