back home on da rez

clockwise: the boys picked strawberries, i scored a bag at game, selfie at the twins base ball game

all the rain has made my straw berries grow. the boys pick them as fast as they become ripe. we are getting some big berries. they are sweeter than what is sold at the grocery stores. plus we have the satisfaction of knowing we put work in growing these. every thing tastes better when you grow it yourself.

i got back from a short road trip up north eh. i rode along to Minneapolis. needed some road time. i haven’t been any where. i have been busy with my garden, daily chores and spring cleaning.

i enjoyed our drive time. my daughters’ car has Sirius radio. we were listening to a 60s channel. i turned it to a 50s channel once to hear early rock and roll songs. good jams to make driving go easier. it didnt drown out our conversations. we noticed all the rivers were up from the rain. water stood in many fields.

we stayed at a couple of air b & bs. i haven’t done that before. the first night we stayed at a couples place in des moines. the man was irish and his wife was English from south Africa. the guy did the ancestry thing. he found out he was 1% native American. he was born in Ireland. we got a kick out of that. when we left next day i told his wife to tell him it was nice to stay with a fellow native.

as soon as we got to Minneapolis i wanted to see my brother Larrys’ grave site. it was at fort snelling military cemetery. we had to get a print out of the map to find it. i had a brief moment of sadness missing my brother. i got over it. like the old indians say if you treat a person right while they are alive you are alright when they are gone.

we went to check into our air b n b. the lady that owned the place was out of town. we got the whole house to our selves. i found that staying in a house is better than a motel room. it has that home feeling. actually it is someones home.

we went to the Minnesota twins baseball game. it was the 24th baseball stadium my daughter has been to a baseball game in. she only has 5 more to go to fill her bucket list item. i have no doubt she will see the rest. they gave away a twins duffel bag for the promotion at this game. i have it in the picture.

the game was fun to watch. we were even on the stadium cam. we looked up at the big screen and seen our selves. we could just wave. we were suppose to be singing because it was a sing along. we didnt know the song. we didnt think to get a picture of us on the big screen. it was over in a few seconds. wabeno had her twins hat on and mary had her twins hoodie on. i wasnt wearing the twins t shirt i bought.

i had another regret. the twins were having a rally. the batter was named eddie Rosario. many in the crowd started chanting ed-dee, ed-dee, ed-dee. and eddie was flashing in lights around the screens in the stadium. i dont know why the hell i didnt get a video of hearing my name and seeing it flashing on the screens.

the crowd musta spurred the guy on. he hit a three run homer. the twins won the game. i had a good time. even had a 5 dollar hot dog and 5 dollar lemonade. you have to eat the over priced food at a stadium. it is part of the experience. we sat in the left field bleachers.

i had a good time on this trip. now i have to get ready to have a stand at our pow wow. rain is predicted. over the years it has rained many times. i will have fun no matter what.

ready to cop some road time

our road trip to Minneapolis is still on. we are waiting on my daughter to get here later this afternoon. we will take off when she does. mary and i can do most of the driving. she can rest from the driving she had to do to get here.

i will get to spend time with my daughter. i haven’t seen her much these past few years. her work takes her all around the country. i think she is lucky she gets to go to so many places. and get paid for it. i am proud she has the education and experience to be able do that.

when i was bumming around all over i was broke most of the time. i rode buses or hitch hiked. a few times a government program paid my way. then left me on my own. i sought peace in alcohol and drugs. didnt find it so i always ended up back on the rez.

i still want to see my brother Larrys’ graves site. gotta do that on memorial day week end. i often think of my brothers i lost. Larry, Gary, Andy and Mikey. them and other bros that are gone. that’s one thing about getting older. you end up losing a number of people that are still dear to you. i will never forget my bros.

it rained again last night. good thing i mowed my yard. it was still wet in some areas. i had to leave a couple of places unmowed. the tires on my riding mower would just spin and kick up mud. i didnt want to tear up the yard so i left those areas alone. i did mow the bulk of the yard. now it wont be too tall from the coming rains.

