Claraya's Fairy Blog is written by Carla J. Nelson.  It chronicles the experiences of a "friend" who was adopted by a fairy clan in the summer of 2006.  It's an enchanting journey into the fairy realm - one sure to surprise and delight you.
 
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Damp, mossy rocks; shadowy forest hideaways; sounds of chipmunks and squirrels skittering to and fro; birds singing springtime love songs.  All of these beckon the local fairy folk to the lake area where they greet their geese friends every spring and fall.  It's an enchanted place, as you can imagine any fairy haven would be. 
The "Blinkie" above was created by Sandy Flowers who died in 2009 after a bout with cancer.  Her family still keeps her website accessible.  What a tribute!  It is filled with all things "faerie."

www.multimediadesignsbysandy.com




The picture above shows the garden leading to Claraya's special "Spring Room."
The Faya ladies often join her for tea here.
I now have a shop on
www.etsy.com

Look for:
HerbGatherings

My handmade, glittery gold pouch, fairy dust and original incantation
(shown below)
 are available there.

My book,
Beyond Betwixt Between
is also available
there!

Beyond Betwixt Between
By Carla J Nelson
This enchanting modern day tale of a human boy befriending an ostracized fairy boy is packed with adventure, joy, heartache, environmental issues and so much more.  Share an intriguing summer with these two friends and one amazing grandmother in
The Land of Faye.

Available from
Amazon.com
& directly from
me.  See the info
on the
Beyond Betwixt Between page of this website

New - Hardcover
127 pages
Signed by Author
Claraya's Fairy
Journal

By: Carla J. Nelson
Claraya's Fairy Journal is an intriguing story told from the perspective of a young woman adopted by a local fairy family.  It spans the course of two years.  During those eventful days, she shares countless trials and tribulations, joys and sorrows, with these Wee Folk who become her dearest friends.  Written in journal format, it runs the gamut of emotions and introduces readers to the enchanting world the Fayas are anxious to share with humans.

I'm hoping sometime in the future to make this book available as an ebook.  It's a read that must be read!
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And So It Continues - Claraya's Fairy Blog
April 2, 2012
As I begin this blog, know this.  While I am the one writing it, I do not do so alone.  You see, I have a friend - a most unusual one.  I cannot divulge her real name but the fairy clan who "adopted" her six years ago gave her the fairy name, Claraya Faya.  Let me explain as best I can.  In August, 2006, on an otherwise ordinary summer night, on a perfectly normal walk through the woodland behind her home, she chanced upon a fairy clan in the midst of an evening frolic.  They recognized in her a kindred spirit and invited her to join them.  Nothing has been the same for her since.  Unbeknownst to others in her human life, she splits her time between the "real" world and the world of faerie.  Much of what occurs she shares with me.  I in turn will share it with you to the extent that I am allowed.  Some of the entries will be completely my own - most will be in Claraya's own words.  Regardless, this will be a journey into a magical realm that will nurture your creativity and fuel your imagination.   Please join us for a fairy good thyme.

Carla J. Nelson
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Please Note:  Claraya's Fairy Blog is posted in chronological order - beginning with the first entry.  For more recent entries, simply scroll down.  I have found from personal experience that this is preferable to archiving.  You can see at once what each post is about without searching through meaningless dates.
Granted this doesn't follow the
norm for a blog but then
when did anything associated
with fairies pretend to be normal?



How It All Began


From Claraya's Journal
August, 2006


One summer's eve,
 I chanced upon,

A fairy band
In party mode.

They begged me stay
 And so I did,

'Til the redbird sang
And the rooster crowed.

Since that night, I've Been 'twixt and 'tween,
The world I know,
The one unseen.

Driven to stay.
Yearning to flee.

To where night is day and fairy folk be.
Claraya Faya

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A Fairy Vigil
From Claraya's Blog:  April 4, 2012
I sit at the edge of the lake tonight bathed in moonlight and unseasonable warmth.  Off to my right rests a gaggle of geese, friends of the Fayas, who stop here each Autumn and Spring on their migratory journeys.  They have been instrumental in saving the Fayas more than once.  There has only been one time in the last century when the Fayas have not been here to greet them.  On that one fateful occasion, it was I who did so alone.  It was a sad chapter in the lives of my fairy family - one I do not care to recount.  Tonight, we are all here together again - what is left of us - watching over our feathered friends who will bid us goodbye in the morning.  Their northern home awaits their return and they have responsibilities that cannot be delayed.  It is peaceful here this night.  A ribbon of moonlight reflects off the calm water making the vigil we keep most enjoyable.  Our presence ensures that no predators will intrude on this bucolic scene unnoticed.  The geese sleep soundly, safe in that knowledge.  It is the least we can do for them after all they have done for us. 
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How Do Fairies Survive This Drought?
From Claraya's Blog: July 28, 2012
I know!  I know!  It has been forever since I posted.  Please forgive the lapse.  We have been struggling with this horrible drought - just like so many others.  But before I became an "adopted" member of the Faya Clan, I would never have wondered how such a thing would affect fairies.  Fairies and drought!  Really???  Well, I'm here to tell you it has been an ongoing dilemma for them too.  They are once again, Betwixt Between.  If you've ever read Beyond Betwixt Between you will know whereof I speak.  It's a daily quandary - to stay or not to stay.  But then, where would they go?  Everyone in a radius of hundreds of miles, is dealing with the same thing.  Even our bird friends have left only to find just as inhospitable conditions as they were enduring here.  Sad to say, many of them have perished.  All our wildlife friends are suffering.  Too much heat, not enough food and water.  That old song, "Where Have All The Flowers Gone," reverberates through my brain.  Luckily, the Faya's have their underground maze of living quarters.  And squirrelish little hoarders that they are, there are still plenty of provisions.  But they are beginning to suffer from sheer boredom.  They thrive on taking care of plants and flowers and wild things this time of year.  These activities recharge them for the long Winter days ahead.  But not so this year.  They're fragile beings - unable to cope with heat.  I've found even without being transformed into one of them from time to time, I'm heat sensitive too.  The coming of Fall and Winter never looked so good.
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Flurietta's Fairy Potato Salad

From Claraya's Blog:  August 7., 2012
My friend Flurietta had a birthday the other day.  Flurietta was once a tortured soul - a human who had suffered so many tragedies in her life that she could no longer cope with human existence.  After fleeing to a reclusive life in an abandoned cottage in a remote area, she was discovered by a fairy man who fell in love with her.  She chose to renounce her humanness - something exceedingly rare - and became a permanent member of the Faya Clan.  The whole story is chronicled in her earlier journal.  Even though she is now completely "faerie", she retains many of the likes and dislikes she had when she was human.  One of those likes is her great grandmother's potato salad.  She gave me this old-fashioned recipe and I made it for her for her special day.  You might like it too.

Flurietta's Favorite Potato Salad
 2 eggs
2 T. flour
1/2 C. sugar
1/2 C. vinegar
Mix the flour and sugar together in a saucepan.  Gradually stir in the vinegar, then beat in the eggs until smooth.  Cook over low heat stirring constantly until thickened.  Cool.  Add 1/2 t. celery seed.  Salt and pepper to taste.  Thin with a
little milk or cream if too thick.  Add the dressing to a mixture of 6 - 8 cups of cooked, cubed potatoes, 1/2 C. chopped onion, 1/2 C. diced green pepper and 1/2 C. bacon bits.  Mix and refrigerate for several hours or overnight.  It's always better the second day - a treat for humans and fairies too!!
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A Fairy Revel
Claraya's Fairy Blog:  August 8, 2012
Have you ever attended a fairy revel?  I'm guessing not!  It is something quite magical - but then of course, it would have to be.  It involves fairies!  We have finally had several rains over the past two weeks.  The woodland has been rejuvenated.  Along the fringes, sky blue Chicory, snow white Queen Anne's lace, and brilliant orange Black Eyed Susans are blooming profusely.  The moss on the forest floor has turned emerald green and soft again.  A lush coolness has finally replaced the searing heat.  It's a scene to behold - a feeling to savor.  The fairies rejoiced.

I received my invitation from Shabow, an elder member of the Faya Clan who first took me under her wing (so to speak) that life-altering summer six years ago.   To fully enjoy the evening's revel, I would have to be transformed to fairy size - something I've experienced numerous times now.  Shabow would provide my party attire.  Certainly nothing in my human wardrobe would do!  Not enough sparkle, not enough wow factor!  My whole being fluttered with excitement.  I'll tell you more later.  Right now, I must rest.  A night of dancing and riddling and feasting with a band of elated fairies can be quite exhausting.

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Claraya's Fairy Blog:  August 11, 2012
So, to tell you more about the fairy revel - it was finding the toadstools that set everything in motion.  It had been so hot and dry all summer.  The moss curled into crispy brown mounds.  Toadstools were non-existent (and everyone knows fairies love toadstools).  Flowers shriveled.  Nectar dried up.  The Faya Clan could do nothing but retreat underground and play endless games to amuse themselves while they waited for the outside world to right itself.  They were confident it would, but it was a trying time.
Finally the rains came and restoration began.  It was Flurietta who ventured out one morning and found the toadstools.  Joy of joys - hundreds of them!  Then she saw the moss - lush green, spongy soft, invitingly cool.  Word spread like ants at a picnic.  It was party time.  Fairy finery was donned.  Treats were assembled.  Libations concocted.  A scouting party soon found the perfect spot for dancing and merriment.  And there I was - a part of it all!
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Claraya's Fairy Blog:  August 15, 2012
The dress Shabow provided for me was exquisite.  Just the right amount of sparkle and flounce - plus the perfect shade of purple to match my aura.  To explain:  When Shabow first met me six years ago, she insisted that I gave off an aura of purple rays.  She was the only one who saw them but since she's a fairy elder, her word rules.  The purple rays are how I got my fairy name.  Shabow chose Claraya because she says since I am human, I was formed from the clay of the earth - hence "clay."  And because I have this aura of purple rays, she combined clay and ray and came up with "Claraya."  It pleases her, and because I now love her dearly, it pleases me.  Purple (never my favorite before) is
always my color of choice now for fairy festivities.  More to follow!!
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The fairies are a dancing',
It's a rousing sight to see.
They twirl and dip, spin and flip
And shout with fairy glee!

Claraya's Fairy Blog:  August 20, 2012
Fairy dancing!  We did a lot of it at the fairy revel celebrating the return of rain.  How do fairies dance?  With wild abandon!  What kinds of dances?  Every kind that has ever been devised by humans with zillions of moves thrown in that are strictly faery.  You see, fairies love dancing more than anything else.  If humans are dancing, you can be assured there are fairies watching and copying all the moves and adding them to their repertoire.  Fast, slow, new, old, wild, sedate - they do them all and then for good measure they will mix elements of several different kinds.  They're constantly learning, creating and experimenting with dance.   When a revel arrives, look out!  The dancing is intense and competitive but wild and fun.  Most of all, it is exhausting.  Get fairies dancing and they just can't seem to stop.  

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Claraya's Fairy Blog:  August 30, 2012
Where does the time go?  This is a question only humans ask.  Believe me, fairies never worry about time, consider time, or let it interfere with their lives at all.  They are governed strictly by darkness and daylight and life in the moment. What a grand concept!   But since I'm still mostly human and only occasionally a fairy, time still rules my world.  Unfortunately, I've been so busy lately flittering back and forth between both realms that I've neglected to keep my journal up-to-date.  (I just noted that spell check does not recognize the word "flittering."  How sad!  It is a favorite of fairies.  They flitter incessantly and are quite proud of it!)  Anyway, I hope to be more diligent in my journal posts in the days ahead.  There is still so much to tell you. 

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Claraya's Fairy Blog:  September 4, 2012
So someone asked me isn't flittering just a concocted word that really means the same as fluttering.  Well, not really.  Believe it or not, "flittering" is a recognized word in older dictionaries.  And there is a distinction.  The word fluttering just naturally conjures up the image of an awkward attempt to fly about.  The motion is described as rapid and irregular.  Flittering on the other hand, is swift and smooth and graceful.  Fairies can do both, but they prefer to flitter.  Clumsily flapping about  just isn't in their natures.  The Fayas flitter, they do not flutter - and I'm proud to say that I have mastered this unique technique.   When I'm included in their activities, I too can flitter.  It's such fun!
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Fairy Riddling
Claraya's Fairy Blog:  September 7, 2012
Riddling!  Next to dancing and feasting, it's probably the favorite past time of faery folk.  Most humans are familiar with riddles like "Why did the chicken cross the road?  To get to the other side!"  While fairies enjoy these kinds of simple riddles, they prefer complicated ones.

Have you ever read Catkin by Antonia Barber?  If not, you should if you love a lyrically written, beautifully illustrated story of the enchanting little people.  It's absolutely mesmerizing read aloud.  It is the tale of a tiny cat (Catkin) who neglects his responsibility to guard a precious child who is then stolen away by the Little People.  Only Catkin can restore her to her distraught parents and redeem himself.  In the end, he must solve three riddles put forth by the Lord of the Little People to gain her release.  The riddles are intricate and tricky, unlike the ordinary ones humans are used to.  They consist of four lines.  The answers to the first three combine to answer the fourth question.

Initially, I was clueless when the Fayas started riddling back in the days of my early relationship with them.  Over time, I began to catch on and have gotten fairly good at it.  As an example, I'll share a riddle I devised several years ago during a fairy revel.  See if you can solve it?  I'll post the answers next time.

Riddle:
Full of greed, a swine indeed.
Not my name, but just the same.
A harp, a nag, an ugly hag.
A Winter intruder with elongated snooter!
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Claraya's Fairy Blog:  September 9, 2012
Soooooo!!!! 
The answer to the first line is - pig.
The answer to the second line is - me.
And the answer to the third line is - shrew.
If you put the three answers together, you come up with pigmy shrew, which solves the last line.  Do you see how this works now?  Like I said, it's definitely a little more complicated than the childish riddles I'm used to.

Of course, if you had known about how a pigmy shrew once accidentally got trapped in what I call my Spring Room where the Fayas like to visit me, it would have made it easier for you to find the answer.  The Fayas and I took care of this little shrew through a long cold Winter because he would have died if we had turned him back out into freezing temperatures.  It's an enchanting part of the first Winter I spent being associated with my fairy family.  I wrote all about it in my first journal.

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September 19, 2012
Claraya has been out of touch for over a week now and I've had no access to her journal entries.  I'm hoping nothing is amiss.  As you can imagine, it's tricky business being transported back and forth from the fairy world to the human world.  Actually, on second thought, I don't think you or I CAN imagine such a quandary.  It must be exciting on one hand and scary on the other.  Surely, I will be hearing something soon and have more to share with you.  I do know this is the Faya Clan's busiest time of year - preparing themselves for a long winter underground.  There again, I can't imagine!  CJN


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Serendipity
September 28, 2012
Claraya has assured me that the preparations for the Fayas' winter retreat underground are almost complete and she will fill us in soon. It should be most interesting.   For now, I'll take this opportunity to share one of my own experiences.

Serendipity!  It's one of my favorite words.  Coined by Horace Walpole in 1754, he stated in a letter to a friend that he derived it from an old tale, The Three Princes of Serendip (or Serendib).  Its heroes "were always making discoveries, by accidents and sagacity, of things they were not in quest of".  Modern dictionaries often define it as making fortuitous discoveries by accident or finding something pleasant and useful while not specifically looking for it.  In 2004, a British translation company included it in a list of ten English words that are hardest to translate.  A great deal of information regarding the word and its origins can be found on the Internet.

It's a vague word - one better experienced than dissected.   I seem to encounter it often.  Here's just one example.  I've never had any luck growing clematis but my friend Ruth, has a thriving clematis vine by her back door.  This spring, it was gloriously covered in blooms.  Later, the blooms evolved into intriguing seed pods that later dried and fluffed into what my imagination quickly saw as fairy mops. I saved one for future inspiration.  It might have ended there, but . . . .

Last week, my husband went to the barber shop and I decided to spend the time waiting for him by perusing a nearby antique shop.  While casually strolling from booth to booth with nothing particular in mind, I spotted a charming little figurine.  At one time, she must have been holding something, (a broom, a mop!).  She didn't have fairy wings, but her shoulder blades seemed to be  crying out for them.  AND, she was only $4.00.  Instantly, I felt the magic of serendipity wafting over me.  Here, unexpectedly, was the fairy maid meant to wield my fairy mop. Serendipity in action!  I've included pictures and more detail on the Fairy Gardens page.  Be sure to check it out.  CJN

Claraya's Fairy Blog:  October 5, 2012
Finally, I am able to catch my breath and share a few fairy insights with you once again.  I have been quite busy helping my fairy family prepare for the long Winter ahead.  Much to my dismay, they tell me it is going to be much colder and snowier and gloomier than last Winter.  While I cringe at the thought, they are happy about this.  They profess that Winter should be Winter - cold, snowy, and a bit gloomier than other seasons.  To stray from this norm only causes problems.

Well, I have to admit, we've all experienced plenty of those "problems" this past Spring and Summer.  An unusually mild Winter may have been enjoyable at the time, but we've paid dearly for it since.  Frozen fruit blossoms, parched farm fields, stunted herb and flower growth, limited honey production (I never even thought about the bees not being able to collect as much nectar for honey).  All of this has made it quite difficult for the Faya Clan to gather enough provisions to last them through the Winter ahead.  So I've been helping them.  I'll tell you more next time.

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Claraya's Fairy Blog:  October 15, 2012

Oh! where do fairies hide their heads,
When snow lies on the hills,
When frost has spoiled their mossy beds,
And crystallized their rills?
~Thomas Haynes Bayly

Having been associated with the Faya Clan for six years now, I could easily answer Thomas Bayly's question.  They go underground.  At least the Fayas do.  Of course, they have access to some incredible subterranean caverns that I never even knew existed in this area until a few years ago.  Had I not seen them with my own eyes, I never would have believed the wonders to be found under my feet.  These underground chambers are truly a world apart, hidden and inaccessible to humans without "seeing eyes."

