My wife and I went today to a local tree farm to pick out and tag our Christmas tree. This will be the fifth Christmas we’ve spent together, and our third here at Happy Acres. We have chosen to put up a “real” tree each year, decorating it with our combined abundance of old and new ornaments. I also started the tradition of making a new ornament for us each year (that’s probably a topic for a future post now that I think about it).
There has been a lot of debate in recent years about which is better for the environment – a real tree or an artificial one. It is a thorny issue with many pros and cons on both sides. Personally, I think the best alternative may very well be having no tree at all, or even just going out and planting a tree, but for the foreseeable future we plan on allowing ourselves this indulgence.
The last few years we have gotten a tree from a local Boy Scout troop. Scouts have been selling them as a fund raiser for as long as I can remember. But some of our dear friends have been getting them from this tree farm for years, so we decided to make the switch ourselves this year. I feel a lot better going this route. We will be supporting a local farmer and a family business that has been in operation for years. When we are done with our tree we always take it to our community holiday recycling program, where it will be ground into free mulch for those of us who choose to recycle our trees, thereby keeping it off the landfill.
And after viewing the farm, I feel even better still. The owner is making great use of hilly, highly erodable land by planting it in conifer trees for cutting. It is truly a sustainable operation as well, since the trees are replanted to fill in the gaps as others are cut. While we were walking about, I saw a flash of blue, then another, and another. A small flock of bluebirds was flying about. Aahh, I thought, this would be prime bluebird habitat: acres of mixed land with all sizes of small to medium trees to perch on while hunting insects. The fact that the birds were there said a lot to me about this operation.