A ‘cairn,’ derived from a Scottish Gaelic term, is a man-made pile of carefully balanced stones. Cairns have been, and are still used for a broad variety of purposes, from prehistoric times to the present. In modern times, they have been used most often as landmarks and trail markers, popular with hikers, climbers, hunters, and explorers.
My husband and I have studied cairns over our years of traveling. As avid hikers and my husband as a seasoned climber, cairns often hold deep meaning. Each one reminds us of a place we have visited, and each has left its mark on us. In certain places throughout our home, we have placed cairns comprised of rocks collected during our travels, to admire as keepsakes of our adventures. Now we are looking to make our mark on our land in Middletown. As we undertake the exciting, new project of building a second home – our “Tree Fort” – on our property, we are incorporating cairns to commemorate this new endeavor.
It’s been truly amazing to watch these ‘life-size’ cairns go up around the construction site of our new home. A full circle moment, the cairns on our new property are made from rocks and boulders that have existed here for many years before our lifetime and will remain here long after. A beautiful form of natural sculpture, these cairns will also act as a habitat for wildlife, insects, amphibians, and the like, as this landscape changes and evolves over the years to come.
I am excited to document more of the process of constructing this new home, as well as to share my insight behind it. Taking inspiration from the land we are so fortunate to live on, my husband and I are constructing this home to be “net zero” energy, eco-conscious, and sustainable. Be sure to check back to this blog to follow along the journey of this new build.