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A Cattail is an erect, rhizomatous perennial aquatic herb, that can range in height from 3 to 10 feet. The heads are easily seen as the top attached parts are brown sugar colored and cigar-like shaped plants. When mature they contain thousands of seeds that will later burst open, all to be freely dispersed by the wind and in the surrounding water and marsh land areas they may sprout into new plants. Some people call these Natures Hotdog’s or Punk Grass, but they have been known for thousands of years by native people for their amazing amounts of uses from food to drink and tools.
1. Cattails As A Fire Tinder
When ripe, the seed hairs are dry and are highly combustible so they could easily be used as a fire tinder or starter. The native Americans were known to have used this abundant material to start fires quickly.
2. Cattails Used As Pillows
Since the seed hairs are soft and fluffy if you can gather enough of them together, you can actually stuff them in sewn sacks making bed mattresses and pillows.
3. Cattails Torches To Lead Your Way
Soak the cattail End with its stick still attached into some oil or liquid animal fat to make your torch burn much longer. It can perhaps when saturated fully with these oils, provide you with a maximum of 6 hours of light and extra or heat if soaked fully.
4. Cattails For Fire Transportation From Point To Point
Ever need to light some bonfires to attract attention ? Or if you just need to light a certain area or something on fire, you can use a cattail on its stick, as a form of mobile match as the fire can then be touched onto some dry tinder moving from one bonfire or area to another. Even fireworks displays could be lighted in this manner.
5. Cattails Home Insulation
Yep, it’s true ! These fluffy hotdog looking seed pods were also used to line the interior of walls even for the lining of moccasins and Winter clothing of early Cherokee Indians. When fitted into devices, cattail seed pods were even known to have been used for headgear, baby diapers and cushions to sit upon and for baby cradle beds. It is a natural product so no a lot of allergies from these either.
Uses For Cattail Leaves & Stalks
The leaves and stalks are known to grow to a maximum of 10.5 feet in length. And having flat but thick leaves these parts of the cattail had a lot of uses for those who are today trying to survive in the wild without spending money.
1. Arrow Shafts Can Be Made From Cattail Stalks
Considering the stalks grow to 10 feet long and are more than often naturally very straight, there is quite little of any straightening out of the arrow shaft to be done, as happens with other natural plant appendages. By 1st removing any leaves and the seed head and the roots saving these for other uses, one is left with a straight stalk to then dry out fully in the sun. They will soon turn from green to brown by dehydration and become certainly sturdy enough if kept dry, to be used as your hunting arrow shafts for use on your longbow. There are a lot of them out there, all around the ponds naturally, so when you're hunting you won’t have to worry about running out of arrow shafts or about chopping down saplings, for additional shafts. Now, who among you, can draw a 10 foot arrow, with your longbow ?
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SURVIVAL SKILLS WITH CATTAILS
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2. Cattails for Twine, Cordage, Rope
As that the plants leaves are so broad and very thick this makes them a very sturdy cordage material. With an average of 12 to 16 leaves per plant, you can rapidly attain the materials for more rope for many survival uses perhaps including bow cord and animal snares.
3. Cattails for Basket Weaving
Baskets come in hand for all sorts of uses and other than twine, cordage, and rope making you can also use the leaves for making your baskets. With a little bit of your evenings by the camp fire spent practicing and the DIY knowledge that comes from trying weaving is an easily learned skill for the entire family so with help, you can make different kinds of baskets with the leaves after you let them dry up fully.
4. Cattails for Mattress Bedding To Sleep On
After a day of hunting for supplies crafting leaves into baskets and cords, the soft fluffy parts of a cattail can be easily made into bedding. You just have to collect enough of them to make a pillow or mattress .
5. Cattails for Fire Starter Spindle
Yes, with the dried cattail stalk used as a spindle, you can actually make an ember glow by spinning the stalk on the fire-board. What’s a fire board you ask ? It’s the highly combustible dried material you will press into with the stalk and seed head to cause a friction driven fire. With constant speed and friction pressure, you can start a fire with it easily, but a short bow to draw the shaft through a loop of cord, will aid your constant speed and pressure comes with a downward grip applied at the same time.
6. Cattails For Sun Hats
We all need this and you can make hats easily with the cattail leaves when they are freshly harvested and pliable; as that after the leaves have dried out, you can’t really get the leaves to bend and cooperate easily enough, to make a fine hunting hat. The hat always becomes sturdier as the leaves dry up and prior to that if you want to add insulation from bits or slices of Cattail seed pod sandwiched between 2 leaves of the hat, prior to full dry out is the right time for the hat itself, but use partially to fully dried insulating strips inside, so there’s no worries about them drying out properly. You will have to come up with the proper weaving skill set to accomplish, but baskets will prepare you for this crucial item.
