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Posted Wednesday, December 10, 2008, at 9:05 AM

The Hacker
The other day Margie and I went and cut down our Christmas tree. We've cut our own tree for Christmas all the years we had a house, and only the last 5 did we not have a tree as the motor home just didn't have room. That's not to say we didn't decorate as Margie is good at that kind of thing, and we had a wreath, cards, and decorations displayed. Anyway, we'd load up the Jeep with our dog, lunch, rope, saw and go to the National Forest Christmas tree cutting area every year. For $10, you could pick your tree from millions of possibilities, with the only drawbacks that you might get stuck if not careful, and it was about 40 miles each way to the cutting area from our house. We enjoyed the day away from the city and needing 4 wheel drive is always fun to me.

Being home owners again had us wanting to get out and cut a tree somewhere and that's just what we did. To be sure, it wasn't quite the same as wandering around the mountains looking for the perfect tree to cut, but we had a nice drive, good weather, and plenty of trees to choose from at Porky Pines 2E 1N of Arapahoe. (Notice how I've learned to give rural directions?)

We started our search for our tree at the USDA Forest Service web site. I wondered if the Nebraska National Forest might have a cutting area. They don't have a cutting area, but the site referred me to http://www.agr.state.ne.us/pub/apd/trees... where I found Porky's Pines. If you look at this site, scroll all the way to the bottom for a reference map of tree farms. In our case, it was just a 20 mile trip, and getting out in the country is fun for us anyway.

We picked out our tree, and went to use the provided bow saw for the task at hand. This is where the hacker part comes in. Once we had our tree picked out and started cutting, the saw would bind almost instantly. It was me and the saw against the tree with the tree putting up a much better than expected defense. After making multiple cuts and trimming (hacking) branches out of the way, old Tannenbaum let go. We loaded our first Nebraska cut Christmas tree on top of the Jeep and headed for home.

As we were heading up the last couple miles of 409 to our place, one of our neighbors happened to be out and we pulled up to say "howdy". He says "I'd have let you cut one from the pasture for a lot less than you paid", to which I jokingly said I got it at the towns park and the price was right". I told him of Porky's place and his final comment was that we still look like we're from Colorado... Jeep with a Christmas tree tied to the top is one of his mental pictures of folks that live in Colorado.

As we pulled into our drive, we noticed new neighbors! We've got cows across the road now that were not there when we left. It was kinda funny the way they just stood and watched us pull in, remove the tie down ropes, and unload the tree. They watched as I took the tree inside, and waited until the Jeep was put in the shed before strolling off. It was as if they were saying "look at those new Nebraska folks from Colorado, it's true I guess about their Jeeps and Christmas trees".

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Some of the best Christmas memories we have involves going deep into the Black Hills with our kids to find the perfect Christmas tree. Thanks for the reminder.

-- Posted by sameldridge on Wed, Dec 10, 2008, at 3:21 PM

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