Christmas trees

Saturday, my wife, son and I went to go cut down a Christmas tree, which is pretty much an annual event. My wife comes from a family which uses artificial trees. For my family, this is not an option, since Grady Christmas Tree Farm belongs to my family.

Anyway, it's a yearly tradition at the tree farm to discuss some of the best comments from the previous year. You see, despite the fact that there are articles about it in the paper, about how, on a tree farm, you get to cut your own tree, some people just seem to be unclear on the concept. For instance:

"Where are all the sidewalks?" It's a farm. A real farm, with dirt, and mud, and snow. Nature isn't paved for your convenience.

"Are these real trees?" No, we've actually planted fake trees in the ground. They even shed needles, just like the real thing, but they are fake.

"Why is there snow on the ground? Don't you clear everything off for the customers?" Again, it's a farm, it's Illinois, it's December. If there is snow in Peoria, or Morton, or Bloomington, or Farmington, there is going to be snow at the farm. It's just the way things are.

"Why don't you have your trees illuminated for shopping after dark?" Two reasons. First, after dark, it gets really cold out there, regardless of lights. Second, there's a lot of ground to cover. Wal-mart might be willing to light up that kind of acrage, but we're not going to do so.

"It's really cold out here. Can't you do something about it?" No, Dick Cheny has borrow my weather control device to cause hurricanes in the Gulf. Again, Illinois, prairie, December. It's not T-shirt weather, but some people show up in short skirts or thin jackets. They typically buy the first tree they see that doesn't have a bare patch the size of a car, and are gone.

We don't actually say those comments to the people, of course, but it is a source of constant amusement, bemusement, and amazement that some people don't come prepared to deal with cold weather and the real outdoors. We fully understand when someone doesn't have a saw (I have my own, and used it today, but most tree farms have loaners), and are all willing to help someone cut down a tree. (This usually leads to comments about how quickly we can do it - but once you've cut down a couple hundred, you've had some practice at it.)

So, if you are going out to get a real, live, Christmas tree that you cut down yourself, remember to dress warmly, that it may be muddy, and you might need to borrow a saw. It is fun, though, and on a good day (like Saturday was - not too cold, with some snow on the ground), it's a very memorable experience.


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