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Scything
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Penny
Posted 23/8/2010 14:58 (#315)
Subject: Scything


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I have just discovered the wonders of the tranditional Austrian scythe (thanks Colin) and have cut well over an acre in the past month. It seems to provide a viable alternative to a strimmer and tractor (for relatively small areas) and possibly also for a lawn mower. It is also far more pleasant to use than any of these machines, and it doesn't require any fuel.

However, I have also discovered the importance of good practive and I'm nursing one or two blisters - probably as a result of poor practice. It is absolutely essential that the thing is razor sharp and there is a real art to getting the tequniqe just right - body position, rotation, motor coordination and breathing - it's very zen.

I'm very interested in orgainising some proper scythe training on the Black Isle to cover the use and maintenance of the scythe including sharpening. Is anyone else interested? If I get a few expressions of interest I'll make some enquiries into cost. It will probably have to be next summer.





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neilross
Posted 24/8/2010 14:04 (#317 - in reply to #315)
Subject: RE: Scything


Teen highlighted your piece to me. When a young 'loon', I used to watch my Grandfather and others of his generation using a scyth. Only this morning I was thinking that the skills required were in danger of slipping away, so your suggestion of a training course is of great interest to me. One difficulty might be in sourcing suitable scythes? Teen has my contact details if there is a future opportunity.
Cheers Neil
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Penny
Posted 24/8/2010 17:35 (#319 - in reply to #315)
Subject: RE: Scything


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Posts: 63
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I think if we get a group of about 8 people we might be able to persuade Simon Fairly (www.thescytheshop.co.uk) to run a course up here and he could bring some scythes with him. It is a long way for him to come from Dorset but he may have other more local trainers he can call on. I already know of three Austrian scythes on the Black Isle and there may well be more.

I put you on the tentative list and wait to see if anyone else is interested. I'll also take a scythe along to our Greening Homes and Gardens Day on 11 th September and see if we get any interest there.
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neilross
Posted 25/8/2010 09:16 (#320 - in reply to #315)
Subject: RE: Scything


I think there is a brand new unused scyth handle at the family farm in Ardnamurichan? If I can find or purchase a useable blade I could be in business? Will hopefully meet you at the Greening event.

Edited by neilross 25/8/2010 09:17
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Penny
Posted 25/8/2010 09:35 (#321 - in reply to #315)
Subject: RE: Scything


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Posts: 63
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Have a look at Simon Fairly's web site before you buy anything. There seems to be a big difference between the Austrian pattern scythe and the general European pattern which is generally heavier with a stamped blade rather than a forged blade made of very thin steel. If you want to be really nerdy you could get The Schyth Book from Simon. Its a truely fascinating read with lots of information about the whole process of harvesting and mowing with a scythe.
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ecobuilder
Posted 28/6/2011 10:04 (#722 - in reply to #315)
Subject: Re: Scything


Hi, I know this is an old thread but I have only just registered on the forum and was interested to see Penny extolling the joys of the scythe. I have been using an austrian scythe for a few years now and have to agree that it is a wonderful tool. Definately faster than a strimmer and I have tried to use it instead of lawnmower whenever I can. I am not quite up to making hay or scything whole acres of land yet but think I have now got a pretty good handle on the most important aspects ie peening and honing and general set up for correct posture. If anyone else has a scythe and would like to exchange tips I'd be more than happy to share experiences. If we ever get some good weather I have a field of hay to practice on!!
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Penny
Posted 28/6/2011 10:23 (#723 - in reply to #315)
Subject: Re: Scything


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Posts: 63
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Hi Ecobuilder
We did manage to arrange a scything course - we have 8 budding scythers coming together on 30th and 31st July for a weekend of cutting, sharpening and haymaking based here at our smallholding in Culbokie. The course is now full (anyway, it sounds like you know what you're doing) but visitors are welcome. We may even arrange a bit of a social gathering on the Saturday evening.

I'm also keeping a list of everyone that I hear about locally who is interested in scything - do you want me to add you to that? I'm not sure what I'm going to do with it at this stage. It feels like we should have some sort of scything group so we can all learn from each other and help each other out - but I'm not really sure I have time to organise it. Maybe someone else might??

Anyway, let me know if you want to meet some of us or go on a circulation list.

Penny
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We are part of the rapidly expanding worldwide Transition Towns movement. The Black Isle is a peninsula of about 100 sq miles ENE of Inverness in Scotland, UK.


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