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Friday was the first day of business for Alan House, the Christmas tree farmer in Alpine whom we featured in December 2006 in our People at Work series.

I spoke with House this afternoon. He said he’d had a busy weekend.

“Believe it or not I sold 41 in three days already,” he said.

House is in the middle of replanting his property. At the end of that process he expects to have 2,000 trees. Because of a lull between planting trees and having enough to harvest, he’ll sell fewer trees this year than he did last year, he said. This season, House thinks he’ll sell between 80 and 100 trees.

A couple of customers this weekend planned to drive their trees a ways from Alpine — House sent “a 9-footer to Yuma, Ariz.,” he said, “and then another one up the coast to Camp Pendleton.”

This afternoon, House is expecting officials from the Imperial Beach Chamber of Commerce. Last year, he said, that group put up an artificial tree by its pier, to the chagrin of IB residents.

Here’s more on House, from my story two years ago:

At 65, House doesn’t think he’s anywhere near the winter of his life. He guesses the tree farm could make him a rich man if he sold it for development, but his ties to the land run deeper than the money. “If you were in for quick profit, you’d slap in concrete and asphalt,” he says. “There’s a terrific view.”

House has owned his tree farm for 40 years now, but his day job is to manage the El Cajon cemetery — a balance that grows more daunting as House plants more trees.

“My weekends kind of get burned out here and there,” he said. “But it pays the property taxes.”

You can today’s installment in the series here, or read any of the other 27 stories at the People at Work archives.

KELLY BENNETT

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