One such chamber is completely dedicated to the storage of all sorts of fairy foods and delicacies - enough to last through many Winter months when these fragile beings dare not venture above ground.  There are dried fruits and nuts and herbs; pots of amber honey and sweet, sticky tree sap; fermented juices and dehydrated wild mushrooms of all kinds.  There are numerous other items I won't mention and some that the Fayas have told me I can't mention.  It is quite an undertaking to collect, prepare and store all of this.  More next time.
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Claraya's Fairy Blog:  October 22, 2012

To explain a little more about how the Faya clan weathers the Winter months underground, I'm including an excerpt from my first journal.  Due to the drought, it took more time and effort this past summer to fill this chamber, but all preparations are now complete.

From:  Claraya's Fairy Journal - March 1, 2007
Aside from always having a rollicking good time when I visit the Fayas, it never fails to be a learning experience. While we were nibbling on dainty little treats, I couldn’t help but ask where all the ingredients came from, at which point Shabow and Raybrite took me to the Keeping Room. It was an area enclosed by cool, stone walls lined with shelves - some wood, some smooth flat rocks. All bore the lustrous patina indicative of having been well used and meticulously hand-rubbed over a long period of time. Here was stored an incredible array of fruits, nuts, honey, various grains, and other items I couldn’t place. Overhead, polished tree roots spanned the ceiling.  From them hung all sorts of dried herbs and flowers. I recognized the purple blossoms of anise hyssop, the blue spikes of lavender, the yellow button flowers of tansy. There was also rosemary, thyme, sage, rose scented geranium, mint, lemon verbena, sweet woodruff and others. The mingling of all the wonderful fragrances was intoxicating.

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Claraya's Fairy Blog:  October 30, 2012
Tomorrow is Halloween, a crazy mix of thrills and chills that I've never quite been a fan of.  The Fayas, however,  (never ones to miss a chance to party) celebrate in high style - except in 2006, the year I first became an adopted member of their clan.  That Halloween was a disturbing time for them.  My journal entry then read as follows:
October 31, 2006
I found a note tucked in the dead morning glory vines on the fence outside my door this morning. It read: “Pass this on to Shabow immediately. She helped me once. I’m returning the favor.” On the other side of the note was this unsettling poem.

There be evil abroad in this world tonight
Wreaking hatred, cunning and spite.
Spewing darkness, squelching light.
Banishing goodness, breeding fright.

Beware of goblin. Be mindful of sprite.
Flee from eyes that shine too bright.
Stay underground. Keep out of sight.
There be evil abroad in this world tonight.

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All ended well, but it introduced me to some of perils the fairies can face  Thankfully, nothing seems to be awry this year
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October 31, 2012
One of my favorite Halloween books is an enchanting fairy book too.  Titled Child of Faerie - Child of Earth, it is written by Jane Yolen and illustrated by Jane Dyer and embodies all the best of a children's book while delighting the souls of grown-ups too.  It begins:

He was a child of faerie folk,
A child of sky and air,
And she was a child of humankind,
Of earth and toil and care.
    They met in the dusk of Hallow's Eve
    When widows grieve
     In widow's weave.
     They met in the dark of Hallow's Eve,
She had flowers in her hair.

He introduces her to his fairy world and then, she in turn, introduces him to her human one.  Each wants the other to forsake their homes and  join them in their world.  It is a quandary not easily resolved - but resolve it they do.  Jane Yolen weaves magic with her words and Jane Dyer brings them to life in her insightful illustrations.  Read this and it will become one of your favorites too.   Happy Halloween!  CJN

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From Claraya's Fairy Blog:  November 3, 2012
A flock of Canada geese flew over today heading south.  I've never known this to occur so early here.  In the past, they have not come through this corridor until Thanksgiving time.  It left me wondering if this is some omen regarding the winter to come.  The Fayas could shed no light upon the matter.  We are still waiting for the Fayas's own gaggle of geese that are their special friends to come through.  They have had word that they too will be early.  Perhaps, when they arrive and overnight on the area lake, we will learn more about these unusually early migrations.

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From Claraya's Fairy Blog:   November 12, 2012
"The Fairy Geese!"  That's what I call the gaggle of geese that have a special bond with the Fayas.  Shabow does not approve of the name but she has come to accept my annoying human ways and loves me anyway. These geese migrate through here every Spring and Autumn and it is a special sharing time for both geese and fairies.  They were here the night before last.  Like the other migratory birds that have been making their way south, it is early for them.  Their only explanation?  "We follow the call."  The questions remain, "What call?  What prompting?  Why so early this year?"  My concerns remain unanswered.

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From Claraya's Fairy Blog:    December 23, 2012
A much anticipated Winter Solstice arrived.  It was a blustery, frigid day and I knew all the Fayas would observe it in their cozy abodes underground.  They have rituals  to mark the occasion and then, of course, frolicking to celebrate the end and the beginning of yet another cycle in the great circle of life.

I, too, have a ritual.  I have saved a particularly impressive spike of mullein just for this night.  For centuries it has been held in high esteem.  Sometimes called "fairy candles", sometimes, "hag's tapers", it would provided light in times when light was scarce - and coveted - and magical.  A burning mullein torch was said to scare away evil and encourage the sun to return to warm the earth once again. 

As cold and darkness enveloped my private little niche in the world, I bundled up and ventured out.  No moon.  No bright stars.  No light.  For a while, I stood silently, absorbing the blackness about me.  Imagine, no light.  Imagine, total reliance on the stars, the moon, and the sun to provide it.   What ecstasy there must have been in the discovery of fire - what joy in the light and the heat it produced.  We take so much for granted.

Carefully, I lit my mullein torch and sent my thanks wafting with its smoke and eerie glow into the night.   Such an occasion should be marked with a special poem and this is mine:

Mullein torch burning bright,
Glow invitingly through the night.
Welcome the sun's returning light.

The ancient ones believed this worked.   Who am I to say it would have happened anyway.
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Claraya's Fairy Blog:   January 23, 2013
The New Year is already well underway and I have, once again, been remiss about posting.  I'm sure you all relate to busy lives and that perpetual lament that there's never enough time in your day.  But, I took a break the other day, when the temperature rebounded into "almost comfortable" and sent a message to the Faya ladies to join me for tea in the Spring Room.  It was quite a gathering.  We all needed a break from the hum-drum of cold and bleak.  I decked the work table with fresh flowers and set up their little tables and chairs.  As a special surprise, I had made them each a new little tea cup in my pottery studio.  They were touched and delighted.  Our herbal tea was a colorful, delicious blend of chamomile, lavender and rosemary with a pinch of stevia for a hint of sweetness.  It was the perfect accompaniment for the brown sugar shortbread cookies I'd made.  We had a grand time catching up.  And Spring is coming, oh YES!

P.S.  I'll have Carla post the Brown Sugar Shortbread Cookie recipe on the Fairy Recipes page.  It's a favorite of the Faya ladies and there's no better endorsement than that.
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Claraya's Fairy Blog:   January 29, 2013
I feel like I'm being tossed around on a meteorological yo-yo.  Our temperatures have fluctuated drastically in the past week.  My narcissus and daffodils are two inches out of the ground. The buds are swelling on the trees.  And the Fayas have been able to visit me instead of the other way around.  How do I visit them, you might ask.  Wellllllll!!!  I know it sounds most improbable but they actually zap me with their special magic and make me their size.  Then they whisk me away to their lovely little kingdom underground and for a few enchanting hours I get to enjoy every aspect of their intriguing world.  I sup (yes, in the fairy world we "sup") on dainty delicacies I can't place or describe, I partake in heady, unusual libations (yes, that's what the Fayas call the things they drink!) and I dance until it seems like my feet have grown wings.  Actually, I'm looking forward to the mild weather we've been having turning frigid again.  I love entertaining the Fayas in the Spring Room, but I much prefer being entertained by them in their Faery World.


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Claraya's Fairy Blog:   February 7, 2013
I'm finding it difficult to keep up with my postings and here's the reason.  I have not mentioned this before, but this is an extremely anxious time for my fairy family, the Fayas.  They/we are awaiting the arrival of babies - yes, fairy babies.  Numerous fairy ladies are expecting, all at once.  This is how it happens in their world.  They call this period the Baby Biding - they are biding their time while they await the arrival of their wee ones.   I chronicled this  extensively in my first journal.  It was a moving, thrilling time then and this is no different.  It involves much preparation and lots of parties.  I can hardly contain my excitement.
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Claraya's Fairy Blog:  February 20, 2013
What a hectic time this is.  I am overwhelmed with all that is going on in my human life and my fairy life all at the same time.  Imagine trying to juggle both worlds! So, in order not to neglect keeping you posted in some way, I am going to share some excerpts from my 2007 Journal.  This was the period before the first Baby Biding that I experienced - an event that we are all eagerly awaiting once again.  I can hardly believe that first one was six years ago!


From:  Claraya's Fairy Journal -   February 18, 2007
Several dissertations on fairies that I've recently seen on other websites have raised my hackles and sent me scampering up my "Preaching Post." Here goes. I'm always a little put off by people who state unequivocally that fairies are this and that, and so and so - who purport to know without a doubt that all fairies are the same, who pigeonhole them all in neat, pretty packages - all looking the same, all behaving the same, all having the same likes, dislikes, powers, beliefs, etc. Where do such blatant generalizations come from? Why would anyone assume there is no diversity in the fairy world?

If I've learned anything from the Fayas over the past nine months, it's that fairies are as varied as human folk, maybe more so. They were not all pressed from the same mold - homogenized and stamped with bland uniformity. How boring would that be? Like humans, they can be all shapes and sizes, attractive or not, good or evil or in between, conscientious or lazy, talented or inept, agile or clumsy. Their attributes and their faults run the gamut. They can manifest themselves to humans with "seeing eyes" (if they so choose), in many forms. Many humans can attest to this.

As I've pointed out before, what I learn and experience with the Fayas is unique to the Fayas. They would be the first to caution you not to apply what they do, how they live, how they look, or anything else about them - to other fairies. I have become aware that the Fayas currently live a very isolated, sheltered existence. This was not always so and could well change in the future. There are other bands of fairies out there entirely different from the Fayas. Most are nothing to be concerned about. Some pose a threat to them. Life on any level, in any form is tenuous - even for fairies.

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Claraya's Fairy Blog:   March 1, 2013

"All that glisters is not gold;

Often have you heard that told."
William Shakespeare  The Merchant of Venice

Usually the word "glitters" substitutes for "glisters", but we all know this saying.  The other day, I was reminded of this message.  Shabow and Raybright had arrived in my pottery studio unexpectedly and swept me away from my work to attend another Baby Biding event.  While in the underground chambers of the Fayas' Winter home, I was invited to see another one of their storerooms.  It's where they keep their "gold."

Just let me say that before humans became obsessed with "bling," fairies were!    The sparkle and glitter I beheld was almost blinding.  There appeared to be mounds and mounds of gold everywhere.  But after your eyes adjust and you begin to focus, an interesting reality ensues.  "All that 'glisters' is not gold" - especially not in the fairy kingdom.  It doesn't matter to them if it's a precious metal or a priceless jewel.  It just has to shimmer with light.  While there were, indeed, piles of real gold, (Shabow would not share where it all came from), there were many more piles of less valuable "gems."  I even recognized an item of my own - a piece of glitzy costume jewelry that I had lost one day in my garden.  Chagrined when I pointed this out to her, Shabow admitted that Dorg had found it and added it to their collection.  The Fayas are firm believers in "finders keepers."  A visit with them is always an education.  But wait until I tell you what they gain from all of this - because it does serve a purpose.  Next time!

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A Fairy Girl Basking In The Glow Of Fairy Dust
Claraya's Fairy Blog:   March 7, 2013

The arrival of the Faya babies is getting ever closer and it is a busy, busy time.  We had the Preambulator Parade the other day.  What a hoot it was - but so beautiful too.  If you've read my earlier journal, you'll know what I'm talking about.

Any way, I promised I would tell you what benefit the Fayas obtain from their mounds of "fairy gold."  It's akin to humans basking in the sun.  When the Fayas feel their energy ebbing, they spend some time in the "Gold Room" soaking up the "rays" from all that glittering mass.  It's almost like recharging their batteries or getting a shot of Vitamin D.  All those metals and gems (be they real or fake) give off enough glow to boost their energy and lift their spirits.  They're more like humans than you might think!

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Claraya's Fairy Blog:  March 14, 2013
Call the picture to the right "The Waiting Game!"  That's what the Fayas are doing now - playing the waiting game.  Only six more days until the Spring Equinox and the arrival of their new baby darlings.  I have been banished from their fairy chambers.  No offense taken.  This happened the last time also, in 2007.  After all the Baby Biding partying and preparation, they have now gone into total seclusion - no outsiders allowed - until the blessed event.  And even though I've been "adopted" by them - I'm still an outsider in many respects.  I wouldn't want it any other way.  I can't do what my friend, Flurietta did - renounce my human life and become a Faya permanently.  But then dear Flurietta had experienced such emotional trauma in her human life that the choice was easy for her - and the only acceptable way for her to go.  Now, she too is anxiously awaiting the arrival of a wee one and I can hardly wait.  It won't be long now.  
 
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Claraya's Fairy Blog:   March 18, 2013
It is SO quiet.  I've been working in my pottery studio all day catching up - and wondering - wondering how my Faya family is faring.  It is a vulnerable time for them, this final period of waiting for the arrival of their fairy babies.  Every conceivable entrance to their chambers is sealed - and guarded.  No one will be allowed in or out for many days.  Even though the babies are scheduled to arrive at exactly 7:02 A.M.  the day of the Vernal Equinox (March 20), there will be a period after when all precautions will still be in place.   The elders of the group will monitor the situation and decide when it is safe to expose the babies to the outside world.  When that happens, which may be weeks from now, the rejoicing and celebration will be overwhelming.  But for now, all is quiet.  SO quiet!
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Claraya's Fairy Blog:   March 20, 2013
I was up this morning in the wee hours, anxiously awaiting that most auspicious time - this year - 7:02 A.M. EDT.  The official arrival of Spring - the Vernal Equinox - when daylight and dark share equal time.  Ancient civilizations knew this day, marked this day with elaborate stone edifices and sacred rituals.  Evidence of this has been found throughout the world.  Even here in the United States, such places existed centuries ago - places like "Wood Henge" at Cahokia Mounds.


On days such as this, I feel a primeval yearning to be one with those who stood long ago waiting for that first sunrise, waiting to welcome the beginning of a new season, a new cog in the cycle of life as our earth spins ever round and round - giving and taking away.

Many rituals and customs are observed this time of year.  One that I practiced for years, though, has now been abandoned.  To explain:  I grew up believing that every Vernal Equinox should be observed by leaving milk and treats for the fairy folk in the wood.  As the story went, the wee ones emerged from their underground world then and were near to starving. 

Not so, says my adopted family, the Fayas.  In fact, they get downright giddy when they hear this.  For starters, their underground chambers are overflowing with all sorts of foods and libations.  Starving?  Not this bunch!  And the timing of their emergence has everything to do with the state of the weather and little to do with a human mark on the calendar.  This year it would have been most unwise for them to come "up-top" on this day to be greeted by frigid temperatures and foul winds.  And besides - they welcomed babies this morning.  FAIRY BABIES!  


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For winter’s rains and ruins are over,
    And all the season of snows and sins;
The days dividing lover and lover,

The light that loses, the night that wins;
And time remember’d is grief forgotten,
And frosts are slain and flowers begotten,
 And in green underwood and cover
Blossom by blossom the spring begins.

Algernon Charles Swinburne
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Claraya's Fairy Blog:  March 21, 2013
I'm spending these days of ostracism from the Faya chambers  pouring myself into all of my human endeavors and responsibilities.  But still, I find my mind wandering to those hollowed underground passages, imagining the wonder and ecstasy reverberating within them.  And I can just picture the darling, wee fairy babies that are the center of it all.

Now, you might imagine tiny, lovely little babies, much like human ones.  Most of us picture them this way.  I did.  And then in 2007, when I first experienced new, fairy babies, I learned otherwise.  It's a strange thing, our concept of what fairies look like.  Most renowned fairy artists admit they fashioned their creations (the ones we have grown to love and accept as real) after actual human children.

The Fayas understand this and are glad this is the case.  They don't want a true image of themselves or their offspring circulating anywhere.  They love the fact that human artists portray them as alluringly beautiful human creatures.  Some are.  Some aren't.  And I'm not saying they look nothing like humans.  But, in the case of the Fayas, there is something so pronounced, something impossible to describe, that sets them apart.  You would never mistake a Faya for a human being - unless, of course, they wanted you to.

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Claraya's Fairy Blog:  March 26, 2013
My gardens and the surrounding woodlands are blanketed in snow.  Where, oh, where is Spring.  It still eludes us!   My only consolation is knowing the Fayas have not ventured forth and are still cozy inside their chambers enjoying their new arrivals.  I am so anxious to see them - and so anxious for REAL spring to come.

I'm including a poem here by Marjorie Kahl Lawrence that gives me hope.  It was included in her book, Shining Wings, published in 1959.  It's very appropriate right now.  Enjoy.

Though the ice lies thick on the pond at dawn
I must believe!  I must believe!
Though the wind blows cold o'er the crusted lawn
I do believe!  I can believe!
For the sun is up much sooner now,
The birds believe and have come somehow.
Their songs, and the sun, and my heart on the wing
All join to tell me it will be spring.
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Claraya's Fairy Blog:  March 28, 2013
I must once again take exception to a respected fairy source online that recently said all fairies are the same size, etc.  The "little people" are as diverse as humans - all shapes, all sizes, multiple colors,  with a zillion different variations in features, personalities, etc.  Seers, over centuries, who claimed to have seen them, describe "theirs" in very differing ways.  In today's world, few fairy artists portray them the same.  Each has a different concept - one that speaks to how, perhaps, the fairies have presented themselves to them.

