Vol. 20, No. 2


High Prairie Community Council Changes

Final Report on Memorial Bird Blind

Poem: A Goodbye

French’s Farm Confirms Plant Sale Is On

Jump-Start Your Garden with Radishes 
Recipe: Roasted Radishes


2019 Fire District #14 Value Of Service


Beyond Sanitizing and Social Distancing

Grow A Coronavirus ‘Victory Garden’

Why Gardening is Good for Mind & Body

High Prairie Area Changing

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High Prairie Community Council Changes

Spring is here, and as always the Daffodils and Lupine make me smile while I await the Balsamroot and Phlox. However, life today does not resemble anything we would have imagined at Oktoberfest time last fall. So many changes! I hope you all are doing well with social distancing. I know I have found that concept closer to my norm in my cabin in High Prairie than would those who live in the more densely populated areas of our state or even this county.

Closer to home, the High Prairie Community Council and its Board of Directors have also been going through changes.

People Old and New

Last year saw Audrey Bentz, Roberta Cockeram, and Ken Hansen leave the HPCC Board after donating many hours over years of valuable service. Audrey and Roberta have been long-time supporters of the HPCC and its activities, and of the Community Center. Ken, as Treasurer, recorded and balanced all the HPCC financial activity and, with Chris Sattem, formed the backbone of the 2019 Oktoberfest event.

Added to the Board in their stead were Deborah (Zifra) Weber, Suzi Tennison, and Henry Gerhard.

New meeting dates 

Previously the HPCC Board met on the 3rd Monday of every month, and the full community met on the 4th Thursday. In the future the Board will continue meeting monthly, but the High Prairie community will meet only five times a year (near to quarterly). Over the past year or more we’ve had an issue with low turnout at the monthly community meetings. Our plan is to increase our outreach to the community and to have fewer, but better, community meetings that will draw more interest and attendance.

As before, we will work to invite interesting speakers to provide information about the geology, water, nature, flora, fauna, and economy of the county as well as the activities of the county administration. In fact, it works both ways – higher attendance encourages speakers to come and provide information we can use. The meetings are also about encouraging the building of relationships with your neighbors while conversing over light food. 

Of course, improving the meetings has been and will be impossible in a time when meetings are not a good idea. So our meeting schedule is tentative until we get beyond the medical dangers. When the authorities indicate meetings are acceptable, we will notify everyone exactly where we’ll pick up with the High Prairie Community meeting schedule. Specific dates will also be posted beside the Community Center door and on the High Prairie website when we are open for meetings.

New Joint Operating Agreement with Fire District 14

In the preparations for the 2019 Oktoberfest, a number of incidents arose in which HPCC and Fire District 14 had differing understandings of who was to do what. Their old Operating Agreement (from 2009) did not clearly spell things out to either HPCC or FD14 satisfaction. In the recap of Oktoberfest it became obvious that HPCC needed to look at changes to the Community Center (including the section of property to the west of the Community Center) to make the site more effective for larger events and to perhaps attract more rental income from the facility. A number of ideas were floated such as:

a. Constructing a concrete patio off the west side of the Community Center covered with a shed roof. This could serve as a stage or an outdoor grilling and buffet area depending on the event.

b. Development of a dance floor for HPCC events or for weddings, etc. In this case a modular dance floor was constructed for Oktoberfest and is stored for the time being in a corner of the Centerville Highway fire station.

c. Erecting pole lighting in the west area most often used for event parking.

d. Improving the kitchen to make it safer and provide more capacity to attract more rental events, weddings, gatherings. It’s been suggested that this could serve as a feeding site in emergency situations. But no definite needs have been identified, let alone what improvements those needs may require.

e. Moving the large tarp-covered metal frame closer to the imagined “Community Center Stage” and dance floor, to work better for events and rentals. 

None of these ideas has gone beyond conversations and, in a couple of instances, an estimate of the cost.

Both the HPCC and FD14 could see that a new Joint Operating Agreement was needed to define how to explore the future uses and financing of the Community Center and the section of property to the west, which are owned by FD14. In seven 2 to 3-hour meetings from January into March, HPCC and FD14 crafted a new Joint Operating Agreement. This Agreement clarifies the relationship between HPCC and FD14 and provides the room and authority for HPCC to explore improvements to generate more income and ways to finance them. FD14 reviews any projects, protects its property for the future and has no financial responsibility for any HPCC investments. The agreement even spells out how the two bodies reach a common decision when they are at odds. The Joint Operating Agreement is on the HPCC website.

