Visiting A Christmas Tree Farm.
(Or how to choose the perfect Christmas tree).
Ok, that second part might be a little far-fetched. Is there such a thing as a “perfect” tree? And isn’t beauty in the eye of the beholder?
I was born, raised, married, entered motherhood, and lived for 36 years in Florida. Christmas trees are trucked in from parts north and set up in tents amongst the parking lots and fields around the towns in which I’ve lived. Picking out our Christmas tree as a family is something that we have always done.
When we moved to Roanoke, I really wanted to visit a tree farm and choose my Christmas tree from its habitat. We moved to Virginia in 2013 and closed on our current home around 10 days before Christmas. A jaunt out to a tree farm was not in the cards. The following three years, I advocated going to a tree farm, but was outvoted by those wanting to hop down to the local tent stands (we did purchase from a tree farm that also trucks trees in to a lot closer to our home).
This year, I
adamantly insisted planned our trip to a Christmas tree farm.
Next year, Big Mr. will be away at college and I don’t know if we will choose our tree as the entire family.
…and that is how we came to travel to Slaughter’s Tree Farms this past weekend.
Lest you be mistaken into thinking everyone was joyous about my plans, I am raising teenagers. Two of them drive and like to make plans with friends. All three of them like to sleep when they’ve stayed up too late the night before.
But after grabbing some breakfast, conversations lightened (as in grumpiness fell away) and amongst the conversations were talks of concerns behind AI…which somehow brings up Elon Musk’s warnings against it…to which I always chime in that I swear Elon Musk has figured out time travel and is from the future (perhaps he’s already seen the “rise of the machines”).
The tree farm that we visited is located at 4864-4906 Floyd Highway N in Floyd County, Virginia. The drive across Bent Mountain and a few other locations is extremely winding. I wish I had photos, but I was in the back seat, bracing myself around the curves.
I had a general idea of where it was located as I’d seen signs for it before on the few times I’d driven to Floyd from Roanoke. I knew that it was after Check and before Floyd proper. I needn’t have been concerned about finding it. As we got closer, we passed car after car with a Christmas tree strapped to its roof. The location itself was very obvious.
After finding out how it all worked (find a tree and then flag down a four-wheeler hauling a trailer)…we were off.
We were looking for a rather tall tree. Miss Sunshine had proposed a new location in the living room that could hold a taller tree than we’ve had in the past.
A tree in its own setting creates an optical illusion of being much smaller than reality. Miss Sunshine and I repeatedly pointed out trees whose circumference probably would have encompassed a large portion of our living room.
There are poles to carry that will help you estimate the height of the tree. As you can see, Miss Sunshine had lofty goals in relation to the height of the Christmas tree that she was searching for.
The walk to the top of the hill, seemingly went on forever. There was even another hill covered with tree after tree. I loved watching the memories being formed. Mr. D often prefers his solitude when he is home, but when he settles in to conversations, he has a lot to say. The hubby and he chatted for much of the search.
We did not travel to the second hill. Big Mr. was coming down with a cold and even though he was a trooper, soldiering on for all the hunting that we did, I felt bad knowing he should rest.
I think Miss Sunshine would have looked at every tree (if I’m honest, that’s my tendency too), but we decided on this tree. You can see that Big Mr. is slightly uphill compared to the tree and he’s 6’6″, so Miss Sunshine got her wish for a tall tree.
The view from this part of the hill was beautiful. That tiny red and white spot in the photo is the monstrous inflatable snowman in the parking lot. And this was only a fraction of the amount of acreage covered in Christmas trees.
We waved the pole a little to gain the attention of the workers and they came with a chainsaw, ferried the tree down to be baled, and then tied upon our roof.
We meandered back down the hill to complete our purchase.
They also had a trailer covered with lovely wreaths. I had meandered down more slowly than the others, stopping to take photographs along the way. I probably would have purchased a wreath as well, but the hubby had already paid.
The Slaughter’s Tree Farms location we were at prefers cash or check, but will take a credit card. We are notoriously cashless and so we used a card. Floyd proper isn’t that much farther, and we would have ran to an ATM there had that been necessary.
We weren’t quite the Griswold’s on our drive home, but it still always feels like there’s an element of that with a tree strapped to your roof.
We moved all the furniture around to make a place for the tree.
After the hubby strung the lights, he placed our first ornament, the Christmas Nail. Last year, I wrote about its placement on our tree in this post.
I watched as the teens placed the ornaments. I watched the thoughtful way they found a home for each and every one. I listened to conversations of the meanings or the age behind almost every ornament.
Miss Sunshine started with the Grinch. He requires a place that forms a seat. He holds a special place in my heart. The Grinch Who Stole Christmas is my favorite show. Not the movie…the cartoon. And only the original…voiced by Boris Karloff. That stuffed Grinch was the Christmas tree topper for the hubby and my first Christmas together…and it has held a place on the tree ever since.
We played Christmas music loudly. We laughed. We reminisced. We talked about the year the tree fell over…twice! We lost many bulbs and once it landed on our poor aging Golden Retriever (she never lay in its shadow again).
Each piece a different memory.
Perhaps I should give you a tour of my tree…but that is for a different day.
The entire process of choosing our tree from a Christmas tree farm has created new memories.
Memories that will enter into our holiday remembrances.
Do you have any special holiday traditions?
Let your light shine!