Musings in a Clover Field

It is a warm, sunny, post rainy day here in North Hampton, New Hampshire. Bella and I are relaxing in a small field of luscious, green grass that is peppered with the blossoms of clover flowers. I’ve always thought clover was so pretty, despite its common classification as a bothersome weed. I enjoy watching the bees buzz and bounce around to each individual blossom, drawing life from their sweet nectar. Clovers and dandelions are actually very important “weeds” for the life of the collapsing bee colonies, and for many other species of animals (not to mention a clover is technically a legume, not a weed, and is great for the nitrogen balance in your yard). Did you know that you can eat the greens of dandelions and the flowers of clovers as well? In fact, dandelions are incredibly good for you. So stop weeding out your clovers and dandelions, people! Help the bees thrive, and eat a healthy lunch for free!

Anyway I’m sitting here freshly showered, basking in the sunshine that dances in and out of the moving clouds, letting its rays work to dry my dripping hair, and warm my dampened skin. I am in full relaxation mode. I wish I could say the same for my counterparts. Bella is trying her best to place fetch but is constantly being harassed by a few biting flies. She leaps around, snapping her jaws, and contorting her body to get at them as fast as she can as they land on her back or fly by her face. Sometimes she retreats and hides under the picnic table, only to be drawn out by her lust to chase her squeaky rubber ball. She throws, and yes I mean throws, the ball at me, begging me to toss it back for her, and I happily pause my writing to oblige this request.

John­-Hilton is currently at an auto repair shop, getting our traveling home checked out. It has been sputtering and protesting when the gas pedal isn’t being pressed, before shutting off entirely. While one could look at this scenario and be turned off by the inconvenience, we are not. We have been most fortunate to find ourselves in this little town. The people are some of the friendliest we have met so far. The Shel­-Al campground is incredible; Shelly, one of the owners, has given us several coupons for local restaurants, and directed us to a fantastic brewery within walking distance. When she heard of our troubles, and that we would need to stay an extra night here, she blessed us with a complimentary night at a sight with firewood and electrical hookups. She stated she had been in our shoes before and wanted to pay it forward. Not only did this wonderful human being give us shelter, but she took her personal time to transport John­-Hilton to and from the auto repair shop to the campground, and offered us her car to take Bella to the beach or wherever else we would like to go. Thank you Shelly, you are truly a kind hearted and loving soul.

The other group of kind hearts we have gotten to meet are those over at Throwback Brewery. This place is a must if you are ever in the North Hampton area. Having been living in a brewery hotspot (Denver, CO) for the past year, I’d have to say this is one of the best I’ve been to. The location, vibes, staff, and flavorful beer put it right at the top of my list. We walked over to the farm that the brewery is located on as the sun was beginning to set. The first thing you see is this beautifully historic, white painted, 1800’s farmhouse that they brew out of. I read that it was once an old sheep barn! Next we walked around an old silo, and I was in heaven. The outdoor area had plenty of seating and two cornhole sets, perfect for some friendly competition. There was a large planted field, a barn, and chickens in the immediate surrounding area. Their indoor bar area was just as beautifully built, with glossy wooden tables and a glass wall looking into to their fermenters and tanks. My favorite part about their whole operation is that they are locally oriented. Throwback Brewery aims to have all of their ingredients sourced from within 200 miles, and to even begin growing a lot of it on the farm itself. After brewing, they send their used grain to local farmers as livestock feed, “Drink a beer, feed a pig,” as they say. John-­Hilton walked inside to place our first order as I secured a cornhole table, and Bella wandered over to sniff the chickens. He brought our beers out and ran back inside to start our tab. Upon arriving back at our table he had this ear to ear grin, his eyes were twinkling, and he excitedly exclaimed, “Babe, you’ll never guess what I just got!” Now to quickly add in this relevant fact, we have been binging on X­-files for the past few months. We’re basically obsessed. So, Hilton continues, “They give you a bobble head when you start a tab to help keep track of which one you are! You’ll never guess who they gave us!” He presented a Fox Mulder bobble head from behind his back and we both laughed. How awesome! We had definitely found our spot. The staff and owner (we only met one of the duo that run Throwbacks) couldn’t have been friendlier, either. They let us bring Bella inside after it had started to become pretty buggy outside. Oh, and in case you were wondering the beer was phenomenal. We tried several different ones, and my favorite was the Rhubarb Wit, John-Hilton’s was the Oyster Stout.

John­-Hilton has returned from the auto shop, and we are now listening to music, cooking lunch, and waiting for the van to be diagnosed and worked upon. Bella munches on a broccoli stem, temporarily distracted from her relentless nemeses, the flies. The tantalizing aroma of fresh, locally grown, simmering onions and green veggies fills the air, Pink Floyd and Joe Cocker serenade us with sweet melodies, the sun still shines, and the day is perfect.

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