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  • Writer's pictureMichelle Starr

Top Ten again, and Rainy Season means cat-tails for Dinner.

Updated: Jul 8, 2022

For the second year in a row Glass Bottom Rentals made it in USA Today's top ten kayak tour companies, this year we ranked seventh. Being 7th in the country is something we are proud of, and we know we wouldn’t be there without hard work and all the love and support we get from our community. We are so grateful to get to live an adventurous life, and I know I am so grateful to be living my dream of being naturalist helping to inspire people to connect with the natural world. Aarons and my passion for outdoor adventure and sharing fun and with the community is why we will continue to grow and find even more ways of getting people outside playing.

We have been toying with the idea of starting a new glamping venture, a little balance of mine and his ideas from over the years. I have had my outdoor experiences and camping business ideas over the last couple of decades, and he has had his, and now we are working at creating a way of bringing them together. This has me doing what I do, spending my time diving back into uplands and freshwater ecology. Why? Because that is how we decide on the best places to camp, and what type of gear and services will be available and needed for different times of year.

For example, we are coming into rainy season, and camping can get interesting this time of year. From May until October, it can rain sideways with intense lighting storms and high winds daily making the ground wet or flooded, and zillions of bugs come out like zombies trying to consume every part of your body. I guess I can also add in its pretty hot, like the sun is only ten feet away and setting you on fire, but you are also sticky and moist because it’s so humid. Obviously for this reason camping is not popular during rainy season in Florida, but it’s the perfect time for me to refamiliarize myself with freshwater systems as well as upland systems and to try out new types of gear. I personally don’t mind camping in the heat, I love playing in the rain, and the amount of beautiful flora that comes alive during the rainy season is remarkable. I love learning about plants, their role in the local ecology and if edible or medicinal, as well as how they have been used throughout human history

Since I am in research mood, I have been playing what I like to call Pokémon GO for naturalist. I typically always prefer books over apps but this Inaturalist app is so fun and easy to use. It triggers the knowledge I have lost in the depths of my brain and gives me bits of information that I can take back home to my books. What is not fun about walking around using your phone to get pictures of any fauna or flora and quickly getting a species identification, along with collecting badges for rare species or for winning challenges. . Learning the flora and fauna of an area also gives me clues to how much water will accumulate. How cool is that?

One of my favorite plants that tell me that rainy season is returning is the cat-tail (Typha latifolia). It was always a favorite of mine as a kid. I used to love when top brown part of the ca-tail which is the female flowers would dry and I could blow them everywhere into the wind. These cool plants have many more cool uses than that.

~ Virtually the entire plant is edible at some point of the year. During this time of year, the young lower part of the stem when it is white can be picked and eaten raw and taste a lot like a cucumber. The pollen can be shaken off into a bag and used to make soups thicker. As late summer comes the green flowerheads can be cooked and they taste like corn on the cob.

~ Improves digestion, Calorie rich, Skin Health, Hypertension, Diabetes, Cancer Prevention, Atherosclerosis, Cardio tonic and lipid-lowering effects, Antiseptic Application, Steady increase in energy, Slow Bleeding

~ The Cattail fluff (female flowers) are great for starting fires.

~ They have a dense root system; that protects the land from erosion.

~they have nitrogen-fixing bacteria in their roots, which means they absorb this important nutrient and then redistribute it to surrounding soil. They also are very efficient at taking toxins out of the water, helping to prevent those harmful algae blooms.

Those are just a few cool facts about the Cattail that I hope give you a whole new perspective on them, and maybe inspire you to look around more at the plants you see everyday and wonder what their role in the environment and human history are.

Be sure to stayed tuned for more random real Florida stories and facts, and to see what kind of Glamping venture Aaron and I get into. And as always stay salty.

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