• Last modified 218 days ago (Dec. 13, 2023)


O, Christmas tree! How lovely are your traditions

Staff writer

Seeing joy on the faces of families keeps Kenton Nickel planting pine trees and tending them all year, only to sell out a year’s supply of Christmas trees in less than a month.

At Peaceful Pines Christmas Tree farm five miles north of Walton, 17 preschool aged children got to listen Friday to a Christmas story, eat snacks, do a craft, enjoy a hayrack ride, have a scavenger hunt in the Christmas trees, and take home an ornament.

The children were part of Parents as Teachers and also a group of young Goessel Library patrons.

“Every day when I see tractors, I love tractors,” one boy said as he prepared to step up a ladder and get on a hayrack.

Kenton and Eunice Nickel have two to three children’s groups visit each season.

“We try and make it a fun time for them,” Kenton Nickel said.

Peaceful Pines Christmas Tree farm opened in 2018.

“We started planting trees in 2010,” Kenton Nickel said.

The couple has tried various evergreens on their eight-acre farm but after trial and error, settled on pines.

This year, the tree farm sells Fraser fir trees, but those were ordered in for the season.

“The only thing we have had luck here with is pines, but we have four different varieties of pines — Scotch, Austrian, Virginia, and white pine.”

Summer heat was the downfall of other varieties of trees the couple tried, he said.

“I tried some Douglas firs once, and they were looking good until the July heat took them out,” Nickel said.

His motivation comes from a high school job working at Pine Creek Farm near Goessel and “having a place where people can come out to the country and have fun.”

He loves seeing families when they are happy picking out Christmas trees.

“A lot of them make it a tradition to come back every year,” he said.

Pine trees grow about a foot a year but fewer inches when weather is dry, Eunice Nickel said. Trees are ready for sale when they are about seven feet tall.

Despite the seasonal nature of tree sales, work on the tree farm is year round.

During the rest of the year, Nickel plants seedlings, waters them to get them established, does weed control and mowing, and makes sure the trees are healthy and free of pests.

“Also during the summer we do the shearing to give them that Christmas tree shape,” he said. “Then during the fall it’s getting the yard ready for people to come out.

That is in between work to raise wheat, milo, and soybeans.

Peaceful Pines Farm is centrally located between Walton, Hillsboro, and Goessel.

The farm is open for business Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.

“We do offer just by appointment,” Nickel said. “Some people take advantage of that. Late afternoon seems to work best for us.”

They notice some customers have become regulars in the last five years.

“The best thing about the business is the happiness,” Nickel said, “seeing everybody enjoy the Christmas season, having a place where they can go to have family time together.”

Trees three to seven feet height are sold for $9 a foot.

Sometimes the Nickels will discount trees if they want to clear out an area designated for spring planting.

Last modified Dec. 13, 2023