July on the Farm (2021)

Richard Fonge writes:

Last month I said look out for the blue of the linseed crops. Well the one on Barrow Hill came out white but just as attractive to look at. The seed of the linseed is crushed for its oil, and used for medicinal purposes as well as industrial such as in paints. The stems of the straw have in the past been used to make linen, but not so much now having been superseded by synthetic fibres. The straw with its high calorific value is a great source of heat and is used in industrial heating systems.

The barley crop on the right of the Moreton Road will be ripe for harvesting at the month’s end, so please be aware of the combine when the time comes.  Farm machinery has got ever bigger as technology advances and more acres are farmed by a smaller workforce, and this brings its own problems to the farmer as the lanes are no wider and cars are a plenty, so harvest time in particular is a time to be patient when behind agricultural vehicles. Agriculture is the industry of the countryside, so whilst we take in stock and crops on our walks, we must also put up with a little inconvenience. 

The bridleway now sadly boarded up at the tunnel under the disused railway was once a lane to Northampton. The use of our footpaths has changed significantly since cars became more affordable in the sixties. They were once a path to walk to work on an outlying farm, such as Barrow Hill or in my recollection Stuchbury Manor. My father employed two men from Sulgrave in the fifties who walked that path, as we did as youngsters to go to the shop or Annie Berry’s post office in Church Street. These paths were used to walk to neighbouring villages to visit friends and relatives, and as it used to be said “do a bit of courting”.

Today the character of our villages has changed and they are lived in by a much wider cross section of society, so the paths are walked for leisure and exercise, with dog exercising very much to the fore. Dog ownership has grown tremendously over the last forty years or so, putting a smile on many a vet.

Richard Fonge.

See here for more details on footpaths in the parish (including maps).



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