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Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Countdown to Christmas - Christmas Tree Farm, Hywela Lyn

Hello and welcome to Day 23 in my Countdown to Christmas Blog! Today's featured guest is Hywela Lyn. Lyn is here to chat about an amazing tree farm that is well worth the read. And here she is. Come on in around the hearth and make yourself comfortable, Lyn. And here comes Oliver, at the ready, winking wildly as he pours steaming cups of Earl Grey. And don't those chocolate fudge brownies look delicious. Thank you, Oliver. So, Lyn. Tell us all about your visit to the tree farm.

Hi Sharon, hello Oliver - thank you, sweetie, those fudge brownies are my favourites!

After twelve years of decorating an artificial tree, my husband and I decided, last year, to revert to the real thing, they're environmentally friendly, helping to replenish the oxygen levels and absorbing carbon dioxide, and although an artificial tree can be used for several years, the noxious chemicals produced in their production do nothing to help the fight against global warming, and they are certainly not biodegradable like a real tree.

So, off we went to
Chesham Christmas Tree Farm

At the entrance is a full size Father Christmas. A little wooden fox greeted us as we went through the gate and we passed by the little workshop where animated elves were busy making the gifts for Christmas and preparing Christmas trees. (Although one seemed to have decided it was time for a mug of tea!)

The Farm uses two Shire horses. Thomas and Ambassador, who are working forestry horses. They are owned and trained by Steven Jones, who is a highly skilled forester based in Wales. Shire horses are a breed of horse used as draft animals on English farms for centuries. They are believed to be descended from English "Great horses" which were also used to carry armored knights in medieval times. The horses leave the fields in much better condition than modern tractors. Tractors running over the ground can damage the soil structure and reduce its fertility by compacting it. Horses weigh less than tractors and their hooves spread that weight over a larger surface area. As a result, even in wet weather, the field is not damaged by the use of the horses, and the farm tracks are left un-rutted. For each tree sold, another is planted, as it absortbs carbon dioxide and 'breathes' out oygen, each tree is helping reduce our collective carbon footprint.

At the end of the rows of trees was a corral where we made friends with one of the horses, unfortunately I'm not sure which one it was, but his companion was obviously taking his turn to carry back some trees.There are trees of many different varieties and sizes to choose from.

We chose a lovely, bushy little tree and while it was beeing 'netted,, we visited the Christmas Tree Farm shop. It was like a fairy land, with loads of beautiful ornaments and decorations - and close to the counter, a full size sleigh with a moving Santa, Reindeer and little fawn.

There were also woodland animals in various
places around the shop, with twitching noses and paws, looking very realistic. They also sell things like magical reindeer food and special keys that only work for Santa, for houses with no chimneys.

Before I leave, do you know the legend of the Christmas tree? This legend comes down from the early days of Christianity:
In Britain, Saint Wilfred was a monk who was helping to spread Christianity among the Druids. One day he struck down a huge Oak tree, which in the Druid religiion was an object of worship.

As the tree fell to earth, it split into four, and from its centre grew a young Fir tree, pointing it's topmost branch towards the sky. The crowd gathered around the monk gazed in amazement.
Wilfred dropped his axe and turned to the watching people.

"This little tree shall be your Holy tree tonight," he said, "It is the sign of eternal life, for its leaves remain green all year round. See how it points toward the heavens. Let this be called the tree of the Christ Child. Gather round it, not in the wilderness but in your homes, surrounded with loving gifts and gestures of kindness." And so it is to this day. Merry Christmas CommentsYou can find out more about the Christmas Tree Farm, and how to care for your real Christmas tree HERE

Please be careful with your trees and decorations and take care nothing can catch fire.

Have a wonderful and safe Christmastime and a very Happy New Year!

Lovely story, Lyn. Thank you for sharing. Oops, here comes Oliver, not about to let Lyn leave without a proper kiss! Wishing you and yours a Merry Christmas!



