The Great feral Christmas tree hunt took place last weekend at Windrock, and much to the delight of young and old, a suitable white pine was soon brought to bay. Scofflaw-in-laws were amused that this did not require any timber trespass on adjacent landholdings, nor were we compelled to declare it "dead, dying, diseased, down or hazardous" as it was not on our conservation restricted land (or that of our neighbors).
The woods at Windrock have grown a great deal in my mother's memory, and even I can recall when the spot where we found the tree was called "The Fish's Road" and was still drivable. Now there are thirty year old conifers in the old roadway. The few firs that were planted there long ago have reached the canopy. Then again, the old clay tennis court nearby is now used for overflow parking and is well on its way to meadow.
White Pines are spindly and leggy and even Charlie Brown might think twice if there were other "noncommercial" offerings in the lot. But there is great satisfaction in cutting and using what your land produces, and the advantage of this species becomes clear when large ornaments and garland fill in the open spaces before the big picture window.
The ornaments at Windrock are not of the "beautiful ball" school of decoration, but rather what my grandfather dismissively referred to as "schmelts" : the tattered adornments of Easter bonnets, cardboard fish, armless Kewpies. A lot of this Victorian clutter came from my Grandmother's Grandmother's tree, and I am always amazed as I ease the motheaten Santa's and tarnished twists of tin out of their boxes how right they look on a tree like this.
One man's schmelt is another one's treasure. I introduced Elias to the joys of "bottle mining" at the centry old farm dump in the woods at Windrock. We came back with this exceptional haul, including a gorgeous amber glass bottle of "Warner's Safe Liver and Kidney Cure" (made in Rochester NY).
Tonight is Christmas Eve, and we sit in another house, with another tree, waiting for "the bound". And on Sunday, we will head back down to Windrock, and have another celebration, beneath the generous, twiggy boughs of the tree we bagged and brought home to adorn and adore.