Walter getting stuck into scything his meadow
Next up in our series of workshops once the grass had grown tall enough in mid July, was a weekend of scything and hay making, with tutor and Queen Elizabeth Scholarship Trust Craft Scholar Steve Tomlin, and we were blessed with the right weather.
We looked at Walter’s English scythe blades, which unfortunately were too tired to renovate, and compared them to Austrian Schröckenfux blades, which would learn to use, sharpen and peen over the course of the day.
After learning how to mount the blade and handle accurately – something which varies person to person and greatly affects your technique, we made our way into Walter’s field and made some headway.
We raked the cut grass into rows and turned it in the sun to expedite the drying process. We were able to make use of some hay rakes and pitch forks from the Walter’s Tools collection for this stage. We were also able to repair and make use of Walter’s hay racks, upon which we would later throw the cut hay once it was partially dry.
As the A framed hay racks are propped against each other,and the hay piled on top air can circulate through and underneath. By the time some light rain came later in the afternoon, the outer layer of the hayrick was sufficiently dry to act as a sort of thatched roof, protecting the less dry hay underneath. To complete the circle, the hay would be used to feed Walter’s son Tom’s Fell Ponies in the field next door.
Photos by Dayve Ward