I’ve got scythe but I’m not a scyther

scything how to guideThis post was going to be a DIY success story. Enough of these disasters, I was ready to tell the world (or at least 20 or so people) how I’d changed, how I’d become the master of my own domain. I had tamed the land, using just my bare hands and a moderately sharp blade. I even had the opening couple of boastful paragraphs drafted in my head.

But, alas, as ever, it didn’t quite work out that way. So near, but yet so far. I think I’ll still call it a success though, albeit one tinged with just a hint of failure.

As all you dedicated readers (thanks mum and dad…) know, I had a big, manly, petrol-powered strimmer that I managed to break within 30 minutes. While it’s been in strimmer surgery, the grass, as grass so often does, has been getting longer and longer and longer. In fact, it has got completely out of control. In some places it’s now even taller than my wife. I say even taller, she’s no giant, far from it, but for any grass to be taller than an averagely short human is quite an achievement!

Then, out of nowhere, a blogger came to my rescue – Vera, who writes the wonderful ilghepardo. She suggested I go all retro and get a scythe. Less noise, no vibrations, fewer fumes and a good work out. I was sold. I was going to cut the grass Grim Reaper style! Vera even sent me some YouTube links of people scything. I spent hours getting deeper and deeper into it, watching instructional videos and honing my imaginary technique. I was getting pretty good. They even have speed scything competitions, in America, obviously, and I quite fancied my chances.

Naturally, I was immediately banned from getting a scythe. Imagine the damage I could do… Although one of the videos did point out that it’s actually very hard to cut your own foot off. You’re apparently far more likely to leave someone else with twice as many shoes as they need. So, no problem.

Despite the ban, I sneaked out in the dead of night while my wife was at the hairdresser’s and bought the only scythe the local DIY shop had. It was cheap, not particularly sharp and didn’t look a whole lot like the ones I saw on YouTube, but this was an emergency; it would have to do.

On Sunday morning, with my wife back in the UK, from where she couldn’t tell me off (well, she could, but she’s far easier to ignore over skype) my scything time had come. And I did pretty well, if I do say so myself, making steady, if unspectacular, progress. It’s not as easy as it looks in the videos, but my technique gradually improved and before long I was scything like a barefooted redneck child from the internet. And because I didn’t have to wear a helmet and face guard, I got a bit of a tan too.

Successful scything better than strimmer

DIY success story number one had finally come to pass.

And then it happened. Disaster struck once again. I scythed the ground. And not just a nick either, this was a minor excavation. Had it been at the front of the house rather than the back, it could have been the start of the swimming pool. The blade twisted almost 90 degrees and snapped. And that was that. Scything over.

scything broken blade

It was more successful than the strimmer though, and definitely more enjoyable (even if I could barely move the following morning). Plus, I only got a cheap one. I reckon had I splashed out and bought something proper it may still be with us today… I’m getting another one, even if it means another trip to the hairdresser for my wife. She’ll have to be there a bit longer this time though, as the ever-reliable internet tells me all the best scythes come from Austria.

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27 responses to “I’ve got scythe but I’m not a scyther

    • Still pushing those sheep, eh? Do you have some you want to sell?? 😉 I flinched every time I swung the blade, but I really do think it would be hard to cut your own feet off with it!

  1. Hello hello and congratulasion on what you have achieved. Swigimg a scyhte is no easy work.It take a lot of practice. Must remember that you cut HORIZONTAL to the ground at the height where you want to grass to be. It is a schyte not a HOE !!
    But you did great. With the instrument from Austria you’ll be a winner as long as you don’t use it for digging… I want to encourage you, as I feel rather responsible. Drink a glass of Barbaresco AFTER the job is done when you mop your forehead, not BEFORE !

  2. Ha ha, thanks Vera! And thanks for the advice and encouragement, I really did enjoy it. It was absolutely exhausting, but a lot more satisfying than using a strimmer. I’ll definitely be buying another. A proper one this time. You’re right though, best save the wine for afterwards… Thanks again!

  3. I’Ve seen the Austrian scythes at garden shows!! (Swear i’m not 50yo yet visiting garden shows of a weekend, the garden show HAPPENED to be in a lovely palace) They take them very seriously – of course – but they absoloutely look the business and touring garden salesmen assure me its the best way to cut grass. If I didn’t live in an inner city apartment I would’ve been sold! Definitely reccommend the Austrians for high quality famer tools! Good luck!

    • Haha… I believe you. I’m not 50 yet either and I’m writing blogs about gardening so who am I to judge 😉 It sounds like Austrian is definitely the way to go then. I could just see you wildly swinging a scythe around a balcony, trying to trim the pot plants… I’m not sure the Austrians would approve of that though!

    • Yep, definitely time to buy another one. An expensive one! And maybe I should swallow my pride and ask a local farmer to show me how to use it properly… that must be better learning from YouTube!

  4. Don’t give up my friend and do NOT buy it from Amazon! read the disclaimer that says what you get may not be what you see = what they show you. Buy it from a local farmer’s hardware store … get your info from older men at the tabaccaio, the green grocer, the bar where you go for your morning or mid-day coffee – and ask those older guys who play bocce and also sit outside in the shade… the wise old-timers.
    In bocca al lupo… !! the answer to this good luck wish is: “crepi!”
    (meaning let him croak, the wolf ) but you know that by now. Ciao, V.

    • Thanks Vera… very wise words, as always. I think I know just the person to ask!

      Nobody wise is sitting in the shade just yet though… summer is showing no interest in turning up this year!

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