gearing up for da road

pile-of-pumpkingot a pile of pumpkin dried for the coming year. i could be corrected that it is actually squash, but it aint no fun saying squash. sounds like something you’d do to a bug. anyway i have 18 crooked necks dried. i will dry some more after this wet spell lets up. so far i have given away over 60 of them. thats good. maybe i will eat some of that when i show up at some ceremony or cookout. corn and punkin are our sacred foods. cant have too much of them. if indeed corn is our life, then this growing year means we have plenty of life left. that point is probably lost on new wavers, rednecks and some politicians who are trying  to suck the very life out of us.

the other night i went over to the ball park by the 3rd cluster to watch my sons play softball. they are in a rez league with njun teams from the area. they will play on wednesdays. it was fun to watch. that kinda ages me. my playing days are over, now i have become a spectator. i thought there were a few times that i would have made that catch back in the day. i have known many of the players since they were little kids. now they have kids. that sorta ages me too.

since i have become a spectator i bought tickets to ku’s first home football game. got an email from ku’s ticket office, since i buy tickets now and then. they had a deal of 4 reserved seats for a hundred bucks. not bad. i priced single game tickets earlier and they were going for 50 a pop. so i saved some bucks. they play a team called northern iowa. didnt know they had a team. our offense should put up some impressive numbers against them i hope.

i ordered some hand drum frames from a place i bought from before. they arrived on my doorstep yesterday. i like doing business that way. make a call and wait for the merchandise to be delivered to me. now i have some drums to do. i have two elk hides i have been saving. i will probably make two hand drums and freeze the rest of the hide. i have to put on a demonstration at the festival i am heading to at the end of september. that is part of the deal for having a stand. its free as long as i show and sell my art. that festival will draw an estimated 18,ooo people over the weekend.  

i had to thaw out a buffalo hide i had in the freezer. i put so many things away that i just couldnt afford to have it take up freezer space. i will cover a small 49 drum with that. sure didnt want to waste that hide. i remember scraping that hide for a day and a half. that is alot of work. it made my shoulders burn. i have a big pow wow drum i covered with buffalo hide. it has a good ring to it. hope to sell it at that festival. i imagine this little drum will sound good also.

i got in touch with some people i met on last years retracing of the trail of death. i will stop and visit them when i head to fulton county.  they offered to put me up for the night when i pass thru. its always good to meet kind people. one friend will show me the place where that band of potawatomi camped when they were on that forced march. a small child died there. probably will smoke my pipe there.

i know a guy that has land where that band lived on before they were rounded up. he will let me camp there. that should be an experience. i will smoke there also. this guy said he has found arrowheads and other artifacts on this land. i hope to see them. i always like to visit places where potawatomis lived. this whole trip should be full of history. i like that. really looking forward to hitting the road.

fish fry

hoppy-marshall-with-bass

we had a fish fry the other day. we have really been watching what we eat. its not enough to exercise, gotta eat right too. so having fish was the right thing to do. my brother in law and nephews went to several ponds around the rez. it was slow at first but eventually they caught about 35 bass. that filled up a stringer and cooler with fish. they brought them over and cleaned them. we then fried them up and had a good cookout. besides the bass, some one also brought some catfish that was in the freezer. we had a houseful of relatives. we just needed a reason to get together. i have eaten left over bass the last coupla days.

i have been contacting people i met when i was on the retracing of the potawatomi trail of death last year. i will be heading back thru part of  that route on the way to the fulton county trail of courage. it is a festival held september 19th and 20th. i will be the honored indian there this year. i hope to visit with some of the people i met last year.

i will also be there for the 100th anniversary ceremony of the statue of menominee. i was asked to give an invocation. they liked it last year when i was there and gave one in potawatomi. some people up there want to hear the language. it will be the day before the trail of courage festival.

i still am picking beans and tomatoes. my garden is still producing. dont know how long i will get something from it. it has been a good growing year. we have dried, canned and froze many things this year. we have alot put away for the coming year. it should be healthier for us. we know what went into our produce. there are no chemicals in our food. we are trying hard to have a healthy lifestyle. that takes work.

gi wapkon ke men

dried-pumkin09got my corn dried and put away for the upcoming year. so i started drying my crooked neck squash. i gave away about 50 of them because i knew i would have plenty. so far we have about 18 of them drying. like most njuns i adept to circumstances. i hang some on the clothesline and i have some drying on screens. they benefit from the sun and air drying them at the same time. i used the screens for my corn too. they work great. they are full at the moment so i have to wait til these ones are dry before i dry some more.

