Doug Taylor

I had been telling myself in January (and any others who would listen) that I assumed we were having our winters earlier in the fall and spring was coming earlier in the spring.

Then came February with snow and more snow. It seemed every morning that I got up there would be another 6 inches or so of snow. It finally got so deep that there was only about 6 inches of my antenna left visible on my pickup. Then it began to warm slightly during the day, then snow would melt and more snow come. The weight of the snow was making one wonder if our roofs were built to withstand it all.

I was fortunate to raise geese last year and was thinking of maybe having an Easter dinner. Then came the snow in February and getting deeper. Well, Mr. Coyote decided that the snow was deep enough that he could get through the fence and he was going to have an early dinner in spite of what plans Doug might have. I had six geese, have two left, unknown gender. Only a goose will know. There is an old saying, never count your chickens before they are hatched. Maybe well laid plans of mice and men are subject to change. 

I can well remember snow coming in early November and staying through the middle of March. I have told people that I have skied over the wires of the fences and seen many a drift where you didn’t get in or out. Maybe the roads would be plowed out one day and get a inch of snow and they would be drifted full again the next day.

Well, the woodpile is going down and I’m glad it’s February instead of November, in spite of not being able to plan on my goose dinner.

You know, I was just now thinking, I guess I need to do a little jig. My grandfather John and grandmother Nellie came to High Prairie just 100 years ago this year. They brought their livestock to Lyle by train and Dad helped herd the livestock from Lyle to the home place. They started out over by Toledo, Washington, spending the night in Vancouver. They had resided and had several businesses near Toledo on the Cowlitz or near the river. The place was called Knab, which is hard to find on any map now.

When my dad was a young man he started his farming with his brother Robert on what we call the Woods place. The Woods place was owned by J.H. Woods from The Dalles, Oregon. Many properties on High Prairie were owned by outside investors. Mr. Woods had a butcher shop in The Dalles.

The Woods place is located where a portion of the present new fire hall on Schilling Road is located. Around 1948, after buying another property to build a house, the property south of Hartland Road became available; so he sold the other property. Electricity was becoming available on High Prairie, and he wired the house while remodeling inside. He purchased the property from a widow, Lois Clark.

This property had been owned by his parents John and Nellie Taylor, purchased by them in 1919. Dad had come with his parents when he was 14 years old, and it so happened that I moved there when I was 14 years old.

After buying the home place, the folks made other land purchases to add to their holdings. Dad continued to farm the Woods place, and for the first couple years we wintered cows at that location. As there was no mail route or kids from Three Corners north, the County did not plow the road many times in the winter. We would need to ski from Three Corners to feed the cows. The weather was, as usual, very unpredictable. Maybe the day would be nice or maybe the wind would be blowing snow like crazy. You fed the animals no matter what the conditions were.

After a couple years the folks built another barn and they wintered the cows on the present home place. It was interesting in the spring. We would turn the cows loose and the lead cows would go up Hartland Road, take a right on High Prairie Road, go across the prairie, turn left on Schilling and find their pasture.

By the way, the old Hartland post office is still standing on the property, as this was the last location it was used.

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