Farmhouse Projects – The Christmas Tree

In a previous post, I mentioned twelve future projects we wish to be able to do around the farmhouse. The easiest one on that list is what I call The Christmas Tree. It was my husband’s project, and his obsession for a while. The Christmas tree is a young pine tree he was able to save when we took down a morass of weeds and overgrown bushes covering the front and part of the side of the property, near the entrance. He liked the tree, although it was in bad shape. I thought it would not make it because it had been sprayed by the city (or our electric company) with something they use to kill anything that would be a threat to utility cables. Although this tree was not nearby, when they sprayed some trees that were, some of this brew got on it and it burned some of the branches. The other trees dried up and died. Those were not on our property, but next to it. Once we had cleared out the bushes and weeds, my husband kept mowing around the tree, and trimming it. Eventually, he wanted to put white lights on it and make it a focal point. A few weeks ago, I noticed that the tree was looking much healthier, so I ordered solar lights for it without my husband knowing, as a surprise. It still has some brown spots and dead branches, but I think it will become a beautiful tree.

This weekend we were able to work on the tree. We even named it. We named it Christmas. Here are a few pictures of this first project.

First, we trimmed some dead branches and cleaned up the trunk a bit. You can still see some of the burnt branches.
We used some cinnamon color pine needles we collected, and used these as mulch around the base. We placed and secured the lights on top as best as we could and tested them for best sun exposure.
We took care of other chores until it became dark. It turned out to be a gorgeous sunset and evening.
And then we saw it happen; Christmas lighted up. It is a bit difficult to photograph all the lights because these do not light up at the same time. We used 200 white LED solar lights.

On Sunday, we visited it once more, and we love the way it looks. I think it turned out to be a very special tree. I think this tree found its purpose. As it becomes more beautiful with time, it will light up every night, and become a beautiful sight for those who pass by. Because we are not able to see it from home, we will visit it from time to time. I might place a bench nearby. Sometimes, things may look hopeless, but with a little bit of care and patience they turn out lovely.

Little Tree – The Simple Things

It is the simple things that make me happy. For many people, the end of a year presents an opportunity for self-evaluation, and for thinking about areas that need change or improvement, or even things that have to be eliminated from one’s life. Every year, I welcome this season and think about the course of the year, set new goals, and set aside some time to really look at what can be simplified.

I am a planner, love lists, and crave organization and structure – a character trait that serves me well but can become overwhelming at times. Such are the times when I tend to overanalyze, make more lists (on top of lists), and when I am hard on myself for not performing as expected (by me) despite giving more than 100 percent in effort. It is then when I need the simple things to help me refocus, and to bring me back to living the simple life – the life that happens in the now, does not follow lists so much, and focus on the beauty and good things/blessings that are present. One of those things is the Christmas season.

Last year, I adopted a little tree that I came across while at a farmer’s market, and I named it Little Tree. I even blogged about the unusual circumstances that surrounded that day. You can read the post here – The Little Tree That Could. Today, and a coincidence at the writing of this post, happens to be a year since I brought Little Tree home. It has grown a bit, and I want to share before and after pictures of it.

Little Tree before, last year.

Little Tree before, last year.

Little Tree this year.

Little Tree this year.

As you can see, it has grown a few inches, its branches have taken a darker hue and spread out. If it wasn’t for the 2012 picture, the changes and growth would have escaped my mind because its growth has been slow but steady. Maybe Little Tree has a message to share, after all.

 

The Little Tree That Could

It is very hard to keep the Christmas cheer when so much pain and tragedy has ocurred these days in this country.  However, our hearts seem to want to get a hold of a little bit of hope; I saw that over the weekend.

My husband and I went to a local antiques market over the weekend.  I was looking for the old-fashioned melted popcorn christmas ornaments – the ones I loved so much when I was a little kid.  Although I did not find any, I found much more that day.  Walking around the many vendors, I saw an older couple who were selling a few different things and had two tiny live christmas trees in pots on the floor, and next to their table.  If I was not looking down, I would have miss them.  Immediately, the tiniest one caught my eye (don’t know why since it looked more like a crooked Charlie Brown tree with one lonely small christmas ball on it), and I asked the old couple how much was it.  The older man smiled and told me that the little tree was $5.00 dollars.  I said, “I’ll take it.”

We kept walking around, and then, something unusual happened – I started noticing that people were looking at the little tree, and smiling.  In fact, they were smiling with their eyes as well.  I stopped at a table were there was an old-fashioned bear wreath on display; an old woman and whom may have been her son, greeted me.  They look at the little tree and smiled.  She kept smiling, and he said, “that is a Northern Spruce.”  I had forgotten to ask the man who sold me the tree what kind of tree it was, so I said, “Thank you for letting me know; I totally forgot to ask.  It looks like a Charlie Brown tree to me, a baby one.”  The man smiled, and went to grab a bag he had in one of the boxes  placed on the dirt floor.  While I was paying the older woman for the bear wreath, he came back and handed me a bag, saying, “Here is my contribution to your Charlie Brown tree.”  The bag had small ball ornaments.  I said, “thank you so much, may you have a wonderful Christmas.”  The woman smiled and offered her best wishes to us.  We said goodbye and kept walking, encountering the smiles and a few comments from strangers who happened to take a glimpse at the little Christmas tree I was carrying.  I found this very unusual.

I decided that such a special little tree deserved a better container where its roots could spread a bit more.  We kept walking around some more and we noticed the absence of planters; in fact, we didn’t see any other little live christmas trees.  When I was ready to give up, I saw an old milking container laying on the dirt, with a taped handwritten note – $3.  There it was, the perfect planter for the little tree.  I told the vendor that I wanted the container for the little tree.  He smiled and said, “There, it even has some old dirt inside, someone used it as a planter.”  I paid for it and we kept on walking.  An older couple who was resting nearby, next to an empty table smiled, looking at the little tree.  The man said, “what a cute little tree.”

In all this, my husband was having a good laugh, never thinking that my obsession for the little tree, would have caused so many smiles along the way …  We decided to keep growing it inside until it becomes so big that we will have to plant it outside.  After arriving home, we cleaned it up, placed it in its new planter, decorated it with the gifted ornaments, and wrote 2012 on the original christmas ball to keep track of its age.  We named it Little Tree.  Here is a picture of the little tree that made people smile.

 

Little Tree

Little Tree

Did it make you smile? 🙂