I finished mounting my squirrel today, here is the skin stretched over the form, sewn shut, but not tucked and pinned in the face:
I think the blow-drying is one of my favorite parts. I imagine clipping barrettes and bows on furry heads and tails. Unfortunately my skin had some oily spots…possibly the grease had transferred from the inside to the outside via the many beebee holes in the pelt. This will be remedied later after the mount has dried.
Finished mount, hanging in dead pose. I took particular care when pinning the eyes to give it that “deathly downward gaze” appearance.
A guest taxidermist was in the shop today, skinning a porcupine. Amazingly, he didn’t prick himself once. I had the bright idea of using a porcupine pelt as a bike helmet cover, and as usual was greeted with blank stares when I voiced this thought.
When Porcupine Guy learned about my penchant for wasting no part of the animal, he gave me a tooth from his specimen. I was amazed to see how much marrow is stored inside those fangs.
I began skinning my fox, which had been shot by my classmate’s husband and generously gifted to me. I spent about twenty minutes combing briars out of the fur with a metal comb before I could begin.
For lunch, Mr. B treated us to lunch at the local diner. He said we absolutely had to try the burger; it was an experience. When our meals arrived, I damn near crapped my pants. The pattie was the diameter of the plate, with a regular sized bun sitting atop it, looking like some kind of joke. Unfortunately I didn’t have my camera at the diner, but I took a picture of my leftovers. This is the half of the burger I didn’t eat.
After lunch we got a brief tour of the area, and Mr. B showed us around his property. There was a duck pond, a skating pond, barns, tractors, a horse corral, a chicken coup, and acres of woods and fields. I was a little overwhelmed. Country life is so different. It seems just as busy and crowded as city life but in a more autonomous way.
Back at the shop, I finished skinning my fox. The stench of a fox is mind-blowing. Their diet consists mostly of skunk, and the odor they emit can best be described as a combination of halitosis and burnt rubber. I think I lost a little of my tough chick street cred with everyone when I started gagging.
I’ve always marveled over the colors found inside a skin and assumed it was bruising. Apparently this greenish hue is actually oxidization on the pelt, which is one of the reasons taxidermists must work quickly. Taking too much time to skin a specimen allows bacteria to set in, and then once you get the rot, you’ve got a spook.
We tossed the carcasses outside because they were so stinky. Because the cold, they will remain undetected by other creatures until they can be properly disposed of. I took it upon myself to saw the heads off, which had Mr. B in fits.
I guess I gained my street cred back. It may seem disturbing, but I have a plan for these heads:
On the way back to the cabin, I dropped off “Little Ashes” at the rental joint and picked up Michael Jackson’s “This is it”. It was too cold to play on my hoop so I watched a bit of the movie and went to bed at 7:30pm.