Sunday, November 25, 2012

Picking Out the Christmas Tree

The turkey and dressing had not yet become a fond memory when we took off to the mountains to the Choose and Cut tree farm to select our Christmas trees for 2012.  Friday was a beautiful day with mild temperatures and the sky was full of Cirrus clouds -- those wispy, trailing clouds that we call mares' tails.

We have driven to the mountains to choose a fresh Christmas tree since the very first Christmas we were married.  Most years, the weather has been kind.  However,  I do recall one year before our son was born when it was drizzling rain and the mud was so thick, the tree farm employees couldn't drive the wagon up the hills to collect the cut trees, so we had to manhandle our tree down the hill to the baler.  And more than once, there has been a biting wind that whipped through our clothes as we stood exposed on the mountain, facilitating a rather speedy selection of the tree.  In fair weather (or not so fair), I'm just very thankful that for 26 years we've been able to carry on this family tradition.

Maines Choose & Cut Farm, Glade Valley, North Carolina

Our son was standing next to the tree while I stood next to one for my in-laws while my husband went to find the fellows with the chain saw.

We didn't take but a few pictures at the tree farm, so I threw in a few from last year's trip.

Visits to the Christmas tree farm are always a family affair -- lots of children and dogs.  :)

After we left the tree farm, we drove about an hour to the small town of West Jefferson, NC, to visit the Ashe County Cheese Store.

Isn't this the cutest building?

We used to make this side trip every year after we purchased our trees, but we've skipped it for the last several years.  This year, we decided to take the extra time because it was such a nice day to drive the winding country roads to Ashe County.  Ironically, the further we drove, the clouds started rolling in and the wind whipped up; and when we got to the cheese shop, it was cold.  The temperature must have dropped 15 degrees during that short trip.

Since we were last here, they've made a few changes to the cheese store and factory.

I love these cows!!  These tanks used to be just a plain gray color (with no cow heads).  Now they have personality.

Since we were last here, the store has expanded to carry a selection of wines from North Carolina vineyards... well as jams, jellies, relishes, and salsas.

Fun, holiday-shaped cheeses...

...and delicious fudge.

So we've officially kicked off the Christmas season at our house.

Thank you for visiting House at Forest Manor.  I hope all of you had a wonderful Thanksgiving filled with delicious food, mouth-watering aromas, family, friends, football ;), and most of all a day filled with a multitude of blessings for which to be thankful!

Have you started decorating yet?  I hope you'll take a minute to leave a comment because I love hearing from you!


I'm joining:

Seasonal Sundays, hosted by The Tablescaper
Mosaic Mondays, hosted by Mary at Little Red House


  1. This looks like a fun day, Denise. I used to put up a real tree for years but soon got too weary of the mess.....and it would get so dry, too. I used to put mine up around the 15th of December. The heat in my house would just about kill it! xo

  2. We made our annual trip yesterday. It's one of my most favorite days of the year. It was quite chilly but was in keeping with the season. The winds had died down so we didn't have that to contend with.
    Looks like you had a great trip. It's been a while since we've stopped by the cheese factory. We pass by once or twice a year.

  3. Sounds like a great day! I loved those little cheese Cmas trees.

    Yes, I started a little decorating, digging thorugh the bins and asking myself why I need all this stuff! My son has Cmas at his house, so they don't even make the 90 mile trip out here. Some years I say I will not decorate, but I always cave in!

    Have a great week!

  4. Lovely post!!! Wishing you a wonderful week! Cathy

  5. I love seeing your tradition of going to a tree farm to select your tree. The cheese store has many temptations. I look forward to seeing all your decorations at your house!

    I was so pleased to have a note from you. I have had a full house and some other obligations so I haven't been reading blogs until late yesterday. Still have not made all the rounds. Getting a post done was a biggie for me. It was great to hear from you! I hope to meet you one day!

  6. Hi Denise, you and your family have the best times. I love seeing the fun things you do and places you see. Yes, I started decorating. After 42 years of marriage, I have a lot of bins. It's so pretty once it's up and I do enjoy it. However, I'm always happy to put it away, too.

  7. This is a wonderful family tradition. Thanks for sharing all the fun.

  8. What a lovely way to open the holidays!

  9. We haven't had a real tree in a long time now, they don't last long in the heat of Australian summer but I put up our christmas tree soon and every year I add a few more bits to it.
    The cheese factory looks good, wish we had one of those close by.

  10. What a delightful store. I would love to visit there.
    I agree with Merlesworld about the Christmas trees in Australia. I know some people have them, but we haven't had one for years. My store bought one gets dragged out of the box every year. My father used to decorate 2 big pine trees we had on either side of our front gate when I was a child.
    Have a wonderful week.

  11. Thanks for visiting my blog! I think I'm going to have to follow you as we both have a lot in common I think. I also live in your state and have some similar posts. And I adore my little Dutch houses like yours you show in your previous post! :-)

    I enjoyed reading about and seeing your trip to cut down a tree. I miss doing that, as we did for many years. Sigh, Now we just go up to the attic and bring our beauty down.

  12. Hi Denise!

    This was so much fun to see. I gave up real trees years ago because I hate the mess, but if I were to have another real tree, I'd do it this way and go to a tree farm.

    Funny thing...just Saturday we were watching a locally produced program that informed us that NC is number one in the Christmas tree business and my fair state is way down the line at seventeen.

    I also enjoyed the Cheese those holiday shaped packages!

  13. What a fun time you had! The cheese store looks wonderful. We have an artificial tree (up and decorated) but there is a beautiful U-Pick just up the road from us. We'll soon see lots of cars passing by with a tree on the roof!

  14. Such a wonderful tradition, we used to do this every year growing up. I found out as an adult I am allergic to spruce trees so now we use an artificial one. The cheese store looks charming--what fun.

  15. Sounds like you had a really fun day. I love real trees. We used to go into the woods and cut one down, now we buy a fresh one from the nursery. I like the Charlie Brown kind - open and airy so the decorations really stand out. We have not yet put ours up - maybe next weekend.
    The cheese store looks like a great place to purchase all kinds of yummy goodies - not just cheese!

  16. I want to do the whole trip. It makes me merry!

  17. I would love to go for a Christmas tree on a sunny day and short sleeves. We've usually got snow on the ground and are just about frozen by the time the tree is wrapped to go home. We haven't cut one down for years and use a faux tree.
    The cheese shapes are so cute and fudge looks decadent.

  18. I'm grinning right now because what you have described is my husband's dream outing. I just posted about his love of real, live Christmas trees (and how much I hate to decorate them.) Now honestly, if we had a real life Christmas tree FARM like you have there, I could get into it.

    I love the Cheesy place, especially the Christmas shaped cheeses.

    Happy Belated Thanksgiving... Ready for Christmas!

  19. Sounds like a great day, and something we would also enjoy! Did very little decorating so far, but will kick it into gear this weekend.

  20. Beautiful, beautiful post, and it brings back such fond memories. Our family used to go and select a tree at a very similar place. We would go the weekend before Thanksgiving Day though, so that visitors would be able to see the tree in her finery. I know that you all must be enjoying the fragrance of fresh green by now;')~

  21. Denise~ We used to have the same tradition and 17 of us used to take 4 cars to head up Crossnore to cut our trees. We no longer go, with the kids older and several of us having artificial trees. LOVE the cheese plant with the Holstein cows~ it would be a stop for us for sure :)



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