We got back from Santa Fe late Saturday night. Peter needed to leave at noon for the last work week of the year, so we got up early on Sunday, ate a quick fast food breakfast and went looking for our tree. We found a very nice, 8′, slim tree this year. It fits in our small family room quite well and looks pretty with just its lights on. While we were in Santa Fe, I noticed a paper announcing tree cutting permits and it reminded me of a fun thing to do each December in Colorado – cut your own tree! Every Fall we would apply to the state and pay – wait for it – $10 to cut a tree in the state forest lands. We would drive to the designated area and wander around first, trying to decide what tree might be the one. Remember, these are real trees, growing as they will, not pampered, sculptured commercial ones! The trees seemed to have two parts, a funky sort of bottom and a nice top. Because of the altitude and low rainfall, trees grow slowly in Colorado and all of these conditions surely affect the look of them. The ceilings in our mountain home were 17′, so we also had to guesstimate how big a tree we could choose. Here is Peter The Lumberjack with our tree of 2003!
This particular year, we had wandered far into the woods (most people chop trees close to the road for obvious reasons!) and I remember that Peter left me for a bit, to find the car! After arriving at the car, the next challenge was getting the tree on top of the car. I am only 5’2″ and the top of our 4Runner is well above my head. It’s impossible for someone my height to heft a tree above her head, so I finally had Peter move the car to a big boulder. I clambered on top of it, he handed me the top of the tree and we were able to uumph it up. Securing the tree on the car was tricky as well….. it was about an hour drive home and we wanted the tree to arrive in good shape. With the permit tag attached to the tree, we started for home.
We usually did our tree hunting on a weekday, but this year we had to do it on a Saturday, and what fun it was! On our way back to the main in road, we ran into an old friend!
And then further along, we came upon the local fire department, where they were serving chili and all sorts of home-made sweets for lunch! I heard that this fire house made loads of money each year feeding the Christmas tree hunters and we were delighted to partake.
Decorating a 16′ Christmas tree is an art that we perfected over some years! (We had to buy a new tree stand to hold the big guys up.) First I would hold the tree perpendicular to the floor and Peter would get the lights wound around the top section. Then we’d stand it up and he’d finish the bottom. Then he would hold the top of the tree and I would add the decorations. When the top was done, the tree would go up again and we could both work on the rest. You can see that a “real”, very tall tree has a rather Dr. Seuss look to it.
This is the view of the treetop from the upstairs hall/loft area. I loved standing there watching the lights softly blink.