Tree farmer John Langen invites Jim Menken to carve on his property

January 13, 2017   ·   0 Comments

John Langen, Hockley Valley tree farmer – mostly Blue Spruce – really likes the wooden statues, especially those carved by Jim Menken, that are all around Orangeville.

One day, looking over some decades old Blue Spruce around his house, he decided to trim nine of them down to 10 foot stumps and ask Mr. Menken to carve them. The theme is the wildlife around Mr. Langen’s property.

Once those were done, Mr. Langen was hooked and looked for more opportunities to show off Mr. Menken’s talent.

John Langen built his house on the farm property on the Mono Adjala Townline 45 years ago. He and his wife raised their children, two daughters, there.

For 50 years, Mr. Langen was a farrier, a blacksmith, trimming and shoeing horses in barns and stables all around the area. From the back yard ponies to the top flight champions, Mr. Langen was well known to equestrians of every ilk.

He was, as well, Farrier to the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair for 25 years.

Some 25 years ago, he decided to start growing and selling trees as a crop on his land. His preference is the Blue Spruce for its beauty and as an evergreen. It was a wise decision for the trees are popular. During the spring and summer, he sells them for planting and, of course, at this time of year, they are excellent Christmas trees.

It has also left him with a  special legacy, a unique and fulsome permanent art collection.

He explained how it all came about: “I was attracted to the carvings in Orangeville. Somehow, I inquired who done it and it was Jim. He’d done the majority of them..”

We were seated at a table in the kitchen, overlooking the back of the property with the spread of trees and a glimpse of the nearest carving.

He went on, “Three years ago, I cut and trimmed nine trees around the house. They were 45 years old and overgrown. I got Jim to come and carve them. I liked them so much that,  this year, I did the trees along the drive way that were crowding the drive and were all over grown. So, I cut them down to ten feet and Jim did 15 trees – of all the animals that are related to the property – raccoon, foxes, squirrels, rabbits – each one is different; 25 carvings in all.

“People just drive in to take pictures,” Mr. Langen commented with a laugh at being a bit of a tourist attraction.

Looking forward, he remarked of the statues, “One day, they’ll be a nice selling feature.”

For the time being, however, they are a source of joy for John Langen.

Some photos of them might be on Jim Menken’s website:

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