September on the farm (2021)

September 17th, 2021

Haws. (The fruit of the whitethorn).

Richard Fonge writes:

September the beginning of Autumn and therefore the season of mists and mellow fruitfulness . With harvest behind us, the land is being cultivated for next years crops, with Oil seed rape growing vigorously up the Moreton road. To survive the winter the crop needs sowing in August . The flea beetle poses a major challenge right now, followed by pigeons later on in the winter. Gas bangers are used to scare them away, but  a hide, decoys and a gun can be very effective also, and pigeon is very tasty in a pie.

The fruits of the hedgerow are in abundance in late September. The blackthorn for the sloes to make gin. Crab apples for its jelly. Blackberries to go with cooking apples. Then there are the hips and haws. The hips are the fruit of the Wild rose from which can be made a syrup, the haws the fruit of the whitethorn and a winter feed for the birds. Whilst mentioning hedgerow species, an unwanted one is the elderberry as it is inclined to dominate and is useless in a stock fence, but from its flowers wine is made and my late mother used to make an ointment, which was marvellous for soothing chilblains and putting on chapped hands, an occupational hazard when you worked out in all weathers and milked cows.

This time of year brings the regular invasion of crane fly or daddy long legs . They can be seen in the grasses, and it’s grub called the leather jacket causes damage to newly sown crops and lawns in the autumn. Rooks feed off the leather jacket and we have plenty of rooks around the village, because of all the permanent pasture and the woods for them to make their rookeries in. You only see rooks where there is grassland to feed off. Therefore you have a small example of natures interdependence. Woods and spinneys provide a habitat for many species, with the rooks nests high up in the canopy. The pasture grazed by cattle and sheep provides us with beef and lamb, their dung feeds the rooks, who feed off the leather jacket and other pests such as wire worm.

There is much talk of living off the land, something that most rural villagers did till the modernisation of agriculture after the Second World War and the exodus of labour into the towns. The Church harvest festival meant so much then, because of this close connection to our food , and whether a Farmer or allotment holder, a poor harvest had consequences for the family budget.

Richard Fonge.

Report on Parish Council Meeting held at Marston-St-Lawrence Village Hall on 9th September 2021

September 12th, 2021

See here for report on Parish Council Meeting held at Marston-St-Lawrence Village Hall on 9th September 2021 as set out in the “Parish Council Latest News” section of this website.

Ploughing Match held at Culworth Road, Sulgrave on Sunday 5th September 2021

September 11th, 2021

A ploughing match organised by Banbury Vintage Ploughing Society took place at Culworth Road, Sulgrave on Sunday 5th September in brilliant late summer weather.

More photographs on the next page (Click on “Read the rest of this entry”)

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Village Produce Show at the Church Hall, 5th September 2021

September 8th, 2021

H2 grant funded renovations to the Church Hall are continuing and so the Annual Produce show was held in the car park once again. Fortunately the weather was perfect, providing a late burst of real warmth and glorious sunshine for the last roses of summer!

Pictures of the entries and some of those attending on the next page (Click on “Read the rest of this entry”).


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Parish Council Meeting on Thursday 9th September in Marston-St-Lawrence Village Hall at 7.45 pm.

September 8th, 2021

PLEASE NOTE: Because of the ongoing work to the Church Hall, the Parish Council Meeting on Thursday 9th September will be held in Marston-St-Lawrence Village Hall.

See here for the agenda.

Sulgrave Village Shop Newsletter for September 2021

September 2nd, 2021

Official Opening of the New Parish Library. 10.30 am on Saturday 11th September, in the Church

August 29th, 2021

August on the farm (2021)

August 20th, 2021

Badger seen recently in the local area and photographed by John Sheppard.

Richard Fonge writes:

August is the main harvest month, and this year with the variable weather, it could be September when it is completed. The harvesting of the various crops is the culmination of a years work, and the quality and quantity of those crops, despite the many technical and mechanical advances is still influenced by the weather. In farming to harvest a good crop of any corn brings great job satisfaction, and an example of a fine crop of wheat can be seen in the field off Park lane.

In the first field on the Stuchbury footpath are thirty new sheep, with an orangery tinged fleece. They are mule sheep, a cross of the blue faced Leicester and Swaledale ewe. They are bred in the north of the country and sold on for breeding as yearlings, having their first lambs next spring at two years old. Hill farmers from across the north sell these sheep at the big sales held at, Penrith, Lazonby, High Bentham, Brough etc at this time of year, where they are bought to replenish flocks further south. They are the hill and moorland farmer’s harvest, and to present their stock at auction they are bloomed dipped, to show them at their best so as to achieve the best price. These sheep so vital to the management of the hills and dales of the north, are also responsible for much of the lamb production on the pastures of further south. As these are mainly permanent pasture as can be seen around our village, the carbon footprint is very low.

One crop to be harvested in late September is the maize at Stuchbury, to be used for the anaerobic digester. Now the cobs have been formed and the “maize is as high as an elephants eye” the badgers have moved in. Their tracks can be seen from hedge to maize in different places, along with their latrines. They push the plant down with their large paws to feed off the cobs. Easy feeding. The badger with paws made for digging, soon makes a new sett, when the family increases or it is disturbed for any reason. HS2 is making setts for them, where they are in the way at great expense. You can re house a human but a badger will go where he wants.!

Finally, living in the country makes you appreciate fully the four seasons and what they bring, and as summer draws to an end the first signs of Autumn are here. The blackberries ripening in Little street, the odd conker falling, swallows starting to collect on the telephone lines and soon field mushrooms hopefully. No better breakfast, than mushrooms picked when getting the cows in for milking and then fried with bacon and egg for breakfast after milking.

Richard Fonge.

Village Shop Newsletter for August 2021

August 20th, 2021

Pop Up Picnic held on Castle Green – Sunday 11th July 2021

August 3rd, 2021

Specially commissioned water colour of Sulgrave Village Shop, with the Caption “Presented by Sulgrave Parish Council in recognition of the Village Shop staff and others who bravely supported our community during the Covid-19 pandemic of 2020/21. We will always be grateful to them.”

Castle Green looked at its very best when the oft postponed Pop Up Picnic finally took place on a bright sunny day ideal for “lunching out”. The event, planned to celebrate the hopeful end of Covid-19 lockdown regulations, had been on the Parish Council Agenda for so long that despair was beginning to set in. It was therefore both with pleasure and relief that Parish Council Chairman, Richard Fonge, was able to welcome some seventy villagers who had made their way to the Green. In doing so he reminded everyone that the Council had organised the event to thank all of the volunteers in the village and in particular those running the community shop for their services to the village during the pandemic. The Council had commissioned a painting of the shop which was received by Colin Wootton on behalf of the whole community. In making the presentation Richard made reference to Colin’s contributions to the village over a long life, notably his work on the village website with its archive of photographs.

Richard also welcomed Councillor Caryl Billingham to the event. She was able to update everyone on progress with the Brackley Community Hospital, some £200,000 having been raised locally for equipment and extras for the eighteen rooms. She thanked Sulgrave villagers for their support with the venture including a further £145 raised on the day.

See here for Colin Wootton’s response on behalf of the village to the presentation of the painting.

See next page for pictures of the event ( Click on “Read the rest of this entry”)

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