Do you recognize the long jointed grasses behind Hamish in this photo? Saying joint and grass in the same sentence may bring to mind something else, but I’m referring to what is called joint grass, pop grass, horse tail, and it goes by several other names.
Pop grass grows in sections than can be easily pulled apart.
With a little doing, the fresh, young pieces can be made into whistles.
Choose sections that are still juicy and the exposed ends are very pale green.
The bottom of each piece has a closed-off end that needs to be removed to form an open pipe.
Different pieces can make different sounds but don’t expect mellifluous piping notes. What comes out sounds more like a duck quack.
To get a sound out of a piece, the light colored end needs to be flattened so it will vibrate like an oboe reed.
This can be easily done by pinching the end between your fingers.
Place this flattened end in your mouth a little past the lips. Flatten your lips around the reed and blow gently.
As you can see the soft ends start to split up after a little use. Blowing more than one at a time gives a nice truck or train horn sound. Okay, maybe nice is not the right adjective, but it’s still fun unless you have to listen to a bunch of kids enjoying their new noise-makers.
Hamish and other Forest Gnomes use them to call their duck friends.
With a little effort, pop-grass bands can entertain a whole bunch of campers for quite a while.