The Future

At the last HPCC meeting we began plans for two or three community picnics/potlucks. We also plan to create a committee to begin exploration of improvements, and we plan to reach out to the community. We need your talents and ideas. 

And it all waits on Coronavirus.

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Final Report on Memorial Bird Blind

Gwen Berry

This is the last installment of the Jake Jakabosky Memorial Bird Blind saga. The bird blind – a small bird-watching enclosure – was to have been built on High Prairie Fire District property overlooking the neighboring pond, as a gift to the High Prairie community. Jake was an avid birder, a dedicated volunteer firefighter/first-responder, and a person who valued and supported the High Prairie community. The project seemed an ideal way to both honor all those things and continue giving to the community that had meant so much to him.

Unfortunately, the project has run into insurmountable obstacles, including excessive requirements by the county, committed opposition from the HPCC Board of Directors, rescinding of the project’s approval by the Fire Commissioners, and clear indications that neither the HPCC Board nor the Fire Commissioners would support any version of it in the future. The final blow came when the new owners of the pond wrote to say they would consider the bird blind an invasion of their privacy. 

So that’s that.

I’m disappointed by all the things that have worked to stymie what seemed so perfect a memorial, but it’s not the only way to honor Jake’s memory. I am thinking about other ways of creating a meaningful memorial. Ideas are welcome.

I want to thank everyone who supported the idea of the Memorial Bird Blind. A special appreciation goes to architect Rick Carlson, who volunteered his time, skills, and experience to develop the bird blind design and begin coordinating with the county. And I want to extend a heartfelt thank-you to everyone who has offered condolences, concern, memories and friendship over the months since I lost Jake. It has meant a lot to me.

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A Goodbye

Lozetta Doll

I’m going to quit trying
To keep up
With the changes
In my life.

I’m a wife
And then I’m not.
I’m a homeowner
And then I’m not.

I’m a neighbor
With no neighbors,
A parishioner
With no parish.

One day I’m in
La Paz casually
Walking the Malecon
Making dinner plans.

Then my daughter calls,
The official word is out.
Come home, you citizens,
Or stay indefinitely.

So 48 hours later
I am at 35,000 feet
Wearing a face mask,
Listening for coughs.

Wondering who the 
Heck I am anymore
And where the 
Heck I am going.

But also happy to be with
Loving family once again,
Getting my disrupted
Old life reorganized.

So goodbye to La Paz
And my good friends there.
The Lord willing,
See you in November.

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French’s Farm Confirms Plant Sale Is On

Claire West, with Matt Kotwasinski 

Spring Starts Here! French’s Farm will hold our annual sale May 1st-3rd in Lyle, offering veggies, natives, and ornamental plant starts for your home gardening. There has never been a better time to start a garden, and we are encouraged to see so many neighbors sowing the seeds of self-sufficiency. Classified as an “essential service,” the nursery is thrilled to serve as a resource to the community this growing season.

We have a variety of organically-grown plant starts, including culinary herbs, tomatoes, peppers, leafy greens, cucumbers, squash, flowers, and shrubs to attract both native pollinators and beneficial insects. Many thanks to the local soil building masterminds at Dirt Hugger for helping us grow!

To keep our customers safe and healthy, we are heeding all state and local advisories, and are adhering to WSDA Safe Operating Guidance for Small Farm Businesses during COVID-19. This includes respect for Stay Home/Stay Healthy orders, and ensuring that social distancing is observed to minimize customer risk. We recommend that shoppers sign up for a 30 minute appointment during one of our three days of sales between 9am and 6pm; email us at plantsinlyle@gmail.com to secure your time, or visit our Facebook or Instagram for details on how to reserve a spot. Walk-up shopping will be available, however these customers may be subject to wait times.

Online ordering will be available April 15, with a plant list posted on our social media sites. Curbside pickup will be available during sale hours, and delivery options are available for those with limited mobility in Klickitat County, Hood River, and the Dalles. Cash, check, credit, and debit are accepted as forms of payment. We also believe in alternative economies and understand that many in our midst are strapped for cash right now — bartering and paying-it-forward are legitimate currency, so make us an offer.

