Navy submarine veteran John Barnes of Richfield is kind of an "eagle nut," his wife, Mary, says.

So when they were about to lose a big elm tree this summer, they both looked at the giant trunk and thought, "hmmm."

How about a chainsaw sculpture?

"It's always so sad when you lose a tree," Mary Barnes said. "We thought this way, we'd still have it in the yard."

Eleven feet of trunk was left behind when the tree was cut down. John Barnes removed the bark from the wood, and they went looking for an artist.

In the end, they settled on wood sculptor Curtis Ingvoldstad, who arrived on an October Saturday and whittled about 6 feet of the trunk into a handsome eagle standing on the Liberty Bell. The inspiration for the sculpture comes from a little statue John Barnes bought at a submarine museum in Wisconsin.

The sculpture, which will be moved up near the house on Bryant Avenue S., has proven to be a magnet for walkers and gawkers, Mary Barnes said.

John Barnes wants to paint the sculpture; his wife does not. So she's been taking a neighborhood poll on what should be done.

"Leaving it natural is winning," Mary Barnes said.