Resourceful county residents have gained miniature, mythical creatures as neighbors after transforming tree stumps into quaint little gnome homes.
Two years ago, a tree in the yard of rural Marion residents Quinn and Julie Trapp was damaged during a savage storm.
“I decided to just cut it down,” Quinn said, “but I couldn’t cut it all the way down because there used to be a chain-link fence beside it, and the tree had grown around it.”
He told Julie, “I’m gonna make you a gnome home.”
He took up his chainsaw, shaped the top of the stump into a roof, then cut windows and a door.
“The upper window has a little deck, too,” he said. “Julie painted the window panes and the door, and she made the roof to look like it has shingles.”
They incorporated solar lights into their gnome home and sought out in search of the right occupant for the miniature house.
Several miles away in Marion, meanwhile, resident Laura Heslet dealt with a similar problem.
A storm had toppled a towering tree in her backyard.
“We tried to pull the stump,” she said. “My husband, Howard, and my grandson, Aaron, cut the roots with a chainsaw, got a tractor, and hooked some chains up, but it just didn’t budge.”
While pondering the stump, Heslet decided it would make a perfect home for a couple of wild gnomes living in her yard.
“I’d seen gnome homes on the Internet,” she said. “I thought it would be neat.”
She called her daughter, Angie Slater, to tell her of the project. Slater brought picture frames she found at a thrift store. They became windows in the gnome home.
“It’s got about three floors,” Heslet said. “We painted the windows yellow to look like light was coming from inside.”
They made a front door and back door out of plywood, and Howard cut front and back porches in the stump. A friend made a roof from metal ductwork.
Various yard art and solar lights decorate the base of the Heslets’ gnome home. A laidback gnome lounges by the backdoor, underneath a cement mushroom. A stoic biker gnome stands guard at the front door.
The gnomes don’t stop the Heslets’ miniature schnauzers, Sugar and Spice, from chewing gnome flowers or loafing in the shade of the gnome home.
The Trapps eventually found the right gnome for their gnome home. However, it’s a bachelor pad at present.
“I think Julie calls him ‘Carl,’” Trapp said. “He came from Wal-Mart Land. We’re trying to find him a lady.”