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During our visit, Dale planned to cut the family's Christmas tree. He bought a permit from the Forest Service that allowed harvesting a tree from anywhere within the adjacent National Forest.
|Our search begins|
The Sunday after Thanksgiving, everyone piled into Dale's SUV and headed to the woods. Our mission - find the perfect yuletide tree. Dale knew of a great place. In the forest south of town, a long strip of land had been cleared years ago for a new gas line. Since that time, vegetation had reestablished itself over the alignment. All the young saplings had now reached perfect Christmas tree height.
|JJ is a tree hugger!|
Dale found the correct road that led to this special place. We parked, everyone rolled out of the car, and the search was on!
|How about this one?|
It's a difficult task to find just the right Christmas tree. And it's especially tough to get everyone's agreement on a particular choice. Not only did Dale have his wife and kids, he also had my folks and I along, freely offering our opinions. Of course, everyone "helped" pointing out possible contenders.
|Max begins to cut|
Although we spotted a few fir trees in the area, the trees in this clearing (and in most of Central Oregon) were predominantly Ponderosa pines. After much walking and discussion, Dale and his family settled on a fine Ponderosa specimen.
|JJ tries his hand at the saw|
Time to fell the tree! Dale handed his saw to oldest son, Max. Max started a cut in the tree's base, but the damp wood and dull saw made for tough cutting. He quickly passed off to little brother JJ.
|A little help from Dad|
JJ tried valiantly to make some progress but the cut didn't grow. Not one to give up easily, he kept at it, working much longer than his brother. Finally, after many long minutes of watching his struggle, Dale stepped in to assist.
|Everyone gathers to watch the show|
My nephews stood back to let their dad finish the job. Dale whittled away at the tree's base, while my Dad pushed on the trunk.
And TIMBER! Dale's tree toppled over and landed on the forest floor with a soft thud. Success!
|Group tree photo|
Time for a group victory photo!
|Father, son, and grandson carry the tree|
Next step - transport the tree back to Dale's vehicle. Luckily, my Dad had driven it up the dirt road and parked close by, so it wasn't a long trip. I love the above photo. Three generations - father, son, and grandson - are carrying the Christmas tree.
|Back at home, it's time to decorate|
|Max hangs an ornament|
Dale's family had a huge box chock-full of interesting ornaments. Dale's wife buys the boys a special ornament every year, noting the date on the back of each one. My nephews have quite a collection. It was fun to see Max and JJ finding their special decorations and reminiscing about each one.
Max and JJ's trinkets run the gamut between Sponge Bob, Homer Simpson, and the more traditional decorated balls. But I was surprised to see a small plastic Godzilla hanging from one of the branches. That's one ornament I've never seen on a Christmas tree before!
|The tree is getting full|
The boys ended up pooping out about halfway through the decoration process, leaving their parents to finish up. Once all the colorful balls and trinkets were placed, this little tree looked quite magnificent.
|Even the dog gets some decor|
Now it was time to decorate the rest of the house. Nothing was safe. Even T-Bone the dog got festooned with a merry garland. (And you can tell how thrilled he is!)
Since my kids are grown, purchasing our tree at a local lot has taken the place of a trip to the woods. So it was fun to be a part of my nephew's tree cutting tradition. I'm looking forward to getting our own tree very soon.