I love the holidays, especially Thanksgiving and Christmas. And a Christmas tradition I've really come to enjoy since moving to Montana is the tradition of cutting my own Christmas tree. Friends of mine have property that butts up against national forest land and land owned by Plum Creek (A big timber company) and for the past 5 Christmas's I've headed up the mountain to cut down a tree. This year we opted to stay closer to home, going up into the Pattee Canyon Recreation area of the Lolo National Forest. It is an area Jen has gone to before and is literally only 4 or 5 miles from our house. I was a bit skeptical we'd find a nice tree so close to home and without the long hike into the forest, but Jen was confident and we had the Liam factor to contend with, so off we went.
On the way back into the woods we passed the remains of a deer carcass hanging from a tree...either tossed there by a hunter or maybe left by a mountain lion and then when we pulled off the dirt road there was another carcass right off the road...ahh hunting season in Montana! It was a pretty short hike to get into a stand of pretty good trees...young, in a dense area that could use some thinning and the right type (we both like Douglas Fir and Alpine). Within a short period of time we got two great trees, one for Mary Ann (Jen's Mom) and the other for us. Here are some photos.
And now for the rest of the story….
When we got the tree into the house it was so skinny that we both thought we needed another one…we weren’t about to load Liam back into his fleece get up and the backpack,so I headed down the hill to the Pink Grizzly. In typical Missoula style, the Pink Grizzly (a family owned nursery since the 50s that occupies the last open space on Russell street and Missoula icon) offers hand cut trees from forest land and also the more traditional shaped and farmed trees they call “plantation” trees. Those trees go from $40 - $70 while the hand cut trees go from $12 - $30. We got this doozee for $18 clams. Not a bad deal and a beauty of a tree.
We decorated it tonight (the kids were a big help…not) and drank egg nog.