One Scythe Revolution

Botan honing a scythe.

One Scythe Revolution is a company in Eau Claire, Wisconsin, operated by Botan Anderson. He is one of the largest suppliers of Austrian scythes in the United States and also offers workshops, such as the one going on this Saturday. I was able to stop by his farm a few weeks ago to pick up my own scythe. Botan agreed to an interview and will appear on this week’s podcast.

One Scythe Revolution

Botan became inspired by permaculture proponent Masanobu Fukuoka (1913-2008), who developed the idea of “do-nothing farming,” which he outlined in the book One Straw Revolution (1978). Botan adapted the ideas from Japan for an American ecology. As he lives on the northern edge of the prairie, a scythe seemed to be an essential tool for harnessing the grasses growing in the fields.

Botan’s duckyard.

Botan maintains a large YouTube channel with videos covering the proper use of a scythe, peening (sharpening an edge through cold-hammering), honing, and haying, as well as videos of his ducks.

When I visited, he showed me his scythed potato rows, where he was growing the tubers in widely spaced rows of scythe-mown hay. Botan helped me try out a few different blades to find the one that would fit my needs. We settled on a 50-cm Falci ditch blade, since I am essentially replacing a weed whacker instead of looking for something to mow my lawn or harvest hay. He took the time to help me get a grip on the basics of scything, and I highly recommend taking a formal class with him if you can.

Botan scything his potato fields (potatoes are in the row to his left).

This is just a quick preview of this week’s podcast, so subscribe to the Low Tech Podcast on iTunes, Google Play, TuneIn Radio, Stitcher, and/or SoundCloud for that episode and more.

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