Monday, December 13, 2010

Our Charlie Brown Tree

For the second year in a row, we decided to forego paying for a Christmas tree, and instead chose to walk out on the property and find an evergreen of some sort to cut down. Last year, we chose a cedar that was in the way and needed to go anyhow, thus I did not feel guilty about shortening the lifespan of our chosen honoree. The tree was a bit scraggly, since it had been growing along a fence-line, too close to some hardwoods we wanted to save, but its smallish stature fit our smallish house perfectly and dressed up with our favorite ornaments and sparkly lights, it fulfilled its purpose of bringing cheer magnificently. And really, am I the only one out there who watched the Charlie Brown Christmas Special (which is available free on right now, by the way) every year and thought, “I’d have picked that sad tree and taken it home, too?”

My mom remembers (and enjoys telling other people) how we went to the Pottery (a local garden and almost-anything-else-you-might-want-for-decorating-your-house icon) and were walking through the garden center looking at plants. I was upset that a plant I had been caring for in my room had died (I suppose I forgot to water it…oops), and was wanting something green to decorate my room, yet not wanting to consign another plant to the trash bin. What I needed was a plant that would withstand my forgetfulness, yet I was NOT interested in a cactus one bit. Then we happened by a bin of what looked like fuzzy green plant clippings, very dry, with no roots. When I asked about them, I was told they were called air ferns, and required no water…they drew the water they needed from the air. Wow. Perfect! I rummaged through the bin, looking for a very fluffy, healthy specimen, and while I was trying to make my best choice, I came across a very pathetic and scraggly one somewhere near the bottom of the bin that was NEVER going to get chosen by anyone. I instantly felt sorry for it (for a PLANT!) and just HAD to get that one. Sigh.

I haven’t grown out of that “rescuing” trait yet, though I have learned to manage it better. I am not saying I am this great person, just that when I see something sad and lonely, I want to make it “feel” better by using it and appreciating it for what it is. After all, how do you think we wound up with so many pets? And this house? And a lot of the stuff I still need to sort through in my garage? Eh. It’s something I am working on. I think someday I would like to (maturely) apply this to helping some children, whether through fostering or adoption, I don’t know. It’s not in the cards right now, but if it is meant to be, God will provide a way.

So, back to the tale of the Charlie Brown tree. This year’s Charlie Brown tree is not so scraggly as the last one. I had initially gone riding a few times in the back fourteen, looking for a white pine that had reached a suitable height. I thought I’d found one I liked, but then when I drove the SUV over to see how it would work logistically with the kids in tow, I wasn’t so sure about the location, plus, it was rather out in the open and I LIKED it, and could imagine riding over there in a few years and picnicking under its branches. When I pulled the car into the small drive that goes to nowhere but a field (for past farming purposes), I realized there were several Charlie Brown-ish cedars against hardwoods that potentially could be cleared out, and happily chose the one that was the least lopsided and not too tall.

When Hubby got home, we finished putting on coats and gloves, then all piled in the warm car to drive over (it’s not really that far, but on a cold day with little ones, why not drive?) and cut it down. Here’s what we looked like when we got there (the batteries in my camera were suddenly dying, so I did not check for closed eyes after every picture…oh well):

I went to the back of the treed area and cut some of the lower branches off of a very large cedar that is partly weighed down by vines (which I will assume were poison ivy since I got some and nobody else did) because I want to make wreaths for the doors (eventually).


The kids took a bucket and picked up pine cones to make a craft (Ladybug is currently all about crafts!)


Tex and Hubby went to work on the cedar tree. They tried it with the saw first, but the sap was too sticky and/or the blade too dull.



So Hubby had to chop it down with an axe…on his knees (in his work clothes!)…while the rest of us stood around and supervised.

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Eventually, the pretty (and not so Charlie Brown-ish if you are looking at it from the front) tree fell down and we loaded it up and headed for home.


The kids were excited when we got back…they couldn’t wait to get started decorating. Sadly, they discovered that you have to trim the tree trunk first, then put it up in the stand, AND then put on the lights…ALL before you can hang ornaments on it!


And did you know, that even trimming a Christmas tree requires a trip to Lowe’s…for a new saw, because they don’t sell new blades for the one you already have? Does anyone else seem to have this problem?

The job did eventually get done (the new saw only cost $10, which is less than we’d have spent for a lot-bought tree), and the kids were thrilled they were one step closer to getting to decorate their tree. While waiting, they eagerly took the trunk trimmings and stood around counting the rings to find out how old our tree was. They think it was about twenty. Awww. I feel a bit bad, because cedars have to work awfully hard for the same height that a pine gains in just a few years, but this little guy really was in a bad spot, and we will appreciate him as our Christmas tree. What an honor to bear the ornaments that tell the story of the birth of our Savior!

Here are the guys setting up the tree:

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In any case, the little ones were wide-awake and all ready for mommy to put up the lights (I am the annual Christmas tree lights expert…nobody else seems to get the same intertwining, magical effect that I do…sigh.) Unfortunately, by then, I was plum tuckered out (I am still suffering the effects of severe adrenal fatigue) and the lights will have to wait for another day. I did have enough energy to try to get one last shot of the kids with their new Christmas tree before my camera batteries died completely (and there were no more AAs in the house…ugh!):

We had a fantastic time, and made some sweet memories. Moments like these make the extra work of living out here worthwhile.

By the way, while I was out there I saw a promising candidate for next year’s tree. I will have to keep an eye on it throughout the year when I ride. It will give my rides purpose and make them so much more fun…yeah, I know it sounds silly, but I do think it is kind of fun surveying the possibilities.

Well, clearing out a lot by way of removing Christmas trees may be a slow process, but every little bit helps!

I hope you are having fun with your Christmas preparations.




The Adventurer said...

I loved that you used a tree on your property that needed to be cut down anyway:) What a great story. I hope you are feeling better very soon. Will be praying for you. Have a wonderful Christmas holiday

Vickie said...

What fun you all had and what a lovely way to "clear the land"!! Love the photos. We had to go to an artificial tree because when we converted our garage to a large family room, we put in radiant heat floors....even with watering a tree every couple hours all day long (not getting up at night to keep it watered tho)...we couldn't make the tree last more than a week. Since we want the tree up from the first weekend of Dec to Epiphany, I couldn't afford to purchase a new one every week (not that I'd look forward to decorating and undecorating that many times in one year anyway LOL). Also, we got a tree with pre-strung lights on it. So more having to get it just right lol Can't wait to see photos of the decorated tree.

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