time to dry corn

as I was walking to my mailbox yesterday i glanced at my corn field. I noticed there were some ears of corn that had brown silk. that is a tip off the corn is ready. I picked the 3 ears of corn that are pictured here. I shucked them to see what they looked like. I popped one kernel with my thumb. it squirted out. another tell tale sign its ready. I like the sweet smell of fresh picked corn.

my son joe came over and we went to check the whole field. maybe about a third of the stalks didn’t have any corn on them. no surprise with the heat we had but it looked like there is enough ready to pick. some still has yellow silk on the ears of corn. that may be ready by next week, especially after the rain we had. this is real early to dry corn. usually we do it the first week or two of august.

I was very surprised I have some corn that I can dry. I can see the cornfield from my house. I could tell that some of it was stunted and had no ears of corn on it. some of the stalks were  brown from the heat. if I hadn’t looked at it up close while getting mail I wouldn’t have known some was ready. I am very grateful for what corn I have.

some old lady told me that corn was our life. as long as we have it, we have life. I think about that. that’s why I have given seed away to anyone wanting to grow some. corn is one of our sacred foods. we use it in ceremonies, that is why I grow it.

we will dry corn today. I have to get it done because we are having summer dance this weekend. I don’t know how much I will get until after we pick it. once we pick it we will blanch it then spoon it off the cob.

dont know how long that will take until we do it. it takes all of our family to dry our corn.  my niece came over a few times to help us. I texted her but must have the wrong number, so no help this year. we will get it done. we always do. we have been drying corn here for over 30 years.

I like to use indian fire when I cook our corn. the temperatures will be in the 90s the next few days. that is good drying weather. cant beat the heat but we can use it to dry corn. I am lucky the temps will be in the 70s this morning while I pick corn.

I had a big cast iron kettle that could cook all the corn we had in a couple of batches. I would build a fire under it to heat the water. I planned on using it the rest of my life. I left it outside. bad move. it cracked from being exposed to the weather. I took it to a couple of welders. they said there wasn’t much they could do to weld anything that was cast iron.

now I have to use a large pot someone gave me and a canner. that takes longer but gets the job done. I keep looking for a big pot to use while drying corn. those cast iron kettles usually cost several hundred dollars. they are sold as antiques. I don’t think many use them to cook with, some use them as planters.

drying corn reminds me of my mother. she is the one that taught me how to do that whole process. after I moved to my home here I started my own garden. she would come over and help us dry the corn. I would always give her some dried corn as thanks for her help. I will think of her today as I work.

new smile, new lens

I have had a new smile for about a month. don’t like to age myself but I got a new set of dentures. the old ones had chips in them and one tooth broken out. too much dropping them from carelessness.

I am finally paying the set off.  I thought my insurance would cover it but it only paid part of it. it took most of my per cap and some bucks I saved up to pay off the rest. oh well now I have a better smile. the missing tooth made me look all rez. i was a bit self-conscious about it. aint got that now. I can smile like I am running for office.

I have a blurriness in my left eye. the doctor sent me to the optometrist I go to for my glasses. my vision in my left eye changed since my last exam in march. they changed my left lens of my glasses at no charge. I was told to use these pricey eye drops too. I have to go back in a month to see if the new lens cleared my vision up.

the heat has affected gardens. people talk gardens with me. I guess I am lucky I did get a few things from my garden. carrying that watering can back and forth several times a week paid off. I have to wonder what kind of set up the people at farmers markets have. they get enough veggies to sell. I don’t sell mine but i put them away to eat healthier the rest of the year.

a guy wanted to try growing sema this year. I gave him some plants. I texted him asking him how they are doing. he said they are still growing. another person I gave plants to said the same thing.  I am glad to hear that. I want to see more people grow it.

I finally heard from the fish and game people. they approved my application for loose feathers. now I wait until they fill it. I will use up what I have on hand to fix the ceremonial belt we working on. this will be the fourth belt I worked on. my mother and another woman redid 3 belts. they had me replace the feathers on them.

I almost have enough porky hair sorted to start tying it. I have to finish my latest roach before this weekend. we are having our summer dance. I will be busy there.

got some rain

it rained some yesterday. more rain is predicted the next few days. I am hoping it will help my corn. the heat might have stunted the growth of the ears of corn. my stalks grew tall early but no ears formed on some of them.  but it is still early. we usually dry corn the first part of august. it still may grow these next few weeks.

