Last year, Larry and I chopped down our first Christmas tree. It was so much more fun than picking out a tree in a suburban parking lot and we vowed it would be a new family tradition.
So on Sunday, we drove out to Ticonderoga Farms in Chantilly, grabbed a measuring pole and a saw, and headed out to find the perfectly imperfect tree. We got there kind of late and the sun was already setting. Luckily, it was the first time we've been Christmas tree shopping when it wasn't bitterly cold. I was only wearing my snow boots because I haven't owned snow boots since I was about 12 and I was excited to be wearing them in all their fake fur-cuffed glory. (Know who else loves fake fur-cuffed boots? Gravy. He bit these as I was putting them on.)
Ticonderoga Farms does not look like your stereotypical Christmas tree farm with rows of perfectly shaped Fraser Firs growing on the side of the mountain. No, heading out on the Ticonderoga property is more like heading out into the wilderness. The trees are wild misshapen misfits. And that is what I love about it. Unfortunately, it makes finding a suitable tree a bit of a challenge.
I have a bit of an obsession with Charlie Brown Christmas trees, and this place has plenty of them, the problem was, none of these trees were capable of supporting lights or ornaments, and I do want to decorate my tree. I was excited about the prospect of getting a non-traditional species this year - perhaps a red cedar.
Bonus for the red cedar (which is actually a juniper) - perhaps I could use the berries to distill my own gin after Christmas is over... CHEERS!
But cedars grow skinny and tall and so they were simultaneously too narrow to fill up our living room and too tall to fit in our house without cutting a hole in the roof. They also have weak branches, so aren't particularly good for decorating. It looked like the red cedar was out. (No gin for you!)
We briefly considered chopping the top off this White Pine.
If we couldn't get a cedar, that narrowed our choices to a random bush, a dead deciduous tree, or the dreaded Scotch Pine.
One thing that Larry and I agreed on is that we'll never again get a Scotch Pine. We had one last year and it was lovely, but I firmly believe this tree came straight from the Devil's playground, as the mother f*ing needles were so sharp, that we were both nearly in tears the day we tried to dispose of it. (And by dispose of it, I mean dump it in the corner of our backyard and then a few months later, set it on fire. Yes, we did burn our Christmas tree in our own backyard. Yeehaw!) Never again will I sit on the living room floor and use pliers to pull Scotch Pine needles out of both the carpet and my ass.
At this point, it was getting dark, we had walked to the middle of the suburban wilderness, and there wasn't a suitable tree in sight:
Holy Bags Under My Eyes! Someone get me some undereye concealer, stat!
So we decided we'd have to get a pre-cut Fraser Fir from the Ticonderoga Christmas tree lot. These trees aren't even grown in this area (I think they're imported from North Carolina). So while it was kind of a bummer to not be able to cut down a local tree, it was still nice to be able to walk through nature and buy our imported tree at a farm instead of at the grocery store.
Anyway, here's Larry with the chosen tree:
By the time we left the farm, the sky looked like this:
The tree has been set up in our living room for the past two days without lights and ornaments. At this rate, maybe I'll have the time to add an ornament or two per day and have it decorated by the 25th...