Saturday, December 10, 2016

Special Things About December: The Great Tree Hunt

Some Special Things About December are things, and others are beloved rituals.

Today we enjoyed the annual Christmas Tree Hunt Adventure. We’re still devoted to real trees – Michigan is the nation’s No. 3 producer of Christmas trees – and for years we’ve headed to the same

For years, we’ve been heading to the same family owned tree farm outside of Rockford. They have nice trees and other things going on that make the afternoon fun.

We grab a saw then head off into the rolling white fields, dotted with evergreens of varying size. Some families opt for the tractor ride, but we head out on foot.

The length of the search varies depending on the participants. Andrew, if he had his way, would grab the first tree he’d see. Caroline would like to explore every square inch of the farm, make a mental list of contenders, carefully consider the merits of each, review them a second time, then make a selection. And we have done this regardless of temperature and snow depth.

With the kids away, Julie ventured out with me today, and we decided upon a beautiful balsam fir in about 20 minutes.

There seemed to be an abnormally large number of families bringing dogs today, and Julie made the astute observation that we should beware of any tree circled by dog paw prints.

Once we’ve knelt in the snow and saw through the trunk, we drag the tree through the through the snow back to the buildings where crew stands it into a machine that shakes the heck out of the tree to remove loose needles and potential squirrels before sending it through a different machine that ties the branches close for easier transport.

Then we stop by the animal area to visit the sheep and the bad ass goats. 

I’ve never felt secure about stringing the tree to the roof of the Civic, so we fold down the back seats and manage to get most of it in the trunk. No matter how I try to wrap the tree in blankets, needles still get embedded.

The lining of my trunk is like a visit with the Ghost of Trees of Christmas Past.

“Hey, is this needle from the balsam fir of 2013?”
“Nope, looks more like the blue spruce of ’15.”

This is OK; a reminder of Christmas, and our fun family rituals, throughout the year.

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