Vol. 24, No. 2

















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 Sharon Aleckson 

The High Prairie Community Council has been working closely with Klickitat County Litter Crew (KCLC) and Republic Services to organize a community-wide cleanup that will be completed in two phases. That means you will have two opportunities (at no charge to you) to participate in our HIGH PRAIRIE COMMUNITY CLEANUP. 

PHASE ONE – May 23-25 – ROADSIDE CLEANUP (Centerville Hwy, County Roads, Private Roads) – Klickitat County Litter Crew, under the supervision of Sandy Christopher, will be picking up litter along highways and roads (within the boundaries of High Prairie Fire District #14) that are maintained by the Klickitat County Road Department. Roads not maintained by KCRD are considered Private Roads. Klickitat County has provided items that would be useful for litter pick-up along these roads, too. Those items include: litter bags, grabbers, vests, and gloves. These items may be picked up at the home of Sharon Aleckson, 783 Centerville Hwy. Lime green signs will direct you where to pick up the items. Filled litter bags and items that have been used for litter pick-up are to be returned to 703 Centerville Hwy (old red fire station) no later than 3pm on Saturday, May 25. Look for more lime green signs showing where to drop them off. KCLC will pick up the bags and other items used for our Community Cleanup. 

PHASE TWO – June 20-22 – DUMPSTER DAYS – This will be the second opportunity for you to get rid of the clutter, trash, and yard debris on your property. Dumpsters provided by Republic Services will be located at 703 Centerville Hwy (old red fire station). There will be 2 dumpsters for trash, 1 dumpster for yard debris only, and a separate trailer for tires (car and pickup). Hours are 9:00AM-4:00PM each day; no items may be dropped off outside those hours. Any donations for the upcoming Firehouse Sales (rummage sales) in July and September will also be accepted during this time. Volunteers will be on site should you have questions or need help. 

TRASH COLLECTION: Bring household trash to the dumpsters at 703 Centerville Hwy (old red fire station). NOT ACCEPTED: Appliances, gas engines, concrete, axles, any items over 6 feet in length, pressurized vessels, and/or hazardous materials (e.g. wet paint, propane, fuel, chemicals, batteries, etc.) Car and pickup tires will be accepted, but cannot be placed in the dumpster. 

YARD DEBRIS: Yard Debris (limbs less than 8 feet, branches, grass clippings, leaves) will be accepted on a space-available basis. There will be a dumpster for YARD DEBRIS ONLY, so it will not be mixed with household waste/trash and can go to Dirt Huggers for recycling. NO plywood, pressboard, pretreated wood, painted wood, or railroad ties, etc., can be accepted as yard debris. 

FIREHOUSE SALE DONATIONS: Bring any items that you would like to donate to upcoming Firehouse Sales. We are accepting items (household, books, clothing (adult/children), toys, tools, etc.) that are clean, not missing parts, and in working order. NOT ACCEPTED: electronics, large appliances, large pieces of furniture. 

WE NEED VOLUNTEERS!!! Sign up for a shift at the Dumpster Site. Help is needed with loading/unloading, monitoring load contents, traffic control safety, donations to the Firehouse Sale area, beverages or snacks at the Hospitality Table, and more. Can’t volunteer those days and want to support this event? Here are some suggestions: contribute snacks or beverages (water/pop) for the Hospitality Table. Coffee will be provided by HPCC. 

For more information about the cleanup, contact Sharon Aleckson by email at highprairiegirl@gmail.com or call/text 509-310-9172. For those who would like to sign up for a shift at the dumpster site at 703 Centerville Hwy, ask questions about donations for upcoming Firehouse Sales, or donate items to the Hospitality Table, contact Barb Parrish at 509-281-0933 or highprairiebarb@gmail.com.

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Barbara Parrish 

Ruby St. Lawrence at 90 

Recently, High Prairie Community Council (HPCC) was blessed with a check for $5,000.00. The check was from Marcie Merritt who works for Boeing in the Portland area. Boeing has a matching funds program for employees, so HPCC will receive another $5,000.00 from them.

Marcie gave this money in memory of her mother, Ruby St. Lawrence who passed away on December 5, 2023. She was 100 years old. Ruby was born in Goldendale and raised on High Prairie on the family farm, later part of Parrish Ranches and presently owned by Roger and Cindy Dickenson. The house she grew up in is still standing. Ruby St. Lawrence and Nada McMurrin were the last two graduates of the Hartland School. Ruby loved her growing-up years on High Prairie and had great memories of those years. Her family moved away in 1947. 

