Wednesday, March 9, 2011

The Cure for Winter Boredom: Simple Pleasures

I have had the extreme displeasure of being trapped in the city all winter thus far. Since hunting season closed that is. I have also had the extreme displeasure of living in Winnipeg, Manitoba, whose winter's are quite unfathomable to most of the worldly population. This has forced me to come up with some simple indoor projects to occupy my time and sometimes my brain. I am guilty of being a procrastinator at times. Some of these projects were ones I had intended to do ages ago and have only gotten around to just recently. My brain must have had a subliminal motive to save these projects for winter for they really did give me something entertaining to do in desperate times of boredom.

Project One: Bleaching My Bear Skull
 Here you will already see a fine example of my procrastination skills. Some of you are probably thinking,
"Didn't she shoot that bear back in September?" 
Well yes, as a matter of fact I did!
The skull was boiled in September after I got the bear, then placed on an ant hill under a pot in a friend's back yard. When I decided it would be a good idea to finally bleach the skull, I had to go poking and digging my way through two and a half feet of snow to get the darn thing out! I plan these things out to a tee, you see.
I thought the skull looked pretty clean compared to when I stuck it under the pot and figured bleaching it would be a breeze. Well.. A warning to first time skull bleachers, as I was, this is a job that can get pretty messy, pretty fast! I had done a bit of a poll through good 'ol Facebook to get opinions on how exactly to do the bleaching; peroxide or chlorine bleach was my main question, and decided to go with the peroxide. I went down to the drugstore and almost felt criminal loading my basket with bottles of peroxide, nearly clearing their shelf of it. I got home, placed the skull in a big pot where it could be completely submerged and began pouring in the peroxide. I now have a vision embedded in my brain to accompany the phrase "Double Double Toil and Trouble"  As  I said, I thought the skull was pretty clean. I was wrong. That pot bubbled and fizzed and gurgled like nothing I have seen. It was nasty. I would take it out periodically and brush it with a toothbrush to try to remove some of the yellow and brown and every time I put it back in the pot it would start bubbling up all over again with no new peroxide added. I'm no chemist but it would be interesting to know what kind of reaction was taking place in there to cause such bubbling.

When the skull was as white as I thought it was going to get I removed it from the pot and let it dry. Many of the teeth had fallen out as all of the connective tissue around them had disintegrated. I don't think my 3% drugstore peroxide was quite strong enough as there was still an odor to the skull after. I gave it a quick soak in some bleach water to try to eliminate the smell after. Then I fully dried it and glued the teeth back in.

That is as far as I went with the process but got a few other tips from my Facebook poll. One being that I should soak the skull in white gas to draw out the remaining oils after bleaching which would remove the odor. This step I could not complete as I live in an apartment with a room mate and the smell of gas would surely be grounds for eviction. Another tip was to seal the skull with a mixture of white glue and water. Some even said they had spray painted their skulls ivory to seal them, though I'm not fond of that idea myself.


Project Two: Creating My First Venison Chili
This, to some, may seem a common occurrence, but for a first timer I was pretty excited to finally make venison chili. In fact I had never made any chili from scratch before. I found a recipe online which I roughly followed, adding my own spices and ingredients as I saw fit. I did not write down sizes of cans I dumped in that crock pot or weigh out the meat which I ground and wrapped myself in a 'that looks about right' hunk.. So my recipe is vague, but here are the ingredients that I used:

1 package ground venison
1 big can crushed stewed tomatoes
1 big can kidney beans
1 can brown beans
1 can sliced black olives
1 can corn niblets
1 can tomato paste
1 fresh green pepper- chopped
1 fresh red pepper- chopped
5 fresh jalapeno peppers- chopped
5-6 fresh celery stalks- chopped
3-5 cloves fresh crushed garlic
chili powder
cayenne pepper
cumin spice

I know this is not really going to help anyone who wants to make this but that's the best I can do. I tend to just throw things together and taste it as I go. It turned out so well though. So well that I guess I forgot to take a picture of it when it was actually cooked. This photo was taken when I had just finished tossing everything into the slow cooker. The slow cooker is my hero by the way. It makes me look like i know how to cook...

Project Three: Painting an Old Dresser
This one is as simple as it sounds. Someone gave me an old dresser that was once white and was looking like it had been around for a while, so I decided to slap some paint on it. It's much prettier now.

And last but not least...

Today's Project:

Yes I am in bed. That is a heated duvet. I love it dearly. I also love coffee. 

Until next time.

Time to think of some more projects.........


  1. The Bear skull is really cool. It makes for a very nice piece and it looks like you did a very nice job with it!

  2. The skull looks great! I have never bleached a skull myself, so this is interesting reading how you did it. I also have a fondness for caffeinated brew and that photo just makes me want to go get a cup! Stay warm up there.

  3. I have never bleached a skull before but I would now that I've seen how nice yours looks! Wow, you did an awesome job!

  4. Great story I had the same experience bleach a smallbuck skull It stank bad!!! After all that work I lost the skull & rack in a move


  5. The skull looks great. I can't imagine the winters in Winnipeg. It get to 10 here and I've had enough.

  6. It's bloody cold here that's for sure. We all laugh at that groundhog day business because we KNOW we are screwed either way.
    Thanks for the compliments on the skull. I would recommend doing the gas soaking thing if you are able to. As I look at the skull now compared to the picture above I think it has gotten a bit yellow again. From what I was told the key is to get all the oils out to prevent odor and future discoloration. I'm still quite happy with it though.

  7. Here is a link to the way I do my skulls. You might like to try it. Wild Ed

  8. The skull came out great, and the chili looks good. Spring will be here soon.

  9. Nice job on the bear skull! Did a bull moose skull last year--ton of work. Still plenty of snow here in SW Montana at 7,000 feet or so, but the valleys FINALLY warmed up this past weekend...

  10. I don't think I could ever bleach my own skull.. but I won't say never! Looks like you did a great job! .... and I LOVE that pink dresser!! :-)

  11. Great blog! Nice to see a female hunter out there inspiring others...I'm a female game warden and don't run into too many women in the field. Thanks again, and will look forward to checking back! (I'll add a link to your site on my blog)

    Fish Cop