Heavy, record-breaking rains of May with their resultant historic flooding have given way to light, intermittent showers in June, and soon will concede to the even drier month of July. The warmer seasons are passing by fast.
Pop question (bet you weren’t expecting this): Of the three seed companies, which was founded first - Ferry Morse, Park Seed or Burpee? Winner: Ferry Morse (1856), but not followed far behind by Park Seed (1868) and Burpee (1876).
And how many of us are “roughing it” out there (camping) this summer? Need a topic for discussion around the old campfire? Well, you’re out in the middle of Mother Nature, so let’s talk about plants!
A tree that is declining numbers, the Osage orange, was the “go to” tree for making bows used by the Indians because of its strength. Settlers found the repulsive quality of the milky juice from the fruit to be beneficial in warding off ticks.
Left the spuds at home and want something starchy for supper? Early Indians harvested edible substitutes for potatoes in the corms of the “spring beauty” wildflower, the roots of the yellow pond lily or the tubers of the arrowhead plant.
Crave chocolate but the Hershey’s didn’t come along? The ground up fruits and flowers of the American basswood tree were at one time marketed in a paste form as a chocolate substitute.
Chilly evening and you want something to warm you up? You could steep leaves from such plants as blackberry, dewberry, wild strawberry, bee balm or sweet goldenrod to make a tea.
On the clean-up side, prepared horsetail plant makes an adequate Brillo substitute for scouring camp pots and pans - rich in silica.
Need soap to clean? The roots of both pokeweed and yucca can be crushed and cooked to produce a suitable soap substitute.
Hey, enough of this, enjoy that time outdoors - it’s always time well spent!