Unheralded

UNHERALDED 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 …


Unheralded

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 …

LILLIAN CROOK: WildDakotaWoman — My Mom, The Very Beginning Of A Biography

If there was a geography bee my Mom might have won. It’s not that she just read a lot, which she did (starting with but not limited to National Geographic). And having chased a career military husband around the world added to her advantage. But a big addition to what she knew about the world is jigsaw puzzles. You see, …

LILLIAN CROOK: WildDakotaWoman — A North Dakota Event Near And Dear To My Heart Returns This Winter To In-Person

This is a North Dakota event near and dear to my heart. The Great American Bike Race. Photo is me biking with my daughter Rachel’s team at Bismarck Century High some years ago. Yes, I biked, too. I had some sore muscles when my turn was over. Great American Bike Race Returns

LILLIAN CROOK: WildDakotaWoman — When Women Were Birds

Often we hear a bird, but do not ever see it, cleverly concealed in the tree leaves, or tall grass. My advice: Learn the songs of the birds in your area. Even better, learn the songs of the birds in your country. Like many birders, at one point, I reached a plateau and only added to my list by traveling to new …

LILLIAN CROOK: WildDakotaWoman — Red Oak House Winter Notes No. 7

Gentle readers, those who know us here at Red Oak House know that I write my blog when time permits, and I feel inspired or moved in some way. In our busy lives, Jim and I joke about “the lives of the English majors.” The past two years have been a blur, “smushed together” some might say.Thursday and Friday, Jim …

LILLIAN CROOK: WildDakotaWoman — Red Oak House Winter Notes No. 6

Journal entries 20 October 2021 3:15 p.m. Sunny calm autumn day. A very large and healthy coyote just ran up my street, ahead of my vehicle a full block, and then zipped behind the house next to Red Oak House, in broad daylight (no photo, I was driving). I grew up in Slope County and I know what I saw, …

LILLIAN CROOK: WildDakotaWoman — A Meditation On Yellow: Missouri River Watershed

Autumn in the Missouri River watershed is a yellow time. Goldenrods, Maximilian and other sunflowers, curlycup gumweed, green ash, rubber rabbitbrush and the plants of the willow family that includes aspen and the ubiquitous cottonwood — which to me is emblematic of the Little Missouri and Missouri landscape. The first hints of autumn yellow come from the late summer flowers. …

LILLIAN CROOK: WildDakotaWoman — Red Oak House Garden Notes No. 66 : The Summer Of Smoke

Remember when I said, on June 13, “Guess I’ll just go camping”? Well, we did. We hitched up the travel trailer and headed west, straight into the cauldron, to the historic heatwave in the Pacific Northwest. But we got lucky, and cool weather returned by the time we made it to North Cascades National Park. Highlights were glorious Mount Rainier, where …

LILLIAN CROOK: WildDakotaWoman — Silent Scorched Spring

Dead perennials, spring 2021 Hosta: Autumn Glow Teenie Weenie Cracker Crumbs Hacksaw Judy Blue Eyes, most (healthy and spreading for ten years prior) Prairie Angel (one of two) Tokudama Sitting Pretty Peanut Praying Hands (most) Cherry Berry True Blue (a huge and beautiful plant) The miniatures, however established, took the biggest hit. Here’s Green Mouse Ears hosta this year: And …

LILLIAN CROOK: WildDakotaWoman — Red Oak House Garden Notes No. 65

I know, I know. It has been many months since I’ve written Red Oak House Garden Notes. How many times can one write about an exceptional drought? How many times can one whine about the long dry winter? I’ve also been busy with rewrites of a manuscript Jim and I have devoted much of the past years crafting. That, and …

LILLIAN CROOK: WildDakotaWoman — Solastalgia: The Drought Of 2021 In North Dakota

Here in North Dakota in the spring of 2021, the headlines about the pandemic are being pushed aside by the daily news of the extreme drought and prairie fires. All of us search the forecast in hopes of rain, knowing the damage this is causing to the people, the critters and the landscape we love. All of us search for …

LILLIAN CROOK: WildDakotaWoman — Sun Halo And The Vernal Equinox

Spring weather came to North Dakota early this year, the fifth-driest winter here on record. The sky has been filled with migrating Canada Geese, and some crazy fishermen have already had their boats on the nearby Missouri River, even though there is still ice on the banks. My first birding excursion of the year took place earlier this week with …

LILLIAN CROOK: WildDakotaWoman — The Crooked Little Missouri River And Its Headwaters

The crooked Little Missouri River is in my bloodstream, deeply embedded in my psyche. I grew up working and playing on its banks in Slope County, North Dakota, and have canoed and kayaked almost every North Dakota mile of the river countless times, and frequently written about my explorations on my blog. My favorite stretches of the river are in …

LILLIAN CROOK: WildDakotaWoman — My Brother, Thomas: A Veterans Day Tribute

My younger brother (by 23 months), Thomas Crook, Senior Chief, Retired, United States Navy, my best friend all these many decades, is the very model of humility and dignity. Because of the deep trust between us, Thomas has allowed me to share the photographs taken at our father’s burial this past summer, for my Veterans Day tribute to him, although …

LILLIAN CROOK: WildDakotaWoman — My Restorative Retreat To The Badlands: A Solo In Three Acts

My spirit has been battered in this past year, like so many. I am blessed with a house and a garden and a loving family, yet life has kept me close to home and hearth with innumerable chores and obligations. My father died at the end of May and we buried him at the North Dakota Veterans Cemetery in July. …

LILLIAN CROOK: WildDakotaWoman — Biking In The Autumn Haze Of 2020

I have been cleaning storage areas, putting away patio pots and such and taking out snow shovels, my customary practice this time of year. In doing so, I unearthed my bike carrier and thus made a pledge to myself to ride my bike every day I can this fall until it snows. In order to not lose sight of this, …

LILLIAN CROOK: WildDakotaWoman — Red Oak House Garden Notes No. 64: Are You The Ants Or The Grasshopper?

I’m trying to take the time in my life to rediscover ancient wisdom, such as that found in “Aesop’s Fables” and in conversations with my elders, most importantly my mother. Perhaps during the upcoming fallow season, I will reread one fable each day. Time will tell. At the same time, I’m trying to learn new lessons, from family and friends of all …