Diary of a Frugal Month


Hope that sunny days and daffodils bursting into flower herald start of warm spring weather. Start springtime regime of Using Food from the Freezer in order to have good break between frozen fruit and vegetables and fresh from the garden. Find several unlabelled bags that could be apple juice or chicken stock and great quantities of rabbit casseroles. Decide to start with soft fruit and pull out bag of unappealing raspberry rubble squashed at bottom of freezer. Make Raspberry Loaf Cake and discover raspberry pieces work just as well as whole raspberries.

Raspberry Cake

Regret that raspberry cake needs only two eggs as small mountain of eggs has appeared in pantry because every hen and duck is laying an egg a day. Encourage grandson to collect eggs from nest box on premise that he will then have to take them home. Had forgotten that toddlers hurl eggs rather than carefully placing them in egg box. Eat scrambled eggs for lunch.

Rabbit Furs

In fit of frugality, regard rabbit skins destined for throwing away after meat has been cut up as terrible waste of resources. Consult numerous websites for ways to preserve skins and consider options. Have no battery acid to hand and no wish to scrape brains from rabbit so follow instructions using salt and alum (conveniently left over from natural dyeing experiments last year). Realise half way through that alum supplies are insufficient. Hastily place order for more via internet. Days pass. Emails exchange. Regret managing to pick supplier whose health issues make trips to Post Office difficult and infrequent. Add more salt and hope lack of alum doesn’t affect end product. Alum finally arrives and process continues. Skins dried and stretched as instructed so now have small collection of rabbit skins, though no idea what to use them for. Diminutive size of collection banishes thoughts of making rug to drape artistically over sofa in front of roaring fire.

Clear books from one shelf on bookcase in effort to Remove Unnecessary Clutter in lieu of proper Spring Cleaning and find several children’s books. Flick through book of nursery rhymes. Eyes alight on

Bye, baby bunting,
Daddy’s gone a-hunting,
Gone to get a rabbit skin
To wrap the baby bunting in.

A possibility. Or perhaps just a fur trimmed hat.

27 thoughts on “Diary of a Frugal Month

  1. People often ask me if that rhyme is where my name originates! More likely “Bunty pulls the strings.” Look forward to seeing what you do with the fur..

  2. You might like to cut the skins around and around into long strips. You can then knit them up. This is what the Canadian First Nations do and they make them into blankets. They were quite the fashion here (Quebec) a few years ago.The Cree use rabbit skins in this fashion,snowshoe hare,winter skins.The skins are stretched,frost dried,and scraped leaving them preserved somewhat,cut into strips by starting in the middle of the skin and cutting out in a spiral.Sometimes the skin strips are wrapped around moosehide thongs before weaving,and the smoked moosehide thongs will repel bugs.These blankets will shed hair,so for a sleeping robe they are sewn between two Hudson bay blankets,which prevents the shed hair from getting all over the place.These knitted rabbit skins are traditionally used by the Cree for robes,cold weather sleeping blankets,and children’s hats(whole skins or knitted skins)),and liners for mocassins and mitts.When used as is,they are extremely lightweight and warm.
    See them here: http://www.narrativethreads.ca/explorer-explore/veste_en_peau_de_lapin-rabbit_skin_jacket.html

    1. Thanks for the link Joanne – there’s some fascinating information on the website. I love the adorable baby mittens trimmed with rabbit fur.
      I’ve read about cutting and knitting the skins and some years ago bought a neckwarmer that I think was made this way. I shall have to do some experimenting.Thank you for all the info.

  3. Maybe a rabbit shrug. Or mittens (fur inside of course). Don’t think I would knit them… Sounds as though you’re in transition, or suspension between seasons.

    1. A rabbit shrug should be straightforward, though I’m not sure how easy it will be to stitch the skins together.
      Yes, we’re in that odd transition when it seems like winter one day and spring the next. Hoping spring will soon win.

  4. Fur trimmed hat for me – my Pa used to just scrape them and stretch the skins still Fresh and warm on the fence for a few months – can’t imagine they would be at all soft. c

  5. You made me laugh with identifying things from the freezer – why is it when we put them in it is quite obvious what they are, then some time later they take on mysterious identities. Is it bolognaise sauce or rhubarb … I know I could label them but that is too easy. I love the comment above about the Cree knitting up strips of rabbit skin. I’m looking forward to seeing what eventuates!

    1. Each year I vow to label clearly but even when I do write on the box it often rubs off or the writing gets hidden in the folds of a bag. Still considering the rabbit skins 🙂

    1. Not very organised style! As Anna says, why do we think it will be blindingly obvious what each frozen chunk is? Must get better at labelling.

  6. You’ve reminded me I have raspberries kicking around in my freezer and how much we all enjoyed your raspberry loaf cake recipe when I made it last year. Good luck with the rabbit skins. I have absolutely no suggestions or advice to give!

  7. A rabbit lined cloak would be lovely and warm, but I’m not sure I could wear it today. If I were a Tudor living in Penshurst Place or Bayleaf Farmhouse in Chiddingstone I definitely would. Our roe deer, mother and twins, are still browsing the plots and nibbling buds off the fruit trees. It’s strange but I haven’t seen a rabbit for months, perhaps they’ve all emigrated to your farm. My cake du jour is Sarah Raven’s rhubarb upside down cake.

    1. I agree about the fur lined cloak; perhaps a little fur trim on something would be more appropriate. Our rhubarb is almost ready for pulling so am now off to search out the upside down cake recipe.

  8. if you are looking for gift idea’s the hides will sew up into awesome purses, that can be made old fashion with bone or horn button, or they can be upscale with 1930;s style jewelry.. my rabbit purses are always commented on

    or I second, make into stripes, , sew down the sides so fur both sides, and then sew into equal lengths and make into knitted (sort of) scarf.. I have three rabbit ones.. love them

  9. That raspberry loaf looks so good Anne. As always. As for the rabbit skins…this reminds me of my mother in law. In years gone by she preserved (is that the right word?) all sorts of skins…goats, foxes, rabbits and even snake skins. Some were rugs on the floor, some on beds and the snakes skins made unique hat bands for her son’s cowboy/farm hats. Your rabbit skins look very fluffy. Keep us updated!

    1. Goodness, your mother in law has been very productive. I hope I never get the chance to preserve a snake skin! The rabbit skins are very soft and fluffy but still just sitting on a chair waiting for inspiration to strike me.

  10. I requested your Raspberry Loaf Cake for my birthday. It was a great success so it is coming back for Easter!! thanks for sharing the recipe.

Comments are closed.