Scything is Making a Comeback: Why is It?

Scything is Making a Comeback: Why is It?

When we talk about scythe or scything, what comes to your minds? Some people may think about the grim reaper because it is known for using the huge scythe to harvest the soul of living beings, and many are afraid of its presence.

However, scything is not always about grim and death, scything is also about life and beauty. Apparently, scything is beneficial to the environment, even though to us it seems like a we are destroying a part of it.

The ancient method of farming is considered to be one of the most eco-friendly farming methods. and because of that it is now on the rise again in Europe. Sounds strange? Maybe at first, but after we learn more about this farming method, it will all make sense.

What’s actually beneficial from scything? Why should we use the tool of grim reaper to cut grasses down instead of land mower? Here, in this article, we will talk about it.

The Silent Scything

Scything the Roadside, 1959 (Melinda Young Stuart)
Scything the Roadside, 1959 (Melinda Young Stuart)

Many of us living in the urban area prefer to use land mower to cut grasses because it is easier to use and doesn’t need very hard work. But we all know that land mower produces such loud noise that makes us uncomfortable to hear for a long time.

Apparently, not only us who feel disturbed by the loud noise of land mower. Those small insects and critters living in our garden also fell the same thing. They don’t like their peaceful nap disturbed by the roaring sound.

As a result, many of them choose to get away from our garden for good. Even though it sounds pretty okay, but one thing that we should remember is that some of them are actually beneficial to our garden and farm.

If only we have a tool that can effectively cut grasses and bushes without having to emit such loud noise. Or do we? Yes, we actually do since ancient times and it is called scythe, like the one that grim reaper has.

One thing for sure scything produces far less sound compared to land mower, except when we moan for being tired of doing it every now and then. But as time passes by, we will get used to the work and it would feel easier to do.

Materials Collected

scything gunnersbury (Wikimedia Commons)

Another point that we should consider while scything is that the collected materials, parts of grasses and bushes, are more whole than when cut using machine. Further, the materials collected can be used for various purposes.

In example, it can be used to feed pets and livestock such as sheep, cows, rabbits, or horses. Any livestock farmer or horse owners will also accept it willingly if offered, because the more whole cuttings are more favored by the animals to eat.

When many people still own horses, their horses used to be fed with the crop. This is the reason why people used to prefer scything than doing it with machine, but as the number of horses is declining nowadays, people tend to forget this fact.

In many countries, such as Indonesia, people still use scythe to cut grasses and bushes down. The crop of that process would then be collected and sold to animal farmers or horse owners. It means that the crop is actually valuable if we know what to do with it, and for long we just burn it or throw it away.

Therefore, if you plan to use scythe to clear up your lawn or garden, make sure to contact the nearest farmers or animal owners who want to accept the crop. Not only it would help them get fresh food for their animals, you may also get some benefits from it.

Healthy for Both

organic food farming

Another benefit of scything is that you move your whole body for doing it. This is the reason why a group of people in Leicestershire and Rutland Wildlife Trust in the UK practice scything in grasslands and meadows in the country.

“These islands are blessed with one of the best grass growing climates in the world, so grassland management has always been a necessary activity – whether for feeding livestock through the winter by haymaking, or for keeping on top of lawns and wayside weeds,” as stated by Scythe Association of Britain and Ireland.

Even members said that by combining the elements of yoga and tai chi in the process may give bigger benefits to our health. The motions of swinging our whole body to get best results with the least efforts is actually a kind of healthy exercise.

But we are not the one who would get healthy from doing the process. The environment may also benefit from it, such as keeping the biodiversity in the area undisturbed because it has no loud noise and not releasing harmful substances either to the earth or the atmosphere.

Chairman of the association and seed expert, Richard Brown, did research on how to manage wildflower meadows. Turned out, scything is the best answer to his question. So, not only it would benefit us, it would also benefit the environment.

Start Scything from Now?

With all those benefits and excitement that scything can bring, should we start to scythe from now? Well, it is never too early or too late to start, because something good knows no boundaries. But to makes sure, first thing first, make sure we have the tool.

The size and form of scythe is different from one culture to another. In example, in United Kingdom, the size is usually larger and it looks like the one that grim reaper brings. In Japan, the form is almost similar but smaller in size.

While in Indonesia, almost the whole tool is made of metal with smaller part of it the handle from wood. The difference in size and form means they are used differently and in different kind of area. In example, the one in Indonesia is usually used to cut down shorter grasses and bushes that has stronger woods.

The one in Japan is used to cut down softer grasses and bushes, while the one in United Kingdom is used to cut down bigger grasses and bushes. Therefore, make sure to understand which version of scythe you want to use. The difference in form and size also means different price, thus make sure to understand first what you are going to scythe.

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