I know how crazy it all sounds, okay? I know. By modern society's standards, everything I am about to say is stupid and is a series of red flags and alarms all screaming "COMMIT ME". I'm hoping the fact that I know and acknowledge this will be enough to...you know what? fuck it. it's not like anyone besides me reads this shit, anyway. XD Now, on to the main event!
The first thing you'll see is an enormous, imposing looking stone wall with high voltage wire strung across it. It surrounds my entire property, and keeps thieves, and people in general lol, out. There's a gate large enough for two decent-sized cars to pass through at three of the four cardinal direction points (North, East, and South) where visitors are screened carefully. A fourth, much smaller gate is hidden in the West wall so that farm residents can slip out and enjoy an unimpeded view of the gorgeous crashing waves of the Atlantic. The view is breathtaking; the whole farm sits right beside a cliff that leads straight down to the ocean.
Past the outer wall, depending on which road you take, you'll see either nothing but endless fields of corn on one side, wheat on the other, or beautiful orchards of every fruit tree you can think of. Apples, oranges, cherries, bananas, pears... The ones that wouldn't do well in Ireland's chilly climate are kept in massive greenhouses to keep them safe and thriving. Beyond the orchards are the grape vineyard, small cranberry bog, and the giant garden of watermelons and berries (strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, and blueberries, to be exact). Past the corn and wheat are the fields of vegetables and alfalfa. If for some reason you decide to come from the North, all you'll see is the wind farm, and beyond that, my back wall. XD
To the South and East, though, past the fruit and veggies, are the animals. Cows, horses, and sheep are out happily grazing, while pigs, chickens, and turkeys are kept a little closer to the barn. Once you get to the fields where the larger animals are left to wander during the day, you'll see a few buildings in the distance. A barn, silo, stables, and bakery will be the first structures you encounter as you come nearer to the West side of the land. There's also a greenhouse behind the barn, with a few small plants as backup for when some of the veggies are out of season. You might notice a fenced off garden between the barn and the greenhouse; that's where all the spices are grown. Thankfully, Shadow and Peanut don't like them much (though they freaking love tomatoes XD weirdos), so they do a good job of guarding it from the other animals while they're not out herding or inside with me.
Before you get to the castle, you'll encounter three more buildings. One is Emi's house, which was built to suit just about her every whim. I don't actually know what it looks like inside, since it's her special sanctuary, and I have no reason to go inside. We live on the same land, and being inside when there's so much to do outside makes no sense. Near the silos and the mill is the bakery, where you will find the freshest, most delicious baked yummyness you've ever had. <3 ^-^ Finally, more to the South, is the guest house. I'm not fond of entertaining guests in the castle - and, truth be told, between my kids, spouses, and various Fair Folk who live in and care for the castle, I just don't have the room - so if anyone besides my niece (who has her own suite set aside) wants to spend any significant time on the farm with me, they stay in the guest house. Don't worry, I didn't make it cheap or cramped. ^.~ It's actually closer to a guest mansion.
Aaaand then, at last, we come to my home/temple/animal sanctuary/Garden of Eden, surrounded by yet another security wall. There is only one visible way in or out, and that is the South gate. As the castle is made out of rock, I'm not all that concerned about a fire XD Be careful not to touch the outer wall on your way in, as there's more high voltage wire strung across it, all the way around.
From the outside, it's a rather formidable looking place. Aside from the lovely little device next to the gate that allows me to screen who gets in (basically a video intercom thingy; in case anyone somehow gets past the first wall who isn't welcome), there is nothing that makes it look like there's any hope of entry. I purposely had it built so that the outer wall seems to say "YOU ARE NOT WELCOME." without actually having anything written there (except the necessary "Danger: High Voltage" signs all over). Inside, however, is an entirely different story.
Once you step past the wall surrounding the castle, it appears as though you've stepped into another world entirely. Roses of every color imaginable (even blue! they do exist, they're just insanely rare because it's so hard for nature to produce the color blue) grow up the walls on all sides, the unearthly beauty of the flowers doing wonders to hide their true purpose: the thick nest of razor sharp thorns acting as a natural barbed wire, should anyone actually scale the wall and make it past the electricity and the actual barbed wire on top.
