Each year that I don’t have a full-time job, I work at a local farm making wreaths. And each year, I mean to take pictures to share with you.
And each year, I forget to take my camera.
This year, however, I remembered my camera, and so thought I would share some pictures of how wreaths are made in the production facility.
This isn’t the only way to make wreaths, but it’s the one I know best after five years.
First you cut balsam fir brush (it MUST be balsam fir, as Lunenburg County is the Balsam Fir Capital of the World). You can cut it right off the tree (and give it a good haircut!) or you can cut down the tree and limb it. Once it’s cut, you put it into bales. They’re very heavy bales, I might add, having lugged more than one once they’re inside.
The bales are brought to the farm, dragged inside, and become the responsibility of The Snippers. The Snippers cut the bales into smaller pieces, putting them into bins and bags. There are Longs and there are Shorts. Long bits go in bigger wreaths; short bits go into centrepieces.
Once it’s cut down by The Snippers, the brush goes to The Packers. (I’m a Packer.) The Packers take the snipped pieces and arrange them into packs. Sometimes these are small as your hand; other times they go to your elbow. It all depends on the size of the wreath.
The Packers pass the packs to The Winders. These are the women who run the machines which wrap wire around the packs, fixing them to the ring. It’s kind of like sewing.
Once it’s wound, the wreaths or centrepieces go to The Shippers, who box the product with decorations and get it ready for the mail or delivery trucks.
And voila! That’s how wreaths get made.
Here are some pictures to show how it’s all done. You won’t see how much it makes your back, legs, or arms hurt (depending on your job). But you can depend that at the end of the season, and at the end of at least one bottle of Advil, we’re all tired.
We come from all walks of life, too. Last year, I worked alongside a poet with a Master’s degree. This year, it was someone with a PhD. It’s a great way for the underemployed to earn some money for Christmas or those pesky bills.
We work hard but also have fun.
And there’s something about opening the door each morning and smelling that distinct odour of balsam fir…
Hope you enjoyed this peep into the wreath industry! Remember to buy local and support your neighbourhood farmers.