Brian Froud, James Browne, Amy Fletcher, Cicely Mary Barker, Cynda LuClaire - and many, many more (well known and little known) - all present different interpretations.  Who are we to say that any of them are wrong or misguided.  Any artist IS guided by unseen powers releasing their unimaginable gift of artistry.  If their "creation" is the end result of that guidance, that inspiration, how can any of us argue and say it is incorrect?

A case in point:  As fate (or serendipity) would have it, I recently came across the darling fairy shown above.  She is the Lady Bug Fairy, Luella, a creation of the gifted artist, Emma Whitley of Gossamer Winged Creations.  She's the culmination of a one-of-a-kind (OOAK) vision that presented itself to her creator, Emma, who was moved to make her and share her.  She is currently listed on ebay.com, but she won't be there long.  She'll soon have a new home.  She's a perfect example of the diversity in fairies and how they present themselves in varying ways to varying people.  Emma also has other unique fairies and beautifully designed, handcrafted jewelery.  You can find her at www.gossamerwinged.net


One only has to refer to centuries of literature and the endless number of stories of the Little People to know they can't be pigeon-holed into a single category.  Peruse A Field Guide to the Little People by Nancy Arrowsmith and you'll soon see how complex and diverse the whole subject is.  When it comes to fairies, it's best to keep an open mind.  They hate generalizations.
Claraya's Fairy Blog:   April 5, 2013
I am so excited.  I do believe Spring has finally arrived.  Shabow and Dorg surprised me with a visit this morning.  It has seemed like forever since my Faya family went into complete seclusion to await the arrival of their fairy babies.  And then Mother Nature reversed gears and sent snow again - and again.  But finally, Shabow and Dorg have assured me Spring is at last here to stay.  Before long, I'll be able to see the darling Faya wee ones.

To celebrate, I'm making some of my favorite things to welcome warm,  sunny, promising days ahead.  One of these is Sunny Saffron Rolls.  Saffron is very expensive but I sometimes find little glass jars of it at my local T.J.Maxx store for a reasonable price.  And my recipe only calls for a quarter teaspoon of crushed threads, so a little goes a long way.  It makes the rolls a bright, cheery yellow and they are incredibly delicious with a nice slathering of butter.  I'll have Carla post my recipe on the recipe page.  Look for it in a few days.  If you make them, they'll become one of your favorites too.
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Claraya's Fairy Blog:  April 8, 2013 
At last we've had some lovely halcyon spring days filled with warm, gentle breezes and cheery, promising birdsong.  And once again, as in that momentous Spring of 2007, I felt summoned into the woodlands - drawn by some unseen force - an insistent scrap of wind tugging at my sleeve.  And there, as before, I encountered a scene of unimaginable charm and delight.  Fairy babies filled niches in the bark of a stately oak elder.  Tucked safely in tiny recesses with just enough exposure to the sun to warm them, they gazed out at me with profound curiosity.  It was a sight to take your breath away. 

Of course, I can't take a picture of this, nor would I even want to encroach in such a way, but in 2007, I created a small tableau that depicted what I saw in the woods that day.  And, of course, I was moved to write a poem about it.  The picture to the left shows this enchanting scene.  The poem and a larger version of the picture appear on the Fairy Poems page for your enjoyment. 
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Claraya's Fairy Blog:   April 12, 2013
I am so happy for my friend, Flurietta Mane.  Actually, she is Flurietta Faya now but I still think of her name as it was when I first met her in 2007, before she crossed over - from our world to the Fairy World.  It is a long story, chronicled in detail in my previous journals.  Since those early days, she and her husband, Tatsell, have suffered devastating loss and horrendous disaster but somehow they have managed to overcome all the adversity and are still together.  In fact, they just had twin fairy babies.  That is why I am so happy for them now.  It is a cause for joyous celebration. 

In fact, I attended a raucous celebration with the Fayas just last night.  After a very sedate parade of all the proud new parents and their adorable tiny babies, nurses whisked the wee ones off to the nursery and the evening evolved into a huge party.  There was much dancing and dining and riddling and laughter.  It was a perfect fairy revel.  Through it all, Flurietta and Tatsell beamed with joy.  After all dear Flurietta has survived in her lifetime, she deserves this profound jubilation.  

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Claraya's Fairy Blog:   April 16, 2013
Lest you think as I once did that "all is light and airy, in the world of fairy," I'm going to share with you an excerpt from my 2008 journal.  It chronicles a time of devastating angst in the Faya world, and this was just the beginning of the tale that led to Flurietta's banishment.  Thankfully, there were eventually some happy endings as evidenced by the arrival of Flurietta and Tatsell's new babies just weeks ago.

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From Claraya's Fairy Journal:   March 8, 2008
I write this with a heart overburdened by all the negative emotions known in the world, both hither and thither. I am desolate with grief, tortured by anxiety, dehydrated and weak from a marathon of weeping. I feel compelled to attempt a journal entry even though my spirit recoils at revisiting the agonizing events of the past two days.

Two days ago, in an attempt to banish my worry regarding the Fayas, I flung myself into my work in the pottery studio. An incessant tap on the door interrupted me. I found a squirrel holding in his mouth a quaint basket woven of twigs. "An Easter Squirrel?" I thought, but there was something about his manner that made me know otherwise. Alarm bells sounded in my head as he reverently placed the basket on the doorstep and scurried off. I bent to retrieve it and gasped - the intake of breath so sharp, so deep, it sent a seering pain through my chest. Nestled inside a lining of silky soft rabbit fur, lay Shabow - filthy, bedraggled. barely recognizable, unconscious.

I took her to the Spring Room and hovered over her for hours not knowing what to do. She was unresponsive - almost lifeless. While a Faya normally feels cold to the touch, Shabow felt almost hot. They do not have hearts that function as ours do, but rather a life force akin to a pulsating electric current. This normally ebbs and flows at a robust, steady rate but Shabow's was erratic and almost indiscernible. I feared she was lost to me. I pushed aside the horrid, niggling thought that ALL of the Fayas, for some dark, tragic reason, were lost to me. Forgive me, but I must continue later. C.F.

To continue: How do you nurse a fairy? How could any human know? Afternoon came and went. Evening transitioned into night. Early on I had taken Shabow's limp form from the basket and placed her on a cozy little bed inside a small fairy house I had made some time ago from a large gourd. Certain that part of her perilous condition was the result of shock, I wanted to protect her from drafts - provide her with a feeling of comfort and safety. If she had any hope of recovery, these were essential. Through the night, I maintained my vigil - pacing endlessly back and forth, my hands in a constant wringing motion, my brain in turmoil as it searched for an answer to the baffling question, "How do you nurse a fairy?"

In the wee hours yesterday morning, as earth moved ever so slowly but predictably toward the cusp of dawn, an answer came to me. Like a camera flash bursting unexpectedly in my eyes, a possible solution filled me with a rush of hope. Quickly I retrieved my treasure box from its secret hiding place. The soothing scent of cypress engulfed me as I opened the lid. There amidst my
collection of cherished items was a small, hand-crafted box of rare Bubinga wood. Tucked inside was what I now firmly believed held the key to Shabow's recovery. Why had I not thought of it before?

When the Fayas bid farewell last Fall and retreated into their cavernous sanctuary, Dorg gave me a parting gift. I remember he said it was a talisman, but more than that. It held a special Faya power. He cautioned me to guard it well, to use it wisely - that I would instinctively know how and when to utilize it. Holding the box in my hand now, I remembered that with a troubled look on his face, he had very solemnly added, "Something tells me you will have grave need of this." Was this the need that he feared might come?

Carefully, I picked up the talisman and placed it in my palm. No larger than a pencil eraser, it gave off a glow that seemed to pulse on and off. Having done this before, I knew if you looked at it with a magnifying glass, the interior gives the appearance of a kaleidoscope - a myriad of glittering colors and shapes in constant motion. The spot on my hand where it now rested fluctuated between feeling bitterly cold and sizzling hot. For an object so small, it held enormous mystery - and hopefully, promise.

I hovered over Shabow's still form. I knew in my heart I now held the key to her recovery - but how to use it? I closed my eyes and focused every thread of my being on the talisman. Alternating currents of hot and cold seemed to pulsate from it and spread through me. This was instantly accompanied by the most engulfing sense of well-being I have ever experienced. Lost in the moment, I could do nothing but revel in this exhilarating sensation. Then an impatient voice from nowhere (or was it everywhere?) cried out, "Put it in her hand!" I did.

I expected instant results - much like I had just experienced - but that was not to be. Through the morning and into the afternoon, I waited and watched. A tiny light of ever-changing colors emanated from the talisman in Shabow's hand into her arm. It would travel a circuit throughout her body and return, only to begin again - around and around, over and over. Having had no sleep for over 36 hours, the hypnotizing journey of the miniature light soon had me nodding off. Toward sunset, I was jolted awake by a strange noise. Shabow was sitting up babbling incoherently - or was it simply a language I had never heard before?


She held the talisman out to me and I took it from her. All the while, she stared at me with a wild, haunted look in her eyes. I felt a tingling in my ears and instantly I could understand the strange words she spoke. My knees buckled under the weight of them. My heart reeled in anguish. A major calamity had befallen the Fayas and many, if not all, were lost. A wall of one of the subterranean caverns they had sought shelter in had collapsed under eons of pressure and erosion from an underground river. An explosive rush a water, mud and crumbled rock had decimated the area where the Fayas were sleeping unaware of the danger. It all happened mid-day - the Sunday I had gone to the lake, just as the Fayas' special family of geese was flying over. Now I knew what the goose had known. I heard the word "no" reverberating again and again from the Spring Room walls and realized the screams of protest were coming from my own lips. Shabow touched my arm and I was at once fairy size, lurching forward to throw my arms around her. Until that moment, I had never seen a Faya cry, but Shabow did then. We clung to each other in an all-consuming grief and wept and wept until no more tears could come. At last, exhaustion mercifully swept us away into a deep, dark sea of sleep. C.F.
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Claraya's Fairy Blog:  April 23, 2013
Yesterday, for the first time since last Fall when the Fayas went underground for the Winter, I entertained the fairy ladies in the Spring Room.  And joy of joys, the ones who had babies on the Vernal Equinox brought them along.  What a special occasion it was.  The babies are growing by leaps and bounds.  We say that about human children, but it truly applies to fairy ones.

Have I told you?  Well, maybe not since the first fairy babies I encountered in 2007.  But here's the thing.  Faya fairy babies develop and mature at an astounding rate.  They are already toddlers.  By the Autumnal Equinox when it is nearing time for the Fayas to go underground again for the Winter, they will be adults.  Now that is, indeed, growing by leaps and bounds. 

It turned out to be a perfect Spring afternoon, with warm, gentle breezes, blue sky and flowers of all colors blooming in profusion.  We had a lovely rosemary lemonade punch served with Little Mountain Fairy Cakes.  You can find the recipe on the Recipe Page.  These dainty, rich buttery morsels are a favorite of my fairy friends.  It all combined to kick off the Spring entertaining season in great form.
Claraya's Fairy Blog:   May 1, 2013
May Day!  Or in the world of the Druids of the Old World, Beltane!  A sacred day!  A special day!  A benchmark day!  My Faya family is marking the occasion with their own ancient rituals deep in the woods at a secret location I admit I have searched for, but have never been able to find.  I think they prevent me from "seeing" it.  In the World of Faery, there is seeing and then there is SEEING!  I have probably stumbled through it in my clumsy, human way and been oblivious to what was really there.


So this morning, I took my coffee outside and sat among a riot of blooming spring flowers and watched birds of all varieties frolic about; some seeking mates, some setting up housekeeping, and some already feeding ravenous babies.  The season of planting and mating and rebirth are well underway.  A scent of promise and renewal fills the air.  I breathed deeply and inhaled the essence of it all and I too, felt rekindled, renewed, and ready to embrace whatever comes my way in the days ahead.  To all:  Happy May Day!  Blessed Beltane!

P.S.  If you get a chance, make some May Wine todayA recipe is on the Fairy Recipes page.

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Bleeding Heart
Claraya's Fairy Blog:    May 5, 2013
I've seen more of the Fayas in the past few days - but fleetingly.  They are busy and so am I, but the Bleeding Heart is blooming now and they are drawn to it like fruit flies are to apples.  The arching stems are filled with vibrant pink and white, heart-shaped flowers graduating in size from end to end.  Stunning!  I've yet to meet anyone who isn't stopped in their tracks by this display.

And there are charming stories associated with this lovely plant.  The one I like best was retold by Sharon Lovejoy in her book, Sunflower Houses.  It tells of a princess cursed by a witch and encased inside a flower.  Her release could only be gained if an "innocent" opened the blossom.  As luck would have it, this came to pass and the princess was set free.  If you take the "heart" and carefully pull it apart in the center to just above the point, you will see what appears to be the princess - and to think?!  You just set her free!!  Enchanting!




Here you can see the opened blossom with the princess revealed.  Fairies generally frown on humans pulling flowers apart, but the story associated with this one intrigues them.  They have developed a special affinity for children who are moved by the tale to do this.
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Orris Root Iris

Claraya's Fairy Blog:   May 17, 2013
My orris root iris is in full bloom and has been the center of attention for my Faya friends the past few days.  (
germanica var. florentina  (Orris root)  It's pretty when it blooms but it really shines when you dig up the roots, peel them, cut them in tiny pieces, dry them and then let them age.  I know!  Who would think this?  But it's true.

The dried, aged root has a subtle violet fragrance and is used as a fixative in potpourrisI have a container of it by my desk filled with orris root that I dried a few years ago.  It has come into its own now and exudes a lovely perfume whenever I open it.

The process begins after the flowers have bloomed and faded and the roots need dividing.  Dig them and cut them into pieces.  The larger ones can be washed, dried, peeled and chopped into small pieces - almost like a potato - after all, it is a tuber.  It is important to cut the tubers into small pieces right away.  As they dry, they become very hard and tough and resist cutting.  Then spread the pieces out on a flat surface to air dry.  When completely dry (and this is essential) store them in a container out of heat and light - for months - even years.  As time passes, a lovely violet fragrance develops.  Added to potpourri mixes, the orris root locks on to the other fragrances and "saves" them, making them last longer.  Of course, the tubers you don't use can be replanted to grow and bloom again.

When Shabow accompanies me at the computer (she loves watching me search for things on the Internet), she always wants to sniff the orris root. 

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Claraya's Fairy Blog:  May 21, 2013

We all took a break for a short while today - just the Fayas and me and refreshments made three!  We've all been working so hard.  We deserved to reward ourselves so we had a little tea party in the woods.  I provided the pretty fairy cakes shown here.  The Faya ladies produced a beautiful and delicious strawberry lemonade - with a touch of something I couldn't quite put my finger on.  (I'm still trying to get them to share the recipe).

Everything was yummy.   Of course, one little fairy cake is enough to feed at least six Faya ladies.  After all, not only are the fairy ladies extremely small but they're very dainty eaters besides.  After enjoying the fairy cakes and the lemonade, we were all feeling a bit silly (perhaps something in that lemonade?!).  We played games and riddled until we all felt more than a little drowsy.  We then headed off on our separate ways - for naps.  What a perfectly marvelous way to spend an almost-summer afternoon.
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Strawberry Lemonade
Claraya's Fairy Blog:  May 26, 2013
After a warm afternoon in the garden yesterday, all I could think about was the str
awberry lemonade I had with the Fayas the other day.  And not a fairy about to ask how they made it.  So I experimented and came up with an acceptable facsimile of what they had served.  I know it had something in it of the fermented nature (like alcohol of some kind).  I think that's the part they're wanting to keep secret.  If they told me there was some sort of alcoholic beverage in it, then I might ask how they made it - and they don't want me to know.  So be it!  I made my own!  And, yes, it does have alcohol - Limoncello!  Here's my recipe:

1/3 Cup fresh strawberry puree
1/3 Cup frozen lemonade concentrate (thawed)
2/3 Cup water
1/4 Cup Limoncello

I poured all of the ingredients into the mug shown here - added a strawberry/lemon garnish and a wee bit of ice - and leisurely sipped the rest of the afternoon away.  And I'm now convinced that the "secret ingredient" the Fayas added to their strawberry lemonade was indeed, a lemon liqueur.  How DO they do that!?
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Peony Magic
Claraya's Fairy Blog:  May 28, 2013
One of my favorite times of the year is Peony Time!  I LOVE peonies.  As a small child, our family lived at my grandfather's home where my mother had grown up.  Many years before, my grandfather had planted some twenty pink and white peony bushes.  They were well-established when I came on the scene, blooming profusely, filling the air with a heavenly scent that I adore to this day.  In addition to lovely double ones, he also had a row of single, Japanese peonies - the most vibrant red with stunning yellow centers.  I loved them all.  Those peonies are gone now, but not my passion for them.  And now I have peonies of my own.

What I didn't realize then but know now is that peonies are actually quite magical.  Maybe that's why, as a child, I was particularly drawn to them.  Not only did I love the flouncy blossoms and their beautiful fragrance but I was totally fascinated by the seeds they produced when the gorgeous display faded.  An elderly neighbor had shown me how to string the dried seeds (she called them "piney seeds") on a silk thread and wear them as a necklace.  She said they would protect me.  She never elaborated on exactly what they were supposed to protect me from.

