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Archive for December, 2012

The Tree

It is less than a week to Christmas Day…time to get the tree.  Yesterday was a beautiful sunny day here, cold but  gloriously sunny.  Perfect for searching out a little tree.  I grabbed my saw, a rope and my trusty steed, and with Odin running along beside me I headed out.

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I parked on the edge of the new hay-field, and headed off into the woods.

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The snow was deeper than I thought…up to the tops of my Sorels.  Finding  the trees was like unwrapping Christmas presents.  I knew there were trees under all that snow, but until I unwrapped them, I couldn’t tell what they were or what they looked like.  I unwrapped a lot of tree!

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We spent an hour or two, stomping through the snow, getting back on the mighty steed and moving to another area.  I did find one that looked very promising, and I was going to get the saw going but something stopped me.

I remembered back to the early fall when Ferdinand the Bull was here.  He would get in such snits sometimes, lumbering back and forth across the fields.  On one of those trips I watched him walk up to a beautiful fir-tree and start rubbing and pushing against it.  I was horrified when I saw him actually break the top five feet of the tree.  It folded over and hung there, and with a snort, Ferdinand walked away as if his job was done.

In the middle of November, I started feeding birds at my feeder.  I wasn’t getting many birds, only one hairy woodpecker, and I had the idea that if there was a tree beside the feeder, maybe more birds would come.  It was too late to plant a tree, but I remembered Ferdinand’s attack on the fir-tree.  I walked into the field and found the poor tree, still standing, but bent over at the waist.  I took my saw and cut the top half off and packed it back to my bird feeder.  I leaned it against the fence and hoped for more birds.

Well I haven’t seen more birds yet, but while I stood in front of the tree today with my saw ready to cut, I couldn’t help thinking about that poor tree.  Attacked by a bull, left to stand, broken and dying, cut down and stood beside a lonely bird feeder.  That tree deserved better!  I climbed back on my ride, called Odin, and headed home.   I dug the poor, sad, tree out of the snow, brushed it off and had a look.  It still had a lot of potential…it wasn’t done yet.

I spent the afternoon trimming the tree.  My favorite ornament is a small red house.  This red house was the first decoration Mom and Dad had.  It has been on our Christmas tree forever.  It always sits on a yellow light so the windows of the house are lit up.

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I talked to my niece last night and told her about my tree.  She told me about a tree they had once, they decorated it in the evening and when they woke up in the morning, all the needles had fallen off.  The tree had been frozen and looked good until it was watered and warmed up.  So….I went to bed last night expecting to find all the needles of my little tree on the floor.

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Surprise…all the needles still intact.  Hang in there little tree…only six more days!

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Every Christmas I get together with two of my best friends.  When we lived in the same city, we would go out to dinner, or cook dinner in one of our homes, and then we would exchange gifts.  It was always a special evening.  Since I moved away, I still go visit for a couple of days and we do dinner and gifts as usual.

This year we did something different.  I went to visit,  but instead of the usual dinner and gifts, we had a mini vacation together.  It started with a walk with the dogs, and it was special this year because of the unexpected snow. The view was very different from what I am used to.

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The path was beautiful…big cedars and ferns.  Emma really enjoyed being with her friends, and exploring new territory.

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The path was mostly up hill, so we all got our exercise too.

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After the walk, we took the dogs home, packed our bags and headed out.  The first stop was a special one for me.  Minter’s Garden Shop. This was where I used to buy all my gardening supplies, many Christmas gifts, and enjoyed many lunches with Mom and sister Mary.  I didn’t buy anything, just walked through the gift shop, and enjoyed the scent of the rosemary wreathes and trees in the greenhouse.  A quick trip to the tea shop where we sampled a Christmas tea and ended up purchasing a package or two.

A quick but delicious lunch before we headed out-of-town.  Then it was off to another favorite spot of mine.  Tuscan Farm Gardens in Abbotsford, a delightful garden and shop where I have been buying soap and hand lotions for many years.   It is near the end of Mt. Lehman Road.  I spent the first two years of my life in that area, so the drive was special too.

Then it was off to Mission, where we searched out and found a clothing boutique where my friends and I used to shop.  The product lines had changed though, and we didn’t find anything there to bring home.

We headed east out of Mission, and while we drove away the sun came out behind us and lit our path.  There were many blueberry fields and the sun shining on the red bushes was stunning.  Unfortunately, we didn’t get any pictures.  Every time we spotted a photo-op, it had changed by the time we found somewhere to stop.  Those pictures will have to remain only in our memories.

We arrived at our destination late in the afternoon…Harrison Hot Springs.  A lovely resort in a little community with natural hot springs.  We checked in and joined the White Robe Society.

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These white robes are everywhere.  The tags say they are One Size Fits All but don’t believe that for a moment.  Some people can wrap them around twice, others can barely close them.  That didn’t seem to matter though…at first it felt strange to leave your room wearing only a robe, but it didn’t take long and we were strolling through the main lobby, past brides and wedding guests, off to the hot pools.

The pools were wonderful…we stayed in the outdoor one because we enjoyed the cool air on our heads while we soaked.  After a good long soak we began to feel hungry, so back to the room we went to get ready for dinner.  Our choice was the Black Forest Restaurant, a short walk from the resort.

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Dinner was delicious, schnitzel, spaetzle, veggies, and special coffees (and one blueberry tea) for dessert.  After dinner, it was back to the resort and into the cold, wet, bathing suits for another hot soak before bed.

Morning brought one last soak in the hot springs before a delicious buffet breakfast.  We loaded up the car and continued on our way.  First stop of the day was at the Back Porch Coffee.  I picked up some fresh coffee beans, and some Espresso Honey.  Then off to Farmhouse Cheeses where I persuaded the attendant to sell me a wheel of Gruyère Cheese even though it wasn’t completely aged yet.  I promised not to cut into it till the new year.  Love that Gruyère cheese….

Last stop was at the Hazelnut farm for fresh hazelnuts, and then we headed home.  We had only been away for 24 hours, and we hadn’t travelled more than an hour from home, but it felt like we had been on a wonderful vacation.

Might just be a new tradition….

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