Right, here goes my attempt at explaining what cutting Christmas Tree Branches in Denmark entailed, first though, a little background on where we worked etc.
All of the work we did was on the island of Fyn, which is the middle island of Denmark, and probably the most scenic of all the islands in Denmark.
The guy we worked for used to work in an office environment, but then he got made redundant and decided to get back to the land and start-up a business looking after various forests and parks, all mainly on the island of Fyn.
Since starting this he has gone from strength to strength as the Danes have started to throw lots of money at tree planting, I’m not sure it’s for environmental reasons as they’re obviously doing it to make money with regards to the Christmas Trees, but they are putting down more parks etc instead of leaving the land bare as in old agricultural ground which can’t be used anymore .. so I spose thats better?!?
The guy we worked for was pretty laid back most days, well as long as you did what he asked of you, which was fine if you spoke English, but some of the people who came to work for him spoke little English, so therefore his instructions we’re not followed and they made big mistakes and were then fired!!
Tip: Learn the 2nd language of a country if you don’t know the 1st!!
Right, onto the work itself…
We got up at 6am most mornings as the boss wanted us at his place for 7am so he could tell us what we had to do that day. Plus it meant we could be at the job site ready for first light, and we would then work until it pretty much got dark, which was around 4pm as winter was closing in, or until the work was done for the day, which sometimes meant finishing mid-afternoon, which was nice!
When it comes to the actual cutting of Christmas Tree branches you can work in teams of 2, one of you cutting all day and the other bundling up the cut branches, or, you work on your own, cutting and bundling all by yourself all day.
It did seem that the people who worked on their own made more money then those who worked in pairs as they could cut for 15-20 minutes and then bundle for a while, giving the body a break from the cutting, but that could have just be because they were really good workers!
When me and Dena worked together, she wasn’t physically strong enough to do the cutting so I had to do it all day. Obviously I had to work twice as hard as anyone else cutting, which meant I got tired pretty quickly and couldn’t really take much rest as Dena was doing the bundling so I had to crack on with it.
At the end of the day though, you do what you are happy with, and if you go with a partner, male or female you need to end up working in a way that you find easiest for the both of you – it’s all about communication, talk to each other, work out whats best for the both of you and then crack on!
Here’s a couple of pictures of what the pole looks like, and what cutting a tree entails…
As you can see in the first picture, the pole has a scissor like top, which you hook over the top the branch and then to cut the branch you pull down on the pole and it cuts the branch off … simple huh!?
Well it is, until you get the scissors caught on a little branch or in the branch you are trying to cut .. you’ve then got to move the pole up and down to unhook it, which isn’t so hard to begin with, but after 4-5 hours of cutting branches it really gets tiring!
In the 2nd picture it gives an example of the height of some of the trees (some are a lot taller!) and what cutting the branches is like.
It’s really easy from the outside rows, but once you’ve done these you’ve then got to get into the forest and stumble over brambles etc, minding rabbits holes and what ever else is on the forest floor, which isn’t easy at time, especially when you’re concentrating on the next tree with a 3 meter pole in your hands looking skywards!!
Anyway, once you’ve cut a load of branches off the tree’s, the ground will look something like this…
Yes it looks a mess, but once you are used to what type of branches you have to cut, e.g branches with good powerful needles pointing upwards and full of colour, then you should end up with only good branches on the floor and it is then just a matter of collecting them onto the scales ready to be bundled, as in the next picture…
Once you have the required weight of branches on the scale, you then squash em down and tie them up with string, which isn’t so easy to begin with as you normally have big bulky gloves on to keep your hands warm and fiddling with tiny string isn’t the easiest thing to be doing!
But you soon get used to it and somehow manage to tie up the bundles, well most people do = not me!
Here’s a picture of Dena squashing a bundle and a pile of bundles prepared earlier…
And that’s pretty much it…
Hopefully I haven’t made the whole thing sound too easy because it’s not really, but then thinking about it, it can be if you get some good systems going and get your mind into pushing your body to continue working when it wants to give up!
Some people we met really couldn’t get a system going, or work out an efficient way of doing it all, but we did, mostly by listening to the people who had been doing it for a few years.
The amount of money you make is ultimately down to yourself – how hard to you want to work?
Are you happy with a normal days pay, or do you want to push yourself that little bit extra and know at the end of the day you have probably earned double what most people have?
Sure you’ve got to put up with freezing cold temperatures most days, and also the pouring rain too, but as long as your sensible and bring the right clothing with you, there’s no reason you can’t do the job … but believe me when I say some people do turn up to do the job with no coat or gloves or hat …. hhhhhh’OK!
Anyway, that’s that really, just repeat this day after day for 8-10 weeks and you’ll have done yourself a season of Christmas Tree Branch Cutting!!
Unfortunately after writing this I’ve realised that I don’t have the contact details for the guy we worked for anymore, so unfortunately I’ll have to point you towards your favourite search engine.
It seems that the best search term to get up details is :: job in Denmark cutting christmas trees :: although there isn’t that much info on the job as normally you’ll hear of it via word of mouth. But you should be able to get up a few websites which should get you going.
So – off you go, and once you’ve done a season cutting Christmas Tree branches come back here and let me know what you thought of it!!