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July 8, 2011 / 74

Garden – Scything the Rye

Me & my scythe

Me & my scythe - 2 swaths down, 18 to go.

After my un-stellar performance at harvesting the rye the other day, I figured that since the straw is blown over, it will just be hard to deal with – but it has to be done. So I put a fine edge on my blade and trundled my butt up to the grain patch. I put my water jug in some shade, and commenced mowing.

Now, to follow what happened, you have to be able to visualize the set-up in front of me. the straw is bent over. The base of the stalks is to my left, the grain heads are to my right. I figured it would be easier to cut if I swept my blade against the lean (sort of into the base at the roots). While this seemed reasonable, I failed to consider that the base of the straw is clean and straight, while the grain heads have all those awns and other protuberances that can get tangled with the other stalks – which is exactly what happened. And as I cut the stand from the side like that, the grain heads would swing out towards me and hide the base – so I had no idea of how much rye I was cutting per swing. All I could tell was it wasn’t much, and it was all tangled up.

So when I came to the end of the “row” I noticed that A. there was a bank of grass and weeds there and B. I could clearly see the bases of the rye straws. (Picture light bulb here – dim, perhaps but still lit.) I mowed the weeds and grass, then set my feet, and sw2ung the scythe. Let me tell you  – the feel of a clean cut with a sharp blade is a GOOD feel! And when the swing was ended, I had a neat stack of rye straws, with the grain all at one end of the stack!!! So I took another swing, and another, and about the third swing, I think I may have tried to bite too deep because I ended up with a tangle. So I took a second swing at the same straw and cut it clear, then just flipped my scythe blade over and rolled the rye onto the windrow behind me.

After I completed my first NEAT row of grain stalks, I could see clean dirt, short stems, and another row of rye waiting for my scythe. So I walked back to the start of the row and cut a second swath, making a second neat windrow!!!


Felt REALLY good! I don’t have time to do aught else with it tonight but gather it up into sheaves and tie them up and get them under cover. Maybe I’ll have time to cut some more tomorrow?

And moving the pumpkin vines around to direct them into the corn, I found that we have pumpkins!!! they’re tiny, and kind of cute, and green yet, but they’re there! Speaking of squash – I planted a bunch of more of it today. Put in a gazillion hills of cucumbers of various kinds, and zucchinis, and a few pattypan squashes. Should be ready about the middle of August to the middle of September.

And the work progresses on the chicken/guinea enclosures. My wife and my son are working on that.

Back to work with me!



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