Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Today I braved snapping turtles and snakes to wade into the wilds of Franklin Swamp to gather

Cattail pollen!

It is highly nutritious like bee pollen and fun to gather. Just grab yourself a glass jar and tap a catkin with your fingers. In about an hour you will have a tablespoon!

Cattails were a huge food source to the indigenous people of New England. They ate the rhizomes (the roots that grow horizontally), the shoots (which I love!), the pollen, and the catkins, which I have never tried but are perfect right now, so stay tuned for part two of this adventure. They also covered their wigwams with cattail mats. Did you know that according to the Narragansetts, they learned to build wigwams from muskrats? If you've ever seen a domed muskrat dwelling this makes perfect sense. Muskrats are also residents of Franklin Swamp and are much more mellow than regular rats. The other day I came across one relaxing with a turtle on my way to a gardening job. It took about 5 minutes for either of them to move when I came upon them in my Jeep. Fortunately, I was not in a rush!
Cattails are self-pollinators. They have a male and female flower, as you can see here in these photos. I'm sure there is some sort of scientific name for this, but I don't know it. If anyone does, please enlighten me. 

Cattail pollen can be sprinkled on food or baked, but I am just going to add this golden goodness to my smoothie tomorrow and see what happens. My sensitivity to food and drink has been really heightened lately, so I am expecting some spectacular bliss to come my way considering the glorious beauty of this gift from the deep wilds of Franklin Swamp where the snakes are slithering and the turtles are snapping, where you could, at any moment be surprised to find yourself face to face with some ancient part of yourself you thought no longer existed. That's what I live for. That's what I call glory. Here's to passing summer days drunk on pollen in a haze of delight, to laughter and sunlight, to wandering, and to wonder. To pleasure in simple things, like the color yellow. 
Smile back! This is what's waiting for you...

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