Monday, December 5, 2011

Finding Perfect

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When we moved back to the Pacific Northwest eleven years ago, we added a new tradition to our Christmas preparations.  Every year we get a permit to go out and cut our own tree from the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest.  Taking advantage of the good weather, we ventured out yesterday to find the perfect one.

The permits are only five dollars-a real bargain!  Two years ago when  extremely cold temperatures prevented us from going out, and we bought our tree locally, I was shocked at the prices!  Upwards of $80 for a six foot tree! Luckily, we waited so long to get ours, that trees were 50% off by then.

There are certain guidelines that people are asked to follow in choosing their trees, to maintain the health and beauty of the forest-to not cut trees along the highway or within 150 feet of a river, stream or active wetland, and to select a tree from a group of trees instead of ones that are growing individually.

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We found a good place to start walking in search of our tree.  It was a beautiful day-cold, but sunny.  There was also not so much snow that walking was difficult.  I still lagged behind Amy and Stuart though.  I was so bundled up that I could only take about a six inch stride!

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The word slow is not part of Kona’s vocabulary.  She has only two speeds.  Stop, and fast.  Willow, at fifteen, no longer can make the trip.  I bet she enjoyed the piece and quiet without Kona for a few hours though!

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Trees cut in the wild tend to look more like  Charlie Brown Christmas trees.  Often more sparse than commercially grown trees, lopsidedness is a common feature.  Still, they are so beautiful.  Walking among the possible choices, in the forest cathedral  gives a new meaning to the word perfect. After a pleasant half hour or so search, we found the one.

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Carrying it back to the car, we enjoyed a few more moments of the stillness and crispness of the woods.

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This year I wore one of those “mad bomber” fake fur lined hats. They are warm-even if I felt like I was wearing a raccoon on my head.

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Amy helped secure our perfect tree to the top of the car.

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Several hours, lights, ornaments, and cups of eggnog later, our tree was the gorgeous centerpiece of our living room.  At a dash under 10 feet, it is the tallest tree we have ever had.  True to form-trees always look smaller in the wild!

And today, my sweet girl Amy, the centerpiece of my life, is sixteen! 

Amy

14 comments:

  1. Oh Valerie, what a gorgeous place to spend the day! Kona sure seems to be enjoying herself, its doggy heaven! :-)
    I bet she slept well that night!
    And your sweet daughter is just lovely. It sounds like you had a great family day.

    Kimberly

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  2. What a perfectly charming tree. The outing to pick one out always makes it even more special, with the memories made.

    And a very Happy Birthday to your daughter! My girls are the centerpiece of my life, so I know exactly what you mean. Wishing Amy all the best and much happiness in the coming year :)

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  3. Happy birthday Amy!

    Love the pics from your tree hunt. We paid $45 for ours - we buy it local at a little nursery. It's 8 feet. I much prefer your method though - fun!

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  4. Your tree is beautiful! I love those big, colorful lights. What a fun trip, and with snow too!

    Happy 16th birthday to lovely Amy! :)

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  5. Sounds like you had a perfect Sunday. Your tree is gorgeous. Love that picture of Amy! Happy birthday, Amy.

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  6. I love the tree, it is beautiful.

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  7. Gorgeous tree and gorgeous daughter! Happy Birthday to Amy!

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  8. Thank you all so so much!! I'm passing these comments along to Amy:)

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  9. Oh my goodness, your Amy is a knockout! And that tree is adorable. I'm waiting for the year when these two boys are old enough to go in search of a tree.

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  10. Happy tree and happy birthday to your sweet Amy!

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  11. A good romp through the woods does a soul good! And there is something about the forest in the winter.. stunning and breathtaking!
    I hope you have a marvelous week .. not too long before we welcome a new year.. what happened to the last???

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  12. A good romp through the woods does a soul good! And there is something about the forest in the winter.. stunning and breathtaking!
    I hope you have a marvelous week .. not too long before we welcome a new year.. what happened to the last???

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