Sunday, December 16, 2012

Hunting for a Christmas Tree

Time once again for the annual tramp through the woods in search of a Christmas tree. This year Mr. M decided to come along (hooray!). We've been visiting the same tree farm for years now - it's only a mile outside of town and the price is just right. ($15 per tree, any size - and I do mean any size.)

I was hoping for snow on the ground today - it seems so much more Christmassy - but yesterday's rain has washed it all away. Instead of crisp and white and invigorating, we have damp and brown and raw. Luckily I love the woods in any weather. :)

After picking up a saw at the owner's farmhouse, we drive down the road a mile or so, then turn onto a path that winds through trees and scrub. We park in a likely spot, and the search begins.


Mr. M heads off to look at the Christmas trees, while I am distracted by dried flowers...


...and the ghostly grey line of brush that fronts the woods. The brush is thicker and greyer than ever this year:


This is a very casual tree farm - the trees are scattered haphazardly over several acres, with plenty of room in between for grass. More dried flowers catch my eye...


...while Mr. M is sticking to the task at hand.


While he searches this section, I head over to the next field to see what's available. One little tree there is covered with beautiful baby cones, all rosy in the damp:


I am strongly tempted to choose this tree for the sake of the free decorations, but it has suffered badly from the drought and the lower branches have lost all their needles. The search must continue.

Detail of pine bark (looking just like swirls of chocolate frosting, I think):


Here and there branches are spangled with drops of water...


...each one reflecting the world in miniature.


I find two likely trees, and fetch Mr. M to take a look. After much agonising on my part (and much patience on Mr. M's part) we finally settle on one. (Do you have trouble choosing a tree?)

While I'm messing about taking photos of what look like dried thistles...


...Mr. M is doing the manly thing. He has cut down the tree, hoisted it to his shoulder, and is heading back to the car before I realise it.

Hey, wait for me!

We return the saw, pay for the tree, and head home to warmth.

Now the tree is up, the lights are strung, and boxes of decorations are standing by. It's a nice little tree, despite the slight wave to the trunk and the bit of a gap near the top. Not perfect, but I rather like it that way.


(And it makes lovely shadows on the wall.)

~

What kind of Christmas tree do you like? Tall or short? Natural or artificial? As perfect as can be, or one with a few quirks? Do tell.

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41 comments:

  1. I think it's a lovely one as well! Not another one like it.....individual. and...oh the smell of fresh pine!! I prefer real trees but a few years ago, saw an artificial one with fronds that changed colours gradually....yes...I know....I can't believe it either. Anyway, 2 Christmases later, I was walking with a friend through the artificial tree dept of a store and a memory tickled the back of my mind......! I have never lived it down with this friend who says things like " you know I had a friend who had one of these trees and....." The moral has to be....don't stuff your artificial tree in the attic...and if you do and suddenly remember.....don't tell your frie Nd!
    Aside from that....I love the dried flowers....just lovely! Also the man/woman thing....he so focused...striding through the jungle determined to capture his tr ophy

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    1. I understand the lure of fiberoptic trees that change colour ... they're fascinating, aren't they?

      On all other shopping trips, Mr. M is the ditherer and I the focussed huntress. But get me out in the woods and fields and I can dither with the best of them! :)

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  2. Ahh... the tree you found is just perfect! not tall and not short, bushy enough too:) beautiful!
    well, we prefer having a natural tree at my parents' place. they buy every year even now. it gives that nice pine tree fragrance and of course, looks gorgeous when decorated:)I changed my preferences. as soon as I live in India. I bought a 1 meter artificial tree and enjoy its look every year:)what can I do?
    have a nice day and a Merry Christmas head!(couldn't not to notice a small twig star on the wall beside the tree, what does it mean?;)

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    1. Thanks, Anna - I can see that a natural fir tree might be hard to find in India.

      The star is a favourite symbol of Christmas, especially for Christians (of whom I am one). Around the time that Jesus was born in Bethlehem, a certain star appeared in the sky, attracting the attention of "wise men from the East". They followed it to Bethlehem and found the young Jesus there.

