But once you gave up on the impossible attempt to avoid all iterations of moisture and just gave into your inner pig, it became fun. And I don’t think I’ve ever before managed to get mud up to the knees. That takes some pigpenning and I was just the pig to do it.
Saw and photo’d lots but until I get the multiple picture word press kerfuffle straightened out, posting only one:
This cattail looks like it’s seen better days, doesn’t it? In fact, you’re looking at one of the warmest of all natural substances, used extensively by Native Americans.
You’ve seen cattail seed heads, I’m sure, when they’re just ripe–they look like a brown velvet hot dog impaled on a stick. Just one of those spikes can hold an unbelievable number of seeds–somewhere in the vicinity of a quarter of a million seeds on each stalk. Each individual seed is a tiny dot, almost invis…ible, attached to a little cluster of fluff, which acts as a parachute so the seeds can disperse on the wind.
In late fall the seed heads burst open, losing their brown velvet appearance, and look bedraggled. But the cattail fluff is still velvety, thick, soft, and warm–one of the warmest natural substances there is. Native Americans used it to line moccasins and papoose boards. Pioneers used it to stuff quilts. It makes a superlatively cozy mouse nest. It’s also a really good tinder for starting fires.
And in spring dozens of species of birds will use leftover cattail fluff to line their nests, making a soft bed for new-hatched babies. Wrens, vireos, sparrows, warblers, red-winged blackbirds grab beakfuls of fluff for nest material. Cattail fluff is so light and, well, fluffy that even a hummingbird can carry a big chunk to stuff into the nest.
This cold swamp is a haven of warmth