I don’t know if I will get very much corn, i have to wait and see what happens. that’s the way it is with nature. sometimes everything goes good, other times no rain or sunshine when you need it. or too much heat. I am glad I still have some dried corn left from previous crops.  if I go skunk I will still have corn i can depend on .

my pepper plants are still growing but haven’t any peppers on them. i have jalapeno, Anaheim, bell and habanero peppers growing. i kept them alive by watering in this heat. i am still hoping i get peppers. i use a lot of them in cooking or spicing up food.

seen on the news that the rez is in the part of the state that is in a drought warning. we aren’t as bad as the west part of the state where they are in a drought. we aren’t there yet. maybe if we get enough rain we wont be in a drought.

my rain barrels didn’t collect as much rain as other parts of the rez got. mary went to get some barbeque and said there was a down pour near the casino. we didn’t get that much only a few miles away. I cleaned out the barrels before the rain. they get dirty at the bottoms. they will be clean for the next rain.

I probably wont get as much sema this year because of the heat. I had one picking that I fixed. I got a few big leaves but they aren’t getting that big now. I am keeping my plants alive by watering them. I will get another picking I am hoping. I still wont get that much though. i should have enough to last me til next year.

I have been feeding the humming birds around my house. they come back year after year maybe because i have humming bird vines all over my tool shed and chicken house. i can see 4 or 5 humming birds that i am feeding in this heat.  I like watching the birds.

I had a problem with the humming bird feeders when I kept bees. after a few years my bees swarmed. don’t know why. I wished they hadn’t because they pollinated my garden. now nothing bothers the humming bird feeders.

we were lucky we had 4 grand kids for a few hours last night. make me think of the kids taken from their parents at the border. i am happy the kids trapped in the cave in Thailand were rescued. the world was concerned about those 12 kids. i wish the world had the same concern for the thousands taken from their parents at the border.

i started another woodland style roach. i already finished the base and tied the inner deer tail trim on. gotta sort the porcupine hair next. that will take a few days. i should have this roach done this coming week.

finishing another woodland style roach

mary went with a couple of other ladies from the rez to pick blackberries. i am guessing she will can them. our freezer is full from the hog we bought and had processed. we also have nenwezhek, a turtle and frozen veggies in there. we also keep our dried corn and dried squash in the freezer.

I had planned on going but I decided to stay home to finish a roach. it is almost done. maybe just an hour or two worth of work on it. all I have left to do is tie the outside deer tail trim. it will be mainly blue. it is small woodland style roach with a double row of almost 8 inch front hair. i had a blue one done but one of our veterans wanted it. i am anxious to see him wear it.

the gathering is just over 2 weeks away. i know i will finish this one but I am hoping I can finish another roach. two more may be pushing it. i will have 12 roaches done by the gathering. that is plenty. i want the potawatomi nation (or is it nations now?) to see the roaches i make. who knows maybe some will buy theirs from me. i believe mine are better than many out there on the circuit.

I never know what I will be doing. that is the reason i don’t have a set routine. we gonna have our summer dance soon. I will be there for a few days. who knows what else will come up.

i am hoping that we get saturdays’ predicted ‘scattered thunderstorms’ . my corn is forming and needs the rain to fully develop. if we don’t get it, i may not get a good crop of corn this year. i have been watering my sema from rain barrels. the rain barrels  are mostly empty now. my plants aren’t as big as they should be.

i am getting cherry tomatoes in spite of the heat. i have been eating them. i dried some in this dehydrator i bought at a garage sale for a coupla bucks. dried tomatoes are kinda pricey compared to doing that yourself for nothing. i will use the dried tomatoes in stew and soup this winter.

the heat is taking its toll on my lawn. the grass is turning brown. this is real early for that to happen. that usually happens in the fall. summer has just started but the heat started early this spring. gotta live with nature.

this heat makes me think about growing up on the rez years ago. we didn’t have a/c. or fans either. we had to live with the heat. we didn’t get to complain about it. the roads weren’t paved or graveled. when cars went by, the dust would hang in the hot air. don’t know why i remember that.

gotta get busy.

gonna have a stand

i sent in my application to have a stand for my roach headdresses at the potawatomi gathering. it will be at peoples park in a few weeks.

originally i had planned on selling different arts and crafts i make like hand drums, pipe stems, indian dice, etc. don’t know what happened to that.  ended up i only made roaches.

