Welcome to: The Cleft in the Tree:
and Creative consultant and on site artist; Artist Shelley Willis Horn
Following the creation of the “Greyhound Lady Walking Suspense Series” it came to pass that the author “aged” and retired. She came to review her life and gain perspective. It was then that she revisited her childhood loves and comforts and realized that like the victim/survivors she rescued, and whose stories she told, she wanted to share her love of the friends of her childhood. The fairies who inhabited the “hobo-jungle” that abutted her childhood home In Oklahoma and enriched her life then, and now.
In the series of “real cases” fictionalized to protect victim/survivor identities, locations, workers and volunteers, she created an “underground” for the transport of the highest risk victim/survivors. The most secure high-risk shelter was known as the “Cleft of the Rock Shelter”. The author was inspired by the old time hymn, “He Hideth My Soul In the Cleft of the Rock” which alludes to that protective opening one finds between rocks where one can hide. Thus the six foot tree stump selected for the Fairy Tree shelter had a long opening, a “cleft” in which fairies could hide It was in the cleft here that the Fairy Nursery was situated. A candle flickers protective light there in the darkness. It is now covered by a stain glass covering with a clear pane for viewing the sleeping Fairy babies. This became the foundation of “The Cleft in the Tree” shelter. Note in the picture below on the right side is a blue stained glass covering for the nursery.
A sign tells the story of how we get fairies. “Whenever a newborn baby laughs for the first time, a fairy is born. Because there are many newborn babies, there are new fairies being born as well.”
THE TOUR OF THE CLEFT OF THE TREE FAIRY SHELTER.
Begin on the south side of the tree. There is a “Fairy Dust” box which is pink , and the fairy dust is gold, silver or blue, and decorated with happy flowers. To make the Fairy Dust appear, one must first shake the sleigh bells, hung to the right side of the Fairy Dust box.
As the sign says; Shake the bells to awaken fairies. One then finds the magic tubes of varied colors of fairy dust (glitter) in the box with some fairy dust for the hands. Children throw it high into the air stepping forward to receive some on the head and body.
As you look around the south-side of the tree where the Fairy Dust box is, you will see a pink fairy (lighted at night) that protects the box.
Above her to the left on a bark platform is a stain-glass angel named Leila. She is the Angel to the Fairies; and in charge of guarding all spirits that are born.
There is also a young boy fairy standing on a moss covered platform above a birdbath (and in keeping with the irreverent writer and her sense of humor, our creative consultant helped construct a scene where he is taking a whiz into the birdbath) and there is a feathered bird drinking from it.
Higher still is a small fairy holding high a bouquet of Lilies of the Valley and a decorative staircase to climb into the protection of the rooftop moss house. Above that opening is an attic opening with an owl.
The Candid Fairy Camera with its smile sign is a real draw to the mirror on the Fairy Dust box. Kids practice their smiles and some will receive pictures via email or Facebook of their visit.
Below them, under their watchful eyes and loving care, is the Fairy Nursery.
At the base of the tree is a Medieval drawbridge and door. A sign on the door says “Last Chapters” which is another salute to the theme of the author and her Greyhound Lady Walking series. .
The floor of the drawbridge is covered with copper and hand-tooled paw prints of the greyhounds which are represented by a solid brass greyhound at rest and a sign which says “Greyhound Crossing.”
The drawbridge, shown here in construction, also is functional lifting up and down. This is the Medieval door the children knock on. Behind it, when they open the door is another small cleft which the “fairies” put inside. They often have personal notes to the individual child by name, and may designate a new “Fairy Name” for the child. They have also been known to have personalized gifts inside for that child.
Moving toward the north side of the tree we find on the ground, a 3D Library which features all the books of the Greyhound Lady Walking series.
An ancient medieval style ladder connects the library to the tree (as seen in the picture with one of the “celebrity visitors” who was given the fairy name of Shaylee: Fairy princess of the fields).
High on the north side of the tree fitted against the roof eaves, the Forever Fairy Condos. There is also a billboard (fairy style) advertising the Forever Fairy Condos and their realtor.
On the west side of the tree is the end of the bark balcony holding Leila and it has potted flowers with butterflies. Hanging nearby is a platform swing with “Grandma GaGa” swinging blissfully without a care in the world. Grandma GaGa is so named because she is the fairy persona of author Joyce Godwin Grubbs.
