Hastings woman keeping Christmas tradition alive by cutting down her own tree

Dave Mathieson
Send to a friend

Send this article to a friend.

AMHERST - There was a time when most people went out into the woods to cut down their own Christmas trees.
It was a time when people milked their own cows, baked their own bread, shoed their own horses and built their own homes - and there are still a few hardy souls who like to keep some of those traditions alive.
One of them is Grace Scott.
While most of us were setting up our artificial Christmas tree or buying a real one from a retailer, the 75-year-old was going for a three-hour hike into the woods looking for a tree to bring home for the holiday.
Scott lives on the Travis Road in Hastings, just outside of Amherst, on 60 acres of land. At about noon, not long before Christmas, she parked her car near her neighbour's barn and went tree hunting with her trusty bucksaw.
"It was quite a ways back, so I was gone for a few hours," Scott said. "I walked through two big fields, then the log roads where they pull the logs out, then I left the main road and cut through the bush."
Scott is an avid snowshoer, but on this day the snow wasn't deep enough to warrant them.
"In my young days, I walked 25 miles on snowshoes," Scott said. "But the snow wasn't too deep when I went for the tree, so instead of snowshoes, I wore a great big pair of boots that come up to my knees."
The toughest part was cutting through the bush.
"When you go down in the bush, you have a lot of windfall with some snow in between, so you have to be careful. I was up to my knees a couple of times," she said. "But I like that sort of stuff. I'm a tough old bird."
Her friend, Phil Simms, agrees.
A neighbour of Scott's said to Simms, "What if she goes that far into the woods and runs into a bear?"
Simms said, "I pity the bear."
Simms said Scott walked about five miles to get the tree and added that anybody half her age would have a hard time keeping up with her.
"After I cut the tree down, I dragged it to my car and had help getting it on the roof of the car," she said.
Scott has lived in Amherst for 33 years but while growing up in Newfoundland she developed a love for the outdoors and for horses.
"When I was growing up my grandfather had a work horse and I just loved it," Scott said. "We used to get on the sleigh and go get logs, then go get our Christmas tree.
"I'm an animal lover. A horse is the most gorgeous animal God ever made. People say they're all the same and I say, 'Oh my God they're not' They have different colours, their eyes are different, and they have different expressions and different personalities."
When Scott got her tree home she decorated it almost exclusively in horse decorations. She has been collecting ornamental horses her whole life and has a collection from throughout North America and Ireland. She also loves snowshoeing.
"I have snowshoes that my dad made for me when I was two years old," Scott said. "They were made with caribou hide but over the years they disintegrated, so before my dad died he redid them with rope."
She also has a pair of adult snowshoes her father made for her and she snowshoes every winter.
When asked how she keeps her youthful, zest-for-life attitude, without hesitation she said, "I don't eat red meat."
She also said that if you're going to have a shot of booze, you should drink with water and ice.
"I never drank beer in my life. I like wine, but if I have a shot of Southern Comfort I drink it with water. If I have a drink of rum, I drink it with water. My dad said you should never spoil your drink with pop."
She also keeps active.
"I'm always on the go," Scott said. "I do my barn chores every day. I have a donkey out there and a 32-year-old pony, and I have a dog and a cat."
For those of us who don't want to stop eating red meat, mixing their drink with pop, or who don't have barn chores to do every day, Scott has some universal advice.
"I never think about my age. I feel like I'm 16 but I'm not. I guess what it comes down to is that I enjoy life."


Geographic location: AMHERST, Travis Road, Newfoundland North America Ireland

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5

Thanks for voting!

Top of page