Beyond the sale, French’s Farm is invested in your home gardening success. Have a plant identification question? Need input on pest management, soil preparation, landscape ideas, or harvesting help? Send us a picture or messa ge, or stop by the nursery and we’ll be happy to figure it out together. We look forward to growing through an abundant 2020 and beyond with you in the Gorge.

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Jump-Start your Garden with Radishes

Gwen Berry

Radishes are low-maintenance, fast-growing crops you can enjoy all summer long. Hardy and quick to mature, they are among the easiest vegetables to grow. In the US we most often eat radishes raw, but in other parts of the world, radishes are eaten after cooking or are used to flavor soups or other cooked dishes. 

All parts of the radish plant are edible. Most of the time we eat the radish alone, but the greens are also tasty. You can sauté them with the radishes themselves or chop them to add to any salad. 

One of the tastiest ways to eat summer radishes is Roasted Radishes. The key to these radishes is a lot of seasoning, and getting a nice caramelization. The more “char” or “browning,” the tastier they will be. When they’re roasted, the spicy, peppery flavor of the radish goes away. Roasted radishes are the perfect low-carb stand-in for potatoes. 

Roasted Radishes

Author: Joanne for FindingZest.com

Recipe Type: Side Dish
Serves: 4


1 pound radishes, green tips and ends removed, large ones sliced in half
2 tablespoon avocado or olive oil
½ teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
salt and pepper to taste


1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
2. In a medium bowl, combine all the ingredients and mix well so that all the spices cover the radishes
3. Place on a aluminum foil lined baking sheet or casserole dish with the cut side down.
4. Roast for 25 – 30 minutes or until the radishes are fork tender, and golden brown.
5. Before serving, adjust for seasoning (salt and pepper again).
6. Garnish with a bit of sour cream and even bacon bits if you prefer.

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Douglas Taylor 
The High Prairian, March 2005

For me spring is the grandest season of the year on High Prairie. I enjoy the magnificent array of wildflowers with the distant views of the many snow-capped mountains. The newborn animals and newly hatched birds are in abundance. Spring comes with occasional rains, gently blowing winds and much, much sunshine. 

Much of the early farm work has been done and anticipating the haying season. With the aroma of new plowed fields and the special scent of the cutting of fresh alfalfa hay, it gives one the pleasurable joy of aromas not always experienced. Scents that one will never experience behind the unleaded or diesel exhaust of a vehicle on the freeway. 

We have so many varieties of wildflowers taking turns at giving us their beauty that most times their sights and smells are tantalizing. Many plants that have a local name I find have an entirely different common name. Of course I have no idea of the names of many flowers, but are beautiful just the same.

It is always exciting and relaxing to see the new farm animal babies chasing each other in a game of tag. Of course this is not unique to farm animal babies. Watching fawns and coyote pups chasing and playing together makes me think maybe we get too tied up with our own troubles and tribulations to see the grander side of life. 

Many times even two or more mother wild turkey hens join up with their broods for company and protection. I have often noted one or two mothers of the wild babysitting several little ones and protecting them all. 

If you’re coming to visit us in the spring, the wild flowers are generally best in late April or early May. The fawns start arriving late May along with the broods of turkeys, grouse, Hungarian partridge and quail. 

The robins hatch and raise their young quite early in the spring. In many years I thought the robins would be starting to nest, only to find young robins already out of the nest and flying about. 

Some of our bird friends like the Lewis’ woodpecker are quite rare in many Washington areas, but plentiful in our oak trees of the Prairie. 

The best of life is free. Enjoy and stop for a minute and let the grandeur of your surroundings overwhelm you.

Photos: David Baker
L–R: Dutchman’s Breeches, Glacier Lilies, Shooting Stars

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2019 Fire District #14 Value Of Service

Tim Darland, Fire Chief

It is always interesting looking back the previous year to review the fire department run sheets and see if the data reveal anything out of the ordinary. Maybe I should phrase it “strange.”  The word “ordinary” shouldn’t be used within the fire service, as every call is inherently different. There are, of course, similarities that we use to describe our calls, and we lump them into six categories for our reporting purposes.   

