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LMRD 779 - Lower Mississippi River Dispatch
"Voice of the Lower Mississippi River"
Monday, May 26, 2020 -- Mulberry Wisdom

Last 2 weeks of "Mulberry Madness!" Pick your day of the week and call 662-902-7841 email Self shuttle. Quapaw safe protocol includes continuous hand washing, and plenty of UV and fresh air.

Daily schedule: meet 9am Quapaw Clarksdale. Self shuttle to river landing. Return to land between 3 and 5pm. Round-trip paddle. Pack lunch, snacks and water. Don't forget bug protection. Vanilla extract (or vanillin) works good against buffalo gnats. Be prepared for sun and possible rain. Must be in good shape and willing to paddle hard! Charge: $85 each. Reservations required.

Our friend Colleen Buyers made a berry-picking video, thanks Shared Experiences USA!

Some Mulberry Wisdom from our good friend, poet and paddler, doctor Wang Ping:

Mulberry leaves are the only food silkworms would eat, and they eat lots of them, day and night, growing by minutes, till they make cocoons of silk, and start the next cycle of metamorphosis.

Since 5000 BC, Chinese have been raising silkworms to produce silk, and spread the wonder of this protein fabric across the world through Silk Road. China built its civilization on sericulture and agriculture. Silk and rice keep this civilization long and beautiful. It’s not an exaggeration that the Middle Kingdom was built upon a thread of silk, a leaf of mulberry, a grain of rice.

So what makes the silkworms grow so fast and fat, produce the best protein silk in such large quantity, allow them to complete their metamorphosis in such a short period, and ensure their gene survival long and far, keep Chinese civilization safe through wars and climate changes?

The secret lies in mulberry trees.

Originated in South Asia, mulberry spreads and thrives throughout the globe. They have male and female trees. Male produces so much pollens into the air so that female flowers guzzle them up to make berries, white, pink, red, purple, black, in abundance. The berries are juicy, rich with Vit. C and D, potassium, iron, and other properties. Birds eat them, poop the seeds somewhere else, and next year, young mulberry trees pop up and settle quickly in new grounds.

Some countries like Brazil regard it as “invasive species,” because they take over the woods and forests so fast and vast through birds.

Chinese love mulberry, not only because of the silkworm and its sericulture, but also because they know the secret of mulberry, like worms and birds.

Its leaves are about 20% protein, rich in Vitamins B, C, D. Asians have been using it for tea to treat cold, flu, cough, phlegm, pneumonia, blurry eyes, high blood pressure, diabetes, cancer. They improve vitality, keep hair black and lush, face elastic and moist, eyes bright. They are the foods for longevity. They know what the silkworms and other animals know.

Its berries are so nutritious and tasty, but who would know that they are rich with vitamins, minerals and other goodies? They tonify liver and kidney, quench thirst from diabetes, clear the noise from tinnitus, clear blurry eyes, insomnia, fatigue, dizzy…They are also food for love. Chinese know what the birds know.

Its bark? In Chinese medicine, it’s called sangbaipi, white skin of mulberry. It is used for asthma, cough, shortness of breath, bloating, puffy skin and dysuria…

And don’t forget its roots. They can be used for pain in eyes, body aches, toothaches…caused by inflammation.

Like all life in nature, especially plants, what’s considered as weeds or weed trees—invasive, stubborn, annoying--in the eyes of humans and hands of industry, reveal the other side of truth: tenacity, vitality, adaptation—all the things we need to survive and thrive to pass our genes.

So eat as many mulberries as you can and love them as much as you can. Let them moisten your lungs, strengthen your kidneys, beautify your face, lighten your heart. Collect their leaves and make tea with them, to clear the fire in your nose & lungs.

Collect the barks and roots for winter aches and colds and flus. Say thank you and let them help you breathe, sleep and move better. Let them keep your hair thick and black and lush, your joints agile, mind sharp and heart warm.

May you know what silkworms and birds know.
May you live as long and vital as a mulberry tree.


??:mulberry leave

Main ingredients for cold, pneumonia, cough, respiratory infections, blurry eyes, inflammations of blood vessels, high blood pressure, diabetes, cancer…

• for early stage of cold and flu with coughing and fever, make tea with xingren, forsythia and honey suckle twigs (sangxing tang);
• for dry cough with little phlegm in early stage of pneumonia, make tea with xingren, beimu, shasheng (sangxing tang)
• for pneumonia with fever, make tea with shengshigao, ajiao,maidong and others (qingzaojiufei tang).
• for diabetes, make tea with shudi and other herbs.
• for blurry eyes, make tea with chrysanthemums and gouji berries.

-Dr. Wang Ping

Like us, the mulberries prefer the islands of the Lower Mississippi River. Rarely found on the land side of the levee, they are prolific in great abundance on the other side, especially on the towheads (The giant Mississippi River sandbar islands which swell to perfection in this stretch of river).

We are offering berry-picking daytrips for anyone who wants to paddle out to a remote Miss River island and spend a few hours amongst the mulberry orchards. Limited season, maybe 2 weeks more. Depends a lot on the weather, temps and precipitation. Offer available almost any day between now and the end of the season. Dewberries will be ripening throughout the next 2 weeks and will last until maybe mid-June.

Respond to this email, or call 662-902-7841 for reservations or details. Each trip custom guided by the Mighty Quapaws.

Each tree has its own flavor, sweetness, character. Try them all --and compare!

If you don't eat all you pick, you can carry some home with you for pancakes, muffins, jams, maybe kambucha?

Get lost in mulberry paradise... its good for your heart, and your tummy!

Orange Snake? No, this is the orange-colored root of the mulberry tree reaching into the rich muddy waters of the Mighty Mississippi!

Closeup of Mulberry Root, this one has deepened to a rich cinnamon purple with ochre highlights

We're not alone. Birds love mulberries, including Canada Goose. Great birding and animal tracking. We saw over 20 species last Saturday afternoon alone including kingbirds, tree swallows, swamp warblers, and Orioles.

Go for a swim -- or a relaxing soak in a muddy blue hole, some of which are now bathtub warm!

Explore the beauty of the islands

Patterns in the mud

Perfection of sand, light -- and spirit

Mulberries aren't the only plants that love the islands... Watch out for poison ivy.

It's that time of year... the berries are deepening from pink to red to a rich deep dark purple ripeness... mulberry madness takes over a certain kind of person this time of year... Maybe you also?

BTW: in town we Quapaws are gardening and gathering wild foods, which we will be offering on upcoming trips. And elsewhere: we harvested leaves from our bay tree:

Now available at Collective Seed in downtown Clarksdale near Library, across street from Levee Board building.

Mulberry Madness -- it's that time of year!

We're all Connected:

Ending here with Big River Love to everyone. Wherever you are, in on any of the seven continents, or on any of the seven seas -- wherever the passage of life flows onwards forever flowing -- we hope you are well and making good decisions for yourself, your friends, your family, and the future of humanity.

We feel you, and we are all in this boat together. Yours always, in service,

"Driftwood Johnnie"
John Ruskey

From the canope shop -- next issue -- the journey of the Dragonfly Dawn continues...