As you know, or may have guessed, we raise dairy goats here. Dairy goats make milk. Some of us like to know how well our goats are doing their job. We have the ability through the Dairy Herd Improvement Association (DHIA) of tracking that. It involves monthly weighing and sample testing. If you have goats that milk a lot within their 310 day lactation, you need a verification test by someone who does not test your herd on a regular basis. And by a lot, I mean a goat that milks 3000 pounds or more, which roughly translates to 375 gallons or better. Yes, there are goats that can do that and even more.

Don and Judi Hoy are the founders of Lucky Star Farms in Port Angeles. They, with help from John Ricks and their son Chris, raise some gorgeous LaMancha dairy goats there. Not only are the girls beautiful, but they work hard to put the milk in the pail. This year, two of their milkers are projected to make it onto the Top Ten list. This list has nothing to David Letterman. It has everything to do with the elite honor of having your goats milk more than anyone else in the nation. Kinda cool.

What does this have to do with me? I am their verification tester. I don’t do this as often as I used to, since it involves a lot of driving and/or overnight stays. With the family, I just don’t choose to go off and leave them for the weekends as much anymore. I do make an exception here.

I love to go to Port Angeles. They have so much to see and do, that for a day, I can entertain myself, sans 4 year old! There are other towns like Sequim and Port Townsend, if I want to venture out a little farther. You see, I leave here between 2:30 and 3AM to arrive there at 5:30 for the first test. Then I have 12 hours to kill/fill before the second test. In the past, I have had a leisurely breakfast at Mickey D’s while reading the local paper and plotting out my day. As a quilter and certified fabric junkie, it always involves a stop at the local fabric places. I scope out the local listings for any good movies I’d like to see, then pick out a fun little place for lunch. There are usually plenty of little shops to poke into as well. Not this year.

I was having a cup of tea with Judi, and discussing the finer points of how short LaMancha ears really should be, when she asked me what my plans for the day were. I told her I was planning on heading into downtown, poke through the stores, and scope out the quilt shop I had found down there last year. She informed me that Quilted Strait was no longer there. I thought “How sad, the economy got another one.” I was wrong! They had moved East, to Port Gamble, and were about an hour away. Judi’s mom, who works there a day or two a week, confirmed that the store was indeed open on Sunday from 11 to 5PM.

Port Gamble is a historic town that was built on the lumber industry. They are in the process of restoring and mildly renovating the existing buildings. Port Gamble is inviting businesses to inhabit these buildings. She let me see photos from the blog and I was hooked! The effect is fantastic. Judi decided that since I was willing to go, she would take the day off from farm chores, like prepping the equipment for the State Fair, and we would make the trek to Port Gamble. Somehow she roped John into driving us, although I think he walked into it willingly. Now, I did feel horribly guilty. I know how much work goes into getting ready for the fairs. I have been there and done that. We left poor Don home clipping goats, and the equipment wasn’t getting painted. I want it to be clear, I did not ask them, bribe them, or cajole them in any manner to go with me. So if the stuff doesn’t get painted, it is NOT my fault! Sorry about the clipping Don, you did a fabulous job of it though.

Off we went! This is what you see from the outside. This used to be the carriage house for the hotel. Check out her blog here for more photos and the story that goes with it. I didn’t ask permission to take photos inside ’cause I was shopping, so you will just have to go there yourself to see the beautiful quilts hanging from the exposed beam rafters. They had a huge selection of fabrics from Asian prints to wool, including a fabulous wall of batiks. I did find some wool to felt for Em’s Raggedy Anne’s heart, nose, and shoes. I also found a few other little tidbits just for fun. If I didn’t have hay to put into the barn this week, I might have splurged a bit more. As it was, my control slipped enough that I came out with this:

After working up an appetite in the quilt shop we headed around the end of town towards the General Store. Inside was a gift shop, espresso bar, ice cream shop and cafe. We popped into the cafe for lunch. Judi ordered a plate of Garlic-Blue Cheese fries. Thankfully we all ate some, so everybody would have the same breath on the ride home. The fries were quite tasty. We figure that somebody had a plate of garlic fries and hot wings, then started dipping the fries into the blue cheese dressing, thus was born this taste treat. The food was good too. Judi’s ruben and John’s grilled ham & cheese both looked great. My bowl of black bean soup with mango chutney was quite tasty.

I picked up a shot glass for my honey who was home with the little Miss and the marshmallow caramels. We poked through the antique shop/junk store. I found a basket of vintage hankies but none that had to come home with me. We did refrain from entering the book store, since we didn’t have THAT much time before we had to head back. We stopped at the produce market and I picked up a couple of apples, while Judi picked up some fruits and veggies for the rest of the week. It turned out to be a lovely day trip.

John drove us back to the farm were we enjoyed freshly grilled hamburgers with Don, Chris, and Judi’s mom, Barbara. It was a great way to end the day.

I finished off the second test and packed up to head home. Their regular tester would wrap up the final test in the morning. I met her on the way home, and delivered the paperwork and samples. I managed to make it home and into bed by 11PM. It was pretty much a strait shot from the car to the bed. I think next time, I’m gonna need to schedule in a nap!

I’ve already penciled in next year’s VT! Perhaps I can make a weekend of it and I’ll bring my honey along. Wait, there is fabric shopping involved, maybe not.