#AtoZChallenge | Y is for Yuletide and always having room for one more tree.

As you enter our house, there is a small mudroom. The floor is raised slightly above the adjoining living room and, on the left, there is an alcove with one large, single window that opens onto the road leading up to our house. It’s the first thing visitors see as they arrive.

If you come in December, it will also smell like pine. It’s the first place in our house where you’ll find a Christmas tree. It’s not the only one.

I’ve collected Christmas ornaments since I was a girl. It’s my tactile memory keeping project where each ornament connects back to a memory or significant event from my past. Each tree lets me explore those memories further.

This entryway tree used to be the one my girls decorated when they were younger. It wasn’t an attempt to engage them and allow them personal expression. It was far more selfish. I didn’t want them touching my tree. I invested fully in the ruse, picking out ornaments that matched their passions at the time. I still have two bins worth of ornaments hoping to find a new home some day with the grandchildren.

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Summer hiking is finally here as we head up to Carabasset Valley.

I’ll admit it. The mosquitoes win. They may be small but they are relentless. It’s the reason we rarely hike during the spring. It’s just not worth it.

No matter how many layers of all natural insect repellent I put on, it’s just never enough. I know something more high-test with deet might do a better job but I’m not a fan so instead we mostly avoid the woods during these months. But now that summer is here, we’re heading out to the trails again which is a good thing. I did not move nearly enough this winter and am excited to get back into our hiking routine.

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#AtoZChallenge | T is for Trees and Trail Markers

In the winter, when the trees have shed their leaves and all that remains are the bare branches some unique, interesting natural sculptures begin to appear. I’m drawn to trees that are different and I don’t think I’m alone because many of the trail markers that I see on our hikes are placed on the most unique trees.

Some trail markers are painted on to the trees while others are actual tags that are attached and as we’ve grown in our hiking experience we’ve gotten a lot better at spotting them. Fortunately, at least for us, it seems to be a little easier in the winter which is good because the actual trail can be more challenging to find when the ground is covered in snow and you can’t always trust the trampled path of those that went before you. Sometimes they wander off the main trail so you need to rely on your trail markers.

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