To recap 2019 HPFD activities: Members responded to a total of 96 emergency calls this last year of which 28 calls were in-district responses. The graph below shows the breakdown. Most of the categories are self-explanatory. The “good intent calls” are where our firefighters were asked to stand down when other departments maintained control of their emergency scene or when alarm companies called to cancel responding units.

To calculate the value of service we take the number of hours spent on emergency responses and training/maintenance activities and multiply it by the total personnel time on each activity. Then we multiply the number of volunteer hours by $25.43, the average emergency services hourly wage (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2019). The table below shows that HPFD MEMBERS VOLUNTEERED A TOTAL OF 850 HOURS in 2019! THE VALUE OF SERVICE TO OUR COMMUNITY TOTALED $21,616. One additional note, we must not forget to mention the completion of Station 2 on Schilling Road. The residents within 5 road miles are now receiving, or should be receiving, an 8a insurance rating for their home owners insurance. Please check with your insurance companies to ensure savings are passed along to you. 

I must acknowledge our Fire Commissioners who sign a waiver not to get paid for their time serving in their elected positions, which keeps more dollars in the budget for gear and safety equipment. Thank you for your dedication to our department and community. One other person to acknowledge is our Administrative Assistant, Glenna Scott. She is a paid member of our department and worth every penny we give her. 

To come back to my initial thought, the year 2019 was strange to me in that we didn’t respond to many active wildfires. Don’t get me wrong, I certainly appreciated the break. Many of the wildland calls we received were for smoke investigations and a few regarding burn piles. Our residents did a great job calling 911 early and reporting smoke and suspicious activities. Keep up the great work and report early. This is true for any emergency. Stay safe! 

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Tom McMackin

COVID-19… one of Nature’s realities in our lives has come home to roost! Current events on the World’s stage illustrate the importance of considering potential risks and preparing for those risks with pre-planning, preparation and commitment to act in the face of Nature’s arrival in our lives and on our doorsteps. After all – it isn’t a matter of ‘IF’…! 

Given the chance to be around home now, with our busy ‘other’ agendas being trimmed, we have an opportunity to consider Nature’s challenges here at home. Wildfire is always on our minds here on High Prairie. We were fortunate last fire season, with few major incidents at home or in Washington and Oregon. (California was not so lucky.) This year’s early Spring has fostered potential for fast growing fine fuels (grasses and ‘twiggy’ plants), which in this Summer’s heat will be just what fire and wind need to catastrophically impact our lives here.

Consider also… COVID-19 could possibly still be affecting our communities and, in those same moments, the availabilities of firefighters and first responders to come to our aid!

There are many things we can do in advance to prepare for these events and to keep ourselves and those we care about safe in times of emergency! For information on preparing your home and property for wildfire, the FireWise and Ready, Set, Go! programs have easily accessible information on their webpages. Below are some other resources for your consideration  –  they are similar, the first two have good basic outlines of a timeline-based evacuation action plan.




Here’s a short checklist of FireWise things to do for this Spring and early Summer to prepare:

1st: [0 – 5’] Inspect your home and other structures from the top down / from foundation out 5 feet… 

Clean up and clear these zones ( Now ! )

Observe where things like leaves, small twigs, pine needles & cones, etc. accumulated for removal now

Is there anything combustible on or nearby that might hold an ember or lead fire to your house ?

2nd: [5’ – 30’] From your buildings’ foundations out into your surrounding spaces…

Create and execute a plan for the work to be done… (before High Prairie’s burn ban goes into effect!)

  [30’ is a minimum buffer area between structures or other fuel sources for defensive firefighting & protection]

Create a plan for making this zone ‘protective’ for your property and a working zone for any firefighters who are assigned to protect your home and other homes near your property.

Is there an accessible ‘fire lane’ around your structures for them to work ?

3rd: [30’ – 100’] From the close-in FireWise buffers above – plan for work in your wild rural environments…

Clean up and clear these zones ( Now ! )

Observe where things like leaves, small twigs or branches and pine needles & cones, etc., collect.

Is there anything combustible that might hold an ember or lead fire to your house ?


Contact Tom McMackin for more information on the ‘FireWise’ and ‘Ready, Set, Go!’ programs; if you gave comments, questions, or suggestions; to get more involved with the High Prairie FireWise effort; or to get connected with resources available to us as a recognized FireWise Community. Contact Tom by email at firewise.onhighprairie@gmail.com or by phone message at 509-365-2786.

