Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Charlie Brown trees

This weekend, in between the googolplex of hours Dan spent working on his final school projects, we decided to go cut ourselves a Christmas tree. We'd both forgotten to do any tree-cutting research on Friday, so Dan headed out to a Panera Bread and figured out what we needed to know, which was that we needed chains and a permit to cut trees in forests (and the permits were all gone for the weekend), and we only needed some cash and a saw to cut our own at a Christmas tree farm to the north and east of us. Our two best options appeared to be located in La Salle and Greeley, up Highway 85, so we put the rope and saw in the car and drove north, land of few colors. This time of year, that part of the state is all wheat and tan and the occasional dark brown of a leafless tree, and bright blue or grey sky. Also, it is full of what Dan likes to call Special Smells, consisting of everything from feed lots to grazing land to slaughterhouses to rendering plants.

The first Christmas tree farm was just outside of La Salle, which isn't saying much because La Salle consists of one stoplight. The entire operation consisted of a muck-filled dirt road leading toward an even muckier parking area in between a few acres of the same species of tree. They handed us an information sheet informing us that they only take cash or personal checks, neither of which we had on hand, but we decided if we found the right tree we'd go back into La Salle to get cash and come back. We wandered around in the muck, dodging stumps of trees past, and never finding the right kind of tree for us. A few came close, particularly one that was a little twisted and somewhat sparse because it had a bunch of pinecones on it! And then there was the tree with the dead mouse on it.

Dan asked if I wanted to try the other place, which was only a few miles away. I said it was up to him, since he was the one who still had so much work to do. I think we kind of both wanted to go, since we weren't especially impressed with the trees or the muck. For 40 bucks I'd rather just get a noble fir at the grocery store.

So up to eastern Greeley we went, to the Fern Hill Christmas Tree farm. Now, THIS was a business. They had things all set up; marked and accessible parking, a hay ride out to the trees, a fire pit, cookies and cider inside where you paid for the tree you chose. And you could pay with a credit card. Each tree available for sale was marked with a tag telling you the height and price of the tree. We found a few we liked, and then I saw The One. I knew it was The One because a) I liked how it looked, and b) the tag looked like this.

How could we not get it?

Dan cut it down, with a little help from me, and we had it shaken and baled in some sort of netting to make it easier to transport, and we tied it to the roof of the car. The gordian knot used to secure it amused me so much, I took a photo.

When we got home, the tree came inside and got be-lighted and adorned with a lot of new ornaments that we got for half price at Cost Plus World Market on Saturday. I had also knitted four new ones, so there are eight giant knitted balls now.

The tree-topping pantheon, which includes Devil Ducky, The Frog That Lives Over The Door, an angel, and a poseable Jesus on wheels.

My abiding love for the Charlie Brown Christmas special has been well-documented on this site, and I was especially excited to see it this year because of our fancy teevee. Last night, I got a ride home from the gym with a friend (it was snowing heavily, so this was rather nice of her) and shook the snow off my shoes, ate a snack, and settled down on the couch to watch. And when the kids danced, I danced too. It wasn't the amazing transformative experience that the Grinch or Rudolph were, because as Dan pointed out last night it's pretty low-budget animation. But it made me feel like the season was really here, as I watched my favorite Christmas special while sitting next to our Charlie Brown tree.


Anonymous said...

I'm really, REALLY glad you didn't go with the dead mouse tree. Although he would have made a fantastic tree-topper.

We got our tree on Sunday and have been too tired/lazy in the evenings to decorate it. Boo.

Abby said...

Due to my family history of potted or artificial trees I have always missed out on the Christmas tree cutting experience, but that second place sounds lovely. And what a great tree!
Also your tree toppers almost made me laugh out loud, brilliant!

Anonymous said...

Dan may have told you that he had been to that LaSalle tree farm once as a kid. I found it to be a pathetic excuse for a "real" tree farm, and although we did cut down a tree there that time, we never went back. It may have been the mucky roads, or the short trees, or the persistent gray-tan-brown-white of northeastern Colorado in winter.

Yank In Texas said...

Oh my goodness that Christmas tree is perfect! Love the Jesus on wheels.
We are forever doomed to have a faker as I am sadly allergic.