This is a view from the Christmas tree plantation, looking over other pheasant drives -
The plantation is bordered by a crop of Jerusalem artichokes, put in for pheasant cover. I have to walk through it to get to the trees -
The trees are planted for windbreaks so individual specimens are imperfect. Charlie Brown Christmas tree territory. But we found a tree with at least one good side and in easy reach, so I took him down -
Obviously I should be wearing protective equipment every time I use the saw
Trimmed him and snedded him -
Held him up for the official naming ceremony. Mike christened the tree 'Mervyn' -
Mervyn and I made our way back to the truck -
I got him into the truck -
And tied down for our ride back home on bumpy farm tracks -
The rough ride home pruned a few of his branches, but we found his best side, faced it out, tidied him up with secateurs, and popped him in the tree stand - well, wedged him in with some fireplace kindling for support -
A strand of lights, some ribbon, and a few decorations gussied him up for the big day -
Not bad, Mervyn. Homely but festive.
After the holidays, Mervyn will be recycled for cover in pheasant drives. Mike collects all the old Christmas trees from the nearby villages, and uses them to replace cover for pheasants on windy hillside drives in winter, when so much natural vegetation has died back. Mervyn will be going back to his roots, pun intended.
There aren't many presents to put under the tree this year - the customary socks for Mike and flannel pyjamas for me, of course - but the saw bench (Mike) and sewing machine (me) will have to wait as both the truck and the Land Rover decided to break down at the same time this past month. Our gift from the mechanic was a bill in excess of a grand. Still, two vehicles that run is a great present as far as I'm concerned. Even Mervyn is going to have to make sacrifices and give up his tree skirt that I made out of an old birdseed sack. I need the burlap for setting mole traps, as moles have invaded the garden again leaving heaps of soil like speed bumps on the lawn.
After tree trimming and evening chores, I cobbled together a dinner of leftovers - home made pumpkin and mushroom soup, with apple and Gorgonzola on bread toasted under the grill. There was even enough apples and some pastry left to make a strudel, which we ate with double cream poured over it. We opened a bottle of Churchill's vintage port to toast the tree and another year, to give thanks that we're both still here, and to laugh at how much we enjoy our oddments, leftovers, and less-than-perfect life anyway.