When it snows in northern Maine the Last of the wildflowers go golden on their stems — when the When temperatures drop, fishermen take their traps. the Water, hunters are waiting in the Woods and farmers meet the final crops — the It’s finally here “tipping,” Or, the Old-timers refer to it as “brushing.” This is the The time of year when people go into the Woods to Gather the Ends of evergreen branches can be used in holiday decorations and wreaths.

Harbor Eaton is a ten year old who lives with her family. Darthia Farm On Maine’s Schoodic Peninsula. The Eaton family grows produce crops first, but balsam harvesting and wreath-making are a way to extend. the farm’s production into the colder, darker seasons. Harbor spends November and December tipping with her family, farm workers, and neighbors on nearby woodlots. the Starr and Andy are aided by their horses.

“You go out into the woods, try to find a tree with good foliage. You take a branch, snap it and make sure it doesn’t have brown spots on it — ’cause you don’t want a brown wreath,” Harbor explained.

Cedar, Harbor’s 7-year-old brother, said that the The trick is to use a stick that’s sharpened on one end — with four branch stubs sticking out — to Stack and collect the Turn your branches into a portable unit.

“Do that over and over till you have filled the stick with branches,” Cedar said. “Then you put the stick on the wagon. You do it all over again until the horses pull us home with all the full sticks.”

Farmers at Balsam harvesting are happy to have a change of pace. the End of the season’s crescendo. “After spending the majority of our time focusing our energy on the soil and working looking down, we get into the woods and just stare at the trees, looking up toward the sky,” Liz Moran, who runs Darthia Farm and raises Harbor and Cedar together with Steve Eaton (known as Shepsi), said Liz Moran.

Tipping can be a difficult process. the Physical picking and pulling the Weight of the heavy branches. Tippers are also required to Keep an eye out for hunters in the forests, and pull off ticks at day’s end. But Ms. Moran describes a certain magic about the Work: Bring warm treats to Eat, notice the Soft patterns the branches, letting the Children listen as they work, while their parents play. the The barred owl lives in the vicinity the Entrance to the woodlot. Woodlot. the trees.

“The woods offer such a different acoustic environment than the open gardens and fields,” Mr. Eaton stated. “It’s easier to hear each other in the woods if we are singing.”

Maine is especially known for its lobster. the state’s Downeast region, generations of people have built lives on seasonal, nature-based work: digging clams, pulling traps on commercial fishing boats, raking blueberries, processing seafood and crops. In this cycle, harvesting balsam and creating wreaths are important.

Geri Valentine began to make wreaths in the 1970s, and it’s still a part of her patchwork of seasonal jobs. In Darthia Farm’s cozy cabin, she wire wrapped evergreen bundles around metal rings. She was a former wreather. “Back then, it was mostly a cottage industry — people would go out in family groups to gather brush,” She spoke. “People like clam diggers and fishermen would go out brushing after the fishing season was over, and it was a way to bring in some income, especially right before Christmas, heading into the lean months.”

Ms. Valentine chose a simple lifestyle. She lives in a log cabin. the Addison is without electricity or running water. “I don’t want very much,” She spoke. “I change my jobs with the seasons.”

“Living this way feels very grounded,” She went on. These days, though, people can’t survive as easily on seasonal work, she said. “If you have a truck payment, if you’ve got a mortgage, if you want to send your kids to college, you can’t swing a life of digging clams in the summer and making wreaths for Christmastime.”

Talking is a great way to communicate. to Locals are unanimous in their agreement: The systems have changed. Kelco Industries, Worcester Wreath Co., and Whitney Wreath are the largest wreath manufacturers. the You can find them in grocery stores and catalogs. According to some estimates, these companies employ around 2,000 migrant workers to harvest materials and work in wreath factories in Downeast Maine — often the The same workers who harvested wild blueberries during summer and returned to work to Maine for wreath season

Among the Migrant workers are increasingly concerned about low wages and substandard housing, exploitative work conditions, and lack of access to employment. to Education and health care. Nonprofits like Mano en Mano the Maine Farmer and Rancher Stress Assistance Network Provide support to Workers who are seasonal, even those employed by the wreath industry.

Local nonprofits teamed up with farmers this year to Warm clothes, blankets, and other supplies are essential for wreath workers, who often go without the necessary equipment. the The cold weather of New England in November/December. Mounds of donated goods piled up at drop-off sites — enough that Bo Dennis, a flower farmer and organizer, borrowed a clean cattle trailer to You can do it all to Mano en Mano’s office in Milbridge.

Mr. Dennis cultivates flowers on his farm. Dandy Ram FarmMonroe, Maine – She is also on staff. Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners AssociationHe works in the office of beginner farmers. He gives his farmland to other queer farmers to Find an entry point to Agriculture and rural life. He’s tuned in to the His network of plants and people around him is made up of many networks the ways they may need support — and this mind-set extends to the forests.

“When we harvest, we are pruning a tree,” Dennis explained that tippers should only be paid in cash the last 12 to 15 inches of a tree branch — a sustainable practice. He loaded heavy bags of boughs into his truck, all harvested from a friend’s woodlot, a chunk of clear-cut land that had grown in with thick, scrubby trees.

Dennis mostly harvests balsam, with some cedar, pine, and juniper. He is careful about the land he harvests. “As a trans person, I’m hyper-aware that I want to have consent with anything I’m doing, including having consent to the land,” He said.

Maine is the highest percentage of all states. the Most forested state of America; approximately 89 percent of the land is woodlandsPrivately owned. Independent tippers are usually (but not always) independent. not always) get permission from private landowners to gather materials on their land — and, as with deer hunters or wild mushroom gatherers, tippers often know whom to Ask where and when to Find out what they want.

Rachel AlexandrouA forager and artist who uses the Name Giant Daughter, appears in a variety places: overgrown properties, weedy land areas, and areas that are too dense for them all. to thrive. “I also harvest at abandoned sites,” She said: “like an abandoned Burger King that no one is tending to.”

Alexandrou draws on her experience in farming and horticulture. to Influence the How she gathers her material. “I don’t want to be taking away,” She spoke. “I want to be using what makes sense to use.”

“I pay attention to the way the plants are growing so that I know my harvesting is good for the ecosystem I’m harvesting from,” She continued.

The majority of tippers wait until three hard frosts are over before harvesting. A balsam bough can be bent in the summer, it won’t snap; after a few frosts, it will. Frost is a good thing. the Branch to can be easily harvested at the right time in the tree’s growth cycle. This year however, the The frosts were alarmingly unpredictable. It was comfortable enough to Harvest in a T-shirt for some days.

Weather patterns, tides, fish, frosts, deer — these can be the These are the most popular conversation topics in rural Maine. Tipping is another common topic.

“I may have nothing to do with someone most of the year,” Mr. Eaton stated, “but if I’m tipping, there is much to relate to.”

While working in, it is not uncommon to get lost. the woods, the Tippers should stop to You can smell their hands. They smell like pitch, as the Inside of trees Dirt mixes with the sap. It is a sight I keep seeing: tippers cupping with their palms to They are removing pine needles from their hair and rubbing their faces. It smells earthy and nostalgic. It will also smell this way when the wreaths are placed on front doors. the Country, created by the Work of strangers and made out of trees that continue to grow.