Sunday, November 21, 2010

Victorian Christmas 2010 - The Gathering

It was a busy afternoon in the woods around Annapolis Royal. Just after lunch a small group gathered at the O'Dell House Museum with a mission. We (four adults, one teenager and two six-year-olds) had volunteered to find enough material to decorate the museum for Victorian Christmas. With our pruning shears, garbage bags and orange coloured clothing we ventured forth into the countryside. In addition to being a distinctive fashion statement, the orange clothing tends to let hunters know that we are not deer. Call me crazy for thinking so but, nothing ruins a trip to the woods to gather branches like an accidental gunshot wound.

Our first destination was a residence along the Granville Road where we could collect holly and boxwood. This was the first time that we had been to this property for our pre-Christmas harvest. We were delighted to find mature holly and boxwood plants which made our job very easy. Within a half hour we had filled our bags and we were off to the top of the North Mountain in search of club mosses.

With the change in elevation this was a much colder stop. The ground still had a covering of snow from yesterday's flurries and all of the puddles had frozen. This made for some interesting walking since most of the ground is covered with spahgnum moss. Sphagnum naturally holds a good deal of water and at these temperatures the water in the moss was partially frozen. I say partially frozen because it was not actually solid enough to support your weight when you stepped. This made for precarious walking in spots. At some point on this stop we lost the attention of the youngsters who decided that trying to break the ice in the frozen puddles was more fun than looking for plants growing on the ground. I promise you that both sticks and rocks were flying. After we filled the remaining space in the cars with copper beech leaves and we headed back to the museum to unload.

After emptying the cars we headed to our traditional fir bough collecting area on the South Mountain. Hiking into the woods we quickly found enough balsam fir to start filling our bags. Without any ice to break, the boys decided to harvest pine combs. This stop always poses the biggest problem because this is where we need to find a couple of Christmas trees. Christmas trees seem to be one of those areas of life where everyone has a definite opinion. This opinion is based on things as far ranging as the location you grew up, your admiration for specific species of trees and your feelings on the Charlie Brown Christmas special. We are usually looking for a small tree for downstairs and a larger tree for the second floor. At the museum our trees tend toward the more sparse and natural look. As usual, we did some wandering and pointing at various trees before our selections were made.

Tomorrow all of these random bits of greenery will be combined to decorate the museum. I will be taking pictures of the process as it unfolds so there should be lots to see in tomorrow's post. By the way, Victorian Christmas is always the last weekend of November and the first weekend of December. The museum is open 7-9 on Friday and Saturday nights and 2-4 on Sunday afternoons.

All for now,

1 comment:

  1. Looks like fun! And the whole process of gathering the items is very Victorian!