Editor’s Note: Our buddy, The Starving Artist, shares another article about some practical uses for old technology. We think you will enjoy his little adventure.
About three months ago, I was watching one of David the Good’s videos on gardening via the intrawebs, and is my usual practice, I scrolled down to see what other content YouTube had to offer. One thing led to another, and after about 20 minutes of skipping through content, I saw a thumbnail of a guy mowing his lawn with a scythe. Somehow the video got stuck between Jordan B. Peterson helping a college student understand that the meaning of “is” is really complex, and Ben Shapiro destroying a toddler with facts and logic.
I was high tempted to click on the material of those two erudite giants, but I took the plunge and pressed the play button. The video was rather plain, with an elderly gentleman with a bit of beard just swaying back and forth with an odd-shaped scythe. There wasn’t any music in the background and the narration was frankly pretty Spartan, but I was mesmerized. The back and forth motion with the blade and the sound of the blade on the grass had me in somewhat of a trance.
Meanwhile my wife came up behind me and startled me: “What are you watching now?”
Me: “Watching a guy mow his lawn with a scythe”
“Why do that? You could watch yourself mow the lawn, AND save us some money every month!” She retorted.
I can’t remember my exact response to her smartass remarks, but I vaguely remember something about sandwiches don’t make themselves.
For whatever particular reason, the idea of mowing my lawn with a scythe stuck with me for about a week, and I eventually sat down and looked at the idea in earnest. I did a real quick calculation and tallied up that it cost me about $1100 a year in lawn services. Then I took a look at Scythe Supply, and looked into one of their kits which was about $250.
“Why not?” I figured. At $250 I can screw up my lawn for a few months, and if it doesn’t pan out, I can always get the lawn service to come back and take care of things. As an added bonus, I get to be the husband that everyone talks about in the neighborhood. We will see if she thinks me “watching myself” mow the lawn is funny then. I filled in the necessary dimensions and punched the order button. Then we waited.
Two weeks later a long slender package about the height of a man and about 6 inches wide arrived at the door. I squirrelled the package off into the garage and out of sight of the Missus. We don’t want the surprise spoiled before its appointed time.
With a bit of glue, a mallet, and some sandpaper, the shaft and handles went together nicely, when in popped Miss Nosy. Thankfully, I hadn’t assembled the blade, which was still in the box.
“Whatcha working on?” she inquired.
“Just a tool I got,” I replied.
“What’s it do?” She responded.
“Stuff,” I replied.
“What kind of stuff?” She started digging.
“Garden stuff,” I replied again.
As with most wives, they generally know when you are trying to hide something, and I could tell by the look in her eye she was definitely getting interested in what was in the box. I had to think fast.
“Hey, I need you to make me a sandwich, please! Toasted ham and cheese would be great!” I blurted out.
Although there was brief moment of hesitation, my ploy worked. My wife dutifully went back in to ensure that the sandwiches would be made and served.
That however put me in a bit of a time crunch. I now had maybe 10 minutes at best before she would be back with a sandwich and inquiring about what was in the box. The ole “Throw-em-off-the-scent-with-a-sandwich-request” wasn’t gonna work a second time.
I pulled the blade out of the box and quickly locked it into place with the clamp provided. I tightened the screws down, checked the handles were secure, gave everything a look over and then removed the blade guard. Just as a quick test I laid the blade on the back of my hand and shaved off a tuft of hair. This puppy is an honest to goodness razor on a stick.
It’s now or never, otherwise my little prank is going to be spoiled.
Up went the garage door and out I scooted to the front lawn. I laid the blade on the grass, then grabbed hold of the handles. With a twisting motion at the torso, I got started, and this thing just glided through the grass. Walk forward about 6” then twist, walk forward 6” then twist, walk forward 6” then twist. This thing is smooth, and I covered more ground then I had anticipated.
I can tell I am being watched.
“How do you like our new lawn mower?” I turn and ask the missus.
“You’re insane. You know that?” she retorts
“Glad you approve,” I say with a grin.
“Here’s your sandwich,” as she places the plate on the hood of the car.
I finish out the rest of the lawn. Between snarfs on the sandwich and questions from the wife, it takes me about 40 minutes to complete a decent sized lawn.
To date, I have been using the scythe for about a month. It has replaced my lawn service, and is now my goto lawn mower and trimmer in one. No gas, no noise, no oil, and just a bit of sharpening work. Not bad for old piece of technology.