Since meeting my Faya family, I've become more enlightened about those seeds.  The Fayas have debunked some of the protective powers I've been told they have.  For instance, you'll find references to peony seeds providing protection from storms.  Not so, say the Fayas, and I must admit, we've had more than our share of storms, despite the presence of peonies.    Some say they protect a child from being stolen and replaced by a Changeling.  The Fayas scoff at that idea.  Their fairy life experiences do not include Changelings.   But they do believe they ward off negative forces and deter evil spirits.  So, as I've done since I was a child, I'll be collecting and drying some peony seeds when the time comes and stringing them on a silk thread.  And my Faya "sisters" want to help.  We'll have to call it a "Piney" Party!


This is similar to the red Japanese peony my grandfather had, but it's not as deep a red as I remember his was.  I've yet to find one exactly like it - but this is close!
I caught a Faya napping in this one yesterday!

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A Spot Of Tea - Just For Me!
Claraya's Fairy Blog:  June 4, 3013
I attended a Faya Fairy Revel last night.  What was the occasion?  Only that it was a halcyon evening filled with twinkling fireflies and lovely scented, warm breezes.  That's all the Fayas need for a raucous celebration.  We danced and danced!  When Shabow and Dorg finally escorted me home, I was tired beyond belief.  But sleep would not come.  Finally, I brewed myself a cup of tea and added the contents of a tiny package that Shabow had given me before she left.  She had anticipated that I would find it difficult to unwind.  "Add this to a spot of your chamomile tea."  she had instructed.  I did.  Sleep came swiftly then - and deep.  I awoke this morning completely refreshed and was reminded of a poem I found on a lovely blog on the Internet:
  madelief.blogspot.com

When the world is all at odds

And the mind is all at sea
Then cease the useless tedium
And brew a cup of tea.
There is magic in its fragrance,
There is solace in its taste;
And the laden moments vanish
Somehow into space.
The world becomes a lovely thing!
There’s beauty as you’ll see;
All because you briefly stopped
To brew a cup of tea.

Anonymous

Note:  Since posting this entry, I've discovered this poem on numerous websites with
many showing "Anonymous" but some showing "J. Jonker - Amsterdam - 1670"
 

Bunny Mischief!
Claraya's Fairy Blog:  June 7, 2013
I caught the little bunny red-handed yesterday morning - or should I say, red-pawed.  He was in the process of munching off a lovely, blooming melampodium plant in my garden.  He and his cohorts had already decimated a number of red impatiens.  The yard is full of delectable clover and other bunny-friendly goodies but they have to dine on the flowers.  Perhaps, they're dessert!

At any rate, I complained to Shabow.  She too was dismayed because her hummingbird friends love the impatiens.  But still she dismissed the whole incident as a case of  "Bunny Mischief."  She and the rest of the Fayas have a special fondness for the rabbits in the area.  They tend to be amused by their antics and overlook any wrongdoing.  And - - - they are very quick  to steer my attention to the National Wildlife Federation Backyard Habitat sign on my gatepost.  O.K.!!  O.K.!!!

Besides, the resident rabbit population is a great source of entertainment for the Faya fairies.  They ride them!  Yes, they really do!  I can't take a picture of this actually happening, but I tried to duplicate the scene in the picture here to give you an idea.  And they have named all of the rabbits besides.  Monikers such as, Fluffbutt, Puffytail, Cottonpuff, Snoworb, L'il Brown, Paddle-ears, etc.!  Some are quite comical.

So having gotten little sympathy from Shabow and the others and being ever mindful of that sign on the post, I'm in the process of replanting - but I'm adding an eco-friendly FENCE! 
Merry Marigolds!
Claraya's Fairy Blog:  June 13, 2013
So the fence turned out not to be the best idea and a Plan B (or is it C?) was in order.  Past experience has shown that the resident bunny population does not like to eat marigolds.  Shabow tells me that the smell offends them.  Consequently, I've replanted the melampodium bed with marigolds.  They've been in the ground for several days now and the bunnies have not touched them.  While I particularly love the small, star-shaped yellow blossoms of the melampodium for drying and making "fairy light" wreaths, the marigolds will provide bright summer color and thwart unwanted bunny feasting.  I have planted a few melampodium plants in a rabbit-protected location to accommodate my crafting needs.  Later, I'll have to show you a "fairy light" wreath.  It was featured in Carla J. Nelson's Fairy Crafts, Gardens and Teas (the sequel to Beyond Betwitxt Between) which is unfortunately sold out.
Demented Cowbird OR _ _ _ _ _ _????????
June 17, 2013 
A bank of windows at the back of our house looks out on a picturesque landscape that backs up to a wooded creek basin and acres of farm fields beyond.  From this vantage point, we monitor the change of seasons, the parade of wildlife that frequents this protected area, and all the cycles of herb and flower gardens.  Few things disturb this bucolic scene and the feelings of satisfaction and enjoyment that we derive from it.  Except:

Every Spring, some demented bird of one kind or another, chooses to invade our peaceful view.  This year it is a male cowbird.  He arrived in mid-March.  It is now the middle of June (and unlike previous years) he still has had no inclination to leave.  At first, he perched on a hydrangea branch right outside the south windows and except for a few brief trips to the birdfeeder, stayed there all day.  Then he began to "follow" me.  If I go to a different room, he finds a perch outside the window there and sits, looking in.  If I go outside to work, I will see him just feet away - watching.  I feel like I'm being stalked - by a cowbird!

We conjure up all kinds of explanations for this.  Maybe he sees his reflection and thinks he's keeping another bird company.   Maybe he realizes the reflection is his own and he's crazy about himself.  Maybe he lost his mate and is in mourning, unable to get on with his life.  Or maybe, he's just a demented bird locked in some obsessive behavior that is unexplainable.  Can birds suffer from OCD?

Usually, after a number of weeks of this each Spring, whatever species of bird it happens to be that particular year, disappears.  Then we're left to wonder:  Did it die?  Did it throw itself into a passing vehicle and end it all?  Did it get a grip,  find a new mate and begin anew?   Where IS he now?   And then, of course, as annoying and puzzling as it was for weeks, we end up missing his beady eyes staring in at us.

This year is completely different.  This bird does not move on.  It's become clear, it isn't his reflection he's obsessed with.  Most of his perches don't even afford him a reflection of himself.  All of this leaves us to wonder - is there more to this cowbird and his fascination with me than we realize?  Should I be comforted or worried?  Is this some ominous sign?  Is it just a fluke?  If you have any thoughts about this, please share them with me.   carla@herbgatherings.com      CJN
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Follow-up:  September 5, 2013  During the first week of August there seemed to be a mass exodus of birds here.  Robins, Rose-breasted Grosbeaks, Indigo Buntings, Red-winged Blackbirds, Grackles, Orchard Orioles - all high-tailed it out of here.  And, yes, so did the Cowbirds.  "Buddy" (what my daughter named my Cowbird stalker) also disappeared - drawn South by unseen forces.  I was relieved when he didn't appear at his spot at the window one day, or the next.  We had feared he wouldn't have the sense to leave and perish when Winter comes.  Strange and disconcerting as his daily behavior was, I missed him.  Now the question is:  "Will he be back in the Spring and start his crazy, inexplicable "stalking" all over?"
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Observing Midsummer's Eve
June 21, 2013
Midsummer's Eve!  The famous picture to the left by Edward Robert Hughes (entitled Midsummer Eve) depicts the magic of this auspicious time perfectly.  To mark the occasion, I'm going to share an excerpt from my book Fairy Crafts, Gardens & Teas.

. . . . . .Midsummer's Eve!  Faye always approached it with mixed feelings.  Officially it ushered in the beginning of Summer in the Northern Hemisphere, but in reality it marked the end of the sun's upward climb.  It had reached its zenith.  A slow but steady descent would soon follow.  A beginning and end so closely entwined.  It was hard to decide whether to celebrate or lament the occasion.  Much to her surprise, the fairy kingdom felt the same way.
As Pitter so aptly put it (in a rhyme, of course):

    "What say ye now of Midsummer's Eve?
      A time to dance or a time to grieve?"

The consensus was to do a little of both.  For the fairies, there would be dancing and feasting with time spent tweaking the colors of orange and yellow blossoms in an effort to extend the sun's brilliance and entice it to linger.  There would also be some other rituals and ceremonies known only to the wee folk.  This was a sacred occasion for fairies - one involving secret elements they could not share with humans - not even Faye.

Pitter had felt a little embarrassed and uncomfortable when he broached the subject with her.  Much to his relief, Faye was not offended in the least.  She respected the privacy of the fairy clan that had taken refuge in The Land of Faye and assured Pitter she had plans of her own.

The Hildegard Circle was coming to spend the evening and they had a wealth of activities lined up.  In fact, this was gearing up to be the most interesting Midsummer's Eve ever observed in The Land of Faye. . . . . . . . . .

. . . . . . . . Faye turned off the lights and blew out the candles.  Lingering there on the porch, she wondered where her little friends were and what they were up to.  As if in answer, a cloud of glittering fairies flew toward her with Pitter leading the pack.
    "Come with us!"  he called cheerily.
    With that he tapped her on the shoulder and she was immediately fairy-size.  Flanked by two laughing fairy girls who each grabbed one of Faye's hands, she was soon airborne.  Faye rolled her eyes and shook her head in delighted disbelief.
    "Where are we going?"  she called out.
    "To the Fern Forest for a Fern Frolic!"  they called back in unison.
Obviously she was never going to forget this Midsummer's Eve.  CJN

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Anise Hyssop Limoncello
Claraya'a Fairy Blog  June 26, 2013
Some of the Fayas decided to keep me company in my pottery studio yesterday morning.  At first, I thought they would interfere with progress but that was not the case.  They have a wonderful eye for color and I soon found myself using combinations I had never thought of before or would have hesitated to try without their encouragement.  I think I'll be very pleased with the end result when these pieces come out of the kiln.  They're so confident about this that they think they should collaborate with me more often.  Imagine!  Fairy-inspired pottery!

After the busy morning, the Fayas went on their way to nap.  They had a night of dancing planned, and yes, they do nap to prepare.  I decided to reward myself with a leisurely afternoon of reading on the shaded screen porch.  Having made some Anise Hyssop Limoncello the day before, I treated myself to some poured over crushed ice in a jam jar.  That, along with some creamy, dill and chive cheese curds made for a lovely afternoon.

As I've mentioned before, Anise Hyssop has a sweet, licorice flavor that goes well with lemon.  To make Anise Hyssop Limoncello, I add some flowers and leaves to whatever amount of Limoncello liqueur I want to flavor and let it sit in the refrigerator for several hours or overnight.  Then all you have to do is strain it and serve.  So refreshing.  I added a stem of leaves and a flower for garnish and to use as a little stirrer.  The sound of the crushed ice clinking against the glass reminds me of fairies and tinkling fairy bells.

Butterfly - OR Fairy?!
Claraya's Fairy Blog  July 2, 2013
I was working in the garden when a movement caught my eye.  For a split second, I thought I saw a fairy but then instantly the image in front of me was, instead,  a butterfly.   Of course, I had to grab my camera and take a picture.  Isn't this just a beautiful sight?  The "Million Bell" flowers are the perfect backdrop for this lovely, winged creature.

Later, I showed the picture to Raybright who had stopped by to invite me to a revelry tonight.  She giggled, then told me I was right with my first assumption.  I really had seen a fairy.  Her friend, Violetta is visiting her.  Being a bit shy, she had immediately turned herself into a butterfly image as soon as she realized I had spotted her.  All a part of fairy glamour and shape-shifting.  I so wish I could do that whenever I wanted to!

Note:  Looking for information about butterflies.  Need a butterfly-themed gift for someone?  Want to hear some enchanting music composed with butterflies in mind?  Love butterfly jewelry, fairy figurines, miniature fairy garden accessories?  Check out this fantastic website:  www.obsessionwithbutterflies.com  www.obsessionwithbutterflies.com
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Monarda Tea
Claraya's Fairy Blog  July 7, 2013
I love Monarda in the garden.  I grow Monarda didyma (bee balm) and several of its cultivars and I also grow Monarda fistulosa, or wild bergamot.  It is no wonder they are commonly called "bee balms."  Gaze at a blooming plant and you'll most likely find it swarming with bees.  They love it.  So do my fairy friends - for a most unusual reason.  If you look at one of the flopsie-mopsie tops
with a little imagination, you can soon see how a fairy might commandeer a blossom to sweep its little abode.  And that's exactly what they do.  A blossom with a stem a few inches long turned upside down makes a most useful mop. 

Me?  I like to make tea with the leaves and blossoms.  I take a handful of fresh leaves and a large blossom and put them in my iced tea maker with a gallon-sized tea bag, and before you know it the loveliest fragrance is wafting through the kitchen.  Pour this over ice and the flavor and aroma are the essence of summertime.  I sometimes share this with the Fayas when they stop by.  While they always appreciate it, they still believe the best use of the flowers is to sweep the floor.  To each his own!


A gallon-sized tea bag and a handful of Monarda didyma leaves and flowers ready to be brewed into a summertime treat.


More about Monarda on the Fairy Gardens Page in the days ahead! 


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A Fairy Child - Beguiled!
Claraya's Fairy Blog  July 15, 2013
On an outing with a friend's child, we encountered this adorable Muntjac Deer.  She was enthralled!  They became instant friends and seemed to share a language I had no knowledge of. It was truly a magical moment! 

Deer and fairies have long been associated, not surprising considering both are elusive creatures of the woodlands.  My Faya family has a unique bond with the deer population in this area.  But ours are familiar white-tailed deer.  This little one we were told, is from China.  Later, I learned they have been introduced to the United Kingdom where they are now considered an invasive species and a major nuisance.  It's hard to imagine such a small, beautiful creature being considered a nuisance, but our white-tailed deer (who are native here) are often maligned for the damage they cause to gardens and their danger to drivers on the roadways.

None of this, however, took away from our thrill and enjoyment of discovering this special little friend.  Watching the scene, I could just imagine this precious child sprouting wings and riding away on her new-found friend's back.  How would I have ever explained THAT to her mother!!?
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A Dill-y Of A Dilemma
Claraya's Fairy Blog  July 19, 2013
I love to grill salmon and then serve it with a dill-y, lemon butter sauce.  It's so simple and so dilly-icious!  You just melt a stick of butter.  Add  2 T. each of finely minced fresh parsley and dillweed, 1 T. lemon zest (I use a microplane so it's very fine) and the juice of one lemon.  Simmer gently until just heated through. Add a sprinkle of salt and pepper.  Excellent with any kind of seafood.

BUT!  Here's what happened.  In the midst of making this dish last night, I scurried to the herb garden to pick parsley and dill.  Much to my surprise, my lovely stand of dill had been virtually stripped.  I managed to find just enough dillweed to get by.  The discovery puzzled me all evening.

This morning, Shabow and Raybright popped in for a visit.  I told them about my dill dilemma.  They looked at each other sheepishly and then confessed.  They had taken my dill to scatter about their Reveling Ring two nights ago.  There had been an inkling of negative forces in the air and they didn't want to take any chances.  Since dill has long been valued to ward off evil, they thought I wouldn't mind providing them with a little extra protection.  They were right!  If pillaging my dill kept them safe, I'm just glad I had plenty!  But I need to be planting some more for a Fall crop.  Who knows what lies ahead as the daylight shortens!
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Hummingbird Moths & Brotherly Advice
Claraya's Fairy Blog  July 22, 2013
A while back, after the monarda first started blooming, I was lamenting to Dorg one day that I had yet to see hummingbird moths.  They love the monarda.  Where were they?

My fairy brother of the blood (I'll have to explain this to you one day) only said, "Be patient.  They're coming!"  And they did!  In the past couple of weeks, I have been delighted daily by their presence and astounded every time I see them darting and hovering through the various monarda plants gathering nectar. 

This afternoon, Dorg found me, camera in hand, stalking the hummingbird moths, trying to get just the right picture.  Fairies (at least the Faya ones) never miss an opportunity to say  "I told you so!"

"But how could you be sure?"  I asked.

"You're not the only one intrigued with them," he replied.  "I had been keeping watch under the viburnum bushes - guarding the cocoons.  It was just a matter of time before they emerged.  They can't be rushed.  You could use a little more patience, Claraya."

Sometimes, he can be just as annoying as a human brother.  That said, he explained to me how their cocoons had overwintered in the leaves under the viburnum bushes.  In fact, he thinks I should plant more viburnum and more monarda to encourage the whole process even more.  I like the idea.  Sometimes, I feel like Dorg isn't just my fairy  "brother" but my best friend.


The picture above is of one of the hummingbird moths in my garden.  For more info about these amazing creatures, research them on: www.massaudubon.org

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Monarda fistulosa - Moose Medicine
Claraya's Fairy Blog  July 26, 2013
All of the different varieties of Monarda I have in my gardens have reached their peak and will soon be just a glorious memory.  The variety here is a native (Monarda fistulosa) once prolific across the vast reaches of prairie that covered the U.S. when settlers first arrived.  It was highly valued by Native Americans for multiple purposes.

I know a Lakota woman who grew up on a Reservation in the Dakotas and learned its uses from her grandmother, a revered Lakota elder.  She called Monarda fistulosa "Moose Medicine."  Her explanation?  "It's potent enough to cure a moose!" In Daniel E. Moerman's Native American Ethnobotany, he cites many ways that Native Americans used this herb.  Colds, eye infections, intestinal problems, skin irritations - were all treated with Monarda fistulosa infusions.  It also served as a bug repellent and as a fragrance and incense.  The list goes on and on.

I dry leaves and blossoms this time of year and store them away in a dark cupboard.  During the Winter, I get it out and make steaming cups of fragrant tea.  I've found it relieves congestion.  And it has a comforting aroma that seems to encourage a sense of well-being.
The Fayas, who never get the sniffles, dry blossoms with some stem attached so they can use them as mops in the Winter to sweep the floor. 
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Dorg - My Fairy Brother Of The Blood
Claraya's Fairy Blog   July 30, 2013

If you read my blog, you know that I occasionally refer to Dorg as my brother-of-the-blood  and I have said that I would explain this at some point.  The easiest way is to share an excerpt from my original journal which I kept in the early years of my association with the Fayas.  This is only part of the story, but an important one.

