Over the years we have planted about 12,000 red pine trees that are now of various heights and diameters at our farm near Wild Rose. In addition to the many that we planted, many more have self-seeded. We have about five acres of self-seeded white pines, and here and there throughout the farm self-seeded Scotch and jack pine grow.
Each year for many years we have selected our Christmas trees from this collection—and what a task it is. You’d think picking out a couple trees, one for Ruth and me, and one for Sue and Paul would be an easy task. It is not. We do no shearing of our pine trees—thus they grow naturally and often imperfectly. Imperfectly for those who want a straight, fully branched, dark green, just the right height tree.
Last Saturday my daughter, Sue and I had the onerous and enormous responsibility of selecting this year’s trees. It was a cool clear day and we faced the task with seriousness, as well as enjoying tramping around from tree to tree: “How about this one? How about that one?”
Finally, we settled on two Scotch pines that appeared to meet most of the requirements for a suitable Christmas tree. Sue, a woodswoman as she calls herself, sawed off one and then the other tree. We loaded then on the back of our John Deere Gator and chugged off down the trail by the pond and up the hill on our way to the cabin. Arriving at the cabin, we proceeded to load the trees into the pickup—and discovered we had but one tree. Back on the trail to find the one that had fallen off.
It was a great day. I've not yet heard how successful we were. That information usually comes later—after the trees are decorated. I’m hopeful.
SPECIAL EVENT: December Monday, December 3, 6:30, Patterson Memorial Library, Wild Rose. Central Wisconsin launch of TAMARACK RIVER GHOST, my latest novel, with a setting in central Wisconsin.
THE OLD TIMER SAYS: Decision making can be a bugger, especially when selecting a Christmas tree.
November 28, 7:00 p.m. “Jerry Apps: A Farm Story.” State-wide broadcast on all Wisconsin Public TV stations.
December 1, 10:30-2:30 Fireside Books, West Bend, WI. 10:30-2:00 p.m. Presentation at
11:00. “Tamarack River Ghost.”
December 2, 7:00 p.m. “Jerry Apps: A Farm Story.” State-wide broadcast on all Wisconsin Public TV stations.
December 3, 6:30 p.m. Patterson Memorial Library, Wild Rose. Dinner and book launch for “Tamarack River Ghost.” Call 920-622-3855 for reservations.
December 5, 11:00 a.m. Larry Meiller Show, Wisconsin Public Radio. Tamarack River Ghost.
December 8, 9:30-11:30, Sheboygan Falls Memorial Library, Garden Wisdom. Sponsored by Sheboygan County Historical Research Center.
December 15, 11:00 -12:30. Wisconsin Historical Society Museum, Downtown Madison. Book Signing.