Saturday, December 5, 2009
Homestead Mama and I always pick a day that it is snowing to go fetch our Christmas tree. This has meant that we've cut it close to the actual holiday some years as we are waiting for Mother Nature to provide the atmosphere necessary for proper festive tree selection. Only one Christmas during our nine years together have we had non-snow; it was a short selection process in the pouring rain. We used a lot of BIG ornaments on the side that only had a few branches.
We revel in the quiet sound of snow falling on the hike in. It is usually so pleasant that we hike further into the snowy meadow than is necessary just to prolong the experience. We embrace the ritual, the peace and quiet, the hauling of bulky down-jacketed 40 lb kids in Ergo carriers on our backs. It is a pleasant bonus that we can get a 7' tree for $20 when down the road a couple miles you can pay $40 for the same tree and get a smog-filled tractor ride down a crowded field to pick your Christmas tree out of a pile of pre-cut trees, all the while assaulted by Happy! Holiday! Music! spewing from speaker wired into the fields.
We always look for a few perfect trees, and every year this requires some discussion. I tend towards a Charlie Brown sparseness, the better to showcase a select few precious ornaments. Homestead Mama prefers a tree so dense that light doesn't show through the branches, and likes to pile on every ornament she has ever bought. Once we've found two or three that ride the line of compromise, we check for bird nests. Did you know that it is good luck for the coming year if your Christmas tree has a bird's nest in it? With a little effort, we get lucky almost every year. Not so this year in our perfect trees; we found a nest in a neighboring tree that was too big by at least 10 feet and plucked it out, decided that would bring at least a little luck for 2010. We got the old man who owns the tree farm to snap our photo again like we do every year. In jockeying the kids, the camera, the saw and my mittens I set down our nest and left it at the tree farm. I almost sent Homestead Mama back for it - its only 5 miles away. In the end, she set the tree up in the stand while I monitored the kids in the bathtub. When we came out, H-Mama was beaming and asked us to look into a particularly dense section of the tree, low down near the base.
Lo and behold, there was a perfect, tiny little nest. It must have been extremely well-built, as we were not at all gentle in the cutting, dragging, loading and unloading of the presumed nest-less tree. I guess we are due for a little luck next year after all.