i have been busy just trying to keep up with picking all the things that are ripening now. i have had several pickings of  njun beans. i shell them then spread them to dry. i am accumulating a supply of them. i keep picking tomatoes. we will can some. make some salsa with others. maybe i will toss some habenero peppers in a batch for some that is hotter.

my gourds didnt do too well this year. i can see about 5 of them so far, but the vines are still growing. they grew up the front of my tool shed then climbed over onto a cedar tree next to it. they reached the top of it. i have a number of them from last year. some are dipper gourds. i will use one for sweats.

i went to a pow wow up the road last nite. it wasnt very big. they had about 5 stands. i visited with people while i ate some pow wow food. got a little grease back into my diet with that meal. i headed over to the casino after that. dropped a few bucks there. headed home after that. not a real exciting life but it will do.

finally got my computer back. it had some files zapped. my photo program got messed up. my dvd making program had the audio zapped. i lost half my music, bout 2000 songs. people dont intentionally try to mess with my machine. they just dont know what the hell they doing sometime. ignorance is bliss, so they have a good time.  i put a password screen on my computer now. guests can sign in now and do things on the net but cant access my files. shoulda done that long ago. one of lifes lessons.

i was up for a road trip. was gonna down south but the trip got cancelled. oh well. i still have my trip to indiana planned for next month. i am the honored indian there. dont know what that will entail but i am game for it. guess i just gotta be indian or sumthin… will practice on that til then.

drying corn

cooking-cornbeen drying corn lately. when its ready it has to be done right now. everything else has to wait like drying my crooked necks squash. thing is i was busy with the gathering and helping at a coupla funerals, so some of it became slightly hard. may have to cook it a little longer. the rest of it is okay though. i was fortunate to have lotsa help. my sons helped me pick it and remove the husks from it. my wife and niece helped cook it. we cooked it in a big kettle over a fire. we could do several dozen ears of corn at a time. i had a ceremony to attend to so we waited til next day to spoon  it off the cob. we covered it with the husks we removed and left it under the arbor i made.

it has been a good growing year. we spooned off 10 gallons of corn. it has been drying for the past several days now. it will dry down to about half that amount. it will be ready to store for the winter. i will have enough to last me for awhile. more than likely will use most of it for ceremonies. we also have a big pot of it on thanksgiving and other occasions. we put alot of labor into it so we treat ourselves for that.  

it was cloudy for part of the last few days. that causes some of the corn to having a reddish tint to it. that is no big deal. it still tastes the same. the first batch i put out didnt get the tint to it. it looks good. we save the best for ourselves. we also spooned off 3 gallons and froze it for later. we will make pugna out of it. the corn that was too hard will be seed and i will make some lye corn out of it. i will save the best specimens for seed.

we still have our crooked necks squash to dry. i gave away about 30 of them but still have plenty left. i will still give away more if people want them. we will dry enough to last us for two years. we do that in case we have an off year for growing. we may not have another growing year like we had this year in awhile. if we do then we will be lucky. gotta take what you get. i picked some njun beans. there will be plenty more as most of the pods are still developing. i have 3 different kinds of njun beans. then i have lima and pinto beans. i also have more green beans to pick. we already have 6 gallons of them put away. my tomatoes are starting to ripen. we will can them. my habenero peppers are turning orange now. that will make some real hot sauce.

i started my garden back in april. it took about 4 1/2 months of work to get it to this harvesting season. that includes tilling, planting, weeding, harvesting and storing it. been blessed with so many different vegetables that we put away. everything tastes better because we know that we put our labor into producing it. lots of satisfaction in that. i still have to rig up a smoke house. i will get some of the homeboys to bring me a deer or two so i can make jerky out of it. gotta can and dry everything now that the freezer is full. maybe i can even kick back and rest awhile. got a coupla road trips coming up. will enjoy them since most of the work is done.

a time to harvest…

ma-nem-get-wapkon

spent a good part of yesterday picking my crooked necks. i used a wheel barrow to get about a hundred of them to my shed. i left about 30 smaller ones in the garden. will get them later. this was a good growing year for lotsa things. just the right amount of rain and sunshine.

 now i gotta dry these after i get my corn in. when i was young i helped do that. i could braid them like they did but i forgot how to braid them into a mat. we would hang them on a nail on the wall. then break off a piece when we needed some to cook. or put them in an empty flour sack. i will dry enough for 2 years to allow for a bad growing season. what i dont dry i will give away. we use them in our ceremonies, so lotsa people use them.

dont know how long our people been drying corn and pumpkin. guess they had to in the days of no refrigeration or canning. they were smart people to develop methods of preserving food. bet they went hungry too though.

