You guys are familiar with the old proverb “the shoemaker’s children go barefoot,” right? Well, that proverb holds true for the tree grower’s daughter as well. This is the third year my parents have run their U-cut Hog Hollow Tree Farm in Ardenvoir. It’s also the third year Toby and I have been suckered into helping out at the farm. It’s actually a blast, I just like to give them a hard time. Hi mom!
The first two years we worked at the tree farm, Toby and I didn’t have a chance to get our tree until the final weekend before Christmas. We were too busy helping customers…and then too tired to care.
This year, I was determined to get our tree earlier. And by determined, I mean I was going to bitch and moan until a tree showed up in my living room. I made it clear that life was going to be woefully unpleasant for all involved until my house smelled of pine, the carpet was strewn with needles and we all had pitch on our hands.
We immediately made a tactical error. The tree farm opened the weekend after Thanksgiving and although it was busy, there were a few lulls on Saturday when we could have snuck out and cut a tree. But we’re not that smart. We were so busy giving hay rides, getting kids set up with sleds, helping roast marshmallows, doling out cocoa and, in general, trying to create The Happiest Place on Earth for the rest of the families, that we missed our chance to get a tree. It was dark by the time the last customers left, so we decided to wait until Sunday.
Brief tangent: So, I’ve told everyone I know about Hog Hollow (P.S. we’re on Facebook! I’m shameless.) and I think everyone I know showed up. However I’m the person that can’t figure out who you are unless you’re in the same place and same outfit that I met you in. If I know you from the gym and you’re standing in front of me in a snowsuit…forget it. Put your sweatband back on Big Boy – throw me a bone!
Also, those who know me well, know I’m painfully shy. Quit laughing, I’m serious. Come on over for one of my 2am anxiety attacks about actually having to SPEAK WITH A PERSON, especially if it’s ON THE PHONE and you’ll believe me. I would seriously like to rent out the entire grocery store for an hour just so I don’t have to participate in all of that terrifying small town, small talk during which I’ll say the wrong thing. People, this is why I’m a writer – it’s just me and my imaginary friends. End tangent.
Anyway, by the end of the weekend I was exhausted. I was frazzled from trying to keep Little Tyrant from destroying the gift shop, frantically trying to wrap up my NaNoWriMo project between customers and talking to all those PEOPLE. At the close of business, Toby asked if I wanted to get a tree and I was all, “I’m too *#@%ing exhausted to get a *#@%ing tree.” End of conversation.
On the second weekend all of our “regular” customers were bringing along friends and relatives and it was CRAZY. Not quite Black-Friday-at-Walmart crazy, but we were hustling. At the end of Saturday Toby, being a good husband (and desperately trying to avoid my wrath), asked if I want to go pick out a tree. In defeat, I pointed to the display tree my parents have on a stand. “Just throw the whole thing in the truck and let’s get out of here.”
The tree was monstrous…our apartment is not. We showed up back at Hog Hollow on Sunday with the display tree still in our truck.
Finally, at the end of the day when all of the customers were safely delivered to the parking lot and their trees were tied to their cars, we decided to head out into the night to cut our own tree. It’s pitch black, we’re exhausted, we have our 15 month-old, four dogs and a chainsaw in tow, and I’ve been spiking my coffee with liquor all day. Another “Best Bad Idea” for the Steeres!
It went surprisingly well. Meaning there wasn’t any dismemberment that I’m aware of. We knew every tree in the field was beautiful and we just needed to find the right size. The whole thing took about seven minutes and the tree is now happily decorated in our living room, radiating joy and festivity. MISSION ACCOMPLISHED.
I would like to think we’ve learned from this and we’ll plan better next year, but we’re not learners, we’re improvisers.
Photos from the Big Event: