Lost Forty Tree Farm
There are many gems in small town Indiana hidden away off of lonely looking country roads - literally lost and off the beaten path, and Lost Forty Tree Farm is one of those places. It's WAY out there - seemingly in the middle of nowhere ( but here is the address because everything is a simple google maps search away these days: 4499 N 400 E, Greenfield, IN 46140). As you approach it, the trees get older, taller and wider, and the earth of the surrounding farm lands becomes deeply rutted. The old handmade sign will make your heart beat a little faster if you have memories of going here as a child to hunt for and cut down your own Christmas tree. I'm excited to give my son those memories himself so we have been here twice in his life, both times with my dad, Grand Bob. This year he knew just what to do and went running to and from tree to tree, declaring each one either too small or too big. They have rows and rows, and acres of acres of trees to choose from. By the time you have wandered the property and borrowed a nice saw to cut your tree down, you may be pretty tired, and depending on the weather, cold. There is a miniature log cabin with a small door welcoming all children and cold adults to stoop down and come inside for some lovely hot cocoa. Sometimes there is a bonfire going too to clean up the tree trimmings that can't be used to make wreaths. The trimmings that are good enough to use are carefully selected, and then crafted into the most fragrant and bountiful wreaths. These Gorgeous wreaths, and swags, are decorated with various shades of greenery, ribbons, sparkly trimmings, pine cones and deer horns. The woman running the wreath show is one of my oldest friends, Erin Wigger ( still seems weird saying woman since when I met her we were only teenagers). By an unbelievable stroke of luck - Erin herself happened to be there to work when we were visiting! We had talked about meeting up here, but you know how things can get around the holidays when we both have small kids - it was nice that it happened without planning. I had my camera with me, so I took a few shots of her process.
Here below is the Lost Forty Tree Farm sign, that has always been a cause for excitement to me since I have known of the farm. When you turn past the sign you will travel down a long winding path over a river and through the woods, past bee hives and past acres of trees.
The large old tree across the road
Tony and Grand Bob looking for a tree that is just the right size
One of Erin Wigger's signature wreaths
The hot cocoa cabin
Here is ran into Erin gathering her materials - I was too excited to get a decent exposure for my first shot!
But the second shot was correct :)
Erin showed me her secret - which by the way I had no idea about when I labored to try to create my own wreath last year. I was trying to make a huge wreath but I really didn't have a plan .. I tied a few bits of greenery into a loose loopy, non-circular sort of mess, tied them off with a few twist ties and draped it on a nail on the front of the house. I didn't realize that wreath making is more of a "do not try this at home" kind of project in my case! It really is best to defer to the experts on this one unless you want to make a few big investments. There are some proper tools that you would need to get started if you are serious about wreath making - and Erin has them. Those include not just pliers, gloves, and trimmers, but also a form for the wreath's shape, and a wreath making table. The table has a foot operated clamp to help strongly secure the wily pine trimmings into place.
Below you see the form at the beginning of the process
Placing lots of beautiful pine into the form and clamp
Hammering in place
Beautiful horns and decorative bits
A massive bountiful wreath taking shape
Below you can see the whole operation, as well as a gorgeous horn wreath that Erin created for the first time this year. The horn wreaths are also for sale, but I am not sure if there are any left.
I had such a nice time at Lost Forty this year. I am writing this post from New York because I am here to spend Christmas with the Italians this year! But if I had been at home, I would have had a few of these wreaths and swags around.. as well as an awesome tall tree. If you are in Indiana, make your way to Lost Forty and enjoy a wonderful tradition.