Tree whiz! 

Published 12:24 pm Friday, December 10, 2021

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O Tannenbaum, O Tannenbaum,

How lovely are thy branches,

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O Tannenbaum, O Tannenbaum,

To buy, I must sell my ranches!


Actually, ranch, not ranches. If I owned multiple farms, I’d not be griping about the price of Christmas trees this year but Jumpin’ Jehoshaphat (who, actually, remained quite still in Godly obedience), the prices are insane this year!


Look, I get it. That massive, ‘once in a millennium’ heat dome that squatted over the Pacific Northwest for 3 weeks, sending temperatures soaring, unabated, well into the triple digits, not only was responsible for the death of 1,400 people, but fried entire crops of fir trees. And on this coast, as these trees take approximately 8 years to mature, farmers had grown less during the last recession and then after over-planting had a glut of unsold product so planted less once again. Combine the cost of fuel and delivery, and there stood Aunty Pam, shaking her head with Uncle Paul, open mouthed at the tag that read $70.00 for each of the row of 4 footers at a local garden center. The 6 foot trees were $120.00.


And if you’re considering giving up and buying an artificial tree, those are higher as well, if not still stuck on container ships.


There are going to be countless families who simply cannot afford such an indulgence or feel forced to make the choice between a tree and gifts, or turkey dinner. But there is hope, especially if one is willing not to have the obligatory Fraser fir. There are ‘cut your own’ tree farms that blanket the Carolinas like a green quilt and indeed Paul and I did this upon spending our very first Christmas here when we arrived too late to buy a pre-cut one. Heady with festive spirit we found a tree farm less than a half mile from where we live and Paul felt rather Bunyan-ish sawing away. He felt less Bunyan-ish  when, as he backed up to admire his handiwork, he stepped into a pile that we, to this day, can only assume was canine in nature but not a dog, and clearly had ingested Gainsburgers and a Fanta orange, owing to the color. Despite wiping off his shoe as best he could in the grass, we had to drive back home with all the windows open, including the driver’s door, out of which he stuck his leg because the odor had given us both the dry heaves.


He later burned the shoe.


But for families, this can become a lovely day out, perhaps a tradition. If you go to the google machine, a few strokes at the keyboard will find you a wealth from which to choose from Maggie Valley, to Waxhaw, in North Carolina, and south of the border: Columbia, Hartsville, Irmo…but get going, STAT, because they are selling out.


And should the worst case scenario happen and you find you have arrived too late, well, if you know anyone who lives on anything more than a wooded acre, they will tell you that cedars pop up prolifically— to be exact, often along fence lines, thanks to birds. I have a friend who walks into nearby woods each year and cuts down a cedar as it reminds him of his childhood. They grow like weeds and I can testify to having them sprout all over the woods behind our house and barn.


It may not be exactly what you want but as an elderly neighbor used to like to say, “It’ll do.”


But so will a fox or coyote, so be careful backing up.