Okay, we admit it. We live in the middle of Christmas tree central. We know all the tree farmers around. Every one of them offers us a free tree every holiday season, ANY tree, just come and pick it out, they'll cut it for us, and then we can take it home. And every holiday season, we thank them all politely - and then go home and put up our artificial tree we've had for years. Dale can't smell anymore, hasn't been able to for years, and the old tree had it all for any guy on the planet - a zillion lights and most importantly, a remote control. A lot of it was failing; most of the plug sockets worked, but a few had quit, meaning that the leaning tower of light string plugs was even taller for the remaining working sockets. Several lights had burned out and it was the old technology, which means you could spend the entire year going light by light on each and every string that was out trying to find the bad bulb, or you could ignore a few hundred lights unlit among the thousand or so that were lit. Or, you could string another string of lights from the dozens of spare strings that came with the old tree. Kinda defeats the purpose of 'pre-lit'. And, a few functions on the remote no longer worked either. So, it was time to say goodbye to the old soldier and replace it with new technology. After a lot of online searching, we finally came up with the perfect tree. A Noble fir with the newer style tips that could hold those heavy crackle glass ornaments I had. Much easier set up. And, most importantly, multicolour wide angle LED lights. No matter that one goes out, you'll never notice it with all the rest still burning brightly. No remote with this one, but Dale decided he could live with it.
It arrived just before Halloween, and of course we needed to set it up to make sure it all worked and went together well. And, once it was up, it would be a real shame to take it down just to set it up a month later, so we elected to leave it up. It sits in the big picture window in the library, facing the front of the house, flanked by the ancient lilac and azaleas outside. And, then, yesterday it caught the eye of a red breasted sapsucker (thanks to my pal Bonnie for the bird ID!!) that was tapping around in the azaleas for bugs. He was instantly smitten, and totally convinced that he needed to go poke holes in that tree. I even turned the lights on, hoping to dissuade him, but that didn't work. Dale went out and shooed him off - for about a minute. Hoke charged the window a couple of times - didn't even miss a beat. He only gave it up when it was full dark, and by first light this morning, was right back at it. By now he was getting desperate, and the only good thing was that he needed to have a good foothold in order to do maximum damage with that beak, and he couldn't get any footing at all on the window. A few times he sat on a branch that put his little head just above the window sill, looking longingly inside at that gorgeous hunk of wood, taking a short breather before starting up all over again. You can see his head in the middle pix, bottom left hand, just above the window sill.
So, for the manufacturer of this tree, Santa's Own, be proud. For there is at least one red breasted sapsucker in the Pacific Northwest that thinks your tree is as real as it gets.
Click the pix to start the slideshow