Through out this blog there are bits and pieces of an approach, a philosophy if you will, that guides a lot of what we do. In fact, it’s spelled out, in part, in the first post:
That got me thinking about of how soy could fit into our garden & food plans. As the list grew, I got very interested in soy. It was one of those multi-benefit situations that we like.
It shows up in the first coffee post:
A nitrogen fixer with an amazing blue flower that gives us a coffee substitute. It doesn’t get much better than that. Even if the coffee doesn’t cut it, we still have a spectacular nitrogen fixer that the bees in the orchard will love.
We intentionally keep what we do as unmechanised as possible. We feel that reduces dependency and makes what we do more ongoing. Often the things that we do have benefits that we didn’t recognize before we started.
In the blogs and newsgroups that we frequent, every once in a while someone talks about a scythe. I’d looked at some of the websites that sell scythes and come away with the feeling that there was a scythe culture and that it was a bit pricey. I realized, not as quickly as I should have, that sifting through the various sites was going to lead to analysis paralysis. And then I stumbled across Lee Valley’s scythe and decided that was it. If I picked in up on one of our periodic trips to Toronto, I could eliminate the shipping cost. It was aluminum so it was lite.
And, thus, I became the owner of a scythe on July 12, 2011. Assembly was easy and the blade had already been sharpened so I decided to try it out on an area that we were preparing planting willows. Easy, peasy. Quickly done with no huffing and puffing. The results were what I needed although I’m sure that an expert would have have been rolling on the ground speechless with laughter.
A couple of days later, I decided to clear grass and heavy weeds from around the various trees and bushes we have planted in the wilder areas of the property. During the first few years while the plantings are adjusting to the transplant shock and putting out new roots, the competition from the grass and heavy weeds will slow their development and even overpower them. Once and sometimes twice a year I use the weed trimmer to cut back the surrounding vegetation. It’s always a touch-and-go situation because it’s very easy to cut through a branch or young trunk. Enter the scythe. What a difference! I could position the blade up against the trunk with the vegetation I wanted to cut in front of it and then with a quick pull towards me, it was cut. Stepping around the tree, four cuts and the growth surrounding the tree was cleared.
Although it was hot and humid, I was saved from the worst of it by a blister or rather a callous that decided to blister. After a couple of days of healing, I decided to clear the grass and weeds around the young lilac hedge in front of the house and the young cedars behind it. It’s a very steep slope so I had to move carefully. Once again the scythe made very quick work of the job. I’m impressed. Wait until I learn to use it properly.
Further information on scythes and scything: