Last week a 20-foot evergreen from the Deer Creek Valley Tree Farm in Street, owned by Bob and Wilma Muir, became the official holiday tree of the Maryland Department of Agriculture. The tree was trucked to Annapolis where it now sits in front of the state agency's headquarters.
Having the tree selected from their farm is something of an honor for the Muirs, as well as for Harford County as a whole.
It's also worth noting that, in selecting a white pine, the Department of Agriculture chose to highlight one of the most historically significant varieties of tree in U.S. history, one that fueled westward expansion.
In her 1993 book Susquehanna: River of Dreams, Susan Q. Stranahan thus describes the white pine: "The grain of white pine is straight and true; it does not warp or rot. It is light and easy to work, yet remarkably strong. Its durability is obvious even today: white pine stumps still dot the steep hillsides of the West Branch [of the Susquehanna] a century or more after trees were felled … A legendary white pine cut in Clearfield County [Pa.], near the headwaters of the Susquehanna, measured 168 feet and produced a 150-foot-long plank."
When it comes to legendary qualities, the white pine isn't too far behind the varieties of giant redwood found out west. It's selection by the state for a Christmas tree, and the particular tree's Harford origin are worthy of a lifting of the holiday cups of hot chocolate in toast.