Sharon Donovan said...

Let's have a warm welcome for Hywela Lyn. Lyn, come on out! Oh, you know my love of legends and the one about the tree splitting is one I've never heard. I love it! What an amazing place to visit, and so magical. It sounds like a must do tradition, every year. And here comes Oliver with steaming pots of Earl Grey, coffee, hot cocoa and platters of chocolates. He pours tea and mutters something. What's that, Oliver? Well, you'll have to take that up with Lyn. Sharon sighs. Oliver wants to know if he can play Father Christmas next year and greet all the pretty girls with a big kiss...

Hywela Lyn said...

Hello Sharon

Lyn runs over and gives Sharon abig hug. Thanks so much for having me at your blog today, and Oliver, ooh thanks so much, my favourite Earl Grey and chocolates, Mmm you spoil me - come here and let me give you a Christmas kiss!

Well Oliver, I think you'd be a geat hit as Father Christmas at the Christmas Tree farm, all the ladies would forget what they've come for! You've certainly had plenty of practice this year - and red velvet and white faux fur certainly suits you!

Sharon Donovan said...

Sharon hugs Lyn back. Then she scowls at Oliver. For goodness sakes, Oliver. Is there no end to your vanity? Now run along so I can chat to Lyn about this amazing tree farm. Well, you might have poured me a cup of tea before running off in a huff, blowing kisses to Lyn. Sigh
So, Lyn. I just feel as though I walked with you through the tree farm. What a lovely place to go and get a tree. And the horses and the animated figures, so festive. I'm sitting here smiling. I'll bet the atmosphere is so friendly, huh?

Jane Richardson, writer said...

How lovely! We bought our Christmas tree from a tree farm this year too, but it wasn't as pretty as this one! I love the idea of the keys for houses with no chimney, that's cute.:)
Have a WONDERFUL Christmas, ladies!

Jane x
PS please can I have Oliver in my stocking?? ;-)

Hywela Lyn said...

Hi Jane, yes it's lovely to get one's tree direct from a tree farm, isn't it.

The atmosphere is very festive and friendly, Sharon - one of the notices says unacompanied children will be recruited by Santa for elves, I think there might well be a queue of children waiting to apply, actually, conveniently 'losing' their parents!

Jane - I've already put Oliver on my wish list - but I suspect, despite the hints about 'the auction', Oliver's heart will always belong to Sharon *sigh*.

Emma Lai said...

The December days have sped by. I can't believe there's only two days left before Christmas! Thanks for all the lovely posts, Sharon!

Lyn, my husband and I get a little living Christmas tree every year. The little thing is so cute it can't help but put a smile on our face. When it finally outgrows its pot, we plant it.

Happy Holidays!

P.L. Parker said...

I loved this post! We used to go out into the mountains and cut our tree. Never really very pretty but it was a family thing. Hunt for hours until you took whatever you could find because your legs were freezing off. Kind of like the first scene from "Christmas Vacation." One year, I was about five months pregnant, and we got lost from the others and the snow was about waist high and we walked and walked. I was getting pretty nervous and finally we found a road and then the rest of the group. We always had hot chocolate along and a picnic lunch. I think Hywela's would have been a better choice.

Beth Caudill said...

Love the wooden fox and stuffed animals in the shop.

Happy Holidays.

Cate Masters said...

What a lovely post, Lyn! There's nothing like the smell of a real evergreen. Thanks for the visit to that wonderful tree farm, too. Love that Shire horse, he's gorgeous!
Years ago, when environmentalists began warning against the use of tinsel (it can kill birds trying to use it for nests), I switched to reusable tinsel made of aluminum.
Thanks too for the story of the Christmas tree. A lovely reminder of the reason for the season.
Have a wonderful holiday!

Miss Mae said...

