we scored a 9+ cubic feet used chest freezer for $100, so i have space for all the hides at home now. & we’ve moved off our boat & into an apartment for the season, since we’re both working full time & want to maintain some sanity while doing the whole job thing. so i have a porch & stoop area to work in that’s a bit more visually private than the docks were.
we had a pretty serious freezer issue when i put the hides in back in november - i went off to see my brother, & after about a month or so Jon went to check on the hides, and they STANK. apparently the freezer had been set on ‘low’, and the hides were not frozen, just cold. those that had been taking the longest to buck & weren’t quite bacteriologically stable yet, began to rot.
in order to get all the hides safely out of the rented freezer (without pissing off the owner of the rental place & wrecking their equipment), we had to turn the freezer off for a day, come back the next day, remove what hides we could, spray the whole thing down with bleach, wait another day, & then come back for the last stubborn hides that had sort of melted down in between the rungs of the shelving & refrozen there. we decked the truck out like it was being used for hazmat to transport the hides, because the ones that were most at-risk when everything thawed back in november had Dripped onto the bags below, and made everything pretty seriously stanky.
i then gave the freezer a severe, bleach-heavy cleaning. moments like those are why i very strongly prefer dirt floored huts & places with permafrost. i’d rather not deal with the whole ‘getting fancy civilized things messy’ problem. Jon was nearly dry heaving from the smell of the hides, while I was gagging over the bleach. in the end, i got the freezer plenty clean.
so - hides that were frozen wet got put into a trash can until they thawed enough to be pulled out of their bags & put into a bucking solution. dried hides just got new, clean bags & were stashed under the porch.
as everything thawed, i was able to get a better sense of which hides had gotten compromised, & ended up trashing 2. there are 2 or 3 more that i’ll only salvage about half of by the time i’m done, as portions of the hide were too weakened to save.
above is the nice fresh batch of bucking solution with stinky, stinky hides in it as they lose the rest of their fur. there are 6 hides in there, some of which had already been ~80% stripped of fur.