There are two structures here on the grounds of the Grass Ranch. One was built with great care and forethought and a high degree of craftsmanship.

The other is a shed I built.

Our home was built in 1890 by real carpenters using skills they had honed through years of being a journeyman and then becoming tradesmen. I do not know which construction firm of the day built this house, W.H. Glover, E.L. Spear or perhaps another firm. It is well-built and likely constructed following a set of house plans derived from an architect.

My shed has none of that.

My shed was never designed. There was no blueprint, not even a third-grade drawing with square boxes for windows or doors. The builder (me) had basic knowledge of tools but no experience actually building a building. No framing squares or levels were involved.

The construction method is bespoke, and best described as MIUAYGA: Make It Up As You Go Along.

With nothing really to fall back on, I defaulted to my childhood on Lawn Avenue in a time when there was no “Melrose Circle.”

Lawn Avenue dead-ended into what we kids thought were woods but were actually a dense growth of Norway Maples and other alders.

We all made camps in the woods. My camp was a lean-to made of alders cut down with a buck saw and limbed with a knife. I nailed it together with a hammer and finish nails. It wasn’t much.

It is easy then to understand the awe with which I took in the camp that David Kalloch built. It was made of boards and was framed with real two-by-fours. It had a roof with real shingles and a door with hinges and doorknobs. A legit building created by a young teenager.

David went on to be a very respected carpenter and later Code Enforcement Officer for the City of Rockland. He is sadly missed by anyone he met.

As I set out to build a shed to house our landscaping and gardening implements, and most important of all our new Craftsman Riding Lawnmower with 42” deck, Dave Kalloch’s classic camp was on my mind.

A good size old house had been torn down on Maverick Street. I made a deal on the tongue and groove southern yellow pine flooring and a 5-foot-tall casement widow with ornamental trim.

I bought the cheapest two-by-fours they had at EBS. They could have come from one of those old Schooners in the mud flats down in Wiscassett and not looked any worse.

I began in earnest by framing out the floor. The floor may be the best part – heavy framing and 5/4 floorboards. I made it as big as I thought it should be. At this early stage there was no use of a tape measure; that would come later.

I began framing up the walls and nailing the tongue and groove flooring, which snapped together nicely. I had the walls up on four sides and a door opening framed up when I decided to hold the 5-foot-tall window in place to see how it looked.

This is when I got the tape measure.

The window was very tall, and by my estimation the walls would have to be about 8 feet tall to accommodate the window. Then the roof came after that. The new shed would be VERY TALL.

There was one problem, though. The door was not nearly big enough to fit the Sears Craftsman Riding Lawn Mower with the 42” deck.


Did I ever take some ribbing about the lawn mower not fitting. In fact, it went on for years.

Be that as it may, I did finish the shed. The extra height allowed for a very cavernous and handy loft.

Over the years I have added a transom over the door that matches the trim under that fancy window. I painted the shed a dark brown color called “Night Shade.”

There is not another shed like it anywhere.

As Martha Stewart would say, “It’s a good thing.”

Glenn Billington is a lifelong resident of Rockland and has worked for The Courier-Gazette and The Free Press since 1989.

Grampy’s shed. Photo by Glenn Billington