I wont be sitting at the stand all day. not in this heat. I will be there mostly during the pow wow part of the gathering.

I have been watering my plants from my rain barrels. one rain barrel is empty. the rest are at least half empty. or is that half full? i don’t know how many times i have used up all the rain water in them this year.

i will have enough rain water to continue watering a few more days. i am hoping the predicted rain on Friday or Saturday will happen. so far i have been getting rain when i need it.hope it happens.

right now the corn is forming. if we don’t have enough rain it affects the growth of the corn. if we don’t have enough sun light, that cant stunt the growth. i’ve had both things happen at different times and didn’t get much corn. other times, everything clicked and i got a good crop. the corn grew fast this year. now i have to wait and see what happens.

i haven’t heard from the fish and game department about the feathers i applied for. its been at least half a year since i sent in my application. we are going to redo that ceremonial belt soon. i have about half the feathers we need i think. i haven’t laid them all out yet. most of the feathers on the belt are old and need replacing.

the fiesta Mexicana is starting. i used to go park at my aunts house and walk over the bridge to the fiesta. my aunt is gone now. don’t think i will go this year. i think it is something that fiesta raises enough money to fund their school for the whole year. i wonder if our community would work together to do something like that.

gotta get busy on finishing my roach. I am hoping I can do one more after this before the gathering.

sorting hair again

sorting porcupine hair is a never ending chore. I have to do it for every roach I make. I suppose I really don’t have to but roaches look better with solid colors. I like mine to be all black with the tips yellow.

I took my dogs to get their rabies shot yesterday at the tribal police department. both dogs also were dipped in the flea-tick bath. konugish was hesitant about the dip. he hasn’t ever done that. we have taken him over there for shots and the dip since he was a pup.

one of my tires needed air again. I stopped by nation and seen they now charge $1.50 for air. I passed on that and went to town. I seen a gas station that charged the same price. cant believe they charging that much. I waited until I got home. I have an electric air pump. I used it to air the tire up. I remember when free air was a service provided by most gas stations.

I was planning on seeing a k u game in Hawaii this fall. the schedule came out and there isn’t a game in Hawaii. so no ku game. I do want to see the whales though. the best viewing time is between December and April. maybe that volcano will calm down by then.

it will be time to count the votes for the tribal elections soon. I doubt that anyone will win outright by having 50% of the votes plus one. that hasn’t happened very often. more than likely there will be run off elections for most positions. we end up paying for two elections every time. we have money to burn.

I wonder if there is another way to settle run offs. usually some elected council members always experience weight gain. big meals must be part of the job I guess. so instead of a run off election why not have something like a hot wings eating contest to declare the winner?

once some get elected all they do is travel. so why not have a suit case packing contest instead of a run off. or some miss work most of the time. why not have a best excuse for not showing up for work contest. gotta be a way so that we don’t have two elections every time.

I never understood why it has to be 50% plus one to be the winner. reality is that less than 1/3 of the eligible voters vote. whoever is elected is not voted in by the majority of eligible voters anyway. kinda like national elections.

regardless of who is elected, most adults of the tribe don’t expect much. maybe because some past leaders haven’t set the bar too high. our leaders should set high standards and meet them. if they did, our people would expect that from ones that are elected to serve us and quit electing the ones that only serve themselves. no matter who is elected or not elected, life goes on.


finished another roach head dress

I finally finished my latest roach. we had the grand kids, the holiday etc.  I had to make time to get this one done. it is 15 inches long. the front hair is 8 inches long and is double rowed.  the outer trim is yellow with blue, black and red rainbow trim. the inner trim is black with yellow and red rainbow rows.

I have already started another roach. it is one of those short ones. I call them cool guy roaches but I think they are woodland style. most pictures of real old roaches are like this.  they got longer in modern times. some roaches today use long hair that is at least 10 to 12 inches long. it stands straight up. I don’t like the looks of those roaches. but then I don’t have to wear them either.

the new roach I will make will have blue outer trim and yellow trim on the inside. I will put rainbow rows on the outer and inner trim. I should have this one done this week. I have 10 done now.  I want to get this latest one done before the potawatomi gathering. maybe i can finish one more after that. I will have a stand at the gathering pow wow.  I wont sit there all day in the heat though. the gathering is only 3 weeks away now.

