Monday, December 6, 2021

Liberated From Earthly Toils

In the waning days of fall, I stopped down at a local dealer that sold lawnmowers and after negotiating a bit, bought a new lawnmower on order to be delivered sometime in February. Like everything, they were backordered but I didn't mind. Although water tight, I still don't have siding on my storage building for the lawnmower and the lawn had already been mowed for the last time this year by the company we hire, so there wasn't a need to get it any faster. But it showed up anyway, many months early as I was outside hanging up Christmas lights on one of the final warm days of the season. I ended up going over the entire lawn mulching leaves and getting a feel for it before parking it in the shed for the winter. It definitely will take some getting used to but I'm looking forward to spring and next year's lawn mowing season.

When I put the above in my trunk, it always strikes me as very criminal feeling and so I always obey all traffic limits and signs... just in case. In this case, we were upholding a long standing family tradition and as a former blogger used to say, liberating a red cedar tree from it's earthly toil to use as our Christmas tree. My parents before me always went this route and it just stuck for me I guess. Now even my children say that those firs and pines sold at the big box stores don't look as good as a red cedar tree when it comes to Christmas so perhaps a third generation is being molded by this tradition as well.

Red cedars are wild trees that most consider scrub trees that prolificate quite easily in this area. On the farm we try to keep them in check and in fact, the last few years, it has been difficult to find one of the proper shape and size to liberate from its earthly toil. But earlier this year, I was over at some property owned by a friend of mine just outside of town and they were in the process of cutting down 40 acres of them. I asked if I could help by cutting down one a year and they graciously agreed. Most of the trees were way too large for our purposes but by looking among them, we eventually found the below specimen which we liberated from it's earthly toil. We took it home and let it take a long drink of water in a bucket laced with green food coloring and the tree greens up nicely. It also infuses the house with the smell of cedar which I will always associate with Christmas. 


 

30 comments:

  1. I remember my grandparents always having red cedars. We probably did too, when we lived in Moore County, but once we moved to more suburban areas, we brought trees from the Optimistic Club which sponsored things like Little League. Nice lawn mower!

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    1. I went with this one because there is a local dealer and they will pick it up and bring it back, free of charge, anytime I need work done on it. I of course have to pay for the work though. But at least it saves me of having to find some other means of transportation.

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  2. And the ornaments are traditional too. 👍

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    1. Well they are modern knockoffs of traditional ones anyway.

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  3. Ed, when we were growing up we would go to land owned by the company my maternal grandfather and my father worked for in the mountains and cut a tree. It was allowed for company employees of course. In my mind, it is as humbling and awesome experience as that of the hunter and in a way, makes it easy to thank the tree for what it is giving, something picking one up off a lot seems not to engender.

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    1. I've never bought a tree off a lot, but I have walked by many and they do seem like very sad affairs. I would rather buy one from a group like mentioned above where I know the money will go towards something useful.

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  4. Ed I love your cedar Christmas tree, it's beautiful--and so is that riding mower! But in that first photo, I couldn't stop staring at your greenhouse. That is a work of art and something you built with your own hands, you didn't even use a kit! Great post :^)

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    1. I'm glad that it is built even though I still need to attach some siding to it in the spring.

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  5. Love the tree but have never heard of a red cedar! A few times we got a permit and cut a tree in the National Forest; since that involved high roads and snow, I wasn't a fan. I usually buy a small Noble fir since the branches make it easy to decorate.

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    1. In Iowa, Eastern Red Cedar is a native species. But out your way, you have Western Red Cedar. I don't know a lot of the differences other than Eastern Red Cedar is a much smaller tree.

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  6. I, too, noticed how nice the greenhouse looks in the background of the first photo! The tree is lovely. I haven't put in a tree in years and it's been even longer since it was a real one.

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    1. I intentionally composed the picture with the greenhouse in the background since that is where I will be storing the lawnmower. Turned out to be a hit I guess.

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  7. That's a BEAUTIFUL tractor. John Deere used to have a salesman's book for kids called "Johnny Tractor and his Pals." It was reissued when first hubby and I bought a John Deere tractor. (1983+-) Maybe Santa will bring you some round weights to put in the back wheels, and some chains to push snow around, oops, could add a front blade too!
    Nice way to acquire a tree; sound like some nice memories and more fun! (Adding green food coloring is clever!)
    Linda in Kansas

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    1. I don't think I have any of those options being a zero turn lawnmower. I got it mainly because I wanted a much wider stance and the ability to mow around lots of obstacles easily.

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  8. I love the title of your post. So poetic! And your tree is wild and beautiful!

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    1. I can't take credit. A blogger that I used to read long ago, would write about going out to his property and "liberating a cedar from it's earthly toils," because like most, they look at them as a noxious weed. But I always appreciated the phrase and use it even though that blogger hasn't blogged (that I'm aware) in probably a decade.

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    2. It always seemed to me like those cedar branches get dried out faster than other kinds, and the needles are so sharp and dry, they prick the skin if you touch them..

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    3. There is a secret. As soon as we cut the tree down, it goes into water and stays in water for the next month. Within about 12 hours after sticking it in a bucket of water, the needles become nice and soft and will stay that way for several weeks. Eventually, the tree will die and won't suck up anymore water so the needles will start to get prickly again but that is usually after 3 or 4 weeks and we are ready to dispose of it by then.

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  9. That's a fine looking sit-on lawnmower Ed. Has it been named? Perhaps you can ask your daughters to come up with a suitable name for it.

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    1. I hadn't thought about it but Easy Rider comes to mind. I'll have to ask my daughters and see if they come up with anything better.

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    2. It will be hard to beat a name like Clint!

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    3. In England, the public were asked to suggest names for an Antarctic research vessel and the most popular suggestion was Boaty McBoatface! How about Grassy McGrassface?

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  10. Oh gees. You build your a greenhouse and get a new tractor. I need to make sure that Tim does not see this...

    The Christmas tree is beautiful!

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    1. I wouldn't call it a tractor as it has very little utility compared to a lawn tractor. But hopefully it should serve its purpose well.

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  11. That mower/tractor is great and even though you will be doing "work," I think you're going to have fun with it! I remember red cedar Christmas trees as a very young boy. My favorite thing about them was the smell.

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    1. Nothing makes me think of Christmas more than the smell of Cedar. Too many decades of indoctrination of that aspect.

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  12. That is a really fancy lawn mower, Ed. I'm really impressed with your tree. It's very pretty and festive. I didn't know you could add green coloring to a tree.

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    1. It works just like those flower experiments we did as kids in school. I've always wanted to try a different color, like say red, just to see how much we can change the color but I'm always out voted.

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  13. Nice mower! You will like zero turn! I don't for our yard as we have so many trees:) Nice tree too!

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