Unheralded

LILLIAN CROOK: WildDakotaWoman — Two Heads Are Better Than One, Even When One Is A Goat Head: Attaday

This all comes together, I promise. Something I heard my father say countless times: “Two heads are better than one even, when one is a goat head.” For a time in our Army life, we lived in El Paso, Texas, and when I heard this phrase, I thought my parents were talking about the thorny weed that was called “goathead” …


Unheralded

LILLIAN CROOK: WildDakotaWoman — Reminiscing About Scouts In My Life

You are darned tootin’ I visited the Juliette Gordon Low Birthplace when in Savannah, Ga.,  about 10 years ago. And the Flannery O’Connor Childhood Home nearby. The Pathe video of O’Connors’s chickens she trained to walk backward is a classic and you can watch it here. I also spotted some headstones in the Savannah cemeteries of my paternal ancestors. (Yup my paternal ancestors arrived from …


LILLIAN CROOK: WildDakotaWoman — An Explosion Of Scoria Lilies In The Badlands: Rain Makes All The Difference

I’m home from the Badlands of North Dakota. Rain makes all the difference. In my lifetime, I’ve seen it this green, but not for a good long while. After these years of drought, the wildflowers are exploding. I don’t remember seeing so many scoria lilies (10-petal blazing star, aka Mentzelia Decapetala in the southern Badlands before). Oh and Lazuli Buntings everywhere.

LILLIAN CROOK: WildDakotaWoman — Postcards From The Grave

On Friday, I received postcards in the mail that my Mother and I had written decades ago to my grandparents at P.O. Box 172 Slope County, N.D. My Mother’s was in her Copperplate handwriting, addressed to her parents. Mine was in the handwriting of a little girl, addressed to my grandparents. My cousins are going through my aunt’s stuff and …

LILLIAN CROOK: WildDakotaWoman — Closure: A Return To Puget Sound With The Dopsons And An Homage To My Mother

Home safe in North Dakota. Three new life birds: Pigeon Guillemot, Chestnut-backed Chickadee and Marbled Murrelet. Many orcas and other wonders of the Puget Sound area and countless new memories of explorations and adventures with good friends. And finally I can say that I’ve been to British Columbia and the San Juan Islands.

LILLIAN CROOK: WildDakotaWoman — Red Oak House Garden Notes No. 72: The Perennials And Tomatoes Take Center Stage

A deluge of magical rain these past weeks has made all the difference. That and two loads of mulch from the dump and some clearance bags of mulch from Runnings. Busy now, packing for an expedition with a woman friend. Countless lessons about packing from my Mother are informing and inspiring me today. More smiles now than tears. Stay tuned for news …

LILLIAN CROOK: WildDakotaWoman — Red Oak House Garden Notes No. 70: Here It Is July

Here It Is July at Red Oak House, and 2.75 inches of rain in two nights! And a few days ago, I dug up a shrub rose in an area that has to be re-worked and gifted it to my dear friend, Christine. She has planted it. Moved the clock and touched up the paint, and life goes on. Time …

LILLIAN CROOK: WildDakotaWoman — Father’s Day 2022

Father’s Day 2022. Made a quick visit to my Pa’s grave (quick being a relative term considering the amount of road construction between my house and the North Dakota Veterans Cemetery this time of year). Where it is hot and I can see the hay bales across the road, and the hot prairie wind is blowing, but I can hear …

LILLIAN CROOK: WildDakotaWoman — Bullion Butte: The Mother Ship

Bullion Butte: The Mother Ship (at least it is to me) Where do I start, I ask myself? How do I not make this dry and unreadable? How do I sort through my lifetime of memories of Bullion Butte and the files in our house? But start I will. I’ve written before about the buttes of southwest North Dakota and …

LILLIAN CROOK: WildDakotaWoman — Home From Mom’s Funeral

Home now from Mom’s funeral weekend in Slope and Bowman counties, where there were tears and laughter and the opportunity to visit in person with Mom’s immediate family who were able to be in attendance and with the folks of my childhood home ground, including several who are older than my Mom. Back to gardening and camping and hiking and …

LILLIAN CROOK: WildDakotaWoman — Marian Crook Silbernagel In Her Own Words : A Mother’s Day Offering

In 2007, my mother, Marian Crook, wanted to write her memoir (expanding on what had been written in Slope Saga and taking her story on through her long and adventurous life), and she asked me to assist her. Although she had in the later years of her career in nursing certainly used a computer to chart for her patients at …

