I got laughed at the other day for a “southernism.”
I met an acquaintance at Canadian Tire, and as acquaintances do, we discussed our purchases. She was there to get a Christmas tree stand, and I told her that reminded me that my husband and I would need to go buy our tree soon.
“Hahahaha,” she replied. “You’re in Northern Ontario now. Just go into the bush and cut one down!”
As we talked to a few other people, we determined that this tactic is prevalent and encouraged. I tried researching on the Internet to make sure we weren’t doing anything illegal, and it seemed from one article that I found that the Ministry of Natural Resources is fine with it. In fact, a representative is quoted as having said it’s more sustainable than going to buy an artificial tree. Umm. Okay!
So then we looked up a map of Crown land in the area to again make sure we weren’t doing anything illegal (pretty important when one of you is a police officer and the other one is married to a police officer), and we noticed that there’s a lot of it just a few hundred metres down the street from us. (Yes, I considered renaming this blog.)
So Mr. B packed up his best lumberjack outfit, complete with a few different sharp-looking tools, I packed Baby E into a snow suit, and we set off on a slow, bumpy, methodical hunt for a Christmas tree.
We knew what we wanted: something thick and full, something that was not right off the side of the road (it wouldn’t be much of an adventure if we didn’t have to travel far, now, would it?), and something that looked short. That last criterion was heavily emphasized by a number of people who have done this sort of thing before. “It will look A MILLION TIMES BIGGER in your house,” they told us. I figured that might be a bit of hyperbole, but just in case, we looked for something extremely petite.
Finally, after driving the same stretch of road a few times, we settled in on a grouping of trees a couple hundred feet from the side of the road. There seemed to be about ten hearty-looking trees, all house-appropriate size, without too much bush in between them and us (important for the part where we get the tree back to the truck). So my husband climbed out of the truck, baby and me in tow, and headed for the evergreens in question.
He didn’t get very far.
It turns out that when it’s been snowing for nearly a month straight and people haven’t been along to clear a path, snow can actually get kind of deep. My husband crossed the ditch, certain he was standing on the tops of trees, and then quietly conceded that maybe we should have brought the snow shoes.
Yes, honey, I know.
Plan B! Across the street, right beside the ditch, there was a wimpier looking tree standing about six feet above the snow. We decided we could settle for that evergreen – a wimpier tree for a wimpier effort, of course. So my husband got in there with his axe, digging away the snow around the trunk so he could cut it down. From my perspective, this took a long time. I quickly realized this was because the tree simply did not stop. This tree was a monster! There must have been another three feet of snow packed around its base, and getting to the bottom of it would have been tiring and pointless, since it would be way too big for our house.
Okay, Plan C. At the end of the street, we had spotted the tiniest of trees right by the side of the road. “Let’s take that one,” we had said when we first saw it, delighted at how hilarious we were because obviously taking a tree that size home would ruin Christmas. Well, our first two attempts didn’t work, so it was time to ruin Christmas.
We drove back to the Tiny Tree and my husband once again dug to the base. He was a seasoned expert at this point and had the tree cut down without incident in under five minutes.
He loaded Tiny Tree into the back of the truck and we returned home. On the way back, I remember saying that once we got it in the tree stand and put a giant tree topper on it, it would look fine – not tiny at all.
We’ll have to rename our tree to something a little more appropriate (and possibly punny – Spruce Willis, anyone?). And maybe forego the tree topper. And also listen to our Northern friends A MILLION TIMES BETTER next time.