Tanning hides

Sorry most of my posts lately have been all about events and actions, not necessarily deep thoughts about urban farming or poetic day in the life portraits of GhostTown Farm, but I’m feeling more action-y lately, so bear with me. Soon I’ll pull up the rocking chair and tell you some yarns. For now, here’s another potentially amazing upcoming event–please let me know if you are interested!

Though the wonderful auspices of UC Berkeley’s student group, SAFE, there’s a movement afoot to host a hide tanning workshop at GhostTown Farm. How appropriate.┬áBut this isn’t going to be some quickie session like the turkey-killing class, this involves a tw0-day commitment. And potentially camping in our lot. Or sleeping with the goats in the goat house. But I’m getting ahead of myself.

1. The class will be taught by Tamara Wilder, an absolute authority on primitive skills. Her business is called Paleotechnics, for Christ’s sake.

2. Remember how I said I have a million bunny hides in my freezer? Tamara said we can tan those. Each of the class attendees can have one of my million pelts to learn how to tan!

3. Remember my cool friend Jim who has goats? He said we can use on of his goat hides to practice tanning. For when we get bored of the rabbit.

3. There’s only room for 16 people

4. Tamara’s going to show up with all her tools (things like scrapping beams) and we 16 are giving her $100 EACH to take the class, which I said, spans two days.

5. This is not for the faint of heart. I’m imagining lots of dangling meat parts and stinky goo. And rubbing.

6. This will all go down either on April 11/12 or April 18/19. Do let me know which dates work best for you! But remember–it’s $100 and will span two days! If people want to stay the night or pitch a tent, I’m sure we can figure something out. There will be farm chores in the morning!

7. I am so excited to learn how to tan a hide!!

UPDATE 8. Please RSVP to agrofoodecology@gmail.com with subject line ‘Tanning’ and the best weekend for you (April 11 or April 18) so that they can pick the weekend with the most interest.

9 responses to “Tanning hides

  1. hey novella,

    that sounds great to me. I’m only sad that I missed the turkey class. luckily I just won $80 in las vegas (don’t ask) so I think I’m good to go. either of those weekends works for me.

    awesome.

  2. Gosh, this almost – almost – makes me wish I still lived in Berkeley/Oakland. I’ve been wanting to learn how to tan a hide or pelt. If I were still in the bay area, you know I’d be all over this. And I wouldn’t even have to camp in your yard.

    Guess I’ll just have to wait for the pictures. Sounds like the class will be fantastic.

    -Kate

  3. I’m with Kate. Oh for my Berkeley days. Where was this group in the early 90′s?

  4. Pingback: Tanning hide «

  5. What a great class. I wish someone taught something like that near me. My back yard is quite shaded and really only suitable for raising animals. Unfortunately, HOA restrictions strangle most of my desires in that direction. I believe there will come a day, though, when practical needs will win out over these silly rules — and it’s not too far into the future.

  6. this sounds amazing! i don’t know if i can do it, but i want to hear you write all about it for sure. :)

  7. While I doubt it’s a good idea for me to spend $100 learning to tan hides when I don’t currently have a job (or a need for that skill), this sounds really fun!

    Is there going to be another farm open house anytime soon? I’ve been reading your blog for a bit now, and I have to say that I’m kind of tempted to sign up for the class just so I can come visit!

  8. Hi there, been reading for a while…

    I’m assuming you’re doing brain tanning because of the chemicals involved in commercial tanning? I’m really interested to read how Tamara goes about prepping the hides, the methods I know about require more time than just a couple of days. As a child I learned how to start the prep process by soaking the hide in water until the hair slips, and then stretching the hide on a frame to scrape it. It wasn’t pleasant, but there wasn’t lots of meaty bits, and it didn’t smell fantastic, but I don’t remember the entire process smelling horrid either.

    I’m excited to see pictures!

  9. I’d love to come to the tanning weekend! But I’m only free April 11/12th. I’ve brain tanned deer hides before but would love to do some more in good company (or try the rabbit pelts). What a great idea to do this, and I can’t wait to see your farm.

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