I don’t know about you, but I am always searching for the healthiest options for my dog. I am all about natural, organic, no plastic, no chemicals. It seems you just can’t trust any company these days. Most dog toys are made of plastic, even the plush ones! If it is polyester, it’s plastic. It drives me crazy. It made me decide to make my own dog toys!!!
The way I do it is with eggs and smoke. I made sure to do a lot of research to make sure it is the safest for dogs ever. I first made sure my furs are “food quality” and safe for the pups!! I remove and clean any salt that was on the furs because salt is not good for dogs. I clean with dawn dish soap and really rinse it good. After cleaning, I paint the skin with egg yolks, which is a safe food for dogs! After it dries up a little, I stretch it all day long. The yolks soak into the fur and the remaining come off during the stretching so it will not go rancid. After the stretching I smoke it over a smoke pit. After it is smoked I air it out for a very long time, to try and remove the smell. I also let it sit in the sun to remove smells. Smoked meat is okay for dogs as long as there is NO SALT. Since I make sure there is absolutely no salt at all on the furs, it is 100% safe to chew on. Plus when I sew the toys closed, the smoked part of the fur is on the inside of the toy. My toys are not meant for ingestion at all, just like any toy. But you know when they chew on it and play with it, they are not ingesting chemicals or plastic at all.
I decided to go the wild route and make rabbit fur dog toys. My dog loves plush toys so much. So why not use a real animal for my dog who would really want to munch on a real animal? (I know gross, but they are dogs after all) Most dogs have that hunting drive. So I deep dove into the world of traditional tanning furs.
Most of the furs you buy online are NOT traditionally tanned. They will say “for pets” but they were probably made in a chemical tea!! I did a ton of research on this. My heart broke. I do not want my dog chewing on a fur that was dipped in chemicals. It is very difficult to find traditional tanned furs online for sale. It is even more difficult to find ones that are safe for dogs. Some methods of traditional tanning use tannins that are toxic to dogs!
My dog inspired me to make home made dog toys. Which led me to traditional tanning furs.
I’ve been making dog toys for a little under a year. They are very popular on my Etsy page! But I also sell them on here too I was inspired by my own dog and me wanting to give my dog something a little more natural. Then it got me thinking. I fell down the tanning rabbit hole. I was buying furs from someone, who did not even know where she got the furs from. I could not get an answer from anyone on how these furs were made. My only option in my mind is “I have to tan them myself” and “I must know where the furs come from!”
After hours of research reading a variety of texts from homesteaders, hunters and indigenous teachers, I figured the best tanning option for dogs is the brain tan method.
For the brain tan method, You flesh the furs, wash the furs, let dry slightly but not all the way. Then you add what is called the dressing. Which is either brain, egg yolk or another kind of fat. You let sit until it absorbs into the skin. Once absorbed, you stretch the furs until dried. The next step is to smoke them, which helps the furs not turn back into rawhides when they get wet.
After learning a lot and feeling confident, this is what I did
I contacted every rabbit farmer in my state. I found one way up north in the beautiful mountains. We talked back and fourth and I went to meet her. She takes amazing care of her rabbits. I even got to pat them. She had a pile of furs to sell me already. You can check out her website here. She calls her rabbit farm the “Honey Bunny Homestead”.
After I picked up my piles of furs. I went straight to work. I dug a hole for smoking. I then spent a day making sure my first couple furs were fleshed and washed well. I applied the dressing and let sit over night. The next day I spent the whole day stretching. What a workout! It really works your arm/shoulder muscles. I stretched them until dried. I started around 11am and finished around 4pm. After 4pm I would check them every hour, give them a good could stretches.
The next step I had to do was smoke them. I set aside another day to smoke them. Made sure my rack was good to go. I made the rack out of sticks. I took a basket backpack I have, fetched some punky wood (which is just rotting wood) and gathered some good dried sticks. I made a stick fire in my hole, let it burn up and build some embers. Then I added the punky woods. Got it smoking well and added my rabbit furs! I put wool blankets over the furs so the smoke will stay under them longer. I let them smoke for about an hour.
My next step after smoking is to just hang them up and air them out a bit. They have a smoky campfire smell. After airing them the smell is not as strong and to me a little pleasant.
After all these steps I’m now ready to cut, sew and sell! Oh and I will definitely be keeping some for my own dogs 😉
I haven’t written in my blog for a few years now. It is because a lot has changed . The change I am going to talk about in this post is very spiritual. If you are spiritual in anyway and believe in the spirit world, you need to read this.
I still live in the woods, in the same tiny house with the same man and dogs. I got married to this man. But before I got married to him I had a huge conviction. Since I live in the woods I have a lot of time to myself in these woods. So much time, I didn’t even know what to do with myself. Well Adam told me, when we met that he was a Christian. This made me so happy because my mom was a Christian and I knew she would love him.
I was a self proclaimed christian as well. But to be honest I had a lot of New Age beliefs. Even in these past posts of mine I talked about manifesting my dreams, making my wishes come true, putting energy out into the universe, talking about yoga and the power of nature and healing.