      Some people prefer a four-pointed star, and others a five-pointed star. (I like both shapes). When I decorate with stars, I am remembering the Star of Bethlehem and the amazing thing that happened there two thousand years ago - when God became human so that He could live among us, and one day die to pay the penalty for our sins. (And not just die but rise again from the dead.)

      You can find instructions for making a twig star like this here:

      http://flowersandhome.blogspot.com/2011/12/twiggy-star.html

      Thanks for asking! :)

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  3. You found yourselves a lovely tree! I've never heard of going out to choose one growing in the earth and then sawing it down oneself. How original.
    I have no room for a tree in my small apartment, so I have a very small artificial one on a table-top.
    Happy holidays!

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    1. Gosh, "Cut Your Own" is fairly common here in the States. I didn't realise it was that rare! :)

      I love a table-top tree. It's the best solution when space is limited.

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  4. Ahhh real pine is so lovely, but for the last thirty-one years I have hosted a series of pretend pine trees...that still shed a few 'needles'...just to make certain I do not entirely miss out on real pine pleasures :) xx from Gracie

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    1. Gotta have those needles on the floor! :)

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  5. You have chosen a lovely tree! And a great story with nice pictures :-)

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  6. Lovely little tree!!!!!

    And thank you for being distracted by all the pretty photo ops along the way. :-)

    We always used to pile in the car and go out and cut down our own Christmas Tree too. But now that we are 'Olden,' we have the artificial one. But the grown-children continue the tradition. :-) We can go right next door, and smell a reallllll one. :-)

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  7. I love a short fat 'real' tree cut from the woods or a tree farm! My father used to go into the woods and cut a few scraggly trees, bring them home and work his magic by turning those into one magnificent tree. We now have a small fake tree- I miss the smell and the mess of a real tree!

    Love the scarf/cowl on the cover of Interweave Crochet. Very well done!

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    1. Thanks, Deborah! We saw the magazine at Barnes & Noble the other night - it was very surreal to see my name there in print.

      I usually try to find a tall, slim tree (we have high ceilings) but sometimes a short fat one is the best choice. :)

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  8. I definitely like an imperfect tree, it reminds me of Charlie Brown's Christmas tree, imperfect is best.
    Hugs to you,
    Meredith

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    1. Yes, imperfect is so much easier to live with, isn't it? Thanks, Meredith. :)

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  9. After looking at artificial ones we again decided to get a real one. Ours is smaller than usual but I love the shape.
    Yours is perfect, what kind is it?

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    1. Honestly Janet, I don't know. I'm terrible at fir identification. (The tree farm we visited has all sorts mixed up together.) It's definitely a fir or spruce, but even after a quick Google search I can't tell which - best guess is a Noble fir.

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  10. I like the look andthe smell of a real tree. Alas, I have artifical trees. So far this year, I have no tree.
    I like yours. Happy Christmas.

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    1. Thanks Beth! And the same to you and yours. :)

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  11. Childhood memories (not always fond) of 4 to 7 of us packed into our car with a crabby dad, usually on a stormy night so the defroster could work overtime, in search of perfect tree then home to saw, drill and attach branches in bare spots! WHEW! Much easier to find a perfect (aren't they all?)tree in the woods with the family and have fun in the process. We have been doing that in various places since 1978! Fond memories! Your tree is a delight!

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    1. Thanks, Sue. You might like to read this post about the Christmas trees of my childhood:

      http://mrsmicawber.blogspot.com/2011/11/joys-of-christmas-past.html

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    2. P.S. I can't imagine doing all that sawing and drilling and re-attaching! I like to take the trees as I find them - and put the worst side to the corner. :)

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    3. As a child my family anticipated the annual boxes of oranges and grapefruits from Florida grandpa. We LOVED getting those and the aroma was delightful! But a Christmas tree by mail - oh my, how exciting! A spectacular memory and a special story only you could tell.

