Thursday, December 11, 2014

Where I Live

Things are different in Florida. Everybody knows that.

But things are really different here in Central Florida where I live. Really, really different. This is from today's paper. To help bring you up to speed, we have a State Forest here, and every year, they let you come in and cut sand pines for Christmas trees.Sand pines as a Christmas tree is a central Florida thing. They're cherished not because they are beautiful - sand pines could easily have been the model for Charlie Brown's little Christmas tree - but because, well, it's tradition. And they're available. They're one of the few pines thrive here in on the dry, sandy ridge. (Yes, we do have long leaf pines, but they get way too big way too fast, they're hard to cut down, and all their branches are clustered at the top. They are magnificent trees but total losers as Christmas trees.)

From today's Lakeland Ledger....

"...Sand pines ...offer a comforting bit of nostagia to many Floridians, such as Betty Ballard.

"I'm trying to get something that looks as pretty as they did when I was a child," Ballard said.

She recalls one fall morning when she was 11 and her family went to get their own sand pine for Christmas. After many hours of searching, they found the perfect tree. Her father went to their car to get a saw but it was gone. Her brother, Jim, had taken it out of the car.

"He got his gun and he shot that tree down," Ballard said.

They got their perfect tree."

Sand Pine, Pinus Clausa    


  1. Not just a Central Florida thing. Here outside of Middleburg (just south of Jacksonville for any who may not know) we have them growing in our yard because this area used to be a sand-pine farm. They were grown for cheap pulp, high-acid paper. They reproduce willy-nilly, live for about 40 years, then fall over. The ones hereabouts are at the end of their livespans and are falling down all over the place. They make scrawny pathetic Christmas trees next to a blue spruce or Fraser fir, but they're adequate. We've had worse (and thereby hangs a tale).

  2. I love this post of yours, Amanda! Yes. This part of the world really is really really different! HA!