Tear your eyes from the roses, and the massive holly trees standing sentinel on either side of the gates, and you will see more beauty than the human eye is accustomed to taking in (mostly because people keep destroying it). Buttercups, lily of the valley, pansies, clover, burdock, and bleeding hearts grow seemingly wild across the front lawn, and all around the castle are sakura, Japanese red maple, red dogwood, aspen, elm, cedar, larch, oak, and banyan trees, as well as rose of Sharon, bumblebee abelia, and butterfly bushes. The cobble-stone driveway leads up to and around a rotary of sorts in front of what looks like the front door with forsythia and mock orange growing around a large fountain, which is in the shape of a dragon, wings spread, looking as though the water spraying from its powerful jaws is the fire the legendary beasts breathed. The illusion is aided by the colorful LED lights inside the dragon's mouth, which make the water look orange and yellow. If you look up, you will see a beautiful, Gothic structure with four imposing towers that seem to be reaching for the sky itself. Ivy grows thick and wild up the walls surrounding the gardens, entwined with yet more climbing roses.
Just when you think you've made it to the front door and into the house, you're instead met by the sight of the fire garden. All around you are butterfly weed, red, orange, and yellow roses, tiger lilies, Asian lilies, sunflowers, black eyed Susans, carnations, chrysanthemums, celandine, heliotrope, hyssop, peonies, and California poppies. If you manage not to get too distracted by the vibrant splashes of color everywhere, you'll also see tons of herbs growing around you, and ash, cedar, oak, rowan, juniper, and even an olive tree. I wanted to grow an orange tree in here, too, but I had my doubts it would survive in the open air. If you look, you might notice little lizards skittering around, or sunbathing on small rocks, and at night, the garden is set ablaze by fireflies. A smaller fountain, in the shape of a phoenix, is the centerpiece of this garden, and framing the path from the outer door to (finally) the front door of the castle, are torches that seem as though they sense when you will need them. During the day, they lie dormant, but if you enter at night, pressure switches in the ground light the torches nearest to you, and extinguish them once you've passed.
At last, you reach the castle proper. Through towering double doors you will find the grand hall. Left largely open, the front of the castle appears to have nothing in it except the large curved staircases leading to the floors above. Between the two sets of stairs leading to the second floor, you can clearly see the glass wall that surrounds the spirit garden, and the (locked) doors leading inside. If you look carefully, under the stairs on each side, there is a small door. Those two doors open to reveal the coat closets. Shoes are to be removed before entering my home, no matter what. If you're uncomfortable with leaving them out in the garden, you may carry them over to the closet to be safely hidden away with your jacket. Just make sure you don't put them back on until you're safely out the front door and on the stone path to the outside. Rule #1: NEVER wear shoes in my house.
Rule #2: Stay the hell out of my center garden. But that won't be a problem, I'm sure, as all entrances are kept locked at all times, by both conventional means and magic. I made sure that every wall separating the garden from the rest of the house is made out of glass, so that anyone can enjoy the beauty of the spirit garden without actually entering it. Not even my family is allowed in there, and not just because it's where I grow hemlock (the poisonous one, not the tree), belladonna, be-still, bloodroot, american bittersweet, oleander, wormwood, mandrake, hellebore, briony, wolf's bane, and various other toxic herbs; most of those can also be found in some of the other gardens (wormwood, for instance, is in the fire garden). No, the main reason is the center garden is my private sanctuary where I go to practice magic alone and speak to the Gods, and I don't want anyone else's energy mucking it up. But still, as it's the most beautiful area of the entire property, I'd never dream of closing it off in a way that others can't see it. Purple roses, orchids, bleeding hearts, pokeweed, alyssum, and butterfly bushes can be seen throughout the garden, as can dogwood, hickory, and ebony trees, and at the center of it all, surrounded by four fountains, is a beautiful sakura tree.
The fountains each represent an element, and are a sort of map in a way, showing which elemental garden is in which direction. The first one you would see, since you enter from the South, is the smaller variation of the dragon out front (merely in a different position, and with only red lights in the mouth). Representing water are two beautiful dolphins leaping around the fountain to the west of the tree, and to the east, representing earth, is a coiled snake, simply watching the world around it, while a majestic eagle sits to the north with wings outstretched, seeming ready to take flight at any moment. Everywhere in the air, you can see gorgeous butterflies of varying size, shape, and color flitting about, and you might even catch sight of Kit, Sascha, and Dragon playfully chasing them.
