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 — 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 — Rules

My Mom had a long life, raised by suffragettes of many generations, several of whom lived to be well more than 100, and we all place a high value on the right to vote. And a right to privacy. And a right to make your own decisions and mistakes. And discussed and debated world affairs from the time my little …

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 …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — The Best Day Of My Life

Today I am celebrating the 20th anniversary of the Best Day Of My Life. On Jan. 19, 2002 I met the most extraordinary, fascinating, person I have ever known. Two years, two months and two days later, I married her, in the same place I met her.  Her name is Lillian Crook. I love her. In early January 2002, I was …

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 …