web analytics

Tree talk

We went out to buy our Christmas tree today, but came back empty handed.

Our usual place is a local farm that grows them. It’s hard work, though, trudging out into the field, slipping around in the mud (there’s always mud) picking out a tree. I always feel a bit like the Hand of Death, tying the tag around it. Last year, most of the good ones were taken and it was forever before we found a good one.

Turns out, our farmer is selling them to a local store, so we went there. Didn’t spot one we liked, so we decided to drive out in the country to a place that had a Christmas Trees sign up a few days ago. The sign wasn’t up when we got there and it was getting dark. It’ll wait.

We usually go for a nice fat six foot tree. Norway spruce that size were going for about £40. That’s…about fifty bucks at the current exchange rate. Does that seem high?

Oh, for you Monty Python aficionados, the tree at right is The Larch.


p.s. in the previous thread, HL King asked about the specs of my new computer. They are:

16GB (1x16GB) DDR4 2400MHz Single Module
Windows 10 for high end devices
Intel Core i7 8700 3.2GHz Processor
Fractal Design Define S Mid Tower Case, Black, Silent Design
BeQuiet! System Power 9 500W Power Supply
Iiyama G-MASTER GB2730QSU-B1 27″ LED Monitor – 16:9 – 1 ms

It is blazing fast, it runs damn near silent and I love it.

p.p.s. Have a great weekend, y’all!


Comment from Gromulin
Time: December 14, 2018, 9:38 pm

$50 is cheap, by California standards. It’s been $80-90 for a 7′ the last couple years. Our tree dude explained that after the bust of 2008, the growers cut back on planting for a couple years so theres a shortage of 6-10′ trees. That, and China and Singapore are suddenly importing lots and lots in refrigerated containers the past couple years. Some lots can’t even source trees this year.

Comment from weaselwannabe
Time: December 14, 2018, 10:05 pm

I used to stress out about “the right tree”. Not anymore. We now play “Christmas Tree Roulette”. Fix your price and tree height, go in grab the first tree that meets that criteria. Take it home, unwrap. Done! You never know what it’s going to look like. But it’s always perfect once it’s decorated!!! Merry Christmas everyone!

Comment from tonycc
Time: December 14, 2018, 10:38 pm

We always cut our own, one of the advantages of living in western NY. We recently found a lot that charges $5/foot, most others are closer to $10/ft. $50 sounds like a fair price.

Comment from Deborah HH
Time: December 14, 2018, 11:20 pm

In my whole life—and I am 66—I have never had the typical beautifully conical, fragrant Christmas tree (of any species). My parents had friends who owned a ranch bordering the Brazos River at Possum Kingdom Lake. The friends would cut down squat, mis-shapen scrub junipers (by the dozens) and load them onto their big farm truck (with fence side rails) and bring them to their friends.

Ugly as a mud fence, amazingly scented, and covered in spikey ends—that was my Christmas tree for 13 years. The trees were so so unpleasant to get near, my father would string the lights on it so we girls would not need to stick out arms into the branches, and he’d cut a star out of cardboard and cover it in foil. Then my sisters and I would carefully hang the ornaments.

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: December 14, 2018, 11:31 pm

It was cedars for us. We had sixty acres of shitty, spikey cedars, rocks and rattlesnakes.

And a foil covered cardboard star for…decades.

Comment from Uncle Badger
Time: December 14, 2018, 11:34 pm

Neither have we, Deborah. In fact we ere ruminating about it this afternoon. We’ve worked our way through umpteen conifer varieties and none of them has bestowed that piney goodness we atavistically crave.

Occasionally I get tempted to retrieve my fibre optic tree out of the cold, dark room to which Her Stoatliness banished it and spray it with some pine oil just out of spite.

If Nature refuses to play ball, there is always technology….

Comment from Deborah HH
Time: December 15, 2018, 12:03 am

For my birthday in February 2000, my mother asked me what I wanted. “A Christmas tree,” I said. Sears had all their Christmas trees on sale, and I had a house where a 12 ft tall tree would fit. My adorable mother bought me a $700 Christmas tree for $100. I put that rascal up—in February—and it was a chore. But sooooo pretty with thousands of built in lights. I didn’t put the ornaments on it, but I left it up for several weeks while I was getting up my strength and courage to take it down and pack it up again.

We moved in Dec 2000, so no tree that year, but I put it up for 2001. It didn’t used again until 2007, when my son and his family used it in their home. They moved in 2011 and my son gleefully gave it back to me. It’s in two boxes, about the size of yearling calves.

Now I live in a house again, where the ceiling is tall enough, but I have a little tree adorned with birds, and tiny lights that glow red or green when I plug it in, and my husband is so relieved and greatful that he doesn’t have to do anything except watch me thumb the roller switch to make the lights come on. (And we are moving. Again. So the house is a wreck and not very festive anyway.)

Ho Ho Ho, y’all 🙂

P.S. If I ever buy a real tree again it will be a balsam.

Comment from ExpressoBold
Time: December 15, 2018, 12:28 am

Be aware of vipers in your tree among the branches. I read reports, occasionally, of “copperheads” being found (SURPRISE!) in the branches. Not very Christmasy, I must declare:


Comment from OldFert
Time: December 15, 2018, 2:06 am

We’ve had an artificial tree since the kids got growed and pursued their lives. Only about three feet tall, it is fiber-optic lit and works just fine for us.

Over the years, the Army seemed to want us to move in December so we’ve had all sorts of “Christmas Trees,” including one made of copier paper taped to a mirror in a motel, the tree drawn on with pencils.

When the kids were young, we made the trip to the Christmas tree farm in our area. A good time was had by all.