If at any point you are able to tear your eyes from the garden and go to the right of the front door, the first thing you'll encounter is a locked door leading into the Southeast tower. Hidden away within are my private recording and dance studios, a couple of bedrooms for some of the fairies who keep the house running smoothly, as well as a few secret passages to other areas of the house. The house is littered with those, not that I'll ever tell you exactly where. ^.~ Further along the hall are a couple of elevators for the truly lazy, and then the living room, games room/bar, another bedroom or two, and one of the downstairs bathrooms. In the living room, naturally, there's a large TV, a DVD player, surround-sound system, DVDs, and, believe it or not, one or two video game consoles. There's also two large, luxurious couches, a coffee table, and a few overstuffed chairs. If you keep going straight through the living room, you'll find the games room, but what's the fun in going straight there? First, if you turn to the right again, you'll see large sliding glass doors leading out to yet another garden.
Facing East, we have the Earth garden. Not quite as extravagant as some of the others, the Earth garden consists mainly of herbs, moss, elm and cypress trees, and things like small amounts of wheat and potatoes, accented by rose of Sharon, buttercups, forsythia, pansies, primroses, magnolia, oleander, and azalea. Like all the others, this garden has a main feature in the middle, though some may not find it all that interesting; it's a boulder. ^^; What can I say? It's freaking Earth! Be careful where you step if you go out, though, as you're likely to encounter little earthworms and snails slithering around, and possibly some toads.
At the doors of each of these gardens, I keep several pairs of slippers or sandals. This is so that you can walk around out there without tracking dirt in. The footwear never comes back inside, so as you re-enter the living room, please remember to leave the sandals (or whatever) at the door on the outside, okay? Thanks a bunch. <3
Going back through the living room and heading North once again will take you to two doors. One leads to the bathroom. The other leads to the games room, which contains stereo equipment, pool tables, a dart board, and a large open area to dance. On the far side, just before you hit the Northeast tower, there's a bar, set up to look just like a traditional Irish pub. ^^ I don't drink, but the wife and hubbies do on occasion, and I like themes lol.
Once you leave the games room, you'll notice there's really nothing else on the North side. The Northeast tower has very little in it; merely an art room (with tons of windows so I can see the farm, back yard, and windmills), and above that, a giant water slide that spirals from the top story down to the deepest part of the nearly Olympic-sized swimming pool in the yard below.
Naturally, on this side there's a garden, as well. It's the air garden, with beautiful vine-covered gates that lead out into the back yard. The air garden has a lot of herbs and spices that are known to have healing properties (like mint, garlic, dog rose, etc), as well as white roses and little pinwheels. Ladybugs roam free here, and in the spring, you can actually see hummingbirds and sparrows. I normally hate birds, but I don't mind them. They're relatively quiet, and so damned CUTE! <33
Past the air garden and through the gates, you'll likely find my dogs and maybe some of the cats running amok in the back yard. (except Cael, the lazy moose. and Giggles, cuz he's really shy). For about twenty feet past the gate, a lovely archway of sakura, their branches intertwining, line the path. Through the trees, you can see the pool to your right, with a fence around it to keep the dogs out, and a patio with a grill and a few picnic tables and chairs and such on the left. Around the pool is a large open area, where a volleyball net and (closer to the house) a small basketball court are the only things taking up room. The rest is just open, grassy land. A quick walk off the patio, though, brings you into a lagoon of sorts, with beautiful weeping willows framing a small pond, and a dense, wild-looking forest. Of course, the trees were all carefully planned and strategically placed to be comforting for myself and the animals, and also to be as beautiful as possible.
Maple, oak, pine, cherry trees, dogwood, red dogwood, Japanese red maple, rose of sharon, buttercups, forsythia, bumblebee abelia, mock orange (between the willows), butterfly bushes... everything you could possibly think of that you'd find in my house, you can find in the woods in the backyard.
The back yard is absolutely breathtaking; aside from the center garden and my library, it's my absolute favorite place in the world... speaking of the library, why don't we head back inside and finish the tour, hm? XD
Inside and heading toward the West end of the house, you'll first encounter yet another tower door. In the Northwest tower, there's a spa at the top, and the rest is basically a giant freezer. All the meat and veggies for the house that haven't been used yet (and aren't likely to within the next day or so) are kept in there, as it's the tower closest to the kitchen. So, obviously, if you continue back towards the South, you'll find a huge, restaurant-grade kitchen, and then the giant dining hall. You'll also pass the house sprites' bedrooms, but my dear friends like their privacy, so we won't be opening those doors. Same reason there are more chambers in the walls around the gardens, but I didn't show you those.
