Downriver Dispatches

News of Western Wahkiakum and Naselle

 

Karen Bertroch

The Kevin Berry family enjoyed the water on Sunday at the Covered Bridge.

Kaye Wiemer has left us. She died last week, such a loss for all of us. She was a kind person, perfect for a pastor's wife. My story about Kaye is that at the last Finn Fest, she watched me struggling to walk to my car as I left. I sometimes have a problem with balance and fatigue catches me when I've not been drinking enough water. She sent me the most beautiful card, hand written, full of sincere encouragement and love. It made such a lovely gesture and it's in my little pile of cards to treasure and keep. She'd been in the hospital, then a care facility so I know life was challenging for her and Cliff, but I'm glad she's gone to be with her Lord and is now reuniting with her heavenly family. My prayers go out for Cliff because those two were such a loving example of a good marriage, and to the Leeland family, and all her and Cliff's relatives. I will miss her and I know others will as well. Rest in Peace, Kaye.

Photo of the Week: What a wonderful weekend we had for Bald Eagle Days. I went by the Covered Bridge Sunday afternoon and saw so many cars parked on the north side that I had to stop at Ahlberg Park and see what was happening. Kevin Berry of Rosburg had invited his four adult children and six grandchildren to come play at the bridge. They were kayaking, eating, playing in the river and soaking up the sun. It's indeed a generous thing Stan Sorenson has done by holding on to the land on the north end of the bridge, and allowing people to use it for access to the river. Stan, we all thank you for your generous gift of access for us.

Speaking of the Sorenson Family, I found an old article from the Longview Daily News from June 1, 1978 giving some information on the old Ahlberg house where Bob Pyle lives near the covered bridge. The article states: "To Edwin and Lenore Sorenson, the bridge is part of their history and their future. When the couple sold their nearby dairy farm in 1969, they decided to move upriver to the old home place which had been settled by Sorenson's grandfather, H.P. Ahlberg, in 1874. The house overlooks the bridge. Built in 1905 at a cost of $2,700, the 158-foot span with Howell trusses was covered in 1906. Fir one-by-twelves with battens were used in the covering. "That bridge wouldn't be here now if it weren't covered," Sorenson said. "It was built in the days before creosote was used to preserve timbers." The first bridge that linked the farmland was a swinging footbridge and the Sorensons carried their milk from their barn on one side of the bridge to the other. That swinging bridge, which must have been a thrill to cross in high winter winds with a bucket of milk, was later used in two different spots downriver after the covered bridge was built for horses and wagons. In the early days, dairymen sold cream and every farm had a cream separator. "We fed skim milk to the dogs," Sorenson said.

When Ed and Lenore married the union linked two pioneer families. The Swanson family came to the area from Michigan in 1889 and Lenore's father had a riverside shingle mill. Mrs. Sorenson had to row a boat to Seal River School. The land to which Ed Sorenson has returned was the "breadbasket" for his dairy herd of 130 animals. He first milked Jerseys, then Holsteins, but today a mini-herd of Herefords, including three frisky white-faced calves is what's left of their animals. Aside from a cement pier added approximately 10 years ago and the plank deck replaced by a steel and oil floor, the bridge looks much as it did when it was built at the turn of the (last) century.

Here's a fun recipe from Lenore: "Lenore's Apple Catsup:" 1 quart sieved cooked apples, 1 cup sugar, 2 medium onions chopped fine, I scant pint vinegar, 1 teaspoon each of pepper, cloves, dry mustard, 2 teaspoons cinnamon, and 1 tablespoon salt. Boil together for 1 hour. Good with all kinds of meat. Can be canned or frozen. The article says, "Of all cooking, Lenore enjoys baking the most. At both Pomona and state Grange she has won blue ribbons in all the bread, sweet rolls and butter cake categories."

Local news: On Wednesday July 26 at 2 the Naselle Library is offering East of Sun and West of Moon with Pegasus Puppets families and on August 2, they will host an Ice Cream Party and Great Egg Hunt.

At the September 13 meeting of the Grays River Flood Control District, the Columbia Land Trust will give a presentation on new land acquisitions so come and ask questions of the Land Trust since many I've spoken to have questions about their work.

Calendar of Events:

Mondays: First Monday of the month, Naselle Library has a men's coffee gathering 10-11:30.

Tuesdays: Naselle Lutheran Church sponsors morning quilters and knitters in afternoons.

Third Tuesday: Naselle Grays River School Board meets at 6:30 in school library.

Second Wednesday of the month: Grays River Flood Control District meets at the Grays River Fire Hall across from Duffy's Pub at 5:30.

Wednesdays: AA meeting at the Grays River Grange at noon.

Wednesdays at 2 at Naselle Library: July 26: East of Sun and West of Moon with Pegasus Puppets; August 2: Ice Cream Party and Great Egg Hunt.

First Thursday of the month: Grays River/Rosburg Gardening group meets at Johnson Park at 6.

Thursdays: CAP Senior Lunches are located at Rosburg Hall at noon.

Second Friday of month: Women's Coffee Group at Naselle Library at 10.

Second Saturday of month: Grays River Grange's Farmers Market at the Grange 10-1.

Wednesdays at 2 at the Naselle Library: July 26: East of Sun and West of Moon with Pegasus Puppets; August 2: Ice Cream Party and Great Egg Hunt.

July 20: Paint Night at Johnson Park for wildlife painting class. $30 (360) 355-0472.

July 29: Nordic Music Concert at Chinook School at 5 with kantele and Celtic harp.

August 12: 4-H Horse Show at County Fairgrounds.

August 17-19: County Fair.

August 19: Loggers Reunion with BBQ and beer from 2-5 at Appelo Archives Center.

Word for the Week: Rain.

 

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