Monday, September 5, 2011

Rabbit Skill Share

A week or so ago, Wendy and I hosted a rabbit skill share for the local permaculture group.  The primary topics were Backyard Rabbit Husbandry and Hide Tanning.  We were fortunate enough to have made several new friends and share some of the things we've learned.  We are so grateful to have had this opportunity to connect and share.

I was amazed at the diversity of backgrounds of the attendees and delighted with the common desire to work with nature instead of against her.  There were people who were thinking about raising rabbits for meat and there were people who already had rabbits, but were just getting started.  We wandered around our little quarter acre homestead and talking about our experiences with raising rabbits, things like sexing the rabbits and separating the males and females before they reach maturity, housing and winterizing the hutches, foods, and slaughtering.  Neither Wendy nor I believe that we have all of the answers, but we have made a lot of mistakes ... er, had a lot of learning experiences ... along the way.  Raising Rabbits is a great book, and Wendy and I learned a lot from it, but there is something to be said for being able to ask someone, in person, who has done it.

Then, we shared an amazing meal.  People had brought their favorite potluck dishes to share.  Wendy and I had smoked, on the grill, two rabbits that we had butchered a week before when we showed some other friends how to butcher rabbits.  Everything was so delicious.

We were quickly running out of daylight by this point, so I hurried through a demonstration on hide tanning.  We had on hand 11 green hides, 5 tanned, but not yet dried or softened hides, and many hides that we have tanned, or had tanned, over the years.  Each participant was invited to take a hide home to tan, we even provided the alum for them to do so.  Again, while I learned to tan by reading Back to Basics and everything I could on the internet, I find it much easier to learn from a person who can answer my questions.

As we had run out of time for everyone to work on a hide, I promised to put together an eBook documenting the tanning procedure that I use.  I have added it as a link on the left side bar.  Feel free to download it.  I am offering it for donation only - you decide what it is worth.  I would love some feedback on ways to improve it or any questions you may have.  Wendy and I are also talking about putting together a few other eBooks on rabbit husbandry and butchering.  We are open to other suggestions.

It appears that, while I continue to grow on this MooseBoots path, I am also being called to share what I know with others.  I have heard it said that the best way to really learn something is to teach it to someone else.  I, in fact, did pick up a gem or two during this skill share - don't stretch the hides when they are too wet because they will tear very easily.  Of course, the ultimate purpose of learning, I suppose, is to share so that others can grow, too.  I wish you abundance and happiness on your journey.


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