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Annie in Austin
Welcome! As "Annie in Austin" I blog about gardening in Austin, TX with occasional looks back at our former gardens in Illinois. My husband Philo & I also make videos - some use garden images as background for my original songs, some capture Austin events & sometimes we share videos of birds in our garden. Come talk about gardens, movies, music, genealogy and Austin at the Transplantable Rose and listen to my original songs on YouTube. For an overview read Three Gardens, Twenty Years. Unless noted, these words and photos are my copyrighted work.
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Monday, December 10, 2007

Spinning Under the Christmas Tree

This post, "Spinning Under the Christmas Tree", was written for my blogspot blog called The Transplantable Rose by Annie in Austin.

April was nine months ago - that's how long it's been since I posted one of our YouTube music videos. That one was "Greened House" - a song parody of "Greensleeves" - this one is an original holiday song from my copyrighted collection of more than a dozen songs, many connected to gardening in Austin, which fit together to tell a story.

In my long-in-progress pipe dream of a musical play the songs are sung by different characters and there should be many different voices. Until I can figure out how to persuade some of you to come over to my house to sing or play musical instruments you just get Annie, a piano, and some guitar riffs from a friend.

This simple little Christmas song has been in the works for awhile - an ode to an Austin holiday tradition that started over 40 years ago, when the Zilker Park tree was first constructed, using a replica of one of our famous Moontowers as the center pole for a huge tree of lights. People soon figured out that looking up while spinning under the lights was a lot of fun.


Spinning, Spinning, Spinning Underneath the Christmas Tree

The Zilker Tree has a separate tree lighting ceremony early in December, but once the Trail of Lights begins a week later [this year it started on the 10th], it's part of that festival.

No one shows a movie now without outtakes... this photo of a Funnel Cake did not make the Director's cut, but was delicious.

The enormous fire pit didn't make the video either! It would have been decorative but not functional for most of the past week, with record high temperatures up to 80 degrees F. We're not experiencing the dangerous ice and winter weather that has the Midwest in its grip, but even our comparatively warm forty-degree evenings make a fire welcome at the end of the trail.

This post, "Spinning Under the Christmas Tree", was written for my blogspot blog called The Transplantable Rose by Annie in Austin.


  1. Nice song and music video Annie. Obviously the talents extend well past just gardening!!

    Any record contracts on the horizon?

    I love the idea of the Zilker Park tree Christmas tradition. And what better time of the year to remember traditions...

  2. Pam @ Digging says:

    OK, that does it. We're going to spin, spin, spin underneath the Christmas tree this weekend. I love the Zilker tree and try to go to the lighting ceremony every year, but we missed this one. I'm glad the tree stays lit all through December so we have other opportunities to go spin.

  3. Those shots looking up into the lights remind me of lying under the christmas tree when I was a kid and just looking at the beautiful colored lights. If I ever see a tree made like this I will have to spin for sure.

    A fun song for a fun tradition. They should play that while people are spinning and eating their funnel cakes by the fire.

  4. What a delightful surprise to have a new post from you pop up in my feed reader, and this one with a new song! We've waited so long for another song from you.

    We have a Christmas tree in Indianapolis made of "strings and strings of lights, no branches you will see". We call it the Circle of Lights. But it is all attached to a big monument so you can't spin underneath it. I think I like yours better!

    Carol, May Dreams Gardens

  5. Hi Stuart - thank you very much. No record companies in sight LOL. Solo singing seems odd - I'm really an alto who sings harmony.

    Some of the people who went spinning as singles 40-years ago now bring grandchildren to the tree - that's tradition!

    Oh Pam/Digging - have fun, but if you get in a traffic jam will I be in trouble?

    Hello Lisa at Greenbow, I remember doing that, too, lying there looking up at the shapes made by the crisscrossing branches. Thanks for listening and for thinking my song was fun!

    Hi Carol - thank you! Your Indianapolis tree is about 90 feet higher than the Austin one! It looks very impressive - but I also prefer our intimate experience with the Zilker tree.

    I hoped that posting this song might help me get a little Christmas spirit - your comments sure have helped!


