Unheralded

LILLIAN CROOK: WildDakotaWoman — Sheep On My Mind And Crooks

 “Some of the old shepherds or men in the villages carve ornate sheep or sheepdog heads … to decorate their crooks, thought the best of these are never used for work but are simply for show. I will wave my crook to get the tup’s attention in the sale ring, and tickle it gently under its nose to get it …


Unheralded

LILLIAN CROOK: WildDakotaWoman — My Grief Journey: Epiphany, Again My Mother Comes To Me In A Dream

Again my Mother comes to me in a dream: My hair is long, down to my waist long. I wake up and my hair is long, but not down to my waist, which it has never been, which is silly. Hers as a young girl was. When I was a little girl, mine was thin and my older sister’s hair …


LILLIAN CROOK: WildDakotaWoman — Wanderlust: Return To Hawaii, California And New Mexico With 32 New Life Birds

It took me almost 60 years to return to Hawaii, but I finally can say I have. Home from a 31-day trip to Hawaii, California, New Mexico and Arizona, we’ve spent the better part of two days unpacking and catching up on mail. After four states, 10 flights, four rental cars and a whole bunch of hotel rooms, I don’t …

LILLIAN CROOK: WildDakotaWoman — Pigs

“The other morning, when the scorching sun had shot the mercury up to the hundred mark, we got to reminiscing with one of Minot’s real old-timers, and gleaned some interesting old-time stories that we will now pass on to our readers. We got to talking about ‘pigs’. Thirty or 40 years ago, Minot had a lot of pigs, but many …

LILLIAN CROOK: WildDakotaWoman — Rattlesnakes: Best Thing I Read Today

When I was a kid in Slope County, North Dakota, the rattlesnakes on our place were abundant. The snakes slithered their way from the den on the rocky hills surrounding our place to Deep Creek, back and forth, on a route that frequently took them through our yard. My late mother could kill rattlesnakes with the best of them. Mother …

LILLIAN CROOK: WildDakotaWoman — TR Birthday Shenanigans: Wandering The Northern Bad Lands Of North Dakota

 I don’t even need a map. Just point me west. It wasn’t until the next day, after I was home again, that I realized that — serendipitously — my retreat had taken place on President Theodore Roosevelt’s birthday. What I knew was that I needed to go. Go. Go. Go. Away to the Badlands. So I went. To the northern …

LILLIAN CROOK: WildDakotaWoman — Ashley Jewish Homesteader’s Cemetery

The following from “Prairie Mosaic: An Ethnic Atlas of Rural North Dakota,” William C. Sherman, 2nd edition: “A number of Jewish individuals, at least fifteen, filed on homestead lands about ten miles north of Flasher between 1902 and 1906. Assisted by a Jewish ‘back to the land’ organization, these early settlers located in DeVault Township in Morton County. … Within …

LILLIAN CROOK: WildDakotaWoman — Jill Fuglie Powers’ Knoephla Recipe

(Posted with the permission of my sister-in-law, Jill, a mostly Norwegian North Dakotan.) No recipe. Hutterite chicken first and foremost. Cook for hours to create chicken stock. Remove chicken. Add chopped celery, onion and carrots. I then add cubes of raw potatoes … then cream. Lots of it. After the potatoes have cooked. Mix knoephla noodle recipe as follows: 6 …

LILLIAN CROOK: WildDakotaWoman — Squirrels One, Lillian Zero

Having been inspired by Laura Anhalt a few years ago, I have slowly been acquiring old metal coolers for outside storage of seeds for my bird feeders. This in my attempt to foil the squirrels who have for all the years we’ve lived at Red Oak House busily chewed through every other container, mostly tubs made of thick rubber. Yes, …

LILLIAN CROOK: WildDakotaWoman — I Like Dark Chocolate

I like dark chocolate. I played basketball in high school. Mostly I warmed the bench. Once I “made” a basket for the opposing team, Hettinger. At the time, I wondered why lots of people were cheering. Late in his life, my father, in a conversation with me, ruefully admitted, “Yeah, my kids were never great athletes.” My mother played basketball, …

LILLIAN CROOK: WildDakotaWoman — A Pilgrammage To Nashville: An Intersection Of Culture, Education And Craziness

A pilgrimage to Nashville, an intersection of culture, education, and craziness, such as it ever has been and ever shall be, where Jim and I attended Americanafest 2022 and reacquainted ourselves with A Big City. https:/Nashville Skyline was one of our many earworms We left City Winery to walk the neighborhood now called The Gulch (the railroad area of town) …

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” …

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 — 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 — ‘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 …