Tuesday, July 19, 2016

And With This Season Comes. . .

Well, this otta make your day.
We have had a couple of pretty busy weeks.
Mr. LB went to Alaska and made it back with his four king salmon,
and two halibut (yum!)
I told him he wasn't ever allowed to leave me that long again.
I missed him - especially with no cell phone service
for the majority of the trip.

We had 3 days of rain! In July!
We had more rain by 8:30AM the first morning than we had
all 3 summer months combined last year.
I am hoping that means fewer fires this summer.

Wednesday and Thursday evenings after work were spent setting up 
for our annual ice-cream social which was Friday night.
By this point Mr. LB had his post-airplane cold.
He held up pretty well though.
(There was ice-cream involved after all.)
We invite friends and neighbors for ice-cream,
they bring their favorite topping.
This year we ended up with everything from huckleberries,
to brownie crumbles, to rum sauce.
And sadly, I forgot to take the camera out with me.
So you'll just have to take my word for it that it was a lovely evening.

The following morning, I awoke early to pack and head over to
the Baker City Quilt Show.
I was to be at the folks' house at 8AM so Mom and I
could travel over together and meet my S-I-L there.
(She comes from a different direction.)
Part of the reason I had to wake so early was so I could stop
on the way to pick peas.
I did and made it to their house at 8:03,
put peas in their fridge, and we were off.

This was the first BCQS in two or three years.
It was so good to see the beautiful work and old friends.
Mr. LB texted while I was there to ask how it was.
I told him good of course, but that one dear gal
is now in a wheel chair and another passed last week.
Many of the members are aging, and
there don't seem to be younger members to carry on the art.
This is among the most talented group of quilters 
I have had the privilege of getting to know.
Their work is exquisite!
I find it sad that the knowledge and skill they have isn't
being passed on and appreciated.
Like so many other things, folks seem to want instant gratification
and don't want to spend the time it takes to produce
a true work of art.
The sweet ol' gal in the wheel chair is who taught me how to do
needle-turned aplique.

This morning, after eating and claiming quilts (Mom showed a few)
we parted and came home.
Once home, I got to work.
Within a short time, there were apricots on the dehydrator,
and I was shelling peas.
We ended up with 7 pints from that one bag.
You can read about how we can peas here.
As we were shelling the peas, a storm rolled through.
It brought marble sized hail.
Mr. LB was worried about it damaging the rigs and the fruit on the trees
but luckily all seems fine.

Hopefully, now we can get back to our "normal chaos"
rather than all of this sporadic stuff.
I don't think we have anything eventful going on for August.
It's canning season~
you didn't know there were really 5 seasons, did you?
So we will be hopping every evening.


Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Tanning / Pelting a Hide

There's always more to learn.
Yes, I am one of those.
I have to be learning something.
Some things I learn and promptly forget, or learn and don't really
feel connected to, or learn and enjoy so continue.
When we butcher the lambs, I want to pelt their hides.

We don't like waste and the fact that each year so many
deer, elk, and other critters are hunted and the hides left to rot
in addition to the waste of such parts as ribs or shoulder meat
kinda irks me.
I've never done any tanning of hides - actually never considered
that it would be something I would be remotely interested in.
I have a feeling it will be one of those things
I learn but don't do much of, which is fine.
I like having the knowledge and experience even if I don't often use it,
just in case.

From what I've read, rabbits are great to learn on.
They are small so they don't use a lot of solution, and are typically
rather plentiful so are not difficult to find.
We didn't happen to have a rabbit, 
but we did have a raccoon coming in devouring entire bags of cat food
and causing the dog fits in the middle of the night.
We trapped it, and I figured I could learn on a raccoon
as easily as on a rabbit.
If I messed up - oh well, no great loss.

I found various instructions, using various methods and solutions.
Being novice, I chose the one that seemed the safest to work with.
It's alum, salt, and water.

First rinse the hide in cold water to both clean it and cool it.
In a 5 gallon bucket mix:
 1 cup alum, 1 cup non-iodized salt and 2 gallons tepid water.

Then add the rinsed/wet hide and stir making sure all parts of the hide are exposed to the solution.

Stir at least twice per day.
After two days, take hide out of solution.
Squeeze as much solution out as possible (back into bucket.)

Then "flesh" the hide.
This is removing any fat or meat material from the hide.
This picture isn't great.  I was losing light but had to get it done.
Add another cup of each the salt and alum to the same solution
and stir well.
Then add fleshed hide back into the solution again stirring to make sure all parts of the hide are exposed to the solution.
Stir twice per day for another 5 days.
Then remove hide from solution and rinse well.
Stretch hide on a frame or board so it can dry.

When it is almost dry, it's time to "break" the hide.
This means working it by hand in small sections to soften it.
*Note: no, I am not going to chew on it as certain tribes were know to do and as my mother says I should to be authentic:)

(This is where life came at me.)
I have my hide stretched and dried.
I will have to re-wet it, let it partially dry then break it.
As far as the fleshing, I want to ask a neighbor who has done tanning
how I did and if there is a method better than my very slow tedious one.
Mr. LB left the head on thinking it would be "cool."
Again I am learning - I will have to just cut it off since it's inside-out
and hard as a rock.
Any ol' trappers, tanners out there,
feel free to offer advise.