Wednesday, November 30, 2011

November 29th: Christmas Tree Hunt

November 29th is the day that we go Christmas tree hunting! Usually an extended-family event, this year it was just us! The kids were a bit disappointed, but they soon found out that we are a fun bunch!

We saw plenty of mule deer and I had to keep reminding the hunters in our family that we were tree hunting, not deer hunting.

We drove out a little farther than we usually do. We passed Vernon reservoir which was beautiful.

Just a mile past the reservoir we realized that we had driven out of the trees, so we turned around and headed back, but spotted several deer bedded down in the trees. Can you see them?

After awhile we made it back into the trees! The bumpy road plus some very full bladders helped us pick our spot to get out and start looking.

It was so warm outside! A light jacket is all we needed.

And so we set off...keeping in mind that our tree from last year fell over THREE times (fully-decorated) due to a very bare backside. We were in search of a symmetrical, well-balanced tree.

The older boys brought their air-soft guns and shot random things along the way. We also enjoyed crunching through the snow in the shade.

Our oldest found this tree and was quite proud of himself (note the manly flexing) until we realized that the backside was a little bare. We considered it for awhile, but decided to keep looking for a little bit longer.

During our search the kids found a few interesting sights: orange lichen on a rock,

and a pile of cow poo with mushrooms growing out of it.

We finally found a perfect symmetrical tree! There was only one problem: it was 20 feet tall. That problem didn't last long as we soon discovered that if we took the top 2/3, it would still be a great Christmas tree.

Yay!! No falling tree this year!

We had walked about 1/2 a mile in search of our tree. Fortunately, we found it on the top of the hill, so most of the trek back to the truck was downhill.

But we soon realized that we didn't know where the truck was and we wanted to cover as little ground as possible while carrying the tree. So we sent a couple kids down to the truck so we could get pointed in the right direction.

A half mile is a long ways to shout "Have you found the truck yet?"

It took all of us listening very closely to hear them yell back...we should have brought our radios!

Finally we got our bearings and headed down to the truck.

It has been 8 years since we started this sure is nice to have kids old enough to really help.

When we got back to the truck it was 2 hours past lunch time and we were starving! We pulled out our camp chef and cooked up some hot dogs and warmed up some hot chocolate, although after carrying the tree we were hot and sweaty. (We thought it would be cold)

We had a tasty lunch on the tailgate of the truck.

After lunch we got the tree secured on the trailer and headed out.

On our way out to the highway we stopped at the infamous tree. Last year our group had a slight mishap with a 4-wheeler. As we drove by, we noticed that there was still evidence of the collision. (We are still feeling so grateful that no one was seriously hurt!)


On our way out, we saw a few deer off the dirt road. There was a big buck with them....

here's a closer look: a nice 4x4! A great end to our fun deer tree hunting adventure!

First Annual Pumpkin Bash Fund Raiser

This last weekend we helped run the First Annual Pumpkin Bash Fund Raiser for the Springville Junior Rifle Club. This is the club that our boys shoot at. They are in need of some new air rifles and in order to buy them our coach came up with the idea of shooting/blowing up pumpkins. Sounds fun, right?

Well, it was! A lot of fun! But a whole lot of work went into that fun. This pile of pumpkins represents two days of back-breaking pumpkin gathering. We had a local farm donate all the pumpkins, but we had to go gather them. Along with 20 of our closest rifle club friends, we gathered 1100 pumpkins!

For 5 bucks per person, anyone could come to the outdoor range and shoot up pumpkins to their heart's content.

The key to a good pumpkin shooting is to drill a hole in the top of the pumpkin and then fill it with water. This causes the explosion. If it is empty, the pumpkin just gets a hole blow in it.

Did I mention that it was cold that morning? Frigid!! We drank hot chocolate (which we also sold at our concession stand) to help thaw us out.

We also had an outdoor heater which helped a little.

This was the first round of pumpkin targets set out.

One group put explosives in their pumpkins...see the pumpkin in the center of the picture?

Boom! We had raining pumpkin chunks for about 20 seconds!

These pumpkins have seen better days.

We also had fun with the boys' coaches' cannon. It is small,

but packs a pretty big punch.


We were hopeful to make a little money selling concessions...and we did. We sold hot chocolate, hot dogs, chips, and several goodies.

We ate a few too.

The girls of the club spend a lot of time together and they always seem to have a lot of fun.

In no time at all, they had a fashion show with clothes they made from garbage bags and red duct tape, they smashed about 30 pumpkins and collected the seeds, and then they had a pumpkin seed fight that would rival any mess making activity!

It might not work, but I will keep trying.


Our Thanksgiving meal this year was delicious! As always...but it was special as well! All 46 of my husband's family (except the two in heaven) were there!

Five tables, several sets of dinnerware and silverware, and all the chairs in the house were required to make it possible for all of us to sit down together for this special dinner.

We truly have so much to be thankful for! Grandpa treated all the kids to a walk down memory when he was a kid and what thanksgiving was like for him. His family always had chicken, not turkey, for Thanksgiving. They would butcher them that morning and his mom would fry them up and they would enjoy the feast....after taking care of all the animals, of course.

We had a great time with all of our cousins. We are grateful for many, many cousins! They are our best friends!


We are grateful for many talented cooks. We had so many dishes to pick from!

This guy went back for seconds and thirds...and then kept asking when it would be time for pie.

Last year the older boys weighed themselves before and after, comparing who had eaten the most. Several pounds were gained! This year no one weighed themselves, but we saw some hungry boys devour a lot of food.

Girls too!

After the big meal we played with cousins and digested!

We caught up with everyone's comings and goings.

And hugged a few cute babies.

Sisters shared what sisters share.

Little girls played dolls.

Teenagers and Dads played video games.

And then it was finally time for pies! We had a wonderful Thanksgiving day. For family night earlier that week we played "The Thankful Game," a game that we made up last year and decided to continue this year. It's simple: a bean bag is tossed around randomly and the catcher has 3 seconds to name something he/she is thankful for. If he/she takes longer than 3 seconds or names something that has already been named, you're out. This year our game lasted about 15 minutes and Dad won (He has many animals that he enjoys hunting).