From Claraya's Fairy Journal  January 4, 2007
It wasn't Shabow who contacted me. It was Dorg! I was busy setting up the pottery wheel I received for Christmas when a rush of warm air swept over me. And there he was! After the initial surprise, I was instantly aware that his presence this time had no unsettling effect on me. Granted he was still incredibly handsome. He still exuded a power and magnetism that were almost palpable. His smile, as before, totally engulfed me and warmed me through and through. But my overall reaction to him was completely different. I realized this time I felt as comfortable with him as I do with Shabow. No disconcerting electrical surges. No wildly beating heart. No gasping for breath. What a relief.

So what had been going on before? I asked him. His response? As always with these fairies, the explanation was a bit long and complicated but the gist of it is this: Dorg is sure that he and I are related. That drop or two of fairy blood in me, is the same as his. How does he know this? He gently took my left hand and turned it palm up, holding it alongside his own upturned left hand. In exactly the same spot in the middle of our wrists is a small reddish/brown discoloration - something I always passed off as a little birthmark. It is! But not the kind I had thought. All of Dorg's family has this marking. It distinguishes their line from other fairies. Through the wonders of fairy magic, Dorg made it possible for me to see both marks magnified. Enlarged, they appear as identical odd-shaped stars with a strange symbol in the center. Dorg likened the symbol to a human's family Coat of Arms.

He then went on to explain that my extreme reaction to him initially was precipitated by my inner being's recognition of him as a part of me. It completely overloaded all my circuits, so to speak. As I said, it's complicated. It all goes back to that ancient grandmother of mine who had a fling with a fairy. It was Dorg's great grandfather whose child she bore. At least this is what Dorg and Shabow now believe. Dorg also told me that while I think the fairy blood in me is so diluted it's insignificant, this is totally wrong. The most minuscule amount can have a profound effect on a human. It accounts for my openness to the whole concept of fairies in the first place, my ability to see and communicate with the Fayas, my approach to life in general and nature in particular - the list goes on and on.

Needless to say, by the time Dorg left to rejoin the Fayas for an afternoon frolic in the fairy mound, my head was spinning. The answers to my questions have led to more questions needing answers. But they can wait for another day. C.F.

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A New Take On Fairy Rings
Claraya's Fairy Journal  August 5, 2013
I have a little ritual I do on Lughnasadh Day, August 1, the ancient celebration of the first harvests.  That's when I collect blossoms from my melampodium plants.  I layer these in silica gel and store them away to dry.  On the Winter Solstice, I get them out and make "Fairy Light" wreaths.  It honors the traditions of both sacred occasions.

But last Thursday, when I took my harvesting basket out to the flower garden, I found someone had already picked hundreds of blossoms.  Who had done this?  I was standing there totally bewildered and getting more indignant by the second, when Dorg flew right up in my face. (Have you ever had a fairy do this?  It can be quite startling, if you're not used to it!)  He had come prepared to explain the disappearance of all those blossoms.

 
It was overcast the night before and little moonlight filtered through.  So the Fayas got the bright idea to use the melampodium blossoms to make small fairy rings in the woods.  They reasoned that each blossom would provide a little illumination and that the overall effect would be very festive.  Dorg led me back there to show me.  I had to admit it was a charming scene.  Ring after ring of cheery, yellow stars covered the Ajuga plants that carpet the ground there.  (The Fayas love the cool, softness of those leaves underfoot and often dance there).

I could just envision all those glimmering wee lads and lassies twirling and spinning inside each of those rings.  I could almost forgive them their thievery!  Except - why hadn't they invited me? Dorg has a disconcerting habit of reading my mind and he instantly had an answer to my thought.  "Remember," he chided.  "You had to work late to finish an important order and you were exhausted."  "Oh! Right!"  How I envy these fairies sometimes!
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Wood Sorrel - Fairy Lemon Trees
Claraya's Fairy Blog  August 12, 2013
In the past few years, my fairy family (the Fayas) has taught me how some of the simplest, most ordinary things can have great beauty and purpose.  I used to think common wood sorrel (oxalis stricta) was a nuisance weed - the sooner gone, the better.  But one of the first things they asked of me in our early association was, "Please, leave our fairy lemon trees alone."

Yes, that's what they call the wood sorrel - "fairy lemons."  It seemed ridiculous at first until they introduced me to the taste of the leaves and flowers.  Not only are the dainty flowers the bright, sunny color of lemons, but because the plant contains oxalic acid, they have a tart, lemony flavor.  I've since come to appreciate the shamrock-shaped leaves and cheery blossoms in salad.  They add unique eye appeal as well as flavor. 

In bygone days, the wood sorrel, native to North America and other regions,  was often called "fairy bells"  because the unopened  buds resemble tiny bells.   Some people also called them "praying hands" because the leaves fold together at night and on very cloudy days.  I've come to love and value these little "lemon trees."  What I once pulled out to rid myself of an obnoxious weed, I now protect and nurture.  Ah, the things you can learn from the wee folk.


The picture above shows a fairy lady tending a little birdbath surrounded by wood sorrel.
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An up close view of wood sorrel blossoms.
These cheery yellow, star-shaped flowers
are favorites of fairies in these parts.
Stinkhorn Mushrooms - Warning or Coincidence?
Claraya's Fairy Blog   August 20, 2013
It has been an unsettling time in Faya Land.  As I've alluded to before, not everything is light and airy.  There have been dark days and evil doings in the history of my fairy family.  In fact, the last several years have been an unusually halcyon period.  But something happened last week that has put everyone on high alert.  A sense of foreboding now permeates all that we are and all that we do.

Let me explain:  It was in 2007, when I first experienced the evil that can threaten the Faya realm.  It had to do with the Naygrets - repugnant creatures that used to lurk hereabout in the dark, dank places most beings fear and avoid.  Mine is a long story, chronicled at length in Claraya's Fairy Journal, but suffice it to say I was abducted by them and held for ransom.  The ransom?  They wanted Tatsell - a member of the Faya clan who has a bit of Naygret "blood" passed down over the centuries.  Like I said, it is a long story. 

Fortunately, the Fayas were able to rescue me and save Tatsell as well.  The Naygrets were dissolved into puddles, sealed in containers and through an extensive network of migrating geese, banished to an area in the Arctic where they would forever remain frozen and thus, harmless.  But!  There is concern now that global warming may be interfering with the Fayas sense of security.  What has triggered this new fear?

We discovered Stinkhorn mushrooms in front of the fairy door outside the Spring Room last week.  These repulsive looking fungi resemble the Naygrets in color and slime - except that the Naygrets are squat and knobby.  This particular Stinkhorn mushroom is their "signature" and often used by them to send a
message or announce their presence.  I encountered a group of them outside my door that day in 2007 when I was kidnapped.  So is their appearance last week in front of the fairy door a coincidence - or an omen?!   As I said before.  We are all on high alert!
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Claraya's Fairy Blog  August 26, 2013
Have you ever chosen to conceal something to protect someone?  Has it ever backfired?  Usually it does.  The truth is like a basketball you try to hide in a lake.  No matter how deep you go with it, as soon as you let loose, it will find its way to the surface.  Such was the case with Shabow's secret.

The emergence of the Stinkhorn mushrooms in front of the fairy door was, indeed, a message from a Naygret.  After some anguished moments following the initial discovery of the Stinkhorns, Shabow was forced to share a secret she had been keeping for six years.  Shortly after the Naygrets were "shipped" to the Arctic back in 2007, Shabow was informed that one of the canisters encasing the Naygrets had been lost in transit.  It was thought at the time that the loss occurred far enough into the frozen North that there was nothing to worry about.  Thinking it pointless to concern the others, Shabow chose not to tell anyone, not even Dorg.

It took six years and a Naygret on a mission for the truth to win out, but win it did.  His canister had been dropped and broken open in southern Canada.  When summer came that year he thawed, reconstituted his form and slowly made his way back.  He was determined to wreak havoc and revenge as best he could.  Luckily Naygrets are exceedingly arrogant but not very bright.  One Naygret all alone should never have announced his presence with the Stinkhorn "signature."  But they are so egotistical, he just couldn't help himself. 

After Shabow's confession, a plan was put into place.  On the next moonless night a cadre of Fayas set a trap, using Tatsell as "bait."  It didn't take long for that bumbling Naygret to fall right into it.  (The picture above shows the area where all of this took place.  A dank place best avoided usually.)  He was quickly subdued, reduced once again to a glob of gel and sealed in a metal freezer container.  You don't even want to know where that is now.  But, as soon as Winter sets in throughout the Northern Hemisphere, he will be on his way to the Arctic to join the other Naygrets - hopefully never to be seen again.   It's complicated, but doable.  Now, once again, tranquility reigns in Faya-land.

Except for Shabow!  Concealing the truth is not acceptable among the Fayas.  It is a major offense, no matter the reason.  To be continued . . . . .

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Claraya's Fairy Blog  August 31, 2013
Even though Shabow is the eldest elder of the Faya Clan and, as such, their leader, she is not immune to punishment if she disobeys their code or slips out of attunement with the laws of Nature.  Not divulging what she knew about the lost canister over the past six years, was inexcusable.  Any potential threat to the Faya clan must be revealed and addressed.  Had the returning Naygret not announced his presence via the Stinkhorn mushrooms, (a vain and foolhardy mistake) a tragedy might have ensued.  Her omission was compounded by the fact that she didn't even tell Dorg.  He was deeply hurt and offended.

I have not seen any of the Fayas since the day the Naygret was captured and contained.  I do know that Shabow is now in some sort of banished state, serving out a sentence of sorts to atone for what the Fayas consider a major offense, jeopardizing their safety.  I can only hope that when she returns, she and Dorg will be able to work things out.  Their relationship has been a troubled one, (something also chronicled in Claraya's Fairy Journal).  Knowing the hurdles they have already encountered and surmounted, I'm sure all will be well, eventually.  I must wait patiently and let this unsettled period run its course - something I was never good at until I met my fairy family.

Note:  The picture above gives you an idea of the type of place Shabow was banished to.  It must be austere, without any comfort, beauty or sustenance.  This certainly fills those requirements.  I can just picture this delicate being inside that dark crevice.  My heart aches for my fairy sister.

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Answering The Questions - Why Me?  Why Now?
Claraya's Fairy Blog   September 4, 2013
I first encountered my fairy family, The Fayas, in late August, 2006.  You may wonder why they chose me.  That, and a lot of other questions have to come to mind.  I thought perhaps sharing an entry from my journal back then might provide some answers.  It's been seven years today since I wrote this.   It seems like a lifetime ago!


From Claraya's Fairy Journal   September 4, 2006

WHY? It's the question that resonates through my head 24/7 now. Why here? Why now? Why me? So last night I went for a walk alone in the moonlight in the hopes that Shabow would appear, and she did. Right off (before I lost my nerve) I asked her why, point blank, never dreaming that I would get a real answer I could understand. But I did. She explained that her fairy clan (what's left of them) is extremely curious about the human behavior they see around them. And what better way to get explanations and attain some understanding than to actually establish communication with one. Besides, they are a bit miffed that there is so much misinformation about them.


As Shabow explained it, fairies are like humans in that they are not all alike as humans seem to think. They come in all shapes and sizes. There are pretty ones and ugly ones and those who aren't either. There are good ones and evil ones and those somewhere in between. They have different beliefs, different customs, different priorities. Humans make the mistake of generalizing and lumping fairies altogether, as they often do with their own species. The Faya Band would like to enlighten humans but they need to have contact with one to get this word out.

Shabow had been on the lookout for a human who gave off a purple aura - something she insists that I do. Hence, I am now the chosen one to be a conduit of information between the human world and the world of fay - or at least the world of the Faya Band of fairies. I know now I should not generalize. What I learn about the Faya Band does not necessarily apply to all fairies.

It was a lot to absorb but at least I have an answer to WHY, that I can live with. Now, instead of being anxious and wary about this new facet of my life, I'm quite excited to learn more. But Shabow says, "all in good time." I must be patient and let the fairies reveal themselves as they choose. I can do this! C.F.

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Why Me?  More Answers!

Claraya's Fairy Blog  September 11, 2013
I was summoned the other day to a little brook that runs through a rocky, wooded area not far from here.  I know the place well.  It is Shabow's secret spot - and now mine.  I was thrilled and relieved to be reunited with her.  She seemed to be totally recovered from the ordeal of having been banished.  It was a temporary punishment, one she had readily accepted as just, but now she had been released.  She was free to resume her normal life with the Fayas.  But first, she insisted she had to talk to me.

The reason for my summons surprised me.  It seems that while she was "imprisoned" in the rocks, she spent much of the time reflecting.  She remembered that it was the anniversary of my asking her why they had chosen me.  And she realized that then too, she had not divulged the whole truth.  As her story unfolded, I learned that my "chance" encounter with the Faya revel that summer night seven years ago, was not chance at all.  The Fayas had planned it.  They knew it was my habit to walk through that area in the evening and had deliberately chosen to hold their revel within hearing distance of my usual path.  They wanted me to find them.  And all of this had to do with something that had happened the week before - an overheard conversation that had left the Fayas enormously upset and
driven to make human contact.  To be continued . . .
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Claraya's Fairy Blog   September 17
…..continued 
In early August, 2006, a friend and her nine-year-old son spent a couple of weeks with me.  One day, he went exploring and lost his way.  I found him a short time later, sitting on a mossy log in the woods crying.  He was sure no one would ever find him before it got dark and wondered how I did.  I told him I often felt that maybe there were fairies living in the woods and that they had led me to him.  I did, indeed, often think this.

"There ain't no fairies,"  he scoffed through his sniffles.  "That stuff's all made up junk!  Fairies are stupid, make-believe garbage.  They're just a crazy, little kids story - and I'm not a little kid!"

What I didn't know at the time and just found out was there were, indeed, fairies about and they had overheard this.  They were shocked at how strongly he objected to the possibility of their existence. It hurt their feelings enormously and their initial reaction was to cry and cry.  Later, they called a Fairy Council to discuss the matter.

In earlier times, many country folk believed in fairies and acknowledged their hand in Nature's grand scheme.  But as populations increased and habitats dwindled, the Wee Folk had withdrawn and secluded themselves more and more from humans.  It was decided at the Faya Council that the time had come to reestablish contact.  They would proceed cautiously but resolutely to let at least one human know unequivocally that they still exist.

Since they had already been observing me and felt I displayed the qualities they were looking for, they set the stage for contact.  And as Shabow explained the other day, she knew from my "purple aura,"  that I possessed at least a drop of fairy "blood."  What I thought for seven years now, was a chance encounter, was actually an orchestrated meeting.  While Shabow felt guilty for not having divulged this sooner, the disclosure changed nothing.  I've shared too much with my Faya family to be upset at how the meeting came about.  I'm just grateful to have been the one chosen.  How else would I have ever
known my own true ancestry?!

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Black Walnut Time
Claraya's Fairy Blog  September 26, 2013
I've been remiss in posting but it has been a very busy time.  Things are finally back to normal in Faya Land.  Shabow has served her punishment for evading the truth and been forgiven.  Once again, she is in charge and currently overseeing all the extensive preparations for a Winter underground. 

This week my fairy family has been focusing on nuts - gathering, sorting, hulling, drying.  It's an involved process.  There are Black Walnuts, Northern Pecans, and Hazelnuts or Filberts.  The Black Walnuts are the most labor intensive and messy - more so for humans than fairy folk.  The Fayas always make short work of these projects while I struggle along.  Yesterday, after collecting a bucket of Black Walnuts, hulling them and becoming disgusted with the whole process, Shabow and Dorg finally took pity on me.  Compassionate folks that they are, I now have a whole quart of perfect walnut pieces drying in the cupboard - no muss, no fuss!  It pays to have fairy friends!

As soon as they're properly dried, I will be making a batch of old-fashioned, Black Walnut Fudge.  Such chocolate, walnut-y, soul-satisfying goodness!  And speaking of Black Walnuts, you might want to read Carla's poem on poemhunter.com entitled The Walnut Man.  For now, I'm about to order a bottle or two of Vin de Noix Green Walnut Wine from northwestwinestoyou.com  I think maybe the pungent aroma of Black Walnuts permeating the air here right now has gone to my head.

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The Downsizing of Fairy Folk
Claraya's Fairy Blog  October 6, 2013
Did you know that fairy folk used to be bigger?  Not as big as humans, but still larger than they are now.  The Fayas explain it as an "evolution thing."  As habitats and resources dwindled over centuries of "human progress," they were forced to adjust by reducing their size.  It was a gradual process that actually happened in two distinct stages.   

The first, had to do with what happened to the Native People before Europeans.  You see, like the Native People who were here in North America long before European invasion, the Fayas and other fairy clans have called this home for centuries.  At first, small groups of families joined together to build communities and share the work of hunting and gathering.  There was no shortage then of food or shelter or resources of any kind.  During that time, Native American humans knew "The Little People," and respected them.  For many, many years they lived in harmony.

But the populations of the Native People grew and grew.  Larger and larger cities had to be built to accommodate them.  One site in southwest Illinois, now called Cahokia (the picture above shows it today) was the largest city north of Mexico and is believed to have been home to 10,000 to 20,000 people.   More and more resources and building materials were needed to expand and maintain these cities.  Larger quantities of foods were needed to feed everyone.  And, of course, more people living in close quarters competing for food and resources meant more problems, more disagreements, more conflict.

