On Being An Amateur Lumberjack

When the kids are babes, it's time to establish holiday traditions, whether it's the ones that you did when you were young or starting brand new ones for your family.  It's an exciting thing to do, and John and I have really enjoyed dreaming about and starting holiday traditions that we want Isaiah and Annika to reminisce about with their own children.  We have a few that are really fun, and I'll share them (hopefully) in a few blogs over the Christmas season.  First, my favorite - the Christmas tree!  

Our FAVORITE Christmas traditions is going to pick out a tree at a local Christmas tree farm and cutting it down ourselves.  We have gone to a few local farms, but the one we have enjoyed the most is Candle Tree Farm just outside of Washington, PA (and also on Facebook!).  It's a short drive from Pittsburgh, but totally worth the trip!  They have a really neat setup that makes finding a tree more of an experience for the whole family.  

When you arrive at Candle Tree Farm, they have a large barn with a few larger (7' plus) trees that are already pre-cut.  Around the left side of the barn, they have a row of sample trees of various types to decide which kind of tree you want to take home.  Each of the five types of trees (Douglas Fir, Scotch Pine, Frasier Fir, White Pine, and Blue Spruce) are either $35, $40, or $47 per tree. When you decide which kind of tree you want, you grab a saw and hop onto the trailer pulled by a tractor driven by a very nice man in a tophat (at least that's who was driving when we were there) and let him know which kind of tree you'd like to take home.  

Riding the tractor -- Can you see
 the top hat on the left?
The man in a tophat drives you out into the fields, and drops you off in front of a patch of trees of your desired tree type.  We decided on a Douglas Fir this year, and there at the drop off for the Douglas Firs, was a young man with a saw ready to help us when we got off the tractor. Everyone else on our tractor ride decided on Frasier Fir trees, so maybe they knew something that we didn't?!  I'm not sure what, but...  We walked through all the trees with our little helpers Isaiah and Annika to find the perfect tree.  They didn't end up being all that helpful, and I ended up picking what I thought was the perfect tree.  

Let me note that the last two times that we cut down a tree, we ended up with giant trees that didn't fit in our house.  We have moderately high ceilings on our first floor, like 7'6" ceilings, and somehow we still had to cut a foot and a half off the trees...  So picking a tree of the correct height for your house while outside in a field with no ceiling can be very difficult and the trees are very deceiving!!  I was trying to get a smaller tree, one that would fit in the house without cutting off a chunk of the tree.  AND, in trying to do this, I ended up picking a small tree.  Or one that looks a bit TOO small in our house.  So bringing a tape measure or knowing what size tree you want is probably a good thing to do.  Like it's something that I should have done...  End note. 

Annika and I - surveying the landscape...
My gorgeous little helper!

Hmm, looks good Dad!
John helping Isaiah drag our tree!
Isaiah, scoping out the landscape
for our tophatted tractor driver!
Any way, so what I thought was the perfect tree

was perhaps a *bit* less than perfect.  We decided not to bring home the one that Isaiah had picked, only because it was just like Charlie Brown's Christmas tree, God bless his little heart.  :)  After we identified our tree, the boys cut it down, and John and Isaiah hauled it out to the path where the tractor and our friend in a top hat would meet us.  Isaiah scoured the landscape for our top hat wearing chauffeur, as seen to your right!  What a grown up little man!

The man with the top hat picked us up, and our tree was loaded onto a trailer to go back to the barn.  When you arrive back at the barn, some of the employees shake and bale the trees for you for $1.  Then we, well John really, took the tree to the car and tied it on top with twine that they supplied.  While John was busy securing our tree, Isaiah, Annika and I went inside the barn for free hot chocolate and coffee and snacks!  There was a cute little table that the kids sat at and conversed with another toddler while they enjoyed their "coffee".  While the kids and I waited for John, we noticed a few people making wreaths in the barn that were also available for purchase. 
The farm

This is the second year we have been to Candle Tree Farm and we just love it!  Isaiah gets to ride behind a tractor and we get to pick out a tree together.  It isn't an all day affair, which is actually nice, and we were able to have lunch together in Washington, PA after we got our tree.  It's a great outing for a beautiful weekend day in December and there are great memories to be made, so take the family out to choose and cut your own Christmas tree!  

And of course, how would this be complete without a shot of our finished tree!  It's not the most elegant, but two loving little sets of hands helped decorate, and that makes it beautiful! God bless you this Christmas season!!

**No toddlers were given saws for the production of this blog.  Although he would have liked that...**


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