Back in September, we celebrated my 40th birthday at the Mother Earth News Fair in Seven Springs, PA. I attended a workshop there about bio-intensive growing with heavy use of cover crops. The speaker, Cindy Connor, was a woman I’d guess to be about 15 years older than I. She recommended a Japanese sickle for cutting down cover crops. The vendor she recommended, Purple Mountain Organics, had a booth at the fair so I bought a sickle. When I did, it felt a bit strange to be buying such a serious looking weapon and putting it in my purse–like I should need a permit or at least fill out a mental health questionnaire or something.
This spring, I have been using my sickle a lot to chop down the cover crops I broadcast seeded last fall. The first time my husband came into the garden and saw me with it, he offered to do the work for me. In his defense, he was being sweet and also knows I have a 40 year history of clumsiness and haste–2 traits probably not best for the task. However, I made it clear that the sickle was mine and I would be the one using it.
I was out cutting down cover crops so that raised beds could be placed on top of the beds and filled with great soil from another great lady grower’s compost business, Soilmaker, when I almost hacked one of my garden’s resident garter snakes. I was startled and she was spared.
My sickle has become a liberating symbol of power. I love chopping up cover crops and weeds with it. I know many great lady farmers that have a serious amount of years on me and they are going and growing strong. They are inspirational to me and I plan to follow in their footsteps. I am feeling great recently due to some dietary changes and I know the best is yet to come. I have every intention of going into the future wielding sickles and axes as well as vegetables and flowers. I was recounting my sickle adventures to a friend recently and she said I sounded like She-Ra. Exactly. She-Ra moments are amazing!
Perhaps every woman should get a sickle for her 40th birthday