Every year we erect our Christmas tree in a galvanized wash tub.
I’d seen it in glossy picture magazines, and always loved the look. Pretty sure the habit started with “real” trees. The tub collects all the excess water a living tree requires.
We haven’t done a living tree in years. Don’t get me wrong. I LOVE them…. the feel of soft bristles, the smell the whole house exudes, and especially the hunt. AAAHHh , the HUNT. The hunt for the perfect tree gives me such a rush. Going from tree lot, the Home Depot, to tree lot searching for that perfect “pear-shaped” tree (that doesn’t really exist in nature) is my perfect vision of beginning the Christmas season on Black Friday.
But sadly (insert huge Sigh here), I can’t do that anymore. Apparently, real, living trees tend to dry out faster with a few thousand lights on them. Most people add about 50 B-lights per foot of Christmas tree. I use, on average, about 200 lights per foot of tree height.
I use the twinkly little B-lights that everybody else uses, but also add in bubblers (that are getting more difficult to find lately), some amazing little red pearls that look like illuminated holly berries, and frosty white globes.
It gives off quite a bit of heat.
The last time I had a live tree it was bone-dry dead with all the branches at 45 degree angles by December 5th…and I had to stare at that carcus ’till mid-February. (I’m a slow taker-down-er).
Back on subject. This year for a nice change-up we thought we would stand her in a half whisky barrel.
The only ones I could find in all of Dallas to choose from were these 2 at a local Home Depot.
They were pretty gross. Well, honestly, they were EXTREMELY gross.
SO much so, that the girl working the Lawn and Garden annex offered me 10% off. SOLD!
I like that they really were Jack Daniel’s barrels. Did you know that they char the inside of whisky barrels? They do? Apparently, charing was a way of sanitizing barrels so the previous content, (be it pickles, fish, or pickled fish), didn’t permeate the flavor of whatever was being stored in the barrel next. Over time people started preferring the flavor of the whisky from charred barrels….and a process was born. Strictly American too, by the way.
Back to the nasty barrels……
They don’t look like anything I would ever want in my house, much less erect a cherished Christmas tree in.
I started with a cleaning with the shop vac, a good wash, and when she was dry (several days later)….a sanding with a heavy grit sandpaper. Especially the rusty bands.
Because it was stored upside down in muck and mire for so long, the top was pretty rotten. It also needed to be slightly shorter so the lowest tree branches don’t angle upward. Not attractive at all.
So I cut the top 3 inches off with a hand-held circular saw.
Just for the record, I thought it was a good idea to cut it at eye-level. It wasn’t.
After about a 4 inch cut, I put it on the floor and finished my cut. Oak is a tough wood. Most of Jamie’s pictures looked like it was snowing. It wasn’t…it was hailing chunks of nasty,oak whisky barrel in my face.
“And that’s why we wear safety glasses, Kids”
I was telling Jamie’s Aunt Jane about the barrel on Thanksgiving, and she suggested oiling it and not using stain. Great idea. I still had some oil from the work table we restored a few weeks ago.
The oil worked wonders. I even rubbed some on the rusty metal bands.
I did use a little stain on the freshly cut top to hide the “newly cut wood” look.
“How did it turn out?” you ask.
Pretty Freaking Cool, if you ask us……..
We already have presents wrapped and ready to cover the barrel. Jamie is completely finished shopping AND wrapping! What an overachiever……
Guess I have still have some work to catch up on.
Back to making Holiday Magic now.