Sunday, May 4, 2014

My Fairy House

Yesterday, I undertook a dangerous springtime mission: I rebuilt my backyard fairy house.

Though they've recently enjoyed an uptick in popularity, fairy houses have been a summertime constant in my life. As a little girl playing in the Michigan woods, my elder and much wiser friend, Marilyn, taught me that if you provide a pleasing and pleasant pint-sized home, a fairy will move in and bring all sorts of good luck and magical charms. We built them passionately, devoting considerable time to their creation as well as their oft-needed repairs, and certainly we must have had many satisfied fairy dwellers. Though we never seemed to see them with our own two eyes. 

Now, this project may not sound so dangerous at first. Oh sure, this scene makes the task look fairly quaint and harmless. But this is the "after" shot.

Trust me, the "before" was not quite so cute. Imagine this green pot filled with a heap of decomposing bark, moldy sticks and rotting plant matter. And when that debris was lifted away, picture twenty scurrying beetles and bugs of assorted sizes, half a dozen wriggling worms and one big ol' gray spider, all running/squirming for cover.

Ew. When the fairies move out at summer's end, their homes fall to ruin in no time at all.

^ But once I chased off all the critters, added a fresh layer of moss around last year's foundation stones, and rinsed everything off with a thorough blast from the garden hose, things were looking up.

Delicate moss is quite inviting for those frolicking fairy feet.

^ Next, I sorted out some building materials. 

Now by necessity, Marilyn and I created our fairy homes only with the materials that we had on hand - natural objects found in the forest highlighted with any found objects that we might happen upon. And I've kept to those rules with my adult creations - I make the best of whatever I find lying around the yard. 

Fairies prefer to go green. 

On this particular day, my haul included sticks and bamboo plant stakes, chunks of landscape bark and a few bits of cedar shingles from the roof, several handfuls of spring flowers and one green glass gem that worked its way loose from a mosaic stepping stone. Score.

^ Using my collection of sticks, I fashioned a simple structure. Throwing caution to the wind, I abandoned the construction techniques I've been using for the past couple years and tried this new twist on an A-line structure. Not sure if it will stand the test of time, but for now, the fairy house roof is standing tall and strong. Double score.

Once the shakes were properly balanced in place, and the walls stopped caving in, the time was right to decorate and accessorize the fairy landscape. Every good fairy home construction expert knows that these details are key to attracting a proper fairy


Not a bad first effort. I'll keep at it all summer long, improving the structure, freshening the flowers, adding more treasures as they appear to me. But hopefully, this starter home will lure a shelter-seeking fairy into my yard, and another summer of magic will begin.

Let's just hope my little hunter, Luna, who dozed in the sun nearby as I worked, does not develop a taste for fairy wings.

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The story of my gardening season:


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