Permaculture Hastings

09/09/2009

Scything away on the downslope

Filed under: Uncategorized — gbell12 @ 2:32 pm

When oil production peaks, its likely that use of the precious substance may be restricted to agriculture – and while it survives, that may mean “big ag”.  As a small landholder, you may find your access to petrol rationed, if not by government, by price.

As we surf the downslope of the oil production curve, we’ll be rediscovering low fossil-fuel methods of doing things.  Scythes may be a big part of that.

Scythes are basically a big blade on the end of a handle, and they’re used to mow grass by hand.  Sound horrendous?  It doesn’t appear to be.  Have a look at videos on Youtube, and you’ll see that its a weird mix of ergonomics, Tai-chi and a sharp blade.  The energy expended is as low as it can be.

Located in Mudgee area, Scythes Australia sell everything you need – and you need a surprising amount.  You need a blade, a handle.  Then you need some gloves to protect your hands while sharping the blade with a whetstone.  Then you need a holder for your whetstone because it needs to be “whet”.  Then there’s the “peening jig” for more serious sharpening.

Its all a bit technical and overwhelming, but in the end you end up with a tool that you can maintain, which should last a lifetime.

Dan and Nicole run Scythes Australia, and they’re also farming using organic and alternative methods.  Building soil and fertility and steering clear of the chemical treadmill that’s the road to ruin for many of Australia’s farmers.  They’re knowledgeable and are building a network of like-minded people in the Mudgee area, including forming a “Microscope club” which meets to explore the microbial action in compost and compost teas.

I ended up ordering my snaths (handles) from them – two for good measure.  But unfortunately I ordered the remainder of my gear from a US supplier because, even after shipping, it was still cheaper.  And the fellow spent a lot of time working with me up front.

So file another local Permaculture resource: http://www.scythesaustralia.com.au

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