I let temptation get the better of me and bought two air dried beaver pelts.

These guys are in the pickle right now.

While we’re on the subject of beaver, it’s probably time to pull the beaver skeleton from the maceration bucket and do some final clean up on him. I can’t decide if I want to whiten him or keep him the interesting shade of gray he came to me as…

The remains of this years Easter lamb from a friend of the family. This is the fourth year they’ve given me the left overs so I could clean the bones; it’s become a tradition and for the most part every one knows not to throw the bones away.

Apparently our friend got rather upset when his mother in law disappeared with the skull and split it open for the brains, then threw the skull in the trash. As you can see, he dug it out for me. It’s a nice clean split so I’m not too worried about it.

As usual when I get these lambs, the front limbs are missing (I think one of his family members takes them to make stew?), but other than that this one is pretty complete (at least, as complete as they get from where they get them every year). I pulled as much of the remaining meat off as possible and stuck it in the fridge, before putting the bones in a bucket for the dead corner of the yard.

As far as the Easter goat with my cousin goes, he wasn’t able to get one in time for Easter due to a flu outbreak at work. He hopes to get one in a few weeks instead, so hopefully I’ll still be getting a goat hide, skull, and legs.

So while cleaning out the shed, we found this little metal shelving unit that my grandfather had in his shoe shop. It had a bunch of quick rivets, eyelets, snaps, shoe tacks and other leather hardware and shoe stuff in the drawers. But it was really rusty and not a very attractive shade of green (in my opinion, at any rate).

So I decided to clean it up and refinish it. =) It’s now rust free and a nice apple red. The contents of the drawers have been filtered so anything too rusty or otherwise unusable is gone, and the rest nicely organized.

Also took the opportunity today to organize my outdoor work space. Look at all the stuff I haven’t finished, ahaha. There’s Freddy’s form (still slowly modifying it to fit him), the coyote shoulder form, the lamb (which I finally figured out how I’d like to finish!), the opossum, and some skulls. And a skeleton lawn gnome I’m fixing for my Dad on the small table, hidden behind the paper towel.

Sorry neighbors, I bet explaining the house with the skeletons on the porch is fun when your church group comes over.

Not quite dead things related, but I figured I’d share anyway.



Wolf Skull Processing: Kotzebue, Alaska

I’ve had wolf skulls sitting in water for the past couple days in my backyard. My buddy got them in Kotzebue and is storing them at my place. Today we pulled them out to find that they were encased in an ice cylinder. This is perfect because they were thawed enough to work with but weren’t in the slightest smelly.

So after checking out the hollow inside and seeing their eyes, we cracked open the ice container with a hammer and got the skulls out. We were mostly focused on removing the temporal and masseter muscles along with the tongue. One of my first cuts was going to the skull through the temporal muscle. It’s obvious with the depth of the muscle as to why these animals need sagittal crests.  

Finally I got the toungue out and inverted it some to expose a rough back portion of the tongue which looks like something that would be expected out of a cat. The cut trachea is also inverted. With much effort, the mandible was not completely disarticulated but was loosened up greatly exposing the palate and offering a better look at the dentition.

The wolves are now each in their own bucket and will be macerating for roughly a month before their progress is checked.