my son Mishan brought me a Cuban cigar. he went on another cruise in the Caribbean. i will enjoy smoking that cigar. it beats the occasional cheap cigar i smoke. life is too short to smoke cheap cigars. you gotta have a Cuban every now and then. i know i shouldn’t smoke but hell i am allowed a few pleasures in life.

i had some trees and/or branches on our allotment fall over during recent storms. it is elm wood. we use it in ceremonies. i put in a request with a tribal program a couple of years ago to cut it for me. i told them if it falls over it just rots out and isn’t made use of. now some of it is falling over.

i hope i dont have to pay someone to help me out. i dont want to see that wood go to waste. i would do it but i accept reality. my arthritis pain flares up when i do any thing physical. i am getting older.

i know how it is, that’s why i volunteer to help others whenever i can. not all indians believe in that though. some wont help even if they are paid. i have said money is the best thing to happen to us. and the worst thing. the love of money and power has changed too many of our people. its a good thing not all of our people are like that.

that’s why i am up for a road trip. sometimes you just gotta step back and see things from another angle.

holiday weekend

when you are retired every week end is a holiday week end. i had plans to go to a flea market today. i heard the Missouri river is at flood stage. dont know if that will affect the flea market or not. it did when we went another time when it was flooding. the place where we usually park along the river was partly under water. decided not to chance it.

i was up for that trip the past few days. it leaves me with nothing to do today. thats okay i have been busy. i have an unexpected road trip coming up any way.

my daughter is going to a baseball game in Minneapolis. she is on a quest to see a ball game in every ball park in the country. she already has been to many ball parks. i am just along for the ride. i will probably help drive too.

i haven’t been in Minneapolis in some time. i use to go to the twin cities often when larry lived there. i would go visit him. we would go to the casinos or to the aim pow wow. or we would go cruise franklin avenue to see the indian bars. neither one of us drank then. he would take me to the indian shops in town too.

larry is buried in the military cemetery there. if i have a chance i wouldn’t mind going to see his grave site. usually i dont get into that because i remember the person not the grave. since it is memorial day coming up i want to see where his grave is. i haven’t been to it yet.

that town will always remind me of my brother. i was there for a traditional foods conference a few years back. i could get around town easily because i had been there many times. it wasnt the same because Larry wasnt there.

the most recent county rag had a picture of my brother Gary in it. it was showing all the county high schools’ graduating class from 50 years ago. there were other Indians in that class too. next year my picture will be in the 50 year class. damn am i that old?

yesterday i was given another snapping turtle. i will have to clean 3 more of them now. i already have one in the freezer. the most i cleaned in one year was 13. i did 6 a few times. that’s why people bring them to me. not many do that anymore.

i moved the new chicks out to the chicken house a few days ago. they were getting too big to be on the back porch. i have a place fenced off so the big hens dont peck the hell out of them. when they are bigger i will turn them loose with the rest.

recently i lost two of my laying hens. and one hen is setting. my egg production is down now. i am getting about 3 eggs a day. that is enough for our house hold. we used to sell the surplus for chicken feed money.

my corn is coming up good. i can see the stalks in every row. i am happy about that. some of my strawberries are getting ripe. i got to taste one. it was really sweet. my grand sons have picked the rest. i might plant more when i build some more grow boxes. maybe then there will be some for me.

more rain is predicted

our canned nenwezhek. my corn is growing and so are my potatoes

we or i should say mary got done canning the rest of the nenwezhek. i did the picking, washing and dicing it up. it took both of us to get it done. we ended up with 25 quarts canned. three of our jars didnt seal. we froze the nenwezhek in them so we wouldn’t lose it. we have 8 gallons to last us until next year. i doubt i will get out to pick more.

