Deep South mowing

Posted by in Blog on Dec 23, 2012

We had a good time at the Southport Market on Sunday last – nice weather apart from a couple of showers, friendly people, quality stalls and good food (the relish on the burgers was rather special indeed).

For mowing we had the use of the oval which, much to our amazement, hadn’t been cut for many months – a very slow-growing spot. The grass was thin and and had gone to head, but it was fine for showing what you can do with a scythe. The moss ‘under-storey’ was also very dense in places and made cutting a bit harder with the longer blades, but no dramas overall.

Also, an apology to one of the people who fronted up and asked some questions; I mentioned that the scythe had been around for thousands of years, which caused some surprise. I then mentioned that it was high carbon steel which caused further confusion on the dates, and then we got sidetracked by something else and I never got back to clarify.

The scythe was around at least as long ago as ancient Greek times. Saturn/Cronus was often pictured with a scythe. Peter Vido (who has done far more research on the topic than I am ever likely to do) reckons that, despite several cultures laying claim to the tool’s invention, no-one really knows for sure where it first came into existence, and mentioned that ‘the fertile crescent’ is another contender, the history of which we in the West know very little (e.g. there are convincing arguments for the existence of early democracy in ancient Persia). Similarly, while we tend to think of high-carbon steel as relatively new in the industrial landscape, there is evidence that the ‘technology’ required to make it has been around a long time. I also remember watching a documentary on the Vikings of York, while I was holidaying near York, and being surprised to learn that some of the excavated Viking steel had been graded as being as good in quality as anything in production today.

But, yes, the scythes we can buy these days are different in some ways (and, in some ways, for the worse, due to the loss of skills and cost-cutting), and innovations are still being made, particularly in regard to ergonomy.