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May 10, 2011 / coalstovesinkguest

A delicious taste of farm life

My wife C and I had an absolutely lovely time at the Coal Stove Sink! Our hosts, whom I’ll refer to as Zane and Xena, did everything to ensure that our stay was one of comfort, good company, and high-quality activities.

Check-in Saturday evening was a snap – no fussy paperwork to fill out or anything! We stayed in the guest house, which is complete with a piano, a large globe, and the famous coal stove. The B&B is named for its ingenious sink installation, pictured here at the end of our stay. The mirror above gives the user a Cubist’s view of her or his face; of course, there’s a normal mirror in the bathroom.

The Coal Stove

The coal stove sink (having been put to good use)

I had the honor of playing assistant chef to Zane, while he prepared a marvelous stuffed pork loin. He used ingredients the names of which I cannot pronounce, so I know he must be an exquisite chef. Xena’s dad had recently harvested a boatload of awesome morel mushrooms at his nearby property, and we had them battered & fried as a side dish. There was even a taste test as an appetizer, comparing morels fried in butter with those fried in duck fat. Zane was surprised to realize that they were better done in butter (both versions were excellent, though, I assure you). Also accompanying the pork loin were fresh asparagus stalks just harvested by Xena.

Dinner was followed by several rounds of fancy drinks. Zane is studying mixology in hopes of earning his second PhD, though he is having trouble settling on a dissertation topic. Presumably it will involve an analysis of various bitters, again with names that I cannot pronounce. The drinks were all lovingly shaken (in one case stirred, actually) and served in wonderfully small aperitif glasses, so that we could try several drinks without getting too roaring drunk.

C and I slept very well and spent some quality time by ourselves in the guest room Sunday morning. I made coffee for Zane and C and myself in the main house kitchen, on the orb-shaped digital espresso maker, while Zane prepared the brunch casserole, using eggs fresh from their own chickens and chunks of bread made from 2 loaves from which he carefully removed the crusts. I snacked on the crusts while making and drinking coffee, and the rest of the scraps went into their pig bucket. Nothing gets wasted at Coal Stove Sink farm.

Zane and Xena had invited a friendly neighborhood couple over for brunch, and we had a marvelous meal and splendid conversation. After brunch we took one quick walk down to the riverside with the couple, who then left. We then embarked on a lengthier walk along the river and in the meadows of an adjoining monastery (I really couldn’t make this up any better than it is!). We made sure to leave plenty of room between ourselves and the cattle as we walked, since they are the true stewards of those pastures.

Berlusconi and Sarkozy (their real names) head to market.

It just so happened that Sunday was the appointed day for a friend to come by and take away Xena and Zane’s two pigs for slaughter on Monday. That was quite an operation to witness (and assist somewhat) – coercing the large animals to transition from their pen to the back of a trailer. We left soon thereafter, but we very much look forward to returning – and perhaps eating some pork raised right there at Coal Stove Sink farm!

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