Ruby was interred at the Mountain View Cemetery in Goldendale in the St. Lawrence family plot. 

High Prairie Community Council says “THANK YOU,” Marcie, for your generosity! This money will help HPCC achieve some of their goals for the Community Center. 

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Debbie McDonald 

May is a transition month in High Prairie as migrating birds are passing through on their way to other breeding grounds while resident birds are building nests here and laying eggs. Soon oak leaves will completely unfurl. 

The primary reason birds stop before moving on to breeding grounds north of us, or settle in to build nests, is to eat insects and spiders. Most birds don’t rear their young on seeds from our feeders or from fruits left on bushes. The overwhelming majority of insects that become bird food need native plant species that insects depend on for growth and reproduction. Enter the native white oak! 

Oaks are great caterpillar producers. Daily it takes hundreds of smooth skinned, tasty inchworm caterpillars to satisfy the hunger of growing chicks. In some areas caterpillars are so plentiful that they will fall from the branches onto unwitting creatures beneath the canopy. Underwing caterpillars feed on oak leaves at night, while sitting motionless on branches or the trunk during the day and look exactly like the bark they are sitting on. Nationwide, there are at least 17 species of underwings that use oaks as their sole host plant. 

You’ve heard me say it before, but it bears repeating. Douglas W. Tallamy extolls the “rich ecology of our most essential native trees” in his easy-to-read book (monthly chapters) The Nature of Oaks. I love having my copy to refer to throughout the year, but the book is available through the FVRL system for check out. High Prairie white oak is our neighborhood treasure. 

Spring in the Oaks – Photo: Gwen Berry

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Toni Cox 

Robert LaBrie Edwards was born to Clairbelle and Ernest Edwards on February 13, 1940, in Portland, OR. He was the youngest of four brothers and one sister and was raised by his mother. 

Bob met the love of his life, Beverly Ann Reams in 1958. They married in 1960. 

He worked at The Bank of California in downtown Portland as a young man, but retired after working more than 30 years at Freightliner. 

Bob and Bev raised their three daughters in Portland until 1972, when they finally built a house on acreage they purchased years before in Banks, OR. Bob was a city boy, longing to be a country boy. He enjoyed raising beef cows, a pony, pigs, chickens, turkeys, rabbits, ducks and geese, but he favored raising sheep. He enjoyed cutting wood to heat their home, building fences and outbuildings, driving his tractor, growing an organic garden and doing anything farm related. 

In 1997 Bob and Bev moved to Lyle, WA, where they built a home in High Prairie. They were very involved in the community. They enjoyed participating in the “Firehouse Sale” where they worked to raise money for the local fire department. Bob made bird houses and grew tomato plant starts to sell. 

He enjoyed plowing snow from the rural road in front of their property and plowing out neighbors’ roads and driveways. Bob was a big believer in neighbors helping neighbors. He attended a local church in Lyle, WA. 

Bob enjoyed playing tour guide to out-of-state friends and family, with the Oregon coast, the Columbia Gorge, Hood River and the High Prairie area being some of his favorite areas to show off. 

One of the highlights of Bob’s life was playing Santa Claus. He rode on the fire truck in parades in Lyle, jumping out to meet the children with a bag of goodies and a fist full of candy canes. 

Bob and Bev loved cruising and traveling, especially road trips, visiting many states in their motor home. They enjoyed a 50th anniversary cruise to the Mexican Riviera with 19 family members just weeks before he lost his bride to cancer in 2010. 

In 2019 Bob’s health began deteriorating so it was necessary to move into assisted living. He lived at Glenwood Place in Vancouver for five years before passing away on April 24th, 2024, at the age of 84. 

Bob is survived by his daughters, Toni Cox, Dawn Ewers, Melanie Maguire, sons-in-law, Jim Cox, Steve Ewers, and daughter-in-law, Tina Gannon, grand children Amanda Sallee, Adam Ralston, grand daughter-in-law, Haley Wolverton, and great grand children Korbyn and Delontea Sallee, and Stella and Emmy Ralston. 

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by Anonymous, Submitted by John Parr 

A computer was something on TV 
From a science fiction show of note. 
A window was something you hated to clean, 
And ram was the cousin of a goat 

Meg was the name of my girlfriend. 
A gig was a job for the night. 
Now they all mean different things, 
And that really mega bytes. 

An application was for employment. 
A program was a TV show. 
A cursor used profanity. 
A keyboard was a piano. 

Memory was something that you lost with age. 
A CD was a bank account. 
And if you had a three-inch floppy, 
You hoped nobody found out. 

