I managed to get my hands on a deer and an avian grab bag of sorts over the weekend which I was super excited about bringing into school today. So excited, in fact, that I got on Rt 80 the wrong way and by the time I corrected my mistake and made it to school I was half an hour late. I walked in on the middle of a fish demo. We are in the midst of the bird course but a friend of Mr. B’s is dying of cancer and called him over the weekend begging him to mount this trout that he’s caught, ASAP as he only had however many days/weeks left. I hear so much about cancer; it seems that everyone in B’s family has survived/succumbed to at least one form of it, and the other student is all too familiar with it as well. Is it a mountain thing?
Amway, he began by hand carving a form out of foam, and then gutting the fish. The skin was stretched over the form and sewn shut in back . I’m simplifying, obviously, because I can’t be giving the entire process away…
Here is the trout face, with paper towels keeping the cheeks puffed out. They will be removed later. Look at that tongue!
Bottom view of head-Epoxy will be applied after drying to fill in gaps where form is exposed.
Mounted Trout, with fins carded to keep them in an attractive and spread condition.
After the Trout was mounted and drying, we began skinning our Mallard ducks. I found this to be more challenging than pheasants, since they are so fatty. I managed to put several holes in my skin when degreasing it. A slight reprise though came when I simply cut the entire head out of the duck, instead of inverting it and needing to clean the skull, which is SUCH a drag. Apparently the beaks on Mallards simply have too much fleshy tissue on them so the method of choice is to airbrush artificial heads and stretch the skin over them. Here is my removed duck neck and head.
I’m learning more and more about regulations on what I may and may not possess as a taxidermist. The amount of permits I need to acquire to do just about anything is dizzying and somewhat disheartening, but I’m determined. In class, I’m a frequent inquirer, constantly asking “do people eat that?”, “How do you kill those?” and today my queries included but were not limited to making Trout-skin purses, the degree of edibility of fish eyes and applications for duck fat. The answers I receive aren’t always enthusiastic but I think he’s accepting the fact that I won’t stop pressing.
After school I went home and practiced on my hoop in the barn. I’ll take some video of that shortly; it’s a fun structure to spin in. My hosts stuck around and made dinner for Sarah and myself. I brought her up to keep me from feeling too lonely and to give her an opportunity to work on some essays for school in a quiet environment. Over dinner we learned the completely astounding circumstances which brought R & W to their dog, E. A story book detailing this caper is in the works so I can’t say much more but to say it’s nothing short of mind-blowing would be the undeniable truth.
After our meal, the boys left to drive back to Philly and Sarah and I relaxed with Martinis (her first!) and “Flight of the Conchords“.
Oh, and here’s a taste of the local grocery experience: