Buffalo Bird Woman’s Garden

I’m reading a great book : Buffalo Bird Woman’s Garden. It’s a wonderful book about Native American Hidatsa tribe’s gardening practices. 

There are detailed descriptions of how the tribe used to grow, harvest and preserve corn, squash and beans. 

There are some interesting facts that I came across reading the book. One of them is as follows:


‘When the squashes were brought in from the field, the little girls would go to the pile and pick out squashes that were proper for dolls. I have done so, myself. We used to pick out the long ones that were parti-colored; squashes whose tops were white or yellow and the bottoms of some other color. We put no decorations on these squashes that we had for dolls. Each little girl carried her squash about in her arms and sang for it as for a babe. Often she carried it on her back, in her calf skin robe.”


It’s interesting that they neither drew faces nor decorated their squash dolls.They just knew that they were dolls  and imagined the rest. 

The other one is how to separate the pulpy matter from the squash seeds . I always have trouble doing this and was wondering if there was a practical way of doing it. Here it is:


‘Squash seeds, freshly removed from the squash, are moist and mixed with more or less pulpy matter. To remove this pulp I took up a small handful of the fresh seeds, laid a dry corn cob in my palm and alternately squeezed and opened my hand over the mess. The porous surface of the cob absorbed the moisture and sucked up the pulpy matter, thus cleansing the seeds. As the cleansed seeds fell back upon the hide I took up another handful and repeated the process.”


The book is full of little facts like these that were once a part of the everyday life. 

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