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Tanning Hides The Old Fashioned Way

Brain tanning is one of the oldest known methods of tanning hides or pelt. It’s said that every animal has a brain just the right size for a proper tanning, all animals except for the buffalo, or so I have heard. I have yet to tan a buffalo hide, I have helped skin and process one using a skinning knife but I never did the tanning.

Tanning Hides The Old Fashioned Way

There are several methods of tanning a hide but the brain tanning method is one of my favorites because it’s all natural. No chemicals are used and nothing is wasted when processing the animal. I believe in using all that you can from the animal for the simple fact that its life was taken to provide for you so do right by it. Ok so let’s get down to it.

1. Fleshing

This can be one of the most important parts of the process. “Fleshing” or “Scraping” is the process of cleaning all of the excess meat, fat, and membranes from the hide/skin. If you don’t remove it all there’s a chance that the hide or pelt can mold, mildew, or start rotting. Aside the board and tacks to stretch and hang the hide, you’ll also need a fleshing knife or tool, sandpaper, and a pot for boiling the solution. Fleshing knives vary in shape, size, and there are specialized knives for various types of furs and hides.

Once the hide is removed from the animal you’re going to want to stretch it out and tack it to a flat board or a log. For bigger hides such as the buffalo or an elk, it’s sometimes easier to stake it to the ground. Some people who tan hides on a regular basis actually build a wall large enough for big hides. Using your knife, push and scrape all of the excess meat, membranes, and fat off of the hide. You’ll know it’s clean when you begin seeing the pores.

Sometimes while fleshing a little bit of the fur or hair will come through the skin, if this happens just move away from that section. If you keep scraping in that area you could rip the hide. Give it time and come back to it. The head, also known as, the mast is the hardest area to get clean. So FYI it’s going to take some time and patience!

2. Braining

Now it’s time to make the tanning solution by using the brain and water. Remove the brain from the skull and toss it in a pot with some water. For small brains like that of a coon or squirrel, you’re only going to need about one and a half cups of water. The bigger the brains the more water you’ll need. Cook the brains in the boiling water for around 10 minutes or so and then mash the brains until the solution becomes an oily liquid. You’ll want to separate the solution in half and allow it to cool enough to be able to handle it but not cool.

Before applying the solution take your sandpaper and buff the hide. You can also use a granite rock or sandstone if you don’t have any sandpaper. The buffing will help soften the hide a lot. Now, using your hands rub the solution into the hide and be sure to get every inch of it as evenly as possible. Allow the hide/pelt to dry overnight, anywhere from 8-16 hours depending on the weather conditions and the size of the hide. The thicker the hide the more brain solution and coatings it will require.

Small pelts only need two or three coatings with the solution while a bigger pelt will require 3 – 5, or as many as it takes. Between every application of the solution, the hide must be left alone to dry overnight to avoid too much moisture leading to trouble. Another tip is, when you’ve moved on to the second solution application it’s good to cover the pelt with a warm damp towel after the oil is applied. This helps it from becoming too stiff.

3. Softening

Tanning Hides The Old Fashioned Way
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Now that the dirty work is done it’s time to smooth and stretch the hide/pelt. You can use the back of a chair or a towel rod etc. Pull the pelt over the chair or rod with the fur side up, using both hands you want to stretch and rub the hide back and forth side-to-side all the way around. If your hide is too stiff and hard that’s an indication that it needs another coating, soak, and then stretch it that way until it’s dry.

4. Smoking

Once your hide is completely dry, stretched, and smooth it’s time for the smoking. Hang the hide above the fire and use damp or rotting wood to cause the fire to smolder and smoke. It’s the smoke that’s important not so much a big flame. You have to keep a close eye on the fire and hide so it doesn’t get burnt. The smoke is an added protection to keep the oil sealed in, as well as, it keeps it from rotting. The whole process is about preserving the hide. If by chance you have a tipi you can smoke it the traditional Native American way, inside of the tipi which helps to smoke it and keeps it out of the elements.

Watch this video by Survival HT on tanning fur hides:

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The tanning process can take a few days or up to a week. Because of this, it’s crucial to be sure you’ll have the time to tend to the hide or it might end up going to waste, which is horrible in all aspects. As I mentioned above there’s more than one way to tan a hide… this is one of the oldest and most natural ways of doing it, which is just my style.

