Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Cotton Grass

One morning Far Guy and I were out early, we often take the short cut to the main highway. I love this road, you never can tell what you will see. Turkeys, deer..even that wolf years ago. The road skirts a wetland area and one of my favorite wildlife lakes, Guyles Lake. The sad news is that someone has begun logging on the south east side of the lake. The good news is that a pair of Trumpeter Swans live on the lake now. We noticed something white blooming, the early morning light was catching them just right, we had no idea what it was. We went back that afternoon to take some photos.

Common Cotton Grass is really not a grass it is a sedge. Sometimes the plant world frustrates me why don't they just call it Common Cotton Sedge if that is what it really is? What is the difference between a grass and a sedge anyway? A sedge has a solid stem, grass has a hollow stem. Just a slight technicality makes it a sedge, but everyone calls it a grass just to drive you nuts. It's scientific name is Eriophorum angustifolium, kinda rolls right off of your tongue doesn't it? It begins blooming in June, it likes to live in deep peat bogs or acidic wetlands. What was it used for? Lots of these plants that are native have many uses. Was this the plant that I read about that Sacajawea used inside the papoose carrier that she used for "Pomp" as a diaper like absorbent material ? I can find no reference to the exact plant material used. These cottony fluffs certainly could have been used, they were used to make candle wicks, as tinder for lighting fires, in paper making and as stuffing for pillows.

Have you ever wondered about the "olden days" and had a curiosity about diaper material..probably not, until today! I know some of the new Moms today can't imagine life without disposable diapers, well I can't imagine life without cloth diapers either.. what did they use before cloth diapers? :)


The Retired One said...

It certainly looks like balls of cotton, doesn't it?
That was very informative, thanks!

Unknown said...

Thank goodness for Huggies and Pampers. LOL!
Love your new header!

Anonymous said...

I had never heard of this "sedge grass" before! It's very pretty.

Emma Rose said...

I loved this post. I often think of the settlers that came out the Oregon trail. What it must have looked like to them, the hardships they faced, and all of the things that we just take for granted - like diapers and Stayfree maxi pads - hot and cold running water - and indoor plumbing - to name just a few. We are so blessed! I would NEVER have made it as a Pioneer. I'm a total pansy :)

The Duchess

Girl Tornado said...

I can't imagine living like the pioneers, but that's because we are so aware of all these modern-day conveniences. If we would have been born way back when, I'm sure we all would have done just fine. Right??

And maybe we don't want to know what they used before cloth diapers. In this case, perhaps ignorance IS bliss. :)

Andrea said...

Very pretty! I've never heard of it before! :)

Fantastyk Voyager said...

Very informative post, thanks for sharing.

Pamela said...

yes, I even talked with people about the native American women carrying those babies around on their backs. did they catch the poo with something, or did it just run down the back.

lovely grass...er sedge.