Art on Short notice

When the water oak in his front yard died, Dasher Short knew it would have to come down. But not all the way down.

Frequently walking the streets of his Goodwood Place neighborhood, Short noticed a stump on Sheffield Avenue that had been carved into a fleur-de-lis. That got him thinking when it was time for the tree service to remove his tree.

“I just told them to leave an 11-foot stump there until I figured out what I wanted to put in there,” Short said.

It didn’t take long to decide, and the result causes heads to turn when passing by.

Short hired chain saw artist Dayton Scoggins, of Laurel, Miss., and gave him a photo and an idea, and Scoggins did the rest. Now, the image of a large red-tailed hawk, wings spread and talons descending toward a squirrel, towers above his yard.

“They’re all over the neighborhood and that happens frequently,” said Short, who lives at 1462 Audubon Ave.

Scoggins has won international competitions for chain saw carving. He and his son, Kenny, did the work April 11-13, which included a cedar-colored preservative coating which, if reapplied yearly, should keep the hawk in flight and the squirrel in mortal peril for about 25 years, Short said. Scoggins drilled holes at the base of the stump, inserted sticks of boron and covered the sticks with dowels to keep the termites at bay.

The feedback was immediate.

“People like it,” he said. “How many more have you seen around town?”

The carving cost $2,500, which Short said is reasonable considering the finished product.

“You can go buy an Oriental rug and spend $4,000 or a piece of artwork for your wall that’s 2-by-2 and spend that amount of money, and it’s not as dramatic,” he said.