Two Boys and a Tree


I haven’t had a Christmas tree of my very own for three years. The old farmhouse is cramped and there was no room for a tree other than the one that was already there and always there in the Christmas Room aka what was my bedroom. And after living with that thing every day all year long, I wasn’t much in the mood for a tree anyway. We satisfied ourselves by sharing my cousin’s tree next door.

But this year. This year! I was so ready for a tree! And so we set off for my cousin’s farm and trekked up the hill behind the barns across from the old farmhouse in search of our tree. Princess was away spending the night with a friend, but I had Ross (17) and Weston (15) to manhandle the tree. Ross’s girlfriend was onhand to admire him. 52 was onhand for scouting. I was there to document the event or so I kept explaining to explain why I wasn’t doing anything else. Well, other than pick the tree. I was the tree-picker.

Walking in the woods in West Virginia always involves a hill.

This was only halfway up the hill. This is my cousin’s upper hay meadow. Way at the far end is a great sledding hill.

But we weren’t there to sled. We were there to get a tree. And we had yet another hill to climb in the other direction.

There were plenty of pines up there. But they were mostly too big.

I was real tempted by this one.

But it was too narrow at the top and too wide at the bottom.

We kept trudging upward. And upward. To the top of the hill where 52 had scouted some trees and where I was starting to wonder if we were still on my cousin’s farm and if somebody was gonna shoot us.

The teenagers thought this one looked good.

Then I saw this one. A nice white pine.

If we just cut it off a little higher up, it could be just right!!

52 said, “Go over there and shake it.”

You know, he’s always telling me stuff. Nature stuff. Cool stuff. And I’m a little…. Well, it’s like when Georgia used to say to me, “What time did you say you were going into town?” And I’d say, “I wasn’t planning to go to town.” And she’d say, “Yes, you were. Let’s go at 10.” I always fall for that stuff. So I went over and shook the–

Okay, let’s just not even finish this story.

The boys had divided up their duties before we ever walked up the hill.

Weston was going to chop the tree down.

He likes to chop stuff.

Ross was going to drag the tree down the hill.

So Weston chopped. And chopped.

And even tried to push the tree down.

At one point, he even kicked it.

And maybe begged it a little bit.

He got hot and took his jacket off.

Ross told him anytime he wanted to admit he was a weenie who needed help, he’d help him. He’s a good big brother.

In fact, he suggested it might not be a bad idea to change jobs right about now. He could chop that tree down since, apparently, Weston couldn’t. Then Weston could drag it down the hill.

I just love it when my two teenage boys chase each other around a tree with an ax.

Okay, I don’t really like it when they chase each other around a tree with an ax. Luckily, Ross gave up before there was any blood. Weston was not giving up. He was going to defeat that tree! He’s a football player!

Then, abruptly, he said, “I’m done.” And handed the ax over. I think he just wanted to give up with dignity. And he was tired. One more chop was a bridge too far. Even for a football player.

Ross posed for his “moon landing” shot after he gave it the final blow.

Only…. Hunh. He still had to drag the tree off the hill. He found this quite disappointing.


The girlfriend was watching, so he had to be manly about it.

Weston told him the ax was real heavy to carry down.

Did someone throw a snowball at me?

I picked the tree! It was a hard job!

It was a long way down, but so so pretty with barren trees set against the bright, lowering sun.

We’re only halfway down, Ross. Sorry to tell you that.

Finally–finally!– we got down the hill to the road.

My cousin whipped out his chain saw and cut off the tree where we wanted and trimmed the lower branches.

And we loaded up our tree in the back of the truck……

….and drove away, the old farmhouse in the rearview mirror.

We got a Christmas tree!!! And everybody lived!


  1. Leah says:

    Looks like it was fun with the way the boys were horsin around, Ha! The snowball on your back is hilarious!The treepicker is an important job too. :shimmy:

  2. ChaoticMom says:

    You picked a gorgeous tree! I can’t wait to see it decorated!

    That’s a memory those boys will have for a lifetime.

  3. Carolyn A. says:

    Pretty tree. I think I need a nap now though. That was exhausting watching all that work going on. 🙂 xxoo

  4. IowaDeb says:

    Hurray..! your first tree in your new home !It will be all worth it once it’s decorated.

  5. Heidi says:

    What a blast – and no severed limbs!! With boys that is always a good thing, cuz you NEVER KNOW!!! LOL I cant wait to see it decorated!!!!

  6. beth says:

    How wonderful! And I love that the boys did this with a smile on their faces. (we’ll just forget about the chasing with an ax thing for a while!)

    I love going out and cutting our own tree…er…picking our own tree. Unfortunately, we had to pay twice as much for the privilege of cutting our own tree last year. $80 was just a tad too steep. So, we went back to the Lions Club this year. Which my own “15” was happy about, since he did all the cutting last year.

    Seeing those pics of your boys makes me sad that my son didn’t have a brother to grow up with. Instead poor thing got stuck with 3 sisters! :fryingpan:

  7. Blaze says:

    so..uh is there a reason you didn’t use the chainsaw to start with instead of the axe?
    Heh, just sayin!

    Looks like a good tree!

  8. Suzanne, the Farmer's Wife says:

    I’m worn out just reading about the adventure. You could have had one of the boys carry the chain saw up the hill but it wouldn’t have been quite so interesting. HA. At least there was no blood involved. I can’t wait to see the tree set up and decorated.

