Okay, so this wasn't on my list, but mostly because I didn't think of doing it.
Yesterday evening, I got a call from my friend Amanda asking if I wanted to go ricing. Wild rice season opened last week in Minnesota, and she was curious to give it a try. I said sure - as long as she recognized the fact that canoes are not always my friends. She said that she would paddle (or pole if necessary) if I would do the actual harvesting.
The procedure is fairly simple - one person poles or paddles the boat through the rice, and the other uses sticks called knockers to get the rice to fall onto a tarp inside the boat. Check out this video for a visual example:
We set off this morning to get to our chosen spot just at 9 am (when the ricing hours start). Setting up the canoe was easy, and there was lots of rice on the river. It took me a few minutes to get the hang of bending and knocking the rice stems. I have no comparison for the motion, but I will say that Amanda could paddle faster than I could keep up with the knocking. I mentally thanked Peter (who had given me some advice the night before) for suggesting long pants tucked into socks. The rice has a very itchy beard and hosts a wide array of insects and spiders. The rice seemed pretty green, so after trying a few different sections to test ripeness, we turned the ricing experiment into a simple paddle.
Will I go out again? Probably, it would be fun to get a big haul and was a pleasant way to spend the morning.