Christmas Tree hunters' spirit not dampened

Families brave steady rain at The Tree Wisemans farm in Ridgefield

By Dave Kern, Columbian assistant metro editor

Published:

Updated: December 17, 2012, 7:19 PM

 

If you go

What: The Tree Wisemans.

When: Tree sales go on until Christmas Eve.

Where: 26500 N.E. 53rd Ave., Ridgefield

Telephone: 360-887-4582.

Website: http://treewisemans.com.

Price: By the foot, but most trees are $27 and up.

photoSara Burrows and daughter Kellie Burrows, 7, hunt for their family’s Christmas tree Sunday at The Tree Wisemans farm in Ridgefield.

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photoBruce Wiseman

RIDGEFIELD — Sunday was Christmas tree day for the Burrows family of Lake Shore, and they headed to The Tree Wisemans farm.

“We’ve been coming here six or seven years,” Doug Burrows said.

“We have friends who live up the road from here,” added his wife, Sara. Daughters Sadie, 8, and Kellie, 7, joined in the hunt for the perfect tree.

Sounding like many a-father over the years, Doug announced, “Sara, this one has too big a base.”

So, making haste in driving rain, Sara found a beauty and told Doug to get at it with a saw.

Their nearly 7-foot grand fir was $28.50 and they put all the decorations on Sunday night.

“It looks beautiful,” Sara said at 6:10 p.m. She said the girls made some of the ornaments at Lake Shore Elementary School. “And my oldest daughter (Sadie) got to put the angel on the top of the tree.”

Elsewhere on the tree farm, William Nahorn and his family picked a big beauty and paid the price to bring her down.

Nahorn said it took about 40 minutes to fell the 8-foot tree.

“The base that we cut was about nine inches across,” he said. “Teamwork is the only way we got that thing down. Four of us were sawing at it. It was exhausting. We got snacks right after we left.”

They paid $55 for the noble fir.

Two questions, William. Did it fit in the house, and did it fit in the tree stand?

“It does, barely,” he said of fitting it into the home. As for its stability, at 6 p.m., he said, “It’s kind of wobbly.”

Bruce and Nicki Wiseman have perhaps 40,000 trees on 25 acres of their 55-acre farm. They started selling trees the day after Thanksgiving and will continue through Christmas Eve. Their property stretches to the East Fork of the Lewis River.

“We put our first trees in the ground in 1980,” Bruce said. In earlier years, his father, George Wiseman, raised cattle and hay on the land.

The Wisemans sell their trees commercially as well as offering a u-cut option. Most commercial trees go to California but some went to Texas this year.

“I try to sell 4,000 to 5,000 trees a year,” Bruce said.

He and Nicki are about as Ridgefield as you can get.

Both were raised there and Bruce served as manager of the Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge for 14 years. He also is a Port of Ridgefield commissioner.

Nicki’s father, Don Sevier, in 1965 sold 1,500 acres to the federal government that is part of the wildlife refuge.

The couple’s five grown daughters — Wendi Morris, Angie Wiseman, Amy McKenna, Rachel Hipple and Sara Burchett — all help during the selling season. The Wiseman girls also sell wreaths.

Bruce says Christmas tree growers around the Northwest have reported good sales. As president of the Pacific Northwest Christmas Tree Association, he ought to know.

“Our u-cut has been up a little bit,” said Nicki, a substitute teacher, despite some lousy weather days, including Sunday.

The Wisemans also joined Thornton’s Treeland and Windy Hill tree farm in donating 200 Christmas trees to the Trees for Troops organization.

Tending the trees is a year-round business.

“I cut a tree, I plant a tree,” Bruce said. So, that means up to 5,000 seedlings will go into the ground in February.

After he had taken stints at the shaker and the baler on Sunday, Bruce spelled Nicki at the cash register.

“This is the best part,” he said, as families hauled in their trees from rows and rows of noble, grand, Douglas and Nord­mann firs.

Clay and Kim Rogers of Ridgefield bought an 11-footer at 3 p.m.

And some customers come from a bit farther away.

“We sent a 16-foot one to Redmond, Ore., on the top of a Jeep Cherokee,” Nicki said.


Dave Kern: 360-735-4534 or dave.kern@columbian.com.