    – Suzanne, the Farmer’s Wife

  9. Suzanne McMinn says:

    We didn’t take the chainsaw up the hill because I didn’t want them chasing each other around the tree with the chainsaw, fighting over who got to use it!

  10. Wammy says:

    I can hardly wait to see what it looks like all decorated up. Any poprcorn stringing going on?

  11. Becky says:

    Sounds like fun. And no bloodshed. Even better!
    Is this the first time you and the boys have went scouting for and cutting down your own tree?
    A walk in the woods is always refreshing.

  12. Suzanne McMinn says:

    They’ve helped my cousin cut down his Christmas tree in the woods here before, just not our own since we didn’t have our own before.

  13. Abiga/karen says:

    Can’t wait to see how that tree looks in your new home! My daughter and hubby chopped one of the numerous wind block firs we have on our little acreage here. And my daughter’s little ones were chasing each other in the house with an ax the other day. Did I mention it was just a rubber toy fireman’s ax? They would chase one another till one was cornered and then start all over again. We have a pic of it but it doesn’t look that friendly. We did eventually take it away, not sharing as usual. Blessings.

  14. TeresaH says:

    Oh how fun! I haven’t gotten to have a tree of my own in years!!! :hissyfit:

  15. Nancy in Atlanta says:

    Ah, yes, memories for a lifetime! Over 50 years ago my folks, my sister and I went out each year to find and chop a Christmas tree – Florida pine – but Dad had to do most of the chopping because he was “stuck” with 2 girls. However, he had a tomboy (me) and a daredevil (little sis) who always wanted to do whatever he did. Mom held her breath a lot!! You had a gorgeous place to hike for your tree. :catmeow:

  16. stefinity says:

    I have two teenage boys as well, and this kind of stuff kind of makes me tear up a little. Right here is the stuff that memories are made of — enjoy, enjoy, enjoy! (As you always seem to, Suzanne). All too soon, these days will be long gone, and then of course you’ll have a whole new set of memories to make. You certainly seem to have a knack for making the most of life. By the way, can’t wait to see the tree decorated in all its glory. :heart:

  17. Mim says:

    We lived beside a lot that had “lots of pine trees”. My son at this time was 7 & now is just shy of 27,would go & pick out a tree for our Christmas tree. Sometimes it was too big to come thru the door and another time there was no branches on the back side…but we still look at the pictures & enjoy the memories.I hope it won’t be too long til he takes his nephew who is almost 2 to cut down his Christmas tree. Memories are great… :treehugger:

  18. Kacey says:

    It’s always a crap shoot when you take males out to do a chore…whether they’ll hurt themselves or each other. :mrgreen:

    We are going to see it all decorated, right?

  19. Jill S. says:

    We cut down our tree this weekend too, and now I can’t get the teenagers to help me decorate it, the heathens.

  20. Jodie says:

    What great fun! Ages & eons ago I used to go with my Dad to hunt for dead trees in the woods to scavenge for oak wood to BBQ with (in Texas hill country). Not too many hills though. It was always fun. Have a great time decorating!

  21. catslady says:

    We went to a tree farm a couple of times where you cut your own tree – nothing like you and hiking a great distance – but it was still more work than my husband wanted to do all the time (having 2 girls too lol). I do still insist on a live tree. I love huge ones for all my ornaments that I’ve collected over the years. My hubby prefers smaller ones. But my one daughter’s boyfriend has taken over the job for the last 3 years and he’s 6’3″ so I’m getting even bigger trees now lol. Your kids are going to have so many wonderful memories.

  22. Susie says:

    Next time try a hacksaw… or rather get one of your boys to try a hacksaw :thumbsup: The tree will be down in less than 5 minutes… or at least it will if my hubby does the sawing, my sawing is like carving a roast with a butter knife… maybe take both!

  23. Donna says:

    Suzanne, I am sure glad you had that red jacket on….hunters. I wake up early am, hearing the hunters guns. Even though I am in the burbs…it’s still country around here…
    I laughed at that story!!! Aren’t teens the MOST FUN???? I just love funny how you mentioned Ross’s girlfriend watching..and Ross smiling above, so funny…I laughed at this!

  24. Brandy says:

    WE got our tree this weekend, too. But, didn’t have as good a time as y’all did! *G*

  25. Christine says:

    Ok, so who’s idea was it to NOT take the saw WITH them? :rotfl:

  26. Susan says:

    I love the photos that back up the story so beautifully! And you have a Christmas tree, too! :shimmy:

  27. Sarah in Sanford says:

    All of the pictures of snow in the last several days have been beautiful. I long to get snowed in. Maybe Sanford will get some snow this winter. You are truly blessed to live in such a gorgeous place.

  28. Rita says:

    You guys looked like you had a lot of fun getting your tree. I hope you have as much fun decorating it.

    I also wanted to say how much I really enjoy your blog and all the info/recipes you have. My daughter and I made your Grandmother Bread and I told her your story while we were making it. She loved making the bread and the story. Thanks for that, it’s not easy to compete with the TV and the internet. Keep up the good work.

  29. Sky says:

    Where does one purchase a $120 professional fiberglass handled pickhead fire axe? Local hardware stores have them?

  30. GrammieEarth says:

    “I just love it when my two teenage boys chase each other around a tree with an ax.”

    LOL Had to quote that one! Mine, :devil2: :devil2: (now adults) still love that sh*t. Explosions are even better!!! :bugeyed: :heart:

Add Your Thoughts