Every year we trek out to the power lines with a group of friends to pick out our Christmas tree.
Russell loves loading everyone onto his hay trailer and towing them out through the field to where the trees are. I opted out of the ride this year because in years past it has really scared me at moments. It’s not as if the bales we are sitting on are attached to anything. It looks like a tame ride in the photographs but once you are on the high tension lines it’s anything but.
Bill cut down the first tree he saw that fit the “small” tree requirement. It was also right on the top of the hill so there wouldn’t be any dragging up the steep, icy road.
Everyone fanned out beyond where we left the tractor and trailer. It’s some fairly rough terrain and the tractor was turned around and parked quite a ways back.
The kids were quick to pick their trees and trek back to the trailer. They were all with their babies and the wind had a bit of a bite to it. It’s nice to see them start the same traditions they have had most of their lives.
Finally the people looking for the perfect tree managed to find and cut just that. We harvest our trees on this stretch of the power line every year. The lines are on Russell’s property and if we don’t cut the trees down when they are smaller the power company will cut them down when they get bigger. The trees grow unfettered all along the road and they are as beautiful as any tree you would buy anywhere. I think more so because they just grew, no help from anyone.
Everyone makes the walk back while Russell drives the load of trees to the barn. The walk is one of my favorites, this is such a beautiful spot.
This year the difficulty came in figuring out who cut down what tree. Ours was easy, it was the smallest one. Everyone then goes inside to share a meal and hot chocolate and lots of desserts. I always bring an apple pie warm from the oven and really who needs any other food when you can have warm apple pie?
In reading a blog I read daily called Sheepy Hollow Farm I was taken to a site called Farmher. This is a website documenting women farmers in the U.S. and the photographs are stunning. It got me to thinking about last weekend.
My sister had a pile of wood in her driveway that needed to be split so last Sunday Bill filled the splitter with gas, hooked it up to the tractor and sent me on my way. I have to admit I love driving the tractor – especially to other people’s houses. I love the open feeling as you are driving down the road, the way the tractor sounds.
On the way I passed the home of a classmate of mine (there were only 4 of us total until high school). He was mowing his lawn and I could see on his face that look of bewilderment – “What is she doing towing a splitter down the road with a tractor?”
When I got to Sue’s we unhooked the splitter leaving it near the pile of wood. We then proceeded across the field to pick up three large pieces of an apple tree trunk. They filled the bucket. After dumping them in the pile of wood we started splitting, each taking a turn at running the splitter or bringing the wood over to be split – both throwing the wood into the pile needing to be stacked. We were about halfway through the pile when my classmate, his wife and daughter walked by with their dog. We gave a wave but continued on our quest to finish before we ran out of gas (both us and the splitter). I said they must be wondering about those crazy sisters doing that kind of work.
That’s what I was thinking as I perused the photography of Farmher. I saw a woman tilling her garden, out with a chainsaw. I saw them milking goats, feeding chickens, tending gardens and thought this has been me for a good part of my life in one way or another. In centuries past the woman did a very large part of the farming along with her husband. They were a team. The men did the heavy work, the women made sure they were fed and warm. They all worked hard. I come from a line of small farmers, it seems to me that this is the way life really should be. Bringing forth your sustenance from the land that is yours, tending your field and flock. Knowing that the work you put in keeps your family happy and whole.
This is Chester’s favorite kind of morning, one with new snow. Although we didn’t get hit as hard as most of the state our morning will be spent digging out. Bill has the tractor out plowing most of the driveway in back of the house. Jay was here at 5:30 this morning plowing it enough to use in an emergency but we will have the rest cleaned up before he comes back. Bill loves using his tractor for anything he can, best investment we ever made.
We are beginning to get that closed in feeling that happens every winter we have snow. Our world here becomes a little smaller because of the drifts and banks of snow. I think that’s one of the reasons I love springs arrival, the world opens up again with that smell of wet earth.