Thursday, December 4, 2008

Christmas is a comin'

Ha! The New York Times apparently just discovered the merits of organic Christmas trees.

We've had the most organic Christmas trees that it's possible to have ever since Alex and I got Linda to agree to the idea of a big tree and we cut down that fir back beyond the pond several years ago. Rebecca's disapproval when she found out we had cut a forty or fifty foot tree to use the top fourteen feet made my enjoyment of the tree all the better. Note to self - don't let Rebecca find out that I have my eye on an even bigger fir tree that has a nice symmetrical top.

I still remember that first live tree quite well because of Linda's skepticism when we dragged it in and set it up in the living room. It looked a lot bigger inside than it had outside, a lot bigger. I also remember it because the bottom thirty or so feet of it is still over there in the woods. I've had no reason to cut up the trunk because fir gives off too much creosote when you burn it; and the lower branches are still holding the trunk off the ground; so it isn't rotting.

Plus, it bothers me that such a nice straight log is sitting there unused. At one point I was going to remove the branches and use it as a stringer for the bridge; but I ended up using four cedars for the stringers because I thought they would last longer. The upstart is that that's turned out not to be the case. There the fir is, mocking me, still solid each time I whack it with a machete; and the thin ends of a couple of the cedar logs in the bridge are rotting.

I may replace them with oak trunks when I get around to taking apart the bridge and rebuilding it. There are oaks which really should be culled from the grove off to the side of the house and the trunk of the dead english oak hasn't rotted in more than a decade even though it's sitting on the ground. Of course, it's possible that the wood of the white and pin oaks in the grove will not be as rot resistant as english oak.

Come to think of it we should get a carbon credit for cutting that fir tree and leaving it lay in a way which has kept all the carbon in its trunk bound up and out of the atmosphere all these years.

Sadly there will be no live tree this year because Alex won't be home for Christmas. So we're going back to our artificial tree that's been taking up space in the garage for the past few years. Which reminds me that I just got an email from Angie. She's not coming for Christmas this year either. She's going to be recovering from a planned back operation to relieve pressure on a nerve. That means me and Linda are going to be breading and frying on Christmas Eve all alone. . . unless perhaps Liana and Catherine want to help?

Arrgh! It also means no baccala with potatoes, raisins and tomato sauce unless somebody wants to contact Angie for the recipe. There's no way Linda or I will have time to make it on Christmas Eve. I'll provide the baccala if someone wants to make it since I'll be buying and soaking some for the white baccala recipe anyway.


Jenny said...

Hey there Uncle Sull. I had been thinking about offering to bring the baccala even before I read this post, but I am concerned about the probable ocean-like smell in my very small house afterward. Any suggestions? In the meantime I will make sure there is a place to buy it here in Lancaster.

Sully said...

Rebecca said the other day that she is bringing red baccala so you better coordinate with her. Only a few people eat it; although perhaps they will like your recipe better than Angela's.

I'm planning to make it white with celery, garlic, pickled peppers and anchovies.

It's impossible to make the white baccala exactly like Aunt Mary used to because she used to pickle her own peppers and I have no idea as to the recipe for those.

Auntie M. said...

Ilk, Ilk and triple ilk. Jenny, why don't you just bring something that's edible?


Sully said...

Don't listen to her Jenny. She's a big grinch.

Everybody knows Christmas Eve isn't over until the baccala stinks.

She's just like your Aunt Linda who keeps trying to stop me from making smelts. Smelts have always been on the menu and they will always be on the menu.