Compress was something you did to the garbage, 
Not something you did to a file. 
And if you unzipped anything in public, 
You’d be in jail for a while. 

Log on was adding wood to the fire. 
Hard drive was a long trip on the road. 
A mouse pad was where a mouse lived. 
And a backup happened to your commode. 

Cut, you did with a pocket knife. 
Paste, you did with glue. 
A web was a spider’s home. 
And a virus was the flu. 

I guess I’ll stick to my pad and paper 
And the memory in my head. 
I hear nobody’s been killed in a computer crash, 
But when it happens they wish they were dead. 

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Mike Mahaffa 

My wife and I have noticed many hummingbird feeders on homes as we drive around High Prairie. That is a very good thing, and I’m sure the local hummers would like more feeders about. We have fed hummers for many years and we would like to pass along our experiences. 

First is the hummingbird feeder. There are many beautiful “designer” hummer feeders available and they certainly look attractive hanging from a feeder hook. Unfortunately, they can be difficult to clean completely or they may not hold much nectar. If you have fed a few hummers (or sometimes dozens) you learn how even a large feeder can be drained in a few days. Once you start feeding hummers, it is important to always keep the feeder(s) as full as possible, particularly during the early to late Spring when the male and female/mother hummers are relying upon them as a regular source of food, and as Spring progresses into Summer and the amount of reliable natural sources declines. 

My wife and I have found two types of hummer feeders to be the best. They are easy to fill and easy to clean with a small brush, particularly the opening to each orifice in the base of the feeder from which the hummer feeds. If not cleaned regularly, the opening can grow black mold which can affect the hummers negatively. The same is true for the interior of the feeder. I have enclosed pictures of the two standard feeders, one vertical and the other, a flat design. I like the flat design as it is very easy to clean and also has a relatively short opening to the nectar even if the volume of liquid is low. That is particularly advantageous for the Calliope Hummingbird, which is regularly found on High Prairie in breeding season and in Fall. This bird has a shorter bill, so distance to the nectar is important. The only disadvantage to this flat feeder is that rain has a tendency to drain into the feeder and dilute the nectar, so I put a feeder shield over the feeder (Amazon— preferably red). This prevents the rain from entering, but also the red shield will draw the hummers’ attention to the feeder location. 

The other hummer feeder is vertical and comes in various sizes, which is an advantage as you add hummers to your banquet. I also recommend a shield over this type of feeder, as it will shade the feeder. Some of my feeders are located under the eves or are attached to the windows with suction cups. There may be shade under the eves, and rain is much less of an issue. 

Placement is important, particularly in the hot summer days on High Prairie. Mount the feeders where they do not receive the full afternoon sun, ideally in shade. Mount them high enough so cats or other animals cannot reach the hummers as they feed. To help hummers find the feeders you may wish to tie red ribbon near or below the feeders to make them more obvious to migrating hummers. As mentioned, placing feeders in shade or using a shield above the feeder can help prevent the nectar from getting too hot. The higher the nectar temperature the less time the nectar will remain unspoiled. During high summer it is best to clean the feeder(s) after 3-4 days. This is very important as bacteria, viruses and mold can grow and spread quickly and cause death of the hummer or growths on the hummer’s tongue. 

Other problems at the feeder(s) can be ants, gnats and wasps. Ants can be thwarted by a small dish-type device to mount above the feeder, using the hook at the top of the feeder. The principle is to fill the ant guard device with water, which acts as a moat. Ants can’t cross the water so they won’t get into the nectar portals. The water level has to be kept full as the water evaporates quickly in summer. The two feeders described above have built-in ant guards but they don’t hold much water and it evaporates quickly. 

Wasps can be a problem and difficult to deal with, but they seem to be more of a problem in the afternoon when the temperature rises, while hummers will feed early and late in the day. Gnats are a problem for which I have not found a solution. Since hummers feed on small gnats on flowers as they feed, I am hoping they add a “garnish” to the feeder liquid, but that is probably wishful thinking. Hummers will stop coming to a feeder that has a lot of ants or gnats floating in the nectar. 

Putting out and maintaining more than one feeder also has the advantage of separating male hummers, particularly Anna’s and Rufus Hummingbirds, which are very territorial and will fight and drive off any competitor. If the multiple feeders are spread around your property so that a male hummer cannot see an interloper on another feeder: he will blissfully think, This is my one and only feeder and I am the king of what is mine. 

