Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Search for an organic Christmas tree

I desperately wanted an organic tree this year. I started my search on Thanksgiving. Normally we get the tree the weekend before Christmas and my husband chops it up and puts it in the yard waste on Christmas day. Last year that was way too short. I barely felt we had Christmas at all.

After a quick search online, I came up with two possibilities, each about 40 miles from us. I knew there was no way I could drag my family all over the state on a wild goose chase. So I emailed the stands.

The one in Arlington had a beautiful website that made me want to go out there for the other stuff. Plus they are certified organic. They also replied to my email with in an hour even though it was 9pm. So I really wanted to get my tree from them. They only had living trees. That sounded really appealing. We could have it inside and then plant it to enjoy all year around, the best way to reuse a disposable item. But my husband wisely inquired how we would get a potted tree 40 miles home in our little wagon. I imagined strapping it to the rooftop upright driving along I-5 and emailed the other place.

They took a day to respond (must not have a computer out in the u-cut field). They clearly state that they were not certified, but they did not spray their trees. Good enough.

We headed out Sunday afternoon. It was a nice drive from Seattle to Fall City. We peered through the fog. The signage wasn’t clear, but the family who ran the stand was very friendly. They handed us a sharp saw and a mat to keep the mud off our knees, very thoughtful. I went straight to the discount trees. I excitedly noted that many were $20 or under, one with a huge ball of bird droppings was free. But I didn’t find the kind I like. My husband reminded me that I only like the nobles and pointed to where he thought he saw some. After almost 20 years together, sometime he does know me better than I do.

The regular trees price are marked with a colored tag, yellow - $30, red - $40 or blue - $60. The nobles were all blue tags. I went stomping through the farm wanting to look at each one and get the best one. My six year old son, prompted by his dad, stopped at every tenth tree and declared it perfect. But I kept dragging them through the mud in the search of the perfect one. And then I found it. It looked like a noble but it had a red tag. It was a little crooked, especially the top. But I knew it was too tall for our ceilings so I figured we would chop that off anyway. So as I wandered just a little further, my husband started sawing. So knew I had to come back. We were committed.

I got back to the tree just as my son was screaming for me to hold it up. His dad was almost through and it had started to lean over. So I grabbed it. It was heavier than I thought. Standing next to it, it must have been 9’ tall. Oops way to big. Last year we got a 5’er and it was great. I guess it’s true they look smaller in the forest.
While Dad paid and loaded the tree inside the car, one of the owners proudly showed my son a deer skeleton she had found in the field. She hypothesized that it could have been hit by a car and dragged itself into the field to die.

We stopped at a playground on the way back to the freeway.
When we got back into the car it was swarming with little flies. “Guess the tree really was organic”, Dad smirked. As we were merging onto the freeway, my son, stuffed between the branches, started to scream. My heart stopped. Dad was trying to drive and he calmly asked “what’s the matter?” It sounded like something was stinging him. He screamed “spider!” I looked back and a single baby spider, barely the size of a gnat hung from the ceiling inches from his face. I asked Dad to open the window and baby spider got to fly. Problem solved. Nice to know the tree is organic.

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