Henry Gerhard

Well, the first half of the year is behind us, and the rest of the year is shrouded in the fog of Covid-19. The last High Prairian was in early April, and the Board had lost some valued members and added others. We had announced a new schedule of meetings for 2020, but little did we realize that there would be no HPCC Board meetings or members’ meetings in the coming 3 months and no clear idea when they would begin again. HPCC’s activities have come to a screeching halt like everything else.

Still, we would like to look forward to a time when we can safely share time with others in the High Prairie community. In April, we mentioned the idea of exploring plans for 2 or 3 community picnics/potlucks. That idea is still attractive even as safe picnic weather looks more questionable. It is difficult to imagine that we would feel comfortable gathering in the next 2 months. 

However, we have the time to explore new ideas and to solicit the thoughts of the High Prairie community. So below are some ideas that the Board has floated – all subject to a time in which the community feels safe, which is likely to be sometime after Olympia says we are. 

a. Community Picnic: Outside at the community center. Hot Dogs/Sausage, Potato salad and picnic fixings. Grandfather/grandson baseball throw. Musical chairs type cakewalk, using bases instead of chairs, last one standing gets a donated cake! Etc.

b. Movie Night: In the community center. Monthly or semi-monthly, January through March. Showing the classics of each decade past. Snacks and desserts.

c. Celebrate Getting Together After Covid-19: In the community center. A Community Night with activities to include all ages. Mask Contest – make at home and wear to event (think Mardi Gras NOT Coronavirus!) Prizes for gold, silver, bronze winners.

Crafty project night – Family adults and children make a project that they will take home. Winner takes the cake.

d. Open Mike Night Anyone: Any possible takers??? Reminiscences, Comedy, History of High Prairie…

e. The History of High Prairie / Klickitat County: Speakers, snacks and desserts. 

These are ideas the Board members are kicking around, but we want to know what sounds fun to you. Send us any ideas you have, and please vote now on which of above would be your first, second, or third choices. You can also vote zero, for any or all of them. Zero means ‘no way, no how’ would you be interested. 

Reply via mail to HPCC PO Box 592, Lyle, WA 98635; via Email to hgerhard@renw.co (that’s co not com); or you may also call 360-518-1697. Thanks! We look forward to getting your feedback!

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From an article by Dick Kissick at https://tinyurl.com/yyhwnxu9

 “We waste hours keeping on going when our concentration’s long gone, caught in drowsy, drawn-out moments staring glumly at a screen, and not only when we’re supposed to be doing our jobs. Leisure time has also taken on a timeless, hypnotic quality lately. Everything our culture produces feels at once never-ending and meaningless — or perhaps meaningless because it’s never-ending. Movies explode into cinematic universes; series are designed to be binge-watched; every video, song or podcast tips over and auto-plays another; social media scrolls toward infinity and the news never stops broadcasting. An everlasting present expands around us in all directions, and it’s easy to get lost in there.”

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Barbara Parrish for Director, Ben Parrish 

As a project to keep us busy during the Covid-19 Pandemic, Ben and I decided to take on restoring the storage shed at the Cemetery. We got the OK from the Board and away we went with repairing and painting. This all started on April 24th, with a goal of having it completed by the Cemetery Work Day, scheduled for May 23rd, just before Memorial Day. We would like to extend a huge THANK YOU to all who came on the 23rd, giving up a beautiful Saturday morning to help with the weed eating and mowing. Thanks to the following: 

Ben Parrish, repairing the shed, mowing, painting, moving dirt & gravel 
Barb Parrish, scraping old paint, weeding, painting, making the sign 
Helen Kearns, helping with scraping the old paint 
Pat Kent, painting the trim, weed eating, helping paint the sign 
Sharon Edwards, cleaning family grave site 
David Strait, hours of weed eating 
Steve Ridgeway, many hours pulling weeds and weed eating 
Keith Christianson, cleaning his family grave and others 
Doug Taylor, brought his tractor and brush hog, moving burning pile 
Bill Stallings, cleaning graves and trimming bushes 
Eric and Theresa Shrum, pulling weeds and weed eating, trimming bushes 
Tom Rodriguez, cleaning graves and weed eating 
Yakama Nation, 6 carloads, cleaned & re-decorated their family graves 
Thanks also to Bill McDonald who was hired to spray paint the building. 

The work party was from 9:00-2:00 with people coming and going. I hope I have not left anyone off the list. Many have probably done some work that I am not aware of – thank you! The saying “Many hands make light work” really applies to this day. It was done in no time at all (5 hours). Once again, thanks to all!! 

