We got a new
toy tool at Joshua Farm–a 30″sickle bar mower on a BCS 205. The BCS also came with a snowblower attachment (which unfortunately we didn’t get to use during the winter), a small tiller, and a plow, but mostly we got the lot for the mower. You see, we like to grow cover crops like hairy vetch, rye, field peas, sorghum sudan grass, and the like. The taller they get, the more organic matter they produce (yay!), but the harder they are to cut (boo!). For years we used a heavy duty wheeled string trimmer, but it finally passed the point of no return. A scythe would be an option, but none of us relished the idea of working quite that hard. The chickens do a moderate job of eating down the cover crops, but we need to cover more ground than they can handle at once. Enter the sickle bar mower.
A sickle bar has two parallel blades. One is stationary, the other shimmies back and forth. It reminds me a lot of the clippers I use to cut Darrel’s hair, but on a much bigger scale. The great thing is that tall grass doesn’t faze the sickle bar mower–since the blade doesn’t spin above the grass (as in regular mowers) but instead runs right above the ground, tall grass just falls over to the side. I’m still getting to know this machine, and we had a few weeks when we weren’t on speaking terms, but she’s finally warmed up to me, and once I figure how to keep her greased, we’ll be ready to tackle anything a standard mower wouldn’t touch.