I am not in my right mind. This was confirmed to me by my wife as we drove through the pounding snow, on our way to cut down our own Christmas tree. I woke up in the morning, looked out the window, saw the snow coming down, and said “Hey, it looks Christmasy out today. I can’t think of better weather in which to drive down small icy back roads and then hike through a forest of trees in an attempt to hack down a tree!”
When I was growing up in Vermont, we often would cut down our own Christmas trees. In fact, one year my mother stole our Christmas tree, by chopping it down from some guy’s farm, and then driving home with it when she couldn’t find anyone to pay. Nothing fills you with holiday spirit quite like unwrapping gifts from underneath a stolen tree. But in Baltimore there are fewer tree farms, so every year we just bought a tree from the lot down the street and that was that. Now that we are back in Vermont, I wanted to create in my children the same lasting memories of parental insanity that my mother created for me growing up. So we got into our snow outfits and headed out to find a tree.
I had looked up a few places online and chosen the farm based on the three factors of: distance from us, lowest tree price, and business hours that coincided with when I wanted to go. The snow was not so bad when we started out, but it got worse and worse as we got closer to the farm. When we finally did reach the place, after almost skidding off the road half a dozen times, a big “CLOSED” sign met us at the gate. So I did what any reasonable person would do in this situation, I went online and found the next closest place and drove there.
My wife insists that I point out to you all that we passed at least 4,000 different tree lots selling perfectly lovely fresh cut trees at very reasonable prices. But you can’t put a price tag on a memory! We actually called ahead this time and confirmed that they were open. When we arrived, the snow was getting pretty deep. It was already over my sneakers and still coming down hard. Why, you ask, was I wearing sneakers to trek out in the snow to chop down a tree? I refer you to the first sentence of this blog, which will explain a great many things.
The farm was actually awesome. They gave us a saw, and they gave us a sled to pull either children or trees in, whichever was giving us more grief at the time. There were loads of trees right there for us to choose from, so not much hiking was needed. We decided that the first row of trees was looking very attractive, so we found one of proper height and fullness, and I set about chopping it down.
I had thought that it would be pretty easy. Just take the saw, and cut the tree down, right? But what I hadn’t counted on was how I was going to reach the base of the trunk with the saw. There were more than a couple of inches of snow on the ground, and I was not dressed properly at all. I couldn’t even really see the trunk of the tree through the snow, so I decided the best thing to do was to lie down on the sled and saw from there. Unfortunately, the sled did not provide a lot of traction in the snow, so I basically sawed myself back and forth, and was not getting much tree done. Actually, I couldn’t really see at all how much I was sawing, plus my pants were filling up with snow. That’s why I didn’t notice that I had cut all the way through the tree, which is when it fell on me. Luckily, Simone caught the whole thing on video for your viewing pleasure.
Once I managed to get up from under the tree, (You’ll note that Simone just laughed hysterically and did not try to help me. In her defense, she was holding the baby.) we put it on the sled and took it back to the main building where they put it in the snow-shaker-offer machine and the net-putter-onner machine, and then the very friendly gentleman tied it to our roof. They gave us free hot chocolate and candy canes, and finally we drove home at a consistent 14 mph on roads that were rapidly deteriorating.
Was it worth it? Definitely. Will Ruby remember this day fondly? She sure will. She can’t stop talking about how the guy let her push the buttons on the machines. And if she doesn’t remember the actual fact that we cut down our own tree, instead of buying one from a lot, well, we have the video.