One of the unique offerings is the “Cleft of the Tree Stables” which houses the horses and unicorns. Besides the stall and hay floor with hay bales, there is “Rudy” the horse” with a beautiful blonde fairy, “Shelley”. She is riding him bareback and is holding a baby fairy, “Mac” (Mackensie). They represent the creative artist who assisted in the planning and execution of this “world for fairies” taking the author’s concept and making it a living (in progress) reality. Shelley’s horse Rudy died during the time of her work on the project and we love being able to honor him.
Now there is straw on the floor, a candle to light it at night, and some straw bales soon to be added. A recent addition not yet photographed is the new Unicorn with fairy rider.
The very favorite fairy of all is “Herbie” who glides between on a Zip-Line on an 8’ length of fish line. His wings propel him along and allow him to turn directions. He bears a striking resemblance to the author’s husband when he was in his 50’s. (LOL)
Two crystal angels now fly with him; one pink, one blue. There are also long crystal prisms to cast rainbows about the garden.
Adjoining the north/west base of the Fairy tree is the iconic forest area of lush green plants and multiple stumps of various sizes and stages of decay. (A stump collage). On one stump sits a sandstone colored Mourning Dove statue and a brown iron Mourning Dove.
In another large stump is an area containing plantings of flowers and greenery. There is also a collector’s statue of the Isabel Bloom, Domestic Violence Angel among the foliage and wood.There is also a three foot hand tied wooden “road” ladder from the floor of the garden to the top of the stump where a bird sits on her three green eggs awaiting their hatching.
A sign near the wooden tied hemp/wood ladder says; “The road less traveled is taken by fairies.”
A very large aged bronze pot filled with green plants sits on the ground encased in vegetation with a large forked branch inserted that holds a “mail box” for fairy mail.
The three foot high sign declaring this to be the “Cleft in the Tree” announces the presence of the Fairy Tree.
The Fairy Library features a full 3 dimensional library with walls of shelves filled with books and featuring in the forefront, the author’s novels.
An important part of the garden is dedicated to the “Greyhound Crossing” where a bronze greyhound rests on a tree stump. Below the stump which is lighted by three solar lamps, is the time-capsule containing the ashes and “favorite items” of Big Buddy Grubbs, including his “Lion” (see the Supernatural Adoption of Our Greyhounds” blog.
The Fairy Garden
*** ALL LIGHTING ON THE FENCING, TRELLIS AND INDIVIDUAL FAIRY EXHIBITS are SOLAR. As darkness falls the entire tree lights up with blinking, blue, LED mini-lights and each exhibit is individually lighted with solar lights as is the garden path.
A continuing work in progress, the Fairy Garden contains colorful, large, red and white Impatiences plants. Interspersed throughout the garden are Welcome stones, a “Glass crystal ball”, an Isabel Bloom victim/survivor angel statue, A leaded glass mirror depicting a butterfly (sign of transformation), a water feature of a fish (35”) and silver colored brass swans filled with glass marbles, “pearls” and “diamonds” for the children.
Abutting the garden on the north side is a stack of aged wood branch cuttings forming a three foot high nature wall and each wooden piece with distinctive bark age. A small grass area affords a “sitting area” with outdoor chairs (available) to enjoy the peace and serenity.
On the west side of the Fairy Garden are two 8’ sections of “Inserted Marble Fence” which produces a rainbow of color shining across the garden at sundown as the rays shine through. The marbles also provide bright coloring with their clear, transparent light from both sides of the fence during the day. The first (most northern section) is a posthumous tribute to the author’s sister, pioneer police officer Trula Ann Godwin, and many of her own childhood marbles were used in this section.
On the railroad ties below/in front of this section, is an antique WPA brick with OSKALOOSA imprinted on it and it is “gold brick;” and on either side are gold “nuggets” stretched along the length either way from the brick.
The Inserted Marble Fence construction is completed along the full length of the west side of the garden, north to south and is approximately 94’ and is 4’ high. This is the author’s husband’s labor of love and contribution as well as his upkeep of the garden. Each section when completed with being embedded will have 300-400 marbles embedded.
