Introducing our charity of choice for 2013, ‘Heart Link Glenfield’

Introducing our charity of choice for 2013 – Heart-Link – Glenfield
As most of you know, each year we choose a charity to support both from The Christmas Tree Farm and Billingley Christmas Trees Ltd.  This year we have chosen a small, special charity called Heart Link which is based in Glenfield Hospital in Leicester.  You can read more at their website https://www.heartlink-glenfield.org.uk/
If you are wondering why we have chosen this charity, then let me explain:
It all stems from a special little girl called Amelia Rose
Amelia  is 2 years old and lives in Doncaster with her parents and her little brother Max who is 1.  She was born with Downs Syndrome and a heart problem.  She is a beautiful, happy little girl and her mummy is a good friend of ours.
Ameila went into hospital in September for major heart surgery.  The surgery was not as successful as they’d hoped and Amelia has remained in Glenfield hospital since and undergone many further surgical procedures, including more major heart surgery.  She is currently fighting for her life, and what a little fighter she is proving to be by getting this far.
Whilst Amelia is in hospital, her parents are having to travel backwards and forwards from Doncaster in turn as Max needs looking after at home.  The costs of travel and parking are an extra worry at an already horrendous time.  This charity helps families in this situation and in honour of Amelia we have chosen to support it this year.
If this story touches your heart as you think of you own children and grandchildren, nieces and nephews, then we have set up a special promotion code HEART.  Enter this at the checkout when ordering your Christmas trees online and we will donate to Heart-Link.
We will also be collecting for the charity in the retail site at Billingley.  Please follow us on Facebook and Twitter @TCTF where we will keep you upt to date with Amelia’s progress as well  as the usual info about Christmas Trees.

Christmas Trees make the News in Summer

This week has seen the local Newspaper, the Barnsley Chronicle, taking an interest in what happens on the Christmas Tree Farm during the summer months.  As well as our long distance customers, The Christmas Tree Farm at Billingley has captured the imagination of the local people who enjoy the experience of being able to come up and choose their tree during the festive period.  This truly is a great way to start Christmas, the festive atmosphere, the family of reindeer, the plantations of Nordman Firs and Norway Spruce surrounding the retail site – which for 11 months of the year acts as a grain store – there is nothing better, and the kids love it too!
Our local newspapers and radio stations have also taken a welcome interest in our development since day one. They are secure in the knowledge that there is always some news for a festive story at Christmas, however, they have this year also acknowledged that work goes on all year round and have come to visit us to see what happens during the summer months.  This is great publicity for us of course, but also helps customers to understand what goes into growing a great Christmas Tree.
You’d be surprised how many people have no idea that it takes so long and so much work to get a Christmas Tree to the right shape and size for the public demand. 
The paper has also taken an interest in the local council’s proposals to take half of the land we farm on a long term tenancy to change it from green belt to an industrial estate.  Not quite sure where that will leave us, but it isn’t going to have a positive impact!  That issue however, is completely out of our hands…….
So on a more positive note, please enjoy reading the exerts from the paper and know that we are dedicated to growing fabulous Christmas Trees to help make your Christmas special.

Combine takes over Christmas Trees

 I said  I’d keep you up to date with the other things we were doing apart from Christmas Tree work.  Well this time of year is completely hectic with the cereal harvest.  Here at The Christmas Tree Farm in Billingley, we farm approximately 1000 acres, made up of the main farmstead on a long term tenancy and then several hundred acres on short term tenancies or on contract farming agreements.
The majority of land is assigned to arable farming where we concentrate primarily on wheat and oilseed rape with some barley and occasionally some beans.  When the crops are ready to be harvested, there is a short window of opportunity to combine the crop and store the grain, before the crop starts to deteriorate.  As farmers, we are at the mercy of the weather and crops can only be harvested at the appropriate moisture levels.  That means each crop has a sample of grain tested for moisture content before the combine will begin its work.  Any rain increases the moisture levels and makes the straw hard to cut.  Therefore the crop can only be harvested when it is dry.  Furthermore, timeliness of harvest ensures that the crop for the following year can be established in the ground at the optimum time.  As you can see, this is a high pressure time of year.
Andrew will spend 9 to 10 hours each day on the combine and weekends do not exist.  From an eight o’clock start on the farm, he does not finish his day until approximately 9pm, although this varies and can be earlier or later dependant on the season and the weather forecast.  He likens it to a 9 hour flight each day, not even stopping for lunch on most days.  Needless to say, this is not his favourite time of year, although the children love it, taking dad drinks and eats down to the combine and hopefully getting chance to have a sit in the passenger seat!  I must confess to also having a soft spot for harvest, the smell of the wheat and straw stirs up childhood memories for me, however cooking dinner at 9.30 at night is not always something I relish.
The attached pictures show our combine in action from outside and from within, looking through the windscreen, when harvesting oilseed rape – for oil to cook your chips in!

It sounds like the Grinch is back! However, this time he doesn’t want presents… but Christmas trees!

Yes, you read that right, it could be argued that the Grinch is back in town! A Christmas tree farm in Scotland woke up to an unpleasant surprise on Monday 26th November, as they noticed 420 Christmas trees were missing.

 

I don’t know about you, but  to us that sure does sound like something the Grinch would do?!

 

The Daily Record wrote this online news article on the topic:

 

Christmas trees bound for Ikea are stolen from farm in Scottish Borders

27 Nov 2012

POLICE are hunting for thieves who stole 420 Christmas trees from a Scottish farm yesterday morning.

Worth more than 10,000, the trees were taken from the Shielsknowe Forestry at Brundenlaws Farm near Jedburgh, in the Borders.

