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O Christmas Tree

December 8, 2013 - Jane Whitmore
Trees decorated with twinkly lights and colored balls are going up all over town, shining brightly in the windows of home after home. It is, after all, the week after Thanksgiving. Trees are for sale everywhere - from the greenhouse to the grocery store. In years past, we always ventured to the tree farm to cut our tree. And it would most always be a freezing cold weekend. I don’t know how many of you have cut your own tree, but here’s the procedure at the tree farms we visited. It isn’t complicated. They hand you a saw and turn you loose into acres and acres of trees. The ones tagged with a red ribbon were either too small to cut or had already been claimed by someone who had not cut it yet. So there we are, laying in the snow with head and hands underneath the low, scratchy, sticky branches of the tree, making little or no progress cutting it down. Switch places (it’s cold) and keep sawing. We did learn to take a blanket to have a little layer of something between us and the snow. The best part of cutting a tree is the smell. To me, that fresh pine is the smell of Christmas and it cannot be replicated in potpourri or room freshener sprays. And with that comes a little sticky pine sap on your hands. This was our family tradition for many years. When a family spreads its wings, things change. Now, I have a couple of table-top trees in my home. Tradition stays alive as our family continues to find tree farms in the area of their homes and they head out to cut a tree. One year, on the East Coast, the tree was cut in the rain. Another year, in South Texas, the tree was cut in the heat of the day. In a recent news release, Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bil Northey encourages Iowans to consider choosing a fresh, Iowa grown Christmas tree. “Selecting a fresh Christmas tree can be part of a great family tradition and is an opportunity to connect with an Iowa farmer and support the local economy,” Northey said. “Iowa is fortunate to have more than 100 Christmas tree farms in all parts of the state so everyone has the opportunity to get their own fresh tree to help celebrate.” These farms devote over 1,500 acres to Christmas tree production in Iowa and as a result harvest approximately 39,500 Christmas trees each year. The result is a $1 million industry contributing to Iowa’s economy. Here are some tips the Iowa Secretary of Agriculture passes along: --Be sure you know what size tree fits in your home, both height and width, before you leave. Trees always look smaller in the field and there is nothing worse than bringing a tree indoors only to find it’s too big. --Wear comfortable clothes, study shoes and gloves that you aren’t afraid to get dirty. You are going to a farm! --Make sure the tree you pick has a straight trunk and will fit properly in your tree stand. --Fresh trees need water. Once you get your tree home, remember to check the water daily Trees can use up to a gallon of water daily. --Make sure you unplug any tree lights before you leave home or go to bed. --Remember - fresh cut Christmas trees are biodegradable! Recycle your tree after Christmas. A directory of tree farms across Iowa is available on the Iowa Christmas Tree Grower’s website at www.IowaChrist There is a “Find a Farm” link on the top left-hand corner of the page. Happy Christmas tree hunting! An apology is in order for putting the wrong name with a pair of twins at Breakfast With Santa. Elaine Flint is the grandma of Zach and Paizlee Ricke. They were the first in the door last Saturday morning to visit with Santa Claus. There are several pairs of twins in Elaine’s family, and these two are real sweethearts. I can only imagine that Elaine Sidles was surprised to see her name as their grandmother. You know how it goes, sometimes, when the wrong name pops into your head before you realize how really wrong you are. Breakfast With Santa was really great this year. We have been teaming up with Amy at Pizza Ranch to put on this event for a number of years. Her little Sydney is a little shy of Santa Claus, but she did talk to Mrs. Claus at the fire hall Friday night. When daddy Pat asked if she wanted to see him Saturday, she said going to Pizza Ranch was “ridiculous” because Mrs. Santa could tell Santa what she wants. Now there’s a trusting little girl.


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