I’ve been out on the wild rice beds near my home in Grantsburg, WI for a few evenings this past week and all day today. The harvest has been pretty good so far, and my partners and I have gathered somewhere around 80 lbs of raw rice through today. Maybe more, but I am not a good judge of the weight and I don’t have a scale. No matter, the best part of gathering wild rice is the camaraderie with my friends and just being out on the water amongst the rice and the lily pads, with nighthawks flying over and sora rails running around nearby.
I provide the canoe and paddles, ricing pole and flailing sticks, plus some muscle power to propel the canoe while my partner knocks the rice into the canoe with the ricing sticks. Sometimes they push while I knock. We split the harvest between us evenly based upon number of hours out on the water. This year I have taken out four different people, two of them have never riced before.
This year two of my partners gave me a couple of amazing gifts, a jar of maple syrup from one and a tomahawk that the other one forged by hand himself. I am so thankful to have such great ricing partners, and even more thankful for the opportunity to be able to harvest wild rice in this beautiful setting.