Thursday, January 31, 2013

Reed by the Rio Grande

Even today, reed grows by the Rio Grande.  We took this photo along the trail at Hot Springs in Big Bend National Park.  Why is the reed important?

Consider this snippet from yesterday's post about Homer Wilson Ranch house in Big Bend:

"The double roof is supported separately by large poles.

The ceiling is made of reeds in the pattern that has been used for centuries by the inhabitants of the river. The story goes that Mrs. Wilson wanted the reed ceiling with the adobe mud on top, to-which Mr. Wilson agreed. However, since such a roof would leak, he used a 2-inch concrete mixture in place of the adobe mud and above that a sheet metal roof, thus making the house leak-proof. 

This arrangement not only accomplished its purpose but in addition made the house much cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter, as it created an air space between the metal roof and the ceiling. It was a very satisfactory means of insulation"

There may be invasive non-native species along the banks of the Rio Grande, but even they can tell us something about the plants' relationship with human life in such a remote place. What do you think?

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