New from the hills: Christmas tree hunters were out in large numbers over the holiday weekend. With low snowpack, it makes for great hunting for the most besought subalpine firs. New this year, you can get your tree permit online. Log on to openforest.fs.usda.gov or buy in person at the Winthrop Ranger Station, Monday-Friday, 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m., Pardners Mini-market, and Hank’s Mini Market and Harvest Foods.
But a great alternative to slugging through soggy, cold, damp earth and scaling downed logs to find the ultimate tree is to purchase a tree from the lot at Hank’s to support the Methow Valley Community Center.
Last year we took to decorating a wild tree along one of the ski trails in addition to harvesting one from the forest. As we decorated the trailside tree, a woman skied by and delighted in our festive act. She commented on how nice it was that we didn’t cut one down because it was, “mean.” We held our tongues that we had already cut ours down and happily trimmed it at home.
This comment stuck with me – mean? Is it mean to eat lettuce, corn, or strawberries? Commercial trees are grown in farms just like the food we eat, only it takes a much longer time to grow a tree. Perhaps she meant it’s mean to cut them down in the wild. After all, once a tree gets to cutting size in the packed stands of our national forests, they can be over 40 years old. Once I counted 80 rings on a subalpine fir with a 3-inch diameter. I felt a little remorse that it was such an old tree, and while it graced our house for many weeks and much adored, it was disposed of with the rest of our firewood. Seemed like a lot of effort on behalf of the tree to become kindling.
Holiday newsflash: avocados are three for $3 right now! This is a true holiday blessing given the outrageous prices we’ve seen in the past year. Analysts say it was a supply demand thing, not the tariffs, but that seems fishy. Maybe it’s true. Once they came close to $3 each they started rotting on the shelves and nearly no one purchased them at that price. Prices now back to normal, we can all get our guacamole on.
In other merry news, make sure to come to town Thursday (Dec. 5) from 4-7 p.m. for Mistletoe Madness. Patrons will be greeted by warm drinks for kids and adults, finger foods and treats, while you hop on and off the horse-drawn carriage to shop our local stores for holiday items. TwispWorks will host the new Methow Valley Jewelers Collective and the Valley Goods store. It’s a great event and worth braving whatever Mother Nature throws our way.
Finally, a somewhat recent holiday tradition known as the “Elf on the Shelf” has appeared in nearby homes. The Elf is a small stuffed doll elf that magically appears before Christmas and watches over the children to report back to Santa on their “naughty and nice” behaviors. The Elf moves around at night and can be found in a new spot in the morning. Every morning children wake to a mad hunt to find the elf’s new perch. The Elf has not appeared in our home, but reports of neighbors claim he is mysteriously moving around during the daytime, causing all kinds of suspicions and fear. Some kids find the Elf outright creepy, others appear to admire him. In any case, from one 10-year old, “make sure to close the door when you go to the bathroom, because the Elf might be watching.” Good holiday advice for any household. Merry onward.