Ramble On

Monday, April 25, 2011

Good Fences

"He only says, 'Good fences make good neighbors.'
Spring is the mischief in me, and I wonder
If I could put a notion in his head:
'Why do they make good neighbors?' Isn't it
Where there are cows? But here there are no cows.
Before I built a wall I'd ask to know
What I was walling in or walling out,
And to whom I was like to give offense."

-from Mending Wall, Robert Frost, 1914.
reposted from http://www.poets.org/viewmedia.php/prmMID/15719

It occured to me I have a couple of home projects to post on - I never wrapped up the kitchen remodel, for example, and then we have a big project going on upstairs in the Alexandria house.  I will put those posts up later in the week.  For now, I want to post about a project that has been on the to-do list for a couple of years:  putting in a new fence along the west side of the front lots.

A couple of years ago, our neighbor developed his lot on the west side of us.  We'll leave aside for now our feelings about how he chose to do that; what's done is done and it was his property, after all.  Unfortunately, things didn't end with that, and in getting to resolution of the situation, let's just say the old line from Frost's poem is what kept coming to mind.

Our neighbor's intention was to sell the house he'd built; since it was delivered right into the teeth of the recession, that's been a challenge, and he has pursued a rent-to-own strategy.  We've watched three of these deals come and go, but it was the first that inspired us to put up a fence, a practical three-rail affair, after buying a legacy easement back between the two properties where an alley might have been constructed.

Since the first tenants, who were very difficult and showed progressively worse behavior to the neighbors (and the landlord) over the six months or so they were there, we've been thinking that a fence along the property line would help to create a sense of respect for each other, so we've finally had it built after surveying the property line last fall.  The new fence extends from the road back to the northwest corner of the westernmost lot, ending along the lean-to "carport" of the shed, in a clump of bamboo that we allow to go wild for privacy.

The current neighbors are nice enough.  But "Good fences make good neighbors," and in this case we want to maintain a good relationship.  The fence is nothing personal...no offense meant, Mr. Frost.  

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