Page 1

Spring 2020















Colorectal cancer is preventable.


Even without a family history, symptoms or risk factors, you can be at risk. All it takes is one day and one screening to safeguard yourself from the third deadliest cancer.





Call (218) 333-5283 to schedule your screening at Sanford Bemidji.

2 | in Bemidji Spring 2020

OFFICE OF ADMISSIONS 905 Grant Ave. SE Bemidji, MN 56601-4907 www.ntcmn.edu / (218) 333-6600 / admissions@ntcmn.edu

A member of the colleges and universities of Minnesota State, Northwest Technical College is an affirmative action, equal opportunity educator and employer. This document is available in alternative formats to individuals with disabilities by calling 218-755-3883 directly or through the Minnesota Relay Service at 1-800-627-3529.

Spring 2020

in Bemidji | 3



1320 Neilson Ave. SE Bemidji, MN 56601 218-333-9200

Spring 2020

Features 11 Get to know Abby Randall


Editor Jillian Gandsey Creative Director Mollie Burlingame Page Design Chris Johnson Advertising Lindsay Nygren Business Larisa Severson


Abby, the new executive director of the Bemidji Chamber of Commerce, answers our questions.




Publisher/Advertising Director Todd Keute Editor Annalise Braught Controller Tammie Brooks



218-333-9200 Shelly Willison swillison@bemidjipioneer.com James Hanson jhanson@bemidjipioneer.com Will Daley wdaley@bemidjipioneer.com

Grain in her veins

Anna Lauer invites us to her home in Puposky and shares about her baking business at Wildflower Farm.

Maple sugar season

Sue Bruns sits down with Doyle Turner, Sr., to learn about the history of his sugarbush camp near Naytahwaush.

Pep up your pancakes

Larisa has some ideas for how to spice up your pancakes with recipes you can make year-round.

21 In this issue

06 08 10 26 30

DIY: Birdhouse Yoga for everyone Bookmarked Spring events Spot the difference

Questions and Feedback Email inBemidji at inmagazine@bemidjipioneer.com Volume 7, Issue 1

Copyright © 2020 Bemidji Pioneer


in Bemidji

All rights reserved. Although some parts of this publication may be reproduced and reprinted, we require that prior permission be obtained.

ON THE COVER Anna Lauer of Wildflower Farm. Photo by Jillian Gandsey.

inBemidji’s mission is to be Bemidji’s and the surrounding area’s local lifestyle

magazine. We strive to enhance the quality of life for the people of the Bemidji area by informing them about all of the amazing people who live in our community. Our concentration is on everything local: fashion, food, health, and most importantly, unique individuals and stories. We strive to maintain a high level of integrity as an inspiring, local media presence for our readers and provide advertisers with a high-quality, effective marketing medium.

Bemidji online! Visit www.bemidjipioneer.com, then click on inBemidji near the bottom of the page.


Read the award-winning in

instagram.com/inbemidjimag 4 | in Bemidji Spring 2020


twitter.com/inMagBemidji Spring 2020

in Bemidji | 5



DIY six-piece

birdhouse by Jillian



Drill holes in the following pattern:

Since 1966

Gandsey in Bemidji Editor

• 3/8 inch dowel rod — 8 inches long • 4-inch diameter PVC pipe — cut 5 inches long • No. 212 eye hooks • 1 by 6 foot piece of pine cut into two 5 1/2 inch by 5 1/2 inch squares (you can use types of other wood) • 12 inch wire or small chain for hanging • 3/16 inch fir plywood cut into one 6 by 8 inch and one 5 13/16 inch by 8 inch rectangles • 1-inch nails

What you use: • • • • • •

Hand saw Hammer Sandpaper Pencil Tape measure Power drill with a 3/8 spade bit and a 1 1/4 spade bit

or the spring edition of inBemidji, we present to you a birdhouse! Slightly more difficult than “crafts” we’ve done in the past, but it’s about as simple as it gets for building your own birdhouse. I commissioned my soon-to-be husband Sonny and his father for help with most of this, especially cutting the boards and PVC pipe. We can’t wait to put it in our yard and see if any chickadees decide to make it home. 6 | in Bemidji Spring 2020

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What you need:



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The 3/8 hole that is slightly away from the other four needs to match up with the 3/8 hole on the front 5 1/2 inch square. Sand the edges of the wood. Then nail 5 1/2 inch squares flush with the edge of the roof piece (5 13/16 inch by 8 inch). Overlap other roof piece (6-inch by 8-inch) and nail to top sides of the 5 1/2 inch square. Place PVC pipe under roof and it will be held in place by pushing the dowel rod through the bottom holes. It will fit tightly, but can be sanded slightly if necessary. Screw the eye hooks into each side of the roof and connect the chain, or a wire, to hang. Lastly, you can paint or stain it however you choose.

