In the Victorian era, hay was made by hand with a scythe. But even today, a scythe is often used to cut grass and make hay. I love making hay with a scythe – it’s the best full body workout! Every summer, I make hay for our rabbits by hand with a scythe. Besides haymaking, the scythe is also perfect to cut grass on a hill in our garden that is too steep for a lawn mower.
‘Now, whilst the mowers are whetting their scythes, and the fragrant smell of the hay fills the summer air, let us sit on the haycock, and glance at the flowers around us.’ (English Wild Flowers, 1868)
‘Forethought must be exercised by the hostess in regard to the countless small details which go to make up the comfort of her guests. […] It is hardly too much to say that at least half the success of a picnic depends upon the providing of daintily packed and appetising looking fare, be it as elaborate or as simple as you please; and the invention of cardboard plates and dishes has greatly simplified picnicking’. (Every Woman’s Encyclopaedia, 1910-2)
I love haymaking with the scythe! Besides being the best full body workout, mowing with the scythe is eco-friendly, quiet – unlike lawn mowers and string trimmers, and with the scythe it’s possible to cut the grass on a steep hill in our garden.
Every May or June I make hay for our rabbits. When the weather is good, it takes two or three days until the hay is dry: from cutting the grass, turning the hay to gathering the dry hay. Usually, I wear everyday clothes but for these pictures I tried making hay while wearing my Edwardian working woman outfit. Continue reading Edwardian Haymaking With The Scythe→
Bergère hats were popular in the 18th century. A bergère is a hat with a low crown and wide brim and was usually made of straw. Despite the name – bergère means shepherdess in French – bergère hats were also worn by rich women.
Inspired by antique 18th century straw bergère hats like this 18th century straw bergère hat at the MET museum, I made this straw hat from scratch! I used wheat straw, soaked it in water to make it bendable, braided it into a long braid and then stitched the straw braid together with invisible stitches.
Bergère hats of rich women were usually covered with silk and trimmed with ribbon. But there were also plain straw bergère hats. The only trimming of my straw bergère hat is a blue cotton ribbon.