Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Our Backyard Fairy Village

The snow is falling, falling today.  Our world is swathed in white, yet my mind keeps thinking of what lies beneath the snow--the fairy world we built last Fall with our niece.  Right now, the corner of our yard beneath the great Eastern White Pine looks like this:

But in the Fall, the village thrived.  

It all began with a pile of pinecones left by the squirrels for our niece.  We took the hint and went out gathering more building materials in the forest.  It was a rainy weekend, but we knew, just as the squirrels did, that the time was ripe for fairies, and the village needed to be built.

Once we had our supplies and had drawn up our plans--there was nothing left to do but build!

And I do mean build: ladders and swing sets and arbors and roads.  We fashioned street signs and wagons and tables and chairs.  Nothing was left unmade.  

So, as the snow falls and I sit inside finishing up piles of work, I thought I'd share some photos of our handiwork.  I'm not sure who loved building the village more, but I will say that Mr. Magpie is quite a carpenter when it comes to crafting fairy furniture!

"No child but must remember laying his head in the grass, staring into the infinitesimal forest and seeing it grow populace with fairy armies."

~Robert Louis Stevenson, Essays in the Art of Writing

The farmer's wagon above was made from half a gourd.  Mr. Magpie sliced a corncob to make wheels, which he attached to a bamboo skewer.  The wheels actually turned, and we filled the wagon with crops from the fairy farm, including sage and nasturtiums, of course!

The farm is pictured above.  Miss J and I planted cabbage and cauliflower crops (tiny flowers) and Mr. Magpie built a miniature wattle fence.  Dried hydrangea blossoms make wonderful rooftops for birchbark buildings.

Above is the restaurant--totally organic, supplied with veggies from the farm, of course--complete with birch bark table and benches. 

If you climb the ladder, you can go to the fab condos in the pine tree.

Miss J thought of everything for the village, including a hospital, a Senior Center,

pine needle roads edged with pinecone guardrails,

 a school (complete with a swing set by Mr. Magpie),

and even sculptures for the town square.

Among our favorite houses were the ones we made from pumpkins.  I think the fairies loved them, too. I know the squirrels found them delicious.  This one is topped by a little crocheted roof.

This wasn't the first time we'd built fairy houses with our niece, and I've posted about them before, but this is the first time we'd built them in our own yard, and I can say that it is about as fine a way to spend a day as I can imagine.

And the best part of building the village came later that night, when we peeked out our windows.  The fairies had come!

And they'd lit the candles we'd left them with their fairy wands.

"The iron tongue of midnight hath told twelve; lovers to bed; 'tis almost fairy time."

~William Shakespeare, A Midsummer Night's Dream


  1. This post made me smile so much. This is hands-down the most elaborate fairy village I have ever seen! My friend and I used to make fairy houses, especially around Easter time. We would always leave Easter egg peanut M&Ms on the birch bark tables as a treat for the fairies, and were always excited when we found them gone the next day. (The squirrels were very kind to play along and make us believe the fairies had actually come.) Such warm and beautiful thoughts on a snowy winter's day.

  2. Are they accepting new residents? Because I would really like to move in. I agree - this is the most elaborate fairyland I've ever seen, as well, and your photos - taken from a fairy-eye's-view - really make the picture here complete. Lovely.

  3. Oh Gigi,
    Your neice must LOVE coming to your house ....... what a magical time she must have.
    ..... and rest assured , those fairies have obviously climbed the ladder in the inclement weather and are snug and warm inside the tree whilst the village down below is fine under that blanket of snow. Mr. Magpie certainly builds a lovely village and will be a dab hand at any repairs that are needed when the snow melts !! XXXX

  4. What an enchanted village you all created, Gigi! As a kid in Santa Cruz, I would build similar villages in the springtime when everything could be carpeted with soft and fragrant acacia blossoms. Thank you for conjuring those memories!!

  5. Oh I am in love with your fairy village. Now I want one too. I have been thinking actually about it for sometime, but this year really must be the year. How creative Mr. Magpie, your niece, and you are.

  6. Magical! I wish I had you to play with when I was a child. I believed!
    I probably spent years of my childhood making such villages, letting my imagination run wild. It was the best of times. Your niece is very lucky!

  7. This is the most perfect village & creation imaginable. How glorious that the Wee Ones have been so generously invited onto your land.

  8. Since visiting the Faerie village exhibit in November I have been itching to make a faerie home in my yard with my granddaughter. Now seeing this I am raring to go! As soon as spring gets here it will definitely be in the works and I am already planning:) What a wonderful job you did and I am sure the faeries are happy to have some shelter in your yard during the winter:) Check out for my visit to the Florence Griswald Museum's exhibit.

  9. Totally Fantastic! a step back into childhood, we had many trees in our yard growing up, big ones for climbing and little groupings that became real homes, with kitchens and living rooms. Branches were for sweeping, leaves were plates. We pick things from the garden as well, my parents always had gardens and fruit trees. and we'd invite magical guests in. For me it was Narnia, and fawns. You remind me of the pure magic of being a child, may it always be within our hearts. (I read your comment about your white pine on Ciara's blog. a tree like that has a real presence don't you think? I hope you are enjoying your new home as much as we are enjoying ours and discovering new magic in it all the time!)

  10. What an exquisite act of love and beauty!

  11. I am late to this but your creation is worthy of an award, fantastic!

  12. You, my friend, are a dream of an aunt.

    I sit here and savor your words and images. And I wonder how I could have been gone for so long.


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