This past Saturday Wise Owl & I attended a hide tanning course we'd signed up for a few months back .
Homeschooling Wise Owl has always been an adventure as he is often high needs . Mostly meaning he likes hands on and activity ☺
So when we find something he is interested in such as swimming , gardening and wilderness survival we try and encourage him into these activities as much as we can .
I have to say I was a tad worried about spending 3 hrs driving each way with a 16yo which I tend to butt heads with . Yet I am happy to report with only the odd timeout from listening to The Who ( did I mention he has discovered classic rock ?) The drive amazing . I don't get to see much of the prairie anymore as when we go up to our place we tend to hit forest 1/2hr out of the city .
I'd forgotten about the Carberry Hills and on the way home we experienced that beautiful prairie sunset .
So in unschooling this teenager as I said we're finding out ds16 interests . He just thrives learning this type of thing . We actually got 5 pages of notes too and oodles of photos as well .
When we first arrived the instructor Dwayne Logan gave us some general info and instructions on the wet & dry scraping methods and the steps in which to tan the hides , weather you want to have rawhide, buckskin or have one side hide and fur remain.
We took note of the construction of the stand that is used for fleshing
Dwayne explained the how and where to cut in order to skin the animal , again depending if one wants the fur to remain or not .
He also explained how to extract the brain for tanning hides. All animals have enough brain to tan each hide except for Bison he said which for some reason take a bit more .
Wise Owl was awesome at all the steps .
I was not . I also now know I cannot tolerate the fleshing stench especially wet scraping .
We all have our areas we will be more comfortable working in and good at . I much prefer the braining , smoking & sewing stages .
He just zipped through both the dry & wet scrapings of the fur . I could barely make a dent in it even with my full force .
Then came the step where we rub in the brain water which was cooked then cooled to luke warm . Dwayne said to do this 3-4 times .
Then we are to wring out as much moisture after each braining
Then stretch it out , then brain it again
Wise Owl was very good at this
and then the stretching the skins together as a group was lots of fun .
Lots of grabbing & gabbing lol
until we were left with this beautiful soft piece . Now if one does not brain enough I think the result is hard stiff skin . because one of the groups skins was hard and Dwayne said it would have to be rebrained .
Then the skin is sewn up into a tube and smoked . Dwayne explained direct and indirect smoking . this is direct , where in direct would be like in a smoke house or tipi ( tee pee ?)
You can see his little smoker and old cut off jeans he used as a tube
He then showed how to pound the sinew so it separates
This collect from the back of the leg and along both sides of the spine . He also said that if it gets wet it turns like glue and one need not even use knots . Now I think I know why in traditional bead work women did not tie knots !
He explained how the hide is 3 dimensional .This important to know when cutting pieces out for clothing .
I wish I had gotten a better shot at the shirt he'd made , it was the softest buckskin I've felt .
I'm sure there may be bits I've forgotten already so really glad I took down those notes!
This boy really has blossomed the last two yrs he pretty much works almost full time , completed all his swim levels & instructor course , has taken the model forest workshops and is signed up yet again for the wilderness survival course .
He wants to learn hunting & trapping skills this fall and he has just been given a nice big garden to mange this summer . He's already sprouted his tobacco seeds ( for ceremonial use only )
I really should lax up on him when he lets lose with the AC DC , I mean we all rebel to some extent as teens .
My Mum told me it for her it had been sneaking downstairs to play her uncle's recordings of Beethoven's 's sonatas , when they left the house on Sundays lol !