rabbits got my cantaloupes. they were looking good before the gathering. so i got beat to them. thats alright. let them little bunnies fatten up on my vegetables. then i can get them this winter. smoked rabbit will taste good.

speaking of fattening up, i ate at the 3 fires steak house the other nite. my sons were interns at the casino. each intern was allowed two guests.  that was one righteous meal. everything tasted good. i dont eat over there often but i would recommend trying a meal there. i knew most of the servers that waited on us. mostly young homeboys. even had one of them natives grind me some fresh pepper. great service. the chef  came out and talked to us. i told him i ate everything. he replied he liked seeing empty plates.

my tomatoes are ripening. going try canning some. we bought a new pressure cooker. i have a bunch of canning jars. may even try some salsa. my habeneros are turning orange. my freezer is filling up so i have to can somethings.

i got invited to a festival they are having in holton on october 10th. it showcases forgotten arts. my roachmaking is a forgotten art. i often tell people they can drive any direction and take all day before they can find another roachmaker. a little longer to find a good one. the festival is looking for other artists. i can put anyone in touch with the guy in charge. i get to set up a stand and show how my art is done. then i can sell any art if someone wants it. 

now i gotta pick my corn and dry it. that should take all day. then the next few days to dry. i made 5 screens to dry them on. they dry from both sides that way. i will use the screens for my pumpkin too. i will run poles thru the rings and dry them that way. then cut the rest up and spread them on my screens. the garden has kept me busy all summer. now i have more work to save what i can for the coming year.

been busy…

our-merchandise1heres a picture of the stand we had at the gathering.  it was indeed a family thing as other stands were. my sister had beaded items and moccasins. my nephew had painted shields. my brother had his history books. i had roaches and hand drums. my sister in law had necklaces. an elderly lady from canada had quill work. her baskets were some of the best i seen. i told her it took me 30 years for my roaches to get this good. she said it took her 70 years for her baskets to get that good. she was a true artist. a friend of ours asked if we would allow her to display her craft. we said yeah. i still think our pow wow would benefit from having our people display their art work. viewing the stands is part of the pow wow experience. but they price it out of range for the average injun.

i heard we had over 3 thou at our gathering. i registered many of them the first day. i liked being about to greet many of our visitors. they had a picture of me and my brothers posing with a buffalo head in the gathering program. so i was joking with many visitors that i would autograph it. about 100 of them took me up on that. i was just playing but they said go ahead. most people like to laugh.

i got to see an old friend at the gathering. not many left from the old days. many of them have passed on. i think about my bros that are gone all the time. we ran together for years. kept losing them til now there arent many left. upside is i have made many new friends over the years.

i was suppose to have jury duty the other week. i put a road trip on hold because of that. the night before i called and they said to report two weeks later. so i did. they said sorry the hotline was down but you dont have to report anymore. wtf. i called the number they listed and was told it wasnt the jury hotline, it was the court. they could have said no jury duty. instead i had to drive up there and back. 45 minutes out of my life i will never get back. i dont even get the 10 bucks plus mileage. instead of bailing out businesses we should fix our government. the bureaucracy is a big problem.

i finally got the tribe to link to my site. it only took half a year. apparently no one was answering the requests on our site.  so i linked their site on my links too. i always thought our website could have been up dated more often. now they have someone working on the site. that is apparent by the photos and updates on the gathering. i even noticed a picture of me on one of the pages. it dont take much to add something. i only spend like 10 minutes writing an average blog.

while visiting one of our northern brothers at the gathering i heard a quote i have to pass along. he said “religion is for the people that are afraid to go to hell, spirituality is for the ones that have been there”. i liked that.

my mower went tribal again. i was trying to be a nice guy. my elderly neighbor needed some tall grass mowed by his tobacco patch. so i volunteered to cut it. bad idea but the thought was correct. the thick grass caused my belt to break. so now its in the shop again. that repair guy knows me by my first name. it looks like no one lives here, my lawn is so overgrown.

my computer is acting up again. too many people are messing with it. my guests have free reign in my home.  i had over 4 thousand songs. i lost half of them. when they connect an ipod, it messes with the program and zaps whatever is in the folder. my photo program wont open now. i need it to edit my pictures i post on my site. my dvd creator wont add the audio to it. i cant post the hand drum contest from the gathering. all these things have worked perfectly. they dont now. so i have to pay to fix it. i added a log in screen with a pass word to my computer now. hate to be a bad guy but being a nice guy is messing up my window to the world. i need my machine for my blog and my business.

