Category Archives: fishing

Art takes many forms at Horseshoe Lake

For The Daily News, Longview, WA.  September 19, 2008
Reprinted with permission         

 

Art took many forms when the Woodland Community Library sponsored Art in Horseshoe Park on Sept. 6. Eighteen pop-up canopies formed a horseshoe on the lakeshore. The types of art displayed were as different as the dachshund and the St. Bernard two visitors walked through the show.

The first artist I visited with was local artist and art instructor Debbie Neely. I’ve never felt like an artist myself…I couldn’t even stay in the lines of a coloring book… but several years ago, Neely did her best to draw out the talent in me when she taught Beginning Drawing for Woodland Community Education.  She introduced me to scratch art, where you use a sharp metal tool to scratch your drawing into an ink or clay-covered board. Surprisingly, she was able to teach me to use the right side of my brain, and I produced several recognizable pictures in the class. Now, I enjoy doing scratch art with my grandchildren.

          Cheryl Hazen displayed mosaics, and The Northwest Oil Painters Association exhibited paintings. In addition, there were artists displaying clothing, blankets, jewelry, hats, paintings on porcelain, sketches, and more. At every booth, I enjoyed something different.  

Art took another form, too, as students from Premier Martial Arts of Woodland performed. Sondra Smith, porcelain artist and teacher, summed up her craft on the back of a plate, “I’m not moody, disorganized, or self-absorbed. I’m an artist.”

For artist Dennis Hatch, a Native American flute maker who lives in Washougal, his art of flute-making has become a full-time occupation. Hatch  is a member of the Sault Ste. Marie, Mich., Chippewa Indian Tribe (Anishinabe). He makes Woodland flutes, so it seems fitting he came to Woodland to show his work. Flutes on his website www.nativefluteonline.com range from $250 to $1000.

          A beaded necklace by Valeri Darling of Darling Designs was a real show- stopper. Her first piece of beaded jewelry, a slot machine necklace, took two years to complete. “I don’t know what I was thinking,” Darling said.

The piece showed three 7’s in 3-D, lined up across the “win” line of a slot machine. To make it more realistic, the slot machine even had a handle. The sides of the beaded strap read “Win Win” and “Hit the Jackpot,” and across the top it said, “Big Time Winner.” Coins strung on beads poured from the bottom of the machine. “This was all done with needle and thread,” said Darling. “You cant get one bead out of place.”

Not all of her necklaces take two years to create, but all are one of a kind. “Most take 12 to 14 hours,” said Darling. Visit DarlingDesigtnJewelry.com to see the slot machine and other designs.

          Attendees munched on homemade chocolate chip cookies and banana bread from one vendor’s booth or ate tacos, burritos, and tortas from Roman’s Taco wagon, and then they cooled down with goodies from a bright yellow ice cream truck, which periodically played its magical tune.

          Out on the lake, where trout had just been planted, fishermen showed off their art of fishing, but the trout were biting so fast that art or skill didn’t seem to be required.

On the other side of the boat launch, 17 Ugandan children took a break from performing their art of song and dance by wading and splashing in the lake. Most of the children, ages 6 to 14, are orphans, many whose parents died of Aids. They are on tour singing and dancing to raise money through donations and the sale of their CD to help support the IAM Children’s Family orphanage in Uganda. They’ll be back in Woodland performing at the Woodland Christian Church at 6 PM, Sept. 27.

Iris Swindell, organizer of the Woodland Community Library’s first annual art show, organized Art in Horseshoe Park as a fundraiser and to draw attention to the need for a new library in Woodland.

 

 

 

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Filed under Art in Horseshoe Park, Cheryl Hazen, Debbie Neely, Dennis Hatch, fishing, Horseshoe Lake, IAM Childrens Family, mosaic art, Native American, Native American flutes, Northwest Oil Painters Association, Premier Martial Arts-Woodland, scratch art, The Daily News, Uganda orphanage, Woodland Community Library, Woodland flutes

Save gas…find fun close to home

by Pat Nelson

Reprinted with permission, The Daily News, Longview, WA June 6, 2008

If you’re worried about this summer’s high gas prices putting the brakes on your vacation plans, try thinking closer to home.

We’re fortunate to live close to mountains, forests, lakes and beaches, as well as places to go birding or to explore caves.  A couple years ago, before we were facing gas prices in excess of $4 per gallon, I took my two grandchildren, Max and Chelsea, on a camping trip…only ten minutes from home. We packed up toys, sleeping bags, swimsuits and food and headed for the Echo Park campground, only a few minutes east of I-5 at Woodland, on Lewis River Road.  The trip was so short that the kids didn’t even have time to sing our favorite travel song, which goes like this: “I’m hungry, I’m thirsty, I have to go to the bathroom.”

