River Ramblings South
December 23, 2020
Our family tradition that does not deviate from year to year is taking a drive to find the “perfect Christmas Tree.” As years passed, our whole family would go, usually including a few friends, and of course, our dogs. We would spend the afternoon looking for “the tree,” hiking, eating special snacks we brought along, and photographing our family and nature. The area we go to is close to our ranch, also off the beaten path. We have been surprised by many wild animals, such as elk, deer, wild turkeys, pheasant, bobcats, and yet no bears, and I am never hoping for them! In the current years, we have had smaller groups of people, with Ron and I have to get a tree alone one year.
Last year tree hunting was a freezing cold tradition, there was deep snow, and it was a Winter Wonderland! This year was a totally different story! We headed out from our ranch house, and it was 42 degrees, no snow, with dry roads. We wore coats, but not many layers; Ronnie, Matt, Raynee, Tyla, the three dogs, and I went on this exciting adventure. It was especially exciting to Tyla, our granddaughter, who couldn’t wait to find the perfect tree. This being her third Christmas to prepare for, everything is magical! Going down our driveway, some deer came racing across our field right in front of the pickup, looking to cross the fence on the other side. The fence there is woven wire squares, one of the deer decided not to leap the fence, just dive through one of the squares! Her head went through the square pretty far; then, she was stuck tight! We all hoped that deer wasn’t on Santa’s sleigh pulling team, her sense of size wasn’t right, and she may have problems flying to the rooftops on Christmas Eve! She finally put her body into reverse, gave a mighty yank, and was free to jump the fence and go with her herd. Wow, that was that impressive to Tyla; she tells everyone her exciting story. The rest of the trip was uneventful, although the scenery was spectacular. We get permission from a local ranch family to get our trees on their property, this year we got a medium-sized fir tree and a smaller tree for Tyla”s very own tree she can share with her Mom and Dad. We found our trees without much difficulty, loaded the shotgun, and shot them down as the terrain is too steep to traverse easily. We pulled the trees out of the brush, loaded them in the pickup, and were ready to leave as the sun was setting, putting a distinct chill in the air. Heading back out of the breaks, we noticed we had observers of our annual Christmas tree ritual. A herd of bighorn sheep were quietly watching us, perfectly silhouetted against the skyline and mountains in the distance! Beautiful! We stopped and took pictures as they seemed to continue to pose for the cameras. Always an adventure, our annual Christmas tree hunt had ended while we enjoyed the splendor of another of God’s magnificent animals. We are ready to decorate our tree with lights and all sorts of sparkly decorations to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ, our Lord, and Savior. “God Bless everyone, and Merry Christmas from our home to yours!”