Being retired from the traditional workforce affords me a great deal of time to do things I really enjoy. And busy I do stay! One of those adventures which I recently undertook was the search for the perfect Christmas Tree.
It sometimes seems to me rather odd that we stick a tree in the middle of our house, but I do understand the history and traditions involved. Both the long term story, and my own personal history with a Christmas tree.
Because I have the time, I like to be extravagant and drive up to the mountains of North Carolina where I can cut a live tree. That far north I can get a nice spruce or fir. In my area I’d have to go for a cedar or cypress or even a white pine. All beautiful in their own way, but not what I’m used to.
Many times I’ve gone to a hardware store or pop-up tree store and picked up a pre cut tree. But I worry about how long they have been cut and how dry they may already be. So for the past several years I have gone to Osage Farms to cut a tree.
It’s a mountain, and covered with trees. Each one is tagged with a colored ribbon to indicate the height and price. When I pulled up at the place this year the man working there asked me how big a tree I was looking for. When I told him I just needed a little one, eight feet, he said that I’d have to drive down the road to where they had another mountain full of smaller trees. This hill was for the big ones.
Normally when I go to this place it’s packed with families trudging up and down the hills looking for their perfect tree. This year I was able to go in the middle of the week, and was thus all alone on the mountain. I drove down the road and found what I thought was the right section of the mountain for my size tree. Orange tags for eight footers. Yellow for five. I needed one for my daughter too, and the yellow tag would be good for her house.
It was a beautiful day. Cool, as winter in the mountains should be, but not cold. And of course sunny. All I needed was some snow and I could have taken a million dollar Christmas card photo.
Lots of trees to chose from . I enjoy climbing around on the hillside and examining each and every tree. Is the trunk straight? Any big holes in the branches? Tall enough? Not too wide. In her bounty, Nature creates many such trees. And it’s always hard to choose what I think will be the perfect one.
But I do choose. And this year I didn’t have to go too far up the hill to do it. The first yellow tagged tree that I saw was the one I ended up with . About five feet tall. Very straight with no holes. Of course I scouted out a number of others, but this was the one. The orange tagged tree needed a little more of a search, but after looking at six or seven trees I found the one I thought was best. I marked it so I’d know which one it was when I walked away to look at another. It’s very easy to find a good one, walk away seeing another, and to never find the first one again.
The man came down from the other mountain, the one with the big trees and I showed him which two I wanted. He pulled out the chain saw and in a flash both were cut, loaded onto this ATV and on thier way to the checkout table. That was easy.
I’ve cut the tree myself before. With a handsaw. Now that’s some work. So I let the guy with he chainsaw do it for me. And I give him a tip for that.
On this tree covered mountain it seems like I’m in the wilderness. And one year I did see a bear walking across the road. But it’s only a few miles from the nearby town. They have a little ski area there and today they have eight inches of real snow covering the mountain. Glad I went last week.
So, with a perfect tree in my possession, I’m headed home to cover it with lights and decorations. And that’s another story.
All of which is part of my story. What’s yours?