Most Christmas tree farms are manicured and neat, with long rows of perfectly shaped firs and spruce which have been clipped and dyed into near-perfection. Our favourite tree farm, a few miles outside of town, is different.
If you were to drive by you'd have no idea it was there - it looks like a large clearing surrounded by woods.
|Here's a picture from last summer.|
When we first started going there for our trees (more than 10 years ago), it was owned by an elderly couple, both of whom have since passed away. Now their children run it - although that may be too organized a word for this very casual operation.
The trees are planted and left to grow naturally - I'm not sure they're even trimmed. Where they've grown too tall or too close together, they become lopsided - fuller on one side than the other. Where the woods are thinner, the trees are more well-rounded. The owners do replant, and occasionally cut down a tree here and there that has become too large, but otherwise Nature is left to take its course.
|The next generation of Christmas trees|
is scattered throughout the grounds.
Grasses grow up between the trees; deer and rabbits wander under the branches and make their homes nearby; birds build nests there. (One year I was lucky enough to get a tree with a small perfect nest tucked away in its branches. I left it there as part of the decorations.)
|And there are tiny pine cones too.|
It's definitely my kind of tree farm. Because it is so casual and loosely organized, and because the owners love the land and the trees, their price is very reasonable - only $15 a tree. Big or bigger, 6 feet or 12 feet, the price is the same regardless. (They charge even less for small trees.)
Most years there is snow on the ground when I go to find and cut down our tree, but this year it was dry. Here are a few more pictures of my tree-hunting expedition:
|I parked the car just here, at the edge of the field.|
It was a beautiful afternoon, cold and clear and windy.
|This path leads to a second growing area.|
|The dead grasses were all covered with frost...|
|lacy and sparkling in the sun...|
|like crystalline flowers of marvellous workmanship.|
|Here's a likely-looking tree - but too short.|
We have high ceilings, so I'm looking for
|Of course I have to stop and admire these birches,|
and take their picture.
|More pretty trees, but again too short.|
|I really like this tree, but ... it's too tall.|
(I'm beginning to feel like the Goldilocks of the forest.)
|I pass a rather gorgeous stump looking like a craggy cliff|
with a sea of leaves washing up at its base.
|This magical avenue of pines leads|
to an impassable wall of trees.
I turn back and go around a few more corners...
|And there it is! Our Christmas tree.|
This year's quest has ended.
|After bringing it home, I had to|
cut a bit off the bottom.
Look at the lovely moss
growing at the base of the trunk.
|Here it is in the stand, awaiting adornment.|
It's not a perfect tree, but I rather like it
|All gussied up. I turn the lights on|
first thing every morning and leave them on
until we go to bed at night.
I love to look at it, all shining and beautiful
and decked with memories.
(And plenty of crochet.)
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