i had big plans to plant two fields of corn. that aint happening. it is too muddy. it may be getting late to try planting more. i will go with what i have planted. if it is a good year i should have plenty. if not, what difference does it make. i have learned long ago, you accept what ever nature will give you.

i am lucky that i planted corn when i did. the same with picking nenwezhek. both days were clear. no rain. right after i did both things it started raining. and it was rainy and muddy for the next few days after. gotta take opportunity when it presents itself.

it is suppose to rain again tonight. there are chances of rain for the next week. i wont get much done outside.  water was standing in my yard after the last rain. the ground was so saturated it wouldn’t soak it up. it took awhile for it to absorb or run off. the last two years i remember wondering when it would rain. now we have so much.

last year when i went to the Brownville flea market i seen an old tiller. it was a troy bilt just like the one i had. i asked the guy how much it was. he said $800. i thought that was high but i think that is what rebuilt ones go for. i still miss having my old one. it really tilled up my garden good. new ones dont work as well as that old tiller.

i haven’t had much chance to use my new tiller. it has less horse power than my old one. it is a five horse power. i need to till in between the rows of corn and next to my potatoes. the rain is making the weeds grow along side them. i need to till the weeds under so they dont take over.

i have been watching jeopardy with more interest lately. there is a guy on there who is on one hell of a run. he has won almost 2 million dollars so far. i usually record the show so i can watch every show. once i cut my cable i wont be able to do that anymore. i will have to watch it at five every day or miss it. many times i am not able to do that.

wonder what the rest of the week will bring.

picked, froze and canned nenwezhek

we got busy picking, freezing and canning some nenwezhek

my sister in law gave us some nenwezhek this past weekend. we diced it up, then blanched it and froze it. we put it in two gallon freezer bags. we didnt over fill the bags because we wanted them to lay flat in the freezer. it is about a gallon of nenwezhek.

after getting that done i was up for more. one gallon wont last me. i used to get tired of eating it when we were growing up. now i really like the taste of it. i have some every time i see it served anywhere.

i told mary we should get out and pick some on Sunday. we drove around the rez to places where i have picked it before. really it is every where if you know where to look. many times you dont even have to look. it is every where. i am careful not to pick the one that will fool you.

it didnt take too long to pick a bunch of it. the leaves were big because of all the rain we had. i fill up the blue tub in the picture. it is about knee high. i walked along the road picking while mary followed in the car. i got my walking in again.

yesterday we diced it up, cooked it awhile and then Mary canned 16 quarts of it. that is equivalent to 4 gallons. we still have about that much more to can today. we will have about 9 gallons of it altogether. one gallon froze and 8 canned. that should last us through out the coming year. i know we always have it during our thanksgiving dinner.

i wanted it canned because it will save space in the freezer. we buy meat from the meat locker now and then. we also freeze some veggies in our freezer. we need a lot of room. i cleaned one turtle and have two more to clean. yep we need to save room in the freezer.

Sunday i checked on my indian corn. it broke ground. that only took 7 days to germinate. i soaked it before planting it. probably didnt need to. the ground has plenty of moisture in it. and it did rain after we planted it a couple of times. i was glad to see it come up. i want my indian corn.

my sema patch is weeded over. i plan to till it all under. some plants came up. i put them in pots. i started some sema seeds in growing flats. they are coming up. i will transplant them after i till the ground up. i have to wait until the ground dries out some. it rained again yesterday and last night. we will have more today.

i have been so busy with spring cleaning, planting, fixing grow boxes, picking wild onions, saving nenwezhek and cleaning turtle. it just wasnt these things. something always comes up. i didnt work on making any roaches. i will have a stand at our pow wow coming up soon. i will have to go with the ones i have on hand.

always busy.

a busy Saturday

i took a picture with my sisters in a photo booth, i was given another turtle, and my nephew graduated from high school.

it rained heavy yesterday. then it rained again last night. last year we were in near drought conditions. most likely not this year. we have had five and a half inches of rain so far this month. when transplanting my tomatoes last week i dug down a foot and it was still mud.

