Christmas officially began in our household this past Sunday with the trimming of the tree. Because of the Saturday ice storms and a visit by some friends, we didn't get started driving down to the family farm until Sunday afternoon. The wind was at times gusty and getting stronger while the temperature was falling. I had tried calling my parents to see if they wanted to get their tree at the same time but had only gotten their answering machine. We stopped by the house when we got down there and they were still gone so we set off by ourselves.
Our Christmas tree plot is an old corner of pastureland that had been neglected by the previous tenants. Red cedar trees have grown up here and there, most to big to mow with a brush cutter and clearing it really serves little purpose since it isn't worth farming. This is the third year we have gotten our tree from there and each time, we hunt around and find the perfect shaped tree but think that there isn't another tree worth going to get next year. Yet when next year rolls around, one of the trees deemed to small from the previous year turns out to be just right and perfectly shaped. The cycle continues and probably will for some time to come.
We bundled up Little Abbey in her all terrain stroller and I scrambled up the steep ditch careful not to let her tip. When we made it to the top of the bank, we hadn't walked but fifteen or twenty feet when we found a nice tree. We might have cut it down had we walked around for fifteen minutes first looking at others but since we hadn't been out of the car more than a few minutes, we made a mental note of the location, right by the car, and continued on. Clear on the far side of the patch beneath the pond where we found ourselves ten minutes later was another lovely specimen. This one actually had two trunks that forked about a foot up from the ground and made it appear more dense than normal. It looked great. I would have opted still for the first tree but the wind was howling and already I was starting to feel the cold. Little Abbey seemed fine in her bundle of clothes but I had not dressed as warmly. We made the decision to get this one and I cut it down with the handsaw.
I drug it the 100 yards back to the road and walked another 100 yards back to the van to drive it closer. Almost fifteen minutes after we started, we had the tree loaded up and were heading back to the farm feeling chilled to the bone. My parents still weren't home when we got back so Mrs. Abbey put the finishing touches on a fruit tart to leave behind as payment while I talked with some deer hunters that were heading back into the woods on this opening weekend of first season. Just as we were leaving, my parents pulled in and we talked for an hour and let Little Abbey stretch her legs awhile and get spoiled by grandma's stash of gummy bears.
The 50-minute drive home was pleasant with our eight-foot tall cedar smelling tree even if it lacked the little string to hang to the rearview mirror. We ate a bit of supper and then got to work setting up the tree and trimming it while the Christmas music played in the background and a nice fire burned in the fireplace. The green food coloring that I added to the first pot of water will green it up nicely and the aroma of cedar will fill that part of the house for the next month. It's a simple tree, but the price was right and it is tradition in our family. Going out and buying one at the store just wouldn't seem like Christmas.