Hi Ya, Lyn! Made it home through all the snow, I see, dashing up the hills in a one-horse open sleigh, eh? And I imagine Bouncer barked all the way! hee hee

Well, I see you've tossed off your booties and are stretching your tootsies ever closer to the it, there goes Oliver tripping over your size sevens!

Oh, my, there's nothing sadder to see than a nose-in-the-carpet butler with an empty teapot on his head.


Lyn, enjoy your day with Sharon! :)

Hywela Lyn said...

Hi Emma

Thanks for stopping by and telling us about your little living Christmas tree, it must be lovely to be able to plant the little thing and see it grow!

Hywela Lyn said...

Hi Patsy

Yes, going out in the forest to get a tree is something I remmeber from living in Wales. I love the idea of taking a picnic lunch and having hot chocolate - getting lost sounds a bit scary though, so glad you found your way out OK.

Hywela Lyn said...

Hi Beth

Thanks for dropping in - yes, those cute animals are beautiful - so ralistic! And the Santa and Reindeer move too, it's hard not to want to stroke the reindeer's nose!

Hywela Lyn said...

Hi Cate
So glad you enjoyed the post. I didn't know about the tinsel, but I don't use it on the tree anyway, I have strands of tiny golden bells and holly leaves instead.
Happy Holidays to you too, and evereyone else who's been kind enough to drop by.

Hywela Lyn said...

Hi Lula

So lovely to see you - yes we did make it home, thanks to a kind Samaritan who got us through the last couple of miles of snow. It's beautiful but it has caused chaos and it's starting to melt now, so we may not get a white Christmas - just hope it doesn't rain!

Oliver, stop trying to catch Miss Mae's attention like that - no-one could trip over my size fours, I have teensie tootsies!

Kathleen said...

Lyn. Thanks for sharing your trip to the tree farm -- what a lovely, magical spot.

Hywela Lyn said...

Hi Kathleen -

Yes it's a great place for geting into the Cmas spirit - certainly beats a supermarket, LOL!l

Judy said...

I really enjoyed your post about the tree farm. I would love to visit the shop there. It sounded like a fun time.

Happy Holidays to everyone!!

Sharon Donovan said...

Greetings one and all! Big wave to Jane, Emma, Patsy, Cate, Beth, Miss Mae, Kathleen and Judy! What fun. Come sit around the hearth with us. Oliver is making chocolate martinis and has tons of chocolates and cookies. Enjoy! Lyn what a fun tradition, so full of frolic and Christmas magic!

Mary Ricksen said...

Hi guys, I sure wish they had Christmas tree farms here. They had them in Vermont and upstate New York. They were fun to go to, but this one sounds perfect.
Oliver you are such a flirt. And so spoiled too.

Hywela Lyn said...

Hi Judy, yes, it's a lovely shop - the whole place is magical.

Hi Mary - thanks for dropping by.

Sharon, thanks so much for having me here today, you always make your guests feel special - and you too Oliver of course! :)

Sharon Donovan said...

Big wave to Mary! I would like to thank everyone for sitting around the open hearth with us today for this lovely visit. And a special thank you to my featured guest Hywela Lyn for inviting us along on a trip to the magical tree farm. Thanks, Lyn! And while you're standing, let's have a nice round of applause for the world's best blog decorator! You add so much sparkle and shine to my blog, dear friend, and I thank you from the bottom of my heart! You rock, girl!
Until next time, may the luck of the Irish be with you as you travel through life.

Love and Blessings,

Hywela Lyn said...

Sharon, you make me blush, my sweet friend! Thanks again for having me here. It's a real pleasure and priviledge to add pictures and decorations to your poetic postings, I just vizualize what you write so eloquently and try to find a picture to fit!

Thank you to everyone who came along and shared my visit to the Christmas tree farm, even if you didn't comment I hope you enjoyed it, and I wish each and every one of you a wonderful Christmas - you too Oliver, thank you for your hard work on the refreshments - mmmmwhaahh, big kiss'and another hug for Sharon.