Warning: picture heavy post ahead. My apologies to my dial-up readers!
The Bubba Tree story: My knitting/spinning friend, Megan (whose sheep and chickens you have seen here) is married to a dairy farmer here in Maine, who has a family owned woodlot for their wood heating stoves. Robert, Megan's husband, and his friend, Billy, were sent out one year (after the dinosaurs died off, but not much after) in high school to find, fell and bring a Christmas tree home for one of their mothers. They went off to the family wood lot to do so. It was an afternoon adventure of poor planning and preparation in the way that teenage boys have. (Mothers out there, I know you know what I am speaking about).
Over the ensuing years, they got driver's licenses, got their trucks stuck in the snow. They had to trudge back to the farm to get a tractor to pull out the truck. Illegal underage beer entered into the picture (and reportedly might have had something to do with the truck getting stuck). They have each gotten married and had kids and even some grandkids. And still, getting a Christmas tree has remained an annual event for these two lifelong friends and their families. With a twist. When Robert married Megan (my friend), Megan wanted to purchase the perfect tree from a tree farm. She won, but Robert held out for his annual tree from the woodlot, which has fondly become known as the Bubba Tree. The Bubba Tree is supposed to be far from perfect, and manytimes, several trees are felled for the purpose of finding the perfect Bubba Tree. (The extra felled trees are used to heat their homes - it is not wasteful cutting).
And as the Adventures of the Bubba Tree matured, even in high school, the two friends learned to take a snack along, which has evolved to red hot dogs. Initially, the hot dogs were cooked over a fire, and now on camping stoves on the tailgate of a pickup. There is soda, and other things like Pringles and Twinkies that have shelf lives of at least 100 years. Nothing healthy on the Bubba outings! The family dogs come, babies supervise in layers of warmth, and extended family and significant others have joined in. But, it is only the original two friends along with a third man who actually fell the trees and drag them out of the woods. A sort of rights of passage underway? They haven't had the next generation start helping with the work part of this annual ritual.
This year, I was honored to have been invited along on the Bubba Adventure. My personal preparation rivals Margene's attire for walking Moxie. We were doing this adventure with predicted daytime highs of 7 degrees F, with a windchill well into the negative numbers. And so, I pulled from both handknits and well purchased wool items from my wardrobe. I started with long johns, SmartWool top, handknit worsted weight Watermelon socks, my Orkney Islands aran sweater in North Ronaldsay sheep wool over a shirt, jeans, Ugg boots to my knees, and a heavy Lands End jacket, four layer handknit Malabrigo cap, handknit Malabrigo mittens, handknit Cat's Cradle scarf.... you get the Michelin Tire Man picture!
In honor of the occasion, I had a custom made Bubba wreath made.... and yes, those are empty beer cans in with the North Carolina pine cones, red balls and ribbon on the wreath. (Many thanks to Mo of McGlinn's Wee Gardens of Brewer, ME for her role in the Bubba wreath!)