LILLIAN CROOK: WildDakotaWoman — Earth Day 2017

Jim and I spent Earth Day 2017 working in our yard in the dee-lightful spring sunshine. We might have joined the marches for science around the country, but the yard work beckoned.

I remember very clearly the first Earth Day in 1970. We got out of school that day to pick up trash in the ditch along state Highway 12 from Rhame to Griffin, N.D. Being self-respecting kids, we were thrilled.

My father and mother were home in the fields, planting spring wheat and mending fences. (My mother also worked as a nurse at the Bowman (N.D.) Hospital.) They would no doubt be busy getting ready for branding the year’s Black Angus calves. When we would get off the school bus at our mailbox after the long ride, we’d have to change out of our school clothes and put on chore clothes.  But on this day, we got to wear our chore clothes to school. Yeehaa!

I come from a long line of gardeners, on both sides. My parents love putting seeds and seedlings into the ground and watching them grow. To this day, my 92-year-old father garden. And if she could, my mother would (she has houseplants instead) too.

But back to our garden here in Bismarck.

We try to grow much of what we eat. Jim also hunts and fishes, and with reverence, we prepare these foods. On March 15, we plant heirloom tomato seeds in the furnace room, and there under the grow lights they sprout.

A few weeks later, we bring the sprouts up into the sun-filled dining room.

Today, we worked together to add chicken wire to the fence around our vegetable garden, to foil the dastardly rabbits. That was hard work. I don’t know how my parents did it all — and still went to church and meetings and had company to play pinochle on a regular basis and attended our basketball games and concerts.

Later while we rested on the patio, a Cooper’s hawk soared over. The only sounds we heard were the chickadees, the Eurasian-collared doves and some raucous robins.

This is the time of year that I seldom answer my phone. If you need to reach me, best to come on over and say yoohoo at my gate, or email or text me. The quantity of my writing will decrease also, although I will chronicle the photographs of our gardens.

Blooming in the garden today are the daffodils, the meadowlark forsthyia, and the Rubra Pasqueflower, shown in that order below. Now it is time to quit for the day, to shower, grill some mushroom and Swiss cheeseburgers on the patio and drink a glass of Pinot Noir.

“Live to fight another day,” says my husband, and he is a wise man.

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