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The Scything Handbook (PDF)
Learn How to Cut Grass, Mow Meadows and Harvest Grain with a Scythe
Dreading the weekly lawn mow? Need to whack the weeds in your orchard? Cringing at the drudgery and incessant blare of the mower? Imagine instead long sweeps of an elegant scythe cutting your grass and pesky weeds in blissful, meditative silence.
That is the power of the "scythe revolution" sweeping North America.
Written by a master of the scythe, professionally trained in Austria, and drawing deeply on research into original German texts, The Scything Handbook brings centuries-old scything techniques into the 21st century.
Detailed illustrations cover scythe assembly, perfecting the stroke, blade selection, honing, peening, and aftercare, as well as background on how scythes are forged. Also covered are the basics of making hay and mulch by hand, and how to grow and harvest gains at the home and homestead scale for self-sufficiency.
Scything promotes health, flexibility, mind-body connection, and a meditative contemplation of the natural world while producing beautiful lawns and luscious mulch for the modern gardener and homesteader. This is truly an heirloom tool to master.
Join the scythe revolution!
Ian Miller followed a career in music with a degree in Agroecology from UC Santa Cruz. During a two year stint on a biodynamic farm in Austria he learned how to scythe and delved into historic scything texts in German. He has worked for Seed Savers Exchange in Iowa and is developing a 20 acre scythe-based homestead near Decorah, Iowa where he grows his own grain for bread making and makes hay by hand.
"Small-scale farmsteading requires balancing body, infrastructure, and land use. In this beautiful book, Ian Miller offers a roadmap to balance, elegantly written and practically employed."
Joel Salatin, Polyface Farm
"In The Scything Handbook, Ian Miller reintroduces us to a venerable, yet beautiful tool, the European scythe, and leads us on a journey that's personally philosophical and yet is also quintessentially practical and inspiring – part Zen and the Art of Mowing and part owner's manual that takes the reader through the how's and whys of mowing with a hand tool that's so purposefully designed it's difficult to imagine how it ever fell from grace". Whether you are an inexperienced cutter looking to make an acre of hay and maintain a keen edge, or an experienced scyther looking to improve setup and technique, The Scything Handbook deserves a place of high prominence on every homesteader's and sustainable farmer's bookshelf."
Hank Will (Oscar H. Will III), Editorial Director, Ogden Publications and Editor in Chief, Mother Earth News
"Ian Miller has written a most comprehensive book. Not only is it about how to effectively use a scythe, it covers the history of these useful tools and how to care for them. Scything is a skill that is easily learnt and Ian outlines the steps that will enable you to proficiently master the range of scythes that are discussed, as well as very detailed descriptions of techniques to hone your scythe so that it stays sharp". The many illustrations are clear and help to explain the use, sharpening, peening, repair and care of a scythe so that it will last a lifetime. This tool and its use is becoming popular again as people endeavour to re-educate themselves with those forgotten skills that were so common not so long ago. This book is a "must have" for all homesteaders, permaculture practitioners and anyone who wants to live a more simple, yet fulfilling, life."
Dr Ross Mars, author of The Permaculture Transition Manual and The Basics of Permaculture Design
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