Sunday, November 11, 2012

Wreaths and roping and Christmas trees

You may remember the Sheep Ranch that I visit occasionally- it is certainly one of my favorite places to take pictures.  Those sheep are so dang adorable.

I am king of the WOOOOORLD
The Sheep Ranch has another business associated with it, one that Paul and Judy have been doing a long, long time, and that is the Christmas evergreen business that they run.  These sheep ranchers also grow Christmas trees and make wreaths and roping and a bunch of other similar things.  It is something the MA has helped them out with for several years.  He does a variety of things including helping to bundle the Christmas trees.  I don't have a lot of in action pictures of him or anyone else, as most of the workers were doing other things.  But I thought that my non-northern friends might enjoy seeing this.  It is an industry that seems to be unique to the Northwoods of Wisconsin, and I should imagine other northern tier states as well. If you are from the south  or the east,  or where have you, don't yell at me because I don't know that your area makes wreaths, too.  How am I to know?  Lol.  I know I was unaware of this when I moved up here 30 years ago and I was just from southern Wisconsin!

The Christmas trees shown here are sold in the Chicago area, I believe.  They will get loaded onto a semi trailer sometime soon and be hauled down to where they will be sold by a retailer.  There are people here who plant and harvest Christmas trees every year from their property.  Lots of work occurs in the spring and summer, with the planting of new trees, sizing the ones ready for harvest, pruning them all, etc.  I think that from the planting time to harvest is in the neighborhood of  7 - 10 years.  I could be estimating that a little low.

The roped bundles are the cut boughs.

Wreaths of various sizes

Roping on the left made with white pine and wreaths of various sorts

Another view of wreaths, bough bundles in front, young Christmas trees way behind

There is similar transportation for the wreaths and roping and the pinetips that are bundled for florists to use in holiday arrangements.  It is amazing to see the stacks and stacks of yuletide decorations laying around the yard.  Any type of evergreen decoration starts it's life as boughs- branches- and a secondary cottage industry here is bough cutting.  People go on their own land and also public lands to cut the branches of the balsam and other evergreens.  A good wreath will have about 5 pounds or more of boughs in it... that is a lot of cutting!  Not every Christmas tree farmer makes wreaths and not every wreath maker has trees- but Paul and Judy do it all and then some.

Here is some of the interior of the little building in which they do the wreath construction- Most important for everyone is the wood stove that keeps everyone toasty.

Next are the stations for making the wreaths, roping and some of the raw materials that go into it.

Wreath rings- what the boughs are attached to

The important parts of the process.  Except the wreath wire is gone

Stacked, finished wreaths and trimmings in front of them

Judy makes HUGE wreaths as well as smaller ones

One of the wreath work stations- the board nailed up on the right hand side holds the wire in place as they work

Boxes of wreath wire

The roping is made on these wrapping machines with boughs and plastic string.  

This is where the MA hangs out on occasion- where he cuts and bundles pine tips for the operation.

Stacking pine tips

Pine tip bundles

And this is how certain odd people keep track of their bundle numbers....  oy

Red twig dogwood and other raw materials
Amazing to think that this will be all done and over with in only a few weeks.

Shep stretching to come and see me- obviously the Christmas tree people still are decorated from Halloween!

And just in time for the joy of the Christmas season!

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