Artful menagerie

The chainsaw artistry of Fernando "Don" Dulnuan Jr. brought a dying oak tree back to "life" recently in the backyard of a Pecan Plantation residence. The finished work, featuring various animals and birds, is dubbed as "The Gathering."

“The Gathering” is the next-best thing to having a backyard zoo.

From the mercy killing of a large live oak tree — which Pecan Plantation homeowner Chris Reedy described as “magnificent” — sprang an intriguing artistic creation.

Reedy and his wife, Shelly, moved to their residence on Lansdowne Court in Pecan as retirees in May 2017. The backyard featured that “magnificent” oak tree, which had divided over the years into four main branches.

Sadly, the tree became the victim of oak wilt and, as Reedy said, “Our beautiful tree was dying.”

At first, the Reedys hired a tree trimmer to “delay the inevitable by removing all of the dead branches. Unfortunately, by the time he was done, there was not much left of the tree. Consequently, we decided to have the tree cut down.”

About two years ago, the Reedys had met Fernando “Don” Dulnuan Jr., who creates remarkable wood carvings using a chainsaw.

“His carvings are exquisite and we knew then if we ever lost our tree we would contact Don to help us turn our dead oak tree into a piece of art that will hopefully outlive us,” said Reedy, who became acquainted with Dulnuan when the chainsaw carving artist was offering some of his creations at a sale in Acton.

The Reedys decided to recruit Dulnuan to work his magic. He traveled from his home in Oklahoma to Pecan and went to work in the summer heat of late August.

A neighbor of the Reedys called the newspaper in August to give a heads up on the special project that he continued to work on until early September. Chris Reedy responded to an HCN inquiry with an email at that time that stated, “In all, the carving scene, which we have appropriately named, ‘The Gathering,’ will consist of 12 different carvings.”

Reedy noted that Dulnuan’s creation would include “three large eagles, one bear, three bear cubs, three raccoons, and two wolf cubs.”

Reedy added, “The project has changed several times so far as the wood dictates, in some cases, what is allowed.”

Dulnuan worked on the project for 10 days in all, although he did have to make one brief trip back home to Oklahoma during the process.

Now that the wooden artwork has been completed, the Reedys have coated the wood with some gorgeous dark stain. They were happy to share some sharp views of the spectacle via Hagen Reedy Photography.

Reedy said that, with their backyard being adjacent to Pecan’s golf course, golfers often stop to view the carvings. Some even take pictures.

Hagen Reedy, a fourth-grade teacher at STEAM Academy at Mambrino and a part-time professional photographer, is a daughter of Chris and Shelly. Chris Reedy, who was born in Iowa and later met and married Shelly in Wyoming, said that the family now has four generations residing in Pecan.

Despite those interesting facts, Chris Reedy noted, “if there is a story here, it is entirely about Don, his amazing carving work and not us.”

mark@hcnews.com | 817-573-7066, ext. 269