Thursday, April 09, 2009

Don't Tread on Me

Stepford House is a lovely little place in Churchville, and hubby-Eric and I are pretty happy here so far. But we do have one minor problem that has been driving me bonkers since we moved in. We don't have a fence on the back of our lot, and a large family with lots of cousins who visit constantly live in back of us (to the West). That alone wouldn't be so bad, except they consider our "yard" to be part of their playground AND a useful route to get to the other side of the block. Which means that there are children, and a few adults, crossing my yard at all times of the day and night. Worse, some of them are litterbugs. Once a week or so I go out and gather up beer cans and cigarette butts and candy wrappers. It is a truly minor annoyance, but it has been a little like an itch that cannot be scratched. Eric and I simply do not have the money to get a fence put in.

Today while trying to write up the next part of my con report, I heard hammering from next door. I decided to put up my awesome Norwegian flag as an excuse to go outside and check out what was happening. It was the neighbors to our North putting up a picket fence along the border of our property. I started chatting with them (a nice elderly couple), and made it clear just how annoyed I was at the people tromping through my yard. They said that was the reason they were putting up the fence, as the kids would avoid the mud patches in MY yard, and go in their yard and kill the grass. ARGH!

The lady of the house mentioned that she'd ALSO been picking up garbage from the yard, and had even found a cell phone in the grass! Yep, one of the teenage girls who lived down the block had dropped her phone in my yard while cutting through. I told the neighbors how sorry I was that their grass was destroyed and explained that I wanted to put a fence up but couldn't yet afford it. The gentleman suggested that I take some aluminum poles he had and string twine or rope between them to make a temporary fence that should (in theory) keep people from cutting across. He didn't have enough poles for the back of the lot, but we could block the paths on the side of the house.

I was delighted at the prospect, I even had some twine left over from some projects when we first moved in. So he took eight short poles (garbage that he had planned to just throw away soon) and pounded them in strategic points between our house and the fences to either side. I wrapped twine around them at three levels, making something that almost appears to be a fence. Then we put some lighter yarn on them to make them stand out more clearly.

North Side Fence

The first section is between the Northern neighbors' fence and our house. This is the main corridor of foot traffic, and the main reason for this project. Eventually, I want to cover all my "yard" on this side of the house with gravel and make this an extra parking space for visitors (I think the in-laws' camper might even fit in the spot). For the moment, though, it's been a pathway for people to travel from one side of the block to the other. Hopefully the temporary fence will clue them in that we don't like it.

South Side Fence

The second section is between the South side of the house and our storage shed. I had to make this one even more temporary than the first section as I'll very soon need to get the lawnmower through here to chop the weeds down. Still, it looks substantial, and hopefully it will clue the kids in that they shouldn't go through here.

Little Fence

This little bit is the part I'm most worried about. The space between our storage shed and the Southern neighbors fence is a neat little path and I've seen some of the kids run through it. I just hope they notice the fence before they put on a burst of speed and knock it all down.

The neighbors and I decided not to take bets on how long the temporary fence would stay up. I used up all my twine, and if I can afford some heavier rope maybe I'll reinforce them later. My main hope is that the folks who considered my yard a path will now get the idea in their heads that I don't want them walking through. It may well be a vain hope, as the children are as wild as ... well, children tend to be. I fear some of them may just take it as a challenge. But at least I've done something about it. And it looks halfway decent as well.

In any case, now you know why I haven't written the next part of my convention report.