Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Scything in the Morning

Birthday week plus exceptionally wet weather has made it difficult to mow the lawn. I use a reel mower for the "lawn" area, and it usually takes me a good two hour session to get it all. That is, when the grass is short enough.
Missing a mowing with the reel mower is tricky business, because it soon gets too long to handle in some areas. Certain grasses grow faster than others, leaving a few areas still mowable but many, not so much.
So, I've been getting up early this week to make hay.
A windrow from this morning. This was under the trampoline
for a few weeks, and was pretty long. I deftly avoided the
softball bat so as not to dent the blade.
For those not in the know, using a scythe on short grass is exponentially easier when the grass is damp. The extra weight keeps the grass in place so the blade can cut from the underside. Dry, short grass simply does not have the inertia necessary, and flops over and pops back up like a spring-based doorstop.

I have very much enjoyed the peace and stillness of the world at 5:45 AM. It's still a little dark, and out in the country, very silent. I've been using the time for prayer and meditation, interrupted only by my needy sheep bleating for handouts.

All in all, scything this much takes longer than mowing. I think the area that I can mow with the reel mower, at a light jog, takes about 2 hours. The last time I scythed this whole section took me 6. That's OK. The grass gets cut very short, and does take longer to regrow from a scythe cut than from a reel cut.

I've contemplated making this a permanent thing, but I'll need a longer grass blade to increase the efficiency. I'm using a ditch blade right now, which is shorter, thicker, and built for heavier brush. The grass blades are longer, thinner, and sharper, making soft grasses easier to cut.

In the meantime, I'll get some good hay made, get a light workout for the whole body, and contemplate the meaning of life, all before starting work. Not a bad deal.

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