Melody Houle loves being out in nature. Her eyes light up as she talks about all of the different wildlife she sees on a typical day out among her trees. Melody and her husband, Patrick, run a tree farm outside of Canaan, Vermont near the Canadian border and have come down to Brooklyn for the last four years to sell them during the Christmas season.
This year they’ve brought down 480 trees, all Balsam-Fraser hybrids that are wild-grown and pesticide free. “We depend on hornets to eat the bugs for us,” she explains. “Though you have to watch out for the ‘talking tree.’ If you hear a tree talking, you should move the other way,” because it is full of hornets.
Patrick didn’t follow that advice and ended up with several hornet stings this year, but they got the nest as a trophy. Melody points it out happily. It’s hanging up among the trees in the stand.
And because they don’t use herbicide, sometimes the grass around the trees grows chest high. Melody doesn’t mind the high grass because it brings more wildlife. She says many deer like to hide in the grass and under the trees, and she even has a moose or two that like to come around. They also get weasels, wild turkeys, and other critters.
Coming down to the city isn’t too much of a shock for Melody, but she says it’s a bit of an adjustment for her husband who has never lived outside of the North Country. “The worst is the car horns,” she says. But they love the neighborhood. “The food is so good, and the people are so sweet.”
It takes the Houles over eight hours to drive the 393 miles down to Brooklyn as long as there is no snow to worry about. “Last year it took us 11,” Melody says.
They loaded up the truck and came down last Tuesday so that they could be open for Black Friday. They’ll pack up on Christmas Eve and head back north to surprise their grandkids on Christmas morning.
But until then Melody enjoys sharing her trees with the neighborhood. “It’s our little Vermont forest in the city,” says Melody.
Visit Houles Tree Stand on Cortelyou Road between Pilates on Cortelyou and Brooklyn ARTery from 9am-8pm daily until Christmas.