Olympic Peninsula Fiber Farm Tour
We recently went on the 11th Annual Jefferson County Fiber and Farm Tour, which included 24 farms, spanning various productions systems, including fiber, dairy, meat, fruit, vegetable and shellfish.
More than just a nice day in the country ... which it was ... we are motivated to rediscover the traditional ways of doing things that got left behind in history’s dustbin ... so to speak ... while we had plenty of cheap energy. So we’re ‘hedging’ in a way ... if a new, ecologically-sustainable, plentiful source of energy emerges to replace depleting petroleum reserves, we will be as happy as everyone else. On the other hand, until that day arrives, it behooves us all to start brushing up on our ‘sustainability’ skills and personal ‘resiliency.’
We started at Taylored Fibers over in Quilcine, WA ... located along the Hood Canal, then drove a few miles to CompassRose Farms, in the foothills of the Olympic Mountains, then went up Center Road to Chimacum Farm Stand in the midst of a fertile valley on the Olympic Penninsula, 12 miles outside of Port Townsend. Both Chimacum and Port Townsend are western Washington towns that are (r)evolving into post-peak-cheap-oil cultural centers.
According to Barry Taylor of Taylored Fibers in Quilcene, WA, “People take raw fiber straight off the animal and bring it to him to wash, sometimes dye and usually ‘card’—which means the fiber is separated, then recombined into ‘roving.’
A wool roving is a piece of wool which has been combed, drawn into a clump, and then twisted slightly to hold the fibers together and to prepare them for spinning.
As we watched ... and videotaped ... Barry demonstrating and explaining the carding process, the feeling on the shop floor harkened back to the England of Charles Dickens. England in the time of Dickens was the world’s imperial exporter of textiles. This is also the time that gave rise to ‘Oliver Twist,’ who was born in a workhouse in 1830s England, and must have worked carder and fiber pickers himself.
Barry lends additional authenticity to his operation with his Yorkshire intonations, while his affability appears to be of the American bent.
Watch and listen to Barry Taylor demonstrate the fiber carding process.
The Importance of Inspired Creativity
Regular readers of the BIOM newsletter ... Staying Healthy~The Oriental Medicine Way may recall the trip we took to Salt Spring Island, Canada where Kitty studied Saori weaving with the renown Saori weaving teacher, Terri Bibby and created this unique and colorful fabric which she is in the process of incorporating into a jacket she is crocheting.
(Read more about The Importance of Inspired Creativity.)
Compass Rose Farms
We also visited Compass Rose Farms who describe themselves as “a happy blend of creative, functional structures, friendly animals that love visitors, continuous conservation projects, gatherings and events of all kinds, and ongoing collaborations with artists.
It’s a well run farm, that includes caring for sheep, while harvesting their fleece. They too, like most wool growers in this area, take their fiber to Barry Taylor, of Taylored Fibers, to be processed. (See above.)
What we found particularly unique about these young folks at Compass Rose was their education project for teaching people SUSTAINABILITY skills. They have a school on the farm called: “The Dirt Rich School.”
Me—and the Boys
We finished the Fiber Tour at the Chimacum Corner Farmstand where there was much merriment and festivity ... fostered by locally brewed beer, food and music ... backlighted by the sun setting over the Olympic Mountains.
Me and the Boys are a great bluegrass/‘newgrass’ band that whooped ... and kinda yodeled ... well past sunset ... which was bee-u-ti-ful : ) Though it was a bit confusing trying to figure out who was who ... each one of them thinks he’s “Me” ... and that the other guys are “The Boys.” : /