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Underside of birdhouse

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Spring 2020

in Bemidji | 7


by Jessica


Carter special to in Bemidji

magine walking into your local yoga studio. What do you expect to see? You might expect to see Jen, the perky 20-something wearing the trendiest leggings, a snug racerback tank and stretching out in the back, showing off her flexibility. This is what most of us imagine when we think of yoga. Skinny middle class women doing handstands and impossible balancing acts. Would you be surprised that next to her is Sue, a plus-size 57-year-old grandma who recently cut back to part-time and signed up for this class through community ed? She’s wearing some old sweatpants and a baggy T-shirt she picked up in Jamaica 15 years ago. No tight spandex for her. It might surprise you even more to notice that her and Jen are talking in that familiar way about what they did over the weekend. What could these women possibly have in

common? Are they friends? Would you be equally taken aback to see that next to Sue, stretching his back in a forward fold, is Steve. Steve is a 34-year-old former Marine Corps Sergeant who started yoga per recommendation from his counselor to help manage his PTSD. In front of him are Karen and Don who always lay their mats together and bicker over who made the other late that day. Would you expect that they are in their late 70s and they just started yoga the year before last? Is this how you imagine the practitioners of yoga to be? Are these the next great yogis of our time? Or are they simply a representation of yoga today? Yoga is many things, but what it is not is exclusive. Yoga is for everybody. Every age. Every ability. Every person can practice some form of yoga. Yoga brings people together from all walks of life. The young,

“Do something today that your future self will thank you for.” 8 | in Bemidji Spring 2020

“You don’t have to change yourself to do yoga

because yoga will bring about the change for you.”

the old, the able bodied, the hurt. Yoga is not a religion. It is not a sport. It is a practice that connects the body, mind and spirit through the breath. You can find classes in a studio, in a park, in a church basement, on the beach, even online. Yoga is everywhere. As you sit in your car pulled up to the stop light, you notice the young woman next to you close her eyes for a moment and breath deeply through her nose. Is she practicing yoga? Of course she is! She’s practicing pranayama — breathwork. Maybe she doesn’t know she’s practicing yoga but she is. At your next work meeting you notice the presenter do something funny with his hands, he holds them in a sort of steeple with the finger tips touching and the fingers widened apart. Is that yoga? Yes it is! That’s what yogis call a mudra — a way of working with your body’s energy systems. Perhaps he learned that trick at a leadership conference and never knew he was beginning a journey into yoga. At lunch your coworker tells you about some exercises from her physical therapy. They kind of sound like yoga. Are they? They might be. Again — yoga is all around us. Some people say that America has ruined yoga. They say that we have ripped away the tradition and importance of the practice. I say that America is young and eager. We see the benefits and we know deep down that we need those benefits for ourselves. But the underlying thread and importance of yoga can never be altered. None of us are living the life of traditional yogis. So how can we take a traditional practice and expect it to work today? The truth is we can’t without completely changing everything about what makes our lives run the way they do. Now that’s not saying there isn’t room to change but yoga brings that change in its own way. You don’t have to change yourself to do yoga because yoga will bring about the change for you. Yoga forces you to confront your ego and it humbles you. Not in a degrading sort of way, but in the way that reminds you of what’s truly important in life. Yoga not only allows you to live in the moment and just be, but it also works on a physical level to strengthen and brings balance to your body systems, no matter what style of yoga you practice. So next time you have insecurity or trepidation about attending a yoga class, take a moment and remember Sue, Steve, Don and

Healthy Hair For Everyone

Karen. The names have been changed but they represent real people. These are the people of modern yoga. Not the contortionists we imagine in our mind but our neighbors, our coworkers, our family and our friends. This is what yoga looks like today and I am proud to be part of it.


is a Registered/Licensed Dietitian, Certified Diabetes Educator, Lifestyle coach and 200 hour Registered Yoga Teacher. She is the founder and president of Core Health Nutrition & Yoga, formerly known as Core Health & Nutrition LLC.


visit corehealthbemidji.com/yoga. Her studio is located at 1900 Division St. W, Unit 1, in Bemidji.