Do you have any experience with tanning hides, if so we’d love to hear about your method or any stories and skills you can add to the knowledge in the comments below!

Here’s A Homesteading Guide to Tanning Hides!


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Self Sufficiency

NYC Adds Nearly 4,000 People Who Never Tested Positive To Coronavirus Death Tolls

New York City added nearly 4,000 people who never tested positive for the coronavirus to its death toll Tuesday, bringing coronavirus-related deaths in the city to around 10,000 people.

The city decided to add 3,700 people to its death tolls, who they “presumed” to have died from the virus, according to a report from The New York Times. The additions increased the death toll in the U.S. by 17%, according to the Times report, and included people who were suffering from symptoms of the virus, such as intense coughing and a fever.

The report stated that Democratic New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio decided over the weekend to change the way the city is counting deaths.

“In the heat of battle, our primary focus has been on saving lives,” de Blasio press secretary Freddi Goldstein told the Times.“As soon as the issue was raised, the mayor immediately moved to release the data.”

The post New York City added nearly 4,000 people who never tested positive for the coronavirus to its death toll appeared first on Daily Caller

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Self Sufficiency

How To Make Lacto-Fermented Sauerkraut In A Mason Jar

The thing about homesteading is you get to create your own ingredient right from scratch! Cheese, yogurt, butter and now sauerkraut, a delightfully sour and crunchy ingredient you can use on your meals — or consume by itself — while on a homestead, or while facing this health crisis!

This homemade sauerkraut is a great meal because it has a long shelf life. You can either make plain sauerkraut or mix it with herbs and spices. In this tutorial let us make Lacto-fermented sauerkraut that preserves all the good probiotics in a jar, good for your guts.

So how to make sauerkraut in a mason jar?

RELATED: How To Make Buttermilk On Your Homestead

Delicious Sauerkraut Recipe Every Homesteader Should Know

Why Make Sauerkraut?


Not only does sauerkraut spoil a long time, but it is also a meal in itself, and it is also easy to make! You don’t need to be an expert cook, all you need to do is follow these simple steps.

So let us get started. Here are the steps in making sauerkraut in a mason jar.


  • 1 head of cabbage or 2 1/2 lbs cabbage
  • 1 tablespoon of salt

Tools Needed:

  • knife
  • bowl
  • mason jar
  • smaller jar
  • rubber band

Step 1: Wash & Clean the Tools & Ingredients

Wash all the equipment and utensils you need. Wash your hands too.

You don’t want to mix your sauerkraut with bad bacteria, anything that is going to make you sick.

Next, remove the faded leaves from your cabbage. Cut off the roots and the parts that don’t seem fresh.

Step 2: Cut the Cabbage Into Quarters & Slice Into Strips

Cut your cabbage into quarters and remove the core. Then, slice it into strips.

Step 3: Place in a Bowl & Sprinkle With Salt

Put the stripped cabbage into a bowl. Sprinkle the cabbage with 1 tablespoon of salt.

TIP: Use canning salt or sea salt. Iodized salt will make it taste different and may not ferment the cabbage.

RELATED: Homemade Yogurt Recipe

Step 4: Massage the Cabbage

Massage the cabbage for five minutes or more to get the juice out.

TIP: You’ll know it’s ready when you see a bit of juice at the bottom of the bowl and will look similar to coleslaw.

Step 5: Press Cabbage Into the Mason Jar

Add the cabbage to the mason jar gradually. Press it in hard to allow the juice to come out. Do this every time you add about a handful of cabbage.

IMPORTANT: Food should be covered by the liquid to promote fermentation. Add any excess liquid from the bowl to the jar.

Step 6: Press a Smaller Jar Into the Mason Jar

You want to squeeze every ounce of that juice from the cabbage. To do this place the mason jar in a bowl and get a smaller jar.

Fill it with water or marble to make it heavy. Press it into the bigger mason jar. Allow any juices to rise to the surface.

Step 7: Cover the Jars With Cloth & Tie With Rubber Band

Leave the small jar on. To keep your jars clean from annoying insects and irritating debris, cover your jars with a clean cloth. Then, use a rubber band to tie the cloth and the jars together, putting them in place.

Step 8: Set Aside & Check Daily

Set it aside in a cool dry place, away from direct sunlight. Check the water level daily. It should always be above the cabbage.

