Norway (red) pine – peach frosted now, but back then tree slide

Peach frost glossed Norway (red) pine
Peach frost glossed Norway (red) pine

Back in the 60s when I was a kid, my dad trimmed and sold (we helped) Norway pines as Christmas trees. They were fairly popular, but got over taken in popularity by spruce. They grow pretty fast. Often they have branches in straight lines down the tree.

We lived on the school grounds of Rock View School, Necedah, Wis., during the school year. Dad was the principal, mom one of the teachers. The school sat on 10 acres surrounded by a chain link fence with the school centered, our blue and white house trailer to the side in front of the Norway pine plantation, the play grounds on the other side of the school and a big field in back. This plantation on the school grounds was never a source of Christmas trees; it was probably planted for pulpwood. My brother and I would go looking for and  find a good series of branches on a pair of 30-foot pines, climb up and skooch out backwards on the highest strong branch – it would bend onto the next branch and on. We would slide down, we did races seeing who could go down the fastest. Then we would see if we could find some trees that were taller or had better aligned branches. After while we had favorites that we just kept going back to use. We ended up with lots of pine pitch on our hands and pants…Mom wondering how did you get so full of it? Just climbing trees mom.

Mostly I don’t think these pines are very pretty, but this morning the light from the sunrise highlighted this one. We occasionally slid down the trees in snow, but frost like this no way! No good hand holds – bound to be a crash.

Did you ever climb trees? Slide down branches? I think it was Tarzan of Apes fault, remember the part of the book when he came to Wisconsin? Really.


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