been busy with the gathering and funerals. had to put off my chores that need to be done here. my corn needs to be dried as well as my pumpkins. that will take several days. i will start on that today. i also have to pick whatever vegetables that are ready. its looks like alot of them are ready. gotta get busy.

gathering was nice

electriceddiebeen to busy to blog. been at the gathering. it was nice. i enjoyed everything. i met alot of potawatomis that i know and got to visit with them. i took many pictures. i even taped the hand drum contest. got some good footage,  i may post some on my facebook page. we have some talented potawatomis.

the thing with indians is often we can finish each others sentences. we got a common bond.  some are alittle insulated from things though but  for the most part our experiences are the same. we can relate to each other.

i shared a stand with some of my kin. we did alright. i sold a coupla hand drums and a sweat lodge drum. i have a few orders for drums. lotta people looked at my roaches i had. i sold one. a friend wants the big one with 10 inch hair in front.i enjoyed just sitting by the stand and watching people go by. i got to visit with many of them. it was good that so many of our tribe got to put up a stand. the price was very reasonable. it is a bit too steep at our own pow wow for tribesmen to put one up. we have many artists in our tribe, they got to show their crafts to people. again we have many talented people.

i camped out as usual. it is always good to sleep on the ground now and then. that puts you in touch with grandmother earth. since meals were provided we didnt cook much. we did have some friends over for one meal though. on saturday they had a traditional meal. so we came home to fix pumpkin and pugnah. that took all day. i made a fire in our outside fireplace to cook the pumpkin on. the temperature was in the nineties so it was hot getting it ready. we werent the only home folks that cooked for that big meal. many others cooked so our guests could sample some of our traditional foods. it was better than the catered foods available. by far, i always say our women and men are some of the best cooks around.

i like the camp experience. kinda got bummed by a few minor things. some of my relatives just dumped their kids off at our camp. they were left unsupervised. that aint cool, especially having young girls wandering around after dark. i must be just too old fashioned. some  young people are just too inexperienced. i told them to clean up their own mess. they didnt. i got tired of picking up their trash.  i would hate to see their homes. i know my relatives were taught better than that. young people need better guidance than that. it begins with the parent. how the kid is reflects on what kind of parenting they had.

i volunteered many hours at the gathering. i worked all morning registering people one day. i wanted to do that so i could greet people. i made many of them smile. an old couple couldnt put up their tent so i helped do that. there wasnt any golf carts left by the time i got done so i didnt get to drive one. they had many volunteers for that. i gave an invocation at the youth conference.

our desire to go green didnt go over too well. our people made dish bags for our guests to use. they were filled with a dish, cup, utensils and other gifts. many guests left them at the hotels. so they had to use paper plates etc. we were trying to get away from that. indians should be attuned to that kind of effort. we cant trash our home.

i have to help at several ceremonies for the next few days. we started last night. then i have to catch up with chores.

countdown to da gathering

electriceddieafter waiting for a year the gathering is finally here. well close anyway. it is just a few days off. i drove to the past 3 gatherings. some campsites have been marked off for the past week. doubt that is necessary. our grounds has enough space for the expected 3,500 coming if they wished to camp. only a small percentage of them will camp tho. i will be one for sure. i camp whenever i can, and  i end up camping maybe 10 days out of the year. dont know when i will set up my tent. we most likely will have at least a dozen tents in our area. mostly family.

it looks like there will be many activities going on. something for everyone. i dont know how many i can do, i will be busy. i will have a stand to showcase a coupla my roaches and other wares. some of my family members will share our stand. so we should have someone manning it all the time. i will volunteer at the registration desk and to drive a golf cart. i signed up for a few hours but may work more than that. when i signed up they said they hoped that people would work more hours than just a few. i understand that. it is always hard to find someone to volunteer. many times it is hard to pay someone to do a job.

 i have met some of the other potawatomis over the years so i will be visiting. i will meet many others. i think it is an opportunity to talk with the other bands. i imagine we have many of the same concerns.  we share history with each other. as well as a common origin. i look forward to having a good time. as usual i will take pictures and get some video footage. now i have a external hard drive to store them on.

i am still not believing the good weather we have had for gardening. yesterday i picked green beans. we put away 6 and a half gallons so far. i still have part of a row to pick. my corn and pumkin will be ready to dry real soon. i will wait on the pumkin. my corn is at various growth stages. so i will dry some, save the best for seed, and make some lye corn. will also save some for kakasuwabo. it looks like i will have a good crop. good weather makes a good gardener. if you dont have all the right ingredients, you dont get much.

