It was the morning after Thanksgiving. Rain was forecast for the entire weekend but was holding off for the time being. John and I skipped breakfast, grabbed the Patchwork pickup truck and drove out to the old strip mine land for a Christmas tree. We don’t normally set up our tree on the day after Thanksgiving, but this year we knew that between work schedules and rainy weather, if we didn’t collect a tree at that moment we wouldn’t do it at all this year.
It has been a longstanding Patchwork tradition for a group to drive out to the countryside for trees for our homes and one for Patchwork. But this year, no one else was interested. Normally, our friend Alan goes to the mining company’s offices to listen to a safety lesson before being issued a permit. Normally, we bring the permit with us when we collect the trees and remark, “Hmmm. We’ve never, ever run into anyone asking to see this.” But we carry it just in case.
So this year, John and I were rebels and went without a permit. We were confident we could do a drive-by tree poaching and find a good one right next to the road without risking private property, hunters, or trap lines.
We got to our spot, and sure enough, there were several great candidates. Trying to make it really quick, we pointed out a couple that looked good from the truck. Then another one caught my eye. It was particularly lacy
“How about that one? It looks nice,” I said.
John agreed, so we jumped out of the truck and covered the short distance to the tree. It really was quite beautiful. There wasn’t much time. John started sawing at the base. He cut through. He hefted the tree up to carry it to the truck.
“Oh no,” I thought. “It’s enormous.”
It’s always so hard to judge height out in the field.
“Don’t worry. It actually fit in the truck this time,” said John.
It’s good that the feathery top branches curve so elegantly just below our 12 foot ceiling. It’s one of the larger red cedar trees we’ve come home with over the years. It just barely fits into the space, but it is a pretty tree. We’ve got it decorated and now have all of December to enjoy it and the fresh cedar scent it spreads through the house.
The top is too delicate for the angel I grew up with, so (as with previous red cedar Christmas trees) I added a little fake goldfinch to play the part of a star on this tree from the wild.
And following along with the theme of the wilds of Southern Indiana, the tree hunting weekend was followed by a beautiful hoar frost this weekend. I was glad to be able to get out and take some photos. I happened upon a good spot near Newburgh, but I couldn’t tell you where I was or get back there if I wanted to. It was a fun morning.
Here’s a collection of photos (click on any one for a larger view):