Tuesday, December 11, 2012

The Tree is Up! The Bayberry is Burning!

I was outside in the woods behind the farmhouse with Gibson, searching the hillside for a small tree that would do. I had a hatchet in my hand and was listening to Tolkien on audiobook. It was the perfect tool and the perfect story for the job. Together, my dog and I we hiked as Bilbo and his laden pony adventured out of the Shire with a band of Dwarves and a sarcastic wizard. My company was not as grand, but GIbson was doing his best to help me cased the joint. It's a thing, isn't it, trying to find the perfect Yuletide tree? This tree would be brought inside and set in the front window. It would be covered with white lights, antlers, crows and set into a sap bucket full of rocks as a makeshift tree stand. I scanned the understory and tried to locate the perfect contender. I didn't want the fat, squat, trees you see for sale on the roadside. I was looking for a tree that was struggling. The kind of Charlie Brown, hard luck, types no one ever brings home. This was not because I was tying to be intentionally sordid. I just knew I only had one string of lights, a handful of wooden crow ornaments, and a bucket to stand it in. Anything bigger would look barren, but a scrawny tree would look grand.

When I found the winner I chopped it down and cut off the larger branches at the base. With the trunk and hatchet in my left hand, and the boughs in my right I walked home. Gibson ran past me and ran back to me, herding trees was a new thing for him and he felt the urge to excel. I couldn't hide my smile. That dog was such a beacon of light and smiles for me. When he stops dead and whirls around to face me, eyes bright and locked on mine, his mouth open in a smile I glow inside as warm and bright as the bayberry beeswax candles inside. I am getting into the holiday spirit. This past weekend there was a fun local craft fair at Beanheads, a coffee joint downtown. Cambridge Candles was there, a young couple who scrounge out local beekeepers and get the wax to make candles. I bought a whole box of bayberry and tonight the farmhouse is alive it. You walk in and all you want to do is hail wassail and eat figgy pudding.

I'm getting off track! So I took that skinny tree and brought it inside. I took the boughs I cut and set them into the old washing tub/planter by the front door. Simple little decorations, but loud in their holiday cheer. Both got a small string of white lights. Both made my farmhouse look darling.

I have good plans for the Solstice through Christmas. I will be hosting company and hoping the weather grants us some proper snow so I can really show the guests what this place can offer during the longest night of the year. If you haven't walked outside a snowy farmhouse in lantern light with a bowl full of pig scraps while singing God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen, then you haven't lived.

It was a day of creature comforts like cutting down a tree and decorating, but also a day with some adventure. I went over to Patty's farm where Merlin is enjoying an extended visit. While Patty and Mark were at work I stopped by to enjoy our first ride together since hunting season began a month ago. Merlin let me walk up to him, halter him, and lead him to a place where I could groom and tack him up. I never rode Merlin alone on her farmland. I wasn't worried.

I should have been worried. More on Merlin and the four mares later!


Blogger Elizabeth from the Berkshires said...

Poor Jasper! When is Merlin coming home?

December 11, 2012 at 8:25 PM  
Blogger Jenna Woginrich said...

Merlin will be home soon. After the parade on Saturday when the trailer broke down we thought we'd let Merlin stay at patty's a while so we could cart and ride together. but the work week started and patty felt sick, so he'll be back when patty has the time to load up the trailer.

December 11, 2012 at 9:42 PM  
Blogger Jenna Woginrich said...

I think he's more content at my place. Being in charge of Jasper is a lot less work than being chased by a percheron!

December 11, 2012 at 9:42 PM  
Blogger Elizabeth from the Berkshires said...

There's no place like home!

December 12, 2012 at 7:30 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love bayberry, I have a candle burning too.

December 12, 2012 at 11:41 AM  
Blogger Michelle said...

Bonita and Francis will be very glad to gobble up the bottom branches you lopped off, Jenna. My goats can't wait for folks to be finished with their Christmas trees, since they'll get to nosh on as many trees as I can scrounge. There's just not much left in the pasture that even remembers being green!

December 13, 2012 at 11:36 AM  

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