The Fayas coped with these growing populations and escalating human dramas by retreating farther into the wilderness, limiting contact, learning to reduce consumption.  Over time, they became smaller and smaller.  Over time, the humans became fewer and fewer. The Fayas say their demise was inevitable.  Hunger sent many seeking other areas where food was more plentiful.  A depletion of the surrounding woodlands brought a halt to building and repairing but more importantly, left The People without firewood to heat their homes or cook their food.  Families drifted away seeking more hospitable environments.  Disease, reduced numbers, adverse weather, crop failures, conflicts, and a pervasive breakdown in their societal structure took its toll.  It was a slow process, but eventually Cahokia was completely abandoned.

Today, Cahokia is a World Heritage Site.  No one knows what actually happened to all the people who once lived there.  The Fayas say other Fairy Folk have told them  "they were dispersed throughout the land like thistledown on the wind." 
To be continued. . . . . . . . . . . . .

cahokiamounds.org

Claraya's Fairy Blog  October 11, 2013  . . . .  To continue
The second major shift that caused further "shrinkage" to fairy size, was the coming of Europeans.  You don't want to mention Christopher Columbus discovering America to any of the Fayas.  They find the whole idea hilarious and appalling all at once.  People were here - both regular people and "The Little People."  The Americas had already been discovered - thousands of years before.  They point to Cahokia, and Watson Brake and Poverty Point (only a few of the inhabited places known) as evidence.

But little did anyone know, when Columbus started offloading people with strange religions, beliefs, diseases, cultural differences, etc., that their world was about to change drastically forever.  Progress was the mantra of the newcomers and woe be it to anything or anyone that stood in the way.  The centuries that followed virtually eliminated all those who lived here first.  The Little People survived by shrinking further, withdrawing deeper, adjusting their needs and desires to less and less.

They hold no grudges.  That's a foreign concept to fairies.  It's simply not in their nature.  They love the lives they have now - as they loved the ones they had then.  (Some of them who were here then are still here - believe it or not!)  They don't look back.  They don't dwell on the past.  They live in the moment - always!  It's something I strive daily to emulate.

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Fairies Love Cornhole - Their Own Version
Claraya's Fairy Blog  October 17, 2013
The Fayas love to play Cornhole - you know - that game with the slanted board that sits on the ground.  It has a hole in the center close to the top and you throw small bags of corn at it.  The idea is to get the bag in the hole.  Its origin is debated but some authorities believe it was played by Native Americans and "discovered" when Europeans arrived in the U.S. interior.  Others say it was invented in Germany before that.

Over the last decade, Cornhole has grown in popularity and many a barn and garage in The Heartland (and elsewhere) now accommodates at least one Cornhole board, not only furnishing the means for occasional games but organized tournaments, as well.  There are loosely formed clubs for Cornhole fanciers and there are national organizations hosting world class competitions for professional players.

A quick search on the Internet will quickly provide all sorts of information about Cornhole, plus sources for equipment.  Pre-made boards are readily available, but the design is so simple that it's relatively easy to make your own.  You can find details on how to play and how to score, terminology, and organizations you can join.  The American Cornhole Association has a website - playcornhole.org  The American Cornhole Organization also has one - americancornhole.com

The Fayas are fascinated that this old game has become such a beloved pastime.
to be continued .  .  .

Claraya's Fairy Blog  October 25, 2013
. . .To continue:
The history of Cornhole in the Americas is obscure.  The Fayas like to claim that Native Americans stole the idea of it from The Little People and created a version of their own.  Suffice it to say, it's been around a long time, probably as long as Native Americans have been growing corn.  Imagine sitting around the fire bored silly, looking at the pile of shelled corn in front of you and thinking, "Shouldn't there be something we could do with this besides eat it? Maybe there's a way to play a game with it like The Little People do."

Understandably, the Fayas will not allow me to take a picture of any actual Faya sites, belongings, etc. so I always have to come up with a reasonable facsimile when I want to show you something.  This is a case in point.  The picture here illustrates my version of what a Faya Cornhole board looks like.  Keep in mind, the Fayas are very small and delicate.  They need to use materials that are lightweight.  Their Cornhole "board" is comprised of a dried cornhusk attached with pine resin to a rectangle of sticks for support, then mounted at an angle. A hole is cut in the center at the top.  Instead of bags of corn that would be way too heavy for them, they use single kernels of corn and sometimes acorn caps to throw at the hole - much more manageable for Wee Folk.

They play two versions - one where they stand on the ground at a prescribed distance and throw the kernel or acorn at the hole, the other where they fly above the hole (again at a predetermined distance away) and drop the object into the hole.  It's trickier than you might think.  Fairies are forbidden to use any kind of magic in doing this, much as humans are forbidden to cheat - even though some do.  Warm Fall days will find them outside playing, but for the most part, they play indoors underground during the long Winter months.  I have witnessed and partaken in many raucous, highly competitive tournaments. (Of course this is after I've been zapped to fairy size). I have yet to win!  Maybe this year!
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Halloween Threat
Claraya's Fairy Blog:  October 31, 2013 
It seems appropriate to repeat this entry from last year.  You never know what this day has in store, especially if you're a fairy.

Claraya's Fairy Blog:  October 30, 2012
Tomorrow is Halloween, a crazy mix of thrills and chills that I've never quite been a fan of.  The Fayas, however,  (never ones to miss a chance to party) celebrate in high style - except in 2006, the year I first became an adopted member of their clan.  That Halloween was a disturbing time for them.  My journal entry then read as follows:

October 31, 2006
I found a note tucked in the dead morning glory vines on the fence outside my door this morning. It read: “Pass this on to Shabow immediately. She helped me once. I’m returning the favor.” On the other side of the note was this unsettling poem.

There be evil abroad in this world tonight
Wreaking hatred, cunning and spite.
Spewing darkness, squelching light.
Banishing goodness, breeding fright.

Beware of goblin. Be mindful of sprite.
Flee from eyes that shine too bright.
Stay underground. Keep out of sight.
There be evil abroad in this world tonight.

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All ended well, but it introduced me to some of perils the fairies can face  Thankfully, nothing seems to be awry again this year.
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Acorns & Artichokes
Claraya's Fairy Blog  November 13, 2013
It has been a hectic time once again in the Land of Faya.  Not that my fairy family needs my help, but I love to take part in all the preparations for their Winter underground.  In the past week, we've been making flours out of acorns and Jerusalem artichokes.  The picture to the right shows a Jerusalem artichoke plant when it was blooming this summer.  Helianthus tuberosus (or Jerusalem artichoke) is native to this region and Native Americans valued it as a food.  The showy blossoms look a bit like sunflowers and the fairies love them, but it's the tuber they patiently wait to harvest.

We did that last week after a number of frosts had imbued the knobby tubers with a little extra flavor.  This bounty was in addition to all the acorns we had collected the week before.  Harvesting, drying, and milling Jerusalem artichokes and acorns into flour is quite an ordeal for humans but the fairies have a stream-lined process.  And, of course, they turn the whole operation into a very festive occasion.  They refer to it as their Arti-corn Jamboree.

In the depths of Winter, they will make all sorts of yummy treats with these flours.  I particularly like a cookie they make with acorn flour, hazelnuts and honey.  Simple, but so delicious.  Until meeting the Fayas, I was unaware of acorn flour.  Since then, I've found how-to articles, sources and recipes on the Internet.   These Little Folk are constantly teaching me new things.

Jerusalem artichokes are not related to the artichoke you are probably familiar with.  The plant is also commonly called American sunflower and sunchoke.  The picture to the left shows a pile of tubers.  If not using these for food, they can be planted to produce more.  Jerusalem artichokes are often found growing wild along roadsides and on the edges of woodlots throughout the Midwest.
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The Fayas' Fairy Geese
Claraya's Fairy Blog   November 19, 2013
Since November, 2006, I have been honored to join my Faya family when "the fairy geese" make their biennial stops at an area lake on their migratory journeys north and south, spring and fall.  We had received word last Saturday via an intricate network of informers, that they would arrive on Sunday afternoon.  Imagine our dismay when multitudes of severe storms broke out all across Illinois, Indiana and Michigan.  Not to worry.  They sensed the threat before we did and delayed their arrival.

So instead of Sunday evening, we found ourselves gathered at dusk on Monday to greet our transient visitors.  There is an ancient, steadfast bond between the Fayas and this particular gaggle of geese.  They share a lengthy history of looking after one another.  As usual,  I watched spellbound Monday night and found myself overcome with memories of that first time when I was invited to share this solemn ritual with the Faya fairies.  I thought you might like to read part of the entry in my journal that I kept then. . .

From Claraya's Fairy Journal - November, 2006
. . . The images from that night will be imprinted in my memory bank forever. The scene that unfolded before me as I stood just beyond the tree line bordering the lake on one side was surreal. An almost-full moon had just risen above the tree line on the opposite side of the lake. As it slowly ascended into a diamond studded, cobalt blue satin canvas of night sky, a pearly luminescence spilled over the land and shimmered off the lake. From shore to shore, ethereal veils of fog rose from the glistening water - then vanished into a palpable silence.

All across the mirror-like surface, families of slumbering geese floated soundlessly. Along the far edge of the lake, others rested - some with their necks and heads extended flat on the ground, others with beaks tucked behind their wings. Here and there, strategically spaced, regal sentinels stood guard. Motionless, heads erect - they exuded a no-nonsense alertness designed to instill unwavering confidence in the flock they were protecting. Who wouldn’t sleep soundly knowing such devoted guardians were keeping watch over their safety? Only an occasional ripple of water, muffled goose murmur, or awed Faya sigh breached the profound stillness of this magical night. We watched, mesmerized, for a long time. . . .
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Melancholy Tea
Claraya's Fairy Blog  December 2, 2013
I've been feeling a little blue since seeing the "fairy geese" off a couple of weeks ago. It's an emotional time that's very hard to explain to human folk.  I guess you would have to know the story of how this gaggle of geese once saved the Fayas to understand.  Actually, it wasn't these geese who saved them, but their ancestors.  And even some of the Fayas from that time are gone now.  Regardless, it's a bond and a ritual that has spanned many, many decades.  I am honored and deeply moved to be allowed to participate - Fall and Spring when migration occurs.

For some reason, this time I was more deeply affected by their departure.  Then shortly thereafter, the temperatures took a nosedive and I have not seen the Fayas since.  They are cozily underground enjoying all of their Winter activities, while here I am, up-top - feeling a little rejected and melancholy.  After several days of frumping around feeling sorry for myself, I decided what I needed was Melancholy Tea.

What's that?  It's a fragrant, herbally delicious brew of rosemary and lavender.  An herbalist friend told me about it several years ago.  I bring a cup of water to a boil, add a teaspoon each of lavender and rosemary, cover and let steep for ten minutes.  I strain this into my favorite cup (like the pretty one shown here) and sip.  By evening, after three or four cups of this throughout the day, I was feeling much improved.  The blues seemed to vanish, replaced by a yearning for reds and greens.  Out came the Christmas decorations.  I am now decked out for the holidays.  And - I just got an invitation (and a lovely wee dress)  from Shabow for a party tonight.  Since it will be above freezing this evening, one of the Fayas will be here by 9:00 P.M., to zap me to fairy size and whisk me away.  Oh my!  I can hardly wait.

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Fairy Mead & Fairy Magic
Claraya's Fairy Blog  December 5, 2013
The party the Fayas invited me to was everything I'd hoped for and more.  They always are!  Fairies are the ultimate party "people."  Although they never need a special occasion to throw a party, this time they had one.  You see, the Fayas have a meadery - like a winery only they brew mead - that alcoholic beverage made from honey and water that has been around for thousands of years.  This night, it was time to decant a batch of mead and, of course, a revel was almost a requirement. 

The dress Shabow provided me with was a breathtaking forest green unlike any shade I have ever seen.  The lush fabric shimmered in an odd way I couldn't explain.  Tiny jewels embellished the bodice and the sweeping hem of the dress, designed to create a swirl of glittering light while dancing.  And, oh, did it ever!

The party began with the decanting and sampling of the mead.  It was from a batch the Fayas had made this past summer using sumptuous wildflower honey collected from local hives.  Their recipe is centuries old (maybe more) and closely guarded, but I do know this one incorporates pears and a few herbs.  Not ordinarily a fan of mead, I found this one divine!  Maybe it was the surroundings!  Maybe it was the company!  Maybe it had something to do with the dropper of a strange potion that I saw Dorg put into the vat in July.  Regardless, I was quickly caught up in the festivities and the rest is just a delightful blur. 

I only know that later when I awoke back in my own bed, in my regular size, in my own plain clothes, I felt enveloped in the most wonderful state of euphoria.  Fairy Mead!  Fairy Magic!
What a winning combination!
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Panna Cotta - A Fairy Favorite!
Claraya's Fairy Blog  December 17, 2013
I made Panna Cotta yesterday (a favorite of the Faya fairies).  They love its silky texture and the simplicity of the ingredients.  Rich cream, milk, sugar, vanilla bean - you can't get much simpler than that.  And the end result is just divine.  I like to top mine with blackberry sauce; a mixture of fresh blackberry juice strained of seeds, sugar and tapioca flour.  I actually made the sauce last summer from berries along the hedgerow and froze it in small containers just for this purpose.  The sweet, yet tart, flavor is a perfect foil for the mild Panna Cotta.  And what a lovely contrast of colors.

Believe it or not, the Fayas often make this themselves.  They probably had some last night too.  But - while I have to cook mine, they don't.  At least not in the way we think of.  They take the concept of "working culinary magic" to a different level.  They really do employ magic!  No standing over a hot stove for them - EVER!

While I thoroughly enjoyed indulging in this heavenly dessert, it made me a little sad too.  Two weeks of frigid temperatures, snow and ice have kept the Fayas underground.  I miss them.  I'm quite sure they are having a raucous good time without me.  This is story time, riddling time, dancing time, feasting time - hours of endless merriment that only fairies could devise.  There are no such things as idleness or boredom in their world.  How I wish I could be with them.  Warmer temperatures and a thaw are forecast for the weekend.  Perhaps Shabow and Dorg will come to whisk me away for a Yuletide party.  It is my dearest Christmas wish.

P.S.  I will have Carla post the Panna Cotta recipe on the Fairy Recipe page.  Look for it in the days ahead.
Burning The Mullein Torch
Claraya's Fairy Blog  December 21, 2013
Joy of joys the weather warmed on the Eve of the Winter Solstice.  A message arrived in the afternoon to meet the Fayas at the Ritual Circle in the Deep Woods just before midnight.  I can't tell you how awed and excited I was as the hour approached.  Having attended this Seasonal Rite of Passage before, I took my Mullein torch with me.  Having properly soaked it in tallow several days before, it (and I) were ready.

I found the Fayas already gathered around the ceremonial spot.  A small fire burned in the center, casting an eerie light on the ring of skeleton trees encircling us - like sentinels in the dark night.  A light, misty fog wafted here and there.  Beyond the tree line, in deep shadows, glittery eyes could be seen - watching.  Even the wildlife come to observe this solemn Rite.

In a language I know not, in a cadence I have yet to master, the Fayas chanted ancient messages to the Four Directions - much like Native Americans are known to do.  The focus this night was acknowledgement that a corner in the astronomical year was turning - the sun was reaching its nadir - its lowest point in the Northern Hemisphere that marks the day with the longest number of hours of darkness.  From this point, little by little, the Sun would shine longer and longer, brighter and brighter each day, heralding in, eventually, a new growing season.  For the Ancients and those today who are still attuned to the Earth's cycles, this is a holy time - a time for renewal, re-evaluating.

On Shabow's cue, I extended my Mullein torch to the fire.  It caught.  Flared!  I placed the end of the taper in the thawed  ground, standing it upright, letting its light illuminate us all.  There were shouts of jubilation and clapping as the circle broke and merry dancing ensued.  I watched in wonder, filled with a sense of peace and contentment I have never experienced before.  I thought to myself, "Dare I hope this lasts into the New Year?" Just then, having read my thoughts, (as she so often does)  Shabow was at my side whispering in my ear, "You must make it so."
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Nurturing Body & Spirit!
Claraya's Fairy Blog  January 10, 2014
I have been exceedingly remiss in my posting, I know!  Now it is time to get back on track.  After that moving and joyous celebration of the Winter Solstice, I took Shabow's remark to heart.  When I wondered that night if the sense of peace and contentment I felt then would last into the New Year, she had whispered in my ear, "You must make it so!" I immediately embarked on doing just that.

After getting all of my pottery orders finished and delivered for the holidays, I frivolously packed my bags and headed south to warmer climes - no plan, no itinerary, no commitments. For three weeks, I combed the beaches, meandered through quaint shops, indulged in divine cuisine, sipped intoxicating libations and totally submerged myself in personal pampering.  It was something I had never done before - EVER.

Perhaps it wasn't what Shabow had in mind when she prodded me to "make it so," but I know now it was just what I needed (what I've needed for a long time!)  I had felt like a wheel with a broken cog - every revolution creating a jarring in my life, frazzling my nerves.  The cog has been repaired now.  The wheel is running smoothly.  My life is back in balance - probably more so than it has been since that fateful day in 2006 when I first encountered the Fayas.  My association with them has been a wonderful journey - but unsettling at times too.
My lovely getaway has put everything back in perspective and now I can hardly wait for temperatures to warm again.  Who knows what lies in store for my fairy family and I to share come Spring.
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Captive In Captivating Captiva
Claraya's Fairy Blog  February 3, 2014
Have you ever felt like you were under a spell?  It's how I've felt ever since the Winter Solstice celebration with the Fayas.  At that time, I was overcome with such an intense feeling of tranquility that I made a wish that it would last beyond - into the New Year.  Shabow immediately told me that if that's what I truly wanted, I must make it so myself.  But I'm thinking she's been playing a role in my decisions and life ever since.  Not that the Fayas weren't already impacting my life in a huge way, but this is different.

