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story.lead_photo.caption Marcy Cain and her uncle, Rick Pyatt, created this fairy house from a failing maple tree in the Cain's yard at the corner of Nichols and 10th streets. Photo by Jenny Gray / News Tribune.

When a car pulled up to the corner of Nichols and 10th streets in Fulton on a recent morning, the driver rolled down her window and snapped a photo with her cellphone.

That's been happening a lot lately, according to Marcy Cain, who lives there.

"Every day, they take pictures and everybody just smiles," she said.

Cain and her uncle, Rick Pyatt, got creative with an old, ailing maple tree and turned it into a habitat for birds, squirrels and fairies.

Yes, fairies.

Since then, plenty of spectators have visited Cain's "fairy house."

"It started off as this beautiful tree on the corner that started dying," Cain said. "I looked up fairy house, and found them all over the internet and thought, 'Oh, I can do that.'"

The tree was cut down leaving much of the trunk standing. Cain said she and her uncle took an old wooden ladder and put it across the top of the trunk, with one of the two ladder sections flanking each side. Pyatt used other planks to create stabilizing crossbeams, laid plywood for the sharply sloped roof, then screwed on sheets of synthetic grass lined with waterproof sheathing.

Then the real fun began.

"There's a box up in there — you can't really see it — where the squirrels can get in," Cain said, adding she thinks a family has already moved in. "That was the idea."

She also pointed to a bright blue box mounted like a chimney on the roof, with a tiny hole carved in the center.

"That's a bird house," Cain said. "I wanted it to be functional."

Cain fashioned balconies out of Popsicle sticks and mounted them on the trunk below the roof line. She added a bed of cobalt blue sand around the bottom of the trunk, with white fencing and arrays of solar lights.

"When we put that (the sand) down there, it just made the whole thing," Cain said. "It brought it all together."

There are miniature ladders snaking up the side of the bark, and fairy doors, fairy sitting areas and fairy stepping stones made of sea shells.

"I made all this stuff," she said. "It's already changing."

Here and there are wee, precisely placed gnomes, flowers, pretty stones and even a couple decorative turtles. Cain also hand lettered signs for the fairy house.

A directional sign points the way to "Gnomeland Security" and the "Snail Trail."

She plans to put holiday lights on the roof when the time comes.

"We've gotten lots of compliments," Cain said. "People say, 'We just love the things you do in your yard.'"

People have dropped by and asked if there's room in the fairy house.

"We've had them pull up and ask if there are any vacancies," she said. "It really turned out neater than even I thought it would. When you start things, you have to finish them to the end."

Cain said the whole project became more detailed than many.

"It's pretty extravagant compared to some you see on the internet," she said. "But it's really just for the squirrels."

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