Manly Hands at Home: A Shining Light


I loved it the first time I saw it.

I mean, anyone can have a house but a house with its own lighthouse? Awesome.

For years, it sat there looking pretty. It was on a timer so it came on at 4:30, year around, and went off at 11. It was reliable.

And it was attractive. It was the centerpiece of many a photo, in many a weather condition.

But it was made of untreated wood and it took a beating from all that weather.

Then this happened. That didn’t help.

Eventually the electrical quit working. Pieces of rotten wood needed to be replaced.

Then this happened.

We were lighthouse-less for a while and I missed it more than I would’ve imagined.

My husband kept saying he would build us a new one.


For all his many skills, Don has never done that much building. I wondered . . .

I can’t tell you how pleased I am to have my doubts allayed, to have been wrong to doubt him in the first place.

A new lighthouse, made of pressure-treated wood has risen from the lawn in recent weeks.

There were fits and starts—I wanted it to look like the old lighthouse and the old lighthouse was an octagon shape. Octagons are hard!

But it grew and developed and came together. I helped a little and gave feedback– invaluable, I’m sure.

We went to buy the red paint and, without consulting one another, both picked the same color.

It was completely and totally wrong.

But now it’s right.

The paint is right, the shape is right, the height is right, the light is right.

The lighthouse is perfect.

I love the symbolism of a lighthouse, that it warns and protects but also signals that civilization, and people, and warmth, and safe harbor, and hope are near.

I love that we have our lighthouse back and that it was made here, at home, by loving hands.


89 thoughts on “Manly Hands at Home: A Shining Light

  1. I had not seen any of your posts with the lighthouse before but can understand why you enjoyed it so much. The new one, made with love for you by your husband will be even more precious to you. It IS perfect and quite beautiful. I’m sure it’s more substantial than the previous one. Ironic that you both picked the same red. You are on the same wavelength. 🙂 Men have to think about the things they are going to build for quite awhile before they do it. When they get it right there, the hands follow quickly. That’s been my experience so far. 🙂

    • Actually, no. It was the same year as Irene but several months earlier. This flooding was a result of a very snowy winter, with lots of snow melt, then a very rainy spring. It raised the level of Lake Champlain to historic levels and took, literally, weeks to subside. We lived in a motel for 6 weeks! But, yes, we have a lovely spot and we’re counting on the lake to behave from now on!

  2. Pingback: A Homemade Lighthouse | Musing Off the Mat

    • It’s funny, I feel like I overdo the references to our beautiful location but then you say you didn’t know about it! We live on Lake Champlain, which forms the border between upstate New York and Vermont. Life is good, indeed!

  3. I LOVE your new lighthouse!! Don is so clever and you have such a perfect symbol for the front of your home. Do you remember my ‘Beacon of Hope’ painting from ages ago? She hangs at the foot of my bed and I look at her every night and every morning. There is something so special about light houses, what ever form they take 🙂 Here’s a link to the work in progress because I don’t expect you to remember 🙂

    • You do understand! I had, sorry to admit, forgotten about that painting of yours so thank you for the link. It’s perfect and gives you your own special lighthouse! I can see my lighthouse from my bed, too–was just admiring its light last night. It’s a good reminder to be hopeful and to persevere.

  4. Wow! Impressive! Your DH did a very good job with a difficult design. Gracious – hexagons can be difficult to piece, much less do a 3D version…;-D

    • Yes, it was the shape that made it really a pain. He fussed and fussed to get that right. I’m sure there were easier ways but he managed to get it, finally, and then the rest came together. Too bad he has nothing else octagonal that needs to be built, now that he’s figured it out!

  5. The lighthouse is perfect! I think I like it best in the snow … you know how I dislike winter but that light reflecting the snow must be gorgeous.

  6. What a heartwarming story to start my day. Thank you. As well as loving how you and your husband built the new one, I loved what your lighthouse symbolises for you. We all need a guiding light to bring us back to the safe harbour and civilisation. May your beacon shine for ever!

    • Thank you, Anne! I really like how ever-present the lighthouse is–there was a big gap in the landscape when it was gone! Now that it’s back, all seems right with the world.

    • He really did it all–I would just wander by and say, “make sure it looks like the old one.” Oh, and I printed a protractor off from on-line, so he could get the angles!

  7. What a wonderful story! Big high five to your husband 🙂 “Man must behave like a lighthouse; he must shine day and night for the goodness of everyman.” ― Mehmet Murat ildan

  8. I love light houses too and always enjoy seeing one like this. What a project! Had I been there, undoubtedly there would have been swearing before things came together. It looks perfect and I’m wondering if her used the old one to make a pattern? Great building, that’s for sure… Congrats to Don!!

  9. Your husband must be justly proud to have built such a wonderful lighthouse and so much like the old one! I love lighthouses too and try to visit our local full-size one as often as possible.

  10. I’m impressed! Don did a fabulous job. I must say I’m impressed with the staying power of the first one: rain, wind, snow and ultimately flood. But it served it’s time, and now you have a new and improved spectacular…lighthouse. Wow. I mean…wow! Your own working lighthouse on a lake front property. What a lovely home. Love those hands at home, both of you.

  11. A very touching post. The lighthouse has new meaning because the two of you added your own personal touches to such a wonderful history continuing the symbolism of the lighthouse.

  12. Yard art! How much water did the lake (?) take on to inundate the base of the lighthouse? A few miles from us, someone put up a lighthouse and lined the edge of their property with pilings and nautical rope (about 4″ thick). Sure, they can love the ocean, but we are about a five hour drive from the nearest craggy rock that needs a lighthouse. Lighthouses need a water source.

    • The lake (Champlain) is the border between upstate New York and Vermont. It’s 120 miles long–a BIG lake–and was at a historic high of 103.2 feet when the lighthouse (and parts of our house) flooded in 2011. And, right now, the lake is at an almost historic low–something right in the middle would be nice . . .

  13. Wow!!! He did such a fantastic job on the replacement! I’ve always loved lighthouses but I don’t get to see them regularly since we’re about an hour in from the coast. It really is beautiful and I hope you have years and years of happy memories with the new one.

  14. Oh how wonderful!!
    Lighthouses have always been a favorite of mine. Is there anyone who doesn’t love a lighthouse?
    The fact that you had one, and then had it rebuilt after the weather had it’s way, is even better.
    You must be thrilled!
    and you live on a river, too? How often have you been flooded ?

    • We are thrilled, indeed! It’s not a river–it’s Lake Champlain, between upstate New York and Vermont. It never floods . . . except that one time, 3 weeks after we moved here. It took 6 weeks for the water to recede, while we lived in an icky motel . . .

      • Oh I didn’t know you lived on Lake Champlain! It’s been years since I’ve been there (at least 30 yrs). What a beautiful part if the country. So glad you’ve had no more flooding although the one you lived through sounds bad enough!

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