I've never taken time to submerse myself in myself before like I've done recently.  Fairy guidance!  Fairy intervention? I wonder what's at work here.  After returning in mid-January from a lengthy vacation in Florida, I simply could not get back into my regular routine.  Part of it had to do with the lack of orders for my pottery studio.  Then there was the issue of record breaking low temperatures plus a record shortage of propane to heat my studio and fire my kiln.  And over-riding all of this was a nagging pull to be elsewhere.  So when friends offered me the use of their house on Captiva Island in Florida for two weeks, I jumped at the chance.  I know! I know!  I had just gotten back from Florida.  But such an unusual opportunity seemed too serendipitous to refuse.  And I still had not unpacked - which seemed to say that, perhaps, I wasn't meant to.  Taking Shabow's advice once again, I listened to my heart and headed south.  More later.
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February 5, 2014 - to continue. . . . .
Captiva Island in the Gulf of Mexico off the western coast of Florida is a paradise undo itself.  I have been charmed by its mesmerizing breezes, the murmur (or roar) of its tides, and its tranquil ambience, since first visiting years ago as a child.  It is a place where secluded beaches are the main attraction with an occasional foray to the Mucky Duck for delicious local fare.  But there's another special place there too, that always draws me.

It is a grave site dating 1901, in Captiva's Historic Cemetery.  Many visitors to Captiva never leave without stopping here to pay their respects.  You will often find flowers or pretty shells left on the headstone in remembrance. The wording is weathered but can still be deciphered.  It marks the resting place of Ann Emma Brainerd (1891 - 1901). Ann came from Canada with her family to live on Buck Key across the sound from Captiva.  She and her mother would often boat across to Captiva in the evenings to watch the sunset.

When she was ten, she told the owner of Captiva property at the time, William Binder, that this one particular spot on Captiva Island was the most beautiful place she had ever seen.  Mr. Binder was moved by her revelation and agreed to sell her a small plot there.  She gave him a small gold coin she had received as a going away present from her grandparents in Canada to complete the purchase.  Ironically, shortly thereafter, Ann stepped on a nail, was stricken with tetanus and died.  Her heartbroken family and Mr. Binder, laid her to rest on her beloved Captiva land, which subsequently became the Captiva Cemetery.  She is surrounded there by her family and Mr. Binder.

It is a story that touches the heart, much as the island itself does.  Is it any wonder, once under its spell, one wants to linger here forever, held captive by Captiva.
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Herbal Tea & Red Velvet - Cookies That Is!
Claraya's Fairy Blog  Feb 22, 2014  My, oh, my - it has been a whirlwind of activity since I got home.  I'm just now finding time to blog and give you a little update.  Immediately after my last entry, I was inundated with orders at my pottery studio.  It seems that people had respected my need to get away, but now that I am back, they don't want me sitting idle.  And that's a good thing!

I did indulge myself last week while doing other projects, by making my own special teacup - one with no handle so I can wrap my hands around it and savor its warmth as I sip.  I show it here filled with a favorite herbal tea I concoct from Hibiscus flowers, Alfalfa, Lemongrass, Lemon Balm, Nettle and Clover.  It's pretty, delicious (I add a little honey) and nourishes the body as well as the spirit.  I have served it to the Faya ladies before and they love it.

Speaking of the Fayas, I have had no word from them since I returned.  I'm quite sure they are reveling this long Winter away deep in their cozy chambers without a thought to what's going on "up-top."  As I've said before, they live totally in the moment.  Sometimes, I wish I could do that more but it seems for human folk, there is a certain amount of planning ahead always required.  For instance, I'm already thinking about the first tea party I will have with my fairy friends come Spring.  Yesterday, I made each of them a special little cup.  Brewing and drinking Sassafras tea is one of the first things they do after coming up-top in Spring.  They will be thrilled to have new, dainty little cups to sip from.  I can hardly wait - but I know they are in no hurry.

P.S. The lovely heart cookie that I also treated myself to is actually two Red Velvet cookies sandwiched together with cream cheese frosting.  Oh, yeah!  It was truly decadent!  Maybe I can get Carla to post the recipe on the recipe page in the near future.
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Feyland - The Dark Realm
by Anthea Sharp

Claraya's Fairy Blog  February 27, 2014
Relentless frigid temperatures are still keeping me estranged from my fairy family.  Although I've been very busy with work and my human family and friends - I still find myself at loose ends sometimes - and yearning for that Fairy World that remains for the time being locked deep within the frozen earth.

To assuage my discontent, I've turned to reading some new tales of fairies and the Faery Realm and have found there are many amazing authors with books to satisfy anyone's interest in this genre. Right now, I am totally immersed in Feyland - The Dark Realm.  Masterfully written by Anthea Sharp, it is Book 1 of her Feyland Trilogy.

Imagine playing an interactive computer game set in a mystical forest of incredible beauty.  When you enter, you're in a fairy ring of mushrooms in a world of enchantment.  Harmless enough - BUT! Little by little, the game lures you from fairy ring to fairy ring,  from one level and set of challenges to another, introducing a wide array of characters from the realm of fantasy along the way.  At each level, each set of challenges becomes more intense, more frightening and the characters become more menacing.  This wasn't expected.  After all, it is only a computer game.  Or is it?

Our heroine and hero are very likable, intelligent teenagers, each with life situations that add enormous depth to the story.  For mythical beings, their virtual adversaries are unbelievably realistic.  It becomes obvious that something has gone terribly awry in the creation of this computer game.  Actual injury and pain are inflicted.  Whoa!  That shouldn't happen.  Oh my gosh!  I've got to finish this.  More later!
  . . . . . .
Claraya's Fairy Blog  March 4, 2014  To continue . . . . .
Well, with breath held and heart racing, I finished the book!  What an incredible read.  Anthea Sharp is an extremely gifted writer and weaver of tales.  And I must say, even though this book is classified as "Young Adult," any age adult could find themselves totally immersed in this story.  In fact, it has a lot to teach adults about the world young people today live in and the stress and turmoil that overshadows their lives.

But as much as I was drawn to the Feyland imagery and intrigue, I also became completely smitten with the hero, Tam Linn.  His family circumstances and living conditions move you to tears.  He has been forced to shoulder a level of responsibility for his mother and brother that few adults would be able to handle.  I became keenly aware that his plight is not unlike the plight of many children around the world - young people driven to mature long before their age dictates.

Suffice it to say, I must get Book 2 - Feyland - The Bright Court.  I simply have to see what happens to Tam Linn, his family and the lovely Jennett (who is now also smitten with the dashing Tam Linn).
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The Fairy Lake
Claraya's Fairy Blog  March 12, 2014
I went to the lake last Sunday.  After a couple of days of above freezing temperatures the ice was melting.  I wanted to be sure there was some open water - enough to accommodate a brief visit by  water fowl.  You see, I had gotten word that the Fairy Geese were on their way.  I call them that because this particular flock of geese are special friends of the Fayas.  They stop at this lake every Autumn and Spring on their migratory journeys.  Usually the Fayas are here to greet them - but not this year.  It's still too inhospitable "up top" for fairy folk.

Luckily, a lot of melting was in progress.  Since several more days of above normal temperatures are predicted, the timing of their arrival should be perfect.  Of course, they must already know that.  How, I've never been able to decipher - but they are uncannily  attuned to weather fluctuations  and windows of opportunity.   They will be here on Friday, after another winter storm has come and gone and another warm up is in progress.  It's all about the timing - and the instinctive seasonal call that dictates their lives.  I'll be at the lake, waiting to greet them.  I promised the Fayas I would and you do not break a promise to fairies - EVER!

Fazin' Out The Raisin!
Claraya's Fairy Blog  March 20, 2014
Have I told you that sometimes Shabow shrinks me to fairy size?  It's a very strange sensation and one that has consequences if done too often.  But last night, the Fayas had a "Welcoming Spring" party and I was invited.  Since it was too cold outside, the festivities took place in their majestic underground chambers.  Of course, in order to attend, I had to be their size.  I could never fit through the entrance otherwise.

Anyway, the weather has warmed just enough for the Fayas to unseal the opening to their Winter home.  And as Dorg put it, it was time to be "Fazin' Out the Raisin."  You see, they make this scrumptious Raisin Liqueur in the summer and let it sit for months to meld and mellow.  I supply the bourbon, raisins and spices.  They supply apples and know-how!  It's a secret recipe they've devised.  I know it includes a blend of cinnamon, whole cloves and nutmeg with a hint of sassafras.  The apples and raisins add sweetness.  And while there is some apple in it, it's predominantly raisins. 

They break out this libation (that's what the Fayas call all of their drinks), just before the Winter Solstice.  From there on, they are popping bourbon infused raisins and sipping the liqueur until the Spring Equinox - at which time they have the "Fazin' Out The Raisin" revel.  Any of the liqueur that's left then is polished off in high style.  I must say, we were all a little tipsy when the night ended.  I even saw one of the Faya ladies inside a barrel licking the remnants in the bottom.  Very unfairy-like!

Note:  I know that in our world we would refer to this as phasing out the Raisin Liqueur, but the Fayas sometimes have their own way of saying and spelling things.  It tickles their funny bones (and, yes, they do have them) to mess with humans!
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Rose Scented Geranium Teacakes
Claraya's Fairy Journal  April 3, 2014
Those ornery Faya fairies have only been "up top" a few days and already they are playing tricks on me.  I made Rose Scented Geranium Teacakes the other day.  I put some on this lovely hand-painted plate so I could take a picture to share with you.  Then, something came up and I had to leave for a while.  When I came back, all the teacakes were gone.  Raybright had left a note saying how yummy and irresistible they were.  Tatsell had added, "P.S. Sorry!  We couldn't help ourselves!"  All they left were crumbs!  I'll have Carla post the recipe on the Recipe Page.  In the meantime, you'll just have to trust me that these are uniquely delicious, fragrant and pretty. 

Rose Scented Geranium (Pelargonium graveolens) is one of my favorite herb plants.  Varieties include Attar of Rose, Grey Lady Plymouth, True Rose, and Rober's Lemon Rose.  I grow these in large pots and take them indoors in the Winter.  They become a bit straggly, but if you cut off the trailing branches, let the ends dry a few hours and put them in soil, they will sprout roots and grow new plants.  And whenever you disturb the leaves, you are rewarded with a heavenly, relaxing scent.

No wonder the essential oils from this plant are so valued in aromatherapy.  Put a few drops in a misting bottle, fill with 2 oz of water and spritz your home before expecting guests (or just for yourself).  The scent immediately soothes and relaxes, creating a welcoming, comforting ambiance.  It's certainly understandable why the Fayas love it so much - to smell and to taste.
Fairy Teacakes
Claraya's Fairy Blog  April 11, 2014 
Look at images of fairy teacakes on any of the search engines and you will find a gorgeous feast for the eyes.  I think you probably inhale 1,000 calories just drooling over them.  Shabow likes to sit on my shoulder and watch as I scroll through them on the computer.  I always  giggle at her gasps of delight.  She has endowed her fairy seal of approval on many a frilly confection.

But in reality, not a single true fairy teacake is pictured there.  What you find on the Internet are creations contrived by humans.  And fairies are perfectly fine with that. It's just that their own teacakes are much, much smaller - more like the size of a thimble.  My smallest teacake pan makes little cakes, but they are still too large for Faya fairies.    A half dozen fairies would suffer sugar overload sharing just one.

The solution?  They take human fairy cakes (because they do love them!) and crumble them up.  Teacake crumbs are much more manageable for Wee Folk.  Having discovered this through my association with the Fayas, I now have several special plates that I serve teacake crumbs on just for them.

One particular little fairy plate I use is their favorite.  Handmade by Keith and Darlene Fletcher, the dish shown here (along with many other shapes and sizes they produce) are made by pressing real flowers and herbs into clay, then hand painting the impressions before a final firing.  Each piece is a one of a kind beauty.  Called "These Blooming Dishes" they are available at Hearthside Handmades in Little Switzerland, North Carolina - a charming Blue Ridge Mountain village north of Asheville. It's an intriguing place to explore.  Wee Folk abound there!
Dandelion Wine Tonic
Claraya's Fairy Blog  April 22, 2014

The lowly dandelion.
The bane of lawnsmen,
So maligned - unless,
You infuse its green,
In a carafe of wine.

One of my Rites of Spring is sipping a simple Dandelion Wine on the first few really warm days of Spring - outside where I can be surrounded by flowering red bud trees and a chorus of courting birds.  It's not the kind of Dandelion Wine made in some parts where gallons of dandelion blossoms are harvested to make a true wine.  The type I "make" is so much easier.

I learned this years ago from an herbalist friend who claims the brew makes a healthful spring tonic.  First, I collect a cup of fresh dandelion blossoms and leaves. I have an area on our property where I let the dandelions flourish just for this purpose.  It's essential that I know they are free of any chemicals.  After washing them gently and patting them dry, I put them in a small carafe and then fill the carafe with wine. I have used Pinot Grigio, White Zinfandel, and Chardonnay.  I then cover the carafe and set it in the refrigerator for at least an hour, but several hours is better.  When I'm ready to take a break amidst Spring and all her glory, I strain some into a wine glass.

Dandelion is considered a diuretic, among other things.  Country folk (and fairy folk too!) always believed that after a long Winter, the body was sluggish and in need of a "tonic" to get everything functioning well again.  Rhubarb, sassafras tea, and dandelion greens were all thought to aid this process.  I'm not saying my Dandelion Wine jumpstarts my system, but I certainly do enjoy it and the ritual of making it each Spring. 


Claraya's Mint Julep
Claraya's Fairy Blog  April 30, 2014
Saturday, May 3, is the 140th "Run For The Roses," the world famous Kentucky Derby held the first Saturday in May at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky.  My father and I have a "friendly" wager on this race every year.  And every year, (if not there) I watch the race on TV with a plate of butter sauteed morel mushrooms, fresh from the woods, and the official Kentucky Derby drink, the Mint Julep.  I don't don an outrageously, frilly hat, as is customary, but I certainly do if I'm there in person.

Now I have to confess that years ago, I decided the standard recipe for a Mint Julep was really not to my liking.  Usually a Mint Julep consists only of a sugar syrup made of equal parts of sugar and water, fresh mint, a good Kentucky Bourbon and ice.  To me, it is too cloyingly sweet.  So I tweaked the recipe to suit me.  I suppose, technically, it is no longer a true Mint Julep, but I like it and it has Kentucky Bourbon in it.

Here's my recipe:
1 cup water
1 cup sugar
Fresh mint sprigs
Any fine Kentucky Bourbon (at Churchill Downs, Early Times gets the nod but it's all a matter of preference).
Tonic water


First make a simple syrup by boiling the sugar and water together.  Cool. Add a dozen mint leaves (I use Kentucky Colonel Mint).  Cover and refrigerate overnight.  To assemble the drink I use a souvenir glass I acquired years ago and put some crushed ice in it.  Add 1 T. simple syrup and 2 to 3 ounces bourbon. Top off the glass with tonic water or club soda.  Stir for a minute then garnish with a fresh mint sprig.  Sip leisurely! After one of these I'm always convinced I hear the strains of "My Old Kentucky Home" and hoofbeats!
 
 Note:  One of my other favorite "recipes" for the fabled Mint Julep is this:  “Pluck the mint gently from its bed, just as the dew of the evening is about to form on it. Select the choicer sprigs only, but do not rinse them. Prepare the simple syrup and measure out a half-tumbler of whiskey.  Pour the whiskey into a well-frosted silver cup, throw the other ingredients away, and drink the whiskey.”  Henry Watterson, Pulitzer Prize-winning editor of The Louisville Courier-Journal, 1840 – 1921.
Fairy Stone State Park
Claraya's Fairy Blog  May 15, 2014
I learned the wonders of the wheel and the kiln at a very young age in the "hills and hollars" of Virginia - not far from Fairy Stone State Park outside the small town of Stuart.  It is an enchanted area devoid of wee folk, but not their legends.  Mysterious things are said to have happened there many long years ago.  Evidence can still be found of the calamity that befell the little people who once inhabited this region. Fairy aficionados from around the world have made pilgrimages to the site just to collect their own piece of such evidence.

I have mine - a treasured fairy stone I found myself on one particular visit there.  It is steeped in memories of elusive presences and whispered words I still hear in the depths of dreams.  I wear it on a gold chain of my own creation.  I cherish it for many reasons.  It is my talisman.  It is a keeper of secrets and dreams and fears.  It is a wellspring of hope and inspiration and (dare I say?) magic!

I find it exceedingly fascinating that Carla's book, Beyond Betwixt Between, incorporates The Le
gend of The Fairy Stones that means so much to me.  Pure serendipity!


Note:  The picture above shows some actual fairy stone finds.  The one to the right shows the sign posted at the Fairy Stone Hunt Site.
Doug Elliott's Locust Blossom Cordial
Claraya's Fairy Blog  May 23, 2014
A few of the Faya's ladies came by this afternoon to join me in a Spring Ritual - the sipping of Locust Blossom Cordial.  Never heard of it?  You can learn more about it on a fascinating website:  dougelliott.com 

Doug is a renowned Naturalist, Herbalist, Humorist, Storyteller, Author, Folk Singer & a Harmonica Champ.  Two of his books Wild Roots and Wildwoods Wisdom, have an honored place on my bookshelf.  He has traveled from Canada to Central America, studying plants, telling stories, singing songs and entertaining countless fans.  And now through the wonders of the Internet, he shares some of his woods wisdom with the world.  But back to the Locust Blossom Cordial.

As Shabow puts it, "It is an ambrosial libation."  Made simply by combining fresh locust blossoms with pure water and allowing it to mellow in the refrigerator for at least an hour, it is one of the easiest and yet, most divine brews you will ever sip. And it must be served in your finest (preferably crystal) wine glass.  The fragrance as you lift the rim to your lips is so pleasing and so tantalizing.  And then the crispy cold, lightly floral water as you drink, seems almost intoxicating, but isn't.

