Monday, December 20, 2010

Christmas Tree Hunting

When I was growing up we always seemed to get our Christmas tree early - if it was already December 5th we considered it unforgivably late.  I loved having it up for a whole month; turning off all the lights in the house except for the tree lights, the little lighted village on the bookcase, and the wood stove roaring.  I don't know if boys do this at all, but every girl I've talked to about this has memories of this quiet darkness to drink in the ambiance of the season.

So through the nine years I've been married it has been an adjustment  transition nail biting, hair pulling, tongue holding exercise in patience to adjust to my husband's way of doing 'the tree'.

Mostly the years have gone by with my father-in-law cutting down our tree from his property, bringing it over, and putting it up.  I have really appreciated this, as other wise we would have had a tree only three of the last nine years.  Last year we never even had one.  I decided we would wait until Daddy had time to take us so it could be a 'family' event (you know, making memories and traditions for our kids.  I figured it was about time we started: our oldest was already six.).  We waited.  And waited.  And Christmas came.  And went.

So this year, with two kids in school, the kids started pestering me that "I need a tree."  "Why don't we have a tree?" " Mrs. Johnson (teacher) has a tree already."  Et cetera.  I politely inquired of Daddy when a good time would be to go and mostly received a lot of "I don't know.  It depends on my schedule.  I have to do homework all that weekend."  O-kay.

Being the powerful, strong-willed, fully-capable, hate-to-disappoint-my-children woman that I am . . . . . . I called my mom and asked her to drive us to the three farm after school last Wednesday.

A family in our church has a little tree farm outside Molalla up in the hills (Snowline Tree Farm) that I wanted to go to, partly in deference to the Bible's mandate to 'support widows and orphans'.  But mostly because I knew they had two Shetland ponies that Girl fell head-over-heels for last summer.

Grandpa Don and Alex didn't hear us pull up over the barking of all the dogs, so we had a few minutes to wander around and pet the horses before we got around to deciding on our tree.  We always get a noble and I didn't want anything tall (five feet was our maximum).  They graciously started the tractor-pulled hayride and we piled in, excited to find our tree.  I told the kids to shout when they saw one that they wanted.
Boy Two, Nana, Boy One on the hay trailer

And so we set off, very excited to watch the happy dogs chase each other through the tree field alongside.
Posing with our tree.

Just as I thought they'd never say anything someone shouted.  We stopped, unloaded, and walked a little ways through the field finally agreeing on this one.  The boys watched enthralled as Grandpa Don used his chain saw to fell our little bush in two seconds flat, then load it on the trailer. 

 By now, the kids were becoming loud with the pure headiness of being outside, riding behind the tractor, the dogs running, the chain saw, finally getting our tree.  We went for an extended tour ride around the tree field and back to the house, where they shook all the little spiders out of the tree and then turned on the baler at our request.  Alex even had Isaac come closer in so he could 'help'.
Afterward, Grandpa Don measured the tree (five feet) and then we laid Boy Two on the baler and measured him: about four feet.  The other two declined any measuring.

This accomplished and the tree wedged in the car, we ambled over to the enclosed patio, complete with outdoor stone fireplace, colored lights, hot chocolate and cookies, and an ornament-making table.

Robin helping Girl to make her pine cone ornament.

My kids were completely won over.

We got home just as it was getting dark, secured the tree in its stand with only a slight tilt (tilting adds character) and waited to surprise Daddy, whose job it was to put on the lights.

Success!  Daddy seemed quite relieved to have gotten out of bringing home the tree - so much so that I'm afraid he will expect me to do this every year.  Drat.  There's a cloud for every silver lining.

Linking to Snowline Tree Farm

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