i am glad i took a gamble on that small window of opportunity last Monday and planted my indian corn. it should break ground this week. i have hoping that i get a good crop of corn this year. it is sacred to me. i wonder how many will get corn this year. not many grow it anyway.

since i have most things planted i have the attitude ‘let it rain’. i doubt others feel the same though. we have had so much rain that many haven’t gotten anything planted yet. the ground will stay wet most of this week.

it may be awhile before some get their gardens tilled. i am glad i built many grow boxes. they are ready to plant any time in the spring. just have to add fresh compost to them. i had to repair a few boxes but the rest were ready. that’s why i have a good start on my gardening.

i had a couple of graduation picnics to go to yesterday. i missed a call but got a text. someone wanted to know if i wanted a turtle. i said sure and went to pick it up. i wouldn’t have time later. the grandsons jumped in the car so they could see the turtle. i have two more to clean now. oh well, i will take care of them.

i was given some nenwezhek too. i have to get out and pick some this week. it should be plentiful this year with all the rain we had. i want to put some away. i will pick as much as i can.

i tried not to eat too much because i had two picnics to go to. on the way to the one on the rez the rain poured down. it really dumped a lot of rain. it eventually eased up. i got wet getting out of the car. once inside i was alright.

they had a photo booth at my nephews graduation celebration. my grand son made me take a picture with him. i was still in the booth when my sisters came to have one of us. the booth had props to wear while taking pictures. i wore a few while taking pictures to prove i can be a sport.

i enjoyed visiting with my relatives and having a good meal. i had to take off to the Kickapoo rez. there was another graduation celebration there. it was for my grand son. i am called misho by a lot of people now. seems where ever i go i am called uncle or misho. i like that.

this coming week end is the Brownville flea market. it is a mile long. i have been going to this one for years. maybe i will get my smoked turtle leg there. it is a two hour drive there. it takes me a couple of hours to walk thru all the stands. that tires me out. i have the two hour drive home to rest up.

will see what this week brings.

went to daycare pow wow

we got out of the house and went to the daycare pow wow.

my grand daughters kinikwe and miamikwe go to our daycare on the rez. i have nieces and nephews that go there too. the school had a graduation pow wow at peoples park yesterday. i needed a break from doing chores all week. we went over to support the kids.

i kicked back in my new lawn chair i got for my birthday. my old one broke. you cant pow wow without a personal lawn chair. there is always some street theater at pow wows. a few try their best to get noticed. that aint necessary. this is the rez. everyone knows who’s here.

the girls danced almost every song. i was able to visit with many friends and relatives. some just waved or nodded. a few shook my hand. that’s why i get out and about. i like to be around other people especially ones i know.

the day care gave away door prizes. i waited for them to draw my number. it didnt happen. i was hoping i would win another fishing pole. i have been so busy i haven’t had a chance to go fishing yet. once planting is all done and i am caught up with spring cleaning i will go fishing.

the day care was closed the rest of the day so we watched the girls. i enjoy anytime i can spend with my grand kids. they always make themselves at home at mishos’ and grandmas’ house. they rode some tricycles we bought at sparks flea market. we didnt have enough when four grand kids are here.

i cleaned the snapping turtle i had. it is now in the freezer. i will cook that later. i went to topeekie to buy some things. i found a note on my door when i got home. it said there was a turtle in the barrel. i leave a barrel in the garage just for that purpose. i am one Indian that really likes the taste of turtle.

while in town i bought a few companion plants to put in my grow boxes. i added leeks, egg plant and basil to my pepper plants. they grow good together. the boxes dwarf the small plants in them. i know that the grow boxes will be full of peppers when they are full grown. i will get plenty of peppers. i also added a dill plant to the box with cilantro. they grow together.

