Almost 70 people attend Christmas dinner at Sondreson Hall

The 2023 Christmas Day dinner at Sondreson Hall, hosted by Mark and Margaret Heaphy, brought neighbors together for hours of fun. The Heaphys were ably assisted by John and Tami Stone, Bernie & Vickie Wiedmann, and Ray Brown. About 70 folks enjoyed the opportunity to overeat and socialize with friends new and old.

Still sorting through the images, but here is the group photo from the event. The crowd was a little restless, so, if you don’t see yourself in one version, check the other . . .

Thanksgiving for 2013 at Sondreson Hall a big success

Thanksgiving dinner at Sondreson Hall, 2013 - W, K, Walker
Thanksgiving dinner at Sondreson Hall, 2013 – W, K, Walker

Due to the efforts of many people who cooked, cleaned, organized, decorated and, starting at 8:00am on the day-of, did a huge amount of final preparation,  Thanksgiving dinner at Sondreson Hall was a big success. Here are some photos of the final result. (And, yes, I included a photo of a “bear-proof pumpkin” center piece.) . . .

Continue reading Thanksgiving for 2013 at Sondreson Hall a big success

Thanksgiving at Sondreson Hall, November 23, 2023, starting at 3:00pm!

Thanksgiving at Sondreson Hall in 2022

Don’t miss this year’s Thanksgiving celebrations at Sondreson Hall!

The doors open at 3:00pm with dinner served at 4:00pm.

Turkey, ham, mashed potatoes, stuffing and gravy provided. (Gluten- and dairy-free potatoes, stuffing and gravy will be available.)

Please bring your own place setting and an appetizer, side or dessert to share

Any questions? Please contact Zoë Zardis at (731) 695-4528.

All are welcome. Be there!

A summary of the October 18 bear meeting at Sondreson Hall

Photo by Pat Cole

A summary of the well-attended (at least 40-50 people) October 18 bear meeting at Sondreson Hall…

The presenters from Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks were Wildlife Management Specialist Erik Wenum of the Wildlife-Human Attack Response Team (WHART) and Justine Vallieres, Region 1 Bear Manager.

On October 1, a grizzly bear, apparently chasing a dog, encountered and mauled a woman at the “Bubble-Ups” near Trail Creek Road. Her husband drove it off with bear spray.

The next day, a dog went missing from a residence a few miles away from the Trail Creek incident. A neighbor’s photo showed the same bear in the yard. The dog never returned.

Another similar incident occurred on October 8 when a dog was attacked and killed at a cabin on Trail Creek Road. The owner shot at and injured the bear, which eventually retreated into the woods. Despite setting a trap and deploying a considerable array of cameras, FWP has seen no sign of the bear since it fled. Area residents were asked to keep an eye out for signs of scavenging activity, such as mobs of noisy birds.

Through DNA analysis, FWP determined that the same bear, a male at least 9 years old, was involved in all three incidents. The DNA data used for the match was from a hair sample obtained in Canada.

Both presenters pointed out that a grizzly bear deliberately attacking a dog is extremely unusual behavior. There have been a couple of incidents over the past few decades where a dog was killed accidentally because it was tethered between a grizzly and a food source, but neither had ever heard of an unprovoked attack.

About a month earlier, a man killed himself in the area near Tepee Lake. A bear discovered and consumed the better part of his remains. DNA analysis showed that this was not the same bear as the culprit in the Trail Creek incidents. It was a female grizzly that just happened to come across a food source. It is not a problem bear.

So, the female grizzly was just being a bear and is of little interest. If FWP happens to capture the aggressive Trail Creek bear, it will almost certainly be put down. There has been no sign of that bear since it was injured on October 8.

Incidentally, all this detective work is expensive. High priority DNA analysis costs FWP $1200 per sample.

A great deal of the general discussion covered items familiar to anyone who has been on the North Fork for any length of time: removing or securing bear attractants, being generally bear aware, and the importance of carrying and knowing how to use bear spray. One new item (to me, at least) was the importance of agitating bear spray periodically. Erik Wenum explained that the ingredients can separate out if the spray lays too long in one position. He likened it to storing unhomogenized peanut butter where the oil eventually rises to the top. He suggested at least shaking up your bear spray before you go someplace with it. Also, pay attention to the expiration date!

And perhaps the most important point: Justine asked that people not delay notifying her when they have a bear problem. The sooner she knows about it, the more likely it is that she can intervene without having to take drastic measures like putting the bear down.

Reminder: Becky Braunig Memorial, August 5, 1:00pm, at Sondreson Hall

Becky with Camas - photo by Larry Wilson
Becky with Camas – photo by Larry Wilson

As a reminder, the memorial to celebrate the life of Becky Braunig will be held tomorrow, August 5, at Sondreson Hall, starting at 1:00 p.m. A meal will follow. Side dishes and desserts are welcome. Some of Becky’s friends from Texas will be in attendance.

Come join the community in bidding this dear North Forker a fond farewell.

Call for Volunteers! Sondreson Hall Cleanup — May 20, 10:00am

Sondreson Hall interior after clean-up, May 14, 2022 - Tami Stone
Sondreson Hall interior after clean-up, May 14, 2022 – Tami Stone

The Sondreson Hall spring cleanup is fast approaching. This year, it will be on Saturday, May 20 at 10:00am.

Dan Jacobson is in charge of hall maintenance and needs to ensure that enough people will be present to accomplish the various outside and inside tasks. If you can come, please contact his wife, Dawn, and let her know: or 406-730-1263. She’ll pass the word on to Dan.

Oh, did I not mention lunch? There will definitely be lunch. I believe Dawn has a lot to do with that part, too.

Thanksgiving 2022 Review!

By Zoë Zardis . . .

This Thanksgiving meal was a wonderful, combined effort of those who have done this many times and those of us to whom it was a first. It was great to share a meal with about 70 of the community together after a two-year break.

Before the setup even began, Bonny Ogle, Margaret Heaphy, Dick Leigh and Steve Berg were providing invaluable information that helped with all the behind the scenes work so the feast would go smoothly. Jean Perry worked diligently at creating runners for the centers of the tables.

Week-of and before had Randy Kenyon, Donna Harrison, Karen Atha, Angie Agnew, Beth Ulrichsen, Sarah Ulrichsen, Greg Evans, Karin Colby, and Rebecca Johnson, helping with the setup and decor. Greg and Randy also fired up the wood stove for us on setup morning. Wood was stocked by the Rittenburgs, Ulrichsens and those who brought some with them to the meal.

Thanksgiving Day, Krista Johnson, Bonny and Jean roasted a turkey while Karin perfected the ham in one of Alice Caldwell’s big pans. Greg got the fires started in the heating and cook stoves first thing in the morning. Kevin, Randy, Greg and Angie all had a hand in shoveling snow and Daryl Johnson dragged a log around clearing the parking lot in North Fork style. Randy, Donna, Mark and Margaret continued helping with setting up and Beth and Sarah encouraged folks young and old to create turkey hand art and play table football.

Bonny and Lynn Ogle brought their turkey which Lynn had carved in advance so it would be ready to be served. Mark carved the other turkey and ham, blessed the meal, and the eating began with delicious food had by all.

Then Santa, played by Terry Atha in the Leigh’s Santa suit, showed up for pictures.

North Fork style, many stayed and quickly got the hall put back into shape after the event.

Many thanks to all who participated whether with ideas, hands, or coming to share in this community event. It wouldn’t have been the same – or have happened at all – without you.

Lots more photos . . .