Online resources: 

Fire Wise – http://www.firewise.org  

or  http://www.firewise.org/wildfire-preparedness/be-firewise/home-and-landscape.aspx 

Ready, Set, Go! – http://www.wildlandfirersg.org   

or http://www.wildlandfirersg.org/Resident

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Grow A Coronavirus ‘Victory Garden’

by William Ramsay at www.newsleader.com (3/21/20)

Don’t remember “victory gardens?” They were a way during World War I and II for Americans to keep vegetables on the table during shortages.

History.com explains: “Through the distribution of several million government-sponsored pamphlets, fledgling farmers were advised to maximize their garden’s productivity. …

“The Victory Garden campaign served as a successful means of boosting morale, expressing patriotism, safeguarding against food shortages on the home front, and easing the burden on the commercial farmers working arduously to feed troops and civilians overseas.”

It’s time for Coronavirus Victory Gardens. And it’s not about the food yet.

For now, victory gardens would be an easy way for Americans to get outside — whether it’s a backyard or just on an apartment balcony or building roof. It’s a way to get into a physical project and take your mind off the outbreak news.

Also, it’s a perfect project you can do with kids, if they’re willing. It may be a way for them to open up about their questions concerning coronavirus — it has been for my family.

Let’s hope we don’t need a supply of fresh food because it runs short at the store. There is zero sign of that happening. If our food system ever did have a disruption, though, victory gardens would make a difference.

“In 1942, roughly 15 million families planted victory gardens; by 1944, an estimated 20 million victory gardens produced roughly 8 million tons of food—which was the equivalent of more than 40 percent of all the fresh fruits and vegetables consumed in the United States,” according to history.com.

Here’s a great article about getting started:

Vegetable gardens for beginners: 6 steps to get started


Our history shows that victory gardens are a good idea. There is plenty of information online about starting vegetable plots. I’m an amateur. But by the end of the spring I will have more knowledge — and more blisters.

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Beyond Sanitizing and Social Distancing

From an article by Satchin Panda at www.theconversation.com (2/7/20)

Social distancing and washing hands have become the front line in the fight against COVID-19, but there is another powerfully protective resource immediately available to all: your CIRCADIAN RHYTHM.

Circadian rhythms are the daily cycles of bodily functions that form the foundation of good health. These body clocks, found in nearly every organ of the body and part of the brain, are central and vital to a properly functioning immune system. A healthy circadian rhythm may keep you sane and increase your resilience to fight COVID-19.

Circadian rhythm in the brain is synchronized to the outside world by light and darkness, and in the rest of the body by when we eat. We can maintain a healthy circadian rhythm by the following simple practices. It takes only a week to develop and follow such a plan. By the second week, you may begin to see the benefits of healthy circadian rhythms.

Sleep: Sleep is the most profound predictor of a healthy circadian rhythm. When we disturb our sleep, it has effects beyond our brain. Studies have shown that chronically sleep-deprived animals and humans have weaker immune systems, making it easier for even mild infections and viruses to gain entry to the body and cause more damage or even death. 

Aim to spend eight hours in bed each night to allow at least seven hours of sleep. This allows the brain to rest, detoxify and rejuvenate. Teenagers and children older than the age of ten should try to be in bed for nine to twelve hours each night.

Dimming light for two to three hours before bedtime and taking a bath before bed will help you to get a good night’s sleep.

Eating: Nearly 50% of adults are likely to eat over a 15-hour window or longer. Such large eating windows disrupt the body’s circadian rhythm. Studies are increasingly showing that eating food and beverages within an 8- to 12-hour window reduces disease and infection risk and improves brain and body health. 

Plan to eat within an 8- to 10-hour window of time each day. Note the time you ingest your first calories of the day (beverage or food) and plan on taking your last calories of that day 10 hours later. Make sure that the last calories are consumed two to three hours before bedtime. Such time-restricted eating can be enhanced by being combined with home-cooked healthy food. Time-restricted eating may also help shed some extra weight and manage blood pressure, blood glucose and cholesterol.

