Friday, June 27, 2008

Yucca's in Bloom

The yucca's are in bloom this past week. Their cream-colored flower petals, eaten raw, are a right of summer.
In a couple of months I'll harvest and dry the stalks for friction fire sets. These stalks are unsurpassed for generating a hot coal, with the handdrill or bow/drill, in under 30 seconds.
The fibers in the leaves make a strong cordage. Archaeologist, Carl Elfgrin, taught me to take the leaves hard pointed ends, along with a fibrous section peeled from the leaf, and use it as a 'needle and thread'. At the Beaver Creek Primitive Skills & Knap-In we constructed coiled
baskets with beargrass and yucca.

I found an interesting bit of info in the book: Uses of Plants by the Indians of the Missouri River
Region, by Melvin R. Gilmore. In it he said that on the tree-less plains of the Dakotas, Indians
would make hand drills from the narrow, hard-tipped, leaves of the the yucca. The dried leaves would be bound tightly together with sinew to form a slender handdrill which would be spun in a section of the stalk to make fire. Hmmm...another project to add to the list.

Left to Right:
- Bow/drill firemaking set
- A handdrill fireboard and shaft.
- Coiled basket made from beargrass & yucca leaf strips.
- Yucca cordage attached to a bone fishing hook from a deer leg
- Dried yucca stalk.

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