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Month: December 2008 (page 1 of 4)

christmas tree hunting

Each year since we’ve been in our current home, we’ve trekked out to Tammen Treeberry farm in Wilmington, IL to hunt down that elusive perfect Christmas tree. It’s a beautiful place. As we make a habit of going during the week, we avoid the crowds and have the 167 acres of Christmas trees to ourselves–sometimes quite literally. We always pack a thermos of hot chocolate to enjoy after we fall our beloved tree. Tammen Treeberry farm has been a family farm since founded by Lorenz Tammen in 1957. The story goes he was looking for a crop to grow that could tolerate the sandy unproductive soils of his land, and so the the first Christmas tree was planted. Since 1964 the farm also grows blueberries and sells them “pick-your-own” during the summer months. Check out our latest tree hunting expedition below.

reasons to cut your own christmas tree

(according to Tammen Farm)

  • The trees are grown especially for you. If not for you, they would not be planted and maintained.
  • The trees help reduce erosion, provide a home for wildlife, and convert carbon dioxide to oxygen.
  • The trees are locally grown and support the local economy.
  • Real trees are a renewable resource, unlike petroleum. Plastic artificial trees are made from petroleum. Real trees can be chipped and the chips used for mulch.
  • Tammen plants more than one tree for each tree that is harvested.
  • Real trees make scents.
  • Though the weather be cold, time spent together with your family to find a Christmas tree will warm your heart and create memories.

another two hours well spent, happy holidays

The day after Christmas, we trekked out to Aurora, IL with some of our extended family to the Feed My Starving Children facility to pack food for children in developing nations that are literally eating dirt and rocks to stave off feelings of hunger.

• 2 hours
• 84 volunteers
• 102 boxes of food
• 22,032 meals
• 60.5 kids fed for a year

This is the second time Chris and I have been there with Aidan. We’re thinking about making it a monthly excursion; perhaps we will invite some of our friends to join us. The more hands the better of course. It is a humbling experience to think about all that we have in the United States where even the poorest do not endure the agony of absolute famine. Today, we worked with our family and about 75 other people to package food that will be shipped to children around the world–children like Murana from Haiti pictured below.

[singlepic=249,200,200]  Murana, starving,
  before receiving FMSC help.

[singlepic=250,200,200]  Murana, 3 1/2 months after
  receiving FMSC help

this i know, fall 2008: please listen

It’s that time of year again when I ask my composition students to speak with conviction about what is important to them–about what they believe. I emphasize to them, though, that this project is not really about speaking at all; it’s about listening. So, please, in the spirit of peace, give a listen to what someone has to say. You don’t have to accept it, to change your mind, but just try to understand what the person is saying. Just listen. You can start here: writing101.net/thisiknow

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