Haul out the holly
December 1, 2010 § 2 Comments
Today, Robert, my sister, her husband, and I all went to a Christmas tree farm to select and cut down our trees. Robert and I did this last year, and when my sister called and asked me where we got our tree, I just knew that the four of us had to go together. This is the first and maybe last Christmas that our two newlywed households will be in the same town, let alone within driving distance of each other. This Christmas will be the first married Christmas for my sister and her husband; they got married this past June. I was really excited that we got to share this budding tradition together. Robert and I have truly enjoyed selecting our tree from among hundreds and then cutting it down
ourselves all on Robert’s lonesome. (Hey! I helped hold the tree trunk steady so it didn’t fall on his head. That counts, right? Right??)
At this particular tree farm, which is (sadly) facing its final Christmas season, they take customers out to the land via hayride. In spite of the obligatory self-ass-grab to check for stray straw, I actually enjoy the little ride–it reminds me of autumnal hayrides from my childhood. It’s so much fun! Once the trailer arrives at its drop-off point, customers “disembark” the “vessel,” and select a handsaw from the table of them. Then we’re all on our own. Last year, Robert and I got a Carolina Sapphire. I loved it for its unique citrus smell–our house smelled wonderful all December. But…it made me really itchy. So, thinking I could be allergic to it, we decided to go with a different tree this year.
It really didn’t take us long to find our tree. Knowing that we wanted to avoid the Carolina Sapphire (a cypress), we knew to stay away from the farm’s Leyland cypress as well. So, when we came upon a bunch of Eastern red cedars, I felt my heart skip a beat at their intense greens and beautiful foliage. Now, if you’ve been following my links at all in this post, you’ll notice that the past three links have led to Wikipedia pages. And, if you know me at all, you’d know my love-hate relationship with Wikipedia in general. Well, this is an instance I think that using the ever-changing encyclopedia is appropriate. In fact…maybe I should have glanced at it before we started traipsing around the tree farm this afternoon. Might I direct your attention to the following paragraph:
The pollen is a known allergen, although not as potent as that of the related Juniperus ashei (Ashe juniper), which sheds pollen a month earlier. People allergic to one are usually allergic to both. J. virginiana sheds pollen as early as late winter and through early spring. Consequently, what begins as an allergy to Ashe juniper in the winter, may extend into spring, since the pollination of the eastern juniper follows after that of the Ashe juniper.
Contact with the leaves or wood can produce a mild skin rash in some individuals.
(from the Wikipedia article on the Eastern red cedar)
Yeah. You should see my arms. It looks like I was severely attacked by my Christmas tree this afternoon. My arms and hands were on fire while we patiently waited for the guys running the farm to strap the trees to the hood of our car. They burned excruciatingly when I attempted to slather on some hydrocortisone. I generally have gotten relief from the burning rash after washing my hands and arms a few times since getting home, but if my sleeves brush the skin in just the wrong way, the fire rages yet again. Ah well. I’ll decorate the tree with gloves on.
So, once we selected our gorgeous tree:
…it was time for Robert to tap his inner lumberjack and hack away at the trunk.
I think it went a little easier this year…of course, I was just the observer like last year, so what do I know? Heh.
After Lauren and Jeremy selected their tree (also an Eastern red cedar), we had them loaded onto the trailer and rode back on small bales of hay to the entrance of the farm. It was after I saw my car with two Christmas trees strapped to its roof that it suddenly hit me:
…it might be 75 degrees outside still, but, dammit, it’s Christmas, baby! 😀