i am anxious for the gathering to begin. will hate to see it end. then it will be something else next week. it always is.

happy birthday william

willtoday is my sons birthday. william turned 23 today. he goes to haskell and is working as an intern at our casino for the summer. i am proud of him. we dont get all that much into birthdays but we do try have eats. busy time now getting garden produce picked and gathering coming up. so  we just gonna eat out. we picked mexican in topeekee. we like spicy food now and then. i bet he wont want to wear the sombrero and have the staff sing to him tho. i know i wouldnt.

my crooked neck squash are ready to dry now. that will take some doing. looks like i have alot of them. cant see too far into the garden because their leaves cover the ground. i have noticed the ones on the edges. i probably have more this year than i have had in a long time. i remember when i was young i helped to dry them. i even knew how to braid them like they did then. i cant remember how to do that now so i just dry them. i will have enough to last til next growing season. and i can still donate some for the gathering meal.

i grew up on this rez when we didnt have electricity or running water. can still remember those days but i find it hard to live without my cell phone and computer. the other night i went to services for an elder so i left my phone in the car. when i went home i couldnt power up my phone. i charged it and it still wouldnt work. since i pay for an extended warranty i took it to the phone place. they didnt see anything wrong with it. the girl said it was probably the screensavers i had in my phone. they interfere with the software. so they deleted them. it hasnt given me a problem since. but it zapped out my caller id pictures, speed dials etc. so i had to reload them. nice thing is they loaded me a free memory card.

i seen where our president sat down and had a beer with a cop and a professor. guess it was about racial profiling. or a misunderstanding. but then racial profiling is a misunderstanding. i dont see all that much of it like in yesteryear but some still exists. for the most part most people just want to live. racism is ignorance. thankfully we dont have many racists left. sad that we have any though. i can understand the prez trying to get opposite sides to sit down together. i dont see the beer part though. dont want to alienate people that drink but i seen too much of what it can do to our people.

speaking about racial profiling…i got ahold of an old newspaper clipping. it was published in 67. it was about the high school i went to, i was a sophomore then. the principal was talking to the reporter about indians. he said “we’ve got a couple who are pretty sensible”. so he sent someone after one of them. his runner came back “without the Indian”. so he told him to go to the pool hall and look for him. me and my brothers hung out down there. we didnt have  any sensible indians in the crowd we ran with. we were young and carefree.

i was reminded of an incident that happened years ago. i lived another part of the country then. there was this young indian who musta seen alot for his young years. he climbed to the top of a watertower. guess he was suicidal.  a crowd gathered, cops came. they tried talking him down. this took awhile. people got impatient. they wanted a show. so the crowd started chanting ‘jump’. this went on awhile. that was cold. people can be cruel. the dude finally came down. i never forgot that.

yesterday for the first time in my life i rode a four wheeler. man that was fun. i was tempted to speed but thought better of it. i dont need cheap thrills at this point in my life. buzzed about the hood, thru hayfields and down the road. never knew how fun those things could be. konugish ran along side. didnt think that dog would keep up with us. he eventually fell back. i fed him when he got home.  riding that machine was fun.

my kin

electriceddiei have said i got more relatives than a politician running for office. and i do. i have alot of brothers and sisters. they have alot of kids, so i have many nieces and nephews. i have always been around kids. so i wouldnt know how to act if there wasnt a kid to hold or to tease.

seen some of my family last night. they are from oklahoma. they are another branch of my family. they adopted me years back. i used to go down there for ceremonies alot. so i got to know them. it was nice to visit my mother  and my sisters from there. my aunts and their kids were also there. i had a regular family reunion. it was nice to see all of them. we hugged each other when it was time to say bye. i hope to go down there and visit sometime soon.

i respect the act of adoption. i have gone thru 3 adoption ceremonies. i became part of those families. anytime i see any of them i make it a point to go see them. i have lost 3 brothers and we have adopted for them. when i see the ones we took for brothers i think of my brothers that i have lost.  we also adopted for my mother who was the biggest influence on me. i think of her alot. everytime i see the one we took in her place i think of her.

when i add all my families together i have a big family. at one time i had 3 mothers and 24 brothers and sisters. probably only a rez njun can say that. i dont know how many call me uncle or misho. too many to count.  it is nice to have so many relatives. friends come and go. i lost many of my friends over the years. probably from the lifestyle we led. family stays forever though. a close friend of mine told me i was rich. she didnt mean in the material sense. she meant because i am surrounded by such a big family. i agreed with her. i dont know if anyone dislikes me or not. wouldnt matter. the ones that care for me, genuinely do. thats who i care about. so i am rich.