Scythe Time

IMG-20130710-00480Friends are great, aren’t they? I have a chum called Ollie, and he recently bought a scythe with a ditch blade from the annual Scythe Fair in Somerset, to help manage patches around fields and glades of the woodland that he manages. I slyly asked whether he’d like to practice with his new tool, in exchange for the odd beer and some veg, which he readily agree to – hurrah!

IMG-20130710-00482My green manure patch of red clover and lucerne (and random weeds and grasses of course) was starting to go to seed – and it had grown enormous too – so I needed to cut it down ready to mulch itself. Ollie had a crack at it last Wednesday afternoon; it’s roughly a fifth of my field (maybe 1/3 acre in total), and it took him a good few hours in the heat, poor love. However, he did an amazing job; because that field catches the wind (open fields on all sides), he found it easier to cut the same way that the wind had started to blow the clover over. I had a go too; and although pretty rubbish, even I could make a bit of headway. The clover stems were just too strong to tackle with the strimmer – the stems keep wrapping around the strimmer head so it would have taken ages to clear the head every few feet – plus it’s nice not to use fuel (apart from ice cream), and the sharp scythe makes a lovely gentle swishing sound while cutting.

IMG-20130710-00483Just a few days later the mulch has dried completely, and the clover is regrowing underneath. All that carbon on top will end up back in the soil, which should help a lot next year – not to mention the nitrogen from the leguminous nodules too. Definitely beer o’clock now…

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