I already finished the base for the next roach done. I also tied the inner deer tail trim and sewed it on the base. now I have to sort the porcupine hair. that will take some time. wont take long to tie it though.

we didn’t get the predicted rain. I am still carrying my watering can back and forth between my rain barrels and plants. my plants are still alive. I am getting cherry tomatoes every few days. earlier I picked my cabbages. we had fresh cole slaw made from them. it was the best I had in awhile. my corn is wilting some but hanging in there. hoping for rain.

tomorrow I take my dogs for their rabies vaccination n flea dip. I have been doing that for a number of years. i think it is a good service. my dogs probably appreciate the dip. they are country dogs. they get ticks on them. the dip helps them.

I usually clean several turtles every year. I only cleaned one this year. they aren’t moving as much this year. maybe from the lack of rain. after a good rain you see them on the road. I didn’t see many of them dead on the road this year either. I will save the one I have in the freezer. maybe cook it this winter.

speaking of the lack of rain. little soldier creek hasn’t run for a few years now. the only time it does is after a rain or snow melt. it is strange to not see the creek run for so long. maybe they diverting our water up stream or something. who knows.

I better get to sorting hair so I can finish my next roach.

the heat goes on

whenever people ask me when do you pick menashkuk, I tell them around the 4th of july. that’s give or take. sometimes its  earlier and sometimes its later. its ready when its ready. I have it growing in the ditch by my house. that is convenient. I  picked mine when it was cool the other day.

I use it whenever we have a sweat here. that aint often but I like to drink it and make the steam with this medicine. it makes the whole lodge smell good. I can usually smell it in my hair afterward too. after I picked it I tied it up in bundles and hung it in the house to dry. it gives off a sweet smell while drying too.

since it was a cool day I picked some wild grape leaves too. I put some away for later use. I brewed some on the stove and added it to water in the sink. I washed my hair in that. my hair feels good. some old guy told me to wash my hair in that now and then. it does the hair good.

my corn was slightly wilting the other day. after the last rain it is looking good again. I noticed that it is tasseling and some stalks have been forming ears that have silk on them. that is real early. I may get corn a little earlier this year. I pick it when it is ready.

I have been eating a lot of fresh vegetables lately. they either come from my garden or from farmers markets or road side stands. I like to eat tomatoes, cucumbers and watermelons fresh. sometimes I add some salt but normally I stay away from salt. get enough of it in other foods.

I have made pico de gallo a few times. I like it with chips. I have eaten a few fresh cantaloupes I bought. mine didn’t come up. gotta eat what ever is in season. nothing will taste like this when winter comes except what we canned, froze or dried.

I get a few strawberries. if Andrew don’t eat them, I get to taste a few. I have been watering my plants from the rain barrels. my doctor said I could find a pump to get the water to the plants easier. I said yeah but I get exercise from carrying the 2 gallon watering can back and forth. he agreed.

mary went with my sister to pick blue berries. I stayed because I have to finish my latest roach. we both picked berries last year at this same place. we canned them. we have been eating them since last year.

the temps will be in the 90s most of the next 10 days. there is a slight chance of rain but the heat will return. I am glad my crops are hanging in there. we are getting rain when we need it. that’s good. hope that continues.

did another wedding

the wedding I was asked to do went well. we were surrounded by nature. trees everywhere. the shade provided relief from the heat.  I liked that. indians are children of nature. my nephew was the groom. I found out that I went to high school a year with the brides grandfather. don’t think that ages me.

another nephew of mine sang a song with a hand drum as the bride was escorted in. I did the marrying in indian. actually it is a prayer for them as they join hands and stand together, asking that they get along, have a good life and to watch over their family.  they did the ring exchange and I pronounced them man and wife in English.

the bride, groom and wedding party formed a  greeting line.  all the guests shook their hands and/or hugged them. guests took many pictures , including me with the couple. I try to get a picture with every couple I marry.

