Sunday, December 16, 2007

O Christmas Tree O Christmas Tree!

My tree.... Before decorations. And the picture below shows the same tree with a few decorations added. Still more to go but getting close to the finished product.

I am so late getting my Christmas tree!

Well, not so late but later than normal. It took two trips to the lot but after some thorough searching I finally located a beauty. Each year I run through the debate: Should I do the economical and ecological thing and buy an artificial Christmas tree? Or should I continue to rape and pillage the environment and buy a real tree? I always lose that debate. I guess I rationalize it by thinking that I'm helping to keep many tree farmers in Oregon employed. And also giving all those tree lot folks some extra spending money during the Holidays. After all, this is the season of giving right? Nonetheless, I do know that my days of buying real Christmas trees are numbered. Especially if the prices continue to rise each year. This year I paid 55% more for my tree than I did last year. I must admit though, when I do go the artificial route, I'll miss the feeling of walking in the house and smelling that sweet smell of pine! An unmistakable reminder of the season.

Anyway, since I've spent so much for my tree this year, I decided to cut back by saving some money and not buying the five dollars a bottle tree preservative. I've done a bit of research and found that you can make your own concoction for much less. I've actually tried this before but in the past, I've mixed my own recipe with a few store bought bottles. This year, I'm going 100% homemade. All the so called experts say that in addition to water, you'll need a food source for the tree; an acidifier- making the water more acidic helps the plant take in water and food; and something to keep mold and algae from growing in your water.

So If you're looking for a homemade preservative solution to keep your Christmas tree looking fresh, young and healthy for the season. Try this:

  1. 1 gallon of warm or room temperature water.
  2. 2 cups of light corn syrup
  3. 4 teaspoons chlorine bleach
  4. 4 teaspoons lemon juice or vinegar (optional)

If you'll be using the lemon juice or vinegar do not mix it directly with the bleach. Mix it into the water and then add the bleach to the solution. Otherwise you could create toxic vapors by mixing the bleach and vinegar or lemon juice directly. An alternative to using the light corn syrup is to use 4 teaspoons of sugar. Better yet, substitute the corn syrup and the lemon juice/vinegar with one can of non-diet Sprite or 7 -Up. This will supply your sugar source and serve as an acidifier. Besides, Sprite and 7-Up are cheaper than corn syrup and lemon juice/vinegar.

Other tips: Make sure you start with a fresh tree. Check the needles before you buy your tree. If you pull on a branch and needles fall off in your hand, keep looking. Ask the sellers how long the trees have been on the lot. Also, have them give you a fresh cut: Have them cut off at least 1/2" from the bottom of the tree before you leave the lot. Finally, try to avoid putting your tree in direct sunlight, near a fireplace, or heat vent. These will accelerate the drying of your tree.

All the Best!


josey said...

hey intrepid!! your tree looks great :D and if you're still feeling a tad bit guilty getting a real tree, one think you can do when you're ready to get rid of it is have it shredded up into wood chips! the biodynamic gardens i volunteer for use "recycled" christmas tree chips to cover all their walkways around the gardens. they smell SO GOOD!

im not sure where they get them from/who does the shredding, but i think its a great idea. maybe i'll do a little research and post the info!!

hope you have a beautifully merry christmas! =)

intrepidideas said...

Hey Josey,

You're amazing... The ink isn't even dry on my post and I've already got a comment from you. You must have read my mind. Are you psychic? Or as my Mother says... Psycho? Never mind. Don't answer that question. How are you? Thanks for the Christmas wish! The same and better to you and Yours! I bet you guys have some snow huh? On the Xmas tree thing, I always recycle my tree but I never thought about using the shreddings around my home. That would be nice to have some great smelling mulch. I'll talk with you soon.