A few weeks ago, we loaded the kids in the car and drove 2 miles to our local tree farm to tag our Christmas tree. It didn’t take us long to find the perfect Scotch pine—not too big, not too small. We tagged it and will go back in a few weeks to saw it down, tie it to the roof of the car, and bring it home.
Once the business of finding the tree was out of the way, we played hide-and-seek in the tree field. My 3-year-old daughter is sort of new at hide-and-seek, so there was more giggling, screaming, and running than any actual hiding or seeking. It was a great way to spend the morning, and at nap time she slept soundly.
Some people think that getting a live-cut tree is wasteful or bad for the environment, but in fact it’s neither. No, artificial trees are the real environmental Grinch at Christmas time. Artificial trees are usually made from PVC and metal, and most likely imported from China. And there is evidence that artificial trees can lead to dangerous levels of lead exposure. Yeah, no thanks. I’ll take a real tree any day, preferably one that I cut down myself.
Here are my reasons you should cut your own Christmas tree at a local tree farm:
1. Pine-scented air
There’s nothing quite like the smell of a fresh evergreen as it permeates the air of your house. It’s a smell that your kids will love and will forever associate with the holidays and feelings of home.
2. Sustainable agriculture
Christmas tree farming is actually a pretty sustainable business model. The trees that are cut down this year will be replaced by new trees this spring and the cycle of life continues.
3. Support the local economy
When you buy a tree from a local farmer, you are keeping your money in the local economy. Think about how connected our communities would be if we bought everything from the people who actually grew it or made it.
4. Good for the environment
The average Christmas tree is in the ground for up to 15 years before it’s harvested, all the while providing habitat for wildlife and improving air quality by emitting oxygen. Christmas tree farms are a much better use for the land then, say, strip malls or housing developments.
5. You can recycle a live Christmas tree
There are lots of great ways to reuse a Christmas tree
: Chip it up and add it to your compost pile; use the branches to mulch your roses; set the tree up outside and decorate it with bird-friendly treats. Use it as a trellis for your peas or beans in the garden next spring.
6. Fun for the whole family
What a great excuse to go tromping through a field with your kids. Fresh air, sunshine, holiday spirit—It’s a perfect way to spend a sunny Saturday morning in December. Plus, most local tree farms give out cookies and hot chocolate.
7. Save Money
Trees are generally cheaper when you go to a U-cut Christmas tree farm—sometimes by as much as $20 or $30.
8. Did I mention the pine-scented air?
Yes, I did. But it’s worth mentioning again.
You may be tempted to buy one of those precut trees that you see at roadside stands or supermarket parking lots. These trees are generally trucked in from far away, which means they have a slightly larger carbon footprint than a locally raised tree, so if you can, make the trek to your local tree farm.
Tags: christmas tree
Where does the time go? December all ready. Let me try to catch you up.
My fall garden, for which I had high hopes in early September, never really came to fruition. I planted a row of beans, a row of kale, a 6×4 bed of carrots, a 4×4 bed of turnips, I planted a few rows of mache, and a few rows of spinach. A pretty good fall garden, right?
Well, I guess I can be too disappointed. I should listen to my own advice. This is my standard piece of advice for new gardeners: Keep you hopes high, but your expectations low.
I’m not sure of the exact rainfall totals, but I know it felt like it rained on my garden everyday from mid-August to late September. My little seeds never really had a chance to do their thing.
Sure, some did. I have exactly 7 carrot sprouts, 2 turnips, about 7 kale plants (I planted three varieties, but only one sprouted), zero beans, zero spinach, and a handful of mache.
I am thankful for what I have. And there is a chance that my seeds will over winter and I’ll have some good things growing early next March.
That’s’ the update on the garden. So much more has happened that you may or may not be aware of or actually care about, but nothing is stopping me from giving you a quick photographic tour of the past few months. Follow me.
We found this bold-faced hornets’ nest hanging in our apple tree. These critters get aggressive in the late summer and early fall, so your best bet is to keep your distance. But once a frost hits, the hornets die off and you can collect the nest for a unique conversation starter. This nest is hanging in my barn now, but I might haul it to work to hang in my office.
I’m proud of the parsley we grew. This is all from the seeds my daughter and i started in the basement last April. We spread it all out on a large sheet of paper. It took a few weeks, but it’s dry now. It should be enough to last us through the winter.
Here’s my fall garden—after a freak October snow storm!
Sadly, we lost this giant oak tree in the October snow. Wet snow on autumn leaves throws off the balance of things.
We have an old summer kitchen behind our house. It’s been overrun by trumpet vine, a native, yet aggressive vine. It gets beautiful reddish trumpet-shaped flowers that attract humming birds, but I felt compelled to take it down a notch.
And finally, here’s me and my kiddo at the Christmas tree farm near our house. Check out my guest blog at Kiwi Magazine for my 8 Reasons to Cut Down Your Own Christmas Tree.
OK, now you’re all caught up. I’ll try to be more regular with my blogging. -eh