The Writer, the Scythe, and the Blisters

Sometimes the old ways are best.

A scythe doesn’t use gasoline.  It doesn’t rev motor engines through the quiet rural morning with the horse chomping hay in the background.  It doesn’t take extension cords or fussy line feed.

Of course, it will take your foot off at the ankle.  But that’s another matter.

Back when I was living on the point of Mullins Ridge (ie, the crotch of the John Flanagan Reservoir off the Russell Fork of the Big Sandy River), I spent a lot of time clearing land.  I was restoring pasture full of briars, sycamores, and dogwood, all precariously perched on the steep side of a ridge.  Half the time I used the gas-powered whacker with saw blade, and the other half I was out there grubbing by hand, fire rake, and–when someone gave me a hand-me-down–the scythe.

There’s a certain rhythm and precision to using a scythe…one does not just flail about at the foliage.  There’s a certain deft touch to sharpening the blades, and to not cutting your foot off.  (I never did!)  It’s a satisfying process all along the way.  And unlike electric and gas-powered weedwhackers, when you tromp out to put the scythe to the land, you feel like part of something.  It’s an interaction, not just an intrusion.

At least, it is for me.

Although if you haven’t used one for a while, the blisters are kind of a bummer.

Mine is obviously not an antiquey kind of scythe, regardless of the age on it–it’s lightweight and aluminum, and yes, I adore it.  But it still harkens back to some very old ways–ways I often like best.  And it still does a very fine job of taking down weeds, and proved it yesterday!  Have you got anything hanging around the house like that?

PS And because I’m posting this slightly late, here’s a bonus picture of VERY SILLY CONNERYBEAGLE doing what we call Extreme Pig Nose against the security screen of my office.  In a super bonus, he’s panting, which creates a whole new level of absurdity.

About Doranna

My books are SF/F, mystery, paranormal romance, and romantic suspense. My dogs are Beagles, my home is the Southwest, and the horse wants a cookie!
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10 Responses to The Writer, the Scythe, and the Blisters

  1. Robert says:

    by the time I was big enough to swing one of those it was relegated to the back corner of the barn for most folks.

    Aside from toughening the hands, successful use of the scythe requires one to be truly tuned in,
    there is a certain rhythm and balance
    that goes with the music of the land
    when one learns the dance of the scythe
    there is not drudgery but rather
    a joyous connection.


  2. Robert says:

    love the pic of Connery Beagle-

  3. Doranna says:

    Yes, exactly! 8)

  4. Phil Olynyk says:

    I know those blisters, but not from a scythe. Playing John Henry with a sledge hammer, knocking in six or eight foot tie downs or grounding rods. Yup, six foot tie downs – you _really_ don’t want your (friends’) 15-meter fiberglass sailplanes blowing away. You won’t cut your foot off, but you could smash it up pretty bad.

    How about a video of you scything? I can’t figure out how you hold it and swing it at the same time. 🙂

    And I do love your beagle photos, every time.

  5. Doranna says:

    Oh, yah…in this same basic time frame, I was splitting wood (our only heat) with a 16lb maul. Same kinda smashie potential.

    I’m glad you’re enjoying the photos! 8)

  6. Morgan says:

    So silly! Connery, not the blisters.

  7. Patty says:

    Pig nose indeed!

  8. Doranna says:

    Pig Nose is what Connery does when he’s feeling fairly mellow, but wants to make sure we realize he really should be on the other side of wherever he is. It never fails to look as silly as it possibly can.

  9. tuppence says:

    I have my grandfathers brush hook (probably at least 100 years old) which is a treasure and as you say *quiet* to operate. Also my great grands carving knife and fork and sharpening steel The fork has a date of 1878 on it.

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