LILLIAN CROOK: WildDakotaWoman — Another Wind Event In North Dakota

We know at Red Oak House we’ve had another “wind event” when the local tree service trucks begin to show up to deal with the fallout. In other news, a massive and gnarly tumbleweed blew into our front yard in the middle of Bismarck! Wonder where that came from? On the bright side, the National Weather Service says the drought …

LILLIAN CROOK: WildDakotaWoman — Blue Sky And Sunshine At Red Oak House

Friday, April 15, 2002: I was up at dawn to look out the windows here to check on the status of the historic blizzard of April 2022. My treat was a beautiful amber full moon setting in the west, which meant some blue sky sunshine today. So far no wind here. One neighbor left in his 4-wheel drive pickup for …

LILLIAN CROOK: WildDakotaWoman — Day Three, April 2022 Blizzard: Lucinda Gets The Final Word

Dispatch from Red Oak House (April 14): I dug some snow, watched someone go by with a pickup, heard snowplows and pondered whether a trip to the market was advised. Canceled a plan to drive to Rhame tomorrow (postponed for another time). Did other work around the house. No paper or mail delivery. Filled the bird feeders again. Did some …

LILLIAN CROOK: WildDakotaWoman — Day Two, April 2022 Blizzard

Dispatch from Red Oak House (April 13, 2022): Mostly I shoveled snow, trying to keep ahead of it. Spotted lots of birds, including a Sharp-Shinned Hawk flyby and some Turkey Vultures taking shelter in the neighborhood trees.  My siblings and relatives elsewhere in North Dakota were texting me photos of the snow at their houses. (Family in other parts of the …

LILLIAN CROOK: WildDakotaWoman — Day One, April 2022 Blizzard

Dispatch from Red Oak House (April 12, 2022): I shovel the driveway and back patio four times. Jim sets up the indoor greenhouse in the dining room for the vegetable seedlings. I text back and forth with various family members across the country, including my uncle in Mississippi who is watching the same Weather Channel report from Bismarck as me. (In …

LILLIAN CROOK: WildDakotaWoman — ‘Keep It Between The Ditches’

The blizzard has begun here at Red Oak House. On days like today, if indeed we were going to drive (much less leave the farmhouse), my Slope County Grandpa Andy (and my Mother, his daughter) would say, “Keep it between the ditches!” My Mother said this until her last days to her children when she was worried about us traveling. …

LILLIAN CROOK: WildDakotaWoman — In With The New And The Old Still Works

In with the new and the old still works.  Got some spring cleaning done to boot (spiderwebs, dust, etc. removed). My daughter helped me with the techy stuff as well as the basics while we chatted. The new IT equipment works and it only took me three online chats with customer support and one phone call to the company who …

LILLIAN CROOK: WildDakotaWoman — Early April Accomplishments

Planned some North Dakota Road Trips for camping and hiking. Took out some seasonal stuff from storage, chatted with neighbors and friends and daughter and others. Didn’t watch The Masters. Watched and listened to spring birds, filled bird feeders, laughed at squirrels and bunnies and spotted new spring growth here in North Dakota. Lastly, took out my hand saw and …

LILLIAN CROOK: WildDakotaWoman — Go Play Outside: The South Dakota Edition Of My Road Trip With A Friend

In his 1989 book “The Lost Continent,” Bill Bryson wrote, “It’s an awful place (Wall, S.D.), one of the world’s worst tourist traps, but I loved it and I won’t have a word said against it.” I was born in western South Dakota, yet I have only one adult memory of visiting Wall, just a stop on a road trip with a friend …

LILLIAN CROOK: WildDakotaWoman — Vernal Equinox Road Trip To Western North Dakota Counties: A Visual Essay

A Spring road trip to southwestern North Dakota counties and the Little Missouri National Grasslands: a Visual Essay, in no particular order. My very first in-person shopping at Roxie’s Smoke Shack. Jim is a celebrity there. We had some laughs and bought some stuff. Then I walked across state Highway 12 to mail a Marmarth postcard to my brother with …

LILLIAN CROOK: WildDakotaWoman — A Grief Journey: Part 4

Sitting with my mom this past winter and showing her via Google Streetview the paved streets in the small southwest North Dakota towns she had not been to in many years. Paved streets and sidewalks. Right there on my smartphone screen. We did confirm that some of the landmarks (like the Waterhole Bar) are still there. I navigated to show …