i am glad i found some leek plants. i used them in cooking soups and stews. i use them to cook turtle with too. i already transplanted the new plants as soon as i got home. i watered them. some of the plants were getting root bound. i pull some of the roots apart so they take root in the grow boxes.

i have a couple of graduation picnics i am going to tomorrow. one will be here on the rez. the other will be on the Kickapoo rez. i will try to watch how much i will eat. i have lost a few pounds from being so active doing spring chores.

grateful i got my indian corn planted

i have most of my garden planted. just a few things left.

i have 14 raised beds planted now. i have cabbage, onions, strawberries, radishes, cilantro, Anaheim peppers, bell peppers, habanero peppers, jalapeno peppers, okra, kale and cucumbers. my lettuce, leeks and spinach didnt come up. probably too cold when they should have been germinating.

i already had potatoes planted in my field garden. they already broke ground. i plant them in hills so the saturated ground didnt rot them out. i planted red potatoes. i like them boiled, fried, grilled or as new potatoes.

i planted my indian corn on monday. the weather report predicted a 40% chance of rain on Tuesday. i thought maybe the ground would never dry out. i had to take a chance and planted my corn.

it took some doing to plant the corn. the ground was still muddy. it was harder to dig a furrow to drop the seed in. it was also harder to cover the seeds. wet soil dont move as easily as dry soil. it is heavier too. it was a good thing my son joe came to help. he has for years. we planted 14 rows that are bout 100 feet long.

i was worried i would never get corn planted with all the rain that is predicted. now the corn will catch the rain. it should germinate well. later i will plant indian beans when the corn is bout three inches tall. then i will plant my squash. i have cantaloupes and watermelons to plant too. plenty of time for that.

i transplanted 8 tomato plants. i have different heirloom plants. i added Epsom salt to the hole i dug to put the tomatoes in. i noticed the fish heads and guts i buried there last fall pretty much decompose into the soil. that will help the tomatoes grow. some of the tomato plants had flowers on them. i pinched them off. they need to develop a good root system before i let them bear fruit.

i am glad i have all these things in the ground especially my indian corn. aint no maybe, might, gonnas. all of it is planted. now if it rains, it will help my garden grow. i have already eaten kale and radishes.

while i was working in the yard the past few days humming birds buzz right by me. i heard them and they are gone. i see them at the feeders i put out for them. next time i am in town i will buy some more feeders.

i still have plenty of things to keep me busy. i never know what will come up.

more planting?

i stop to look at our buffalo on the way to nation station sometimes.

i fixed three more grow boxes yesterday. the boards warped and the wood screws broke. or the corner posts rot out and the screws come loose. i have to take the whole thing apart and replace the boards. i replace them with the oak flooring boards i bought at a garage sale.

the cost of building my grow boxes aint very much. the ones i fixed over have lasted several years. i said as cheap as it costs i dont mind if i have to make the grow boxes over every few years. its nothing compared to the fresh veggies, berries and herbs i get. i aint certified as organic but i know there are no chemicals in food i raise. and it tastes better than what the grocery stores sell.

i bought plants at the Lawrence farmers market. i stopped there after Andrews soccer game. i didnt find any Abe Lincoln tomato plants at the topeekie farmers market. the lady that i bought my others from said she had two more plants at home. she will bring them for me next Saturday.

i bought some more roma tomato plants at Lawrence. i bought two other tomato plants from some dude who said they were real good plants. he said he grows them on his farm. he takes them to farmers markets. i listen to any growers for tips.

i already have 11 grow boxes with plants in them. i will transplant what i got from the Lawrence farmers market into the 3 grow boxes i just repaired. i will add compost to each box. i will fill one box with cucumbers. one with bell peppers. i have a sweet potato in water to get some slips from it. i will plant sweet potatoes in the other box.

my grand sons were helping me. we added straw to most of the grow boxes as mulch especially the strawberries. we dont want the berries to lay on the ground. the boys seen the strawberry plants already have berries forming on them. we also added mulch all around each grow box. i dont want any weeds in the boxes or on the side.

