Monday, December 17, 2012

Stalking the Wild Christmas Tree

Well, we went out and got our tree. No, no, no, you do not detect a note of cynicism there. It was an experience I can tell you. We wanted to do it yesterday because we knew a big rain storm was coming in today (and boy did it!) We knew it would make the roads treacherous for a long while so after putting up the dad-blamed last minute unannounced electric fence which took way longer than we expected we skeedaddled up into the Mendocino National Forest in an area where we were told would be good trees. I loved the map that the Frest Service gave us. I love maps so I had to love this one, too, but it was nearly useless. If it had had a marked area "good Christmas trees" it would have been much more helpful. Well, it took us about an hour to get above the oak trees where the evergreens were growing. We started scanning the edges of the forest. The permit says you can't take a tree less than 50 feet from the road and they can't be over 5" in diameter and they can't be over 10 feet tall! If you've ever played a slot machine you'll understand how long it takes to get those three doo-dads lined up and this twern't no diff'rent.

Oh there's lots of skinny little trees or great big huge ones right next to the road. You've got to know that every bandito on the planet has already taken the perfect trees that are near the road. But if you;re trying to stay within the letter of the law know that 50 feet in from the road you're looking into an impenetrable mass so it's impossible to know where to go off searching! Here we were. It was getting dark so we did a bad thing and we found a tree that was 1 of the 3 requirements. It was 5" in diameter but it was less than 50 feet from the road and it was over 10 feet tall. To make us feel better though it was an ordeal to get to. It was up a treacherous scree slope perched on an edge and the chain saw was being difficult. With preserverance and radar we did the deed and no ranger called us out and it's a beautiful tree. I really wanted a more dense tree (I love the Noble Firs) but this one is nice. By the way, you might guess that another issue with a wild tree is that they aren't necessarily that regular classic shape. It's very hard to find the classic shape. Wild trees are usually lopsided. Bushy on one side and sparse on the other. I found one that was the classic shape and right diameter and distance from the road. It was an incense cedar but Marty whined "it doesn't look like a christmas tree". He meant it didn't look like the white pine, spruce or doug fir you see on the lots. I would have taken it but I didn't want to be stubborn so we kept looking as the daylight waned and we knew we had to get back to feed the cows. I can see why people go to lots and just get a tree where the needles fall off in a couple days. It is much, much easier. All told I think it took us about 3 hours to find the tree. Next year we will just take the day and take a lunch and not have anything else to do. Maybe we can find a prized silver tip fir that every one talks about.

No comments:

Post a Comment