In case you were wondering...

In case you were wondering...

This blog exists to encourage all those who have ever wanted--and needed!--a tiny getaway close to home. A workshop, playhouse, garden shed, sanctuary, mini-greenhouse, studio, home office; whatever it is you need, it IS doable, with some sacrifice, imagination, and compromise.

It helps if you're handy, too.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

A ceremony of building...topping out.

We got the ridgebeam a couple of days ago, so it was time for that venerable building ceremony of topping out, which dates back at least to the 14th Century. Yesterday morning, we went to the cabin to check on things and to find a young cedar to use for honoring the shed; this one volunteered, Joseph said, and it did look perfect. We snipped it and put it in water till evening.

Then when things wound down a bit and night was coming on, we borrowed Mark's ladder and J. climbed to the peak, evergreen and hammer in hand. It looked bonny up there!

Writer Michael Pollan describes the tradition HERE--and thanks to our friend Nona Parry for the link! I'd read Pollan's, book, A Place of My Own; the Architecture of Daydreams and enjoyed it a year or so ago, but passed it on.

Eric Sloane (American Barns and Covered Bridges, A Reverence for Wood) writes about the tradition, which is apparently almost universal, too, but not sure where that old book from the 70s is in our overflowing home library. It lives on in Mexico, the Southwest, and in Scotland--no wonder it looked so bonny above our little shed.

Even ironworkers putting up skyscrapers with barely a stick of wood in them often top out the highest point of a project with a live evergreen. So of course I needed to follow suit...

The skies opened up shortly after this, dropping so much water that there was nearly a whiteout! You could barely hear the thunder for the drumming on the roof...

But our little green banner survived the night and the storm.


  1. What a perfectly wonderful ceremony!

  2. Isn't it though? Reminding us of the life that our lumber comes from, making us grateful...

  3. I WONDERED what that sprig was doing there at Jamestown this year :) Thanks for sharing this!!

  4. I've never heard of this. Some buildings need celebrating for sure.

  5. I've never heard of this, either. So cool! Will bring you good luck, I'm sure. :)



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