The formula for making your own hummer food is widely available on the internet. It’s not necessary to put red dye into the sugar solution to attract the hummers. Never use honey or any other substitute. The last few years my wife and I have been using Hummingbird Nectar purchased through Amazon which is premixed and, importantly, contains electrolytes. This product carries the endorsement of Cornell Ornithology. 

We enjoy feeding the hummers. As a neighbor stated, there are few things more satisfying than sitting on your deck in the late afternoon as the sun goes down, surrounded by several hummingbirds buzzing through their life with their young and enjoying the habitat that you have established for them. 

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Sarah Hancock, Fire Chief 

Thank you, neighbors, for a well-attended Firefighters Appreciation Banquet on April 27, 2024. We had a full house! We also very much appreciate the numerous snack and drink donations we received for this year’s wildfire season! It is not unusual for our volunteers to be on a fire scene for many hours without a meal; these snacks are easy to carry in our packs and will help tremendously while we fight fires. 

The appreciation awards for the 2023 season were: 

Firefighter of the Year: Chris Roper 
Mentors of the Year: Dave Thom and Tom McMackin 
Rookies of the Year: Edwardo Ornelas and Ken Hill 
Teambuilder of the Year: Brenda Edin 
Humanitarian of the Year: James Day 

New EMT on board! 

Congratulations to Samuel Holman who, as of May 3, 2024, is a Washington State certified EMT. High Prairie now has 1 EMR, 3 EMTs, and 2 Paramedics serving our community and surrounding areas. Our other 11 volunteers are certified in first-aid. 

What is the difference between first-aid, an EMR (Emergency Medical Responder), EMT (Emergency Medical Technician), AEMT (Advanced Emergency Medical Technician), and Paramedic? Basically, it’s the level of education and the kind of procedures each is allowed to perform. Paramedics have the highest level of education of the 5 skill levels. 

Klickitat County Burn Ban coming soon! 

The county is divided into 3 zones: Eastern Klickitat County is Zone 1, the central part of the county (which includes High Prairie) is Zone 2, and the western end of the county is Zone 3. Zone 1’s burn ban is expected to begin May 20th. Zone 2’s burn ban will likely start around the same time. Stay tuned! 

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Mark Your Calendar 

Barbara Parrish 

Saturday, May 25th will be Cemetery Clean-Up Day. We will begin at 9:00 a.m. and work until finished – usually by noon. Please bring lawn mowers, weed eaters, hoes, rakes, shovels, wheelbarrows, gloves, snacks, lots of water to stay hydrated, and maybe a chair for resting. Let’s make the cemetery look great for visitors during Memorial Day. 

Thanks to all in advance—it’s a lot of work, but a lot of fun! 

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…so he’s got farm fresh eggs for sale. He says he’ll be happy to deliver to High Prairie, Lyle, The Dalles, and Goldendale. Does his name ring a bell? That’s because he was instrumental in getting several HPCC events and activities off the ground (thank you!) and he’s written about some of them in previous issues of the High Prairian.

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Ken Hansen, KTC President 

At mid-sixties, after a life of hiking and the normal “wear and tear” of knees and such, I have recently found my wanderings in the Gorge to be a bit slower and more painful, and longer to recover from… Steep trails are simply harder for me as I age. While the Gorge is truly blessed with world -class hiking, it is difficult to avoid steep climbs and descents. Only on the Klickitat Trail will you find a 31-mile trail, following a National Wild and Scenic River, that barely ascends a thousand feet! What a unique treasure we have! 

Mark your calendar for June 1, National Trails Day! Come hike from the Pitt trailhead to the Fischer Bridge trailhead with the Klickitat Trail Conservancy President and board members. We will be arranging shuttle vehicles at the beginning of the hike. Watch our website and Facebook page for more information. 

KTC has fielded requests for benches (or even flat rocks) located at strategic locations along the trail. The KTC Board would like to hear from trail users regarding the possible placement of benches, half-logs or other suitable seating possibilities along portions of the trail. 

A $1.5M contract for upgrades in Swale Canyon was recently issued and work is anticipated to begin in the next months. This work will include decking and railings on existing trestles, replacement of railroad ballast with gravel, and removal of debris piles. The trestle railings and decking will make this portion of the trail much safer for horse travel. KTC has provided steady input into these upgrades. Once work begins, the Swale Canyon portion of the trail is anticipated to remain closed for the remainder of the year. So, get out there NOW and enjoy this remote and special portion of the KT. 

