I obtain a permit through the forest service, and cut the trees down. This in turn, helps the forest service out by removing the "dead-fall" which is fuel to the fires that may start.
I then prep them, and take them home for carving.
It's like a solar Jack-o-lantern, given the right conditions, will last for years. And let's be honest, how much have you paid for an already carved or painted pumpkin? They truly are affordable art. They have a spar-urethane finish for UV and moisture protection.
You get one solar or LED mechanism and bulb, depending on if it is an indoor LED or and outside solar, free with purchase. The solar can be replaced with a $1 solar stake light top. The bulb in the indoor LED model is a 4w LED bulb that can be replaced as well.
USE SOLAR OR LED BULBS ONLY!!
Not designed for any other light sources.
I draw a stencil first, and if it looks great, I draw it on the log of choice. Then the magic begins, I free-hand carve each piece assuring no two are alike. Even if I do the same pattern, they are all different. Some logs have a beetle track that was created by them eating their way through life. The logs are fascinating and a great medium for my art.