Country Living Series

Sunday, December 12, 2010

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas...

Last week we went down to cut a Christmas tree in our woods.  As an aside, some friends were telling us that trees bought at urban Christmas tree lots are now topping $100.  Is that true?  If so, yikes!

Anyway the snow was deep and the kids were excited.  Don and I were a little less excited because the snow was deep and we knew what kind of work we could expect.


Lots of deer evidence.  Scat...


...and antler rubs.


The girls had scouted out a suitable tree a few days before.


It was an odd tree, with no branches until about the four-foot level, then a beautifully shaped center, then a weird long thin top that could be trimmed.


So Don cut it down...


Then came the fun part: dragging it up the snowy field toward the driveway.  The girls tried first and could barely budge it between them.  So it fell - gee what a surprise - to Don and me to drag it.  We stopped to (cough) admire the view quite frequently as we slogged uphill through crusty deep snow.


When we reached the pasture fence, Don managed to heave it over into the driveway, where dragging would be easier.


Meanwhile Brit wondered what on earth we were doing.  I thought this shot turned out well.  (Click to enlarge.)


So here's the tree.


Now it needs trimming.


Forcing it through the doorway was an experience.  Somehow, magically, the tree grew much wider between the time it was trimmed and the time we brought it indoors.  Funny how that happens.


But once it was set up, it was beautiful!  And fat!  Oh boy, was it fat!


We got new tree lights.  These are the first new lights we've had in ten or twelve years.  The old ones were unreliable.  You know the routine: we'd be three-quarters of the way through stringing up the lights on the tree when one of the strands would suddenly go out, that kind of thing.  Let's hear it for new lights!


Lydia thought we were looney to bring a tree inside the house.


We strung the lights, then Don (as head of the house) did the honor of putting the angel on top.


At long last, the kids could start decorating!


I think the result is lovely.

31 comments:

  1. I miss the joy of cutting your own tree! I'm allergic to pine, so I can only tolerate a VERY fresh tree - and I have to keep it well watered.

    The dryer it is, the more allergens in the air. So, since all the trees around here are trucked in from who knows where, we have an artificial tree.

    Merry Christmas!

    Melody

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  2. What a beautiful, old family tradition. I haven't had a live tree since my children were small. (they are all adults now) Carpeted house then, the joy of still getting needles out of the carpet a year later! I now have hard wood floors so I guess I could get a live tree but we would have to go to a lot and purchase. The only evergreens in our woods are the red or white cedars.

    I bet your house smells like Christmas!

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  3. Around here, big trees can go for just under $200! However, we don't purchase our tree until Christmas Eve. At that point, the lots are practically begging you to take a tree away. We've gotten $180 trees for $20 and they usually throw in a wreath or two for free.

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  4. This year we went to our local grocery store and got a nice one for $30. In years past we've gone to a tree farm to cut our own. Those usually cost $20-30 more and the trees were much more of the "Charlie Brown" variety. But they still decorate beautifully!

    Andrea S

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  5. "For the customs of the people are vain: for they cutteth a tree out of the forest, the work of the hands of the workman, with the axe.

    They deck it with silver and gold; they fasten it with nails and with hammers, that it move not.

    Jeremiah10: 3 & 4.

    I sense the IMF is somewhat disapproving. But of course we are really celebrating the winter solstice which probably predates Xtianity by thousands of years.

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  6. Oh, what a beautiful, magical Christmas Tree!

    I'll bet you have no idea how many people are having a Christmas because of reading your blog, and looking at your pictures!

    Thank You!

    Bill Smith

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  7. Oh Quedula, I'm so glad to know you're reading your Bible! Good for you. Keep up the good work.

    - Patrice

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  8. Jeremiah was talking about using wood to make idols to worship. And, yes the tree, and celebrating the Winter Solstice do predate Christianity by quite a lot.

    The early church quite consciously co-opted this time of celebration of the rebirth of life that was part of the existing culture, and turned it into a Christian celebration of the ultimate rebirth of life.

    The early Christians were not stupid. They knew what the ancient celebrations were about. But they figured the Birth of Christ trumps any previous pagan celebration, and God DID create the world, and the seasons, and the whole Universe, so why not use this ancient celebration of God's world to celebrate the Good News?

    Or should we be teaching that God is less powerful than a tree?

    Bill Smith

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  9. "For the customs of the people are vain: for they cutteth a tree out of the forest, the work of the hands of the workman, with the axe.

    They deck it with silver and gold; they fasten it with nails and with hammers, that it move not.

    Jeremiah10: 3 & 4."

    My wife is a Jehovahs witness and has found every excuse not to put up a tree this year.

    My boys are heart broken. I'm going to do it anyways, probably later this week. Then I'll only be dealing with a week or two of withering stare instead of month....

    Thanks for posting your pictures. They have re-inspired me!