i told the boys i didnt have any cash on me. i will pay them next week end for helping me. Andrew said ‘i will remind you’. i know that he will to. i dont mind paying them for working. it teaches them you work, you get paid.

with all the rain we had, it looks like i will have to mow the yard again. i have already several times. the grass is getting taller with the rain we had. i dont mind mowing. it only takes bout an hour. i can listen to music while mowing.

yesterday was mothers day. we ate at a Chinese restaurant. i paid for marys dinner. i thought of my mother. she taught me so much in my life time. she was a good teacher. i will teach my kids and grand kids her teachings and other things i learned.

i had two fields tilled up before the rains came. i want to plant indian corn in them when ever the fields dry out. as soon as i can work the field i will plant my corn. all the rain we got only makes me more determined to get the corn in. last night i seen the moon and stars out for the first time in a few days. it has been cloudy or rainy a lot lately.

i haven’t had a chance to climb on the roof to put up my outdoor antenna yet. i made getting my garden in and spring cleaning a priority. i wont mind another month of cable before i cut it loose. i have to move the chicks off the back porch into the chicken house too. i stay busy. i relish my days off when i get them.

another day older

been feeding my humming birds. i thought why not try to get a picture of one with my Nikon. i couldn’t get close enough with my cell phone.

we went to eat at a Japanese restaurant for my birthday last night. when given a choice of where to eat i chose it because i haven’t been there in awhile. the chef cooked in front of us and put on a show. I’ve seen it enough times that i had my stoic indian face on. my grand kids enjoyed it especially when the flames shot high into the air.

we started with miso soup and a salad with ginger dressing. i had the filet mignon and shrimp. the chef even piled on some chicken which i didnt order. it was good with the rice and veggies.

my plate was piled so high i couldn’t finish it. i filled a to go box. it wasnt the first time off the rez for this indian but i sure enjoyed the food. it was a good birthday with my wife and some of my kids n grand kids.

i was glad we went to dinner. i had a busy day. it started with me going to the blood drive at the health center. i donated my red blood cells. they had a computer glitch so we had to wait an hour before we even started. once i was hooked up to the machine it didnt take long.

i used to work at the health center for bout 5 years. some of the staff grilled for those that donated blood. i ate a couple of hot dogs. i got a few birthday wishes from some of the staff i worked with. i also got a few text messages from family wishing me a happy birthday. i am too old for cake, ice cream and the singing.

after i left the clinic i worked most of the day doing more spring cleaning. i cleaned more of the car port and part of my tool shed. i can find my tools now and i have a clean work bench. i also weeded my sema patch. it was getting over grown because of all the rain we had. i stripped some of the bark off my fireplace poles.

i have an old boom box that blares out the sound when i work. radio stations dont always play music i like. i remembered i had one of those old bose radio/cd players. i hooked my cell phone up to it so i could listen to one of my play lists. my play lists contain only music i like. they have hundreds of my favorite songs. i work better with my kind of music.

my plans to plant my corn yesterday got cancelled. the field was too muddy. i seen some deer tracks in my garden. they were in a half circle. the deer walked halfway into the garden then turn around. it must have been too muddy even for that deer.

it rained a little last night. i am hoping my ground dries out. it will sooner or later. i will still plant my indian corn when it does. i gotta have my corn. i know the ground has moisture deep down. after this rain the water just ran off. the ground was so saturated. i will definitely plant two fields of corn this year.

today i will go watch Andrews soccer game in lawrence. it is his last soccer game this year. i haven’t been to one yet. i better go to support my grandson. he always looks for us when ever we are at any of his games. he wants to know if we see him.

on the way down there i will stop at the farmers market in topeekie to replace the plants i lost. it is the only place i can find Abe Lincoln tomato plants. on the way back i will get some gold fish at a bait shop. i will put them in my rain barrels. another busy day.