after the wedding ceremony we went to the reception at the old bingo hall. my nephew thanked me, gave me a gift of appreciation and asked me if I would say something for the meal we was about to take. I said sure. I gave thanks for the food in indian. it was a good meal. I had to eat some of the walleye one of our northern relatives brought. they wanted some of the buffalo that was served.

at the wedding and reception I got to visit with my Kickapoo and potawatomi family members. they adopted me almost 40 years ago to take their older brothers place who they lost in Viet Nam. I went to high school with him. I seen many adoptions. not all go around each other. I grew close to this family. I watched my younger brothers and sisters grow up. they had children and now grand children. we all love and respect each other. that’s how it is suppose to be.

we had to leave the reception after an hour or two. we were taking the grand kids to the fireworks display at peoples park. we sat with my rez nieces and nephews. I have relatives everywhere. it is easier to keep track of little kids when you have the whole family watching out for them.

the fireworks were good. toward the end a couple of my grand kids became afraid of the explosions the bigger fireworks were making.  we had to take them to the car. we only missed the finale. no big deal to me. I have seen fireworks all over the country.

we had another sleep over. the grand sons and grand daughters stayed over night with us. the girls’ parents were at an adoption ceremony where they danced all night. we had a good time with the kids. and again the next morning. I love being around my grandkids. I see some of our people that are so bitter or mean. the answer to that is to surround yourself with love.

mowed, got a wedding to do

being retired aint about sleeping in late. when you retired there is no such thing as late. I was up and out mowing the yard at 7 o clock this morning. I cant beat the heat. I just don’t work in it. I was done when the temps hit the low 80s. if I put it off til this afternoon, it would be 100 degrees outside.

I have been getting cherry tomatoes. I finally got one of my bigger tomatoes. it was an heirloom tomato called abe Lincoln. he liked them and grew them. I tasted one once and decided I want this tomato. the one I picked and quartered up was the best tomato I have eaten in some time. cant beat the taste of anything you grow yourself.

I had a dozen or so sema plants left in between the rows. i don’t like to weed them out. it don’t seem right. I try to give my extra plants away every year.  some guy took the dozen i had left. glad someone is making use of them. this year I gave away about 100 plants.

got a wedding to do this afternoon. I am doing this one for one of my nephews. I have to attend another thing before that. then this evening they are having fireworks at peoples park. no, not the one in Berkeley, the one on the rez.  i am taking the grand kids to the fireworks. I will have a busy day.

I am trying to ease out of doing weddings for a variety of reasons. I feel I do enough ceremonies over the course of a year. I give up my time and some haven’t appreciated that. don’t even get a thank you most of the time. a few said they couldn’t see paying a judge or j.p. when they could get me. in other words, get me to do it for nothing. true we don’t get anything, but a little thank you for your time would be appreciated.

some  couples had beer parties before the wedding. I don’t agree with that. they ask me to pray for their union but they start it off with a party. its no wonder that some of those marriages didn’t last. someone told me ‘well at least you did your job’. I said but I pray they get along, have a good life, etc. its like my prayers mean nothing. I take what I do seriously even if others dont.

Kansas law doesn’t exclude indians from performing weddings but it don’t include them either. when I read the law it said judges, justice of the peace, ordained ministers, religious authority and even the couple themselves. indians didn’t fit under any of the categories.

I asked for help in trying to get the law changed to include indian spiritual leaders. (for the lack of a better term). a tribal attorney asked how I considered myself a religious authority, totally missing the point. I wrote to a Kansas lawmaker who is indian. she said to contact my local representative.

i seen both of these individuals in the paper celebrating a law they help pass that allowed indians to wear indian dress in public,  like students wearing an eagle feather when they graduate. I wonder why they passed on having indian religious leaders included in the Kansas wedding law. all they had to do was insert that one phrase into the law. it is done all the time. no press coverage in that I guess.

indian ceremonial leaders do the same things that priests, rabbis and ministers do in their communities. though ceremonies are different there are similarities. indians do namings, funerals, weddings, pray for the sick and do seasonal ceremonies. they should have the same respect as others. our tribal law says indian spiritual leaders can do weddings only on the rez. I doubt a priest, rabbi or minister is told he can only do them in topeka or Kansas city. at any rate I don’t feel like dealing with it anymore unless it is someone I know.