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To help with the stress of all that has beset us thus far, I’ve been trying to take time to try my hand at painting on a regular basis. Here’s a couple of my latest endeavors. Both small, 5×7” mixed media. 

(L): ”Tomato Season”, (R): “Squash Flower And Bumblebee” 

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Diane Cazalet 

At this time in my life I am so concerned about my relationships, friends, and those people around me who share living here at High Prairie. Certainly, during a coronavirus pandemic I could not find a more beautiful area to “shelter in place” and avoid contracting the dreaded disease. However, I very much miss gathering with my friends, sharing stories, entertaining or potlucks where we can visit, laugh and enjoy each other’s company. My friendships within the High Prairie community have been positive, caring and mutually supportive. They’ve meant a great deal to me. 

So it really bothers me that those friendships are being damaged by the political polarization and division rife in our country. I am worried about how polarized our country has become politically and how divided we are in our beliefs. I have seen this happening for many years now, that people feel forced to take sides on issues that many believe to be black and white, right or wrong, left or right, ‘Us’ or ‘Them’. And often those decisions are based on incomplete, misconstrued, or faulty information; intentional misinformation; or sometimes even just plain lies. 

It scares me the way the political divide is threatening our democracy and weakening our nation. A democracy thrives on good information, open communication, compromise, and a recognition of the common good. If we are so polarized we can’t even talk to one another we certainly won’t be coming up with any solutions for making our lives better or for understanding where others are coming from. 

When I’ve tried to talk to friends about my concerns, the political divide has been a huge barrier between us. Despite the fact that most of us have many things in common and share the same values, have cared for each other and felt a bond with one another, we couldn’t discuss things. 

Why has the current political atmosphere become so ugly? Why can’t we talk or work things out with one another? Expressing my concerns in an invitation to open discussion is not an attack, and it shouldn’t make us instant enemies. Some say that there’s no value in discussion, because no one will change their minds. I refuse to believe this. Why wouldn’t we modify our opinions if we learn new facts or new information? 

No one has all the answers, but how can we begin to listen, learn and change some of our beliefs? There is certainly some middle ground to be found and I know we will all be so much better off if we can hear each other. Let’s start finding the things we agree are important and stop the threats, accusations, and insults to others. Let’s find ways to work with each other. We have so much to talk about, and voting is not our only role in this democracy. 

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Are you sick of Lockdown? 


by J. Rehmeyer, published in Science News 8/18/07 

Originally submitted by Bud Jester for the Sept. 2007 High Prairian 

Driving on a dirt road can rattle the bones. Every foot or so, a ridge of dirt up to several inches high lies in wait to jolt passing cars and trucks and their hapless occupants. In many places, road crews battle this “washboard” effect by frequently scraping the roads with bulldozers. But as soon as more vehicles pass, the ridges, phoenix-like, return. 

Now, a team of physicists has explained why a washboard forms, and their research has a dispiriting message for road crews: Scrape often, or give up. Washboard is inevitable. 

Most previous theories of washboard formation involved relatively complex dynamics. Some focused on the bounce of a vehicle’s suspension and tires. Others suggested that differences in compaction between the bottoms and tops of bumps were essential. Still other theories invoked the tendency of dirt to segregate according to grain size. Many an engineer has tried to design washboard-resistant road surfaces, but the ridges keep rising. 

Stephen W. Morris of the University of Toronto and his colleagues Nicolas Taberlet and Jim N. McElwaine of the University of Cambridge in England aimed to find the simplest possible explanation for the phenomenon. They built a circular turntable that they could cover with dirt or sand, and positioned a hard rubber wheel above it. 

After smoothing the dirt, they turned the table at varying speeds, allowing the wheel to run over the surface. Then they watched the washboard form. 

The researchers varied the experiment in every way they could think of. They compacted the dirt. They used sand grains of varying sizes and mixtures, and they even tried substituting rice. They used wheels of different sizes and weights as well as a flat plow-wheel that didn’t spin. Some of the variations changed the pattern, spreading the ripples or packing them closer together, but the ripples always formed. 

The team reports its findings in the Aug. 10 [2007] Physical Review Letters. 

The researchers found one, and only one, solution: Slow down. A lot. “The critical velocity below which [the surface] would remain flat is about 5 miles per hour,” Taberlet says. 

The researchers then created a computer simulation to model the movements of individual grains of sand so that they could see precisely how the ripples formed. 

