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Wells couple gets squirrelly after a ‘Stormy’ 2010 summer

August 21, 2010
Chuck Hunt
Not everyone has a 6-foot-2-inch squirrel sitting in their front yard.

Maybe not everyone wants one.

But, when two storms this past June took down the large tree in their yard, Harlan ‘Butch’ and Julie Latusek, of Wells, wondered what to do with the enormous stump which was left after the branches were all cut up and hauled away.

“We thought it might be nice to have it carved,” Butch Latusek says. “And, we found someone who would do it.”

That someone was Tracy and Bess Coy of Hastings. Bess is originally from Wells, Tracy from Waldorf. They have been using chain saws to create wood art for several years.

“We decided we wanted a squirrel,” Butch says, “because I always called it my ‘squirrel tree.”

That is because Butch feeds the squirrels and birds. He had a squirrel feeding box in the tree, as well as several bird feeders.

Then came a storm on a Friday in June, and a large branch of the tree wound up in the street. The very next day the rest of the tree went down in another storm, with the tree coming to rest on the garage roof.

Now, while the tree is gone, the carved squirrel holds a limb which has the feeders attached.

“I go through 10 or 11 ears of corn a day,” Butch says, “and a hundred pounds of sunflower seeds each week.”

The couple says the squirrel, which they named ‘Stormy,’ was just finished on Saturday, Aug. 14. Already it has become quite the attraction in Wells.

“People are driving by all the time to take a look at it,” Butch says. “The whole thing was done with a chain saw, including the names of our five grandchildren carved into the stump.”

Butch admits the birds and the squirrels have not yet returned in the numbers they once did at the feeders.

Maybe they are still a bit intimidated by the sight of a giant six-foot squirrel.

“I guess it could be a little scary for them,” Butch admits. “It is pretty big.”

That seems to be quite the understatement.

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