They're Cutting Down Trees

It’s coming on Christmas
They’re cutting down trees
They’re putting up reindeer
And singing songs of joy and peace
I wish I had a river I could skate away on

 – © 1970; Joni Mitchell

Last weekend Holly and I went to  a local nursery looking for a live Christmas tree.  What was available was scrawny and very expensive.  Then Holly and I came to our senses and remembered that we live on five acres full of trees.  We laughed just a little at ourselves.

By the time we arrived back home at the Golden K it was pouring down rain but we were determined to establish a new tradition of cutting down a Christmas tree from our own property.  So we put on the best rainproof-cutting-down-Chistmas Tree-gear that we had and headed up the hill to the back side of the Golden K.  Back in the days before we went artificial and when we still put up “real”  trees we always had pines.  It wasn’t likely that we would find a pine small enough so we were hunting for a Cedar.

It didn’t take us too long to find a tree that was suitable.  It was a very nicely shaped Cedar about 12 feet high.  We carried it to the shop, cut it down to about seven feet and carried it back to the house.

It felt a little bit like when your kids are little and they cook a meal for themselves.  They eat the meal as if it was the best food they ever tasted because of the gratification of having cooked it themselves.  As we looked at our tree we both felt as though it was the most beautiful tree we have ever had in our 34 years of marriage.  I guess because we “cooked it” ourselves…

So like Joni sang, “they’re cutting down trees” at the Golden K and they are in love and they are grateful.  And if that’s not a romantic perspective of life at 3100 feet I don’t know what is.

First Christmas at the Golden K





Hey Mike and Holly, we love your tree as it is, and after this Christmas, you will have a new one every year. It’s your property to do what you want and it’s beautiful. No matter what, Mother Nature will play her game when she wants and how she wants. Just take care of what you have and of yourselves along with your two babies

It is romantic, and responsible as we have a duty to thin out an area that has not been allowed to thin itself out naturally, except for the bark beetle! Merry Christmas.

Love your ‘first’ tree! May it continue to be the shining light for yours and Holly’s love at the Golden K. I applaud you for a responsible approach to effectively managing the resource on your property. 🌲While it may be one less tree that will reach complete maturity, it’s also one less tree to fall victim as potential kindling when Mother Nature decides to “manage” the forest through fire. Kudos and happy holidays.

Thanks Monika. We’ve got approximately 25 dead pines 60 to 90 feet each that have been killed by bark beetles (those little bastards!) – 16 were dead when we bought the property and we lost 9 more since. I’ve got to take them all down eventually (ka-ching!) and in that process I’m sure I will be learning a lot. Merry and Happy to you and yours.

Sadly the bark beetles are doing a number on trees in the high country here too. When fire season comes along those dead trees act like kerosene-one bolt of lightening and poof-off it goes. Good luck as you take them out.

Hi Colin. We live in the middle of a forest and it’s actually good practice to thin the forest for a number of reasons. The forest cannot sustain all the trees especially in a drought. Even without drought it’s a good practice to take out many of the saplings and some of the smaller trees so that mother nature has a better chance of letting the majority of her trees reach their full and healthy potential. If not for man there would be many more fires which is one way that mother nature takes things into her own hands to thin a forest and return nutrients into the ground. Since we obviously don’t want fires and take measures to mitigate chances of a fire especially where there are homes such as ours every 5 to 10 acres we need to take measures of our own to thin. So while I agree with your sentiment the reality is we will be removing many trees over the years and fortunately some of them will be put to good use for a few weeks once a year before making their way to the burn pile.

Take care and have a wonderful Christmas.

Hi Michael – I understand your rationale, and do not have the expertise to offer constructive alternatives however, it is very noticeable around here how much forest is being left “natural” (to fend for itself; fallen trees etc will eventually breakdown and provide nutrients to new plant life i.e. let Mother Nature do what she does). Conversely, the lumber industry is always thinning, clear cutting and replanting… but then their goal has nothing to do with nature!

It will be a lovely memory of your first Christmas there, but please give consideration to a more symbolic gesture for future years. You now have one young tree that can never realize its potential. Hopefully all the others on your property will be allowed to. 🙂

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