Setting up schedule for vacation at work. Trying once again to guess just when the wild rice will be ready to harvest. I usually opt for a week, end of August, beginning of September.

We head up near the homestead and set up a big tent on the far side of Wigiwam Lake, Schultz Lake, or Cramer Lake.

Our rice canoe is a cedar strip with narow gunwales and thwarts - and no seats. The pole man stands in the stern with a 14 foot pole with a duck bill on the end and the harvester sits with his/her back against the center thwart and knocks the rice with 2 three foot cedar sticks. When the whole canoe is full of rice we return to camp.

The rice is laid out on pieces of canvas to dry. Sometimes we make racks near the fire to dry it quicker. Everyone is eager for "first rice."

After the rice is dried, we put it in a 25 gallon kettle, canted at an angle, and partially over the fire. The rice is stirred and the heat singes off the "beards."

A hole is dug in the ground and lined with split cedar boards. A deer skin or piece of canvas is laid in the hole and a "dancer," with new moggasins, dances on the rice. After dancing, the rice is winowed by placing it in a shallow birchbark tray and throwing the rice in the air. It helps to have a little wind so the chaff blows away.

http://www.foodmuseum.com/wildricenewex.html