Friday, July 14, 2006

My lawn is better than your lawn

amy stewart has a great link to a story about the Foti Family. They are featured in this NYT article on the Edible Estates project, which involves turning their lawn into a garden, something not taken lightly in suburbistan. I am not a fan of lawn. My husband likes it, but is not a fanatic. The last few years I have been chipping away at the edges, planting rough hedges of American Cranberry, Red stemmed Dogwood, and this spring Serviceberry. I'd like a lot less lawn. I'm always trying to gently dissuade mowing. In the dead of summer, it really doesn't need to be moved every week. I don't mind shaggy, but husband does. It must be a man thing. Thankfully, he does not fertilize or spray herbicides or anything like that. Actually, our lawn is probably closer in approximation to a closely cropped field of violets, ground ivy, clover, hawkweed, and dandelion.

But we have this neighbor. Oh the stories I could tell about this neighbor.

When we first moved to our home, almost 4 years ago. We had no adjacent properties with homes on them. There was one neighbor about a quarter mile down the road, and a cluster of three 1950's ranch homes at the crossroads about 1,000 feet away. The rest was farmland. Then in December I noticed neon paint in the street, pointing toward the direction of the property directly between us and the ranch homes. The paint spelled out "driveway". Oh no. So this builder comes and builds this taupe, cookie cutter McMansion on eight tenths of an acre. And then these two idiots move in. We did not get along from the start and do not to this day. There is a simmering hostility there, basically because they are the most inconsiderate people I have ever met in my entire life (another post for another day). Anyway, here they build this suburban tract house out among farm fields. You'd think that after paying an arm and a leg for this lot with farmland views, they would be a certain kind of people. You'd be wrong. In addition to having a spotlight on every single tree and shrub in his yard, this guy is obsessed with his lawn. There are no weeds. And he mows at least three times a week. If he mows one day and my husband mows the next (because he has an odd schedule and mows when he can) this guy will mow that day too. He simply cannot have any property near him with shorter grass. If one of the other neighbors mows, he mows again. We have talked about setting up a schedule, so somebody mows every other day, thereby forcing him to mow, slowly driving him crazy. He even mows the strip of land across the street from his house, separating the farmers field from the road. Dude! That's not your yard! He mows in the winter. I swear to God. He mowed FOUR FREAKIN times in January alone. Any idea what it's like to be standing outside in a parka, letting the dog pee, feeling the crunchy earth under your feet, AND HEAR A MOWER? I think he didn't have the blades lowered. I think he was just reapplying the pattern to the frozen grass. See, he is also obsessed with patterns. Some days it is a diagonal, some days a sort of plaid, somedays straight across, some days stripes. It is so ridiculous. So we have this suburban wannbe, desperately competing against no one for 'best lawn'. You'd think with the price of gas what it is, he'd cut back a little this year. Again, you'd be wrong. What a guy. It would be funny, except that I know there are huge subdivisions across this great country full of morons like him. Poisoning the groundwater and surface waters with their Chemlawn and TruGreen, filling the air with their noxious emmissions as they mow and weedwhack, and blow, and trim to compete with one another. I just don't get it.


Blogger Liz said...

This is when I have to be thankful that my trailer-trash neighbors don't care much about their lawn. If they even have one. It's more like a mudpit. Or dustbowl, depending on the season.

My friends live across from a guy who is always mowing his lawn, like your guy, at least three times a week. He just did massive logging on his land so he could have MORE LAWN. He said something about "putting it back the way it used to be". Um, isn't that what the trees were doing?

The short-lawn-competitiveness of your neighbor sounds like Jamie's Crazy Neighbor Ed... they really get that guy going by cutting the lawn right after he's finished with his.

I just don't get these lawn guys. We go about two weeks inbetween cuttings because we both despise it so much. I wish I could get rid of more grass.

3:52 PM  
Blogger meresy_g said...

It's so weird. And we do laugh when we hear the idiot start up his mower because we've just mowed. I enjoy upping his stress level. And he totally doesn't get that no one is competing with him. I'd like to take a slingshot to his shrubbery kleig lights.

4:37 PM  
Anonymous Sandy said...

I am not a grass person either. My husband and I are going to retire to New Mexico in a couple years, and have a xeriscape yard.

11:54 AM  
Blogger EFB said...

It would be funny if it weren't so sad. Sounds like he belongs in oh say Hampden Heights or Point Ridge! That is a bummer. I guess try to ignore him??

When the countryside goes suburban where can you go now?

6:48 PM  
Blogger meresy_g said...

We do try to ignore him, but he's just so annoying (you know most of the stories!). I guess we'll have to move to a remote mountain somewhere next, if more idiots like him start to colonize. Maybe West Virginia or Tennessee?

9:22 AM  
Blogger meresy_g said...

Xeriscape is the way to go down there. Although you will probably end up living next door to people that insist on maintaning a lawn and are constantly topping off their pool. They are everywhere!

10:59 AM  
Anonymous Judith said...

I am not a lawn fanatic, never have been. We have your neighbor in my neighborhood too--the farmland turned suburban land does bring in some who do not recognize the value they are sitting on. In my last house, a postage stamp size yard, I turned the whole scape into garden, an urban woodland garden...where I live now there is some lawn, not much considering the acreage we have. The
lawn is made up of whatever survives in it, which is a lot of moss and clover. I tried to purchase herbal lawn seed last spring with no luck. There is a monopoly in the grass seed business and 'they' want us all to have golf courses that need lots of water....I am hoping more people will become educated and see the value in an imperfect lawn...can't get over that guy mows in the winter!

5:09 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I too have an obessesive/compulsive older man behind me that mows 4 - 5 times a week from 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm with his stupid headlights shining in my backyard. When the neighborhood starts to quiet down in the evening, out comes this screwhead. I have almost 2 acres and can mow my lawn in 1 1/2 hours. This guy has almost 5 and he is averaging 10 or 11 hours. He is just a bored, inconsiderate old man. Oh, and when he finally shuts down his 5000 watt barn light shines in all my neighbors back windows.

11:39 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

That is a wildly funny story. That man sounds a bit bored in life with nothing to think about.

A good exercise plan would be good for him.

My neighbors are obsessed with their lawn and mowing my lawn even if I mow it.
They mow my private path. I have tons of land. They are invading my space and privacy.

5:54 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have a crazy neighbor. she is obsessed with her perfect yarn. It makes me want to go "mess" it up.
She is obsesses with watering. she keeps telling me i don't wanter enough and i don't water the right way.
I should go to Sears and get a sprinkler just like hers.
We added a new kitchen onto our house and she told me she went in it when we weren't there. She told me my newspaper needs to be picked up by 9 in the morning or it had to go in the mailbox. She calls the neighborhood security patrol on me whenever i go in my yard. we had the yard surveyed and she covered up the survey marker and then took ti all together. She is keeps saying my fence is on her property. Thanks to the marker i paid for it is obvious to all nothing is on her property. she watches us all the time. So we put the fence up to block her. she can't stand to have my yard have less leaves than hers. The problem is she can't lift a finger to do any work or blow leaves in her yard. When i go blow the leaves in my yard she gets the neighbor across the street to circle the cove so he can see "what I am up to" She stole balloons my friend put on my mailbox. The police told me to put up a security camera and if she is caught doing anything else i can get her for harassment. She turns her sprinkler towards my driveway and when i came home from taking my daughter to school (which she knows i do every morning) i drove through the water shooting across the driveway. HEr car was there, i called her and she wouldn't answer.
She finally left and told me she didn't do it on purpose and she was at bridge---right, sure---she was in her house with a camera trying to take my picture. she's nuts

2:39 PM  

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