Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Neighbors - The Good. The Bad. The Ugly.

One thing I learned early-on, is that neighbors - and your relationship with same - is very, very important when you are homesteading on your own with limited resources and abilities and a LOOOOONG learning curve. I have had wonderful luck in being situated near a small dairy farm that is worked by a generous and kind family. I trade baked goods, eggs and nail-trimming services (for a small but feisty dog) for wonderful raw milk. And they also plow my driveway when it snows. And they also 'gave' me a beautiful Jersey heifer calf who was born the day before my birthday. I love them.

So, that is the good. I also have the bad. Two neighbors in particular who live down my road and apparently see themselves as the land czars of the road. Between the two of them, they own about 90% of the land. When I bought my house, I was not made aware of a new gravel pit that had opened down the road. There is no sign, no indication that it is there - except in the spring, summer, fall and most of the winter when tens of heavy dump trucks roar past my house, covering lawn, trees, house in a tsunami of dust. This particular 'neighbor' has bought up a lovely farm with the most beautiful rolling fields I have ever seen. He is slowly transforming it into an extension of his gravel pit. They are the ugly. Very ugly. In the winter, he and his cronies tear-ass over the fields (and our roads, illegally) in their snowmobiles. At the risk of offending snowmobilers, it is just another so-called sport for lazy people. I cannot see the thrill of plopping my ass on a machine that tears up the land, makes horrendous noise and provides no exercise whatsoever. I suppose the labor of trying to stay on the thing while you've got a snootful of booze could be challenging.

Back to the good. I also have a neighbor/friend who will charge to my aid no matter what time I call. She always brings knitting, has a wonderful wit and sense of humor and is no-end talented. It also helps that she is willing to help me rassle my sheep and give them whatever injections or drenches they may need. I couldn't live without her. And her husband willingly gives up portions of his weekend to help me haul large quantities of hay and put up fencing.

I have another friend who is very handy and retired. He recently noticed my origami laundry tree (thanks to the snow/wind of last week) and casually mentioned that he would be happy to stop by, pick it up, take it home and fix it. Huzzah! He is a gem and good dinner company.

I am lucky. My good neighbors vastly outweigh my bad and ugly neighbors. As for the coming of dump truck season, I have ordered three willow bushes that are guaranteed to grow massively in short order. They will have their work cut out for them.


Chicken Mama said...

So, while taking a break from my working-from-home-day to eat lunch (yeah, I'm late), I've gifted myself with FINALLY beginning to read your blog from the beginning!

I wanna know: have the willow bushes grown this past year? And/or, by any stroke of luck, has the gravel pit closed?


Susan said...

A bolt from the past!! Of the three willow bushes I planted, one died, one is so-so and one seems to be thriving. I just ordered a replacement. And, no, the gravel pit did not close. As a matter of fact, there are now TWO gravel pits on my poor road. :(