Any bed of dirt or sand, even a very smooth one, has minuscule irregularities that slightly jog a rolling wheel. Each time the wheel hits a bump, the computer simulation showed, it pushes the dirt forward a bit, enlarging the irregularity. Then, as the wheel passes over the top of the bump, the force of its descent pushes dirt forward into the next bump. Repeat these actions a hundred or more times and the familiar pattern of ridges appears. 

Douglas Kurtze of Saint Joseph’s University in Philadelphia says that this is the first time anyone has studied washboard formation using a controlled experiment. Although it won’t eliminate washboards, it lets scientists “get down to the essentials of what the mechanism is,” says Kurtze. 

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Tim Darland, Fire Chief 

As we meander through these unprecedented times and try to find some kind of normalcy in our lives, I wanted to take a mental break from COVID-19 and reflect back to 2019 and acknowledge our High Prairie Firefighters. As you recall, our annual firefighter’s appreciation dinner was canceled in March of this year. Prior to the official cancellation, the High Prairie Community Council members and other volunteers had already set up the community center for the dinner. As always, they exceeded all expectations (see picture)! Thank you for all your efforts, and I know all emergency responders from Lyle and High Prairie departments are very appreciative. 

Although we couldn’t be there in person, it is important to acknowledge individuals that had an exceptional year for the department. 

Here are the award recipients for 2019: 

(Select image to view enlargement)

(L–R): Ron McDonald, 2019 Firefighter of the Year “For Dedication to our Department and Community”,
Glenna Scott Chief’s Award “Excellence in Support of High Prairie Fire Department”,
Philip Haner  Chief’s Award “Exemplary Service and Dedication”,
Dave Thom Chief’s Award (Super Captain) “Exemplary Service and Dedication”,
Tom McMackin Chief’s Award & Night Owl Award “Exemplary Service and Dedication Made the highest number of calls from 10:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m.”.

Congratulations award recipients! For the other department members, I had purchased folding knives and handed those out as a small token of my appreciation. I am honored to serve as High Prairie Fire Chief for such as outstanding group of dedicated professionals. Thank you emergency responders!

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Tom McMackin 

On May 15, 2020, the seasonal burn ban went into effect for our region in Klickitat County. In an ideal world, all those outside clean-ups and pruning sessions would have been managed successfully this Spring and the collected branches, duff and debris disposed of ahead of that date… Unfortunately, I find that there are still a few things I need to accomplish even as the Summer season with its potential for fire is upon us. 

If you, like me, have outside projects or last minute details to contend with… there are some simple things you can do to create defensible space around your house and other structures or sensitive areas. You can initiate or continue incorporating the Firewise 5’/30’/100’ protection zones concept to proactively prepare for a fire emergency. 

How? Start with inspecting all roof areas of any structures. Clean any debris resting on the roof, in its valleys or other nooks or crannies. Clear gutters, put screening on vents and generally tidy up down to the ground at the foundation and 5’ outward. This will make it difficult for fire running on the ground or embers drifting up with smoke or carried by the wind to get a toe-hold and kindle a new fire in immediate contact with your property. 

The next phase involves stepping back to survey areas that are within 30’ of property that needs protection. Taking care of this area will give first responders a fighting chance to put their skills and experience to work protecting your property safely and effectively. 

Here’s a reminder link that speaks to preparing your property for wild/forest fire events: 

https://dnr.wi.gov/topic/forestFire/preparing.html. This has excellent information and at the bottom, under the ‘Home Ignition Zones’ tab, is an illustration of the protection zones concept. 


What if that knock on your door comes at 2 AM? What will you do? What can you do? Thinking through those ‘what ifs’ and preparing for the possibility will transform the trauma of that moment into effective action and give you some peace of mind in the midst of the swirling chaos of an evacuation order. 

The following link offers “How to Prioritize an Evacuation List” – one approach to listing time and priority tasks for evacuation action. https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B4EjTfXhwMcwelFqUFUydEQzR3M/view 

This link has a good, printable list of things to do before a wildfire event, when wildfire threatens, and if advised to evacuate. https:// mil.wa.gov/asset/5ba42010c6f26 


Contact Tom McMackin for more information on the ‘Firewise’ and ‘Ready, Set, Go!’ programs; if you have 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: 

Firewise – 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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from: www.doh.wa.gov/Emergencies/BePreparedBeSafe/SevereWeatherandNaturalDisasters/Wildfires 

This wildfire season is going to be unique as we continue to respond to COVID-19. This year we are especially concerned about health impacts, as breathing in wildfire smoke may worsen symptoms for those with COVID-19 and many of those vulnerable to wildfire smoke are also vulnerable to COVID-19. 