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in Bemidji | 9



For Bookmarked in the spring edition of inBemidji, we’re featuring a few of the books picked by the Bemidji Public Library to celebrate Black History Month.






The Bemidji Chamber's new executive director


Many of our readers are familiar with Abby Randall, who was the content director for inBemidji since its inception in 2013. And as much as we miss her working on the magazine, we’re so happy to see her thriving with the Bemidji Area Chamber of Commerce. She began there as executive director in early January and oversees the day-to-day operations at the Chamber. Abby’s a 2009 graduate of Bemidji State and began at the Bemidji Pioneer shortly after. We sat down to chat with Abby in February.

We’ve just entered a new decade. What’s your vision for the Chamber in the coming 10 years?

"If we can dream it we can achieve it." 10 | in Bemidji Winter Spring 2020

I’m so excited you asked that question because the Bemidji Area Chamber is heading into a new and exciting time and I’m honored to be a part of it. We have a clear vision that highlights the value we bring to the local business community. We’re focused on providing the best resources and connections to help new, expanding, and established businesses succeed. This is all while continuing our efforts to provide networking opportunities and advocating for business issues that affect our community.

Spring 2020

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"Mayflower is hustling and bustling with business owners of all stages- startups, independent, established, you name it."

That’s a tough question! I really love all the programs for different reasons. I’ve had the most experience with the Young Professionals Network. As a member of YPN for many years, I believe wholeheartedly that this group is our next generation of leaders in our community. I’ve seen amazing talent come from this group of professionals and I know we’ll see many more. HR Connections is a group that I’ve already learned so much from. For local businesses, HR Connections has been a great local resource for HR professionals to ask questions, share advice, and learn the newest practices and policies that keep employees safe and thriving. Bemidji Area Business Women is a group that is just so inspirational. This group is a phenomenal representation of strong women in our community so if you’re looking for new connections to help take you through the next step in life or your career, Bemidji Area Business Women is a wonderful support system to surround yourself with. And lastly, the Ambassadors group is the boots on the ground, frontline of the chamber. We couldn’t do what we do without the Ambassadors. They have their finger of the pulse of the business community, and have vast business connections, and not to mention you won’t

You’ve come to the Chamber from the Bemidji Pioneer (we miss you!). How does your background help with the position? Aww thank you and I miss you all too! I came from the Bemidji Pioneer with valued connections in the business community and years of sales and marketing experience, which has helped me so much along the way. The experience I received in the media industry is a truly unique experience that applies to numerous aspects of my career.

The Chamber is in a new location. How are you liking the new digs and why is this move important for the Chamber? The Chamber of Commerce recently moved into the Mayflower building and it’s been a great getting to know the people that work and meet here. The Mayflower is hustling and bustling with business owners of all stages- startups, independent, established, you name it. This move is important because it’s an environment that will help keep our finger on new business trends that will take the Chamber to the next level.

Are you a reader? Tell us about what books you’ve read lately or are excited to read? In all honesty, with two kids at home, I wish I had more time to read but aside from my usual children’s books for reading material (Disney princesses and Dogman), I enjoy listening to audiobooks or podcasts. I listen to many motivational topics such as financial advice from authors like Dave Ramsey, speakers and authors such as Tony Robbins, Rachel Hollis, Brene Brown, Dale Carnegie, interviews from Oprah’s Super Soul Conversations from time to time and so much more. (Email me your audiobook recommendations at abby@bemidji.org)

"This community has always been so good to me, I’ve had the opportunity to grow professionally here and I’m so grateful for that."

What is the average day of a Chamber Director like? I’ve learned very quickly that there’s really no such thing as an average day at the Chamber. Most days involve meetings with partners, chamber members, program chairs, board members, committees, etc. In between meetings I catch up on emails and phone calls, tasks, and get ahead on upcoming events. The good thing is, I’ve always been a flexible person. I can roll with just about anything and tend to not get upset if things veer from the original plan. My days have been oh so busy but so rewarding. Dr. James Hess

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Outside Prescriptions Welcome


find a group of volunteers more willing to roll their sleeves up and pitch in when it comes to welcoming new businesses.

I want you to know that I cherish the relationships that I have built in Bemidji. This community has always been so good to me, I’ve had the opportunity to grow professionally here and I’m so grateful for that. I have a deep passion to help business owners succeed in Bemidji and want to hear all feedback. I want to hear both the successes and struggles, and believe in transparency. I think if we prioritize working together we can decide our future as a community. If we can dream it we can achieve it.


