Sunday, July 22, 2012

Bag of Bones

Over on our absent neighbor's property, I've been walking by the remains of a very, very dead cow for seven or eight years now.  Every year that cow just keeps getting deader -- the carcass gradually transforming into bleached bones poking out of the weeds.  At some point, the skull disappeared (I think the new owners of the property took it).  The last few years, the bleached bones have finally given up the struggle with the weeds and are slowly being covered. 

I like these bones very much and have had designs on them for some time.  I brought home two of the leg bones as hand weights on a day I went walking and forgot my real weights.  I set them on the porch rail and looking at them every day, I came up with a brilliant idea to re purpose them and give them a second life:  cow bones as fence art.  Yes!

So yesterday I went walking with the dogs and brought a canvas bag along for hauling cow bones.  I first gathered the bones that were sticking up from the dry grass first and then rooched around with a rib to locate the buried ones.  When I got the bag as stuffed as I could get it, the dogs and I set off for home.

Bone transport to orchard garden

Bones are heavy -- really heavy.  I tried walking with the bag in my left hand.  Then in my right hand.  Then on my shoulder.  Finally I slung the bag over my back and there it was easier to carry.  However, the bump-bump-bumping of those knobbly bones left bruises all over my lower back.  I can say I suffered pain for my art.  Whatever.

The bones -- now in the orchard garden

My grand idea is to construct a low rock wall - 3 or 4 foot - at the base of the upper garden fence.  Then I will (somehow) attach the bones to the wire fence above the wall, where they will serve as art and a fireproof source of a little shade.  This last is important because there is an electrical pole with a transformer right there and we can have nothing flammable within 30 feet of it. 

This is sorta-kind-of my idea for the bones.  Somehow to be wired to the fence so that they can be seen and appreciated.  My hope is that this will not look ghoulish and bizarre, but natural and "right."  We'll see.

I must build the wall first.  A job for this evening, now that the sun has set and the temperature is at last under 100 degrees.  Once again I'm reminded that I'm not in Northern Germany anymore.  Sniff.


  1. Leslie.my son in law would be very proud of you.!!
    He also sees the beauty and artistic value of bleached animal bones and has loads of them arranged in various places around the farm and even in the house. I am not so enthusiastic about them but each to there own,as we say here.
    He also carves bone to make handles for the walking sticks he makes,and bone animals,they are very good,much better than the sheep skulls adorning the wall in the entrance hall.
    If I show him this post I can see the farm being surrounded by bone fences.
    Good luck with your project,will show him a picture of the finished fence,if you post a picture of it.

  2. Good to know that there's a bone-collecting kindred spirit out there. I'm quite impressed that your son in law can also carve bone -- I imagine that there aren't too many people out there who have this skill anymore. I'd love to see his work.

    You can be sure I'll post pictures when the bone fence actually comes into existence. However, this may be a loooong time in the future, at the rate projects get completed around here!