GAYS MILLS - Well, another holiday and family milestone checked off the list. The Schendel-Dremsas, as a family of four, went and cut down a Christmas tree.
Saturday proved to be the most perfect weather to go and harvest our very own lovely tree. So when Chasca got home from work around 4 p.m., we all put on our rubber boots and ran out the door. We loaded the kids into the Chasca’s little red Volkswagen station wagon and tossed some straps in the back and we were off. Dunnum’s Christmas Tree Farm on Highway 171 just up the hill from us was the destination.
Thatcher has been excited to put up the Christmas tree for months. He would periodically bring it up and reminisce about its pretty lights and specific ornaments. So, all day long he anxiously awaited his dad getting home so we could get the job done.
It was clear as we drove back the long dirt driveway we weren’t the only family looking to utilize the most beautiful December day we could have had. A small convoy of mini vans, trucks and Subarus all adorned with rolled up green trees on top charged forward, causing us to pull aside for them to pass.
If you’ve never made your way to this little tree farm a-top of Highway 171 (kind of near Kickapoo Orchard), it's certainly a treat. It’s a simple, no frills kind of place, but the owner and staff are all very friendly and the cheery yellow saws are sharp.
“C’mon MEN! AND MOM!” Thatcher shouted like a drill seargent leading his troops to battle. “LOOK AT THIS ONE! LOOK AT THIS ONE!” he shouted from the depths of the trees.
We made the mistake of dressing him in a green coat so he kind off blended in with the scenery, but lucky for us he’s pretty damn loud. Waylon on the other hand, was fully bundled in the baby carrier and zipped into the coat. I felt like a giant pregnant woman all over again, off balance and unable to see my feet.
We managed to find Thatcher again, just in time for a kind fellow tree hunter to come up and hand us his hand warmers.
“I’m done and leaving, you can get some more use out of these,” he said with a smile. Gloveless Thatcher was both confused and thrilled by his new prize.
Last year, we had went with the streamlined approach. Having a newborn and all didn't really lend itself well to make it out to the tree farm. We ended up getting our tree late in the year from Johnson’s One Stop in Seneca. By the time we had got there, there were only a few trees left. The one we chose was a picture perfect Fraser Fir. About as triangular as you could get and barely five foot.
The tree this year was, I think another Fraser or maybe the hybrid, Canaan type. Either way, it too is quite lovely. Tall and slender coming in just over six foot, kinda like Chasca himself.
Chasca and Thatcher made quick work of cutting it down, but not before the young man working at the farm driving the trees in on his ATV offered to take a family photo of us by our first tree as a family of four. He circled back after the pair of Dremsa men got the job done and loaded it on the trailer and zipped it down the trail. “WHERE IS HE TAKING OUR TREE!?” the slightly cold, slightly over tired, Thatcher screeched in panic. We assured him that we would get our tree back and ready to go, but the lad took off in a trot after the ATV that stole his Christmas tree.
As Wayls and I walked back back, we saw what appeared to be a father-and-son combo also getting their perfect tree and attempting to take a selfie in the sunset with their evergreen. I offered to pass on the gesture the young man did for me and took their photo standing together, grinning happily.
We made it back just in time to watch them wrap up our tree and toss it on top of the little red station wagon. We made quick work of strapping down the tree and strapping in the kids to get out of the cold wind as the sun was beginning to set. The steady stream of tree shoppers continued though as others loaded and unloaded trees and families.
We made it home in one piece, tree still intact. It took some wrestling with the old, kind of broken tree stand. But with the help of some rocks and string we secured the tree. We even accounted for the baby, and wedged the tree in the back and blocked it off with the footstool. Waylon missed out on all the decorating though, opting to get some sleep instead.
Once he was awake though he chirped and grunted with joy. He wiggled furiously in my arms like a raccoon, physically demanding to be released from my grip. Once on the floor he uttered this long, comical squeal of joy as he crawled as fast as he could, across the kitchen floor, and down the step. Standing up on the side of the couch he proceeded to almost run, scaling his way toward his prize. Only to arrive and realize there was no way to penetrate the border to the brightly lit, sparkly new arrival.Defeated, he sat and began to cry. His sweet daddy scooping him up and wiping his tear held him close to the wonderful sight, and assured him that soon enough, Santa would come and leave him all sorts of presents to tear up and when he was bigger, he too could help decorate the tree.