Braiding Sweetgrass

I’ve mentioned this book by Robin Kimmerer a couple times, but thought I’d start a thread here. It covers religion and science, so I put it in Humanism. She blends her knowledge of botany with her Native Potawatomi traditions, respecting both. She kinda lost me after explaining an epiphany she had while picking beans, then started talking about what I thought was a co-worker. When I re-read it, I realized she was describing herself in her plant scientist role.

She tries to explain, to that self, how a garden can love you back, says it’s hard for the scientist to get that, “That’s hard for scientists, so fully brainwashed by Cartesian dualism, to grasp.” That was a line I really didn’t like. She lists a bunch of behaviors that describe a loving relationship, like nurturing, protection, desire, celebration, sacrifice. Kinda weird that people think this needs to be described to a scientist.

But, I give her some slack because later, she describes the process of researching the harvesting of sweetgrass. Her and a colleague designed a PhD thesis around Native methods, and their Dean was not too impressed. It’s a long story, but in the end, they showed that the Dean was wrong, that harvesting isn’t always disruptive. That if it is done with care, only taking some of the grass, the health of the field will improve. It’s a type of knowledge that scientists actually do have trouble accepting.

It 's called “grokking”… :hugs:

I never had a garden that loved me. Everytime I try to grow something from the ground, it just dies on me. I can grow those on two or four legs, but I can’t grow anything that comes out of the ground. I’d be happy to grown anything from the earth, not just sweetgrass, though that would be nice.

Try Hemp. That will grow I guarantee it… :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

Sadly I’m allergic to hemp, so it would kill me.

My thumb is not green either. I’m good at cutting down trees and making compost from other people’s gardens. Not quite the nurturing relationship she talks about, but along the same lines.

Mulch is easy, growing the garden is hard.

Word of the Day

  1. understand (something) intuitively or by empathy.

“because of all the commercials, children grok things immediately”

  • empathize or communicate sympathetically; establish a rapport.

“nestling earth couple would like to find water brothers to grok with in peace”


I’ve got a compost heap in a giant bin that is becoming my cuckoo’s child. I fear for the rats. That it will eat them. It pulses with living heat. I think its name is Colin. I got in to no end of trouble falling in love with Courgette. The wife set about her. So it better not be Colleen.

I’m just a retired computer programmer, I don’t know of these Colins and Colleens. I do know you need to stir your compost to keep the oxygen going through it, which will rot the food, and make it only consumable by worms. I even did indoor composting for a while, we bought some red mealworms and found out how to make the bin online. Then you top it with shredded paper and that keeps the smell confined.

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Composting sounds so simple, but then if you don’t produce a critical mass of organic matter, it turns into a mess. I’ve tried various methods all trouble some in one way or the other, can be frustrating for sure. Although with the small greenhouses we’re giving it another try.

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