I was bought a scythe a while back and I’ve been itching to use it. A couple of weeks ago I did some research about how to sharpen, set it, and use it. Last week I managed to put it all to the test.

My research showed that the best time to scythe is before dawn. There are various witty quotes, which I can’t find now, which say by the time the sun is up and the dew has gone you should be resting with you work done.

With this in mind I started my first session just after 4am. It was a beautiful morning, already quite light. My first swipes of the blade didn’t seem to cut much and I was tempted to give up. I carried on and started to get a bit of technique going. I ended the first day at 8:30am, extremely tired and feeling quite sick. I should mention another quote I found on http://www.scytheconnection.com/adp/docs/movement.html  “If you cannot rest yourself while mowing, you are not doing it correctly”. From this I deduce I am definitely not doing it correctly.

 

I had another go a couple of days later on a nicer piece of land, with less mole hills and trees. I found it a little easier going but I’m still not cutting the grass close enough to the ground. There are three things that effect cutting: Blade sharpness, blade position/angle, and technique. I pretty sure I’m a bit out on all of these. Now I’ve had a good go and I have some internet I’m going to do a bit more research and do some more cutting next week.

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Proverbs 24:27

‘Finish your outdoor work and get your fields ready; after that, build your house.’

This has been on our mind a bit. We have a dilemma,  nothing in place for food production and nowhere to stay. There is still plenty of snow on the ground here and the temperature is still below freezing, however, we are sure spring is around the corner. We are getting ready to hit the ground running as soon as the weather improves. There are a few projects which are going to be tricky to schedule, these we are planning at the moment. Getting lots of prices, measuring, working out a budget, what we really need and what we can do without for a bit.

Our main task is to get our food production under way and to make sure we have fuel (seasoned logs) ready to burn next winter.  Below is a list of the things we are getting prices for, finding suppliers, and planning. I’ll give more details on each when I have something presentable:

  • Fruit trees: where to put them, where to get them, who pollinates who (wasn’t aware of the need of pollinators).
  • Forest trees:  to restock the ones we cut over the next few years
  • Polytunnel: I want to make this myself. If anyone has experience with this I would appreciate some guidance.
  • Plan allotment plot: price seeds and tools, and work out long-term crop rotation etc.
  • Work out soft fruit: where to put them (they will be there for a while), how many, where from.
  • Fencing: find supplier for allotment fence, 200m odd.
  • Hedging: find bushes to eventually replace the wire fence around the allotment and to provide more wind protection.
  • Accommodation: Planning materials for making a room comfortable to live in. Until we’re there a bit more regularly, people will keep ‘borrowing’ our things.
  • Tree cutting; working out how to work and service my new chainsaw, and where to get safety clothing.

I thought it might be nice to give you a bit of a look around the land. The map below shows my route. The video is a bit shaky but at least the music is good!

Video Route

Video Route