It has begun. The Fraser Fir frenzy in the mountains of North Carolina. I bought two of the beautiful trees this past weekend near Roaring Gap. We usually go to a choose and cut farm Thanksgiving weekend but we decided to beat the crowds this year and go a week early. It paid off. Traffic was much lighter. We got personal service. I usually have to strap the trees to the top of my SUV by myself, but this year the farm crews took care of the chore for me. They insist that twine is a much sturdier fastener than my bungee cords. I think tree prices are up this year. Fuel costs are to blame primarily. I usually save $10-15 a tree by picking it myself in the mountains but I'll be interested in comparing prices. But they do seem a little higher. I am also concerned about the drought. The mountains have suffered through a particularly dry summer and fall. Be sure to check the needles on your tree. And once to get your tree home put in some water right away. Still, there's nothing sweeter than the fragrance of a Fraser Fir perched in my Christmas tree stand surrounded by a bunch of presents. Next chore: to put her up and then bring out my Dickens Village which has grown into quite a community over the years.