The adventure started as soon as we registered at the camp store. The kids had fun choosing our campsite. After driving through the small, privately-owned campground a couple times, they agreed upon a spot away from the road, but not far from the restrooms and the heated swimming pool. As long as our vehicle was level, I didn’t care which site they chose. At the campsite, tall trees stood over us, and the aroma of the forest told us we were on vacation. The Lewis River flowed peacefully nearby. The site had water, electricity, and a picnic table, and the three of us agreed that it was perfect.

It was a hot day, and it didn’t take long for us to change into swimsuits and get into the refreshing swimming pool.  Max jumped in, over and over, and then dove for colored rings with some newfound friends. I heard myself saying, “No running,” “feet first,” and “be careful,” all the warnings a good grandma gives her grandchildren when they’re swimming.

At that time, Chelsea was just learning to swim, and as I gave her a push through the water towards the side of the pool and let her go, she paddled fiercely to the edge, emerging wide-eyed with wet hair slicked back against her head, droplets of water clinging to her long lashes, and a wide smile. The same scene was repeated over and over, until , hours later, the kids finally admitted to being tired and decided to play at the campsite.

Max is a picky eater, so my biggest concern about camping was feeding him. With a burn ban in effect, we couldn’t build a campfire to cook his favorite food, hot dogs. We were about to make sandwiches for dinner when my husband called from Woodland to say he was on his way with dinner from Burgerville…including Max’s other favorite food, chicken strips .

At night, we snuggled into our sleeping bags and told stories in the dark. The night was quiet, and we soon fell asleep in a forest that seemed like it was far, far from home.

Later that summer, we visited the park again, but just for the day. The campground allows visitors to pay a fee to swim when pool capacity allows, so Max and Chelsea invited friends to join us for swimming and picnicking.

We’re looking forward to camping there again this summer, so I stopped by recently and talked with Assistant Manager Diane Cretsinger, who told me, “The park has new owners. Now it’s the Lewis River Country Store and R. V. Park.” Diane proudly listed the features of the park: hot food available in the store, firewood for sale, heated swimming pool, fishing hole, bath house, dump station, and gas pumps.

If you want to save gas this year, try a vacation close to home. One more advantage is that when the trip is over, you won’t be faced with a long, tiring drive home.

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Filed under camping, fishing, grandchildren, The Daily News, travel, WA, Woodland

Kids, birds will compete for Horseshoe Lake fish

Cormorants fish at Horseshoe Lake 

 

April 18, 2008

 

 

By Pat Nelson
For The Daily News, Longview, WA
Copyright
Reprinted with permission

In preparation for spring fishing at Woodland’s Horseshoe Lake, the Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife planted more than 8800 rainbow trout and more than 6510 brown trout during the first eight days of April. Another 2,500-3,500 rainbows will be trucked to Horseshoe Lake for the fifth annual Moose Lodge kids’ fishing derby, to be held 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday. The derby is for children ages 5 to 14.

Moose Lodge volunteers will place a large net in the lake to hold the fish that the hatchery delivers for the derby. Then, they will stand guard through the night to make sure no fish-loving banditos catch the trout before the kids have had their fun.

The cormorants flew in this month just after the first fish were planted. They must have followed the truck from the hatchery.  They eat their share of the newly-planted fish, but according to fishing derby chairman Fred Rotinski, they don’t seem to bother the fish that are in the net. The ospreys, on the other hand, see the fish in the net and dive right in.

Cormorants work together when they fish. Last Friday at dawn, I watched several of the black, web-footed birds pick off some tasty treats with their hooked beaks. First, they flew in low and then settled on the water. They seemed to be just floating along leisurely, with their bodies under water and their long, straight necks sticking straight up like periscopes. Suddenly they started diving. I looked out at a group of cormorants in front of me, only to blink my eyes and then to see no birds at all; they had disappeared under water. I continued to watch the spot where I had last seen them, but after about 30 seconds, they popped up in another spot, and then dove again.

Cormorants can dive from 8 to 20 feet, sometimes even more. Here, though, they don’t have to work that hard because the newly-planted fish swim close to the surface.

The cormorants weren’t the only fishermen out in the early morning. A heron swooped low on the lake, just above the cormorants, surveying the seafood buffet, and three ospreys flew high in the air, often flapping their wings quickly to stay in place, like a helicopoter in a holding pattern, before diving for fish..

