When we took our sheep to be slaughtered towards the end of last year, in the spirit of using the whole beast, we asked the meatworks if we could keep the skins. Wiltshire Horns are not renowned for their hides, and while the abattoir workers looked at us a little askance, they played along. As soon as the animals were killed, we drove the skins across to Port Elliot, where tanner Tony Scott salted them and enthusiastically took us on a tour of his tannery, one of the few surviving such establishments in Australia.
This week a package arrived from Port Elliot. Inside were the skins, transformed from their dusty, paddock hue: the lamb skins soft and creamy, the elder beasts a light, dappled grey with black spots. While there’s no doubt that draping one’s home in animal hides brings with it a whiff of hillbilly, it’s also deeply satisfying to use as much as we can of our animals.
As an experimental run, most of these skins are already accounted for, but if you would like first pick on future hide harvests, let us know.