  6. Lovely lyrics and singing, Annie. I'm an alto as well. I was singing in a piano bar once and unknown to me I was being taped. The dj gave me the tape and when I played it the next day my son said I sounded like Loretta Lynn !

    Hope it gets you into the spirit of the season. It worked for me.

  7. Oh no! It says the vid is no longer available. Whaaaaaaaaa!!!! snif

  8. Great song, Annie! We don't have anything like your Zilker tree here in Detroit. We have the Ice Tree on Belle Isle. There's a huge pine tree near the beach, and there's a water pipe that kind of runs up the trunk of the tree. Once we get freezing weather, the water's turned on to a trickle, so that eventually the whole tree is this gorgeous mass of icicles. You'd think this wouldn't be good for the tree, but they've been doing it, with the same tree, since I was a kid. You can't spin under it, though :-) Your song and this reminiscing definitely got me into the holiday spirit. Thank you!!

  9. I need to ask my daughter's boyfriend if he knows the Zilker Christmas Tree - he grew up in Austin.

    Bravo on your lovely musical arrangement, Annie! The tree made me dizzy but your music made me smile. You definitely rock.

  10. Annie,
    Another wonderful long awaited song. Catchy tune that is now stuck in my head for the rest of the day. Oh, well it's a lot better than some other tunes that sometimes get stuck there. Got to love the tree!
    "the other diva annie"

  11. Oh Annie, you've done it again - made me smile while reading (watching) your blog. Do you eat the funnel cakes and kettle corn before or after spinning?

  12. Thanks Carolyn Gail - wow - sounding like Loretta Lynn? That is a cool thing to hear! What song were you singing?

    Yolanda Elizabet, I think you must have tried to see my Zilker Tree Spin when YouTube was down for maintenance last night. If you go the sidebar where it says "Annie's YouTube Channel" you'll be at YouTube itself, and any problems usually are noted in red type at the top. But thank you for trying ;-]

    Hi Colleen - thank you. I wouldn't mind a look at the icicle tree - are you going to take photos and blog about it?

    Mary - our first Christmas here we heard about the Zilker Christmas tree and saw it on all the news shows... your daughter's bf should know about it, even if he never went spinning under it personally. Thank you for watching it the YouTube and listening to my song!

    Hi Cargol/DivaAnnie! Thank you for listening. At least if you sing about spinning under a Christmas tree "out at Zilker Park", the people you know will catch the local references and just think you're full of Christmas spirit. I'm not sure what happens if someone sings it in New York or CA!

    Entangled - I'm glad to give you a smile - your words can do that for me, too.

    First I spun rather slowly, we walked around and watched the fun, took some photos...then broke down and split the funnel cake with Philo. No kettle corn this trip.

    Thank you all!


  13. As I recall it was a Tammy Wynette
    ( another favorite of mine ) song titled HELP ME MAKE IT THROUGH THE NIGHT. I guess my son just knew the name of one female country singer at the time.

  14. Better you than me, Annie... I don't know that I could spin and eat in any combination! *grin*

    I'd be glad to come down and help you out so long as you're not looking for any good, trained singers. I'm a rank amateur in that regard... but I'll gladly sing for a tour of your beautiful garden sometime.

  15. Hi Annie,

    That was great fun ... I feel like spinning right along underneath the tree.

    If I lived closer, I would be over there with both my mandolin and violin ... I'd even sing!

    Keep on writing your songs - your musical play will turn from dream to reality.

    You have a good voice btw!!

  16. Hurray, I was finally able to see and hear your vid Annie! What an unusual Christmas tree you have over there in Zilker Park.

    Merry Christmas!

  17. Carolyn, that's still a compliment ;-]
    I can't keep the newer ones straight, but never mix up Dolly or EmmyLou with anyone else!

    Hi BlackswampKim - I spun first - and then waited until the ground felt steady.
    It would be wonderful to have you visit my little quarter-acre - what's that saying?? Something like, "From your lips to God's ears"?

    I've got a mandolin, Kate, although I have not done well at learning to play it ... you'd only have to tote the violin. Thank you very much for the encouragement.

    Good, Yolanda Elizabet - it's just a simple song, but it does give you an idea of what Austin is like!

    Thanks for the comments,


  18. I just had to come back to listen to your song again after Pam's post on the Zilker tree.


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