What are/is your favorite Bemidji Chamber program(s)?

What do you want Bemidji to know about you as Chamber Director?


Deepen Your Walk! Discover Your Purpose! Develop God’s Heart! 1600 Oak Hills RD SW • Bemidji, MN 56601 (218)751-8670 • oakhills.edu Admissions@oakhills.edu

Spring 2020

in Bemidji | 13

Grain in her veins Anna Lauer keeps busy with Wildflower Farm and family

by Bria

Barton in Bemidji staff writer


ust before Anna Lauer opens the door to her 100-year-old farmhouse and welcomes guests into her homestead, little faces with curious sets of eyes appear at its window, peeking out on tip-toes. “They’re supposed to be napping,” she says apologetically once she’s coaxed them back to their play area on the far end of the kitchen, where their sister, who is not yet old enough to accompany them on welcome missions, squeals bubbly gibberish from her bouncer seat. Anna’s kitchen, which is small yet lively and full of sweet smells, is a sensory overload for a nose of any age: in its center, on the butcher block countertop, the day’s fresh batch of granola — mixed with dried cherries, pumpkin seeds and pecans — rests beside containers of chocolate ganache, ready to be squeezed into Valentine’s Day treats. Nearby, a cooling rack filled with an assortment of other goodies 14 | in Bemidji Spring 2020

photos by Jillian


is tucked against a wall, adjacent to a child-sized kitchen play set. Although there isn’t a timer in sight, Anna instinctively pulls out the loaves of bread baking in her oven, which — like a heart — seeps warmth into its home and seemingly never rests. Each day, it pumps out loaf after loaf, pastry after pastry for Wildflower Farm, Anna’s in-home baking business, eponymously named after her family’s humble 50-acre farm in Puposky, Minn. For Anna, baking is a full-time job; but so is the act of juggling motherhood with five children — all between the ages of 9-months and 6-years-old — and running an active farm full of chickens and cows, a smattering of cats and dogs and a lone donkey. “Some days are more challenging than others,” Anna says. “I have to adjust — like if the kids don’t nap — and things get done at different times, but it ends up working.”

"Baking was also just a part of our chores." The cart before the horse You could say that Anna was born with grain in her veins. From an early age, she could be found in the kitchen with her mother and grandmother baking various types of bread and poticas, among other delicious delights. “Baking was also just a part of our chores,” Anna says. “Mom would leave a ‘this needs to be made’ list before soccer practice, or dad would ask for cookies for his fishing trip.” But when Anna decided to pursue the craft as a career, she enrolled in the culinary program at North Dakota State College of Science in Wahpeton, N.D., later going on to complete further training in the study of baking and pastries. Within a few years, Anna went from working as a cake decorator at a local Bismarck grocery store to owning her own bakery at the age of 20. There, she specialized in artisan breads, pastries and desserts. “When you’re 20, it’s a lot of work and a lot of responsibility,” she says. “It was good, but it was long hours.” Yet with hopes for a change of pace — coupled with a growing family — Anna and her husband, Mike, closed the patisserie and headed back toward Anna’s childhood stomping grounds in northern Minnesota in search of the simple life. An older farm about 15 miles north of Bemidji struck their fancy, and they purchased it — later learning that it was the original dairy farm for nearby neighbor, the now-defunct Lake Julia Tuberculosis Sanitarium. So with a fertile farm now at her disposal, Anna jumped into country life at full force.

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Spring 2020

in Bemidji | 15

“We had a cow coming and there were no fences."

“My brother says I always put the cart before the horse,” Anna said. “I wanted chickens to be wandering, so I ordered 80 chickens and then laying hens. The only problem was, there was no chicken coop.” And while Anna cared for a garage full of chicks, her husband and father built a home for the birds. The following spring, however, Anna wanted to be able to milk her own cow. “We had a cow coming and there were no fences,” she says with a laugh. “And that was kind of the start of it: I just kept getting things, and we kept having to make things for them.” Motherhood and molasses Although Anna had sworn off another baking business after moving — preferring to tend her garden and enjoy farm life — the arrival of a few more babies changed her mind. “We needed a little bit of a side income,” she says. “So I started baking again, and it snowballed into a lot more than a side job.” At first, Anna’s days were spent working a full-time job at Paul Bunyan Communications and managing orders from her baking gig in her free time. But with four kids in daycare and a fifth on the way last year, she decided to make a career change. “The goal, in the beginning, was that I wanted to be home with the kids,” Anna says. Now, after expanding Wildflower Farm to be her full-time job, her typical day is still a busy one — at times, preparing upwards of 100 loaves of bread, along with other customer orders, in a week’s time. In the morning, she’ll mix dough while preparing breakfast and getting her oldest kids ready for school. Afterwards, she’ll do her farming chores and begin baking, an activity that also includes breaks for laundry, making lunch, and putting her younger kids down for naps. 16 | in Bemidji Spring 2020