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  10. Save the Canning JarsDecember 13, 2010 at 10:09 AM

    Oh how precious!!! You've let us be there with you to enjoy the experience. My favorite shot is Lydia enjoying the view from upstairs. Your finished tree is exquisite!

    Your freshly chopped tree is NOTHING like what grows native here in Okla. About the closest we can get to that is a cedar (very flammable from our currently dry weather and comes complete with bagworms). So unless we want to decorate what is trucked in, or chop something from a tree farm at a high price, we put up an artificial tree. Which leads one of the 5 cats to daily nibble from its fake branches and vomit (She's been doing this for 15 years, you would think she would have learned by now. The conversation goes like this, "Quick, get her! She's eating the tree!!!!").

    And then there is the 6 month old kitten who is CLIMBING the tree, because after all, we put this up just for her! One of us holds the tree's center pole, and the other drags out the kitten. She pulls off the lower (plastic) ornaments and runs wildly, batting them like she is playing soccer. Then we'll see her walking through the house with a large candy cane in her mouth (eat a candy cane from the top of the tree...it's safer). It takes all four of us to babysit the tree.

    We have different decorations to chose from each year. There is the victorian tree which has strands of pearls, pink poinsettias, and gold ornaments. There is the patriotic tree (which looks like the 4th of July just exploded), a snow tree (my favorite) with lots of snowflake shaped ornaments and snowmen and cotton fashioned on tips of branches for snow, and the candy tree, which has walnut garland, life saver garland, cranberry & popcorn garland, decorated hanging cookies, and "snow cones".

    Your creative daughters might want to make these snow cone ornaments. It's great fun! I take a clear glass round ornament and hot glue it onto a pointy-end sugar cone. Then smear a thin layer of school glue over the glass ball. Sprinkle with colorful candy sugar sprinkles and hang to dry. It's that easy. If the glue runs just a bit with the sugar sprinkles, it looks like your snowcone is dripping. These ornaments keep for years and years. It was the candy tree that went up this year ( a delight for kids who come to our home to be tutored).

    Wishing Don, Patrice, Daughters I & II, and all readers a Very Merry Christmas and a bountiful New Year!

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  11. Great post and wonderful pictures! I absolutely love Christmastime and all the traditions that go along with it.

    Someday, your girls will be tromping through the snow (knowing the work that's ahead of them!!), so their own children can experience the joy and excitement of picking out a Christmas tree and bringing it home to decorate. What fun!

    Mara :)

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  12. Having worked in the animal rescue business, we've always been seriously outnumbered at our house, so in twenty-plus years we've never had a Christmas tree. We've had Christmas guitars, Christmas walls, Christmas plants and my favorite, a Christmas surfboard when we lived on Kauai. It was a traditional long board suspended from the wall and decorated, as were all the above mentioned tree substitutes, with all the traditional lights, garland, ornaments and so forth. It even had a troll doll hanging ten off the nose. We had a big picture window and were one of the favorite stops on the "route" folks traveled as they drove around looking at decorations. It was pretty cool to see how much and how many folks enjoyed it.

    I sure enjoy seeing your tree excursion and assembly, especially the shots of Lydia and Brit. The finished product is gorgeous, and I can almost smell it from here.

    Merry Christmas, Lewis Family, and God bless.
    Same to all who gather here...and by the way, where's A.P?

    A.McSp

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  13. Quedula and Bill: Paganism only predates the term "Christianity." The plan of salvation has been in the works since time began. "In the Beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God and the Word was God."

    Every so-called Ancient Religion was a bastardization of the sacrifice God himself conducted in order to cover the shame of Adam and Eve. That's why all the "Ancient" religions involved sacrifice of some kind.

    The Druids took the sacrifice and instead of a bull, used their own children. The Aztecs and Mayans substituted people for the bull.

    China conducted the annual sacrifice of a bull right up until the Communists took over in 1911. True, they had forgotten the why of the ceremony, but they kept it up just the same.

    SavingtheCanningJars: LOL! This is our kitty's first Christmas, and we can't keep her out of the tree. So, in self-defense, we only decorated with non-breakable ornaments.

    Merry Christmas everyone!

    Melody

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  14. Wow. Makes my heart hurt. We used to have a sheep farm where it always snowed and where we cut down our tree every year. One year, we had 18 bottle lambs in the kitchen which were bleating while we read the Christmas story around the tree. It was like we were there!! :-)

    Thank you for such great pictures and for bringing me some really wonderful personal memories. Your tree is beautiful, but your family tradition and togetherness is exquisite! :-)

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  15. "...and God DID create the world, and the seasons, and the whole Universe..."

    I'm well familiar with John 1, Melody.

    Canning Jars,

    You had me laughing out loud. What a hilarious scene!

    Bill Smith

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  16. Patrice, your daughters will remember cutting Christmas trees (from your own land, no less!) for the rest of their lives. Such memories are priceless.

