Bredbo Valley View farm - providing quality education in Permaculture and sustainable living practices.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Oh, you mean a Scythe

I was off travelling over the weekend to the April Scythe workshop in the Totnes Valley northwest of Mudgee. I have been to the workshop on one previous occasion and enjoyed myself and I thought it would be nice to go back and see what had change and how the event had grown.

I travelled up on the Friday, I really enjoy the change in scenery from home. I arrived just in time to help set things up and get dinner – a beautiful Pumpkin soup, which if I remember correctly was what we had the last time I was there. Friday night was spent meeting new people and sharing our stories around the camp fire.
Differently to last time I was there, they had traders, only a couple but selling interesting wares. One guy was selling old tools, axes, adzes and hatchets. I would have loved to have bought some home but I’m saving for cows at the moment and I really needed a peening hammer anyway.
Activities started Saturday morning, and as traditionally happens a short yoga class before breakfast. I’m no yogi enthusiast so I stood back and willed the others on with positive thoughts – like ‘I’m positive I could never do that with my dickie knee’ or ‘I would positively look fat doing that’. Any way once that and breakfast were over it was into Scything, on really nice grass. I was asked to look after some beginners and in 10mins they were off happily scything their hearts away in the long grass. After things warmed up we had a demonstration on peening or sharpening the scythes. This was interesting in itself as I’ve never seen a field peening anvil used before; I also got to see one of the new anvil tables in action.

After lunch it was into Bio fertilizer making. I’m really interested in this and seeing we have so many issues with mineral deficiencies in our soil I was intent on learning more about using natural processes to get them back into the soil, or made available in the soil whichever the case may be.

Later in the afternoon I was able to try something I’d wanted to do for years, ever since the Cook and I did our ‘Cooks tour of American Civil War Battlefields’ (that’s a long story in itself) where we stopped and spent an afternoon watching Amish people mow hay with a team of mules near Intercourse in Pennsylvania. Anyway, one of the Mudgee locals, Danny , bought up his Clydesdale and hitched it to a plough. They guys from Scythes Australia want to start a market garden and needed a piece of land ploughed and Danny was giving everybody a go – so I was in.
It’s way harder than it looks, but way more fun as well, I think I had a grin on my face for hours after would. We had the opportunity to both handle the plough and drive the horse, I couldn’t wait to get home and tell the cook all about it.

Next on the agenda was Bio Char making, which I’d seen shows about and read about on the internet. The guys doing it made a small and simple error and allowed too much air into the burn compartment and buy morning there was nothing left but ash. There’s always next time.
I was lucky enough to be on a table of very interesting people for the dinner on Saturday night. We had a Biodynamic farmer from the Atherton Tablelands, the owner of Milkwood Permaculture, a Mine Worker, an Anarchist, a beginning farmer and myself. The conversation switch from topics like biodynamics and preparations to soil biology, home building and growing communities. I really enjoyed the evening and went off to bed with my head full of questions, ideas and plans.

Sunday morning I woke about 4:30am with the roosters crowing, this was drowned out by the snoring. I’ve never heard snoring like it before, it was worse than the pigs and Shadow. I couldn’t get back to sleep so I stoked the fire, made a cup of tea and enjoyed the stillness. After some more talking I was off back to Bredbo, picked teh Cook up some more Plymouth rock Chics and arrived home about 8pm – still trying to digest the information that had filled my head over the weekend.

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