CLEAN DRAIN DISPOSE DRY BMP (Best Management Practices) to prevent the spread of AIS (Aquatic Invasive Species)

Clean - aquatic plants, mud, and animals from watercraft, trailers and equipment. Drain - all water including bait containers by removing drain plugs and keep drain plugs out while transporting watercraft, verify water drained. To keep bait refill the bait container with bottle or tap water. Dispose - of unwanted bait in the trash, never release into the wild. Dry - for five hot/dry days, if unable then Spray/ Flush all water containing compartments and trailer with very hot water. Beltrami County AIS Program 218-333-8281

To kill adult zebra mussels: Use hot water (120° F for 2 mins or 140° F for at least 10 seconds)

“And that was kind of the start of it: I just kept get ting things, and we kept having to make things for them.” “I try to have everything wrapped up by mid-afternoon for family time, but it may or may not happen,” she says. The balance of motherhood, farm life and baking is Anna’s biggest challenge, and it’s one that she admits she’s still working to improve. “I’m really good at getting tunnel vision when I get on a project, and the next thing you know, I’ve been in the kitchen all day long, and they’ll come in looking for supper at seven o’clock and there’s nothing to eat,” she says. “So that’s hard. I’m getting better I think.

But everyday is a work in progress.” But just as Anna showed early interest in having her hands in dough and flour up to her elbows, she’s discovering that so do her children — and rather than dismiss their intrigue and curiosity while she works, she’s decided to embrace and cultivate it. “There’s a stool for each of them, and they can all line up and watch,” she says. “I give them all their own wad of dough and they all have their own little rolling pins, so they can keep their hands busy in their own dough while I do my thing.”


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www.grizzlytruss.com Spring 2020

in Bemidji | 17

“Buying local helps out your neighbor."

Local love When Anna and her family moved to Wildflower Farm, she knew that she wanted to source as many of her ingredients from her farm as possible, including growing and milling wheat. With no prior farming experience, she admits that a combination of reading and “winging it” is how much of her farm has come to fruition. “I did a lot of reading because I wanted to do the heritage grains and the non-GMO stuff, so I mainly just ordered some seeds and put them in the ground and prayed for rain,” Anna says. While much of the wheat produced by her farm goes into her products, Anna says it’s not enough to accommodate all of her orders. Instead, she sources whole berries from another farm that employs the same farming practices that she uses. She also sources her own honey and eggs for use in her goods, and in autumn, makes jams and jellies out of the fruit harvested from her land. Anna’s love for local has even expanded into a collaboration with Just Dandy, a husband and wife team that crafts hand-poured candles and natural bath and body products out of their northern Minnesota farm. They often host Sip and Shop events, which feature Just Dandy products along with treats from Anna’s kitchen. “Buying local helps out your neighbor,” Anna says. “We were able to get raw milk from a neighbor, and I knew that the whole $3 for a gallon went to her instead of a couple pennies once the milk truck got it. I like that it stays here. When people buy from us, that whole amount stays in our family. It pays for groceries and diapers and whatever it may be. I’d like to be able to pass that on.” 18 | in Bemidji Spring 2020

Food scraps

aren't garbage! Food scraps belong in the


e! tru and it's eat m se! e en ev che

Beltrami County now offers composting!

