I just picked up my coffee mug and noticed that a new layer of dust settled all over the dining room table leaving a clean light circle where my mug has been sitting since the day before. I looked at this newly acquired layer of dust...and sighed. We're marching along very well with the renovation work, but certainly (as everyone says...) couldn't have anticipated the tumultuous journey every day presents to our normal sedate routine as we watch parts of the house transform from ideas on paper to actual home decor.
|Delicious Pasolivo Rosemary Olive Oil|
I thought I would disappear from the noise for a few hours today. I wanted to collect my photos that I took of my cousin and her 3 precious little angels... Maria, Camille and tiny petite Lila. They came up to our Nehemiah Ordway farmstead here in New Hampshire a few months back from their new home in West Point, NY. It feels like ages ago now that 3 sets of tiny fingers and 3 sets of tiny toes spent a weekend doing all of the wonderful activities little kids do...exploring, running, swinging, and laughing.
The lilacs were still blooming on the trees and I had the house filled with their heady aroma. The littlest of these 3 sisters, Lila, was so delighted that she was named after this beautiful flower. She carried a little sprig of lilac around with her the entire weekend. She would carry it around for awhile and then carefully lay it somewhere and run off. Hours later, in a panic, she would go searching for her tiny floral keepsake. Noticing that it had wilted on the table while she was off playing, I couldn't resist snipping a fresh sprig to replace the first one.
So I threw myself into an Alice in Wonderland-type world for a weekend. It was wonderful. Seeing our new home and world through the eyes of little girls was such a delightful experience. They were fascinated by the old well with the broken wooden bucket dangling from a long ago frayed rope. They ran through the barn inspecting each stall naming off the horses' names that were once housed there. We peeked around the corner of the big red barn and stood on tippy toes to see the baby robins tucked deep into their nest wedged in between the pine tree branches. The Momma robin, bold and strong, squawked in distress with a shrill chiding chirp telling us to "scram"!
We ambled up the road and met our neighbor, Paul. Paul showed the girls his "secret garden". This garden is truly magical. Humongous lilac bushes towered over us as we squeezed through a narrow walkway that opened up to an enchanting view of his hillside. He and his wife, Betty, have spent years cultivating a very natural country garden setting. They have lily pad studded frog ponds and charming stone bird feeders. I think there were more blooming lilac trees all in one place than I have ever seen before.
Being a super busy mom of 3 active girls, I wanted to prepare a meal for my cousin that would be very "grown up" and not consist of some sort of nugget or dipping sauce. Being that New Hampshire is so influenced by the seacoast, I decided on a pasta dish filled with fresh ingredients and topped with salty clams nestled in their shells.
I ordered two flavored olive oils recently from a company out in California called Pasolivo. I really wanted to try their rosemary olive oil as well as their tangerine flavored olive oil. I wondered if they would be too sweet or over power the beautiful earthy flavor of the olives. They were both wonderful additions to each dish. I was very impressed. I added the tangerine flavored oil to this pasta & goat cheese dish and loved the slight hint of citrus.
So when I drained the spaghetti pasta, I drizzled it with rosemary olive oil. Again, at the end, I sprinkled a few drops on the dish after I added all of the toppings. I was very pleased with the oils...I plan to experiment with some of their other flavors as well.
So with that very adult dinner in mind for the evening, we set out to delight and exhaust the girls by taking them to the many farms in the area that allow visitors like us to see their animals.
I heard wonderful stories from the families around here that they often make a yearly pilgrimage to Beech Hill Farm in nearby Hopkinton, NH. The Kimball family is on their 9th generation of family members running the farm in this idyllic part of New Hampshire. Even the drive out the farm was a charming pastoral journey.
Beech Hill Farm was a huge hit with the girls. The barns were full of baby goats, baby lambs, and bunnies. One minute the baby goats were dozing in an adorable little pile; each baby snuggled right into the next one. Then the next minute, they were full of energy, prancing around and climbing the roof of their little hut and leaping off of it to the ground. Each little antic they performed released giggles from the girls as they watched the delightful farm scenes.
|Hopkinton Farm in Hopkinton, New Hampshire|
We packed a picnic lunch and sat outside at one of the picnic tables around the farm. Maria, the oldest, took little nibbles off her apple as we roamed around the farm. It is so wonderful to escape into their childlike worlds and watch the girls process each new discovery. Maria would carefully balance her apple in the most suitable location she could find as she ran off to discover something new. She would return to her perched, half eaten, nibbled on apple, take another bite or two, and then carry it to the next spot, carefully looking for a new and safe apple perch.
A highlight at the farm is a large barn filled with an assortment of sweets. Ice cream is the featured treat at Beech Hill. At the ice cream barn, 75 flavors of premium ice cream made locally are on offer to fulfill just about any flavor request. It was fun to see what flavors the girls preferred and just like when my kids were little...sprinkles are still very popular as ice cream toppings!
After picnicking at the farm, petting the goats, coo'ing over the little lambs, marveling over the majestic peacocks, filling our bellies with ice cream, we had 3 very happy and very tired little girls. They were ready for the car ride home, a kid friendly dinner, and a warm bath in our claw foot tub.
My cousin and I were ready for a real adult meal filled with flavors of toasted pine nuts, fresh tomatoes, and that rosemary olive oil over salty steamed clams. Watching the girls grow up at these early stages is nothing short of delightful and wondrous. We certainly don't have little ones around anymore and hopefully we have a stack of years ahead of us before grand children arrive. Delving into the world of the little children of my sweet cousin and spending a weekend in their childlike world was great fun indeed!
* Note: I added a handful of Calamata olives on top of the pasta dish
** Clams: Place a metal steamer in the pot that was used to boil the pasta. Fill with about 3 inches of water. Bring water to a soft boil. Place cleaned and closed clams on the steamer and cover the pot. Wait about 5-7 minutes until the steam pops open the clam shells. Remove the clams and place them (in their shells) on top of the pasta right before serving.
Labels: Beech Hill Farm, Hopkinton New Hampshire, pasolivo rosemary olive oil, pasta dishes, spaghetti with clams