When I came home, Eric was trying to nap and didn’t want to be disturbed (I feel this is entirely unfair, considering that one, it was his back problems that kept us up over the weekend and two, he stayed home from work yesterday, again due to the back, and thus got lots more sleep than i did) and so I went outside.

The promised rain had not materialized so I did nothing with the winter-sown lettuce (which, by the way, is doing better than all the other lettuce, including the stuff I started inside early and then put out as rabbit bait), but I did plant moonflowers, morning glories, red flax, toothache plant, balloon flower, safflower, Trionfo Violetto beans, Hutterite beans, and Hopi Red Dye amaranth. Then I decided the time had come to put up my Christmas tree.

Last year, see, I read something about saving one’s Christmas tree for growing pole beans on. I thought this was totally awesome. “Why not?” Eric said when I told him about it, and so instead of putting our tree out on the curb we heaved it into the side yard to de-needle itself and await spring.

The only problem here is that as it turns out, fir trees take longer than four months to lose their needles. The Christmas tree still has most of its–dry, and turning brown in places, granted, but still there. And we like the kind with well-defined but close branches, so there was a lot of bulk there. And in order to give the beans space to cling and roam and me space to pick their resulting offspring, I figured I needed less bulk.

So I dragged it over to an as-yet-unplanted area of the garden (oh yeah, cilantro and dill seedlings are up, as are the carrots in that garden. No sign of parsley or parsley root yet, but I wouldn’t expect one without the other anyway) and stood over it, pruners in hand, contemplating. A Noble fir is a complex organism, small branches forking everywhere. Eventually I just started cutting, thinning out the branches, cutting away bulk small branches with lots of needles in favor of leaving thick, bare branches for better bean purchase.

At length I dragged it over to where it’s supposed to go, dug a hole, stuck it in the hole down to the first branches, and replaced the dirt, stomping it down. Then I cut away the first branches because they were encroaching on the broccoli and the peas and didn’t look useful. Then I planted Cherokee wax beans all around it, blessed it, and walked away. That part of the garden looks ridiculous, with the pea trellis, three branches tied together as one bean teepee, and a partly-nude, thinned-out Christmas tree as another. But I’m hoping that in a few months these bones will disappear under lush foliage and flowers.

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