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Monday, December 4


It's tradition. Every year we buy a cutting permit from the Forest Service (five bucks!), drive into the woods, and cut down a tree. We try to go to a new place every year, and we always find a great spot for tree hunting and playing in the snow.

We made our yearly trip on Sunday. We loaded the kids and the dog into the pickup and headed out South Century Drive (just south of Sunriver). A few miles down a snow-covered forest service road we found that perfect spot. A sledding hill surrounded by stands of smaller trees.

The kids got bundled up in their snow clothes and boots, and made their way to the top of the hill. Soon the area was filled with shrieks and giggles as they slid down the hill again and again... and again. Meanwhile Scott and I scouted around (in hip-deep snow) and found the perfect tree. Once the tree was downed, hauled back to the truck and loaded - we joined in the fun.

The kids had packed a couple of great runs by then. We have one large double toboggan-style sled, raised up on runners. The kids called its' run "the rollercoaster". The start of the run was a bit flat, then went over a (snow-covered) log and a steep drop to the bottom. It got a little squirrely at the bottom and we were thrown from the sled several times. But it was all in good fun as the snow was deep and soft.

Our other sleds are flat-bottomed "sliders". We have a couple of the disc-style ones with little canvas handles, and several elongated flat foam ones. The run for these was a bit longer with a banked curve and a jump. It was very fast and lots of fun. Butthead liked to ride this one face-first and we teased that she hardly needed a sled. I rode "double" with each of the kids a couple of times as well.

Divot also loved her first trip to the snow. She wore herself out "swimming" in the deep snow and was pretty happy to snooze in a blanket on the ride home, snug and warm.

Last night we put up the tree and the kids went to town decorating. It's a little funky of course - since it's not a farmed tree - but it works well in our space.

Mmmmm... our house smells like Christmas...


Anonymous said...

yunnecessary killing of trees... did you know you can count how long a land fill has bee in existence by counting the rings. Its true, every year a new layer of xmass trees is deposited. Kinda like counting the rings on the tree stump you just cut down. Time to start a new Family tradition IMHO.

Jen said...

Ah, but we have a post-Holiday tradition too! We compost/mulch our tree. No waste, great-smelling wood chips, and in a few years some nice soil for the vegie garden!

Anonymous said...

Yes that's all fine and dandy, but you still killed a tree, how big was the tree and how old was it? let's think about this and do some numbers how many people in the US every year get an xmass tree? Approximately 25-30 million real Christmas trees are sold each year in the United States.

Tree farms are one thing but thinning our forests for this?!?!

Jennifer (ponderosa) said...

I've been getting bizarre anonymous comments on my blog, too. I thought it was because the Econo-Dude linked to me, but maybe we've got our own local trolls! We're a big city now, baby.

The Deschutes Basin Land Trust encourages people to cut xmas trees on their land, by the way. Cheap labor for their thinning projects.

I think yours is a great tradition. In Bend we've been twice to the forest to get our tree and twice to the local lot. When we lived in Portland we walked to a lot and carried the tree home on our shoulders, which kind of combined both efforts : )