Posts tagged adventure

Tree Hunting

“Hey, it’s snowing outside!” said Azariah who has been concerned about snow levels for his 8th birthday next month.

“Where have you been?” Papa Joe asks him sarcastically.

It has been snowing steadily for the last half hour of our drive up into the Ochoco National Forest to get our Christmas tree. I am feeling quite comfortable in the passenger seat as Joe navigates through the snow with our 4 wheel-drive “Sir Bourbon“, which is what one of the kids dubbed our vehicle. The scenery is beautiful. The evergreen trees look as if they have been slathered with white frosting. The flakes coming down are huge. It is a beautiful sight, and I am thrilled to be able to travel in such a wonderful place. Although I have been blessed that most of my life I have been able to go to a u-cut Christmas tree farm, this is my first experience getting a tree from the forest.

In Oregon, for $5, you can buy a permit to go and harvest your own Christmas tree from the national forest. As long as you stick to a few simple rules, the forest is at your disposal. What a deal! The best Christmas tree lot in America and hundreds of trees to choose from…for only $5 and the price of gas!

As we wandered up the forestry road, it was quickly becoming clear that we shouldn’t drive too far up the hill. With each increase in elevation, the snow became deeper and deeper. We saw a wide clearing and decided to back in and park.

Side note: I am a very nervous passenger. I don’t like sliding, cars too close, trees too close, being towed, towing something, etc. If I can, I drop my head into my hands till it is over.

As Joe backed into the spot, the wheels started to spin. I ducked my head down. I didn’t think anything was wrong, but I didn’t want to look either. Next thing I knew though we were sliding a little downhill. I got out of the vehicle to “help direct” Joe, but really I just didn’t want to be in the sliding vehicle.

Another note: Don’t make comments on me being a bad mom and leaving the kids to go sliding down a hill. It was only a little ditch and a tree was blocking our sliding…poor tree. I really am a wimp.

Well, I am of little help in directing and sure enough, we slide into the tree. Thankfully, we have “rescuers” that live about 20 minutes away. Joe tells us we should all go out and explore and find our tree while he waits for his dad and uncle to come pull us out of the ditch.

Michaela offers to stay behind with Nehemiah while the rest of us head for the hills. We had forgotten to bring our camera, but here are a few shots I took with my phone.

Notice the small trees are few and far between.

The beginnings of a giant snowball…

The kids and I were having a wonderful time in the snow, but we still hadn’t found the right tree. The snow was starting to come down heavily, so we decided to head back to the Sir Bourbon. The tree might have to wait for another time.

Our rescuers soon showed up while Josiah was in search for the perfect tree. As the towing/pulling took place, I meandered around the clearing diverting my eyes from the vehicles. The little kids and Michaela had taken to the warmth of the vehicle. Josiah came and showed me a picture of a tree he found and told me to come and see.  Together with Kira and Elijah, we walked down a long hill and saw Josiah’s tree. It was beautiful, but I was unsure how we would get it up the hill and whether we would even be able to get a tree today. So off we trudged back to the Sir Bourbon. I was huffing and puffing by the time we got up there. I thought to myself, “Once up that hill is enough!”

They just about had the Sir Bourbon free after snapping a cable and the use of chains on both 4 wheel-drive vehicles. Joe’s uncle asked if we had found a tree. I told them how Josiah had found one but it was down a hill. He said how it would be a shame to come all the way out here and not get a tree. And, of course, I had to go back down the hill!

Thankfully I live with some strong men and children! With the help of Uncle Rick, Papa Joe, and Josiah, the kids got that eleven-foot tree back up the hill! I am still sore three days later from our little tree hunting experience. But it was worth it. This is the most beautiful Christmas tree ever!

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Final Day, But the Beginning

We woke bright and early Sunday morning to another beautiful day with the smell of pine in the air. It was very brisk out and Joe and Azariah, who were asleep in the truck without blankets, were very cold. Josiah and Elijah were in the car, but I had made them get blankets the night before. We were on the road by 6 cruising along the beautiful eastern mountains of Oregon.

I have to admit I was very scared as we descended those hills toward Central Oregon. I kept repeating to myself. “I trust You. I trust You.” We had used up everything we had. We had used the kid’s money for some of the gas, antifreeze, and food. We had used our debit card hoping it wouldn’t be rejected. We had no idea where we were going or what we were going to do. We figured we would boondock at Walmart that night.

As we came down the last hill toward Prineville, Joe called me on the cell. He said how about we stop at the parent’s on the way to Redmond. (What was in Redmond? Walmart and also some friends we thought of stopping and seeing.) So we headed to the first parent on the way…Joe’s dad.

At Joe’s dad’s house, his uncle (who lives with him) and dad were getting ready to go have breakfast and invited us along. Azariah enthusiastically said yes and exclaimed, “We haven’t eaten for four days!”

Because we had very limited funds and were unable to stop, our food for the trip consisted of bagels, chips, popcorn, dry cereal, and jerky. By the time we rolled into Prineville at 10, we had a very hungry crew.

During breakfast Joe’s uncle shared about how he had a house that we was trying to sell but because of the economy it was just sitting empty right now. He and Joe’s dad also needed some work done. His dad is trying to clean up his house to get it ready to sell. Also, the house we are in needs a little TLC. They wondered if we could make a trade. We help them and in turn we get a house.

After talking it over, we decided we would take them up on the offer. We don’t know how long we will be here. We set out on this journey saying we would be the hands and feet of Jesus. Well, we are very much needed here, and we will stay as long as we are needed.

I am still amazed how everything worked out. By the end of the day, Joe’s mom gave us food, we were given some cash, and we had a partially furnished house to sleep in.

This house is amazing! The water works so well! And no rust!!! I have an enormous kitchen with the largest oven and fridge! I am flabbergasted!

The kids are also loving it for the most part. Michaela misses her friends, but she does really like the area. Joe, Josiah, Michaela, Elijah, and Azariah are all working over at Joe’s dad’s on the house and yard. That was one thing we really wanted…the ability to work together as a family.

Some have asked whether the adventure is over. No, I don’t think so. We still have plans to go to the coast in the trailer and to Washington. But for now, we are here where we are needed.

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