THE MODERN MINT BLOG

Jul29

Scything

We at Modern Mint had a lesson in scything the other day when visiting Waltham Place.

Here are 9 things we learnt…

1) It is normal to scythe without your shoes on (it is near impossible to cut your own foot, though very easy to cut your hand when cleaning or sharpening the blade…!)

2) English scythes have curves, Austrian scythes less so, and Eastern European scythes are straight. There are also lightweight scythes from the USA made of aluminium. These seemed to divide opinion between love and hate.

3) You know you are scything well when you hear a swuuushh… swuuushh… swuuushh… it is the most beautiful sound. Not that we heard it much when we were scything…

4) Scything is on the increase, with the factory in Austria that makes them struggling to keep up with demand.

5) You should not walk on the meadow before it has been cut – the scythe is used to create a pathway into the field for you to walk on. In Austria a hay field is treated with great reverence – it is said that if the crown jewels were placed in the middle of a hay field, an Austrian would not take them because they would not step onto the uncut meadow.

Of course, if they are that keen on scything, they may cut themselves a path towards it…

5) It is 70% technique and 30% grunt.

6) A great resource for purchasing scythes is here at The Scythe Shop. And you can learn a lot about scything by going here to the website of the Scythe Association.

7) The people who we met on the scything course were people who normally use strimmers and are getting sick of them. They mush up all the grass, are heavy on the arms and back, cost money to buy and the cord takes time from your day when you have to stop and fiddle about replacing it.

8) A good scyther can mow an acre of field a day. That includes clearing it up to!

9) It is better to cut grass when it is wet – so work can start earlier in the morning than with a mower, and because it is quiet can be done later at night.

How do we think Scything make be of use?

Savings on fuel and benefits to health are the obvious ones, but we think the most important reason to embrace scything is that it is easier to store the equipment. A small London garden may have a lawn, in which case it will also need a mower and a shed to keep that mower in.

Whereas a scythe can be placed on the wall (as we wrote about in My Garden) or even kept inside. It becomes an ornamental feature, as well as a useful one. Our favourite kind of product.

We are thinking about offering a scything service for the small lawns of London – does anyone think they would be interested? Email us or tweet to let us know your thoughts about scything!


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Mar14

The Foie Gras That Tastes Like Nature

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Mar04

Hardy Orchids Via James Wong

Hardy orchids – here is a subject I would love to know more about – so lo and behold, James Wong has written about it in the Guardian! Read the article about hardy orchids here. I love having orchids in the house, just your usual run of the mill buy them in any shop orchids, but it is a pleasure to read about the plants that will grow outside and cope with this weather. (This insane weather! From the hottest days of February on record to Storm Freya, all within a week. Weather is always such a factor in gardening, but …

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