Established as The Skamokawa Eagle in 1891

Downriver Dispatches

News of Western Wahkiakum County and Naselle

Dear Readers: It's Monday and it is getting hot. So, here's a flower garden report. Recently I realized I have a ferret around my property. The first time it was on my deck. The second time, it was running across Loop Road in front of my house diving into the county culvert under the road. Then I saw it watering at my little pond. Fun and fast! Evidently, they stink but get along well with dogs. The internet tells us most anything, I guess. I've noticed that the Mason bees are not showing up in my garden as they have in past years. This year I have big, black bees that sting. I suspect they are flying over my lawn close to the grass looking for a hole to make a hive. They aren't swarming or anything like that. Individuals hover over the grass checking out holes. I miss my Mason bees. They love the Russian sage in my yard but they are usually here by now getting food from the flowers. Masons pay no attention to humans. They just spend their time filling up on nectar from the flowers. And they are small so they are easy to recognize and they don't sting, at least they have never stung me, but the big black bee did, nasty fellow.

Bob Burkhalter's Memorial will be held on Friday, July 29 at 1 p.m. at Rosburg Hall. Lois Burkhalter says the family wants it to be casual and all are invited. They will provide a light lunch and slide show, with stories and memorabilia from many of Bob's "hobbies," which includes fishing of course. For those of his students who are still in the area, I'm sure it will be fun remembering Mr. Burkhalter and telling a story.

Photo of the Week: The Burkhalter family haying on Monday.

River Pilots news: Tyler Smith of Deep River, the son of river pilot, Aaron Smith, and Kyle Burkhalter, the son of Susan and Gary Burkhalter, have both passed their test and application to become qualified as river pilots on the Columbia. Now that they are licensed, they are both on the list waiting for an opening to work as a river pilot. There is a long wait for openings. But these young men knew that, I suspect, and set a license as a goal for themselves so that when the opportunity comes, each will be ready. It is not a small accomplishment accomplishing what's required for the license. Working as a river pilot, as Aaron already knows, is a lot of responsibility. River pilots take ships upriver. They are in control of the ship after a bar pilot has brought the ship in from the ocean, over the bar and on into the Lower Columbia estuary. It's there that the bar pilot switches with a river pilot. So proud of you, Kyle and Tyler. They have been great friends for many years. These are young men in their 30s, who have realized that the commercial traffic on the Columbia is a huge field for well paying positions and important work. Hope you move up the list quickly. It can take quite a few years but you both have your licenses and that's a great accomplishment. We wish you fair winds and following seas.

Yellow Thistle: Andy Lea from the Weed Control Board, recently taught me that those very high "dandelions" are actually yellow thistles. We're used to purple thistles, but yellow thistles were new to me. They grow two or more feet tall, taller than our usual thistles in fields and along our roads, but these may be overlooked because they appear to be a regular dandelion. He also reminded me that if you see thistles on your property or someone else's, you can call and get help to eradicate them, or to report and or complain if your neighbor has a large patch of thistles. If you are in a setting with strong winds that blow over your pastures, those thistle seeds can spread to your property quickly, so don't hesitate to call it into the Weed Control Board at (360) 749-4196 for help. If your neighbor is new, they might not realize how nasty thistle seeds are when they land on your lawn or fields.

Alpacas in the Valley: Often my assistant, Ben dog, and I drive around the Grays River Valley to see if anything new is happening. Recently, we noticed a small herd of alpacas (I think that's what they are) on the Tony Zhao farm, as well as a nice herd of baby goats (so darn cute). Tony built a small barn for the alpacas so they were inside out of the sun when I went by yesterday. I was going to chat with him but he was out on his tractor haying so I will catch him another time. Tony is a thoughtful man and it shows as he starts in with animals for his new farm. He's doing a great job of haying and wrapping his bales. It's a skill he had no history with when he arrived, so we're pleased to see his "marshmallows" adding up in his fields. Thanks here to Darrell Sorenson who taught me the term, marshmallows.

Bald Eagle Days: Bald Eagle Days are upon us this weekend! The kids love it and many others, too. The weather report looks good and Saturday should be fine to spend the day wandering around the food, the music, the shops and I hope there will again be fireworks? Great show on the river after dark.

FAFF: The Finnish American Folk Festival is also coming at the end of the month, so it's a busy summer. I see the Grays River is getting lower and lower so that means we're getting to the heart of summer and may not have too much rain till later in the fall. (From my mouth to God's ears, right?) The FAFF folks will love that at Festival time.

Senior Lunches at Rosburg Hall: There's news about the CAP lunches on Thursdays at Rosburg Hall. Now folks can go into the Hall and eat together. If you're wanting or needing to wear a mask, feel free to do that as some folks are still feeling vulnerable about covid. Other Senior lunches are on the first and third Wednesdays at noon. All seniors are welcome. The next Senior Lunch will be on August 3.

Word for the Week: Babies.


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