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? :)

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2 Responses to Cotton Grass

  1. Abra La Mente says:

    I learn something new almost daily with your blog, either by what you blog about or a question you ask. I also appreciate your unwavering appreciation of your natural surroundings…it nudges me to appreciate mine, as well.

    On diapering, I used cloth for the first six months of my oldest daughter, then alternated; I used some cloth for the second, and none with the third. My sister, parenting over the last ten years, used only cloth, and used a wool cover over the top of the diaper to absorb the moisture. Your diapering questions got me thinking, too, so I went to this site (; here is an excerpt about diapers in history:
    Not too long ago, cloth diapers were the β€œin” thing. In fact, during the last century, cloth diapers were the best way to handle those accidents by baby until disposable diapers were introduced. Other plastic coverings for cloth diapers were introduced before this. A real disposable diaper was not available until the β€˜40s, and even then, they were a luxury that few could afford.

    This means that for thousands of years, individuals had to deal with baby bowel movements in other ways. Elizabethan times allowed for a cloth type of diaper, however, it was changed so infrequently that several days worth of waste accumulated. Other ancient diapers consisted of animal skins, moss, linens, leaves, and the like. Some babies in tropical environments never had ancient diapers at all because they were mostly naked!

    I also saw in a video once, that in some countries (China? comes to mind), that clothing was sewn with an opening in he bottom so children could potty train wherever, with no fuss.

    (See what I mean about learning something new!)

  2. TechnoBabe says:

    Lovely photos!! Like you, I used cotton diapers for my children. Cotton only for the first two kids and once in awhile a disposable when traveling with the third child. I wonder if moms would have used the disposable diapers like they have over the years if they could have foreseen the dump sites full of plastic and nowhere to go. Kinda hard decision for a young mom and yet they are preparing a legacy for their little ones they are diapering.

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