First scything

Well, I just got tired of it. We haven’t had a chance to do a restoration job on the scythe blade, but I really wanted to use it. While I was working on something else, my husband got a start on sharpening the blade for me.

The cutting edge has dings in it and likely needs to be peened, but I haven’t see any of the peening supplies I thought we must have somewhere. Not even the right type of hammer, which I was sure we had somewhere. So I made do with pausing to sharpen the blade frequently.

I started in the grass with a path on either side, forming a V. What you see in the middle of the photo is my first pass.

I then made a second pass on the other side of the path to the burn barrel. Since I was going in the opposite direction as before, the grass from both passes ended up on the path, forming a windrow.

I scythed part of the path to the garage, too, before stopping. This was something I could do while tending the last of a burn. We’ve got stuff too big to fit in the burn barrel, so I set up a fire ring next to it. When the burn was done, I waded through the tall grass to get to the barn, where I found a sheet of metal that felt heaving enough, it would take some pretty severe winds to blow off, to use as a cover. When the burn was done, so was the scything for the evening.

It is far from a neat and tidy job. With many pauses to sharpen the blade, most of the the time was spent trying to get that correct angle to cut the most efficiently. A scythe should have two handles on it. Ours just has one makeshift handle, but I was able to control it pretty well. As for how good of a job it did, it’s a toss up over whether the messy cuts are because I’m not quite using it right, or if it’s because it has a bag edge on the blade. It could well be both!

Still, it does the job. As we are able, I hope to get the outer yard between house and barn, and along the driveway (where there isn’t any standing water), slowly done with the scythe. Once that’s done, using the mower will finally be an option!

We’ll see if the weather will be co-operative!

The Re-Farmer

The old scythe: checking out the condition

With the ground too wet to mow, it’s time to see if we can restore my dad’s old scythe to cutting condition. Here is how is looks now.

That’s looking really rough. I think we can get the rust off and give it a good sharpening, though.

Interesting that the blade is Austrian, but the handle is American style. I know nothing about where it came from.

I also have no idea what happened to the original handle.

That looks like an old chair leg!

Whatever. It works!

I do like the swoopy, ergonomic design of the American style handle. I took a few test swipes. It’s very light and easy to handle.

Dull as anything, though.

So that’s going to be a pet project, and will likely take several days. Since we’re not making hay, it doesn’t matter if everything is still wet when we scythe it. It just needs to get done. At this point, the grass is so tall and thick in the outer yard, we can barely through it. Plus, there’s all the mosquitoes hiding in there and, I’m sure, plenty of wood ticks, too.

I do wonder, though. We’ve got clouds of mosquitoes, but I haven’t been seeing any dragon flies. They eat mosquitoes. You’d think the abundance of food would mean a population explosion of dragon flies, too!

Perhaps they will show up later in the season.

Until then, we’ll be investing in lots of bug spray!

The Re-Farmer