Sunday, December 06, 2009

Fir Sure

Tree Permit: $10
Gas: $12
Cutting our Christmas tree before the snow flew: Priceless

My sweetie muttered, "Costco," when we passed in the kitchen Saturday morning and I replied, "Christmas tree!"

We managed to make the Costco run and still install the roof rack... grab our jackets, gloves, snow boots and extra socks...pack a limb saw and some Christmas CD's...and leave for the Plumas National Forest before noon.

We stopped at the Williams House Museum in Portola, staffed by a cute older couple who could sub for the Clauses if necessary, and bought two permits: one for us and one for the Queen Mother. Then we sat in the parking lot trying to read the illegible map that the Forest Service publishes annually showing which areas are open to cutting. My plan was to head toward Quincy if possible, hoping to find both nice firs and some fresh sugar pine cones. We passed through Spring Garden and headed up Little Squirrel Creek toward the switchbacks leading to the higher elevations and better trees.

The temps were above freezing and the sun was shining as we stomped our way through the forest looking at trees. (I should probably say right now that we can't choose and cut a tree until we've looked at every tree around.) The manzanita, willow and other underbrush was so heavy that I soon fell behind. They were impossible to go around, so we had to go over, and my legs are the shortest ones in the family. Every step involved a high step onto and then balancing on springy branches while taking the next high step. What a workout! I eventually let my sweetie look for the perfect tree while I carted armfuls of pine cones back to the Forester, because I'm reconciled to the fact that although I propose lots of wonderful trees, he's always the one who finds the one we choose. Eventually we linked up again and chose a nice layered white fir for our tree and an "old-fashioned" fir for the Queen Mother.

The sun set just as we tied our trees on the roof rack for the trip back to the Biggest Little City. Our cheeks were rosy but our fingers were frozen from touching metal car parts as we tied knots in the ropes--thank heavens for the seat warmers in our Subaru! We drove back munching on crispy Golden Delicious from our tree, listening to John Denver sing Christmas songs, and anticipating spaghetti for dinner.

Today started slowly until we looked west right before lunchtime and realized that the predicted storm was arriving much sooner than expected, so we quickly headed down to the Queen Mother's home. We not only delivered her tree, but put up her icicle lights and assembled her lighted reindeer while the winds howled and the snow started to fly. Hot chocolate not only tasted wonderful but warmed our cold fingers when we were finished.

We started the day at ten degrees F and we ended it with an inch of snow, feeling good about getting the lights up and having nice fresh firs ready for decorating soon.

1 comment:

  1. This post brought me back to my childhood when we would have days like this in December choosing our tree. What an incredibly visual, thank you for the memories!