Menu Close

Month / December 2010

O Tannenbaum

The day after Christmas, on the eve of a winter storm, is as good a time as any to think about Christmas trees.  The New York Times recently published an article comparing the environmental merits of artificial Christmas trees to the real deal. It seems like one of those things that if you were so inclined, you could overthink to the point of driving yourself crazy.  The article concluded that though real trees may have a green edge over plastic ones, in the end, maybe the environmental benefits are insignificant compared to the things we do every day like driving a car.

But what about when you’re deciding to buy an existing house, or build a new one… on an old Christmas tree farm?  Not too many years ago our little cul-de-sac was in fact a Christmas tree farm.  The owner sold the land to our builder, Doug, who then had a sale to unload some trees.  And then over the next five years he built a few houses on the land.

Continue Reading

Balance Beam

Andy and I currently live in a one hundred year old school which was converted to apartments some time ago.  Our apartment is on the fourth floor, built out of the attic.  One of the best things about it is its ancient, partially-exposed skeleton.  Huge chestnut beams support the ceiling of our living space.  A beam enters our kitchen at an oblique angle and is bolted to the floor with correspondingly large hardware, rendering most of the open space in the room useless.  I tried to count the rings on the end of a beam in our bedroom once, but lost count around 50; I could only conclude that it came from a very old, established tree.  The beams are beautiful structures, and relics of an era.  If I could I would saw a piece of one to take with us when we move, but I don’t want to be responsible for the building collapsing…

Continue Reading