Competing with the birds doesn’t deter Moose Lodge volunteers, who have held eight or nine planning meetings to get ready for the derby. They will arrive at the park Saturday morning with 50 rods and reels for the youngsters to use. The kids only have to bring the $2 entry fee.

Volunteers in aprons will have their pockets loaded with hooks and bait. Kids can have their picture taken with their catch, and can even have their fish cleaned. Thanks to donations from local citizens and merchants, bikes, fishing rods, and other prizes will be awarded.

The birds are doing their best to make a dent in the more than 18,000 fish planted in Horseshoe Lake  this month, but there should be plenty of fish left for the five hundred kids expected at the derby. Moose Lodge volunteers are excited about the event. “If you see some little kid catch his first fish, you’ll understand why we do this,” chairman Rotinski said.

Sidebar:

What: 5th annual Moose Lodge Kids’ Fishing Derby

When: Saturday April 19, 8 AM-2 PM

Where: Horseshoe Lake Park, just  west of the skateboard park

FOR: AGES 5-14

Cost: $2

DETAILS: Poles and bait provided; Food, fun, and prizes.

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Filed under birding, fishing, fishing derby, hatchery trout, heron, Horseshoe Lake, Moose Lodge, The Daily News, Uncategorized, WA, Woodland

Natasha the blue heron has the ultimate license to fish

Natashe the heron By Pat Nelson
For “The Daily News,” Longview, WA
Reprinted with permission

Wednesday morning, I looked out at Woodland’s Horseshoe Lake and realized that spring is almost here. There was Natasha, back from her winter’s journey south. She sat motionless on a metal railing, her yellow eyes scanning the chilly water for breakfast.

Natasha has always behaved differently from the other blue herons I’ve watched at Horseshoe Lake. She spends a lot of time around people, more out of laziness than love, I think… or maybe she’s just plain smart. She’s likely to claim a spot for herself right next to a fisherman’s chair over on the beach near the skate park, hoping for a handout. She was given her name by a Horseshoe Lake fisherman.

In past years, she tried to make a neighbor’s pond her fish market. The neighbor tried adding a gazing ball to the pond so that Natasha would be frightened by her reflection, but that didn’t stop the bird from having her pick of the pond. Next, the neighbor added a sprinkler system on a motion detector to scare Natasha away, but she soon learned that it took a minute or two for the sprinklers to reset, giving her time to fish.

After that, stronger measures were required. My friend spread a net over the entire pond. If you try this, keep the net a couple inches off  the water so that the hungry blue heron does not use it to stand on while poking its beak through the net to nab a fish.

As I watched Natasha Wednesday morning, something must have frightened her because she flew away with a low-pitched squawk, her head folded back onto her shoulders, with her long legs out behind her body. Her broad gray wings resembled leather stretched over a frame, flapping slowly and with great strength. Her 6’ wingspan was impressive. 

Herons use their sharp bills to grasp or spear their prey. With toes designed to navigate muddy lake bottoms, they wade as deep as two feet, moving slowly while watching for their next meal. They don’t land on the water, but rather stand and wait motionless, often at the edge of a pond or lake, not just watching for fish to swim by, but also looking for insects, rodents, frogs, and small birds.

Wednesday was a sunny day, and I decided that I, too, would stand on the dock and look at the lake. There, where Natasha had been earlier, I watched a two-foot steelhead lazily swim by, and then an even larger one. Both were covered with ugly white patches, but I don’t think such cosmetic flaws deter herons. Earlier in the day, Natasha had probably been watching those big fish, wondering if she dared eat one. Even though herons can swallow fish many times wider than their narrow necks, Natasha must have decided her eyes were bigger than her stomach.

She’s probably looking forward to April, when tasty fish pour out of a truck into the lake for the Moose Lodge fishing derby, fish just the right size to slide easily down her long throat.

When Natasha isn’t fishing, she’s protecting her territory. One day, I watched her as she stood on a small boat with a cabin, peering with her beady eyes into a Plexiglas window. Seeing another bird on the other side of the glass and wanting to protect her space, she began pecking at the glass, but every time she did, the other bird jutted its beak towards her. Whatever Natasha did, her reflection mirrored her actions, and she finally gave up and flew away. She’s pretty smart about fishing, but when it comes to defending herself against her own reflection, I think she’s just a bird brain.

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Filed under birding, blue heron, fishing, heron, Horseshoe Lake, The Daily News, WA, Woodland

Area Serves Up Autumn Treats

Fred Smith grinds corn

©South County News/The Daily News, reprinted with permission

Have you ever shown up for an event on the wrong date? That’s what I did last weekend, a full two weeks early! My husband and I drove to the Cedar Creek Grist Mill for the annual apple cider event. The website says it’s the last Saturday in October, and I even penciled it in on the correct date on my calendar, so I have no excuse except that I craved apple cider.

