Update: Food Drives and Bunnies

First, I have a request to make of you. There’s a massive food shortage at food banks around the country. The Capitol Area Food Banks can use all the donations they can get for this holiday season (and all the time, really). They’re having a non-perishable food drive December 14th (next Friday), so if you can stop by one of their truck locations in DC/MD/VA and give, or get something to one of their drop-off centers at that website some other day, it would mean a lot to a lot of hungry people. Best way to make your holiday sustainable is to help make sure other people have a good one, too.

Second, I have a Christmas tree. After a Christmas Treecouple (or maybe 4…) wrong turns, we located Oak Shade Farm, which is somewhere out near Rixeyville, VA- a little over an hour’s drive from where 66 and the Beltway intersect. It’s actually not that hard to find, we just had a few difficulties involving signs and reading them and such. Anyway, I found my tree. There it is, in its live, organic glory. It’s a white pine- very fat and fluffy, and about seven feet tall. The finding and cutting and tying-on-my-car’s-roof didn’t take very long, which is good, because I hadDrowsy Bunny some important bunny-holding to accomplish. Yes, they fit in one hand, and they were so soft it was difficult to determine when one was petting them. As an additional benefit, adorable children were also attracted to holding the adorable bunnies, so there was this perfect storm of cuteness hovering over the tree farm. If you’re looking for a tree, head to Oak Shade: free hot cider, bunnies, mountain vistas, and big nice-smelling organic trees for $40 and under. Even with the cost of gas, that makes them less expensive than the scrawny, sad trees in lots around here.

My tree is now up and watered, and is waiting for its trimmings. I picked up a couple of strings of LED Christmas lights today. Target had a small selection of them, but it looked as though the lights had already been picked over. I have a few strands of regular Christmas lights already, but LED lights use about 1/10th of the energy of the regular lights, last years and years longer, and emit much less heat, so there’s very little danger of them igniting your tree if it gets a little crispy. Regular light strings tend to use much more energy precisely because they lose so much of it to heat. So LEDs are more expensive to begin with, but they’re safer and last longer. Well, actually, from my experience people give up on light strings because they balled them up the year before and can’t get them untangled the next year, and LEDs aren’t going to solve that particular issue. So wrapping them up neatly is just as big a deal as having a good set to begin with. Maybe the extra up-front cost will be an incentive to treat them more carefully? I’ll post pictures when I get around to sprucing her up (it’ll be hard, she’s such a pine…).

5 Responses to “Update: Food Drives and Bunnies”

  1. 1 millie December 4, 2007 at 7:14 pm

    Did you also bring home a bunny?

    I am fascinated to see how you decorate your tree this year. The LED lights are a great start…

    As I was cruising stores for a perfect ornament for a gift exchange – I noticed many from China – you have to look at the small print sometimes – as the county looking ornaments from “Main Street” are from China as well. I am still trying to make life China-goods free.

    Some of your aunty made ornaments will fit nicely on your green tree – and pop corn and cranberries make nice garlands –

    Happy Decorating!

  2. 2 Cameron December 6, 2007 at 1:43 pm

    Bad pun at the end of the post….cute bunny..I almost fainted from its adorable hora!!

  3. 3 virescent December 7, 2007 at 1:52 am

    Oh thank goodness someone finally mentioned those (There are 2! See? Get it! Har!). Yeah, they’re awful, but I had to take the sugary edge off that bunny picture.

  4. 4 Patrick December 11, 2007 at 2:17 am

    Minor comment. I was never a big fan of real live Christmas trees and I just want to know how much gas you used to drive to Rixeyville to pick up your tree. I understand there is a certain charm to having a live tree but wouldn’t a plastic tree that will last years be more “green” and cost-efficient over the years. I know the argument of if you did not go there, then there would never be a demand for sustainable tree harvesting and that is bad, but nevertheless does that not play into the fact…..I need to write my paper. Anyways, just thought I would share.

  5. 5 virescent December 11, 2007 at 11:45 am

    Hi Patrick!

    See, I start off from the perspective of not liking fake trees at all. Also, I have no place in my apartment to store a fake tree, so that was a practical consideration. I did a bunch of research on this choice though, to check my own assumptions, and an article at Grist pointed out that fake trees are made from petroleum based chemicals in China and then shipped over here. So it’s way less far to Rixeyville, plus I drive a hybrid- we used under a half tank of gas in the endeavor, by the way, which comes out to about $15. Plus look at all the things I gained by buying a tree there: I had a really nice afternoon out with good friends, supported a family-owned, sustainable business, got a nice-looking tree, and perfumed my home with pine needles for the next two months- all for about $65 ($40 tree, $10 garland, $15 gas).

    As for cost-efficiency, I’ll add a +$20 per year to the cost of a fake tree because they look and smell funny (at least to me), and a +$40 per year for storing and tripping over them the rest of the year, and the cost of shipping it from China to here and the chemical waste generated (even a used fake tree had those costs), and I’m getting a much better deal, environmentally and economically.

    Good luck on your paper! And if you like fake trees, buy used, it’s still better than new fakes.

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