Today's dailyish email got me thinkin': what are y'alls tips for scything on a hill?
Most videos and demonstrations are on perfectly flat land, but quite a bit of my scythin' is pretty darn hilly.
After 6 or so years I'm getting the hang of it but I thought I'd check in.. 'curious about other techniques.
I suppose hill scything becomes <i>even more</i> of a full body exercise. I switch between walking directly uphill and walking in either direction across the hill, which implies either scything uphill or downhill. I rarely walk straight downhill. Since the hills all have different slopes, it's really all about paying attention to the body.
I'm kinda guessing here, but I was thinking that maaaaybe a short blade could help. Do y'all use different blades for different landscapes? I'm aware of brush blade, but maybe a shorter blade could be useful for hills?
For a more gradual slope (you'll have to determine how steep is appropriate), it's typically most effective to mow diagonally up the hill to the left (for right handed mowers). Ultimately it's about doing what helps the scythe deposit the cut grass in a windrow to your left and setting yourself up to mow with the least amount of effort. If you mow the hill horizontally to the left, the grass from the last quarter or so of your stroke is not being helped much by gravity to end up in a windrow, plus it takes more energy on the return stroke. If you mow the hill vertically, grass from the beginning of your stroke doesn't want to come along for the ride as much. And you don't have to mow horizontally to the right very long to see that that just doesn't work well. When mowing diagonally, you're not too compromised in any given direction and the grass will windrow nicely.
If the hill is too steep, you can mow the bottom several feet by going horizontally along the bottom to the left, reaching up to your right and mowing down to center.
This is all covered--with illustrations--in my book. I hope this helps!
Author of The Scything Handbook (New Society Publishers in NA, Filbert Press rest of world), Das Sense-Handbuch (Haupt Verlag)
posted 2 years ago
Wow, thanks Ian!
Ultimately it's about doing what helps the scythe deposit the cut grass in a windrow to your left and setting yourself up to mow with the least amount of effort.
That's a fantastic way to put it.
Indeed, horizontally to the right ain't great but what with our 1/3 of an acre on a pretty darn hilly spot (southern Willamette valley, Cascadian foothills), it's sometimes useful. Still, I'ma keep that whole windrow bit in mind. I wonder if I can't make things even easier..
I'm faced with that each issue. Not many videos to see on that.
With my thistle cutting I'm not caring about windrows but now that I'm branching out with my new scythe I am going to get a lot of experience on hills.
Is there anything available for viewing what you have written about?
Thank you for sharing! I'd love a few learning curves to be shortened.
It's about becoming like granny.
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