Mrs Fert and I celebrated our first Christmas as a married couple in ’78. I was stationed in Japan and she had just gotten there on the 22nd of December. I was able to sign for quarters just before she got there, but hadn’t been able to get a tree — the Boy Scout lot on base was sold out when I got our quarters.

I decided to improvise and bought some felt, cut out the form of a tree, and pinned it to the wall by the stairs. It was a lovely “tree” if I must say so myself.

In Japan at the time, we were told all trees belonged to the emperor. Cutting down a tree, or otherwise molesting a tree could lead to arrest and punishment by the Japanese government, even though we were Americans.

Christmas eve there was a knock at our door and a buddy from work was standing there with a friend of his, drunk off their butts. He had a beer in one hand and an evergreen branch in the other. He had the biggest grin on his face and he slurred Merry Christmas and informed us he had brought us our tree!

I took down the felt tree and it became a table runner.

The branch we suspended from the ceiling with a bootlace. We kept it hydrated by putting the bottom part of the branch in a small canned ham container we cleaned up and filled partially with water.

It became our Christmas Twig.

It was a great Christmas.

Comment from Uncle Al
Time: December 15, 2018, 2:34 am

@OldFert – Nice story – heartwarming in the best way. Thanks!

Comment from Durnedyankee
Time: December 15, 2018, 3:49 am

Man I love you guys(girls)(dragonkins)(but not the orcs I draw the line at orcs)

Comment from Armybrat
Time: December 15, 2018, 4:18 am

I grew up with real trees. Hubby’s effing family couldn’t be bothered so he grew up without a tree. First year we were married, I brought home a sad little 3’ real tree. It looked great with some lights and a few bows. He was a police officer back then…working 3rd shift. About a week after I brought our little tree home, he went to work and his first call that night was to assist Fire at house fire call. Big 2 storey house fully engulfed in flames when he got there. 7 children and 2 parents died in that fire, 2 children survived. Started by a live Christmas tree. I woke up to him coming home and throwing the tree on the front lawn. We put up a tree every year but he won’t allow a live tree…ever. Some things you just don’t argue about.

Comment from Durnedyankee
Time: December 15, 2018, 1:49 pm

For a couple years we followed the rule on Christmas trees in rooms that mrsdurned has about lamps on flat surfaces. There must be one on/in every x.

There now grows a forest of Chinese artificial trees in the attic.

Not having to chase younglings upstairs so Santa can assemble bicycles and Lego cities sort of takes the fun out of it.

Comment from thefritz
Time: December 15, 2018, 5:08 pm

We’ve been in Florida for 30 years. We went the artificial route soon after several disastrous years of putting up ‘fresh’ trees. Both my wife and I grew up with real trees so we followed tradition and since our new house had a 15′ ceiling in the living room we splurged with a 10′ whopper blue spruce from Michigan (my home state).

Long story short; you should always ask when the tree was cut. We put the tree up 10 days before Christmas and shrugged off the fact that every time we touched a limb a green sprinkle of needles cascaded to the floor. By the 25th, every time the air conditioner would kick on (Florida remember!) you could watch the pile of green grow before your eyes…we tried again the following year and while not nearly the explosive fire hazard of the previous years’ tree it was an equal disappointment and a pain to clean up.

So we are on just the third artificial in 28 years and I must say it’s been the best investment ever. We buy several giant pine scented candles each year and the holiday is merry and bright.

Merry Christmas to all!

Comment from AliceH
Time: December 16, 2018, 2:12 pm

I was a real-tree or no-tree purist for a couple decades.

So. After a couple decades without a tree….

I got a 4ft artificial tree for the living room. And then a 6ft one for the dining room. And then a 7ft one for the foyer. I’ll likely get one or two more for next year. This is much better.

Comment from OldFert
Time: December 16, 2018, 6:32 pm

thefritz: Mrs Fert just mentioned that she knew of lots selling Christmas trees that had been cut in August.

Much to be said for artificial trees.
They look a lot better and realistic now. Not just bottle brushes on a broomstick.
They are expensive, though.

Comment from Ric Fan
Time: December 16, 2018, 7:15 pm



Comment from Mark Matis
Time: December 16, 2018, 11:33 pm

Oh come on, Uncle Badger! Where’s your spirit of adventure? Instead of spraying pine oil on that artificial tree, just spray some on one of the cats’ flea collars! Let Stoatie wonder where the scent is coming from. And tell her it must be from the spirits dwelling it the house…


Comment from Durnedyankee
Time: December 17, 2018, 1:47 pm

Alice, beware – artificial trees breed!

Comment from Wolfus Aurelius
Time: December 17, 2018, 5:06 pm

“The . . . LARCH.”

I too grew up with real trees, but we had these enormous lights, probably outdoor lights — which, if we’d left them on for too long, would have been a fire hazard, I guess. Each light had a reflector behind it, so I guess that might have concentrated the heat like the mirror leaves of Larry Niven’s deadly sunflowers reflect sunlight.

From your last thread, about Wikipedia editing: I’ve edited more than a few entries about items of pop culture I know really really well, like The Man from U.N.C.L.E. and the Ellery Queen canon. On at least one, a day later my edits had been reversed, so I reversed ’em back. I think they stayed.

Comment from Mark Matis
Time: December 17, 2018, 11:08 pm

I’m surprised that you went with a single 16 Gb stick of RAM. Doesn’t Intel work better with memory in dual channel mode? Or are you planning to add a second stick later when prices drop?

Write a comment

(as if I cared)

(yeah. I'm going to write)

(oooo! you have a website?)

Beware: more than one link in a comment is apt to earn you a trip to the spam filter, where you will remain -- cold, frightened and alone -- until I remember to clean the trap. But, hey, without Akismet, we'd be up to our asses in...well, ass porn, mostly.

<< carry me back to ol' virginny