Freezing rain cools tree sales for Beekmantown grower

BEEKMANTOWN Although this has been a good year for most Christmas tree growers in the area, freezing rain that coated the region on Thanksgiving hit one veteran Beekmantown grower particularly hard. Dave Goslin, who co-owns D&D Tree Farm on Beartown Road with his wife, Deborah, was forced to turn away nearly 150 eager tree buyers over the long Thanksgiving weekend due to the half-inch of ice coating the tree limbs. Even though the ice itself doesnt cause any lasting damage, the trees cant be harvested while they are coated in ice. The problem, as Mr. Goslin described it, is once the trees are cut and handled, the frozen branches tend to snap right off. Families have been coming all weekend, sighed Mr. Goslin. Its been hard to tell them they cant cut their tree today, especially when they have small children. But once theyve seen the trees, theyve understood. Most say theyll come back next weekend. Indeed, on Sunday afternoon, Bob Burdick and Jennifer Butler of Morrisonville returned with Mr. Burdicks daughter Kayla, visiting from Wisconsin, to see if the trees had thawed enough overnight to cut. Mr. Burdick and his daughter joked they were trying to fit Thanksgiving and Christmas all into one weekend. Although disappointed to learn the trees were still frozen, the trio set off for a walk through the icy landscape, marking tape in hand just in case they found the perfect tree. Already, a choir of melting, cracking ice could be heard ringing out, and Mr. Goslin was optimistic the warmer weather predicted for later in the week would help thaw the trees in time for the Dec. 1 weekend, traditionally one of the two busiest weekends of the season. Even rain would be good, Mr. Goslin explained, because it would clean the trees off. The Goslins first started planting Christmas trees 20 years ago. When we first moved in, Mr. Goslin said, this area was mostly abandoned agriculture, lots of old apple trees. They began by clearing one acre at a time. Currently they have 20 acres planted in an assortment of tree varieties Fraser fir, Balsam fir, Colorado blue spruce, white spruce and Scotch pine. Each summer, Mr. Goslin prunes all the trees by hand himself, a job that takes four months. Mrs. Goslin is in charge of mowing between the trees, plus designing all the wreaths, kissing balls and garlands also available for sale. In his years as a tree grower, Mr. Goslin doesnt remember a holiday season starting out like this. Its really disheartening, he said, surveying the empty parking lot. Nevertheless, becoming a Christmas tree grower has been a dream-come-true, he said. All you see are good people here; and, for the most part, they are happy. D&D Tree Farm is located at 407 Beartown Road in Beekmantown. Hours of operation are 8-4:30 weekends and 12-4:30 weekdays. For more information, call 561-8526.

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