boughing to America ~

I have been so busy ~ now I'm waiting for the big snow storm that will put us housebound ... maybe then I'll slow down some; but I doubt it.

Dear Hubby and I have been cutting balsam boughs.  A balsam bough is the end of the branch - average around 20 inches.  The buyers are very picky on the quality of the boughs they buy.  They can't have any sign of disease such as balsam bug, balsam rust, or yellowing.  They can't be harvested before 3 hard frost or they will drop their needles.  They can't be harvested from too old of a tree or too young.  There are things to know before going out and hacking up the trees.  You need to know where on the trees to cut so you don't kill the trees and so more boughs will grow for future harvest ... careful, selective pruning. I guess over time ... I have been become quite experienced on the subject of balsam boughs; but will spare you the details. 

  Here's a scrapbook page from a few years back ~ but it still shows what we've been up to:

  We cut the balsam boughs from the trees, tie them into bundles .. which average around 40 pounds a piece .. and haul them off to the wreath maker where they are turned into wreaths and garland for decoration during the Christmas season.  Depending on where we sell the boughs (which sell by the pound) they usually end up at JC Pennys, Menards, Home Depot or Fleet Farm, also they go to fill Boy Scout orders and orders from various schools, fund raiser organizations, Knights of Columbus, etc...  They are shipped all across the USA.   We really don't care where they go once they leave us ~ we just like getting the paycheck for cutting them :) 

It's not a hard job ~ just labor intensive and your body feels it at the end of the day.  So far the weather has been cooperating and it hasn't been too cold or wet out. 

Dear Hubby and I have been doing this during the wreath making season our whole married life - 36 years already.  I even used to make the wreaths for sale; but have given that part of the job up.

This year ... I must admit ... we both have slowed down ... BIG TIME!!  We both were grumbling yesterday whether or not it was really worth it ... but then came to the conclusion that YES ... besides the paycheck, we're both spending time together doing something that we both love ... being outside in the fresh air and getting some much needed exercise.  So ~ despite the grumbles and tumbles (I just can't walk on uneven ground anymore) we'll both be out there when we can during the wreath making season cutting boughs.

In two days we've come in just short of a few pounds of half a ton.  No wonder my arms and back ache. Getting my flu shot the other day didn't help matters either ~ that dang nurse rammed that needle in me all the way through to the next county!  I've never had such a sore arm from a shot before.

So if you buy a fresh balsam wreath during the holidays ~ maybe, just maybe it was cut by me :)

Boughing to America!

Until next time ...
So it goes in my neck of the woods.


  1. That's a lot of cutting. Wow, I'm sure you have cut the boughs for wreaths I have purchased!! Enjoy these last few fall days, before the snows come!!

  2. Good grief, it's wonder you can move at all! Stand up and take a bough!

  3. Thanks for the descriptive post, Mel. I didn't know you and your husband gathered boughs for wreaths and garlands, do you expect snow very soon? Here on tha VA eastern shore we still have green leaves on nearly all the trees.

  4. When I see a wreath or garland I'll think of you.

  5. How very interesting, this boughing thing! I don't know if I've ever seen a lalsam wreath but if I ever do - i'll think of you and the work that has gone into responsibly harvesting those freens.

  6. You guys are awesome. I know you guys enjoy each other.
    During the short time up there I could sure tell you liked the little fellow!!! He sure wears a BIG hat to be so small. LOL
    I remember he stopped the truck next to a Balsam when I was asking how to tell the difference. If I remember right he showed me the needle fingers were round and was ti the Spruce flat? I am hard to educate!!!
    Love you guys, that is a lot of trimming cutting and hauling.

    Love to Slim & all.
    Love the collage?

  7. RE: Jack ~ just the opposite ... the balsam's are flat and the spruce are round. You were close though!

  8. Wow, You guys have been busy! It just about makes me miss cutting boughs. (lol) But what I do miss is making the roping for that 100 foot fence we used to have. We always got so many compliments when it hung swagged and lit up for the holidays.
    'love & hugs from afar'
    Thanks for the memories!

  9. How interesting! I had no idea you did this! And I learned a lot reading your post!

  10. I thought about going out for enough boughs for our wreaths for us and the kids and then.......it started to rain. This year, cedar, pine, balsam and berries.
    Nice entry kiddo.
    How's the rug coming?

  11. Living off the land is a lot harder than shopping for a wreath at Walmart!

  12. I hope I have bought some of your boughs in the past, though it might be unlikely that any of them made it all the way to Arkansas. I first savored the smell of balsam in the U.P. of Michigan, back in 1969, and have delighted in the fragrance ever since.

    I cannot imagine cutting a half-ton of balsam, but at least you had a heavenly fragrance to buoy you up! Kudos to you and Dear Hubby.