It was ages ago that I posted about my first visit to the Dartmoor tannery, salted lambskins heaped in the back of my car. Five months have gone by and I've been back and forth, collecting the skins and delivering more for curing.
And here is a picture of two of the resulting skins - a lambskin (right) and a sheepskin - that I've kept back to snuggle into on winter nights. I can't believe how warm and comforting they are, how they seep heat into your back and ease the efforts of the day.
What's fascinating about the Badger face is the black belly, and this results in a natural chocolate brown or black border in contrast to the creamy centre. The sheepskin (from a ewe that went for mutton), has a blacker border and shorter pile (she had been shorn a few months before), whereas the lambskins are completely unshorn, so have that curly Mongolian look that has been so fashionable the last few years. Every one is slightly different, no homogeneity here, with some having a darker base layer of fleece that gives a lovely variation in tone.
For years I've been hoping to do this but lived too far from a tannery, but now I am content that every useful bit of the sheep has a purpose.
Several were given as Christmas presents, and others are being sold, contributing to the keep of the sheep. The next batch to go includes a lamb with a big brown spot on the side; I wonder if I can justify keeping it for myself?