How we protect ourselves from wildfire smoke is going to be different with COVID-19. It will be more difficult to go to public spaces where the air is cleaner and cooler than our homes may be. N95 respirators should be reserved for healthcare and frontline workers because N95 respirator supplies are limited. Cloth face coverings do not provide much protection from wildfire smoke. Take steps to prepare your home for wildfire smoke by improving air filtration and creating a clean air space. 

For more specific information, take a look at: 

Guidance for wildfire smoke and COVID-19 during the 2020 wildfire season (PDF) 

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Rebecca Sonniksen (Grandma Riva) 

You might think one red is like any other red or there is only one color orange, like the crayon; but as our granddaughters, Izzy (age 9) and Sof (age 7) learned, it depends on how you look at it. 

Like many of you, the thing we miss most during this challenging time is being with family, which includes our granddaughters. They live in Portland; so while we’ve connected virtually, the spontaneity of a real visit has been missing. 

Thanks to good weather and social distancing, a visit here was finally possible. It had been awhile so we wanted to do something new and fun, and picking up pine cones this time probably wasn’t it. 

Since being here is about seeing new things, Scott (Grandpa Scotty) came up with a “seeing” color activity. All it required was an inexpensive digital camera and a color chart of primary colors: red, yellow, and blue and secondary colors: green, orange and purple. 

The assignment was to photograph something in nature and something man-made in each of the six colors. Using a camera helps frame the color by taking it out of context and making it the object of the photograph. 

According to Grandpa Scotty, the point of the activity is to see the nuances and shades of color and how they mix to make other colors, like blue and yellow to make green. It also introduces the different qualities of light and how natural or artificial lighting effects color perception. 

“They would call me over to ask what kind of green they were looking at, so we pulled out the color chart and discussed if the green was leaning more towards the yellow or the blue,” explains Scott (Grandpa Scotty). 

For the color blue the girls found in nature a blue flower and for man-made a blue bucket. Both were blue, but with the help of the color chart they found the flower color leaned more towards a violet- blue because it had a touch of red. The girls also discovered that colors look more or less intense depending on what other color is nearby. 

This was an exercise in seeing what’s really there, not simply what you expect to see; and it made abstract theories of color a hands-on, fun and understandable exercise. It made for a fun afternoon and gave us a follow-up for the next visit. With their printed photos they can mount the color comparisons side by side or create a collage, or do something totally unexpected and delightful. 

Like so many activities, it turns out they have as much to teach us as we them. Seeing through a child’s eyes is a lovely reminder of how much there is to see if you take the time. 

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(L): Sonniksens’ granddaughters – Izzy(l) and Sof(r), (R): Sof taking pic of blue flowers  


Gwen Berry

Being famous doesn’t always make you a star. Try a comet! This is the 3.1 mile wide chunk of ancient ice popularly known as Comet NEOWISE. Officially, its name is C/2020 F3 (NEOWISE). The comet was discovered by researchers using NASA’s Near-Earth Object Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer, a space-based infrared telescope. The NEOWISE mission is to spot comets and asteroids which are potentially hazardous to our planet. 

Comet NEOWISE was discovered only recently, on March 27, 2020, after traveling all the way from the Oort Cloud – a massive field of icy bodies at the outer edge of our solar system. Astronomers spotted the comet as it was coming toward the sun. It shot into the inner solar system and passed the Sun at a distance closer than the planet Mercury. The comet survived its close encounter with the sun, and it’s now passing near Earth. It’s on a near-parabolic course that will bring it back to Earth again in 6,800 years. You might want to see it while you have the chance.

The comet is just visible to the naked eye and easy to see with a good pair of binoculars or a telescope. Until mid-July, the comet was only visible before dawn, but it’s now visible in the evening. To see it, go outside just after dark and look to the northwest, below the Big Dipper. It’s been appearing close to the horizon, but it will rise higher in the sky in coming days. It will continue to be visible until the middle of August, growing gradually dimmer as it heads back out to the far reaches of the solar system.

Photographer’s Note: I set up around 10 on our deck as it has unobstructed views to West, North and East. Started looking and finally found Comet Neowise a little after. Kind of difficult to spot without binoculars until 10:30 or so and then it was fairly easy to see. Finished taking photos about 11:30. Interesting to watch the comet move from west of Mt. Adams to east over the hour and a half I was out.

Photo: Eric Shrum

More Comet NEOWISE photos as seen from High Prairie:

Below: Photo: Carl Lindgren from near Schilling Road
Bottom: Photo: Jim Day, from near High Prairie Road

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