Extra course dates added, Extra flowering in the meadow

Due to the demand we have had for both Introductory Scythe courses and Peening workshops this year we have decided to add two extra dates.

The additional Introductory Scythe course will be on Wednesday 16th September. The additional Peening and Sharpening Workshop on 30th August, a perfect opportunity to give your blade a thorough service, restore it to full sharpness and put right all those nicks and dangs picked up during the scything season.

More information on both courses and online booking can be found on the scythe courses page.

Here is Phil demonstrating the mowing action on our last Introductory Scythe course, 2nd August. In the background you can see a bright yellow patch of meadow. This is an area that was cut for hay late May / early June and is responding with a strong late flush of flowering in the re-growth. The area that Phil is mowing is receiving it’s first cut and is well into the seeding stage.

Staggered cutting of the meadow has meant that it has been in flower in various parts continuously since May. This is a much longer flowering season then would have been achieved if we had left the meadow until July then cut the whole lot at once.

The varied nature of the vegetation on this meadow is providing a continuity of habitat for wildlife. Pollinators can move from areas going to seed to those that are just coming into bloom. The various ages of vegetation also provide habitat for different creatures. As well as continuing to enjoying sheets of flowers and the insects they attract, adjacent seeded areas are attracting flocks of Gold Finches.

This is very different from the “feast or famine” of the surrounding farm land. There may be an abundance of food and cover for a while (although modern agricultural lays provide precious little in the way of flowering plants – a “green desert” as beekeepers call it). Then acres and acres of grass will be removed for silage in two or three days of sunny weather, leaving few alternatives for the creatures who may have managed to find a living in those fields. Around here we have the pleasure of regularly seeing Red Kites, perhaps more commonly then Buzzards now. It is notable that very soon after a tractor starts work in a neighbouring field a number will gather and follow behind, ready to clear up the casualties.

Just to finish off, here are some of the course participants having their first go at mowing a meadow with an Austrian scythe. More hay to make in the rain then……..