Step 9: Taste Your Sauerkraut & Keep at Cool Temperatures

Homemade Sauerkraut Cumin Juniper | How To Make Lacto-Fermented Sauerkraut In A Mason Jar

After about five days, you can taste your sauerkraut. If the taste is to your liking, tightly cover it with the lid and store in the fridge or cellar.

NOTE: If after five days it’s still not your desired taste, leave it for a few more days. This will allow the fermentation process to continue.

You can now enjoy your sauerkraut in a mason jar. Enjoy its goodness! You can use it as a side dish or mix it with your favorite sandwich.

Things to Remember in Making Sauerkraut

  • Store away from direct sunlight and drafts.
  • Colder weather will make the process longer. Spring is the best time to make them since the warmth helps activate the fermentation.
  • Always make sure that the cabbage is below the water level during the entire fermentation process.
  • If the water level decreases during the fermentation process, you can make a brine and add it.

Let us watch this video from Kristina Seleshanko on how to make delicious Lacto-fermented sauerkraut in a mason jar!

So there you have it! Making Lacto-fermented sauerkraut in a mason jar is as easy as slicing the cabbage into strips. Remember that as long it remains unopened, your sauerkraut can last for months. Best of all, you can partner this sauerkraut in many recipes.

What do you think of this homemade recipe? Share your best sauerkraut recipe in the comments section below!

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Self Sufficiency


Having plants in the house will bring peace to people. Having a little garden with vegetables is even better! You can grow these vegetables in your backyard garden easily as well!

RELATED: Microgreens Growing Guide

In this article:

  1. Tomato
  2. Eggplant
  3. Beet
  4. Spinach
  5. Pea
  6. Carrot
  7. Radish
  8. Cauliflower
  9. Asparagus

Growing veggies in your garden will give you an opportunity to understand what you eat and value it more. Early spring is when most vegetables are being planted. Keep reading to learn about 9 spring vegetables that anyone can grow in their garden!


Tomato is the most popular garden vegetable in the States! There are different varieties to choose from. Tomatoes need to be planted in early spring because they won’t survive a frost.

Because tomatoes are consumed daily, try adding them to your garden! They’re not difficult to grow either.


Eggplants are known to have low-calorie, vitamins, minerals, and nutrients. Plus, they are delicious! So why not plant them in your garden?

Eggplants shouldn’t be planted too early because they won’t be able to survive a frost. So you could consult an expert in your area before you plant your eggplants.


Beets are known to be a superfood for its various health benefits. They’re easier to grow in the garden, usually around late March or early April.

If the weather is always cool, beets will keep getting bigger and bigger. Once the weather starts to warm up, you’ll need to harvest them, or they’ll go to waste.


Spinach is a delicious early spring veggie, and it’s also very beneficial for health. And it’s not difficult to grow spinach in your garden!

Spinach needs cold weather to grow. Getting spinach to grow is easy, but keeping it growing will require some extra care.


Peas are usually planted in late April. Peas will die in freezing temperatures, but they also won’t survive the heat either. So make sure you plant your peas in early spring.

Peas are widely used in many different ways, and there are different types of peas. The soil you’ll be planting your peas should be suitable for them, so make sure you ask while buying seeds.


There are different types of carrots, but regardless of their size and color, it’s a fact that carrots are both delicious and rich in vitamins.

They’re root vegetables, so with proper sun and watering, they can be picked up as baby carrots as well.


A radish is an excellent option for beginners because it doesn’t require too much care. Radish is easy to harvest.

Radish grows fast, so it’s better to keep an eye on it after a few weeks. Radish usually is grown pest-free, but there’s always the chance of unwanted guests, so watch out for worms. Radish can be eaten raw or can be added to garnish recipes.


Cauliflower isn’t the easiest vegetable to grow at home, but it is very popular.

Cauliflower grows better in colder weather, so before you plant it, consider the climate of your garden. Cauliflower can be eaten raw or cooked, and it is known to be very beneficial for health.


Freshly picked, tender asparagus is very delicious!

Asparagus plants get more productive with each harvest, and mature asparagus harvest can last for months! Make sure you plant them at the correct time, or else they might go to waste.

All the vegetables listed above are great for your healthy diet, and it’s fun to watch them grow. So don’t miss out on the opportunity to grow your own veggies and eat healthy this spring!

So tell us which veggies will you be growing this spring? Tell us in the comments section!




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