It's easy to compost: 1. sign up. 2. collect your food scraps. 3. drop off at the Transfer Stations. up at Find out more and sign


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Farming forward When time allows and conditions are just right, Anna’s happy place is in her kitchen with a wad of sourdough. “I like sourdough when the house is quiet, and I can really just dive into it,” she says. “It’s a lot of mixing and kneading, but at the same time, it seems like there is more to it. When I can just do it and concentrate on it, it’s the best.” But following a recipe doesn’t come easy for Anna. She acknowledges that she’s always tweaking directions and experimenting with various ingredients to make the recipe her own. Her website shows off an extensive selection of cakes, cookies, breads, granolas, pastries and quiches available for order that she’s concocted over the years with a little trial and error. “It’s always easier just to stick with the standby because I know how it's going to turn out, but there's always that fun of trying something new and adding something different,” she says. n


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Spring 2020

in Bemidji | 19

“Crazy comes to mind, but I don’t know if I want to admit it, we’ll

It’s maple sugar season

say I’m ambitious, that sounds nice.”

by Sue

Bruns special to in Bemidji

*Sugarbush: Nowadays, however, it seems there’s never a time that Anna isn’t busy. One of her more recent projects includes offering small classes in her kitchen for those interested in learning about baking and pastries. “Crazy comes to mind, but I don’t know if I want to admit it,” Anna says with a laugh. “We’ll say

I’m ambitious, that sounds nice.” And while she hopes to expand her kitchen this summer — anticipating that someday it will be state inspected so “a lot more doors will open” — she says she also wants to focus more on small grain production and milling in the future. Yet for the mother, baker and farmer, she’s got more than

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enough eggs in her basket for now. “I like that I can be creative and there’s no set hours, and I can change it up on a whim. If I find something new that I want to do, then I just start it,” Anna says. “I’d like to expand the business just a little bit beyond what it is, but I really want to focus on family time, too.”



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20 | in Bemidji Spring 2020



Scotty Allison,

Veterans Service Officer

a woods in which sugar maples predominate


oyle Turner, Sr., remembers it was a long uphill trek from the road to his grandfather’s sugarbush camp three miles north of Naytahwaush, a site his grandfather had permission to use for 15 years. His grandfather, John Antell, would build a lean-to and stay at the camp, sleeping there for weeks during the harvest. A wide roll of birch bark, stored there since the previous season, could be warmed up and unfurled to place over the lean-to frame. Grandfather carried a large black kettle to the site to heat the sap. Early Anishinaabe people cooked the maple sap in birch bark pots. The moisture in the sap kept the bark from burning. Lower temperatures were used to cook down the sap as boiling was not required. In the 1800s, maple sugar and furs were traded for large cast iron pots called akiks. Doyle first went to the camp with his father by horse and wagon

as a young boy in the 1950s to bring food out to Grandfather and to learn about sugaring. Since sap flows earlier in maples than in most trees, the maples were tapped late in February or early in March, when the temperatures warmed Spring 2020

in Bemidji | 21

during the daytime and snow started to melt. American Indians were the first to harvest maple sap, primarily a North American food source, because prime harvesting can only occur in a place with the right conditions: cold nights — below freezing — and warmer days that melt the snow and ice. A sugaring season might last anywhere from 10 to 40 days. Although various types of maple trees grow all over the globe, only a few places — mostly in North America — have the right combination of temperature and conditions for harvesting. Scandinavian countries have short springs that break quickly to summer — not conducive to harvesting maple sap. In Naytahwaush, Doyle’s grandfather would tap the maples — on the south side first, and then later, a second tap on the north side. He always knew exactly when, and he thanked the Creator with an offering, sprinkling tobacco on the ground on the north side of the trees. In the early days, Doyle says, the trees were tapped with an ax or hatchet, and a splint of basswood was placed below it to channel the sap into birchbark receptacles. Basswood provided good splints for delivering the sap, and a stringy substance inside the tree could be used to craft handles for sap containers.

40 gallons of sap, which is about two percent sugar, is reduced to just a gallon. The task of sugaring requires patience, Doyle says, as 40 gallons of sap, which is about two percent sugar, is reduced to just a gallon. Sitting in the sugarbush camp, tending the fire, waiting for the sap to reduce, he says, is “a good place for stories and histories.” Grandfather tended the fire, often until well into the night, and waited and watched as the pale sap became amber-colored syrup. Toward the end of the sugaring season, Grandfather took the remaining sap home, and his wife continued to cook it down to make sugar. In the old days, Doyle says, the Ojibwe women usually tended the sugarbush while the men gathered food. They made birch bark containers called makaks small at the top and wider at the bottom, to hold the syrup and the maple sugar. Since maple syrup was difficult to store over a prolonged period, most of the sap was boiled down, strained and reduced some more. Then it was placed in a trough and worked with paddles or hands until it became granulated maple sugar which kept indefinitely. The sugar could be dissolved in cold water for a refreshing, sweet drink or could be heated with a smaller amount of water

