BY CRAIG MORGAN
JONESTOWN — The warmth, coziness and real feel of natural furs are reasons to indulge in a fur coat or vest, but better yet, in the past few years fur prices have plummeted to those of yesteryear.
So just like the stock market, when the price is down, BUY! Decorating a home, cabin, man cave or any room, wall or corner, is now an affordable reality in addition to wearable items.
Trappers play a vital role in wildlife management — such as containing rabies and other diseases transferred from animals to humans, pets and livestock; property damage control by removing beavers; and predator control such as coyotes and other predators killing pets and livestock.
Recent Facebook photo posts of trappers’ success, from skunks to coyotes, and the price lists for raw, untanned hides, provide inspiration to purchase furs and have them tanned. Purchasing furs can help transform hunting camps or hunting-themed rooms into a Mountain Man or other outdoors theme.
Recently, a post on social media mentioned a local small business that transformed furs into works of art. Raccoon coats, fox vests, possum teddy bears, otter arrow quivers and so much more are offered by Ryan and Renee Carpenter, who started R & R Trading Post in 2013.
Located on a small farm in northern Lebanon County, the Carpenters have three young children and are raising them with an “old-school, homesteader, self-sufficient type mentality” according to their web page story. Ryan has been a trapper for 10 years and Renee has been around sewing machines her whole life, which allows her to turn furs into personalized orders.
Having bought furs of various species the past few years from local trappers Steve Strouse of Orwigsburg and Mark Blouch of Bethel, they were shipped to a tannery. Some furs were purchased to use at outdoors recreation events and others were kept for decorating, but after seeing the products that R & R Trading Post produces, my decorating prowess took a step up.
R & R does it all, from custom made, to pre-made, with a client’s furs or their furs. What’s even better is that their prices are extremely competitive.
R & R Trading Post isn’t just for male outdoorsmen. Renee Carpenter makes her own goat milk skin and soap products in vanilla, lavender, cinnamon spice, pine and other scented products. And, all are made from the milk from their own goats.
Some clients have a pattern in mind, while others like to shop for ideas. Samples of various products are pictured on their Facebook page, and for those looking for fur products this is a great way to support a small, family owned local business and local conservation trappers.
R and R Trading Post is located at 220 Cemetery Road, Jonestown, with hours by appointment; for information call 717-865-4597 or go to www.RandRtradingpost.com.
Morgan is a member of the Pennsylvania Outdoor Writers Association. Contact the writer: email@example.com