Replacement of the Suburbia Bridge (just upriver from Klickitat, removed following the ’96 flood) is slowly moving forward. WA State Parks officials report 3 proposals continue to move through the design and permitting process. The currently preferred proposal, a suspension design, is “favorably” supported by tribal representatives. A final design is expected in 6-8 months. Completion of this bridge, relieving the need to travel on Hwy 142 to travel the Klickitat Trail, is a high priority of KTC. 

After a 5-year hiatus, the popular “Klickitat Trail Half-Marathon & 5K Fun Run” returns to the Klickitat Trail on November 9. Famed as one of the “most beautiful” fun runs in the Gorge, this fundraiser benefits the local communities of Klickitat and Lyle. KTC is a strong supporter of this event and will have a presence at the finish line. KTC Board members and volunteers will gather prior to the run to remove rocks and debris from the course. Check their Facebook Page for more information. 

KTC has recently filled an equestrian-focused board position; we welcome Anna Marlin of Goldendale. Anna works in the equestrian industry and owns several horses. She looks forward to reaching out to other equestrian groups and representing these interests on behalf of the Klickitat Trail. 

KTC is the only organization dedicated solely to advocating for the Klickitat Trail. KTC has a vacancy for a Board member. If you would like to join others who are dedicated to advocating for the Klickitat Trail, please consider joining us! Our volunteers and Board invite you to join or renew your membership today! We hope to see you on the trail! www. klickitat-trail.org 

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Bea Wilson 

Welcome to the High Prairie Farmers Market! Our first market day is on Saturday June 1st. Vendors will be selling farm fresh eggs, garden starts, houseplants, homemade crafts, and baked goods. As the the season progresses you’ll see more fresh produce and fruit. We will have 8 market days total: 1st and 3rd Saturdays, June through September. 

We also have the corresponding Community Cafe, so come have a cup of coffee and breakfast pastries, visit with your High Prairie neighbors, and shop the market 10 – 2 PM. 

Interested vendors, please contact Bea Wilson at 509-637-0584 or email kbktjwilson@ yahoo.com to reserve your space. 10×10 space =$10. Inside and outside spaces are available. There will be 8 market days total, and if vendors sign up for all 8 days they get one free. 

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Chris Sokol 

People mistakenly call turkey vultures “buzzards,” which is the British term for certain hawks. A few facts about turkey vultures: 

  • The naked red head of an adult resembles that of a turkey, thus the name turkey vulture. Their head is without feathers so pieces of carrion do not stick to it as they would to feathers. 
  • Vultures help clean up the environment by eating the flesh of dead animals before it rots and spreads various diseases. They feed by thrusting their head into a cavity of a dead animal. 
  • Turkey vultures prefer meat as fresh as possible and won’t eat meat past 12 to 24 hours old. They also cannot smell meat that is older than 24 hours. 
  • They have the largest olfactory (smelling) system of all birds and can smell carrion that is up to a mile away. 
  • Turkey vultures are the only scavenger birds that can’t kill their prey. 
  • The turkey vulture is related to the stork, not a bird of prey. 
  • Their feet are more like that of a chicken versus a hawk. They do not use their feet for gripping, rather they have a powerful beak which is used for ripping into flesh. 
  • Turkey vultures have a 6 foot wing span, are about 2-1/2 feet tall but only weigh about 3 pounds. 
  • Turkey vultures can live up to 24 years old but average about 20 years. 
  • The turkey vulture maintains stability and lift at low altitudes by holding its wings up in a slight dihedral (Vshape) and teetering from side to side while flying. 
  • They can travel up to 200 miles a day. 
  • Their scientific name in Latin means “cleansing breeze”. 
  • A group of vultures is called a “Venue.” Vultures circling on thermals of hot air are also referred to as a “Kettle” because they resemble the rising bubbles in a boiling pot of water. 
  • When turkey vultures arrive here in early spring, they’re a welcome sign that winter is over. 
  • In the morning you may see them sunbathing in a tree with their wings spread out to increase their body temperature. 

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By Billy Collins, Submitted by Peg Caliendo 
Photo: Jocelyn Weeks

If ever there were a spring day so perfect, 
so uplifted by a warm intermittent breeze 

that it made you want to throw 
open all the windows in the house 

and unlatch the door to the canary’s cage, 
indeed, rip the little door from its jamb, 

a day when the cool brick paths 
and the garden bursting with peonies 

seemed so etched in sunlight 
that you felt like taking 

a hammer to the glass paperweight 
on the living room end table, 

releasing the inhabitants 
from their snow-covered cottage 

so they could walk out, 
holding hands and squinting 

into this larger dome of blue and white, 
well, today is just that kind of day. 

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