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March 27, 2013 / coalstovesinkguest

Summit, Conversation, Animals, and Wagon Wheels

It was my second visit to the CSS, though this time I was a solo guest. The occasion was a Cigital ARA summit. It is pretty remarkable what a good group of minds can accomplish in a short period of time when there is a change of scenery. The summit was an exchange of good ideas and ended with a new direction for the ARA practice. Post-summit was a break for apéritifs (I enjoyed a cocktail called The Liberal with a real marisca cherry… a house specialty).

Dinner followed with a subset of the ARA summit guests and our host’s progeny. The main course was an outstanding beef tenderloin (that put the steak I had the previous night at Wildfire to shame), paired with a malbec. A bonus during dinner was getting to watch a grown man eat his very first Brussels sprout. He immediately and amusingly decided he did not like Brussels sprouts. These examples of the cultivar happened to be roasted to perfection, so he really must not like Brussels sprouts.

After dinner, the last visiting Cigitalite other than myself left, and the party moved to the bar. As always, the drinks were exceptional and made from the finest ingredients. It is a rare opportunity to sample such high quality cocktails and I enjoyed every last drop. This strategy was not without its shortcomings, but those repercussions waited until the morning to show up. The drinks were accompanied by great conversation with the host. Many topics were discussed and some new ideas were formed for both work and non-work (a.k.a. “life”).

The night wound down at about 2 AM and I made my way up the hill to the CSS. What happened next is a bit hazy for me. I sat down on the couch to remove my shoes, blinked, and the sun was up. Apparently, I decided to (or felt compelled to) crash on the couch. My host found this amusing and I found it to be practical—no sheets to wash!

The plan was to have breakfast at 10 o’clock, so I had about an hour to (re-)explore the farm. I was immediately greeted by some energetic dogs and timid cats. It was my own personal run through “Old MacDonald Had a Farm” as I spent some time with the dogs, cats, chickens, horse, pony, and goats. I do realize this is quite routine for most, but for a Brooklynite (or Philadelphian) it was quite cathartic.

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During my exploring I came across a familiar site.  There are two wagon wheels on the farm that once belonged to a relative. I had not seen them since they were FedExed to [undisclosed location] from New Hampshire (much to the amusement of the FedEx driver) and it was really moving to see them in such a perfect setting.

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After a rejuvenating breakfast (bacon with nitrates) and a short driving tour of the local county seat, I headed home. Many thanks to my generous host. Already looking forward to another visit to the CSS in April!

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