I definitely saw both sides of the weather while teaching a couple of scything courses in Caithness in Scotland for the Bumblebee Conservation Trust last week. We started out with high winds and heavy rain but a group of hardy volunteers and crofters turned up and scythed in high spirits and full waterproofs. Then, just a few days later the second group were enjoying beautiful late summer sunshine as we used Austrian scythes to mow a Scottish wildflower meadow which is home to the great yellow bumblebee.
One of the most important aspects of these courses is the opportunity for students to try peening a scythe using the jig, a good indoor job.
On the final day we got word that a nearby vintage tractor event was taking place with some oats being cut. We picked up our scythes, made our way over and gave an impromptu demonstration to a large crowd of interested farmers. Of course we were asked to cut the part of the field where the ground was wet so the reaper binder couldn’t get to and the oats hadn’t been weeded. A local farmer even commented that what we’d cut ‘would have been nearly impossible for the machine to manage’. Not bad for a group that only learned to scythe the day before.
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