Wednesday, December 16, 2009
Christmas Tree, O Christmas Tree!
Beautifully shaped, it had developed from the stump of a tree he'd cut ten or twelve years earlier.
Four thick new trunks and three thin ones had sprung from the sides of the old stump. Surprisingly they all somehow managed to coordinate into a very symmetrical shape. His plan was to cut the stump in half, take the two resulting half trees and put one outside and one inside a house that had a big wall of windows, decorate both halves, and give the illusion that the tree had grown through the wall. The problem was, he lived in a 1792 house, built when window walls weren't even a gleam in some architect's eye.
Then I built a house with a window wall and he thought this would be the year to do it before the tree got any taller. The peak of the great room is 14'-6" above the floor.
The ground level of the planter in front of the house is almost exactly the same level as the floor inside, so the tree halves would line up almost exactly as they had when it was growing.
We began by cutting the stump down the middle or as close to the middle as possible. As things worked out, the first half we cut down had a little more than half of the bulk of the tree and topped off a little higher than the remainder.
So, that "half" became the outdoor section of the tree and the remainder, above, was to be for inside the house.
Although it's pine rather than a hardwood, this tree was very heavy and awkward to move. It came up the hill on the roof of the Jeep and we maneuvered it into position to raise. At this point I realized we were going to have trouble getting it upright with only one of us able to hold it in place while the other secured it to the facade of the house. So I installed a pulley in the center of the window. Fritz pulled and kept tension on the line, while I walked the tree up. As soon as it was upright we tied the rope off , securing it temporarily.
Then I got up on our long ladder and secured the trunks with wire to deck screws set into the top of the big horizontal beam where nobody will ever see them.
The view from inside the house.
Once we'd gotten the exterior section installed, we went down to our local Surplus and salvage store where we'd seen ornament packages on sale cheap--shatterproof plastic balls in either red and gold or red and silver in a variety of sizes, 84 to a package. We got one of each and decorated the outside.
We passed the inside half through one of the room's side windows, secured it and did a little cosmetic tree surgery. Then we hung our ornaments, ornaments each of us has had for years, passed down through our families, as well as ornaments that have been given to us or that we've made ourselves.
We checked the effect inside and outside and it works wonderfully well. We're going to have lots of friends and family members with us over Christmas and New Years and are hoping they'll have as much fun with it as we are.
From your new fan in the Loire Valley, at the risk of redundancy, WOW! makes me feel like a kid again! This is what you get when you cross lots of talent, the woods in NH and a dedicated couple who want to dazzle the spirits at this time of year!
The best to you all during these holidays! THANKYOU for sharing! It made my day!
Love and Peace
Anonymous... where are you in the Loire Valley? I'm here, too! Do we know each other?
Elizabeth, yes it's very hard to judge things outdoors. If it had been closer to Fritz's old house, that would have been something to measure against.
This will be our 2nd year with the tree outside, in front of our big window that looks at the back garden (I will post a photo soon)... but the idea of inside & outside could only come from the mind of WILL. Happy Holidaze from your fans in Portland!
But don't think I'm a Bah Humbug - I have the entire Charlie Brown Christmas soundtrack going on repeat in my head. :D