By the time we got to so much as walk our pasture this year after moving in, the grass was knee high. A couple months later it had finished seeding out and begun to flop over in places susceptible to winds. Every now and then one of us would march out the weed-eater to keep the hot-wired fence from shorting out.
Of course, there would be all manor of safety equipment to don as well. Ears, Eyes, and dustmask (if you are prone to hay fever like myself) are required. Fire it up and try not breath in too much 2 cycle exhaust while you slowly, but surely, get caked with itchy chlorophylic shrapnel. While we were able to keep the perimeters free, the going was so slow and obnoxious that it just wasn’t worth the effort to attempt to clear fields.
Out in the barn was an older solution. Hanging up were a handle (snath) and the blade of an ancient scythe. I tried to reassemble the two parts, but they were too worn. I suspect there are rusty scythes hanging in most old barns across America. Tired, but of more pure usefulness than is typically understood.
Having seen videos of scythes racing gas trimmers and the scythes winning decidedly for speed and easily for style, I went looking for a modern version. Thankfully, there are local craftsmen today who specialize in making high quality snaths and affixing them to lightweight Eastern European blades. Blades that keep a consistent razor edge (with proper care) allowing for an ease and efficiency that is sweet to behold.
Now after 6 months of swinging the scythe, I am beginning to get the hang of it. Or, at least I can cut hay or mow mulch for a few hours without locking up my neck for days. And I can harvest a decent amount too, which is good because there is a lot of need on the homestead. We use the cut grass for pig feed, pig and chicken bedding, and garden mulch. The latter is tricky as you could invite grass to compete with your veggies. The former is tricky because the pigs will snack on their bedding until its gone, like the true opportunivores they are!
After learning the technique, the motion is no longer taxing. In fact, it is energizing in a way. Also, the clean slicing of the blade rather than splattering of the plastic string means less sneezing at the end of the day!
One thought on “Making Hay the Old Fashioned Way; A Scythe”
Opportunivores! Love it!
Getting the hang of the scythe! Wow! Super impressed!