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November 5, 2012 / coalstovesinkguest

Stresslessness at the CSS

This is the second visit that my wife C and I have paid to the Coal Stove Sink B&B; click here for the post from our first visit. Our hosts, to whom I’ll refer as Zane and Xena, were delightful, as we’ve come to expect, and their animals were wonderful company as well. The video below captures the sights and sounds of several of their animals (you’ll have to endure C’s mesmerizing strides for several seconds, but just look how the leaves seem to turn into shafts of wheat as she walks).

After settling in on a Saturday afternoon, Zane and I prepared for the approach of what would later be dubbed Super Storm Sandy, which served to punctuate the end of the warm season with an exclamation point. We had been hoping to enjoy an early fall float down the Shenandoah River; after all, the weekend before had been sunny and in the 80’s. But alas, instead we had the task of bringing the canoes, tables, and chairs up from the river’s edge, in case the storm caused localized flooding.

The manly tasks having been accomplished, Zane and Xena and C and I were escorted by their [four] dogs on a nice walk along the Shenandoah River and through former cattle pastures turned into eco-friendly farms. After returning and resting a bit, we went to dinner at a fabulous dive called “Chop Stick” in nearby W. The Appalachian Asian fusion fare was exquisite, though we learned the hard way that 8 out of 10 on the spiciness scale might’ve been a bit too ambitious. C and I were glad that none of the leftovers were wasted, not even the edamame shells, since Zane and Xena’s pigs are happy to eat whatever treats are brought their way.

Saturday night back at the Coal Stove Sink’s extensive complex of fortified buildings involved the usual libations imbibed without inhibition. Zane is still working on his second PhD in mixology — I believe he is ABD at this point, but then again, who’s really counting? I’ve yet to fully embrace the bitters that Zane and C are so fond of, but I definitely did appreciate the absinthe wash that Zane employed on our glasses for some of the drinks — very mixologistic.

C and I really enjoyed the brand new art adorning the Coal Stove Sink, right above the bed, by Ben Claassen. (This guy has a Wikipedia page, so he must be really important.) There is a framed montage of Claassen originals hanging on the wall, and then below that, drawn directly on the wall (!), is a series of doodles done by the artist, on his recent visit to the CSS. The only mistake that C and I think Zane and Xena made is that they should have requested of Claassen, upon his first arrival to CSS, a series of drawings depicting what happens when an artist and his girlfriend are invited to a country get-away by what turn out to be axe murderers. Wonder what would have developed from that inspirational idea.

Breakfast on Sunday featured eggs donated by their happy free-range chickens that very morning, bacon that I was assigned the pleasure of cooking to the perfection of croquant-sans-carbon, and a fried tomato concoction, made by Zane from the season’s last harvest, based on a recipe that he made up, involving, if my memory serves, bread crumbs, garlic and cheese. (Perhaps Zane will post the recipe on a blog at some point — they really were quite fabulous.)

C and I always seem to visit the Coal Stove Sink at the magical time when pig becomes pork. Last year we witnessed their two former pigs, Sarkozy and Berlusconi, being rounded up for the drive to piggy heaven. This time we were a little early, and this year’s pigs, Mitt and Alaska, still had one week to enjoy life on the farm before they would become lovely cuts of meat. (Last year’s porcine production, i.e., the Sarkozy/Berlusconi offerings, had unfortunately been wiped out during the power outages following The Derecho of 2012, but hopefully no such catastrophe will occur in the ensuing months. Hmm…derechos and super storms…can anyone say “climate change”?)

C and I were sent off by Zane and Xena with literally dozens of peppers from the last harvest of the season: habaneros, jalapeños, chiles, and bells, if my pepper identification skills are up to snuff. What fine hosts, these two! C and I can’t wait to try to get in that elusive float in the warm season of 2013!


Leave a Comment
  1. showertaker / Nov 6 2012 1:07 am

    No cheese.

    The tomato concoction is as follows:
    small home grow tomatoes from the garden
    bread crumbs
    garlic (1 section)
    shallot (some)
    salt & pepper (lots)

    halve the small tomatoes
    press well mixed crumb stuff into each tomato half
    fry crumbs down in lots of butter (covered) on supremely low until everything else is done


  1. 2012 at Coal Stove Sink « Coal Stove Sink

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