Light: Light and darkness play a crucial role in the brain’s circadian rhythm and brain health. In the current climate of hunkering down, staying home and rarely venturing out, not having access to daylight may increase the risk of depression and other mood disorders. Being outdoors and in daylight for at least 30 minutes each day is a great way to synchronize your brain clock with the outside world, reduce depression and anxiety, and increases alertness. In addition, reduce exposure to bright indoor light for two to three hours before bed.

Stress management: Social distancing can be social isolation, which can lead to increased stress, depression and difficulty in falling asleep. Spend more time with the people you live with and get in touch with your faraway family and friends over video chat. Keep your mind busy with positive thoughts, read some books you wanted to read for a long time, make new music playlists, play some board games or do puzzles. Avoid too much TV and depressing news.

Exercise: Don’t forget to get some exercise. For those of you who feel you are physically less active, try to get in some steps. Walk around the neighborhood, do some simple strength exercise at home. Turn on some music and dance. If you can, get outside for a walk or hike. Try to do your intense exercise in the afternoon when the muscle clock can give you the most benefit of exercise.

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Why Gardening is Good for Mind & Body

From an article by Carly Wood at www.theconversation.com (11/17/15)

Spending time outdoors in a natural environment helps us to feel less stressed, reduces the symptoms of depression, and enhances our concentration and attention by allowing us to recover from mental fatigue.

A growing body of evidence shows that gardens can make a significant contribution to our health and well-being, not just as a way to get some physical exercise but also to improve our mental state. There is even some limited evidence that gardening might play a role in helping people to cope with serious health problems such as cancer.

Any type of gardening is an opportunity for physical activity. Gardening is typically seen as moderate intensity exercise equivalent to playing doubles tennis or walking at a speed of 3.5 mph, and so carries similar fitness benefits.

Gardening is also linked to better diets. Home and allotment gardens have long been important for domestic food production, but gardening can also encourage people to eat more healthily and act as an educational resource on nutritious food. 

Research has shown that gardeners generally have greater life satisfaction, enhanced self-esteem and fewer feelings of depression and fatigue than non-gardeners. 

But more than this, the act of gardening can specifically improve people’s moods. Asking gardeners about their mood before and after a gardening session, participants in our survey reported gardening improved self-esteem and reduced feelings of tension, depression and anger.

Other research suggests that gardening can increase life satisfaction, and both reduce and promote recovery from stress. In fact, gardening leads to greater reductions in stress following a stress test than either reading indoors or an indoor exercise class. This last point suggests that the mental benefits of gardening may be more than just a side-effect of the physical exercise involved. 

Gardening can also involve social interaction and becoming part of a community. Gardeners often share their knowledge, skills and experiences with each other and by doing so develop relationships and support networks. People with strong social networks have an increased life expectancy, greater resilience to stressful life events and fewer visits to the doctor.

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High Prairie Area Changing

Doug Taylor

August 2005

To demonstrate the changes in both roads and residences in the last several years, we was visiting with a former resident now living in The Dalles, OR They mentioned of touring the Prairie and trying to find their former home, without success. This of course tickled my funny bone, but realizing there have been many changes and never thinking one could get lost on High Prairie

The main road has been shortened over the years, along with paving. With many side roads and visible housing built along many of the roads.

Traffic has increased, with many from the Goldendale, Yakima area using the Centerville Hwy as a short cut to Lyle and beyond, instead of using the Maryhill river route. I have seen many vehicles towing boats going through, an interesting sight to me as generally there were no neighbors using boats in the old days to do their farm work.

With the population increase of people and homes, also brought an increase of the four-legged variety. Deer seem to love our roses, shrubs and fruit trees.

We are seemingly getting an increase of cougars also, who love the deer.

Have noticed coyotes not only coming in the yard at night, but the occasional one coming in during the day. Looking for some easy pickings, I suppose, such as an unfortunate cat or unlucky chicken.

Land prices here, although increasing considerable in the last few years, still seem quite reasonable compared to western Washington prices.

We had last year one of the driest winters, one can remember. Then along came the spring rains, growing an abundance of grass. Now we are into another dry spell, with tinder dry conditions. We have been fortunate that we have had no range fires. A thanks especially to everyone being careful and lightning has been to a minimum.

Follow-up, 2020

Deer population down tremendously, but predators still problem even seem more variety.

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