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Scything: A Green Alternative to Mowing?

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Scything: A Green Alternative to Mowing?

By Cris Carl, Networx

Scything may seem like an antiquated method of harvest and weed control, but improved tools and a growing desire in many to be more earth-friendly is reviving the old technique. Although I didn’t know many Boston-area landscapers who use scythes, I began looking into scything two years ago as a way to improve on land management for a property I was responsible for. After working with local expert, George Esworthy “The Scythe Guy,” of Shelburne Falls, MA, I learned that size and strength barely matter. Like many situations, it was all about the right tool. In addition, a company in Conway, MA, One Scythe Revolution provides extensive information and products on their website.

Why Scythe?

Scything your weeds or grain crops is quiet, non-polluting, effective, and good exercise. If you are a taller person, you can swing up to a 10-foot arc that quickly mows with only the sounds of swishing and birds in your ears. There is no expensive heavy gas or electrical machinery tearing up the earth, and no dependence on petro-chemicals to fuel your harvest. All of the action of scything comes from the waist and hips, so you can harvest and work on slimming down. Scything can also be used, for example, to cut hay for bedding or mulch.

What is a scythe?

A scythe is made up of three simple parts: a blade, of which here are two basic designs and several sizes, a handle or snath, and a tang. The snath has two handholds. Typically, you need to find the right size snath for your height, but One Scythe Revolution has a patented snath with ergonomic, adjustable handholds.

American style scythes have an “S” curved snath and a crescent shaped blade. An Austrian scythe is far superior with a straight snath and a blade that has three different cutting edges (crescent, rocker, and belly curves) in one. American scythes are heavier and harder to manage.

The tang is the metal collar that holds the blade onto the snath.

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Read more: Conscious Consumer, Conservation, Eco-friendly tips, Green, Home, Household Hints, Lawns & Gardens, Nature

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12:48AM PDT on Jul 5, 2012

Sudden memory of watching an old man using a scythe in the West of Ireland.I think it was oats he was cutting. Must be 30 odd years ago. Thanks.

7:43AM PDT on Jul 3, 2012

Any of you need a good work out...try to scythe.

11:38PM PDT on Jul 2, 2012

I like push mowers - these seem relatively ecofriendly also.

12:33AM PDT on Jun 30, 2012

Son mowes and I enjoy.

8:22PM PDT on Jun 29, 2012

Thanks, interesting but keep out of reach of children.

5:15AM PDT on Jun 29, 2012

scythes aren't bad, sickles are hard work and those push-mowers are nearly impossible when the grass is patchy and sandy. But I like my push-mower. And whipper snipper.

5:01AM PDT on Jun 29, 2012

It is a lethal weapon!

8:19PM PDT on Jun 28, 2012

This is and was the traditional way to cut grass in Latvia. My husband still scythe the grass in our garden. Save on all the noise pollution and the birds and our cat greatly appreciate it. In fact my cat Sid has been seen chewing on some of the grass which dried out and we're wondering if perhaps we should store some hay for his winter pleasure. lol Scything nothing like it for exercise and no noise.

5:45PM PDT on Jun 28, 2012

Thanks for sharing.

2:26PM PDT on Jun 28, 2012

I think I will stick with my push mower. :)

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

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