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Monday, February 10, 2020

Red Oak House Winter Notes No. 5

Red Oak House Winter Notes No. 5

The late Lizzie with Lillian on the Teepee Buttes near the Logging Camp Ranch
 on January 12, 2008 (Photo by Jeff Weispfenning

January and February are a time when I turn to indoor chores and savor the fallow time of rest and restoration. I read books from the nearly-toppling piles and I write. I shovel snow as needed and watch the winter birds from my office window while I write. This January and February have been anything but "normal," whatever that is. My laptop died for good a couple of months ago. The holidays happened. Badlands Conservation Alliance hired a new Executive Director. Jim had a mishap with a pocket knife.

Ever single spare moment has been devoted since then to finishing the manuscript Jim and I have working on for many, many years -- too many years. We are making good progress and hope to have it "out the door" in February. We'll see.

In the midst of that, I finally snuck away to the badlands with my daughter, Chelsea, she of Wild by Nature Photography (you can see her work on her Facebook and Instagram pages), for a long-delayed overnight. In what must be a record for me, it was the first time I had been west of Dickinson since last October. We unplugged, had Theodore Roosevelt National Park almost entirely to ourselves on a February Monday and Tuesday, and I taught my daughter new lessons about navigating the Little Missouri National Grasslands she was ready and eager to learn.  She got to use her new tripod and we saw a wide variety of wildlife including a close-up porcupine munching a Box Elder tree and a Short-Eared Owl flyby in the growing dusk as we returned to Medora for the night. We ended the trip with a visit to her twin sister, Rachel, in Dickinson. It was DEE-LIGHTFUL.