Sally Gracie TwispBy Sally Gracie
Down near the Twisp River lives an unhappy creature, more likely a mammal than a bird. Its cries, when I first heard them, made me believe it was in its death throes. But the cries continue, rather high-pitched squalls. I’ve listened to the sounds of coyotes, cougars and foxes (waterandwoods.net), and think it might be a fox.
Could it be? Have any of my Twisp neighbors sighted a fox near the river. And why is it so vocal? Seeking a mate? All of you naturalists and biologists out there can let me know.
The scenery on my 6-mile drive up to Sun Mountain Lodge on Saturday was as much a work of art as the paintings I found when I reached the lodge. Ponderosas were silvery white with hoarfrost. Even the shrubs took on a magical beauty on hills where snow has yet to cover the brown.
Driving along Patterson Lake, I could see tiny skiers moving on the lake itself and around it. As I approached the top of the hill, fog shrouded the building, and a guest captured the silvery white of the groomed trees and plants with his camera.
Inside at The Gallery, three guests and I enjoyed the work of local artists. Two of the three women were Seattle friends of Donna Keyser’s (one said she and Donna were swim teammates), who with Laura Karcher is curator of the gallery’s continuing exhibits. As independent curators, Donna and Laura will rotate art in and out, replacing paintings that are sold through Sun Mountain’s gift shop.
Each painting is beautifully lighted. Winter scenes (appropriately, I think) were prominent, including paintings by Cheryl Wrangle, Laura Kemp, Laurie Fry, Susan Donahue and Kathy Meyers. Two of Keyser’s paintings show wintry hues.
Other artists are Dan Brown, Caryl Campbell and Anna Rogers. These all seem to be new works that you won’t have seen in the Twisp or Winthrop galleries.
The Gallery is open to guests 24 hours a day. The gift shop is open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and 9 a.m. to 8 p.m., Fridays and Saturdays. The Gallery is worth a visit.
Methow Valley Community Center manager Kirsten Ostlie reports that “Dance Away the Winter Blues” last Saturday was “super fun” for the families with kids who danced to DJ Nolan Loucke’s mix of music. She wishes more people had come, but “Moondancing” and watching a mom teach her child how to do “The Worm” made the event a success in Kirsten’s eyes.
The Beat the Chill Chili Cook-Off, on Feb. 8 at the community center, will be even better than last year’s as the organizers have made some changes. Before judging the new entries, each guest will enjoy a big bowl of Kathy Borgersen’s chili, winner of both the Judges’ Grand Prize and the People’s Choice awards in last year’s contest. (Kathy is not entering this year, and there won’t be a hot chili eating contest).
When the tasting begins, guests will sample the chilis of those aspiring to win the $200 Judges’ Grand Prize. Second prize is a four-gallon stainless stockpot; People’s Choice winner will take home a market basket packed with goodies.
Rules and entry forms are available on the hallway counter at the center or online at methownet.com on the Methow Valley Community Center page. Doors open at 5 p.m. Tickets are $8. Music by the Hoo Doo Marimba Band will begin at 6:30 p.m.

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