"...And set the wall between us once again. We keep the wall between us as we go." - Robert Frost Mending Wall
As any good New Englander, I believe in a good fence. A fence keeps my children and dogs in my yard and my neighbor's children and dogs out. And the higher the better - I live close enough to the people around me to know I don't want them all up in my business every time I step out the back door in my bathrobe and slippers, hair sticking up in every direction, when I want to do something like let my dogs out to do their thing.
To some people this would sound anti-social, even downright surly, but I disagree. I've always found, both in my own adult life and while growing up and observing my parents and grandparents, that a solid division of property keeps the peace. There's little quibbling over who has to mow which piece of grass or which tree belongs to who. Is it within the boundaries of my fence line? Then it's mine. Don't touch it and I will be more than happy to pay the same courtesy. Simple.
I've seen great neighborly relations break down over something as inane as blowing leaves in the fall. Get yourself a fence, I say. That'll keep most of the leaves in or out. You know what you should rake and I know what I should rake and never the two (hundred bajillion leaves) shall meet.
When my husband and I moved to the house we currently live in six years ago we had a shared fence along the back of our property that met up with two other fences we owned. When we redid the fences this year (old wooden ones that were not properly taken care of and were left to the bugs and the squirrels to destroy) we, stupidly I'll admit, assumed our neighbors, a seemingly nice and reasonable couple we might want to be more friendly with someday, would let us connect the new fences to the existing one. The fence, as we found out, technically belonged to them, something the previous owners of this house didn't tell us about. And while we were having new fences put up to surround our property and our pool, our neighbor was taking down the perfectly nice six foot chain link fence between our backyards. For no reason other than he felt like it.
We asked if he would keep it up but he said No, why should he?
Why should he, indeed.
We couldn't force him, only appeal to his kind nature. Yeah, apparently he was not that kind.
That lapse in our judgment ended up costing us a large sum of money to put up a longer section of fence that we hadn't budgeted for. And a sizable portion of our backyard is now open to another neighbor's
hoodlum kids with paint ball guns and ATVs kids because we simply could not afford to fence the entire property. But more than that, it ended up costing us a decent relationship with the couple who took down the fence.
And that meant war, to me anyway.
I dare you to find anyone more stubborn or vindictive than a New England woman with an ax to grind. I have no desire to be friendly with them now. If anything, they should probably watch out come fall because some extra leaves might end up on their side of the property line. Hey, there's no fence there now. Can I help it if the wind might blow that way?
I need to have some division between our properties but a fence is out of the question unless a large pile of cash falls in my lap. Since that's not going to happen any time soon I'm thinking of planting picker bushes to put a nice visual division between our yard and theirs. Have fun mowing your lawn then, buddy.