Operation Lucretia: The Stink

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Lucretia is currently airing out on a towel in my living room. She doesn’t smell great, nor does the tub I had her soaking in, which is airing out outside. I honestly don’t have a very good reason for “airing her out” right now; I just sort of wanted to stare at her while I figure out what to do next.

She sat in plain water for nearly two weeks, with me changing out the water every few days. The first two times changing out the water I did a lot of manual cleaning of meat, tissue, and sinus cavity gunk. She was starting to smell pretty funky, and I feel like my fingers smelled like bone for the rest of the day (my boyfriend said I smelled like bones. I didn’t think that was very nice.)

My last time checking her before today she was looking pretty clean & fancy, but there was some pretty strange neon yellow coloring between her eye & ear cavity (I think it would be the zygomatic bone if it was a human. Maybe they have the same name if it’s on a pig? I might never know.)

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I’d heard of bones becoming strange colors during maceration, but never of neon yellow, so I went ahead and hit up Jana at the Bone Lust Blog to see what she knew. I haven’t heard back yet (not sure how often she gets on that blog anymore, but it’s still a tome of info and worth checking out).

I figured hydrogen peroxide would get rid of the color, so I went ahead and soaked Lucretia in the tub filled with water again, but this time adding about a cup of hydrogen peroxide. I let her go for about a week, and then pulled her out today.

First – she looks so clean! I see a teeny bit of gunk still in her sinus cavity, but a lot of the tiny meat bits stuck in the mandible are gone. She’s definitely lighter in color as well.

I think my plan is to let her soak for a few more days in hydrogen peroxide, then kindly ask a friend of mine with a backyard patio if Lucretia can hang out there for a few days. At that point, I’ll decide if I’m happy with her color, and either soak her again in hydrogen peroxide, or call it quits.

lucretia on stump

And here she is looking god-damn classy on top of a tree stump. I figured a pig skull and a tree stump might have a thing or two in common they could chat about. #severedremains

Anyhow, I was really happy when I pulled her out of the tub today. She’s starting to look like a very beautiful dead thing that anyone would be happy to have around their house. Right? RIGHT??

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Operation Lucretia: New Skull Preservation Project

wifi and chocolate cake

WiFi, my first skull. And chocolate cake.

Lucretia is the 3rd pig skull I’ve preserved, so it’s definitely starting to seem like a thing. I strongly believe that the 3rd time you’ve done a thing means it’s become a “thing you do,” and you owe the world an explanation when you stop doing it. OTHERWISE THEY’LL SHAME YOU FOREVER.

I’ve done slightly more research on how to process Lucretia then I did for my previous pig skulls (which was nearly “none whatsoever”). The Bonelust Blog has been the most helpful. Though, honestly, for sort of hacking my way through the process, both WiFi and Piggy Stardust have turned out and held up pretty well.

Piggy Stardust was probably the least stressful to process since I had the benefit of a huge sunny yard, and was able to just plop him outside when I got frustrated with picking tiny bits of meat out of his teeth. Nature worked wonders on cleaning out his skull. However, I’ve moved to a new apartment now, and putting Lucretia outside would certainly worry the neighbors, or even worse, entice the neighbors.

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Piggy Stardust, processing outside.

I got Lucretia from the restaurant just today – I believe her face meat was made into head cheese, so just about all of the meat and fat on her face are gone – looks like her brain (or at least parts of it are) is still inside, and plenty of tissue and other gunky stuff inside the nostrils. But the hard work has really been done for me already.

 

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I’m soaking her skull and her mandible in just plain water, and letting bacteria work some magic before I get into  manually cleaning out the rest. I used a combination of chop sticks, a toothbrush, and a table knife previously, and those will probably be my go-to tools this time as well, because I’m a professional who plows into skulls with chopsticks at weird hours of the night. After I feel like I’ve gotten her sufficiently clean enough, I’ll soak her in a hydrogen peroxide & water solution, which is what I’ve used before with great results, and seems to be strongly recommended via the Internet.com.

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Lucretia will be living in the bucket for awhile. Will update when she emerges.

Honestly, I’m lucky that she comes to me already so clean, though having a skull that’s gone through a braising process probably weakens it some (I think?) and definitely colors the skull. It’ll probably take a bit longer to lighten her up.

I’m still learning a lot of this as I go, so if you’re reading this and have any experience or tips in skull processing, I am more than happy to hear them, or get set straight in some assumption I’m making.