Cutting Down a Christmas Tree in Vermont
ANDREA SEABROOK, host:
Every December, many of the nation's national forests offer what may be the season's best deal: a nominal sum buys a red USDA tag and the right to cut down a Christmas tree on national forest lands.
Susan Keese of Vermont Public Radio follows 64-year-old Russ Tarbell on his Christmas mission in Vermont's Green Mountain National Forest.
Mr. RUSS TARBELL: We're here on Fire Road 60. My ancestors farmed up here through the 1800s and then they left the mountain here. Basically they abandoned it, and it grew up and reverted back to what it is now, just part of the national forest. The actual homestead was right here on the right hand side. There's some old apple trees in there.
I thought it would be good to come up here and cut a tree off what used to be the family farm. And hopefully I'll be able to do it for a good many more years. And then my son will pick it up along with the grandchildren, and it'll be something that we'll do every year.
Two species up here that I see: there's the balsa spruce and then the fir. And we'll take either one. It just has to be green to satisfy me.
The house sat over there, probably 30 yards or so. There's a lot of old cellar holes and homesteads on this mountain other than this one. It's progress. They just gradually moved down into the valley, closer to civilization, I suppose.
Here we are. I'm going to cut that tree. That's a balsa. By the time I get it cut, it'll be about six to seven feet.
(Soundbite of sawing)
Mr. TARBELL: That's it.
SEABROOK: Vermont Public Radio's Susan Keese sent us that audio Christmas card from the Green Mountain National Forest.
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