The trees had been wrapped and were stacked on pallets to be sent to the furniture retail giant, Ikea, who are selling the trees for £25 each.

The theft was discovered yesterday morning and Lothian and Borders Police are appealing for anyone who saw anything suspicious or a vehicle in the area on Sunday night.”

 

Not to worry though, our farm here in Billingley still has plenty of fresh cut Christmas trees available. I guess we will just have to sleep with one eye open at night and listen out for any suspicious noises! The Grinch won’t get away easily from our farm now we know about his new and crazy antics!

Hello Summer!

 

The real Christmas trees of our farm have certainly taken a handful when it comes to the weather this year. We had record breaking temperatures in March with it being the third warmest March since records began! Then we had the wettest April in 100 years and now we’re back to the glorious summer sunshine.
Our trees are coping well despite the weather conditions, so much so our team have begun the shearing of the sides of the trees and the debugging process! We all know what pests the aphids (more commonly known as Greenflies) can be, and our trees sure feel the same! Alongside the summer tasks mentioned above, we have also applied some seaweed to our trees and soil, as this is a great fertiliser and stimulates the growth of the trees.
With all the preparations we take every year at summer, it means it won’t be long now until we can begin selecting the trees that will be good enough to sell this Christmas! It’s slowly but surely getting closer!

Are you ordering the right size Christmas tree?

 

One of the most common dilemmas people encounter when buying their real Christmas tree is choosing the wrong size. The majority of people opt for a tree that is a little larger than they need, in which case they can hack a foot or two off the size. However, how can you extend the size of a tree if it is too small for your desires?
The best techniques to achieving the ideal size of Christmas tree is measuring the area from the ceiling to the floor. Needless to say, you must leave a small amount of space between the top of the tree and the ceiling. The best looking trees often leave around a foot or two between the ceiling and floor. On top of this, you must consider a few more inches in case you wish to use a stand, or possibly more if you are using a bucket and sand to hold your tree in place. Once you have decided upon your ideal size tree, you must think about how your are going to decorate the tree. What use is it having a 9ft tree if you have no ladders to reach the top the decorate it?
Now you have the right dimensions available to order your tree you must think about the type of tree you would like and that is best suited to your needs. If you require a smaller tree, you may be best with a potted tree. Whereas for larger trees a Premium Norway Spruce would be better suited.
We all agree on Christmas trees being a main element of the Christmas season, so don’t let ordering the wrong size tree ruin your Christmas. Ensure you get your measurements right and get your orders in early. 

Save the environment with a real Christmas tree

 

Although the thought of hacking down a Christmas tree may not seem environmentally friendly, it is more so than purchasing an artificial tree! Many people perceive buying real Christmas trees as contributing to deforestation issues and problems, but in fact most real Christmas trees nowadays are grown on a Christmas tree farm.
If the trees are grown on a farm, you are actually helping save the environment as each time a tree is cut from the farm a new one is planted. Real Christmas trees also photosynthesise during their life which means they take in toxic gases such as Carbon Dioxide and release Oxygen, which we all need to survive. Whilst these real trees contribute to our existence, artificial trees are somewhat damaging our environment and atmosphere. Artificial trees are made out of a plastic consisting of Petroleum, which forms Carbon Dioxide in the process of making it and transporting it.
It is more than easy to say that real Christmas trees are more beneficial for the environment than artificial trees. After all, how easy is it to dispose of your real Christmas tree compared to an artificial one than can’t be burned or decompose? 

Have a real Christmas tree delivered to your door

 

Many people aren’t aware that they can order a Christmas tree online and have it delivered straight to their house. By using this facility for your real Christmas tree, it is just as convenient as taking the artificial tree optional, possibly even more convenient.
We know how messy taking taking real Christmas trees home in your car or van can be, so why not let us do it for you? We have nationwide coverage for delivery, so you needn’t worry if we’ll be able to deliver your chosen tree to you. All you need to do is place your order and then you will be asked to choose a preferred delivery date, or you can request immediate despatch. As simple as that!
Whether you chose from the Supreme Nordman Fir Christmas Trees or Supreme Norway Spruce Christmas Trees, we can bring it right to you. Your family can then enjoy the spirit of Christmas with a real Christmas tree sat in the living room.
For more information on our delivery process visit: www.thechristmastreefarm.co.uk/delivery.asp

Make your decorations stand out that little bit more this year with an outdoors Christmas tree

 

We all fill the insides of our homes with decorations and of course the infamous Christmas tree, but have you thought about decorating the outside with a glorious outdoors Christmas tree? We’ve all seen how good the outside of a decorated home can look, especially with real Christmas trees in the garden, so get yours ordered today.
We have a range of trees available at the farm and here’s why to choose a Norway Spruce as your outdoor Christmas tree. Supreme Norway Spruce Christmas trees have their own unique smell, feel and shape that looks more like a traditional Christmas tree than any other. In addition to this, they are also less pricey, making the Norway Spruce the most popular choice of outdoor Christmas tree in Britain.

Water, Water, Water and Water!

December is well and truly here and many people already have their real Christmas trees at home or in the office. Even if you haven’t got your Christmas tree with you yet, we would like to give you these words of wisdom when it comes to caring for your Christmas tree.

“Think water, water, water and water!”

Dehydration KILLS thousands of real Christmas trees every year, so we want to try and reduce this number by spreading the word of “Water, water, water and water!”
All that needs to be done in order to keep the tree hydrated is to check the water levels EVERY day, and top the bucket or stand up where needed. Christmas trees can drink up to a gallon of water every day!
Don’t let something as simple as water kill your tree this Christmas.