What starts out with a seal swimming in the ocean, and continues on to gutting, removing the intestines and cleaning them on the ice, to removing the blubber from the meat, the skin from the blubber, the meat from the bones, stripping that meat, hanging it to dry, ends with cleaning the meat, boiling the ingalauqs, and rendering the oil.
Which takes about a week and a half total.
And I'm FINALLY Done. And my body boycotts Ugruk and Seal Oil for about a month after this process because I am already so tired after working full time, that when I have to cut and gut, and strip, and hang, and render...I wear myself out.
But I am happy. My sister in Texas is happy. My mom is happy. And everyone who will share in our bounty will be happy too. Which makes it all worthwhile.
And if you've ever wondered how we render the oil, here's a video of my 8 year old "teaching" my cousin who made the mistake of asking her, "is this the way you do it..." how to correctly cut the blubber into strips to throw into the buckets, that will sit in the shed to self-render (melt essentially) into Seal Oil.