This section is from the book "The Gardener's Monthly And Horticulturist V23", by Thomas Meehan. See also: Four-Season Harvest: Organic Vegetables from Your Home Garden All Year Long.
The Abronia grows almost invariably on sandy soil. The plant is of such a viscid nature that it is difficult to procure good herbarium specimens, on account of the sand and rubbish that adhere to the leaves and stems. Where they are abundant they make a fine show with their bright colored flowers and pretty foliage. During their season of flowering they are eagerly sought after by a large and ugly worm or caterpillar. The Indians now hold their grand annual "worm feast," the squaws go out to the Abronia patches which cover acres, with their big conical baskets strapped to their backs. Squatting on their haunches, they secure a worm,and by a dexterous twist only acquired by long practice, they snap off its head. A rapid movement of the thumb and finger extracts the undesirable portion and the dressed worm is thrown over the shoulder into the basket on the back. The movements of capturing and cleaning (?) of this class of game is conducted with great rapidity by an old well trained squaw, who will soon fill her basket. Then holding the straps that run across her forehead until the pressure settles and fixes the load firmly to the back, she soon toddles along into camp where the "Papooses" and "Bucks" gather around and feast on those delicious morsels.
The great drawback to the worm feast is that there is no way to preserve them fresh, being perishable if kept long, and show most undoubted signs of decay. Salt brings out a disgusting color, appearance and taste, I am informed. Therefore there is a great gathering together of all the friends and relatives from the valleys and hills, and great is the guzzleing and stuffing that takes place. The Papooses become if possible, more pot-bellied than ever, and all hands wax fat and greasy on the succulent meal As long as the Abronias last there is feasting and plenty in the wickajups of the tribe where all do little else but eat. They say "the Good Spirit made the plant, and sent the worm to eat the plant, and the Indian to eat the worm"
This diet of worms, is, I think, not one of the vices they have acquired from the white man. Our skirts are clean of that at least. I believe we are credited with furnishing them with almost all our vices (which in addition to the large stock of their own, make a long list,) and none of our virtues, as they never had any of their own; that accounts for the total absence of any good in them now.