There is a tree in our front yard that is a home to crows, the crows fly in and out of the tree all day. During the school term the crows steal food from the grounds, they steal yogurt containers, muesli bars, and tuck shop paper bags. All of the rubbish from the food ends up under the tree. But then something started to happen, there were dead animals under the tree every day for 5 days. A rat, another rat, a top knot pigeon, a lorikeet, another rat. I started to expect a corpse under the tree after a few days.
I buried all of the animals under the tree in among all of the litter under the tree. It’s a huge pine so there are heaps of needles and dirt underneath to bury the animals.
After that first 5 days we’ve only seen a few more dead animals under the tree. Mostly old ones, like half mummified rats and bird parts. Today I was reminded of all of the animals the showed up under the tree over that week after my partner mowed under the tree uncovering the poorly buried bodies (it’s super dry under the tree and hard to dig up).
As I have a bit of a collections of bones and body bits the corpses under the tree don’t bother me and I can easily bury them when they do show up. We don’t think the crows were actually killing the the animals but that the rats were poisoned (there were heaps of dead rats in the area at the time) and that a cat originally killed the birds and the crows stole the bodies.
I’ve wanted to learn taxidermy since I was small, late primary school age, probably about 10. When I was in year 8 (the first year of high school in Australia) I said that I wanted to be a taxidermist (when asked “what do you want to be when you grow up?”) Wanting to be a taxidermist (and actually saying that) are probably not the best moves for someone just starting high school, but whatever.
I finally got a chance to try it out in one of Mickey Alice Kwapsis’ workshops when she came to Brisbane.
Very excited to try more taxidermy. In fact I have to order some scalpels this evening.
When the rabbit was first done I had to pose it It has dried out really well but is a bit top heavy.
Whenever I work with resin I always end up with a little bit spare so I decided to coat this cicada shell. I slathered it in resin all over and then rolled it over every 15 mins for about 1.5 hours. After that I hung the guy up on a toothpick and as the resin slowly dripped off I picked it up and kept dripping it on. After about 2-3 hours the resin was getting very thick so I left the cicada to cure.
I am impressed with how the cicada has turned out as I really had no clue what I was doing. It is very hard and sturdy. I think I could do a second coat of resin to get this even sturdier and wear as a necklace, or add a brooch pin.
This St Andrews Cross Spider was in a web in our yard for all of Summer and she has thousands of babies! It seemed like she had a new green egg sack every week.
In late May I found her all dried out and dead in her web. I left her there for a couple of days and then thought I’d like to pop her into a jar to wear as a necklace. I’ve collected a Chrysalis top from a plant in our yard (I followed a creature from Caterpillar to Butterfly, though did not see if emerge) and wear that so thought it would be nice to have another creature who was a fixture in the yard for a time to wear.
She was quite a bit too large to squeeze into the jar opening so I kept setting her aside and thinking about it. Unfortunately last night some creature got to her and ate the body, leaving me a pile of legs and a small part of head. oh no! Though she is now safely sealed in a jar for me to wear.
I’ve been wanting to start a blog series about my most treasured possessions, so here it is, post one in the series.
My treasures fill my space. Some are books, some things, some significant because of where they came from and what they mean.
I’ve had this book-Biological Drawings- for about 20 years. The copy I have was published in 1957. It is in fairly good condition considering it is a soft cardboard cover and has been kept in my room that tends to be filled with bugs who eat books, in fact it looks rather untouched by bugs. Perhaps it was covered in some sort of bug repellent many years ago.
Biological Drawings is one of my most favourite things. Not only is it an old book but it is about anatomy of both plants and animals and was written by a woman. I loved looking at the dissected rabbit when I was younger. Recently I’ve most enjoyed the insects and the plants.
I love the little rabbit hands up near its head, all trapped by the removing of the skin.
Below, some of the plant drawings.
I was reading these bird beak descriptions to my cockatiel last night.
The only typewritten text is that on the cover, the inside cover and the index. The rest is handwritten. Another reason why I love it.
Just because I like this beetle. This is a common beetle in Brisbane around Summer, though i do not know what it is called. I found this little dead fellow and he is now living in this box, in another box with some other beetles. I would like to pop the little guy in a glass and wood case but the problem is that there are no longer any loose Naphthalene flakes or little mothballs in Australia, so I am not sure how to keep tiny critters away once it is in the box? Any hints would be wonderful.