Monday, May 16, 2011

The Fence Farce

I want to post some pictures of my latest big garden project that I've been working on since last fall, my raised vegetable beds. However, before I do so, I need to premise it with the story of what I refer to as “the fence farce” or “the invisible fence.”

We are very close to our neighbors on three sides. The neighbor along the back is a rental property, however the landlord shows up pretty much every weekend to do whatever it is he does in their large garage. Our property and his were divided by an overgrown hedge of invasive honeysuckle and who knows what else. It was pretty messy and not very attractive, but at least it was a green visual barrier from my neighbor’s parking lot of a driveway that includes various vehicles that don’t work anymore (a broken down boat, wave-runner, and at least two or three other cars).

My view of the back of my yard and the neighbor's property when there was still a hedge.
The hedge is behind the curved garden bed and the small raised bed (that has since fallen apart).
The large, white structure is the neighbor's garage.

Early last spring, my loud-talking, friendly neighbor says, “Hey neighbor! We’re planning on putting up a fence next week. I have a friend who can take down that hedge for you really cheap if you want.” Little did he know that Brian and I had been discussing taking out the hedge and putting up a fence. I even got a quote from a landscaping company on clearing out the hedge and the left side of the backyard, which is also overgrown (that’s a story for another time). The price I had gotten was almost $3,000, so needless to say I didn’t go through with that. I got a price from the neighbor’s friend for taking out just the hedge and it was a good deal so we decided to go ahead with it.

The fence that was supposed to go up “next week” turned into “next month” and then turned into “next year.” I spent all season long digging out roots of honeysuckle that kept producing more offspring and eventually got it to the point where it stopped popping up. As time went on, I would occasionally ask Mr. Friendly Loud-Talking Neighbor if he was still planning on putting up a fence. The answer was always yes, but there was the excuse of expense and other unexpected things that came up that had to be taken care of first. The last excuse was he was waiting for his tax refund. I’m guessing he’s gotten that refund by now. I told Brian that I feel like saying to the guy, “When you said you were going to put up a fence, I didn’t realize it was going to be an invisible one.” But I’m not sure how he’d take that and Mr. Friendly Loud-Talking Neighbor may turn into Mr. Mean-and-Nasty Loud-Talking Neighbor.

So I spent all season-long last year looking at the view of my tranquil garden with flowers blooming and birds chirping...with the hideous parking lot behind it. I cursed that view every day. Come the colder weather, we had wood stolen from our woodpile and my entire pile of kindling that I had gathered throughout the season was taken, as well. Now I’m concerned my vegetables will start disappearing as soon as they ripen. I find myself wishing I had that ugly, overgrown hedge back.

So that’s the story of “the fence farce” or “the invisible fence.” Here’s some before and after shots. Let’s see who you think has the better view. Here are pictures of the neighbor’s view of my garden:

Mr. Friendly Loud-Talking Neighbor's view of my garden and shed in summer
(the blue house in the background is another neighbor's house).
The neighbor's view of my garden in the summer.
The neighbor's view of the back of our shed and house in summer.
The neighbor's view of my garden and shed in spring.

Here’s the view that I have of the neighbor's property:

My view of the neighbor's driveway and garage.
Usually there's even more cars in the driveway, which is why I call it the “parking lot.”
Need I say more?

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