Sunday, July 24, 2016

Warthogs - Cute or Ugly?

Mounting a Warthog

Garry mounted a warthog for a customer who collected the animal in Botswana. Warthogs are found in most areas of the southern two-thirds of Africa. The customer wanted the skull cleaned and finished in an antique copper patina. Garry casted the tusks and put the cast tusks into the shoulder mount and the real tusks are in the finished skull. The tusks should be removed every two years and lightly oiled with mineral oil or they will crack. 

Finished Warthog Mount

Cleaned skull with antique copper finish & real tusks inserted.

Warthog form with tusks fitted to manikin.

Warthog tanned cape ready to be added to the form.

Glass eyes are set in clay and form is covered with glue.
Turing the mount over allows Garry to sew the seams. 
Tusks are added back into the manikin.

Glued and pinned.

 Pins hold everything in place while it dries.

After drying, the skin color is restored with paint.

Finished mount

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Blues, BBQ, Bison, Birds, Bass Pro (and Elvis)

Memphis, TN & Land Between the Lakes 

In May, 2016 Garry and I drove from our home in Muskego, WI to Memphis, TN. Neither of us had been there before, and we wanted to check out Beale St. blues, BBQ and the (Grace)land of Elvis. We stayed two nights in a hotel in Memphis and then camped a few nights at the  Land Between the Lakes National Recreation Area  in southwestern Kentucky. 
Beale St. (Sorry about the garbage can photos)
We tried BBQ at The Pig On Beale one night and the next night went to  Silky O'Sullivan's, sat outside on the patio, listened to some great live blues and watched the diving goats. An Irish bar with BBQ and diving goats, yes, that's true. I didn't ask the goats if they were really Irish.

Everyone told us we needed to see Graceland while we were in Memphis. We were amazed at the size of the entire operation. Our basic ticket gave us access to the home and grounds tour and the car museum, as well as the memorabilia spread over several small museums in connected buildings. (I'm the car fan, Garry could care less). We saw a huge variety of costumes, gold records, movie memorabilia, as well as the cars. Of course there are several gift shops featuring every Elvis themed item you could think of. The actual home is across the street from the museum portion and the home was very modest by today's "celebrity" standards. 
A display outside of the museums and shops at Graceland

Graceland, the home itself. 

Outside of Museum of Elvis' cars. Big fins!

The Peacock Room at Graceland . We tried to imagine how many interesting people had been in the house during the time that Elvis lived there!

Memphis Riverfront

We took a tram over to the riverfront history museum, which has an outdoor scale replica of the entire Mississippi River.

The end of the scale model of the Mississippi River

 We also visited the Bass Pro store at the Pyramid. Garry wanted to see the the  Ducks Unlimited museum there. It also has a lodge and restaurant. 

Bass Pro at the Pyramid, Memphis, TN
After leaving Memphis, we drove to a camping area we reserved at Land Between the Lakes National Recreation Area. Garry asked me to find the shortest route on the printed map. I didn't recognize the map symbol for "ferry", so I mistakenly took us to the end of the road, where we had to ride this tiny ferry across the Cumberland Lake. It cost $1.00 and we had to phone the driver from our car and ask him to come across. It looked scary at first but was actually a calm & fun ride. 

We had no trouble finding our campsite and were pleased with the view. It was unseasonably cold, and I had to borrow some of Garry's clothes to add layers. Predicted nighttime temp of 60 was more like 40. But the showers and toilets were warm! 

We went to a nature center in the park. We also drove through a gated area where bison and elk are being kept. We stopped for quite a while to watch the bison. A big male came very close to the car and licked the wheels. 

Fallow Deer

Eastern Bluebird (Male)

Great Blue Heron

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Mounting a Standing Duck

Mounting a Standing Duck

Common Goldeneye 

Garry's favorite taxidermy project is bird mounting. Here are the basic steps to mounting a duck. The bird is skinned with a belly incision, fleshed, washed and dried. 

This photo shows the dried skin, artificial body made from a tracing of the bird carcass.  Garry hand makes his artificial bodies from excelsior. Most taxidermists buy pre-made foam bodies. The head is a cast of the real skull and bill, made from urethane plastic. Glass eyes are added to the artificial head. The bill is painted. The duck in the photo is a Common Goldeneye and it's bill is black. 

Leg wires are added and the belly seam is sewn. Pins hold the feathers in position until dry (about 2 weeks). The leg wires hold the bird to the branch in this mount. After drying, the colors are restored to the feet with paint. 

Common Goldeneye (Drake)

Monday, July 4, 2016

Oven Fried Fish Recipe

Garry has a great recipe for oven fried fish, which we hope is a healthier alternative to the deep-fried version. A few weeks ago he went fishing with his friend and caught their limit of 25 bluegills each. So, after a lot of fish-cleaning (by Garry, not me), we shared some with our family and had a good meal. 

The method is easy. You just need your fish, cleaned and filleted, olive oil in a spray bottle (I use a Misto) and some Bakin' Miracle coating mix. We've also used Fryin' Magic, but it seems too salty for our taste. We like to stop at local grocers when traveling, and our last experiment with "hot Cajun" coating mix resulting in burning mouths. 

  1. Preheat your oven to 500 degrees, with your rack or racks close to the center of the oven.
  2. Pour some of the coating mix into a shallow pan or bowl. 
  3. Spray your baking sheet with olive oil. 
  4. Coat each fish filet in the coating mix and place them on the pan. 
  5. Then - here's the trick to crispy fish: Take your Misto or spray bottle of oil and hold it about an inch from the fish fillet, and spray a bit on top. It should wet the coating and sort of drip down the sides. 
  6. Bake at 500 degrees for 8 minutes. No need to turn the fillets. You can add a little time if they are larger than average. Serve with lemon, tartar sauce, or our favorite, malt vinegar. 

 Bluegill fillets ready for the oven

Baked and ready to serve! 

Sunday, July 3, 2016

South Dakota Pheasant Hunting

Pheasant Hunting - October, 2015 Kimball, South Dakota

Pheasants Mounted for Curt's Client

In late October, 2015, Garry and a few friends traveled to Kimball, South Dakota. They spent some time duck hunting and then met up with some more friends from Wisconsin and Illinois who were pheasant hunting with Curt Korzan at his lodge, Grand Slam Pheasant Hunts. Curt offers a first-class hunting experience to groups of up to 20 hunters. They had a great hunt, as usual, with Curt. Garry has mounted a lot of display mounts in the lodge and offers bird mounting taxidermy services for many of Curt's clients.
The grand rustic lodge at Grand Slam Pheasant Hunts, Kimball, SD
I've been there with Garry, and it is gorgeous.
 Sunrise while duck hunting near Kimball, SD

 Garry Senk of Garry Senk Taxidermy and Gary Parsons from The 
with some pheasants.

 Garry and a drake bufflehead duck.

Bill Brandenburg from Clarkston, MI & Sid Hennekens from Mukwonago, WI 
with some ducks & pheasants

The weather was exceptionally warm for the first week in November.
Giving the dogs some water.

Another Pheasant Mount for a Client from Curt's Hunting Lodge 

Saturday, July 2, 2016

Grandpa Garry Fishing With the Grandkids

A post just for fun - While my daughter and I were in California visiting my son for a few days, Grandpa Garry took her husband and their daughters, Lily, age 9 and Sierra, age 5, fishing. He said there was lots of screaming with excitement and at one time Sierra said "fish on the loose!, fish on the loose!" when one came off the hook. 
 Lily's big catch!
Sierra's turn to catch one! 

The snapping turtle is a frequent visitor alongside the boat. Keep hands out of the water!