Christmas tree hunting with my son, James and his wife Jennifer. Most fun I’ve had for a while.
Timber Ridge, Hampshire County, North of Yellow Spring near Lehew. Pennington place, an old farm my sister inherited from our father. Some farm land has grown up in pines and brush, but most is still open fields due to regular hay harvesting. Borders of those fields produce a few Red Cedars which we sort through to find Christmas trees.
Cedar is necessary. I’ve never understood why commercial tree growers don’t handle Red Cedars. Don’t think I’ve ever seen Red Cedars for sale anywhere. Both Phoebe and I grew up in Cedar tree families and we still want them. Far as I know, our house in Moorefield and my family’s Big House in Wardensville have never known pine or spruce or fir or whatever. Family cut Red Cedars, always.
Tree location in our Moorefield home allows one bad side. A wall we can back tree up against with an electric outlet in the base board hides that one bad side. It’s a corner between two doors.
Tree can’t be to large diameter or passage through those doors is tough. Door hinges make good anchors for heavy thread we use to tie tree to in order to stabilize it. Ceiling is near ten feet. Nine foot tree plus a star on top pretty well fills the space.
I used to be Chief of star and lights. My job to do the high stuff. Never one to feel comfortable on a ladder, I still screwed up my climbing courage and got er done.
No more. Got a tall son and a handy dandy son in law for such daring duty. James is young, agile, particular, even a bit persnickety about light placement. He and Kris don’t get argued with near as much as I used to. Now days I sit quietly with a drink in my hand offering advice when it is asked for. Some times I offer an opinion that isn’t asked for. Those mostly get ignored.
We found a tree, cut it and set it up Sunday afternoon, week before Christmas. Can’t decorate until Wednesday evening. James pretty well decrees that his sister, Hilary must be home to decorate. She’s due in Wednesday about noon.
I’d gone to Timber Ridge Saturday afternoon to pre scout the area. Weather forecast was tentative for Sunday, so I decided to locate a few good prospects from which to make our final choice. Save time if rain and wind made things miserable.
Three locations, all of which I could drive to offered good prospects. Old Jeep is a fine tree hunting ride. I buzzed around unimpeded. Had to run over a few tall weeds and brush. A few small branches screeched down top and sides. Watery mud holes offered fresh brown splashes on fenders. A few thumps and bumps crossing odd branches.
Sunday we went to cut and haul in James’ big Ford F150 pickup. Clumsy truck didn’t fit well between trees where Jeep slipped on through. James cringed a little as branches scratched bright paint and mud splashed. No problem about truck being tough enough for the job. It is simply too pretty for such. Old Jeep just grins and grabs more ground.
I can’t swing an axe like I used to, but we finally got the tree chewed off. Loaded it into truck and brought it home. Measured height and squared its bottom in big house front yard. James and Jenn left with it for Moorefield while I came inside and wrote this column.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. This is my 21st Christmas Unbased Opinion. Many thanks for reading and I hope, enjoying. If I can think of a topic, I’ll be back first issue in January 2017.