So one day as I am in the woods by myself (he was at work) I wanted to read a book. I browsed our book shelf. He had a beautiful bible. It was in a case, it was a leather book with golden edged pages. I picked it up and opened to the New Testament. I started reading and a wave of the Spirit hit me as I was reading the words. I knew I was living in sin. It broke my heart. I called my mom right up and told her how I was living in such sin. I felt filthy and awful. I had woken up.
It is not a bad thing this happened. Even at the time I felt broken and disgusting. I knew I needed to change. I felt in my heart I had to marry Adam. I kept trying to make excuses like, “it’s okay to live with my boyfriend, I am married to him in my mind” but that was a lie. Another sin. I had to stop lying to myself. I had to stop. I wasn’t going to move out. I knew time would heal. But I got down on my knees and prayed. I gave up, I am not powerful like I thought. To be honest, thinking you can manifest things is downright selfish. It made the world revolve around me. I didn’t think or care about others, I only cared about my own selfish desires. Everything changed for me this day. Just by opening the bible.
I know some people are not going to like what I said and will say going forward. But honestly. All these things I did talk about before can still happen. But you need to focus on God. The universe is not going to help you. The universe is not alive!! But you know what is alive out in the universe? The devil and his demons. Yep. It is terrifying because I might have been on the devil’s side before my awakening.
You see, if you don’t have God in your life, if you don’t believe that Jesus is your savior, but you have spiritual experiences, who do you think that comes from? God isn’t forceful. He isn’t going to force you to believe in him. He will and always has loved you, but you won’t receive his blessings if you deny him. The devil will counteract everything that God does. So if you are spiritual in anyway besides Christianity, then the devil is playing with you.
I want to be honest with you. When I was living in sin, a backsliding, half christian half new age, world person, I was not content. I was always wanting more. Searching for more. I wanted supernatural experiences. I wanted to feel powerful. I always wanted something. Now that I have denied my flesh, humbled myself, thanked God for my blessings, put God before everything, give credit to God for things that happen in my life, I am finally content.
So back to my story. After calling my mom, crying out to God, asking Jesus to forgive me. I knew I had a long way to go. I prayed daily for me to stay on the right path. I started reading the Bible daily, if not, weekly. I really changed myself because my whole mind was changed. Everything changed that day. I prayed to God daily that I could get out of my sinful way of living with my boyfriend.
Well about four months later, Adam asked me to marry him. I was so surprised. We went on an e-bike ride up our favorite mountain. It was a cold fall day. After being up there for almost an hour I said “can we go, I’m cold” he said something like “wait I have to ask something” I said in a silly tone, “what on Earth would you ask?” he went to his backpack and grabbed something out of it. He walked over to me with the biggest smile, got down on one knee, opened up a ring box and asked “will you marry me?”
I started to shake. I felt the world spinning around me. I lit up, my smile probably quivering. I probably started laughing, a joyful unbelievable laugh of pure happiness. I said “yes!!”
I felt so much relief after that. Like a huge weight lifted off my shoulders. I knew in my future I would be married to Adam and wouldn’t need to worry. You know, you don’t even need to worry when you have Jesus. You give him all your worries. He can handle everything. Thats exactly what I started to do. I put all my trust, all my faith into Jesus. I gave him all my worries. Every time I had any negative thought, I would pray “Jesus please take this worry away from me, I am giving you all my worries, thank you” and I felt so much better.
I still do this. I don’t find myself giving him worries as much, because I don’t have any left to give! I seriously feel free.
So a year later, Adam and I got married, in the summer of 2019. My life changed completely again after that. I was finally set free that day. All guilt out the window.
I fully realized from the day I picked that bible up and forevermore that I am not powerful. That nothing else is more powerful than God. I let go of thinking I made my dreams come true. I let manifesting go. I will not be selfish anymore. It is God that does it all. He is behind the beauty in the world. I say that nature is healing, and it is true because God made nature. I still believe in taking care of our bodies, because we are made in the image of God. We are his children. He made us so we can be with him. People seem to forget that. They make themselves into gods by being powerful, controlling their energy. We are suppose to have self control, but that self control in the Bible is talking about sinning. Have control over your actions, not have control of making things happen magically.
I will say that when I was talking about manifesting I would obsess over things and then forget about them. Well I want to say now, don’t obsess over anything other than God. The things of this Earth are not worth your afterlife. You can still dream and have goals, but do not make it your life. I did mention in my post too that humbling yourself is a key. That is still true, and definitely letting go of your obsessive thoughts that are not on the word of the Lord, that is also true. That’s why I was semi Christian, and semi New Age. I had some things right and some things totally wrong.
We really need to start asking God what his will is for us. Say something like “God, what can I do for you?” I really believe that if we let go of trying to control our lives, doing everything the way we want, and letting God in our lives and asking him to lead the way, we will find peace.
I might go deeper on some of the things I mentioned in this post on a different post. For now, thank you for reading and God bless you. Keep seeking his face, don’t seek the world. If you are into reading self help books, at least try the Bible. Have a wonderful day!
The Northern River Series. These photos were captured on a crisp, gloomy, dim day in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. These colors really soothe my soul and I hope these images touch yours as well. Click on the picture to view it alone, click on the caption to buy a print.Thank you for visiting!