Friday, 25 April 2008

Chop, Chop

A back post today as I was just too tired last night. The day was spent grass cutting; not the pasture field as I gave it another day to try and dry out. By the end of the day it was a little dryer but still squelchy in places. I gave the bits of grass a good tug and they are very firmly rooted now so it should be able to be cut and I’ll just hope the tractor tyres don’t rut the field. When I went for my walk across the field in the evening I was accompanied again, this time by Patches and Hazel. Hazel is quite nervous and calls out if she gets separated from me and then races to catch up and stay near me but Patches just walks along. They always appreciate me stopping and letting them catch up and really enjoy exploring through the long grass.

Not doing the pasture field didn’t mean no grass cutting, there was plenty more to do, this is my ‘lawn’. The grass, there is some in there somewhere, (this is near the bird feeder so has a much higher proportion of other growths, elsewhere it’s moss), was just too long and lush for the mower so it was time for the trusty scythe which made short work of the area.

While that area was drying I scythed down the edge of the new vegetable patch where no mower can reach and then mowed the garden extension with the ride-on mower. After that it was back up to the lawn. I’ve tried mowing that with the ride-on but with all the close planted trees and the orchids I’m leaving to grow it was far to difficult so that was done with the walk-behind mower.

The dividing line between the lawn and the garden extension is a rough area of ground that has daffodils and narcissi in it. I was hoping to leave the leaves growing a bit longer to feed the bulbs for next year but there were far too many weeds there so that area was scythed too. Walking along using the scythe is quite relaxing and I find it less strain than using a strimmer. The other advantage is that you don’t need to wear eye or ear protection, both of which I find really uncomfortable in the heat. This is one of the weeds, a type of vetch – no book to hand to identify it at the moment. I have already seen a few ladybirds and hoverflies this year so I hope the weather stays fair so they can eat this lot.

I’ve spent a lot of time over the last year getting a good edge on the scythe but it still doesn’t cut how I would like along the whole length of the blade. Finally today I realised why and it’s all down to simple geometry. The sharpening stone I use is about 10 inches long. I keep the angle of the stone against the blade very low to get a fine edge. The blade has a lip round the back to give rigidity and as you can see the depth of the blade diminishes from one side to the other.. Because the stone is long I was lifting it to clear the ridge, the closer the ridge to the front of the blade, the more I had to lift the stone and the greater the angle I was grinding the edge. The greater the angle of the edge, the blunter the edge. The solution was to use a half stone which I can use in front of the ridge. It will take a while but I should eventually get the fore part of the blade as razor sharp as the rear.

5 comments:

The Lehners in France said...

God Deborah I can't believe you know how to sharpen a sythe! Grass is growing like billeo at the moment, but there's more rain forecast, so back to cutting. Debs

aims said...

Is there anything you don't do? I'm thinking you start your day at 5am or somewhere around there and finish when the sun goes down - at least outside...how close to the truth am I?

dND said...

Hi Debs,

I've always liked a good edge on my knives so when I got the scythe I had a good read around the articles to sharpen it. I now sharpen the kitchen knives in a similar way - they are sharpened on both sides of the blade whereas the scythe is only sharpened on the top face.

dND said...

Hi there aims,

Sadly there is lots I don't do, one of them is get up in the mornings! I'm not a morning person but I'm happy to work through until the sun sets.

I still need my sleep, a good 8 hours at least (far too many years of sleep deprivation being compensated for I guess) but it changes and I will go through spells when I can't sleep for more than 5 or 6.

I sure you know how it goes, some days are good and some are well...
At the moment it's sunny and warm and that's kicked off a really good spell so I've been able to stick at things and get lots done.

Hope all is going well at your place - I'm just still in shock from your last few posts, I was so lucky.

Move To Portugal said...

I think you are amazing! You must work so hard.