Traveling again up along Hood Canal toward
Washington's Victorian Seaport, Pt. Townsend.
We pass thru the quaint little villages of Hoodsport and Lilliwaup,
passing by many beach side homes and summer cottages,
pass the Dosewallips State Park in Brinnon
(where my eldest daughter worked her first job as a Park Aid)
drive thru the foothills of the majestic Olympic Mts
on Walker Pass, and into the 'if-you-blink-you'll-miss-it' town of Quilcene.
Here the road forks and we take the 'road less traveled' to the right
and head for our first stop on the Jefferson County Farms Tour,
a tour of the counties 13 farms that produce edibles for restaurants,
farmers markets and home markets.
There happened to be a Fiber Farm Tour the same day,
farms which produce wool and products made from wool.
These farms were scattered all across the county
~ 13 farms and 4 fiber farms~
way too many to visit in the 6 hours they were open.
We only had time to visit 4 with all the driving and sightseeing in between!
The first farm that we came to that was open for the tour,
was Taylored Fibers Farm, owned by
Barry and Linda Taylor of Quilcene, WA
"Barry and Linda Taylor raise an assortment of sheep bred for wool and for meat on 10 acres of property that is shared with two horses and a llama. Barry has had extensive experience processing wool in Australia and on the East Coast of the United States. He has used that experience to develop his own wool carding business. Visitors to his farm will have the opportunity to view his equipment and learn more about how raw fleece is turned into beautiful dyed roving."
Before we *meet* Barry, I want to show you the neatest little invention since sliced bread!
This is the HansenCrafts MiniSpinner, the most ingenious little spinning wheel ever!
(Please click on the link to learn about this wheel, the inventor and the adventures of he and his wife, Beth, while living on a sailing boat in Tasmania!)
Now, I don't spin, I don't have a spinning wheel, I don't even have sheep (or llamas or alpaca's) for wool. I have tried spinning a tiny little bit when I purchases a beautiful Ashford
wheel for my eldest daughter's birthday some years ago. Our neighbors kindly gave of a whole fleece, which I washed, and picked over and washed, and washed some more
and finally hand carded into some rollogs, which I then tried to spin into some yarn.
I think I did alright for a beginner. But I never did more than fill one spool.
Below, Beth demonstrates her handy little Mini. She let me try my hand, but lets just say you won't be getting any handmade sweaters or scarves for Christmas! :~O
On the left is some unwashed fleece, which he calls 'greasy wool'.
He must wash it (ever so gently ~ more like soaking and pushing it around several times)
and remove the large pieces of twigs and straw and dirt.
Then it is placed on the carding machine where it is pulled into the drums
with small fine teeth to be 'combed' into the lovely carded wool!
(That man must have the softest skin ~ just touching the unwashed fleece
leaves lanolin on your hands. I can't imagine what it would be like working with the wool all day!)
Gentleman Farmer enjoyed the demonstration of the machine very much as he said it is a little like the large lumber planer he runs at his job.
(Very little, to my way of thinking!)
(Very little, to my way of thinking!)
Next stop ~ Wild Harvest Creamery.
"Wild Harvest is a diversified, sustainable, family farm supplying out local community. We employ rotational grazing systems that harness the complementary nature of our livestock. We raise both dairy goats and dairy sheep, and make cheese during our 10-month milking season. We also offer whey-fed pork, heritage turkeys, free range duck & chicken eggs. During the fall & winter, when we are not milking, we host day-long workshops in cheesemaking, lambing & kidding, animal husbandry, and other topics."
Website : www.wildharvestcreamery.com
Here are some of the 'girls'.
Oops! One escaped and is trying to get back to his 'heritage'.
A couple of those 'whey-fed' porkers!
(Like yesterday ~ blogger has blessed me with a sideways photo!)
Back on the road again for a drive out to beautiful Marrowstone Island.
Here we tour the Mystery Bay Farm and sample some of the delicious soft goat cheese.
"Mystery Bay Farm is a family run, micro-goat dairy on Marrowstone Island. We are equally committed to the long-tern health of our soils and to the exceptional quality of our products. Our ecological farming practices turn a diversity of plants into cheese. Since our goats 'are what they eat,' we judiciously monitor their food. In turn, they provide high quality milk with undertones of our maritime climate. We only substitute their varied pasture with local hay (which we cut during the peak of seasonal protein levels), seaweed and organic grain."
(Kinda reminds me of my lumpy mattress!)
We head back down toward Quilcene with just enough time for one more
fiber farm, Jacob's Fleece run by Jan Gillanders.
"Jacob's Fleece farm is 40 acres located in the hills above Quilcene. Jan's flock is primarily made up of Jacop Sheep, a unique breed known for its black and white spots and for its multiple horns. For the tour she has invited other fiber artists to be at her farm to demonstrate the process of turning raw fleece into a finished product."
This cast of characters greet you!
Some of their lovely finished products in the fading sunlight.
Smile for the camera!
The epitome of a farm girl ~ straw hangin' out her mouth!
We did have a little picnic lunch on the beach at a St. Park on Marrowstone Island
and we did stop at one other farm ~ which took me back to my younger days and Woodstock!
I didn't take any pictures there ~ what happens on that farm, stays on that farm!
Most of these farms are located in the valley of the homestead of Betty McDonald, author of
the Egg and I. (Think Ma and Pa Kettle!) You drive past the road named for the book.
I didn't forget the photo's for the guys!
Driving back down the canal and again into Brinnon,
we spotted a large herd of elk that had earlier crossed the highway
and were having their late afternoon meal and rest.
This made the trip worth it for Gentleman Farmer!