The Gathering

IMG_0231 Well, finally after a few weeks of absence trying to catch up on accumulated tasks left behind due to my trip north to New Brunswick, Canada, where I spent a few intense days of what I like to call the North American Scythers Summit (NASS, not to be confused with the space agency), I would like to say, first, thanks to the Vido family for hosting graciously, openly and generously a group of scythe enthusiasts from around the world with different points of view, needs, and backgrounds. All, however, shared a common interest: promote and use the scythe in the 21st century. IMG_0192 I never saw before so many kinds of blades, from different makers, countries, styles to fit different needs of cutting etc… I never saw so many handle grips from natural twisted branches (or probably roots) and for sure, It is not easy to find some one (not only in the scythe world) with such a wide knowledge willing to share it with others. Peter does. IMG_0219 And we had a happy bonus: the friendliest baby goat to accompany all activities. IMG_0238IMG_0229IMG_0234 My long experience with the scythes was always based on work, except for the times that I participated in mowing competitions (that was even harder work). But this time, it was primarily ( but not limited to) about learning how to make snaths out of raw wood or branches of trees, regardless of variety. IMG_0220It was gratifying to see that all other participants were young people with the idea of promoting the use of the scythe in their future.

Previous photos were taken by Ashley Vido ( scythe and axe expert) and Jesse. Jesee is a young scythe enthusiast, promoter and as you can see a great photographer too.

Now slowly going back to reality, I leave you with the photo of this turtle that I took in George Washington and Jefferson National Forest Park last weekend.IMG_20140727_131322 He or she was crossing the road and I moved him or her before his or her life was cut short. Please do the same…

Why the Scythe?

The scythe is more than an ancient hand tool. More than an iron blade. More than a curiosity or caricature. And its growing renaissance is long overdue.

The revival worldwide of the scythe is not an accident. It responds not to the demand of powerful landlords who harvest fields of hundreds or thousands of acres but to those who, with less land, want to do it right. The scythe cuts cleanly (no smoke comes out of it), quietly (no disturbing noise either) and efficiently (does its job). It adapts to basically all types of terrain and contributes greatly to your health since it is a great rhythmic and relaxing exercise.

With this site, I would like to take what I have learned over the decades, scything grass and hay in Spain and the United States, to a wider audience who might appreciate its nuances, its “green technology,” its connection to the earth—and in particular, to share in the Washington, D.C., area (including Maryland and Virginia) my passion for and knowledge of this ancient tool.

The scythe is more than a simple curved blade. It is a tool perfect for maintaining land, body and mind. When you mow, you exercise almost every muscle of your body. You establish a meditative rhythm, the arms and scythe as one, cutting swaths with a gentle whoosh, revealing newly manicured green. And with no gas exhaust produced, it is just you and the smell of cut grass. The process is pure joy.

alfonso scytheGas mowers bombard our senses, produce noise and air pollution, and damage vehicles when they launch stones and gravel like missiles. They are also hard on grass, by breaking rather than cleanly cutting each stem. Scythes, on the other hand, do not damage plants, vehicles, sidewalks, corners of structures or your senses of hearing and smell. It has access to narrow and uneven places that a mower does not. And there are almost zero maintenance costs since one blade properly maintained lasts many years. Indeed, around the world farmers and city managers are rediscovering the scythe for manicuring public and private spaces cost effectively and efficiently.

The scythe’s origins may have faded into history. But the tool is as relevant today as it was before gas-powered machines were built to mow.

Feel free to visit this site regularly for new information, instruction schedules and random musings as the mowing season begins.