Oh Christmas Tree…

December 23, 2009 § 1 Comment

December 19th, 2009

I’m basically living in a hallmark country Christmas TV special. We got our Christmas trees today and do you know where we went to get them? Yes, that’s right, the forest.

In recent years, I’ve either had no tree or we’ve gotten one from one of those white tented parking lots filled with overpriced Douglas firs. Last year, I cut my Christmas tree out of green metallic wrapping paper and taped it to the wall. So you can imagine the sheer excitement on my face when we all piled into the truck to drive into the woods in search of trees.

I proved myself to be an overnight convert to hard core Montanan. I trudged for hours through knee deep snow, in sleet no less, in search of the tree bearing proper height, thickness and needle type. Did I mention it was -20°F? Obviously, I’m exaggerating ever so slightly.

Actually, it was a wonderful day at about 30°F with very light snow falling. We brought the dogs with us and it was incredible seeing the black Labrador Lotus bound through the drifts of snow effortlessly. Little Bailey, with his short Shelty legs wasn’t as big a fan of snow. Like humans he doesn’t enjoy having cold wet feet.

To get a tree in Montana is very simple and incredibly cheap. You have to purchase a permit and it costs five whole dollars per tree. The next time I live in a city and I pay $60 or more for a tree I will remember my cost effective Christmas in Montana. Once you have a permit you head to one of the locations in the forest where you are allowed to take trees. We went to Moose Creek, which is just a short ways down the canyon we live in. Then, the hunt begins.

We came across a pretty simple little one for the guest quarters of our house. This would be my tree and I had the honor of cutting it down. I don’t think I will become a lumberjack anytime soon, although I was wearing the appropriate hat. My arm muscles just aren’t cut out for all that backward forwards sawing.

Finding the main tree for the living room proved more of a challenge. There are a few other restrictions, in addition to having specific locations where cutting down trees is allowed. Trees must be no taller than 12ft and no less than 100ft. from all roads and 50ft. from rivers or streams. Sadly, there were signs of people who had been there before us and felt that the rules didn’t apply to them. The worst sights of all were the trees that people had topped off, meaning they just cut off the top part and left half a tree behind. This causes unnatural stunted growth and is a wasteful practice. It is also illegal tree cutting behavior.

Finally, my Uncle Mike spotted a 12 footer that looked destined to sit in our living room window. It’s quite a narrow tree, which makes it appear very elegant. With two trees in tow we made our way back home. Now we’re sipping hot spiced cider, listening to Christmas songs and decorating our trees. I told you I’m in a hallmark Christmas special.


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