I’d love to use a scythe instead of a string trimmer.
Ah, the scythe. The wonderful, beautiful scythe. Compared to the buzzing, rattling, smoking string trimmer… it would be so nice!
I must admit to a long-term fascination with scything. I almost pulled the trigger over at ScytheSupply.com multiple times.
Hand tools – especially for the garden – are wonderful things. In the past I’ve shared thoughts on raising kids to be reliant on themselves rather than empty-headed consumers.
Knowing how to scythe (and maintain a scythe) is a fantastic skill.
And yet, I posted this on Friday:
The terrain of our homestead doesn’t really lend itself well to scything. There may be a way to do it safely on uneven, sloping and rocky ground but I’m an amateur with a scythe already without adding layers of difficulty.
Maybe one day I’ll go for it. For now, I’m afraid I’ll break it. Plus, I just can’t see how it could beat my Stihl on the 2.5 acres we tend.
I like this post from The Walden Effect on the topic of scythe vs. string trimmer:
“A lot of people buy an Austrian scythe because they want to replace their weedeater and/or lawnmower with a hand tool. Why use gasoline when you don’t have to?
Although I agree with that logic to some extent, Mark has turned me into a realist when it comes to homesteading tools. If a hand tool takes a significant amount more muscle than a power tool, I might choose the power tool.
On the other hand, I also factor in the long term effort involved. If I’m afraid of the power tool, can’t get it started easily, or can’t fix common ailments myself, I might find it simpler in the long run to use a hand tool.”
I’m quite comfortable with a string trimmer since I’ve been using one since I was a teenager and used to cut a half-dozen lawns in the neighborhood.
It would be funny to run a lawn service using a scythe, though. You could probably charge twice as much and claim you were an “eco-friendly environmental aestheticist” or something like that.
Enjoy the Lord’s Day. I’ll see you all tomorrow.
* * *
The heavens declare the glory of God;
And the firmament shows His handiwork.
Day unto day utters speech,
And night unto night reveals knowledge.
There is no speech nor language
Where their voice is not heard.
Their line has gone out through all the earth,
And their words to the end of the world.
In them He has set a tabernacle for the sun,
Which is like a bridegroom coming out of his chamber,
And rejoices like a strong man to run its race.
Its rising is from one end of heaven,
And its circuit to the other end;
And there is nothing hidden from its heat.
The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul;
The testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple;
The statutes of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart;
The commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes;
The fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever;
The judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether.
More to be desired are they than gold,
Yea, than much fine gold;
Sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb.
Moreover by them Your servant is warned,
And in keeping them there is great reward.
Who can understand his errors?
Cleanse me from secret faults.
Keep back Your servant also from presumptuous sins;
Let them not have dominion over me.
Then I shall be blameless,
And I shall be innocent of great transgression.
Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart
Be acceptable in Your sight,
O Lord, my strength and my Redeemer.
–Psalm 19, NKJV
David! I also have a long term fascination with scythes. I purchased one 8 years ago from scythesupply and I love that tool. I am an organic farmer growing 8 acres of vegetables and also include a Stihl in our arsenal, but the joy of scything makes me reach for the scythe most of the time. Also, oak saplings, larger bidens, poke weeds etc that slow the weed whacker down are felled in one easy slice with the scythe. I have used and abused it, left it in rain for days, hit rocks and rebar with the blade, and it’s still going strong. If you have uneven terrain, you can get one with the bush blade which is probably better to start with anyway. It definitely is an investment, both of money and time to acquaint yourself with it and set it up to your dimensions. Getting a book is a good idea and of course the right sharpening stones. A Kama is also a great tool for chopping and dropping as well as harvesting, and cheaper to start. Hidatool is source I recommend.
I am laughing while I envision a young David the Good walking door to door with a scythe and a grim reaper costume, he bought for Halloween, trying to drum up business.
Danny, I got a great laugh from the mental image that comment summoned up! Thanks!
My gift to you, your welcome.
I have an old well-used Seymour (American) snath and blade. The blade was run over at some point before husband got it (for decorative purposes). I hammered out the blade and sharpened that bad boy up and use it for weed whacking and grass trimming when the yard and pasture are under water during the summer downpours. Works great. I’m thinking about getting either a European-style snath, or an aluminum snath (lighter weight). Mine takes a little more effort to use than most (because blade doesn’t lie exactly right) and I have to put a little more muscle into it, but hey, I need the workout. I do have a brand new blade that I ordered to put on, but I broke one of the metal adjustable rings that the handles fit onto. I need to get it welded or buy another snath, because the replacement adjustable handle plus postage is @ the same price as a brand new snath with the brand new handles included. Since my grass and weeds (dog fennels) vary from knee high to over my head at this point, I think I’ll just use the old blade in case I come across something solid hidden in the grass like a log or an alligator.
That sounds excellent, SwampWoman – you’re talking me into it!
Hey David, just a quick question. I’ve often wonder while watching your videos if you bought you string trimmer locally or did you have it shipped in? Keep up the great work, it’s very inspiring…
Thank you David, I almost pulled the trigger one tonight – my son had just said, I’ll weed eat it right now but the romance of it was pulling at me. We live on palm tree farm in Lake Worth, run a Lawn service and have 7 kids ages 23-10 that we have homeschooled alwaysI My success in gardening has really come from your no nonsense approach because there is no time to get lost in the weeds (excuse the pun). I have all your books and always check your site first. Also, I do love the few tools that I have purchased from your list of recommendations.
Grateful in South, FL