The dining hall, like the living room, features giant sliding glass doors that open out to the fifth and final garden, the water garden. As its name suggests, this garden's centerpiece is a tiny waterfall that flows down into a small koi pond, where lotuses float on the rippling surface. Blue roses, mock orange, African violets, althea, vanilla orchids, jasmine, lady's slippers, lilacs, hemlock, belladonna, aloe, Roman chamomile, columbine, foxglove, gardenias, hyacinths, trillium, poppies, and bumblebee abelia grow here between countless herbs and water-loving plants and trees, while adorable dragonflies buzz around, keeping the pest problem nonexistent.
Back inside and past the dining hall, closer to the front door, is what I affectionately dubbed the Camelot room. The centerpiece of sorts is a huge round table made of granite. The center is left hollow, so that an entertainer (or server) can stand in the center and reach everyone.
The Camelot room doesn't get used much; it's really only for birthdays and colder holidays at this point, as the family generally uses the main dining hall or eats outside if the weather is nice enough. Thankfully, the sprites stay on top of the cleaning, so no dust ever settles in there, or anywhere else.
Our final stop on the first floor is the Southwest tower, which holds my own personal gym, a dojo (because I plan on learning martial arts), and at the top, my niece Alex's suite for when she comes to visit. I wanted to make sure she had a perfect view of the coast and at least part of the farm. Oh, and between the Camelot room and the tower is the other downstairs bathroom lol.
If you come around front again and head for the stairs, you'll find the main library, and my kids' bedrooms. As the South and North sides, like downstairs, are left largely open (the South side is left open to below, same with the third floor, and the North wall is nothing but glass, with sliding doors out onto a balcony), there's not a whole hell of a lot up here. ^^;
There's even less on the third floor. The West side is taken up by my suit, my wife's and my husbands'. The only details I'll give you are for mine, which has a sitting room (the first one you'll see upon entering), my office/computer room to the left, my private library (<3!!!) past that (accessible only through hidden doors), and room where Cara, Dusi, Mina, Aine, Bindi, Silkie, Sloth, Winchester, Trillian, Morio, Oz, Babs, Priya, Lirin, Trinket, Fuzz, Giz, Zombie, and Stairmaster's cages are kept to the right. Straight through the sitting room is my bedroom, which has a lovely balcony from which you can see my beloved Atlantic. To the right, connected to the bedroom and the pet room, is the bathroom, and to the left is a large walk-in closet for all my clothes and random other crap I couldn't find a place for.
My suite is actually the second you'll encounter. The first is my wife's, who gets up before dawn every morning to help the sprites in the kitchen, so I made sure the distance between her and the first floor was as short as possible without putting her room down there. On the other side of my suite is another bedroom separated from the hall by another sitting room (so if anyone comes upstairs while that room is in use, they don't hear anything XDDD it's the, um... "marital chamber" XDDD); the bed is absolutely enormous, as it needs to be able to comfortably accommodate 4 adults.
Next is my husband's suite...and my other husband's suite after that. XDD The East side is taken up by my oldest children's rooms, because I like everyone to have plenty of space. Everyone has their own customized suite like mine; a bedroom, sitting room, computer room, and their own bathroom at the very least. The little ones don't actually own any electronics yet except stereos (and won't until they're at least 15, just like their older siblings), but they have desk space set up for them so we don't have to think about it later. For now, those desks serve only one purpose: homework.
Like the second floor, the North and South sides are merely there to see out and/or down.
Damn, updating that thing took DAYS. And basically no one is going to read it except me lmao but whatever. I'm all the audience I need XDD As far as the more "outlandish" parts of this... if you don't believe in fairies, I pity you, and more importantly, am NOT interested in hearing about it, or how "crazy" I am. You know what I am, besides a witch? PART FAIRY. so bite me, and have a nice day. ^-^ The multiple spouses thing came from recurring dreams and visions and lots and lots of divination, just like the details of the castle and the live-in staff.