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  12. I'd love to go hunting for the Christmas tree. We can't do this here. People sell cut trees in front of their houses. Mostly farmers who own and maybe grow trees. There is a market at some places, for example Weinfelden, where I usually look for a tree. As we have a small living room, the tree has to be small. I usually choose one nobody wants because I believe that every cut tree deserves to be a Christmas tree. :-) Have a nice week. Your tree is lovely. Regula

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    1. I like your philosophy, Regula. Every tree has its own beauty, don't you think? :)

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  13. I asked for a real tree this year. I got "the look" from the Hubs. :).

    I love the smell of a real tree but really don't like the mess. When I was young, my Dad always came in with a cedar tree. I don't think I knew there was any other kind until I was in my teens. We then started buying pines on a Christmas tree lot and I have loved that ever since.

    Now we have an artificial one that we've had for years. I finally got the Hubs to get it inside and put together. Then I had to wait a week for him to do the lights but this weekend I decorated it with every ornament I could put on it. I love it and I can enjoy it for a good while.

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    1. Oh dear. Not "the look"! (But I suppose as he's doing the manual labour he ought to have a say in the decorating process....)

      :)

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  14. My tree has to be natural, I don't think I could even contemplate an artificial one. I love your tree farm, what a great place - it really makes finding a tree a proper outing and adventure. And you chose a lovely one, nothing wrong with a little imperfection. juliex

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    1. Thanks, Julie. Most tree farms are very orderly and manicured (and no fun at all). I love picking out a tree from this farm. :)

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  15. I like it's quirky little dog leg top, and the way it was carried home aloft!

    It would cost twice that here at a cut-your-own, and four times the amount in many shops!

    If I buy a tree at all now I buy one with roots so that it can go back into the ground for another year, but we've not had one at all the last couple of Christmases due to the tree eating whippet!

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    1. In Southern California, over 20 years ago, we paid $40 one year for the privilege of cutting our own tree. This one is definitely a steal! :)

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  16. I've done all kinds of tree options. I like no tree lately. When I did real ones we preferred nobles. They're expensive even for little 3 footers and they're fire hazards by the 15th. I don't like storing big plastic ones and I don't particularly like decorating and de-decorating. So I just hang a big garland around a window and put my ornaments on that.

    Merry Christmas. Your tree is darling.

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    1. Tree prices in Cali are just over the top - is it because they have to be shipped so far? We're lucky that Wisconsin is a Christmas-tree-growing state - but even so $15 is an amazing deal here. (I don't know what the larger, more formal tree farms are charging.)

      Merry Christmas to you too, dear ol' blogging friend! :)

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  17. You got a great tree, Sue, and a great story to go with it. (And EXCELLENT that Mr. M. went along.) And for $15? I'm amazed - I don't think the cut-your-own around the far reaches of Chicago are that reasonable. I love real trees and have had one every year - even at college and living on my own after graduating, the Christmas tree is an important part of my seasonal joy. One year Gerrit and I bought one that had a major bare spot on one side, but we thought it would be OK because it would be against a wall. We didn't consider that the uneven weight distribution would be a problem, and it fell over before we figured out we needed to attach guy wires! Since then, I look for one that is even enough to stay upright. I bought mine and put it up Thursday and decorated it Saturday morning. So nice to have it in the house.

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    1. It makes all the difference, doesn't it? For years now I've gotten the tree by myself so it was very pleasant to have Mr. M along for a change. :)

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  18. OH! A perfect tree! I like it! We don't have a set kind we like. It is whatever strikes the fancy at the time. Besides, they all taste good. :)

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    1. Haven't tried eating them yet, myself - but then I don't have your tough digestive system. (Or that of Euell Gibbons.) :)

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  19. Okay, now that I'm done chuckling over Marigold's comment, I, too am thankful you were so interested in the dried flowers along the way! That makes the journey! I loved seeing the countryside, too.

    I've been using the same old fiber optic tree for 17 years now, although I didn't put it up a few years because I just wasn't in the mood. This year, I'm enjoying the heck out of watching the colors change each night when I get home from a long day's work. It calms me down, it helps me refocus, and I, too, love the stars and what they mean and remind me of. And the snowflakes. :)

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    1. I like your fiber-optic tree - was just admiring it in one of your photos. There's something very peaceful about the slowly changing colours.

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