Sunday, October 12, 2008

Scything along

I have been going out to cut the back fields with the scythe for a couple of hours each morning, give or take, and have decided that as long as the grasses hold out, I will do so. This is a great way to get the day started, to get me going and warmed up.

Of course, the ol' body doth protest a bit... but by only doing SOME each day, my arms have not decided they must truly fall off. No, it is not the cutting that makes me hurt, just the work of learning the motions, to be most efficient and how to cut green grasses vs dead ones, longer vs shorter, more woody stem weeds vs grasses (this is why I got a "ditch" blade not just a pure grass blade) and of course cutting over and down the ups and downs in the field.

I have revealed a pile of rubble (broken cement blocks) previously hidden by the weeds and a strange stick with what I thought was a blue rag tied to it but K says is an old surgical glove... I will have to email the former owner once I get a bit more cut to take a picture...

On the mechanical side, the riding mower that came with the place -- which we knew had been "rode hard and put away wet" (literally) seems to have been even more abused. When K and I removed the mowing part yesterday -- expecting to need a new belt and/or blades which could be bought locally, to get the thing up and running again -- we found that instead all those parts were good, but something had caused the mower cover (deck) to get pushed down into the blades -- or the blades up into the cover -- and they have whacked a hole in it. Not a real biggie, but it would prolong the life of that part if we could find someone to weld the hole shut. But the real kicker was that we needed a "mandril" -- the part the the blade attaches to, which bolts on to the machine and contains the bearing on which the blade turns. Somehow, it had gotten totally worn so that instead of spinning securely in the bearing, it could rock and roll back and forth. New part, mail order only, $85. I just hope it arrives soon, as I do not want to be like most of the folks up here last year (or so it seemed as the snow melted in the spring) who were caught unawares and had everything buried under the first, early, deep snowfall. I'd like to get the grasses and weeds cut and the cuttings into the compost pile. which will be HUGE but that is good... so are the gardens!

Today I will try to make contact with the rabbit lady, who has said I can get manure from them, to at least take the contractor bags that I have -- and maybe the old plastic trash can without a lid -- and see the best way to work at her farm. She has said "bag it" but since we don't have feed sacks... well, we DO have cat food bags... they are durable, so maybe I'll carry some of them along as well. That will go a long way to helping out the compost as I build it.

Trying to get a housecleaning done as well, and paint on the hex signs that are on order. Always much to do...


Juli said...

It's so good to see you again :)

and your scything post is a most excellent one. We've been looking for a scyth, hoping to trade or barter, and we'll need to know how best to use it.

I have a friend in Maine who raises Yaks and scyths all his hay.

Jj Starwalker said...

The scythe supply folks DO mail order... their website has instruction on how to properly measure for one, and they have videos available to show all sorts of stuff.

I was lucky enough to see them at the Common Grounds Fair here. I had been planning and saving up to buy one of their outfits and highly recommend it. There is a BIG difference between using a snath that is fit to you and using one that is not. I practiced at the fair during one of their demos -- using one that was too big. Yes, I could do it, but using mine is much easier. And watching K use mine, well it's easy to see that too small is as bad as too big.

Where in Maine is your friend? I have not heard of anyone with yaks and I think that would have stuck in my memory!