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We had a lot of mellow fruitfulness this Autumn at Swallowtail Hill, most of it now bottled as a consequence of an outbreak of frenzied mashing, pulping, boiling and straining. Spurred on by the success of selling her preserves to our glampers all summer, Sarah has gone into overdrive in readiness for 2012.  The kitchen currently resembles a delicatessen – quince jelly, plum jam, several varieties of chutney, medlar thingy and other unidentifiable preserves. She also turned her attention to making crab apple wine, and cider. I helped – a bit – by working the apple press. I will also help by drinking them.

Now we have a lot of mists. And it’s still very warm outside. All this is very weird. The grass is still growing, leaves are still on the trees, there are even flowers shoving timidly through the soil. A friend of ours has primroses in his garden. So it’s no surprise that the papers report greenhouse gas levels way above even worst case scenario’s from a decade ago. If you live in the country, it is extremely easy to see climate change in action.

Our most recent contribution to sorting the problem out has been the installation of solar PV panels on our barn roof. Just as the government announced a radical cut in the feed-in tariff. That said, it’s really quite rewarding to look at the digital display racking up the watts pouring in through the roof, and whizzing back down the wire to the grid. (How that works, I simply cannot fathom. How can electricity go in two directions at once?). What’s alarming, of course, is that we’re generating any electricity at all in this way at the end of November.

So, if Swallowtail Hill becomes the sea-girt island we often speculate about rather sooner than expected, we shall at least have a year’s supply of vitamin C bottled up and ready to eat, and we can also get completely shit faced watching the sputtering of the lights fired by our very own electricity.

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