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Monday, August 27, 2012

Monday Musings.

Walking past the pine trees on the way to the goat barn, I snapped off some dead twigs - and was transported to Canada when I was a kid.  We spent the summers on a little jewel-like lake in northern Ontario in a log cabin, hand built decades earlier by my maternal great-grandfather.  It was my job to take a basket into the woods and gather up the kindling for the wood stove fire first thing in the morning.  I loved the smell of the pine forest and can still take myself right back there, even all these years later.  It was a magical time.   I would go out with our dachshund, Inger, who was a great hunter of squirrels (and capture of none).  She made sure the coast was clear by barking her head off.  I was very leery of bears.  I'd take my basket full of dry pine twigs back to the cabin, where my mother would bank up a fire.  Once that old stove was good and hot, she'd get out the cast iron frying pan and make eggs and bacon.  We would take thick slices of her homemade bread and put them in the toaster basket and toast them over an open burner.  It's amazing how clear some memories are - and how much in between is blurred and unrecognizable.  My god.  I'm becoming my father.  He can clearly remember his grade school teachers, but not what he did in the morning!

Most of my life was spent avoiding conflict.  I hated conflict - and I still do.  But, as I have gotten older, I have realized that it is possible to get things done and make your point without having to be toe-to-toe.  It's the subtle approach.  Although I have been accused of being as subtle as a sumo wrestler on a catwalk -- wait!  I'm not sure I like that analogy -- let's say, as subtle as a 2x4 upside the head -- I have become more purposeful in getting my point across.  Case in point:  I am unfortunate enough to live on a road with two gravel pits.  One was permitted before I moved in, so it's a moot point.  The second was slunk through the back alley by an oily character working in cahoots with another oily character and the deed was done before anyone had the chance to raise a holler.  This particular 'pit' is much closer to me.  My feelings about both are not secret.  And, while I couldn't stop them, I can limit them - I believe.  So, when the neighbor/pit started firing up the heavy equipment at 7AM on Saturdays, I fired off some letters to the town board/supervisor.  Not surprisingly, I got no reply.  The town supervisor happens to be a retired corporate executive cum real estate agent cum bus driver.  He downplays the first two and plays up the last with battered hat in hand.  A humble man.  A bus driver.  He and his wife have the listing on the house situated right across the road from Gravel Pit #2 (which is unseen behind a cornfield, and unmarked by any sign other than a large new gate.) 

Long story short - the house was owned one of the oily characters who sold the gravel pit property in order to finance a new house at the other (quieter) end of the road.  I am sure that neither he nor the real estate agent (town super) are mentioning the unseen gravel pit to any prospective buyers.  What to do?  I ordered a nice bright sign that reads (on both sides):  NO GRAVEL TRUCKS (no sign) ON WEEKENDS.  I will carefully measure off 26' from the center of the road (town easement) and pound it into my front yard.  Fully in view of any prospective house buyer.  Subtle, no?

22 comments:

  1. I feel you on the gravel trucks. I am always amazed at how we live in the country, but how NOISY it is. Planes, jake brakes on trucks, the increased traffic of the last few years, the gun blasts, the fireworks, etc. There is no such thing as peace and quite anymore :(

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    1. Jane, every so often, it really IS quiet. About once a month. Between the trucks and equipment noises, neighbors on dirt bikes and ATVs, gun happy idiots, it was more quiet in Brooklyn.

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  2. Love it. And you're not having to get in someone's face that way. Very clever.

    And I loved your memory of the pine forest. Smells can transport us back in time easier than just about anything. Could you imagine NOT having the sense of smell? No more bacon frying, coffee brewing, cookies baking aromas. Er, wait,--that's all food, isn't it? Hmmm. That says a wee bit about me (and my jiggly thighs-LOL)
    Have a good week!

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    1. Sue, we shall see. These guys LIKE to get in your face. Isn't it funny how most smells relate to food? I mean, it makes sense, butt (I mean, but), most of my memories that relate to smell, relate to food.

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  3. I say go for it!!!
    You reside in the country not to have to listen or see the gravel trucks.

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    1. Sandy, I do believe that people think that BECAUSE they are in the country, they can make all the noise they want.

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  4. I feel your pain, I have written letters to local board of Supervisors regarding a company from Mexico wanting to blast apart the mountain behind me for a gravel quarry. This fight has been going on for over 5 years, tomorrow is supposed to be the final hearing, it was already denied in May. There are 2 other gravel pits in the area, both are in the river bottom so they are not noticeable. But this new one is a mountain that borders the road to a National Park. Going to see if I can drag myself off to the meeting tomorrow.

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    1. TL - That's awful! There just seems no end to the destruction, does there? Nothing is off limits. I hope the denial holds.

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  5. Hmmm, I like your "subtle" sign. Although technically I "think" that the real estate agent and/or broker could be held liable if they did not disclose the gravel pit to the potential buyers. But, like most good ol' boy workings, the law doesn't seem to apply to those kind.

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    1. CR - I'm sure they will only offer, if asked, that there is a cornfield across the road. Which, technically, there is. It's just in front of the big, noisy gravel pit. They really do flout the law, don't they?

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    2. Years ago the five-acre lot on our north property line was for sale, but under the property laws at that time we knew it wasn't buildable. So every time I walked, jogged, rode horseback or drove by (this was before I had Brian) and there was someone there (without a realtor) looking at the property, I'd stop and chat – and of COURSE feel obliged to tell them that it wasn't buildable in case that was what they wanted to do. It is still a vacant lot.... :-)

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    3. Michelle - I think I was able to dissuade one couple - they drove slowly down the road and stopped (I was out working in the garden) and asked how I liked living on the road. I told them it wasn't bad except for the two gravel pits, constant truck traffic and deafening heavy equipment noise. They squealed their tires when they took off. Score one.

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  6. What a nice memory ☺ I think your right to raise a fuss! I would too!

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    1. Hi, Kelly! My summers as a child were just magical because of that place - we went every year. No running water, no electricity. It was heaven.

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  7. I hate conflict myself but I really LOVE your sign idea! ;-)
    Your summers at the cabin sound wonderful, what lovely memories!

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    1. I am sure it will raise a fuss, but I'm hoping it will get my point across. Those summers produced all of my best memories.

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  8. I read (somewhere) that our most vivid memories can be brought back by our sense of smell. (Hmmm, might have to think about that!)

    I think it's a very wise buyer who makes a point of visiting people already living in a prospective neighborhood to ask questions. Who would know better than someone already residing in the area?

    As for your sign . . . a girl's gotta do what a girl's gotta do! Kudos for doing it.

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    1. Mama Pea - There was an older woman on that lake that baked the most amazing pies - I can remember the smell of a warm blueberry pie on my lap, as we brought it back across the lake in the canoe. MMMMMmmmm. Next house, I'm going to do just that. But I hope to buy in a place with few neighbors...

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  9. Great idea with the sign! Buyer beware...

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    1. Someone told me that everyone buying a property in the country should go to Google Earth first and check the layout of the land. Good idea!

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  10. Your new blog link isn't working for your giveaway...

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    1. Nancy - that's because it wasn't supposed to be published yet - there was a glitch while I was writing it, so I had to delete it. Stay tuned...

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