The Sondreson Community Hall was packed with almost 100 people on Friday night to raise money to re-finish the Hall floor. Before the auction began, participants enjoyed a “Sloppy Joe” dinner. Richard Hildner, the auctioneer, kept the crowd going with his antics. Everything was auctioned from a sled and a dump truck load of topsoil to a gourmet dinner with fine wines and a drift boat trip.
Other services by North Forkers were auctioned including lessons in fly fishing, dancing, guitar playing, and noxious weed pulling. Beautiful baked goods were sold through a silent auction on one side of the Hall. At the end of the evening, the NFLA met its goal of $5,000 for the floor project.
Many thanks to those who donated food and drinks: Karen & Gary McDonough, Larry Wilson, Bill Meeker, Ed Neneman, Bob & Jackie Graham, Duke & Naomi Hoiland, Carol Grobe, and Alice Caldwell. The North Fork Worship Family donated $375 for the floor project and Richard Hildner/Suzanne Daniel made a donation at the end of the evening to put the total over $5000. Everyone had a great time!
On Tuesday, July 9, three rafts and one kayak transported thirteen North Forkers down the North Fork of the Flathead River from the Border to Wurtz. The weather was perfect for this community float sponsored by the NFLA. Although the river is getting lower every day, this route still had enough water to get the boats through even the most shallow places. The Kintla Rapid near the Wurtz take-out was alive in all its glory producing huge waves that drenched and excited the paddlers.
Montana Partners for Fish and Wildlife is a national U.S. Fish and Wildlife program that works with private landowners and other organizations to protect, enhance and restore important fish and wildlife habitats on private lands. Rox Rogers, a Private Lands Biologist from this organization, attended this summer’s Interlocal meeting on July 11th. She described how she is currently helping a couple of North Fork residents with weed management and how other projects can include riparian restoration and upland management on private lands.
On Monday of this week, Terry Divoky and Andrew Beltz gave a presentation on native plants at the Community Hall. This year, Terry and Andrew asked us for feedback about how our natives have done–what worked, what didn’t work, and answered our questions about natives in general as well as specific plants. They also gave us information on how to collect seed, when to collect, how to dry and store the seed, and when and how to plant. This was followed by a “tour” outside of the many different plants they brought, quite a few of which were in bloom. The plants ranged from mountain ash to currants to native grasses and wildflowers. Plants were available for sale and several folks had pre-ordered plants.
Terry and Andrew pointed out was that the native seed need the snow protection of the winter, so we should plant our seed in the fall, not in the spring. They also gave us a website, nativeplantnetwork.org, which has growing information for individual plant species.
This was a very educational and fun event and hopefully Terry and Andrew will return to talk to us again next year!
The first square dance of the summer season was a huge success. Bonny and Lynn Ogle opened the Hall on Saturday night and set everything up for a potluck supper. Following that, Debo Powers showed up to call the square dance after having climbed Stanton Peak. The Haverlandt’s brought some square dance friends from the Flathead Valley and they joined North Fork residents and visitors in an old fashioned square dance. Fun was had by all!
Two announcements were made at the NFLA’s June business meeting that will be of interest to North Forkers. First, the Board has decided that it’s time to refinish the floor in the Community Hall and is soliciting donations for this project. Their goal is to raise $5000 by the August 3rd meeting so that the work can be scheduled for September while the weather is still warm. Those who wish to donate are asked to make checks payable to the NFLA and send them to P.O. Box 1603, Columbia Falls, MT 59912 or give them to Bonny Ogle, NFLA Treasurer.
Second, due of some major conflicts, the NFLA Auction has been moved from Saturday, July 20 to Friday, August 2 at 8PM. The Auction Committee is soliciting services and worthy auction items (in other words no junk, please!). Donated items can be dropped off at the Hall on Friday, August 2 from Noon to 5PM. All proceeds from the auction will go toward the floor re-finishing project.
Smiles, conversation, and productive work fueled the twenty-three landowners that showed up on Saturday, May 25 for Hall Cleanup Day. Everyone was busy cleaning up the inside of the Hall and the grounds outside.
Gary Haverlandt worked on a picture display commemorating the Christmas celebration at the Hall. Joe Novak washed windows. Margaret Heaphy and Bill Walker cut kindling which was carried into the Hall by Margaret, Becky and Suzanne and stacked near the wood cook stove. Karen McDonough, Carmen Edwards, Bonny Ogle, Naomi Hoiland, and Alice Caldwell orchestrated the work inside the Hall while outside, trees and bushes were limbed and a fire was started to burn the debris.
The fire was guarded by Larry Wilson and brush contributors were Mark Heaphy, Jan Cauldwell, Nat Johnson, and Tom Edwards. Bob Graham cleaned the outhouse and Jackie Graham cleaned the generator shed. Richard Hildner brought his tractor to the Hall on a trailer and spread topsoil around the new outhouse site. Bob and other landowners used rakes and shovels to smooth the dirt while Lee Secrest, Gary McDonough, and others moved large rocks and placed them artistically to create a beautiful landscape. (The topsoil had been previously donated by Rob Alm.)
Grass seed was spread over the new soil by Debo Powers. We need a load of gravel to finish the landscape job. Duke Hoiland showed off his logging skills by expertly felling seven dead trees behind the Hall without dinging a single structure. Duke, along with Nat, cut the trees into firewood. There were many hands to stack firewood and haul brush to the burn pile.
It was amazing to see how fast the work was accomplished with so many people! Everyone enjoyed a wonderful lunch of hot dogs and chili provided by Karen McDonough. Karen’s fabulous homemade chili was a big hit with everyone. After lunch, the last few trees were felled, firewood stacked, and brush burned. Tom Edwards commented that more work was done in a half day than in the last three years combined. Everyone had fun too!
We want to thank everyone who participated for all of their hard work. And thank you Debo for both the report and the wonderful pictures. Let the summer begin!
The North Fork Patrol recently voted to add Bill and Lois Walker to the Patrol as Directors. They will help Margaret and Mark Heaphy monitor the “southern end” of the North Fork.
We want to thank Bill and Lois for volunteering for this important work. Folks on the North Fork appreciate the time given by all the members of the North Fork Patrol who help keep the North Fork safe throughout the year.
There are a few corrections to the newsletter. First, the older version of the North Fork Patrol sign-up form was accidentally included in the newsletter and doesn’t reflect some important changes. Please download and use the current version of the signup form from here when sending in the 2013 renewal for your NFLA membership. Second, the date on page two of the newsletter for “Gardening with Native Plants Workshop” is incorrect. The correct date is Monday, June 24th. Finally, the date for the second Astronomy night with Mike Hawkaluk listed in the newsletter’s version of the calendar is incorrect. The correct date is Saturday, September 28th.
All of these changes have been updated on the website. You can get the latest version of the newsletter from here and the latest version of the calendar from here. If anyone sees any other corrections that need to be made to either the newsletter or the calendar, please let us know!