Scything through the Rye – a guide to traditional harvesting
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Scything through the Rye – a guide to traditional harvesting

How to setup, sharpen and use a scythe and organize a harvest rye or wheat by hand (based on a Hungarian example)
5.0 (1 rating)
Instead of using a simple lifetime average, Udemy calculates a course's star rating by considering a number of different factors such as the number of ratings, the age of ratings, and the likelihood of fraudulent ratings.
5 students enrolled
Created by Judith Varga
Last updated 10/2015
Current price: $20 Original price: $25 Discount: 20% off
30-Day Money-Back Guarantee
  • 1 hour on-demand video
  • 2 Supplemental Resources
  • Full lifetime access
  • Access on mobile and TV
  • Certificate of Completion
What Will I Learn?
  • Setup a scythe
  • Sharpen a new or damaged scythe and maintain an edge on a working scythe
  • Organize a team to harvest grain by hand
  • Build a “kereszt” to dry the grain
View Curriculum
  • If for academic interest only, they only will need to understand English (a Hungarian version will also be available).
  • To try out the skills they will need access to a scythe.

If you are interested in traditional harvesting – using scythes - then this course will be useful. If your interest is academic you can explore how wheat and rye was harvested in the past in Hungary. If you reap your own grain – or intend to in the future – this course will show you how it has been successfully done for generations of Hungarians.

Learn How to Harvest Grain with a Scythe

  • How to assemble and setup a scythe
  • How to sharpen and hone the scythe blade
  • How to add and adjust a cradle
  • How to use a scythe
  • How to create ties for sheaves
  • How to stack sheaves
  • How to organize your team effectively

Traditional Harvesting Techniques via Modern Online Teaching

This is a mix of my own analytical skills with the experience of my father growing up in eastern Hungary where using a scythe was a normal life skill. I break down the topics into teachable units and he shows how it is done. Reaping is filmed on location in Hungary with help from family, friends, and the local Kertbarátkör.

The course includes both PowerPoint teaching segments and video demonstrations of the techniques and an actual harvest.

There are four sections (Introduction, The Scythe, The Harvest, The Wrap-up) with over 15 lectures plus quizzes.

This course is also available in Hungarian.

Who is the target audience?
  • Anyone who is interested in traditional agricultural practices should find this interesting. Those with an interest in farming practices in eastern Europe even more so.
  • Those intending to try it out will need access to a scythe and sharpening gear – and a suitable fields of wheat or rye. Reasonable fitness is also required.
  • This course does not cover threshing or grinding grain.
Curriculum For This Course
3 Lectures 07:34
Who your tutors are, what their expertise is and what will be covered in the course.
Preview 02:20

Some background on Gabor Varga who is providing the information on using a scythe and organizing a harvest with one.
Preview 02:05

The crop, the gear, and the people you will need to harvest grain by hand.

Preview 03:09

Checking the overview
2 questions
The Scythe
6 Lectures 22:56
A scythe is normally stripped down to a handle and blade when not in use. This video shows how to assemble it back again using a collar with either a wedge or bolts.
Preview 03:33

Without a cradle on your scythe it is useless for harvesting grain. This lecture explains what it is and how to make one (or two or three).
The Cradle

This shows how to get the angle of the blade and handle right after you have assembled your scythe (or if the settings slip).
Setting the Scythe

The Scythe
2 questions

How to sharpen your scythe blade using a hammer and anvil by both theory and demonstration.

Sharpening the Scythe

As your scythe is used (or after sharpening with a hammer and anvil) you have to hone it with a stone. This lecture shows how to do this without making your scythe blunter.

Sharpening the Scythe
4 questions

How to carry your scythe and how to use it to cut. This lecture looks at common errors to avoid.
Scything Technique
The Harvest
5 Lectures 17:49
An overview on how the various tasks are shared for harvesting.
The Team and its Work

Once cut, sheaves need to be bound. This shows how to make “ropes” from the stalks from the harvest itself.
Making the ties

How to begin the cutting and the wall.
Starting the Cutting

This explains in detail the work of the people gathering the cut grain and tying it into sheaves.
Gathering and Tying

The Harvest
2 questions

This looks at why you need to stack the sheaves and how to build a “kereszt” to fulfil this requirement.
Stacking the Sheaves
The Wrap-up
2 Lectures 03:09

A quick summary.


A list of people that made this video possible.

All the People that Helped
Bonus Section
3 Lectures 01:36

A few Hungarian harvest folksongs.

Bonus: Songs
1 page

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Bonus: Giving a Review

Related courses and videos.

Bonus lecture: Links
1 page
About the Instructor
Judith Varga
4.8 Average rating
4 Reviews
131 Students
2 Courses
Hungarian Kiwi

I am a New Zealander of Hungarian descent with an interest in Hungarian language and culture. I have made several trips back to Hungary to visit family and friends and two to study Hungarian at the month-long Debrecen Summer School.

The discipline involved in singing with my Hungarian family made me realize that learning songs is a great way of reinforcing language skills. It just needs someone to select the right songs in the right order and add the necessary grammatical points. That would be me.

When you do my language courses, you will be gaining insights from someone who is both within and outside the Hungarian culture. I can think like an English speaker – and recognize some of the potential issues; I can compare Hungarian with other (human) languages I have dabbled in; and there is also a deep background with family who still live in Hungary and enjoy discussing (among other things) the language and music.

My initial training was as an Electrical Engineer and I have worked as such as well as a Software Engineer. Both of these taught skills in analysing and simplifying large amounts of information. In addition, I am a trained High School teacher; I have a Certificate in Dance Teaching; and have completed courses in Adult Tutor Training. When not programming, I still teach computer skills as well as exercise and dance. So, not only can I analyse and create courses - I have current experience teaching a range of topics to adults.