Hand hay making with the scythe

The meadows are full of activity this week as farmers take advantage of the incredible weather to make hay while the sun shines. At Sprint Mill it’s no different except that we are making hay by hand.

On Monday I went with Ian and Kirsten to cut the orchard grass. I had only found out about the plan earlier that morning so we didn’t start until 9am and the heat was already mounting. What a pleasure though to mow the orchard on a sunny day with good company. Ian is a bit of an old hand with the scythe while Kirsten is a complete beginner but made steady progress and a neat job. I took the opportunity to open up and enjoy cutting long wide swaths through the lush grass.
mowing orchard with scythes cutting orchard grass with scythes
Ian had to leave early but Kirsten and I quickly had a quarter-acre of grass cut then started to spread out the windrows to dry after a short break. By then it was definitely time for lunch in the shade followed by another session of turning and then rowing up the grass back into windrows as the evening came.
turning hay by hand raking hay windrows

The rest of the orchard was cut yesterday, a trickier patch where the trees are planted closer together but ideal conditions for the scythe. Mondays grass was spread out again and the first of it baled with our hand baler. It’s hot work but very pleasurable to do together and the results are beautiful small bales of mixed meadow grass.



About Steve Tomlin

I am a greenwood worker and scythe tutor. I carve spoons, bowls and other products from locally sourced greenwood. During the summer I teach scything around the UK.
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