Sunday, December 7, 2008

Christmas Trees: Real

Do you have an appreciation for real Christmas trees? The smell, the pitch, the spray painted funny green color, the needles falling off all over your floor and covering your packages..making little plink, plink, swoosh sounds as they hit the brightly colored packages and slide off. Trying to remember from one year to the next what the best formula for sugar water was? Do you have a thought somewhere deep in your brain about the beautiful fire hazard you will expose your home and family to? Do you like to have your Christmas tree up a really long time? Or is your true tree spirit only good for a week or so?

My first real appreciation for Christmas trees began in my fourteenth and fifteenth years. A summer job, on a "Shearing Crew." The days were hot and the sun relentless as we made our way down the plantation rows with shears in hand, cutting of all growth that did not make a perfect Christmas tree shape. The tree boss would watch our work closely and come by with his machete and correct our mistakes. These trees were all going to be harvested and sent off to city folks who required perfect trees. I remembered thinking..who in their right mind would want a perfect tree anyway..and pay for it too boot.

My Father would always bring a tree home for us, I never asked where it came from. It would just appear, probably from one of his brothers woods. It was never perfect, one side would be bushier than the other. There seemed to be some comfort to me that it might not have been perfect in the woods, but once decorated it was perfect.

Far Guys Father owned a Christmas tree plantation. He wanted everyone to have a fresh perfect tree for Christmas. We enjoyed many of those trees after we were married. Perfect. He was both a harvester and a planter. Perfect.

Last year we vacationed in Indiana, when we returned to Minnesota, we wanted to bypass Chicago (where there are more than two cars on the road at the same time.) When you are in Mishawaka, Indiana your choices are limited. We had never travelled into the Lower Peninsula of Michigan before, it is a beautiful area. However the Christmas Trees were being harvested there, in OCTOBER. Funny colored Christmas trees, wrapped in nets being loaded onto semi trailers. Feelings of sadness enveloped me, Christmas trees are big business. My sadness lifted as I watched more of the landscape and by doing so I realized that there was as much planting as there was harvesting..field after field of trees stood testament to that as I viewed trees in different stages of growth.

Real true Christmas tree connoisseurs will be both armed with a saw and a shovel, tools you need to be both a harvester and a planter:)


Esther Montgomery said...

I use the same tree several years running. For the rest of the year it lives in a pot in the garden. When it grows too big, it is planted in the wild.

One year, when a tree was new and little, the small boy next door came in to have a look.

Knowing I make a lot of things at home, he peered in amazement at the needles growing along the branches. Then, he looked at me with awe and asked,

"Did you stick all these on yourself?"

Can you think how long it would have taken!


Jewel said...

I'm sorry to say We have a fake tree complete with lights. I really like it, it's so much easier to decorate. When I put an ornament on a real tree the branch would droop and the ornament fell off. I'm not even sure I want to put up a tree this year. It's still a lot of work.

That Janie Girl said...


I don't even have a tree up.



The W.O.W. factor! said...

Oh my goodness!!! I just got your email .. (must have gone to trash bin, & I never open that..just hit delete resend it Ok?)
But my "Oh my goodness" because I'm working on a 'similar' post..for different reason, but similar!!
Going to read your lower post, and I'll check my email garbage this time..

Anonymous said...

Hi, I'm here from Barb's (WOW's) blog, because I'm also a Happy Days' fan and my hubby and I LOVE to jitterbug and she and I have been visiting each other's blogs so I figured I'd like to get acquainted with her friendly blog neighobrs. (Gee, what a wordy way of me to say "Hiya doing? :)

I like how you tied your memories to ethics (your tag)/conservation/preservation of our planet by noting the harvester and a planter part. Enjoyable post.

MMM_I scrolled down to look at photos. Nice!

Pamela said...

We have a couple local tree farms - and the trees are harvested sometimes the same day you buy.

However, that being said, we haven't had one for a few years. The last one we had was in a pot - and it got planted.

But, I love the live ones. Don't like the fake ones. I'd rather not have one at all then made in CH##a

Anonymous said...

We don't have a tree .. but may well get one to put outside this year or next. A real tree is the way to go.

As you say, there is no need to be sad about trees being harvested, because just as many - if not more - trees are planted to replace them.

MarmiteToasty said...

Oh my, Ive popped over from Pams....... and what a delight I have found here....... your blob is just so wonderful.... Ive sat with me cuppa tea and me toast and scrolled back and read and read...... I LOVE the old photos.... just love them.....

You have a delightful place here....


Connie Peterson said...

I don't have a tree, but have branches from one of our big pines, stuck in a gallon jar with water. Someday I want a tree in a pot - but haven't run across one, yet.

I love live trees - hate fake ones because they ARE fake!!!

My dad used to have a theme tree every year - all blue, all red, all pink (gork) ... and they had to be perfect, so he'd cut branches from the bottom, drill holes in the trunk and screw them in. What a waste of time ... perfect trees are no fun!

DayPhoto said...

Our tree is 37 years old and fake. It has aged well, like me (ha) and I enjoy putting it up and putting it away.

Yes, I love the fresh tree smell, I just have trouble cutting a tree that took years to grow. My tree is so well loved that the children want it when we (Terry and I) pass on.


Jeanne Estridge said...

So I thought I'd take a look in while the butter was melting in the bottom of the soup pot....

Now that I've cleaned the burned butter from the pot, put in new and sauted the celery, carrots and onions, I have one request: Could we be a little less entertaining, ladies?

(I've completely forgotten my original comment.)

Linda said...

I haven't put a tree up for years, I hate the waste and I just don't have a place for one anymore. If I really wanted to I'd put lights up on the one by the sidewalk but the truth is; I'm lazy:)