Monday, December 27, 2010

Our Annual December Pilgrimidge

Not a perfect tree but more than sufficient for our family

For our fourth year in a row we packed a car (actually this time it was our friend's minivan) and headed over the Santa Cruz Mountains to Rancho Siempre Verde for our Christmas tree hunt. Many people are surprised to learn this is my favorite annual "chore" but it is - we always end up having a blast.

Just like last year, only with Ronan a little bigger and Dad with a beard

Last year Uncle S joined us and made his wife a truly magnificent, voluminous wreath (the wreath to end all wreaths!). The year before that Auntie Val, Uncle Nicolas, and BFF Laurin came along and we made a whole day of it, complete with stunt kite flying and grilled Schaub's sausages at the beach.

It was muddy this year, very muddy. Ronan did his best to test the depth of the mud in the worse spots.

Auntie She squeezing a chuckle out of Nieve

This year Auntie She as well as good friends Janet and Sandy helped us find the perfect tree. I must say they did a good job at that - even the guys who wrapped the tree for transport asked with disbelief, "Where did you find this one? Did you get it from the neighboring forest?" Looking at it in our living room it is clear that it is a well proportioned, straight, full tree. Nice job guys!

Yep. This pic makes me grin from ear to ear, every time.

So what makes RSV so special? Probably a combination of things but it's all the product of years of labor and love from the family that owns and runs the farm. Their genuinely friendly and funny approach to running the farm is evident from the moment you park. Here are just a few of the touches that we enjoy:

Tractor rides....

... or even better tractor drives. It never hurts to add a little tractor to your life.

Oh, and backhoe loaders are a good stand-in for those of you who may be tractor deficient

Giant wooden xylophones that are moderately usable as musical instruments but perfectly capable for toddlers to happily whack

Swings. Oh the swings. So many to try out and so many different styles. These swings are so fun there are often waiting lines.

The hollow haystack that even when soaking wet seems to provide hours of entertainment for little kids

The bonfire...

... and marshmallows. What's not to like about fire and puffed sugar on a cold day at the coast?

The attention paid to children - for example the little tyke cars with mini x-mas trees tied to the top

Like all of the previous years, we had a blast during our trip to RSV this December. Auntie She, Janet, and Sandy made it even more enjoyable - a big thank you to them for coming and joining in the fun! They also ran Ronan and Nieve so hard that they fell sound asleep in the car ride home, which made the twisty road journey a snap.

A fading Ronan stealing a snuggle from Janet


CalBadger said...

What a lot of fun for the gang--a really great Christmas tradition! Nieve and Ronan are getting bigger for some reason; but it is their facial features that have changed the most--they're getting prettier and handsomer as the get older! Speaking of facial features...what's up with the beard, ERIK? What a shock! I have to admit it, but it looks great!

Holly Teetzel said...

Great shots, E., Looks like a pile of fun - even in the cold and wet. Loved Ronan's very muddy pants and boots! A sign of a really good time. Erik, do you have a license to drive that tractor??? :-)

Todd said...

Love the beard man!