[permaculture] Seeds and Scythes

Scott Vlaun scott at moosepondarts.com
Thu Aug 29 22:42:37 EDT 2002

Dear all,

Inspired by Sandy and the recent post about Scythe Supply, I thought it 
was about time to introduce myself to the list. I've been "lurking" 
since I stumbled on the list shortly after my interview with Bill 
Mollison was published in the Seeds of Change eNewsletter earlier this 
year. I found the list's spirited response to the interview both 
informative and entertaining and have been equally informed and 
entertained since.

Besides producing the Seeds of Change catalog, website and eNewsletter, 
(I've been doing their photography for 9 years—last year was our first 
year of producing, designing etc.) my wife and I are developing a piece 
of land in Western Maine and trying to apply what we've learned of PC 
principles from books and discussions, not to mention the interview 
with Mr. Mollison. The property (around 40 acres) was partially logged 
off just before we bought it. We are cleaning it up and creating 
buildings and gardens using mostly available materials with the help of 
a small band saw mill and the hard working farmers that piled tons of 
stone in to cultivate the land 200 years ago, The land has since grown 
in to a fairly mature forest of which the loggers cleared a couple of 
acres for their landing. This is where we are building our gardens. We 
have about an acre under cultivation, mostly in raised beds as it's 
pretty wet here in the spring. We've been at it three years and are 
slowly recovering and building up the severely compacted and disturbed 
soils. As the land was pasture at one time, albeit over 100 years ago, 
there is more topsoil than the surrounding forest (about 6-8 inches vs 
2-4) but the growing conditions are anything but optimal. (another 
reason for the raised beds) We've been building a lot of compost and 
covercropping and each year has been better and we're able to provide 
for a good part of our food. We are hoping to get into some small grain 
production to increase that percentage. Any info on that topic would be 
appreciated. That brings me around to Scythe Supply.

Like some others of you, I had recently been in touch with Eliot 
Fishbein about his Scythes. I was extremely impressed by his knowledge 
and passion for the subject and was hoping to team up Scythe Supply and 
Seeds of Change to Promote this eco-sane method of mowing. Shortly 
after I spoke with him about it and arranged to go and see him, (his 
farm is about 4 hours drive from us) I was shocked to hear that he had 
been killed in a car crash. His family and friends are continuing the 
business after a short hiatus, but the future of Scythe Supply remains 
unclear. We ended up going to his farm anyway and met his long-time 
partner, Carol Bryan and did some mowing with her using Eliot's 
scythes. He had amassed quite a collection of quality blades and 
hardware and developed his own European style snath to go with them. I 
couldn't get over how much better they worked that the old clunker 
American model that I have.  I think Eliot will be sorely missed as a 
resource where one could turn for knowledge and hardware. Hopefully 
someone, if not Carol and friends, will fill the void.

Thank you all for your contributions to this list and best regards,

Scott Vlaun
Otisfield, Maine

On Thursday, August 29, 2002, at 08:27 PM, Sandy wrote:

> Thanks for speaking out. I signed up recently and have been more than a
> little taken aback by the fractiousness of this list! I have considered
> bowing out, but I really am interested in learning from some obviously 
> very
> knowledgeable people. Anyway, hello, I'm Sandy. Don't eat me  ;-)

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