Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Topping out

The photos in this post may be a tad overexposed but stick with me because the story is an oldie and a goodie.

Topping out is a building custom that can be traced all the way back to the ancient Scandinavians. It is a custom that takes place when a building has reached its highest point and is a celebration of the completion of the frame and a job well done. 

Topping out acknowledges the building achievements so far, the safety of the builders and it bestows good luck on those who will live in the building in the future.

This afternoon we had a Topping out ceremony at my parents' place at the bottom of our hill.

It was my Dad's suggestion. He said he's seen buildings with branches nailed to them over the years and done a little research and loved the idea. His builders had never been to one but knew exactly what it was and loved the idea too.

The story starts with the fixing of a small tree to the highest point in the building.

The tree is a symbol of respect for Mother Nature, a symbol of new growth and an announcement to the world of how far the building has come.

Mum and Dad's builders, Scott and Andrew fixed an evergreen tree, which is the traditional tree used, a eucalypt because we are surrounded by them here and because Scott and his partner Tamela's business is called Eucabuild, and a wattle because it is August and they're in blossom. 

Then we sat around a table the builders had just knocked together and my Dad gave a speech explaining the custom and thanking the builders for the great work they have done so far.


He explained that according to the custom the builders were entitled to beer but that they had asked for a red and a white wine instead.

Then we cheersed to the builders.


 And we ate a celebratory meal my folks had made. How great are my Dad's bagels!!


Our contribution was a rainbow cake we made using all natural food dyes. Would you believe they were all the colours of the rainbow when they went into the oven? We renamed it the sunshine cake.

It felt like such an honor to be included in this little ritual today. We're so busy, busy running around and around in our lives, it's so great to stop sometimes and be reminded of achievements and to celebrate and to sit and drink wine and eat yummy food outside on a sunny winter's day. Yay!

Don't you think?

Have you celebrated, are you celebrating, will you celebrate a grand or tiny occasion soon?

Bye! 

37 comments:

  1. What wonderful bagels...I am astounded at his talent!
    It very special that you are keeping this celebration alive...happy topping out!!
    bestest Daisy j x

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  2. That looks like such a lovely ceremony xxx

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  3. I think it's a great idea/tradition and how lovely to be close enough to your parents to celebrate with them. Hope you had a great time. Sarah

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    1. It's true, we all felt pretty lucky to be able to walk down the hill and across the paddock to theirs this afternoon. x

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  4. Fantastic idea! I'm now thinking we better celebrate the completion of our house paddock when it's done...lol...

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  5. Still a little dumbstruck trying yo imahine our builders' faces if I had suggested a topping out ceremony. They thought I was barking enough having shown them Australian Rules football!

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  6. It's always nice to just stop and think and look around at what has been achieved in anything we do and to thank all those involved ...including Mother Nature!

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  7. I love you & your family too <3 <3

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  8. How exciting! That is a lovely celebration. We just celebrated a 21st anniversary. Your cake looks wonderful!

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  9. Your cakes looks so good! And don't even get me started on those bagels. Yummmm!

    http://youngnasawife.blogspot.com/

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  10. look at your beautiful Mum, so lovely! Heather x

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  11. We are in the last 3 weeks of an 8 month build and had a couple of celebrations along the way too! We had a slab party with all of our close friends after the slab had been poured and then a topping out celebration like you guys, but with beer and bbq for the builders. I think its such a lovely idea. Mel x

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  12. I love taking a peek into your corner of the world, seems like bliss but I imagine is very hard work.

    Cxx

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  13. What a fabulous celebration for you all. I bet the daphne smelt absolutely beautiful too. A perfect day for it by the look of your photos.

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  14. Thank you for the story about this lovely celebration. I heard about that often but unfortunately we hadn't done it when our house was built.
    I like especially the cake you made and particularly the idea that you took natural food colours.

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  15. Hi Kate, I love this idea, I have not heard of it before. It looks like a lovely day in the sunshine. That cake looks special too! Oh and the daffodils!

    We will be celebrating a special girl in our family turning 7 soon, something to look forward to. x

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  16. What a wonderful tradition and the builders would have really appreciated it. A beautiful story and tradition once which I was unaware of myself. Regards Kathy A, Brisbane, Australia

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  17. What a wonderful tradition and the builders would have really appreciated it. A beautiful story and tradition once which I was unaware of myself. Regards Kathy A, Brisbane, Australia

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  18. What I great idea! Luv this post, looks like you had a wonderful day :)

    Rowdy Fairy Blog
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  19. This is gorgeous - a celebration of family, ritual, tradition and hope!! Thank you for sharing! x

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  20. What a lovely thing to do and didn't you all do it beautifully! We recently celebrated our granddaughter's third birthday, followed soon after by the birth of her baby brother ~ such joy :))

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  21. Wow, what a lovely custom! We are about to start groundworks for our strawbale home this week - I can't wait to celebrate topping out!

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  22. Being Swedish I do indeed know the custom, although we call it "Taklagsfest".
    Congratulations on the new house and having your parents so close!

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  23. So needed to read ths right now. Have been so busy lately putting out fires and fixing emergencies I haven't had a thought to celebrating our achievements. And that's hat topping out is all about! Thank you thnk you. Shall put my head to how to celebrate immediately.

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  24. That is a lovely tradition, never heard of it before. Kate, just finished your book....so so nice! By meaning finished, I meant I read through it, but knowning me I'll go back to it again and again and again. Want to try some recipies too. One question, sorry, you probably get a million questions these days......how did you keep the 12 dozen eggs fresh on your journey?

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    1. In the fridge? Just wondering. We managed two camping trips this season in Ireland. T'was a good summer this year, first time in 6 years. But I got sick twice, which put a spanner in our camping works. Hopefully more next year. We tent it, don't have a caravan, but we are planning towards getting a campervan. Lovely lovely book, thanks!!

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  25. I've seen this tradition in good old Richard Scarry kids books and thought it was lovely. Building a home is such a monumental process and it is lovely to take a pause and be thankful. Your cake looks great. mel x

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  26. This is wonderful! I was also going to suggest a Tin Kettling for when the house is finished but remembered that's for newlyweds. Surely it could be for new houses too? ;)

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  27. The germans have this tradition too, we say "Richtfest". Most we use a birch tree.
    Corina from germany

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  28. how absolutely awesome & miss p's dress is divine! so darn lovely to read your adventures! xxx

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  29. Love. We didn't have a whole party as such, for our topping out. And I forgot to blog about it too (arhh. blogging and house building and shack living just don't work together!). But I dad, our builder, also did this for our house when we got to the topping part. To remember the trees that grew to build our home, and the strength of the wood and people doing the building. Such a wonderful ceremony. I think it takes building a house, back into making a home.
    I love seeing photos of your mum with your girls. It's makes my heart sad but ever so happy. What lucky girls they are growing up with two generations of wonderfulness you.... xxx

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  30. A beautiful moment commemorated. When my partner built the house that we live in (years before i met him!) he had a topping ot celebration and placed potted trees on the roof beams. And yes then they drank LOTS of beer :) xx

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  31. Hello Kate. What a wonderful milestone and I love how you celebrated it. (You've got a great dad.) When I lived in Hamburg we often saw this tradition. The builders would place a wreath on the highest point on the day it was built and then they'll celebrate the work with a beer (or two). Hanno said they'd often use trees in the olds days.

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Kate XX

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