Tag Archives: branson missouri

My Father-in-Law is a Taxidermist

He lived most of his life in Aurora, Illinois and based on what I’ve heard from those that used his services, he’s a damned good taxidermist. I’ve seen bad taxidermy, so in my limited knowledge of the art, I’d have to say he does a pretty good job.

He now lives outside of Branson, Missouri and has a garage and a couple of storage sheds filled with his creations.

I’ll get to that.

Apparently my wife has had her eye on one piece in particular for her whole life, a bobcat. She put dibs on it as hers when she was young and her dad has hung onto it for her all these years. On a Thanksgiving weekend trip to visit him last year, the bobcat was packed up and transported home.

It took here awhile to figure out where to put it. She had to give some consideration to the climbing abilities of one of our cats and whether or not the cat would take offense to the intruder in the house. The bobcat sits up high enough that, so far anyway, no fights for territory have ensued.

It does make an interesting conversation piece.

I like the overall composition of the bobcat, squirrel and log.

Also last year a camera crew came out to film his collection and do an episode on him for one of the cable shows. In typical old guy fashion, he can’t recall if it was History Channel, Travel Channel or some other one. He does think it will be aired some time in March, we’ll see.

Following is a bunch of pictures taken of his collection. He didn’t hunt for the bulk of these, he buys skins and forms and puts them all together simply because he enjoys the challenge. He has a chest freezer full of more of them. Other skins are handed to him by other hunters that have no use for them. It’s a wide ranging collection.

As you look through these keep in mind that this is what my wife’s house looked like as a kid. Stuffed animals were in every room, down hallways and on stair landings. As she said, imagine waking up in the middle of the night, half asleep, and every place you turn you’re faced with one of these things.

Used to give her nightmares.

He also has a pretty good sense of humor.

Then, there’s his bow collection. At last count he had somewhere around 200 longbows and recurves, he won’t hunt with or shoot compound bows. I have five of them that he’s letting me play with.

The plan is to use either the longbow or the longbow with a slight recurve on my first bow hunt for deer, if I can get my act together and get out and do it.

But that’s a story for next year.

Thanksgiving Weekend in Missouri

Spent the long Thanksgiving weekend at my father-in-laws house 20 miles east of Branson Missouri. That’s the same as saying out in the middle of nowhere.

I had planned on driving around, which I did, taking pictures, which I didn’t.

The reason is that there are no straight roads in that part of Missouri. There are no flat stretches of road either. Taking pictures while driving was out of the question unless I wanted to drive off a cliff. Pulling over was also out of the question, the side roads with the best views had no shoulders.

What few pictures taken were all taken while wandering down the hill behind the house. We were tracking deer and following what started out to be a little trickle of water that runs past the house.

Mid day view from the house.

My father-in-law owns about 5 acres, but as far as I could tell, his nearest neighbor out his backyard was about three quarters of a mile away. No clue who owns all the land in between.

Out of the rocks, springs would flow.

The view down the hill.

Each spring made the creek a bit bigger.

And a bit bigger.

The woods are made up mainly of red cedar trees, this one was the biggest and oldest. The trunk was easily 3 feet in diameter.

My brother-in-law giving a waterfall some sense of scale.

That same waterfall. There's another, bigger one further down, but we never made it.

Why we never made it further down.

Even when you could see the sun light, it seemed much darker in these little canyons.

Chances are, out here, it will be number 3.

The view from the yard at sunset.

I’ve been to Missouri twice in the past. I’ve always noticed that there is something odd about the sky and how the clouds relate to their surroundings. Not sure how to describe it, but if you do a search on the paintings of Thomas Hart Benton, you’ll see I’m not the only one that noticed this.

Check this out, you’ll see what I mean.

Thomas Hart Benton