Christmas trees

Episode #773

November 25, 2023

Paula and I have had a living Christmas tree for the last 6 years.
They are always fresh and fit nicely in our little house.


Each year we decorate our little tree with a few of our favorite ornaments. Some are mementos from our life. Others are gifts from friends. Many are made by Paula’s sister, her tradition.

The small tree allows us to enjoy each decoration. It only requires one string of lights.

The best part of having a living Christmas tree is enjoying it for years afterward.

Six years ago, our first Christmas in this home, we had our water well drilled. The bushes along the neighbor’s fence were removed because the drilling rig needed room to turn around. Our first step to replant the fence was to plant our Christmas tree . It was the first tree we planted at our rural home.

That first tree is an Incense Cedar, also known as a White Cedar. It has a potential to grow to 200 feet tall. The cedar was 3 feet tall when we planted it. It has grown to 15 feet tall in five years. The symbolism surrounding this tree includes endurance, eternal life and immortality. This tree species is the primary source of pencil wood.

Every year we have continued our tradition buying and planting living Christmas trees.

Year two we bought a Knobcone Pine. It is about 10 feet tall now. It’s pine cones will not release their seeds until the temperature is over 350°. This will only occur in a raging forest fire, so I hope it never seeds. The birds, however love to nest in it and can tease the cone seeds out for a tasty snack.

Year three was a Arborvitae Cypress, also known as the Tree of Life. A tea made from its bark can cure scurvy. It is 8’ tall now. There are some brown needles. It is time to back off a little on the water. Arborvitae is extremely drought tolerant, perfect for where I live. The oldest living specimen of Arborvitae is 1,100 years old.

Year four we planted a Monterey Pine. It is currently about 7 feet tall.

I found this sonnet about the Monterey Pine:

A strange story, these California trees
starts with a land now found far out to sea—
west of the famous San Andreas fault,
an ancient block of granite and basalt.
Salinia just sank beneath the waves,
whole ecosystems taken to their graves.
The trees are remnants of this vanished land,
though still endangered in their native stands.
These conifers have cones that burst in heat
(a trait botanists call serotiny).
These strange, old pines do not stand ramrod straight,
they swoop and knot just like the Golden Gate.
Most popular for lumber, all agree—
they are one of our favorite Christmas trees.
—unknown naturalist

Year five we found a Lawson’s Cypress at Lowes. It has grown 3 feet in just two years. It can grow to 150 feet, the same height as a 14 story building. This tree will provide a screen between our property and the potential house on a neighboring lot.

Last year we learned a hard lesson about hardiness zones. We found a beautiful Black Dragon Japanese Cedar. It grows into interesting shapes and is a favorite of bonsai cultivators.

We kept the tree outside before bring it indoors to decorate. Its growing zones range from a warm 5 to a cold 9. Our winter dipped to 5° F last year and the tree died before we decorated it and while still in its container.

I think we will honor the tree by using it as kindling in our pot belly stove this Christmas. This year we will check the hardiness of the living tree we display.

Since we had no tree, we brought in potted succulents and decorated them.

I love that our Christmas trees are living, growing and providing oxygen at my home. The fence is almost filled back in.

It has one more spot to fill with this year’s tree.

“Skydivers Know Why Birds Sing” by Ricki T Thues is now available on Amazon.
It is a Love story of Rick and Paula Thues and their 35 years of Skydiving.

Click HERE to buy the paperback or Kindle ebook at Amazon.

Follow Ricki T Thues on Amazon HERE.

“Technically Human” by Ricki T Thues, the iMentor, is available on Amazon.
It is a compilation of selected episodes from this bLog which tell the story of Humanity through the eyes of the iMentor.

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  1. Dan'l November 24, 2023
  2. Victor Spindler November 24, 2023
    • Ricki November 24, 2023
  3. Danielle L BARLOW November 24, 2023
  4. Mark January 29, 2024

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