    As for our little British pal, I feel sorry for her. She has no joy in her life. She ridicules Jesus, Christianity, America, our traditions, our politics and for what purpose? To make herself feel good?? To try to convert us to her thinking? LOL She is lonely and friendless and that's why she comes here. We should all feel pity for her. She's 75 and all she can think to do with her remaining time is to riducule those whom she doesn't know. Very sad, indeed. In the spirit of Christmas, I will pray for her. I do wonder why her vile comments are allowed. If I said such things against islam week after week, month after month, year after year, would my comments be allowed to stand? I wonder.

    Anonymous Patriot
    USA

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  17. Traditions are such a blessing! They root us in family, faith, time & place. They are something we can hold onto and carry our whole lives, pass onto future generations & share with others. I can only pray in this Christmas season that EVERYONE will see the value of such traditions. Especially ones that are done in the spirit of family, honouring the Holiest Birth!
    Merry Christmas
    ~Clare

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  18. I hadn't realized that about quedula. I, too, find that sad, and will pray for her.

    Quedula, I truly pray that you can still come to know the joy that we Christians feel, and KNOW. When you have come to know God's love personally, as I, and many here, have, there is simply nothing you can say that will change our minds. But we'd be glad to share it with you.

    Bill Smith

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  19. I like that, Bill! Really well put!

    Gracie Wray

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  20. Yes Patrice, I dip into the Bible from time to time. But I do read other stuff too. I recommend "Letter to a Christian Nation" by Sam Harris and "The God Delusion" by Richard Dawkins. Have you read them?

    By the way, in case I don't get another chance, have a great Christmas. :)

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  21. You are funny AP. You know nothing at all about my personal life yet you feel the need to make up little fantasies about it. But if it gives you pleasure, feel free. .

    Happy Christmas.

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  22. Bill Smith. thanks for your offer to pray for me. I'll add you to the list. I must have quite a few Xtians praying for me by now but so far it doesn't seem to be working. I wonder why not?

    Happy Xmas.

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  23. LOL - you can add me to your list too, Quedula, quite literally. I figure there's a reason why you like to hang out on a Christian blog. And that's why I welcome you. Being a farmer, I liken it to planting seeds, don'cha know.

    - Patrice

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  24. You've got it the wrong way round Patrice. You should be visiting my blog if you want to plants seeds. :)

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  25. Yes, by all means, go to her blog, Patrice. You'll be the only one there, but size doesn't matter.

    When I see this atheistic, socialistic, anti-American Briton wishing us a Merry Christmas, I am reminded of the snake in the garden who offered up the forbidden fruit. I am reminded of a giant wooden horse built by the Trojans. I recall the admonition to be watchmen. IOW, I ain't buying it.

    I know all that you divulge, friend. You divulge quite a lot when you post here. I know your life because you've told us about it, albeit a piece at a time. Your response proved the confirmation. (She doth protest too much.)

    Be of good cheer, there are plenty of people willing to pray for you. People who are apparently more charitable than you. And that fact alone is reason enough to seek the Lamb.

    Anonymous Patriot
    USA

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  26. I'd add an author to the suggested reading list:
    C.S. Lewis. A brilliant author and a gentleman I admire.

    I'm currently (re-)reading The Screwtape Letters, which seems particularly timely as I follow this thread.

    Our Father is Our Father, whether we recognize Him or not, and He is always a heart-knower.

    A.McSp

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  27. I enjoy stopping in here and visiting with some amazing people so I understand why Quedela would want to do the same ;-) And really what would she want us to change? Should we be unprepared for whatever life throws at us & wait for someone else to rescue us? With her tax dollars maybe and all the gov't efficiencies? (lol) Would she wish us to lose faith and all of the hope, wonder & awe that come with believing in OUR FATHER? Would she prefer we lose our traditions, our love of family, our charity, our responsiblity for ourselves and our families, being productive citizens? No I can't believe that. There are too many lost, lonely, hopeless people in the world. Certainly she wouldn't want us to join the ranks of them. Maybe she'd prefer we just be mindlessly materialistic?
    No I can't believe she'd be a troll. Just someone who needs a little help to see the light.
    So grab a 'cuppa tea, curl up and look at some Lydia pic's and enjoy the company of some lovely, bright, funny, well read, hopeful, prayerful people!
    ~Merry Christmas to ALL
    ~Clare

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  28. Fantasising again AP? I'm not at all anti-American. There are more than a few Americans who think exactly the same as me and still many Britons who think exactly the same as you. How does that make me anti-american?

    I say "Merry Christmas" out of courtesy to the addressee. If I was greeting an atheist I would say "Season's Greetings" or "Happy Yule".

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  29. Well, well, and to think that all this started because I quoted a couple of verses out of your favourite book. Powerful book, the Bible. ;-)

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  30. Your ego is only outdone by your denial.

    Anonymous Patriot
    USA

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