Wednesday, March 21, 2012

How to Dust a Buffalo

No. The computer is not fixed. I am using the old one, and takes longer to think that I do (which is saying something there...) and just the fact that I am posting should be a testimonial to how much I think of you all. Well, how much I think of you and how tired of reading about arthritis and fibromyalgia I am. Those two things.

In any case, just in case you were wondering, I am here to pass along a helpful household tip. How to dust your buffalo. First you vacuum thoroughly. Be careful to notice whether your beast is losing hair or not. Ours does not appear to be, but the taxidermist tells us that even if Corney sheds himself bald, in those days, animals were taxidermied (is that a word?) with their skulls, in as much as there were no forms like we have today to stretch the skin over. So if Corney suddenly develops a case of alopecia, don't throw him away because a buffalo skull from that era is nearly as valuable as the mount. Just a tidbit I throw out there because I never knew this until today.

So, you thoroughly vacuum your buffalo. Then you take a bucket of water with a small amount of Murphy's Oil Soap and you gently shampoo the buffalo by using a wash cloth to work the soap solution from the roots up. Again, 'gently' is the key word. Murphys Oil Soap will not leave a residue when it dries. The taxidermist cautions me that this is a job that will take hours. Also suggested not to use paper towels unless I wanted to be picking bits of white paper out of buffalo fur forever, which, ironically, I decided that I didn't want to do.

I asked him about the history of taxidermy, which he was happy to share. Taxidermy was a for rich people in that day, and they were considered artists. Taxidermists, not the rich people. I asked him, on a whim, if they signed their work. Some did. Some did not, it turns out. It would be interesting to examine Corney more closely for a mark that might lead us to be able to identify his maker, which would be a big clue.

The taxidermist says, "You've got yourself a true piece of American history there," in an admiring sort of way, and he invites us to call him if we have any other questions. He seems just as interested in the possibilities of the story as I am. I like that.

This whole story is interesting, alright, a real mystery, something to be teased apart and studied. I was reading about rich men on trains speeding across the plains shooting buffaloes in such numbers that there were not enough left for the Indians, and by the time it was all said and done the bisons were an endangered species. (The Native Americans did not make out much better, as far as that goes.) Such greed and selfishness! My chin rested in my hand as I created pictures in my head to go with the awful story I was reading. Suddenly, the computer flashed, and began to go crazy before my very eyes. Perhaps it is the revenge of the native Americans.

I leave you with one last question to consider. It seems quite an affront to call the buffalo Cornelius. In all likelihood, our poor friend was slaughtered and left to rot on the prairie sans wooly head. We will be having a name the buffalo contest, with a prize to be named later, after I've pondered this awhile. So get your thinking caps on.


Kelly said...

Interesting (and I do love the smell of Murphy's Oil Soap!) I'm quite afraid to take the vacuum hose to any of our ducks, though.

*trying to picture a hairless buffalo skull mounted on your wall*

Caroline said...

I've always wanted to know how to dust a buffalo. Thank you.

quid said...

I've been searching the internet to find tips on my own buffalo. So. Thank you!


BUSH BABE said...

Thinking cap... now WHERE did I put that thing. I think it might be with the odd socks.

I guess we can all check off the 'investigate buffalo dusting techniques' item on our Must Do checklist. Amazing, the stuff you learn round here.

Lori said...

Well, I should have read this before I posted my previous comment! lol We don't use a vacuum on the elk head because I'm always afraid it will take out too much hair.