Search This Blog

Tuesday, April 26, 2022

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 is over for Bismarck, so we will take that. North Dakota weather. 

Friday, April 15, 2022

Friday, April 15, 2002: Blue sky and sunshine at Red Oak House

Friday, April 15, 2002: Blue sky and sunshine at Red Oak House. 

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 work, otherwise Arthur Drive is still pretty quiet that I can see. 

After some coffee, I filled the empty birdfeeders and thought about how my Mother would always tell how she knew it must be a full moon because it would get wild at whatever hospital where she was working as a nurse -- and later at senior facilities where she lived and hospitals where she was cared for in her elder years. She must have watched many glorious full moons all those years she spent in Slope County. And to the very end, she would tell us how those early 20th-century rural folk would plant potatoes around Good Friday. She would tell us that with an impish twinkle in her eye because of course she knew very well that Good Friday moved around on the calendar and the potatoes were planted according to the weather conditions in Deep Creek Township of Slope County. In her last years, she was fortunate in that her nursing home room faced west where she watched many western North Dakota sunsets and full moons. Years ago she chose to live in Sunset in Mandan when it came time that she could no longer live independently. And a stroke of good fortune gave her a room with a view of the western horizon in the center of North Dakota. 

And yes, my Mother was, of course, right about the full moon. 

Thursday, April 14, 2022

Day Three: Lucinda gets the final word for today

Day Three April 2022 Blizzard (April 14, 2022)  

Dispatch from Red Oak House

I dug some snow, watch 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 laundry. Looked at more April 2022 blizzard photos from family and friends in Mandan and Belfield. Got the Tacoma out on the street for a quick run to the nearby grocery store (which had opened today but was closing again). And boy did Minot get hammered in this blizzard.

My Mother is cheering about the moisture for the farmers and ranchers! But yes, some are calving. 

Lucinda sums it up for me here. "Big Mess" But a good mess nonetheless.

Wednesday, April 13, 2022

Day Two April 2022 Blizzard (April 13, 2022) Dispatch from Red Oak House

Day Two April 2022 Blizzard (April 13, 2022)  

Dispatch from Red Oak House

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 & relatives elsewhere in North Dakota were texting me photos of the snow at their houses (family in other parts of the country were saying they were not sorry to not be in North Dakota). 

I dug out the driveway and the pickup and watched the first neighbor on our block roll out his snowblower. Otherwise, no action on our block until the neighbor on the other side rolled out his snowblower. Not much action on our block otherwise. I can hear the nearby train, and the snowplows on Ward Road. Oh and I cooked a chicken vegetable porridge for supper from what we have here in the pantry and refilled the bird feeders again and again -- with pleasure. 

Here are a few snapshots from my collection of the winter of 1996-1997 in southwestern North Dakota. 

Chelsea and Rachel 1996 

My nieces 1996 

And this, this is what winter looked like in Slope County, North Dakota circa 1935. Blizzards with no electricity and phones ya big babies! That's my Mom in the photo. 

Lillian Silbernagel, my Grandma, my namesake, Slope County 

My Mom ca 1940s early 1950s the Slope County shelterbelt
 and her dog -- in the snow.

Until her very last days my Mother was so worried about the drought and I feel that this moisture-laden storm is -- I admit this is my own weirdness -- maybe coming from Mom and my Slope County ancestors via the Pacific Northwest and Colorado and it is bringing misery to many on the open prairie ....but but but ...

And this is so self-indulgent but when this blizzard is over do I have to brush my hair? 

This morning I could see the Buddha and tonight she is gone in the snow and that is good.....

Day One April 2022 Blizzard

Day One April 2022 Blizzard (April 12, 2022)

Dispatch from Red Oak House

Male Northern Cardinal appears with the other birds at our feeders

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 my case the reporter was about a mile away from my house). I Skype with Rachel who is snowbound in Dickinson. 

To be continued....

Tuesday, April 12, 2022

And We Have a Nom de Plume

 And we have a nom de plume

/ˌnäm də ˈplo͞om/
and a domain to go with it. 

Stay tuned. Or get a life! 

"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. She said it with a smile on her face and with a tone that let us know that she also worried about and loved her children until her last breath.