Poor Christmas tree. Thy branches are bald. Thy needles carpet our floor. It was sad to heave you out the door. But at least you didn’t shed manure. That was a nice improvement.

Growing Christmas trees was supposed to be a fun tradition, like a big Hallmark moment every year. Instead, it’s been a lesson in what not to do — like don’t let the manure spreader get too close to the trees. Good to know. (Even after I vacuumed the branches there were still natural ornaments clinging to it. They kept appearing throughout the holiday.) Another year, one of our trees brought in an infestation. Hundreds of little gnats thought it was Spring in our living room. It was the cycle of life right in our living room. This doesn’t happen to commercial¬† growers because they spray their trees. We don’t spray, so we never know what’s hiding. At least the wasp nests are big enough to see (another story but thankfully it didn’t happen inside). Oddly, the biggest problem with our Christmas tree nursery is Rudolph. Deer love our baby Christmas trees. They love them to death, right down to the last branch. But how can you get angry at Rudolph? As long as they leave enough for next year.