When I as a teenager, my brother and his wife used to invite me to pick apples with them in old, forgotten orchards. Sometimes we would stay until dusk, hoping to see a bear…from the safety of the car, of course. We never did see one, but it was exciting to think we might.Some people couldn’t believe my brother would toss the apples into the press without checking for worms. He’d just reply, “A little protein never hurt anybody.”I could hardly wait until those apples had been pressed and the cider had been bottled to take my first taste of cider. It was sweet and tangy at the same time, and if it lasted long enough to start fermenting, it was full of effervescence.Cider is an autumn treat. It isn’t often that I hear of a place that produces fresh-pressed cider, so the event at the Cedar Creek Grist Mill was particularly appealing to me.The drive was highlighted by yellow and orange leaves against dark fir trees, and the deep red leaves of blueberry bushes. Light green fir seedlings sprouted up in fields beside the road. At one point, we could see Mt. St. Helens in the distance, bright white below a cottony white blanket of clouds.We turned onto Cedar Creek Road and descended into a thick forest of trees with trunks lit up by shafts of sunlight, trees with golden leaves at their feet. Once at the mill, we enjoyed a picnic lunch on the back steps, listening to the soothing sounds of the swift creek. Autumn leaves lazily drifted along the slow-moving water in a nearby flume, where they gathered in a bunch, plugging the intake. A small waterfall thundered nearby under a canopy of golden maples.After lunch, we stood on the covered bridge where we could see spawning salmon in the creek below. The Cedar Creek Grist Mill is a National Historic Site, Washington’s only grain-grinding mill that still has its original structural integrity, is water-powered, and grinds with stones. The mill was built in 1876 by George Woodham and his two sons to grind the farmers’ grain into flour or livestock feed. Woodham only stayed until 1879, when he moved and took all of the equipment with him. Mike Lynch was the next owner, but it was seven years before the mill was put back into operation when Lynch leased it to Gustave Utter. Utter built a log dam upstream and constructed a flume. He also installed the same Leffel turbine that is in use today.Gustave Utter was often paid in shares of grain, so he used it to feed to the hogs he raised to sell. Utter stayed longer than the others, lasting until 1901 before moving on. Four years later, Gorund Roslund purchased the mill, but it was another four years until it was operational. He expanded the mill by adding a shingle mill, a machine shop, and a blacksmith shop. When Roslund’s son Victor died in the 1950’s, the State Fisheries Department bought the property. They removed the old dam and built a fish ladder. In 1961, the Fort Vancouver Historical Society leased the mill and registered it as an historic place. Then, in 1980, a group of volunteers organized The Friends of the Cedar Creek Grist Mill to save the operation. The flume, which extends 650’ up Cedar Creek, was completed in 1989. By November 11, 1989, the group was ready to grind wheat to celebrate the Washington Centennial.The mill is a working museum, with demonstrations taking place Saturdays from 1:00-4:00 and Sundays from 2:00-4:00. When we were there, volunteer Tom Henrich gathered visitors on the back porch to explain the history of the mill. Next, guests moved inside for a demonstration by volunteer Fred Shulz. Shulz, in overalls, boots, and a hat perched on his head of white hair, looked right at home in the mill, sitting casually on a galvanized grain-storage can with his arms folded across his chest, and his legs straight out in front of him, toes up,  resting his boots on their heels. After his explanation, he and Tom started the mill, ground grains, and bagged samples for their guests.

A covered bridge over Cedar Creek was completed in 1994. People from around the world visit the covered bridge and grist mill, two scenic spots that are often photographed. Admission is free, and tours and field trips can be arranged by calling 360 225-5832. See www.cedarcreekgristmill.com  or call for directions to the mill, which is about 9 scenic miles from Woodland. If you go on October 27th, you can probably sample the apple cider, and you might even get to see some spawning salmon.

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Filed under Family Memories, fishing, South County News, Woodland

Fishing for Memories on the Columbia River

Visit the link below to view my column, and please save my blog in your favorites for future visits!

©South County News/The Daily News
http://www.tdn.com/articles/2007/06/27/southcountynews/news07.txt
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Derby Fills Horseshoe Lake With Fun

 Visit the link below to view my story, but be sure to come right back to my blog!

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©South County News/The Daily News

http://www.tdn.com/articles/2007/05/02/southcountynews/news01.txt

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Filed under fishing, South County News