The Fayas get giddy drinking it.  But then, they usually seem a bit giddy!  After all, they are fairies.

Fairies & Gloopy Glop
Claraya's Fairy Blog  June 5, 2014
A group of children visited my pottery studio yesterday and we had a wonderful time.  One of the things I delighted in showing them was how pottery clay and Gloopy Glop differ.  One you can control, the other you can't.  Gloopy Glop is a silly name I came up with for the oozy, slimy stuff you make with Elmer's Glue and Borax.  There are countless sites on the Internet with recipes - but I'll include one below.

The children had great fun making it and even more fun playing with it.  They soon learned that no matter what shape you formed it in, it quickly "melted" into a flat, shapeless mass.  It feels cold and slimy to the touch and they enjoyed teasing each other with it.

What was really funny were the antics they couldn't see.  Some of the Fayas had come to watch the whole proceedings.  They love Gloopy Glop.  Unbeknownst to the children present, they paraded through the flat masses on the table, leaving nary a visible footprint behind.  And even though they were doubled over with laughter, no one heard their giggles - except me!


Gloopy Glop

16 oz. Elmer's Glue
2 1/2 C. cold water (divided)
Liquid food coloring of choice

3 T. powdered Mule Team Borax
(found in the laundry detergent section of the grocery store)

Stir the glue, 1 1/2 cups of the water and the food coloring (if desired) together in a bowl.  In another bowl, combine the remaining cup of water and the Borax.  Stir well to dissolve.  Slowly add the Borax mixture to the glue mixture, stirring constantly.  Continue stirring.  The mixture will begin to thicken.  Stir or knead the blob, incorporating as much of the remaining liquid as possible.  The more you work this mixture, the smoother it will become.  What you do with it is dictated only by your imagination.  Sealed in Ziplock bags, it will remain "slimy" and pliable for several weeks.

Strawberry Shortcake & Fairy Juice
Claraya's Fairy Blog  June 19, 2014
A trip to a wayside Amish market resulted in the most wonderful find - an old-fashioned variety of fresh strawberries, the like of which you do not see in regular farmers' markets.
You knew they were there before you ever saw them from the unmistakably divine strawberry essence permeating the air.  I had taken Shabow with me.  From her vantage point tucked just inside the top of my purse, she spied them first and swooned.  I thought she was going to tumble out, she was so intoxicated with their fragrance.

We took several baskets of them home and spent the afternoon making Strawberry Freezer Jam and Strawberry Shortcake.  Unlike the big, firm, shipment-friendly, hybrid strawberries you find in grocery stores, these berries were small and delicate and a luscious, bright red clear through - the kind people used to grow in home gardens.  There was no hard white pith to cut out or chew through! I got out my Blue Ridge Pottery strawberry plates (one shown here) in honor of the occasion.
It didn't take long for Shabow to spread the word after we got back and I soon had a cadre of Fayas perched all about my kitchen - waiting!  You see, they have a particular fondness for the juice from macerated fresh strawberries - particularly this variety.  I have a collection of tiny, fairy-sized vessels just for this type of gathering - silver thimbles, little cups I made in my pottery studio with wee folk in mind, and acorn caps.  Every Faya in attendance had chosen one.  Peering over the edge of the bowl they watched expectantly as the sugar did its work, drawing out the ruby red liquid as heady strawberry goodness wafted through the room.

Their patience ran out before I would have preferred but understanding how overwrought they were with anticipation, I had a teensy-weensy ladle at the ready.  I quickly filled each little container.  They sipped and sighed.  They smacked and licked their dainty lips!  They twirled with glee!  And they taught me once again what joy there is in the simple things!

Note:  You will find the recipe for the Strawberry Shortcake on the Fairy Recipes page.    
Flirting Fayas Flitting With Fireflies
July 20, 2014
I know, I know!  I've been very derelict with posting.  And I have no worthy excuse except that it is Summertime and after enduring a very harsh Winter, I am totally intoxicated with sunny days full of green and bloom and warm, steamy fragrant nights.  Pottery orders slow in the Summer and I haven't fired my kiln for a month now.  Not to worry.  It always picks up in September.  I relish this break every year.

The Fayas have been in rare form and they too, have been reveling in all the bounty and beauty of Summer days and nights.  And speaking of reveling, there has been a Revel every night with decadent treats, mysterious but delectable brews, and dancing.  Always there is dancing - exhausting, exhilarating dancing!!

And then there have been raucous evenings of "Flirting With Fireflies!" It's when the Faya fairies tease fireflies by flitting amongst them in their quest for mates.  As the fireflies flash their signals to prospective lovers, the naughty fairies send an answering blip of light from the tips of their fingers.  When the unsuspecting fireflies approach full of excitement, they flit away giggling their tinkling giggles.  Luckily they only do this for an hour or so, leaving the poor confused fireflies on their own to find serious relationships later.

Granted, it is not a very nice thing to do but sometimes, fairies just can't help themselves and succumb to all sorts of mischief.  It just the Way of Faerie!

Fairy Myths
Claraya's Fairy Blog  August 18, 2014
The Fayas have been overhearing things as they have flitted about gardens this summer.  Generally, a "live and let live" type, they get a little miffed sometimes at the generalizations people make about Wee Folk.

For starters, they dislike all being lumped into what they scoffingly refer to as the "Barker Beauties."  This is in reference to the charming, ever-popular images of The Flower Fairies by Cicely Mary Barker.  As they will quip, "You do know, of course, that she used real live children as her models?!  Not a true fairy among them!"

And then there is their objection to humans saying fairies love milk and you should put milk out for them.  "We are NOT a bunch of kitties," they assert as they snub bowl after bowl of cream.  I've even seen a few stomp a foot in protest when they've heard this!  In fact, the Fayas have a saying:

"Nary a TRUE fairy,
Has ever liked dairy!"

And there you have it.  Just a couple of fairy myths they have asked me to set straight.  I'm sure there will be others!

Howard Terpning & The Little People
Claraya's Fairy Blog  August 31, 2014
Some years ago, a friend who was a docent at the Eiteljorg Museum in Indianapolis, Indiana, invited me to meet her there.  Full of excitement, she said she had something special to show me there - something she knew I would not want to miss.  On arriving, she immediately began to take me on a tour of an astounding exhibit of paintings by Howard Terpning, a renowned painter of Native American scenes.  Of course, every painting was breathtakingly beautiful and touched a spiritual chord like nothing I had ever seen.  Transfixed, we moved, one by one, lingering in awe at each magnificent scene until, rounding a corner, I was aware of an intake of breath by my friend as she hesitated, as if in expectation of something.  And then I saw what she had anxiously been waiting for me to see!  A most amazing, moving rendering entitled " Offerings to the Little People." As I gasped in pure delight, she let out a relieved breath.  Mission accomplished.

You see, the Crow Nation (among other Native Americans), believed that The Little People lived in the ground around them.  It was their custom when they planted in the Spring to leave small gifts for them in the hopes that they would find favor and The Little People would help to ensure a good harvest.  Pretty feathers, tiny moccasins, little pieces of handcrafted clothing, bundles of fragrant beneficial herbs - were all hung carefully on sticks and inserted in the ground. 

Howard Terpning, in his intuitive, masterful way had perfectly captured the essence of the ritual.  I felt drawn into the scene - one with the men and women lovingly, imploringly leaving their offerings; trusting, believing that there were indeed, Little People, watching, listening, caring.  It  depicted an unshakeable faith and belief in the unseen.  The fact that Howard Terpning was able to show all of that with paints on canvas speaks to a higher calling than just that of painter.

I purchased a print that day.  I could not leave without one.  It hangs by my desk and speaks to me daily in a language only my heart can translate.

Copies of "Offerings to the Little People" are available through numerous sources on the Internet.   

I'm Back!
Caraya's Fairy Blog - November 18, 2014

Yes, I'm back - finally!  It has been a long time away.  To briefly explain my extended absence: Circumstances in my normal environment and others in my personal life presented an opportunity I couldn't resist.

First, my property was adjacent to a bridge replacement this past summer. This entailed tearing down the old structure with a wrecking ball and building a temporary access road for heavy equipment.  As you can imagine, the noise and the ground vibration were horrendous. It was more than my Faya family of fairies could tolerate.  Luckily, serendipity intervened at exactly the right time.  Friends with pottery studios in the hills and "hollers" of North Carolina invited me to spend several months teaching in the area.  I jumped at the chance.  Unbeknownst to any of them, I packed up all the Fayas and took them with me.  How better to rescue them (and myself) from months of discomfort while work proceeded on the bridge.  I'll tell you more about how this all played out next time. . . . . 

The Fairy Removal
Claraya's Fairy Blog - November 27, 2014

I couldn't believe our luck in mid-August, after days of enduring an intolerable amount of noise and ground vibrations, when a reprieve presented itself.  The Fayas jumped at my suggestion that they go with me to North Carolina for several months to avoid all of the bridge construction turmoil.  It isn't like this would be the first time they've packed up and moved to a different location.  But always before it was a permanent relocation.  This time, it would only be temporary. 

And it's not like back in the day when there were hundreds of them.  Their numbers have dwindled over the years due to loss of habitat and other environmental shifts that have impacted their survival.  I can't divulge their numbers now but suffice it to say, they all fit nicely in the backseat of my SUV, carefully concealed under a rod of hanging clothes.  Not that any inquisitive human could have seen them anyway, but it's always wise to take extra precautions.  I knew there were humans with "seeing eyes" where we were going.

The cabin I chose to stay at was in a secluded area deep in a protected forest surrounded by acres of dense woodlands, mountains and valleys.  The Fayas fell in love with the location instantly and quickly discovered the perfect hideaway for themselves.  My only concern was that maybe when it came time to return home, they would refuse to go.
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Claraya's Fairy Blog - December 3, 2014
The Fayas and I had a lovely hiatus from the bridge construction.  I'm always amazed when just the right opportunity presents itself at the perfect time. Really - how often does that ever happen?  Luckily my friends in North Carolina who all have pottery studios and offer classes throughout the Summer and Fall months were in dire need of an extra instructor.

But magical as the experience was for both the Fayas and myself, by the end of October we were all homesick.  I had turned my own studio over to some trusted students before we left.  They kept me posted on the progress of the bridge replacement.  As soon as it appeared work would be finished in the next week or so, I began making plans to return. 

My fear that the Fayas might decide to stay in their idylic surroundings in North Carolina were soon laid to rest.  I chuckled when Shabow informed me, "It's a nice place to visit but we wouldn't want to live there!"  Having mirrored my own feelings exactly, we packed up and headed home.  HOME!   No greater magic exists in the world than that which this one word evokes in the core of the heart.
 

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Memorializing A Dear Deer
Claraya's Fairy Blog - December 7, 2014
Not long after our return, we sadly discovered that one of the deer that inhabited the woods surrounding our home had been shot during hunting season.  I took the news especially hard until Shabow took me aside and gave me a talking to from a fairy's perspective.  The Wee Folk have a completely different take on death than many humans do.  They don't view it as an end but as a transition.

For them, our "dear, deer" is still with us in spirit form.  Last night, they invited me to a special ceremony to celebrate this.  Of course, I can't take pictures of such a thing.  Cameras can't capture fairies.  At least mine can't.  And the Fayas would forbid it anyway.  But I have created a small facsimile of what part of the scene I witnessed looked like.

Fairy Easy Chocolate Chip Cookies
Claraya's Fairy Blog - April 28, 2015
Yes, I have been absent here for another long stretch of time.  While I'm not at liberty to divulge any of the details right now, just know that I spent the Winter with my fairy family, the Fayas.  My dear fairy "sister", Shabow, insisted it was time for me to totally immerse myself in the World of Faerie.  And so I did.  But - now I've returned.  Once again my human connections pulled me back.  I am not ready to break my ties in this world like my friend, Flurietta, did.  But her circumstances were much different.

But enough of that.  I am busy getting back to work and making up for lost time.  Yesterday a group of old friends (the, normal human kind) texted to say they were stopping by to visit and welcome me home.  With limited time, I hurriedly made a batch of chocolate chip cookies - a really easy version that has saved the day more than once.  Here's how I did it.

Dump a box of yellow cake mix into a large bowl.  Add 1/4 cup packed dark brown sugar.  Stir to blend.  In a small bowl combine 1/4 cup melted butter, cooled, 1/4 cup vegetable oil, 1 t. vanilla and 2 eggs.  Whisk to blend then pour into dry mixture.  Beat on low speed for two minutes until smooth.  Stir in 1 cup semi-sweet mini chocolate chips.  Spoon onto greased cookie sheets and bake at 350 degrees until light brown and just beginning to set in the center
.  Remove from oven.  Allow to cool for a few minutes and then transfer to cooling racks.  These are so delicious just like this, but you can add some chopped walnuts or macadamia nuts for extra pizazz.  While humans love these decadent cookies, fairies find them irresistible.

May Day - Beltane
Claraya's Fairy Blog - May 1, 2015

What did I see
On this bright May Day?
What did I see.
A fairy strewing violets
Along the mossy way.

For some, this truly marks the beginning of Spring.  In ancient times it was celebrated as Beltane and all sorts of offerings were made to help ensure bountiful crops and an abundance of newborn farm animals. Around the world, in most cultures, it had profound significance. Today, it is usually looked on as just another ordinary day.

But what fun it is to use the occasion for a lovely springtime party.  There are so many colorful, fresh flowers blooming.  Just a vase of them quickly transforms a dinner table.  Whip up some fairy cupcakes, dainty sandwiches with edible flower garnishes, a refreshing strawberry lemonade to drink and you'll make this a day to remember.

You can find recipes on the Fairy Recipe page or by browsing through previous entries in my blog.  The possibilities are endless.  





Mushroom Magic
Claraya's Fairy Blog  May 20, 2015
Have you ever likened Spring to a parade?  I have - a parade of culinary delights.  With the emergence of one lovely plant after another, there begins an endless array of treats to make. Violets for garnishing, dandelion leaves and flowers to steep in my glass of wine, Sweet Woodruff leaves for May Wine, dainty locust blossoms for cordials, chives and chive blossoms for pretty herb butters, rhubarb for my grandmother's Rhubarb Custard Pie, fresh mint for Mint Juleps - and to think - we're just getting started.

But today, I indulged in one of my very favorite Spring delicacies - earthy, succulent morel mushrooms.  And I have to tell you, it pays to have fairy friends.  No more do I have to search (most often in vain) for them.  The Fayas find them for me.  Swooping and diving through the air, they are like miniature drones with an innate ability to root them out.  All I do is follow along with my basket and collect them.  It's like finding treasure!

The picture here shows two of the wonderful specimens I brought home to savor.  There were many others.  I freeze some for various dishes later - like quiche.  But the best way is to fry them and eat them fresh. Everyone has their own preferred way of doing this but I'll share mine.  First I clean them carefully, if needed.  There are sources online to tell you how, and there again, it's a matter of preference.  Then I split the mushrooms.  If they are large, like the two here, I will quarter them. Then I finely crush saltine crackers and put them in a shallow pan.  Next, I beat an egg or two to dip the morels in, making sure the surfaces are completely coated.  After that, it's time to roll them in the cracker crumbs. 

Carefully lay them in a skillet with 1/2 inch of canola oil or bacon grease that has been preheated so the mushrooms sizzle on contact.  Fry until golden and then flip them over.  When crisp and brown on both sides. remove and drain on paper towels.  Sprinkle with a little salt and freshly ground pepper and dive in  They are a royal feast with a glass of white wine.  I prefer to eat mine outside surrounded by a cacophony of bird songs.  Now that's the way to enjoy Spring!
Claraya's Fairy Blog - November 10, 2015

I look at the date of the last entry above and I am overwhelmed with remorse.  I have been so very derelict in posting.  In my defense I must tell you, strange, unsettling things have happened to my life since last I wrote.  I have wanted to tell you about them (in fact, needed desperately to share them with someone!) but I've been torn whether to continue to do so here or create another blog that uses the recognized blog format.  It is a dilemma I am still struggling with.  Surely I will be inspired in the near future and the issue will be resolved.  I have so much to tell you - so much you will think unbelievable - and yet, I see now that it was all inevitable once I allowed myself to be "adopted" by the Faya fairies.  I would have it no other way! 

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Claraya's Fairy Journal
Blog Post - February 9, 2016
At long last, the first installment of Claraya's Fairy Journal will soon be available on Kindle.  It's an intriguing story of a thirty-some-year-old woman who found herself "adopted" by a local band of fairies ten years ago.  This group of fairies goes by the family name, Faya.

As the relationship grows and developes, Claraya (so-named by the Fayas) is overwhelmed by a yearning to share her secret existence with someone.  Fear of ridicule coupled with the necessity to protect her identity and the presence of the Fayas, leads her to start a journal.  Here she chronicles her amazing association with a most unusual cast of characters from the Faerie World.  It is full of adventure, intrigue, romance, heartache and more.  As Claraya has found, fairies are, after all, very much like us.

           Coming soon to a tablet near you!

P.S.
While Claraya's Fairy Blog here shares some of her experiences with the Fayas in more recent years, it is different.  

Claraya's Fairy Blog  - April 8, 2016
There has been a delay in the release of Claraya's Fairy Journal and it is all my fault. For the past year, I have been struggling with an overwhelming change in my life - one I have been reluctant to share with anyone, let alone readers or the person I've entrusted my journal to.  Once all is revealed (which I promise to do soon!) you will, hopefully, understand.  For now, just know this.  Becoming associated with a family of fairy folk can lead to unexpected consequences and complications - ones you could never have imagined!  As soon as I resolve some of the issues I'm dealing with now, I will release my story and you can judge for yourself if you would ever want to follow my footsteps into the Realm of Faerie!
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