Thanks Chris! In my opinion, spruce is an awesome species. Unfortunatly there aren't many world-class trees to be inspired from. Also, again in my humble opinion, some ppl that are fairly renowned for their spruce (spruces or whatever) aren't making the best of them (with Walter as an exception).
As far as I can tell the branch is seven years. Since we only have one growth cycle each year I simply counted the internodes.