A sugaring season might last anywhere from 10 to 40 days. to make syrup. It could also be pressed into forms — little cones or naturally found molds like the upper mandible of a duck’s bill — to make candies. The Ojibwe used maple sugar to season fruits, vegetables, cereals and fish and to make medicines more palatable for children. Often the sugar was brought to ceremonies in miniature canoes made of birch bark. Until the mid-1800s, maple sugar was the most common sweetener in North America. Only after the Civil War, when trading opened up again, did white refined cane sugar from the Caribbean become more readily available. Although New England’s season is usually longer than Minnesota’s, and Vermont and other states produce more maple syrup — most of it commercially, Minnesota maple syrup is considered by many to be the sweetest anywhere. Today Doyle and his family and many other Ojibwe people continue to harvest maple sap in the early spring, as do non-native people who have taken up this tradition. In Red Lake, students experience the sugarbush camp — some for the first time — with their Ojibwe teachers. They visit a camp, collect or chop wood for the fire, and gather the buckets or heavy plastic bags of sap. Josh Graves, a Red Lake High School student, remembers gathering maple sap with his parents, sisters and grandfather near Ponemah when he was just 4 or 5. For several of the students, however, the sugarbush field trip is their first experience. Amaya Pemberton recalls her visits to a sugarbush camp with her Ojibwe teacher, Tami Liberty. After she and the other students hauled the bags of sap to the buckets to be boiled down, they snowshoed, played games, threw snowballs, and enjoyed the homemade outdoor bread and jam their teacher had brought along. “It’s important,” Amaya said, “because it’s part of our culture, to know the experience and to tell people about it.” But most of the students agree that the best part of maple sugaring is eating the candy or enjoying the sweet syrup drizzled over pancakes.

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in Bemidji | 23

Sugarbush memories

reported by Red Lake ninth-grader Rhoze McClain

birch bark recepticles


Cleo Ringhand, an Ojibwe language and culture teacher in Red Lake, was 4 or 5 the first time she went out with her father, sister and brother. She was the only one small and light enough to walk on top of the snow; everyone else kept breaking through. She loved being out in the woods with her family. They used metal “spiles” or spigots to tap the trees and caught the sap in coffee cans and buckets. After the sap was boiled down in a large kettle in the woods over an open fire, some was taken home to cook and thicken on the stove to make candy, taffy and sugar cakes. Cleo was the official “taste tester” of the sugar cakes. She continues to harvest maple sap, helping out at sugar camps each year and teaching her students about sugaring and other Ojibwe traditions. A special thank you to Doyle Turner, Sr., and to the Red Lake students in Mrs. Dockendorf ’s class for sharing their sugarbush stories. n


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For further reading,

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Do not release your fish, reptiles, amphibians or water garden plants into natural habitats.

The historical photographs used with this story are courtesy of the Beltrami County Historical Society and others are submitted.

“My Grandfather’s Knocking Sticks: Ojibwe Family Life and Labor on the Reservation” by Brenda J. Child “Chippewa Customs” by Frances Densmore “Sugartime” by Susan Hauser


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Events Calendar


Here is a look at some spring events going on in Bemidji and the surrounding area. Check the Bemidji Chamber of Commerce or Visit Bemidji websites for more information.



Shamrock Shuffle 5K or 10K, March 14 Spring Sipper at the Sanford Center, March 14 Gardening workshop at Beltrami Electric, March 16 World’s Shortest Parade in downtown Bemidji, March 17 Make a porch sign at Keg N’ Cork, March 19 Bemidji Community Theater presents “Treasure Island,” March 20-22, 27-29 Hidden Jem’s Market Craft Show at the Sanford Center, March 21 Bemidji Choir performs at First Lutheran, March 24 Paint your own height/growth chart at Keg N’ Cork, March 26 Custom pot and succulent class at Keg N’ Cork, March 28 Bemidji Symphony Orchestra presents "Classical Swing” at BHS, March 29 Harlem Globetrotters at the Sanford Center, March 30


Bemidji Concert Series: Minnesota Opera Resident Artists, at BSU, April 2 Bemidji Jaycees Home, Sport & Travel Show, April 3-5 Mickey Gilley & Johnny Lee perform at Northern Lights Casino, April 4 Indoor Garage Sale at the Sanford Center, April 11 Perfectly Unique Craft Show at the Sanford Center, April 11 The Green & White Dinner & Auction at the Sanford Center, April 18 Monroe Crossing at the Chief Theater, April 18 Colored Lines: Diversity in Itasca screening And Discussion, April 21 Funtastic Dance Follies, April 23-25

