Tree cutting and hauling into town is done, and while it’s always a hefty job that kicks your ass, it was relatively painless this year. Why yesterday the sun even shone and there were times when the two of us broke honest sweat…as opposed to the sort of sweat that comes from working hard in winter clothing. And it was warm enough that the first two days of being sopping wet were only annoying as opposed to hypothermic.

Still, i’m beat up today. Even my Slavic serf genetics aren’t enough to save me from the bodily effects of pulling 20 foot balsams through the forest or playing pitch-and-catch with 600 hundred Christmas trees twice over.

See, the trick is that the “plantation” (for some reason the Boss started calling it that this year and it was a source of untold amusement for the two of us doing the dragging…the two of us who labored through the worst year in more than a decade last year by singing field hollers we made up) is a solid 45 miles from the point of sale. That means that after the trees are cut and dragged to the network of two-tracks on the plantation they must be loaded on a trailer and driven into town. And that means that the more trees you can get on the trailer the fewer trips you have to make. And that…well, that leads to some pretty silly, Grinch-sleigh like scenes.

It’s a sixteen foot trailer with stake sides three quarters of the way around. First you fill up the stake side section, hanging the butts of big trees off the back to make a solid foundation. When the top of the stakes are reached, i (and this has been my position since my first day of tree cutting) climb on top. It’s precarious, walking on a stack of trees. Miss a trunk and you’re liable to drop into the load; i’ve fallen right up to my armpits. It only gets more precarious.

The tree chucker(s) throw the trees up to (at) me, and i lay them down across the trailer. They need to interlock and do so in such a way that they won’t blow off and leave us to restack the trailer on the side of the highway. The best way to throw a tree…if you ever find yourself needing to…is butt first. You’d be surprised how well they’ll sail if you get it right.

…minor digression: they sail really well sometimes. And during the years when we’ve had more than two haulers, i find myself with two or three people throwing trees at me from multiple directions. One must be quick of reaction to at least fend off the tree trunks headed right for one’s crotch…

I can stack a trailer of trees pretty high. We didn’t come close to my personal record this year (it wasn’t really necessary), but we got a rough measurement on the last trip when we had to stop for gas. We made it safely under the 14′ 9″ gas station pavilion, but we probably used about 13 feet of that allowance.

Yes, that means that i stand on top of a pile of trees — balancing on the tangle of trunks — and catch thrown trees, which i often need to lift high enough to flip over and lay down. At a certain height no one can really throw the tree any more, so i walk to the edge and grab whatever i can and yank the tree up.

When this is all set and down, a couple of ropes run from the tongue up the stack, over the load and down the back…the only way down for me is rappelling. Tie it all up tight and hit the road. Oh the looks, especially when we get into town. People stop and stare; the kids love it. What could be more convincing that Christmas is on its way than a 13 x 16+ x 8 pile of Christmas trees rolling through town?

Of course, if you’re me you still have to reverse the process and get all those trees off the trailer.

And so it begins. It may be 50 degrees and sunny, but Christmas is on its way and for the next month i’ll smell like everyone’s favorite automotive air-freshener.

Oh, and i made up a new song yesterday…or at least the chorus of a song sung to the tune of Bon Jovi’s “Wanted Dead or Alive”:

I’m a snow cowboy.
On the tree-trailer i ride.
I’m wanted…at Christmas time


~ by Lex on November 22, 2009.

2 Responses to “Whew”

  1. Very visual Lex! All the shops in our little city have their tree stands all set up in anticipation…

  2. I was gonna try and come up with some more lyrics for you, but it turns out the song is already about hauling christmas trees. See for yourself: http://www.elyrics.net/read/b/bon-jovi-lyrics/wanted-dead-or-alive-lyrics.html

    I dig the new look at ElectricWorry, too, by the way…

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