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Thursday, May 30, 2024

Talk of the Street

A Historic District tree stump is revived with carved wood owl.

When Robert Nicholls’ beloved tulip poplar in front of his home faced a snuffed-out existence, he opted to “turn lemons into lemonade,” he says, and have the tree shaped into a beautiful wood carving.

“The tree was healthy, growing, with nothing wrong with it,” he says. “But its roots had been ground out on purpose to make way for a neighbor’s driveway. It was very unfortunate.”

He asked the city to leave the stump eight feet tall, the perfect height for a carving closer at eye level with the families walking their dogs through the neighborhood, or the school children who wait for the bus by the old tree.

While visiting The Reindeer Farm in Bowling Green, Kentucky, Robert, his wife Emma, and their family met chainsaw carving artist B.J. Raymer while he was creating and displaying carvings at the farm.

Photo of B.J. Raymer provided by source

Raymer, a firefighter in Owensboro, Kentucky, started a chainsaw carving side gig, Glowing Jacks Carving, four years ago to destress. Liking Raymer’s wood carvings and bravado, Nicholls picked up his business card and later hired him.

The Nicholls family landed on a barred owl. One lived in the neighborhood and would perch and hoot from the tree’s branches.

“You could say we wanted to honor the owl,” Nicholls says.

The carved owl took four days to complete in February, and almost every minute, passersby would stop and take note.

“I told B.J., ‘Bring a sign and put it next to your work. There are going to be a lot of people asking us who did it,’” says Nicholls. “I warned him: ‘I think this carving will generate a lot of interest in your work.’”

Today, the owl is still the talk of the street.

“People will drive by, roll down their windows, and say that it is the coolest thing they’ve ever seen,” says Nicholls.

Raymer says he is happy with the positive response from the neighborhood.

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Maggie Valenti
Maggie Valenti
Maggie Valenti joined Tucker Publishing Group in September 2022 as a staff writer. She graduated from Gettysburg College in 2020 with a bachelors degree in English. A Connecticut native, Maggie has ridden horses for 15 years and has hunt seat competition experience on the East Coast.

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