Pancakes with strawberries and whip cream Ingredients:

1 box pancake mix of your choice 1 package fresh or frozen strawberries with juice 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 1 teaspoon almond extract



Spring 26 | in Bemidji Spring 2020

Daddy Daughter Dance at Hampton Inn & Suites, May 2 Bemidji Community Theater presents “The Trip to Bountiful,” May 8-9, 15-17 BSU and NTC Commencement, May 8 Women’s Expo at the Sanford Center, May 9 Bemidji Symphony Orchestra presents "Across the Pond” at BHS, May 17

For this spring season, we’re livening up our pancake recipes. In our house we’ve always loved the Krusteaz brand of pancake mix, so we’re going to stick with that for these recipes, but feel free to use any of your favorites. Or you can always make them from scratch. The banana pancakes and the ones with strawberries on top make for a delicious spring breakfast. The pumpkin and maple bacon recipes would be perfect to save for fall. Enjoy!


To keep the pancakes warm while cooking place an oven safe dish or plate into a preheated oven to 175.

In a large bowl prepare pancake mix per box instructions and add the vanilla and almond extract. Place approximately 1/4 cup of batter on a buttered griddle or skillet over medium heat. Cook pancake until bubbles appear about 2 minutes and flip and cook about 1 minute on the other side. Top with strawberries and whip cream for serving.


I used a medium package of fresh strawberries. To prepare those: Cut the strawberries into pieces and add about a 1/2 cup of sugar and a splash of vanilla extract. Mix together to coat the strawberries and set in the refrigerator for about 1/2 hour to juice. Spring 2020

in Bemidji | 27

Maple bacon pancakes Ingredients: x of your choice

1 box pancake mi t into pieces ple flavored bacon, cu 1 pound thick cut ma tract 1 teaspoon vanilla ex n mo na cin 1/4 teaspoon up syr ple ma p 1/4 cu

Banana pancakes Ingredients:

r choice 1 box pancake mi x of you s 2 ripe banana t 1 teaspoon vanilla extrac

Directions:pare pancake mix per box instructions

In a large bowl pre con until dium skillet brown ba and set aside. In a me ked bacon coo the lf ha ix grease. M crisp and remove all akes for nc pa to put on top of the (saving the other ha lf illa van d an n mo syr up, cinna ga rnish), 1/4 cup maple 1/4 ly ate xim pro ap ce bat ter. Pla extract into pancake over red gridd le or skillet tte bu a on ter bat cup of pear about ap les ncake until bubb medium heat. Cook pa the on te nu mi 1 t d cook abou 2 minutes and flip an the th wi g vin ser e for be ncakes other side. Top the pa . wa rm maple syr up remaining bacon and


pancake mi x per the box In a large bowl prepare In a small bowl mash instructions and set aside. add vanilla. Combine bananas with a fork and the pancake mi x. Place the banana mi xture into le bat ter on a but tered gridd approx imately 1/4 cup of il unt e cak pan t. Cook or skillet over medium hea es and flip and cook nut mi 2 ut abo ear app s bubble and er side. Top with but ter about 1 minute on the oth syr up for ser ving.


le syr up, you cou ld sprink In place of the but ter and g. vin ser for ar sug ed der wa rm pancakes with pow

Pumpkin pancakes Ingredients:

1 box pancake mix of your cho ice 1 sma ll can of pumpkin 1 tablespoon of pumpkin pie spice 1 teaspoon vanilla extract


Want A Kitchen That Won't Break The Bank?

In a large bowl prepare pancak e mix per box instructions and add pumpki n, pumpkin pie spice and vanilla and mix until smooth . Place approx imately 1/4 cup of bat ter on a but tere d griddle or skil let over medium heat. Cook pancake until bubbles appear about 2 minutes and flip and cook about 1 minute on the other side. Top with but ter and syrup for serv ing.

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Can you find 10 differences between these two pictures?

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ANSWERS: 1) purple tree trunk, 2) top of tree on the left missing, 3) owl on sign, 4) lower right corner dock corner is missing, 5) women snowshoeing, 6) Two posts on 4th dock missing, 7) slowers by tree, 8) word spring in the snow, very faint, 9) skyline dark blue and 10) legs on picnic table missing.

30 | in Bemidji Spring 2020

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Profile for inBemidji Magazine

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