Between the first and second inserted marble fence sections is a “stripped willow branch” trellis 4’ high and 6’ long. The grapes and “climbing beans” (Jack and the Beanstalk being the inspiration) are growing and by next year should cover it. Meanwhile special solar lights are woven in between the openings of the trellis and they look to be flowers, and they are varying colors (red, blue, yellow, white, green) and have 8 programs which can cause them to blink, dance, fade it and out, etc. Herbie will continue to fly “overhead” on his zip line.
The gate fires all kinds or rainbow colors in the day and Neon dancing colors at night from the newly added “CD reverse sides” glued to the aged gate.
The grape vineyard begins on the north border of the Fairy Garden 6’ high, show through the iron bars of antique fence once surrounding the Marycrest College, Davenport, Iowa. It is well over a hundred years old and 6’ high. Recently an iron angel was added that is about three feet by two feet high. It was inspirational in the new novel cover for “If This Isn’t Love.”
Purple “flower” lights (solar) are woven between the bars and set off the grapes, purple clematis and newly added butter colored Shasta Daisies.
There is now a solar lamp of polished brass at the end of each of the 8′ sections of the 94 feet of wood/marble fence .
Last but not least is the deep-tone Asian bell that the children ring to say goodbye to the fairies. It is next to the entrance to Mr. Grubbs Fresh Fairy Food Farm.
The last act after the ringing of the goodbye bell is the child choosing from a gift basket a memento/jewel to take with them. These range from amethyst rocks, small antique pins, broaches, necklaces and other “shiny” fun items from the fairies to enrich their memories. They are also given a “fairy name”.
Future expansion will include the “Greenery garden” which leads out to the end of the marble fence. Already filled with Hostas from Wisconsin, Iris and Surprise Lilies (Naked Ladies) from Oklahoma, and Peonies from Carl and Lydia (now Fairy Emeritus), there are also select day lilies given by family members. We will add to the garden, fairies, and items donated by friends and family.
First on our list is the new “Fairy pig farm” because Iowa has more hogs than people.
The author’s quotes will be added on the cross-boards of the Inserted Marble Fence; including her signature: “Believe…………..you can!”
And “The end is just an opportunity to begin again.” (found at the end of every novel.)
More to come as progress is made.
Meanwhile, remember in retirement it is “doing what makes you happy and brings you joy. Seeing this most beautiful child enjoy the Fairy Tree/Garden does it for me. Her momma bought her fairy wings for the visit and when she knocked on the door, the fairies had left her a letter with a new Fairy Name for her. It was Shaylee; princess fairy to the fields. They also gave her a jewel from their basket and she chose the pearl necklace she is seen wearing below. The most magical thing happened when she stayed late enough for the dark of night and at the exact moment she “shook the bells” the entire tree and garden lighted up. Serendipity or fairies; you be the judge.
Night view of part of the Fairy Garden.
New Addtions to the Fairy Garden celebrate new events in the family. The first “wedding” of the fairies to mark the celebration of the first of the author’s eleven grandchildren to get married.
The Wedding Couple was made from the author’s own wedding cake from 53 years ago. The Attending Couple was made from the 25th anniversary cake topper. And the fairy wings were made from pieces taken from the original platforms that supported the Wedding Couple. The pearls and white roses were from the arch above the Wedding Couple on the original wedding cake. It is a work in progress as the bordering is not complete.
The elephants with trunks lifted signify good luck; and the birds are fitted with a motion sensor that causes them to “sing” tweeting sounds when triggered by someone in their path. They sit to the side of the Kissing couple and of course are backed by the marble fence.
Another new addition to the Fairy Garden is “Ro-Ro’s Swine-ary and Wine-ary” to salute the inspiration for the author to become inspired to create a Fairy Garden. It was Rhoda’s Fairy tree in Oklahoma that first caught the author’s eye. Rhoda, “Ro-Ro” reminded the author that it is “Iowa after-all, so there has to be a pig farm because in Iowa there are more hogs than people.” Hence, the result is you see before you.
The first official visitor to the Swine-ary/Wine-ary, is 89 year old Dr. Willard Smith, (accompanied by friend Betty Miller) who as a young man dealt with hogs and in college judged shows and showed prize winning hogs at Oklahoma State University. His visit was on Father’s Day 2015. The sun was beginning to “fire” through the fence.
VARIOUS FEATURES AT RANDOM