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Feb 20, 2003 to Feb 6, 2013

The Scythe, Hand Tools and Maintaining Land


An article about my obsession with my newest tool, the scythe. I touch upon hand tools vs. power tools and how I've transformed the land I live on in West Brattleboro in just a few years by doing less.

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Tools I know well

Yes. I grew up mastering the scythe, the cycle and various sorts of rakes. It was The way of doing things around the homestead. Scythes and cycles are great fun to use!

 
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Mastering the scythe

Yes, I remember those days. Being the power source to cut down tall grass…

 
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Cynthia and I bought a Fiskars push-mower

The new fangled Fiskars push mowers are human powered and are quiet, and work really well. We bought one from Brown and Roberts, about three years ago.

It is much cheaper to operate, now that we aren't paying for a gallon of gas over and over again, and it has been very reliable, no repairs needed so far. The blades actually pinch the grass and don't grind against each other as blades do in some rotary mowers, so they stay sharper for longer.

To hell, I saw, with gas powered lawn mowers.

It cuts high grass fine, so it won't be a problem but, that reminds me, it is past time to cut the grass.

 
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Tool Memories

So glad to hear about others' memories of using these tools!

 
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no gas

Mowing the lawn in bare feet is great - with the push mower. It's like rotating scythe with wheels! Nice and quiet for the neighbors, too.

 
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Oh yes,

my brothers and me did that when we were young, in bare feet, nonetheless!.

 
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Is it a scythe?

I'm now reminded of another lawn tool I used to like - a bit like a scythe but more "modern," it was a golf club like tool with a serrated blade at the bottom.

You'd walk along and swing it side to side and it could cut anything, easily.

I need to get another.

 
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...walk along and swing it side to side

I'm so glad for this article and Genie starting the comments. Not all warm weather days are carefree when you work on a farm or a large lawn. Yet again I am recalled to another device you mention where you "walk along and swing it side to side and it could cut anything, easily." I remember at the bottom of the skinny club handle it was a flat blade, maybe 2-3 inches wide, maybe 6-8 long with serrated edges on both sides?
I don't remember the name of it either but your description is unmistakable.

 
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The grass whip

I did some research.

It's called a grass whip.

 
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And now I want one

of those!

 
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Get me one while you are there...

Brown & Roberts had them today. : ) I think around $20. $30 tops.

 
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a challenge

Okay, makers.

Make a human powered riding mower. Then give them to lawn service companies and we can reduce the noise pollution in town greatly.

Go!

 
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I want one!

Great idea, I'm envisioning something like one of those paddle boats but instead of cruising around a lake, you could sit back and drink tea while paddling around the yard.

And speaking of in-town maintenance, can we please convince landscapers that blowing leaves to the other side of the street, which then get blown back over is not making much progress? I can't believe anyone would prefer a leaf blower over a rake. Some of little jobs I've seen where people are using blowers aren't really worth taking the thing out of the truck for!

 
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In ye old Brattleboro papers...

June 28, 1839: Haying Tools. 50 doz. Blanchard’s celebrated cast and German steel scythes. Also, Sibly’s, Farwell’s, and a variety of other kinds of Grain and Grass Scythes. Likewise, rakes, hay forks, scythe snaths, grain cradles, scythe stones, &c. by Blake & Lawrence.

 

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