The day was planned out—to the minute, to the detail. Everything set up just right, including a high-tech PortaPotty (40 gallons of water for a pedal-operated sink). Guests coming from as far away as Wisconsin. It would be a splendid tree-farm tour. Except . . .
RAIN. Not a gully-washer, mind you, but enough to deter all but the staunchest outdoors person. So much work washed down the drain. Sigh . . .
But then, out of nowhere . . .they came! One by one, two by two, some even making the 100-mile trek from Haverhill! A remarkable group!
But why did they come? What IS a tree farm? Christmas trees? Bzzt. Just a plain old forest, “farmed” to produce timber for building houses, furniture, bowling alleys, even top-quality veneers. We had worked 50 years at this business and wanted folks to celebrate that effort and to share our memories of family fun. For instance—
- Grandkids piled on the hammock with “Bubba,” playing pirates.
- Lee skidding a giant log—tractor rearing ominously off the ground.
- Paul Bunyan stories around the fireplace that had no chimney.
- Mouse flea disaster—think hundreds of bites, with critters in bedding and clothing. HOWEVER, that incident moved us to mouse proof the cabin.
We regaled our guests, took them on assorted walks—in the rain, of course—pointing out tree farm practices and forest ecology. We finished with a tree-felling demo by our logger, followed by son Lee milling the log into boards. He, by the way, built his entire house from our trees.
All in all and despite the rain, it was a splendid tree-farm tour. God showed me several things:
- That the rain in our lives doesn’t have to shut us down.
- That I can’t do everything by myself. (Bless you, Lee especially, Heidi and Rachel for food management, Eric for coming from Wisconsin, and our faithful foresters Don and Nina.)
- That God has crafted, not just a fascinating, tree-farm sidebar, but a grand opus of our entire lives. Rain on our parade? Nah. The sun above the clouds is shining far too brightly.