Wednesday, 16 July 2014

Scything and Haymaking

At this time of year we have quite a lot of grass and need to do something about it.
We had a day of scything tuition from Steve Tomlin, a local expert, who runs courses in the Lakes and North Yorkshire area. 
(You can check his website at
He came to Broadrake to show us the ropes and we were joined by Rachel's old boss, Clive Boardman who has his own meadow that needs attention.

We used lightweight Austrian scythes, pictured below, learning how to set them up to suit our own build and how to make sure the angle of the blade was set correctly in three planes.

After a bit of practice on the lawn we set out into the field. We were quite encouraged with how it went and even as novices we were able to make a bit of an impression.

We have some quite challenging areas to cut as well so this counts as extreme scything.

The day finished with a brief introduction to peening, the art of cold forging the scythe blade as it wears down to enable it to take a sharp edge.

But getting the grass cut is only part of the problem. There is then the business of dealing with it. We spread it out to dry and turned it for a few days before gathering it together and bringing it into the barn.

A bit of searching on the internet revealed plans for a hand baling machine so we thought we would give it a go.

Our first bale arrives.

A few modifications to the design and we are away. Six bales ready to go to the goats up at Ellerbeck.

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