Making Hay With a Scythe

My neighbor grew a large patch of oats in his backyard for the deer this winter. Now that hunting season is over and he’s ready to plant a garden, he told us we were welcome to cut it for hay.

So we did.

I got my scythe at an antique store some years ago. Now that we’re back in the states where we have nice level ground, it’s back in action. I’m going to order a newer European model from later today, but for now this old scythe is doing just fine, so long as I keep it sharp. I don’t have a whetstone for it so I just lightly use a file.

The scythe is a little short for me and my cutting isn’t great, but it’s good enough for now.

Rains were coming, so we cut and dried about half the patch over the last couple of days.

It’s best to cut hay in the early morning while it’s still damp with dew, as the stems cut better. Once you’ve cut it, rake it out in a thin layer to dry. If the day is hot and sunny, you can rake it again in a few hours, turning everything over to the sun.

Here’s the demonstration that helped me get a visual for the process:

We got two truck beds full of hay and there’s still that more than that left standing in the field.

The next two days are supposed to be sunny, so I’m headed back to cut some more this morning. Some of this hay will get used in the garden and some of it will be used for our animals.

The cows are beautiful and making tons of manure. Finally we’ll have a consistent herbicide-free source of manure for the gardens!

They were fed on Grazon-sprayed hay until we got them, so once that’s out of their systems we’ll start harvesting all the pats for the compost pile and gardens.

We are working on getting them used to us, taking them treats every time we visit their paddock. The girls are a little skittish and not sure what to do with us yet, but they don’t run away. We’re keeping them close and letting them acclimate for now. Both are due to calve in a month or two, which will be very interesting.

Sorry I missed posting here yesterday. Spring is super busy! We planted over an acre of pumpkins on Tuesday and Wednesday, as well as a quarter acre of watermelons for Ezekiel’s landrace watermelon project.

I’ll post a video on the pumpkins soon. Now I need to go visit the cows and get back to cutting hay.

Back to top button