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Come with me as I travel through the real places of my life and into the steep, switch-back roads of the imagination. Join me. You'll be good company and your thoughts are welcome.

Monday, November 5, 2012

November is Tree Season in Grassy Creek

I left A Point of View in Grassy Creek on October 4, 2012 for an adventure off the mountain. Sadly, I left at the peak of North Carolina leaf color.
 
 Returning home October 22, I expected cool weather, bare trees and fallen leaves, and indeed, though the mountain roads were warm, the hardwoods barely held on to the last traces of red.



 
Leaf season is over, but tree season is not. Even in winter, Ashe County still boasts lots of green because Frasier Firs thrive here. The county-wide Christmas tree business supports many local families and provides seasonal income for large numbers of itinerant workers.

 
 

 
Like the olive groves that spread over the hills of the Mediterranean basin, rows of cultivated Frasier Firs cover the hills of Ashe County.
 
 
 Tree farmers grow their trees on large plots of land they lease or own all around the county. For many, it's a family business, and they hire additional farm-workers.
  
 
 
 
 
 
Here in Grassy Creek, even before the first of November, Frasier Firs and white pines as well are prepared for harvest and shipment to all parts of the U. S. in time for Thanksgiving weekend.
 

The first step is marking selected trees which have been growing as a cultivated crop for at least seven to over twenty years.
 
 


Trees are cut, wrapped and loaded onto trailers for transporting to convenient staging areas.
Sanford Fishel, owner of Grouse Ridge Christmas TreeFarms
 
Todd McNeill of Grouse Ridge Christmas Tree Farms
From here, they are loaded onto tractor trailers for moving down the mountain in convoys to far-reaches of the U.S. where they will be found on Christmas tree lots just before Thanksgiving. 
 
 
One grand tree from this county will decorate the Blue Room in the White House in Washington, D. C. again this year. It was chosen for 2012 by the National Christmas Tree Association from Peak Farms, owned by Russell and Beau Estes near Jefferson in Ashe County. Last time it was from North Carolina was in 2008, and it was from the same farm.
 
 
 
 Starting later this month, a crowd of choose and cut-your-own tourists will flock to the county and strap a fresh tree atop the car to take home to decorate.  Shady Rest Tree Farm is one such place in Glendale Springs. It's a great way to start the holidays.

the Renfro's 2011 Christmas Tree at A Point of View.
All this and I am left wondering, where did the summer go?

 

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