7. Cattails For Rugs, Floor Carpets, Even Dog Mats
With the long wide Cattail leaves cross section coming in a D-shaped and reaching up to typically 0.2 to 1.2 inches in diameter and wide and 27 inches in length this all makes it a desirable material for making a throw rug or mat.
8. Cattails For Insulation and Home Shelters
One of the most famous Boy Scout motto’s is: Always be prepared and another was : You name it – we can make it from cattails. In the younger classes called Indian Guides, the instructors claimed to us, they had as children made a entire teepees using the freshly uprooted cattail leaves and shafts. If insulated and formed properly walls and floors and ceilings can be crafted this way too, all by using the afore mentioned skill sets, and an entire light weight and portable home, could be crafted just from Cattails. Additionally, the walls of Rammed Earth or Adobe Brick homes can be insulated with these materials too, but special placement and with physical measures taken to form assurances of keeping all dry, must be adhered to for this to work and not break down as moisture is the enemy of building materials. More about this use comes during the Georgia Adobe™ training classes. Be sure and check the University Of Georgia Adobe School Of Ecoitecture’s Class schedule on the our website for the next building class. Here’s that URL http://www.georgiaadobe.com/university-of-georgia-adobe-school-of-ecoitecture.html
A Dinner Including Cattail Roots
Yep, and don’t be too surprised at this one, but the Cattail roots, like most of the parts of the plant, are actually edible AND ARE SWEET ! The roots are a starch thus if you chew them, they just get sweeter as you chew. This is because with the enzymes contained in salvia, you are actually breaking down the long chains of sugars that make up the chemicals in Cattail roots called : starches. These can produce several food materials and drinks as follows below:
1. Cattails for Alcohol for fuel, food and whatever
Starches break down by way of grinding too it just takes longer with enzyme activity, so some method of preparing your Cattail starchy roots is required, yet afterwards, you have a high sugar count material in warm water (Called The Brix Count) to feed bread yeast or other very specialized yeast, the wine process is on (this is called the wort) . In as little as 3 days the bubbles of yeast feeding may likely stop as they have expired from feeding too much and the by transfer with a pump, your wine can be extracted from “the must“, (that‘s what the leavings are called) as separation leaves the expired yeast and plant matter. As they feed in an airless environment (A Process Called Fermentation) they expel waste fluids, called Alcohol. This when done properly in this air free environment, such as in a jug with an airlock, the second oldest of mankind's professions “the Making of Wine” is thereby achieved. Filter well chill and serve ; or From high wines, the distillation process of heating gently to 173 degrees, so as to allow just the alcohol to escape in steam form and then a later down line condensing provides the higher proof alcohol. This will allow a person to have both a great animal feed from the original wine making process starch leavings, (Hogs love it mixed into their feed ) and the resulting Alcohol, of course has many uses, from fuel to fun to lamp lighting, to cooking, to home heating.
2. Cattails for Flour
With a clean and firm river rock pair, you can grind out some very useable flour from washed and clean and dried out Cattail roots and then use the flour to easily bake a flat bread, (yeast is required to produce risen breads) but you can also thicken your stews or soups, make thin crackers to add to soup and salads so don’t forget this tip, as it’s makes the meal sometimes .
3. Cattails As A Direct Food Source
Again with washed and clean the Cattail roots cut them into thin slices before frying them in an iron skillet and fry until they turn brown sugar looking in color. When in this state they give a taste very similar to hash-brown potatoes if some seasoning is added.
We at Georgia Adobe™ hope this article has been as fun for you to read as it was to write and please share the URL of the article on social media but also print a copy to store as that when the SHTF there likely won’t be any possibility of retrieving this or anything else from the internet or computer files.
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The Ways Of Our Ancestors May Someday Be Needed Again ! Yes, if or perhaps better said when the SHTF you can bet if your mind is prepared with the right survival knowledge , you will be better able to survive . Cattails are, but one natural product accessible to almost all of us in the wild. They look like a brown Hotdog on a stick protruding up from still waters and along side ponds and creeks.
Yes, there's a whole lot one can do with what's at your creek and some may even recall me telling them at one of our Georgia Adobe building seminars, about what one can do with , cattails.
For example I discussed How you can make
Flour A Basic Survival Food,
Bow-Hunting Supplies and
Ropes, Twine and Fishing Gear
Primitive Building Insulation
All just to name a few of what can be made from wild Cattails. If you were to cultivate them for harvest, likely a really good business right now and today, could be made from many of these things, and long before any world shattering event, would come along !
Here's an article about just some of those very same things.
If you haven't done so already please register for the next building seminar a link can be found here and it opens in a new window so you won't loose this page : http://www.georgiaadobe.com/university-of-georgia-adobe-school-of-ecoitecture.html
As always, we look forward to building your construction knowledge, at our next seminar ! Have a Great Weekend & Let's Soon Build You A 100% Paid For Georgia Adobe Home !
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