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Boone County man transforms metal into art

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Richard Essex/Eyewitness News

Boone County - He's a welder 13 years into retirement, but for Ernie Taylor, retirement isn't about sitting around his Boone County farm watching the corn grow. It's about rebuilding, using scrap to create works of art, works of art you have to see to understand.

For 60 years Ernie Taylor has been welding. It's his second nature looking through the dark mask into the bright light of the welder.

"Been a welder all my life and putting that metal together just kinda comes natural to me," said Taylor.

50 years ago Ernie and Dottie married.

"Ya know, I always make the living but Dottie made the living worthwhile."

In 1962, they bought a little farm in Boone County and have spent the years filling the barn walls. The floors crowded with tools and Ernie's "inventions."

Overflowing from the barns into the yard and the field their collection of farm equipment, tractors, dogs, spiders, a giant green praying mantis, lizards and an eagle, have grown.

"I've had a lot of comments about that people come by and they said that was funniest thing they ever seen," said Taylor.

Ernie retired 13 years ago, slowing down only for a heart attack in 2000.

"The time I was in coma they lost me three different times and they had to shock me they shocked me so hard they blew out the back of my head."

It was after the heart attack that his field and the yard started to look different.

"Well ya know, I think all dinosaurs are probably all friendly until they got hungry and then they had to have something to eat," said Taylor.

Growing to twenty feet, painted white or emerging from an egg, Ernie created dinosaurs.

"So that's what I wound up," said Taylor. "It looks pretty simple once you get it done but not too simple when you are trying to figure it out from scratch."

The bodies are old cars frames, the heads oil pans, teeth are from plows and the rest scrap metal. He says the first one took five years to build, the others have come easy.

"The thing I like about them the most is the people I meet and the kids I get to talk too."

The dinosaurs are not for sale, nothing in the field or the yard is for sale, so don't ask. The Taylor's want everyone to feel free to come walk in the field and look.

The Taylor farm is just east of Michigan Road on State Road 32. There's no charge to see the scrap-turned-art.

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