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.
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.
|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.
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.
All this and I am left wondering, where did the summer go?