Posted by: Dave Neads | December 21, 2007

Bringing Home the Tree

You’d think being surrounded by a million trees would make picking one for Christmas an easy task. But like most of us, we want ours to be ‘just right’. It has to have a bushy appearance with a straight trunk and spreading lower branches to keep the cats occupied.

Most Christmases, I take an axe and Swede saw, hook up the skimmer to the snowmachine and head off into the wilds to find the perfect tree. In the past few years I have gone out to the area that was logged several years ago. Although it is about 9 miles out, it is the place where the best ones grow. At an elevation of 4000 feet, the sub alpine fir has the best shape and branch structure for a great tree. I take care to cut only from a clump where thinning will actually help the remaining trees grow faster because they will get more light and less competition from their neighbours.

This year was no exception. Trusty axe in hand (axes always start, they don’t need to be choked and cranked) I waded through the knee deep snow, finding the just-right fir.

The air was clear and crisp, the mountains sparkling on the horizon, framed by an azure blue sky that would make the Caribbean blush. I followed an old moose track across the clearcut to the bank where I have taken trees before, each stride making a sighing sound as the sugary snow fell back into the trench behind me.

Then came the tricky part. Even though I dislodged as much snow as I could, that first swing of the axe always brings down more snow from the upper branches. The shock of cold snow on the face and down the neck has become part of the ritual. Carefully sliding the tree back over the snow to the snowmachine so as not to break any branches, I lift it into the sled and gently tie it in place.

Driving slowly home through the timber, I think of how lucky I am. No traffic, no $60 dollar tree from a paved lot, no snarly crowds. Just me, my axe and my snowmachine, out here in the middle of nowhere, heading home to a hot rum and a warm home.

This Christmas I sincerely wish all the best to you and yours.



On the Way Home….. All Dressed….

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