Wednesday, 18 June 2008

Learning how to use a scythe

In previous years to cut the hay meadows we have used a strimer fitted with a multi toothed blade, special for hay cutting. It works well and in 2 days full work we can cut almost 2 hectares of grass. The difficult part of hay making is the weather, as you need a minimum 4 good days of drying weather. So this means when the weather looks good you want to cut the hay fast so there is plenty of time for it to cure in case the weather changes.

This year, with sustainability in mind we have been considering using a scythe to cut some of the fields, so the first step was to organise a “course” on how to use a scythe or “guadaña” as it is called in Asturian language. We called along our neighbour old man Victor (78 years old) to show us how to use a scythe as has been done in this area for many years. The three students where; myself, Sebastian and Hugh. Joe also came along for the introduction

There are 3 major processes to using the scythe:

Flattening the blade i.e drawing the blade out by hitting it with a hammer on a special metal device. This is known as “cabruñar” in the Asturian language and peening in English

Sharpening the blade with a wet stone or honing . In Asturias the stone is actually kept in water in a small wooden container which hooks on to your belt.

The actual cutting process.

Sebastian and Hugh both getting well into it

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Hotel Posada del Valle is a small hotel in Asturias Northern Spain surrounded by its own organic farm and where we are passionate about organic farming, food, and sustainable livelihoods. In this Blog those of us who live and work at Hotel Posada del Valle open a door to share with all of you who are interested in what we are doing.