The Value of Hard Work & The Fine Taste Of The Venison

By Glen Wunderlich

The Mowing Scythe
The Mowing Scythe
Glen Wunderlich
Glen Wunderlich

Lansing, Michigan – -( Growing up in the ‘50s, my brother and I learned the value of hard work, courtesy of my father.

There was never any backtalk or debate when it came to household chores.

We took turns washing dishes, taking out the trash and mowing the lawn and were rewarded with a weekly allowance for our efforts.  Oh, how happy we were when we received our very first raise from 10 to 15 cents per week.

I also recall the old reel mower that certainly would have qualified for today’s green movement.  It produced zero emissions into the atmosphere, had no cord or batteries.  The only sound was that of the grass clippings falling back to earth.  We trimmed, edged, raked, and swept each week – all with no more than boy power.

Not so curious was my father’s purchase of his very first motorized lawn mower – one week after I had left the homestead for good.

Decades later – in fact only a week ago – those early life lessons would mean one more deer hunting stand.  The coveted hideout sits nestled along Osborn Drain (a tributary of the Looking Glass River) and overlooks some of the most productive hunting ground we have.  The soil is so rich that it needs no special fertilizer or lime to yield turnips the size of volleyballs.

However, there was one glaring problem:  our motorized machines could not navigate the rain-saturated ground enroute to our paradise.  The overgrown weeds were 3 to 4 feet tall, after having their way all season long and had to be cut down to begin the process of planting.  It was then that those boyhood lessons from over a half century gone by came to mind.

I pulled the mowing scythe ( an agricultural hand tool for mowing grass or reaping crops) from the rafters of the garage to see if it was ready for the “green movement.”

To minimize effort, the long, curved blade was honed to a razor’s edge with a sharpening stone.  A loose handle was tightened and I ventured with it to the remote location with my friend, Joe, who had volunteered to spray the area with a backpack sprayer.

Joe thought it might be fun to give it a whirl, so I watched intently as he overworked himself into submission without having cleared much more than a patch large enough to stand on.  The laughter was getting the best of me,  so I put my experience and muscle together and promptly took over.

The tool works best without swinging; rather it is rhythmically drawn with the keen edge parallel to the ground.   Within an hour, the heat and humidity had won, but not before the mission was accomplished.

Oh, how much finer will be the taste of the venison that will be yielded from that ground and the wisdom of my father.


Glen Wunderlich Hard at Work
Glen Wunderlich Hard at Work

About Glen Wunderlich

Charter Member Professional Outdoor Media Association (POMA). Outdoor writer and columnist for The Argus-Press ( and blog site at  Member National Rifle Association (NRA), Michigan United Conservation Clubs (MUCC), member U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance (USSA), Quality Deer Management Association (QDMA), Commemorative Bucks of Michigan (CBM). Adjutant of Perry, Michigan Sons of Amvets Post 4064 and Chairman Perry (MI) Youth Hunt Extravaganza, a sanctioned event of Perry Sons of Amvets held the third weekend of September each year.