Except for those rare days like the time he made a $14,000 sale to a motorist passing through - Dale Allgood has a hard time selling his unusual art here.
Oh sure, there was the time 12 years ago when the guy from Disneyworld paid Allgood $15,000 for his showroom full of odd and intriguing art.But such sales are the exception. People who have small fortunes to spend on art don't often stop off in Fillmore.
But when they do, Allgood has designed a place that's sure to catch their eye. Even the weariest motorist couldn't miss his business. It's the one with the 6-foot daisies on the front of the house, made from nearby lava rock, and the lifesize wolfman astride a unicorn in the yard, made from the twisted limbs of the Bristlecone pine.
The flowers, the man and unicorn, and a dozen other art objects in the yard reflect Allgood's conviction that nature is full of art works that need only a touch here and there to perfect them.
"I take Mother Nature as I find her and I put her together," he said.
He puts her together in ways that only Allgood could conceive. His favorite wood is Bristlecone; the wood is so contorted even the most pragmatic mind could see fanciful forms in the twisted branches.
Allgood collects pieces of the wood and saves them until he finds other pieces that will complete the work he has in mind.
"I'll make a mermaid out of this," he said, picking up a piece of the wood from his pile. "You can see the body and tail already there. I'll make the hair and everything.
"There's the legs and body of a man," he said pointing to another, larger piece. "Well, it don't take much to find an arm." He illustrated his point by picking up another piece that could serve as the man's arm.
Allgood makes few alterations in the wood he finds. But he could gracefully make many if he chose. A skilled sculptor, Allgood carved the wooden seagulls that grace the southeast corner of the Salt Palace.
"I can carve, but that's easy."
Instead, he prefers to scout the hills until he finds the object already carved the way Mother Nature wanted it. He'll touch the work up with a whittle here and there and an occasional dab of paint.
Allgood also works his art in Red Cedar, Juniper, Box Elder and some rock.
He was trained as a watch maker. "I repaired 75,000 watches before I moved here."
But the quartz watch made his trade obsolete, so he turned to art.
His most notable works are elaborate grandfather clocks made out of gnarled tree trunks. He carves out the trunk to reveal both the clock face and the pendulum. "I get $5,000 to $10,000 out of these clocks."
He also does lamps nearly 8 feet tall and low tables from cross-sections of wood that reveal hundreds of rings.
"I've got a table there from wood 2,000 years old. We counted the rings in it."
He also does small items: ballerinas, small animals and picture frames. A comical miniature symphony is one of his favorite works. He has put together a drummer, cellist, violinist, pianist on a concert grand piano, saxophone player and conductor.
Like most of his work, the symphony evolved from a casual glance and a quick idea. "I was up deer hunting. I looked down and saw a part of a head. I looked around and I found a jaw and some teeth. I put a hat on him." After his first miniature man, the idea for a symphony struck.
It isn't finished. He will add more musicians as he finds the genesis for another musical instrument in a rock or stick he spies during his frequent walks.
Then there's the lifesize replication of Jesus' struggle in the Garden of Gethsemane that he has planned for the north side of his yard. "I've got to do a lot of thinking about it."
But his knottiest problem is Fillmore's isolation. "I've got to build a better mousetrap to pull people into this town," he said.
Allgood has discovered that the most compelling beauty the hills around Fillmore offer gather dust in his shop unless he can find a way to pull passers-by off the freeway and into town.
He's working on that.