Saturday, November 29, 2008

Good Fences Make Good Neighbors

We are peaceful people, I don't like to rock the boat if it can be avoided. My husband will stand up for himself and his family, but will otherwise walk away if possible. That said, we had to talk to the neighbors for trespassing on our side of the property. Normally we wouldn't be too bothered by that, but it happened in a weird way...

I was taking out our daily scraps and heading to the compost bin in the garden area by the back end of our property. I wasn't paying any mind to the woods around me and I was singing, "The hills are alive with the sound of music..." (we were watching it on DVD and the song stuck in my head) pretty loudly. All of a sudden I hear a loud motor sound and it scared me. I looked around, thinking maybe it was by our drive, but I didn't see anything and then when I looked up by the property line, I saw a someone there, with some sort of tractor with yellow flashing lights and smoke. He was burning something. It really startled me to see someone there so close, and I was also kind of embarrassed he probably heard my terrible singing. Then again, he wasn't supposed to be there, so if I broke his eardrums, it's his own fault.

Anyway, I didn't stay to see who it was, though I was pretty sure it was the neighbors, and I hurried back into the house where my kids were watching the movie.

When my husband came home that night, I told him what happened. It was too late to go out and check and the next day we went out to get my mom from out of town. So we didn't get to investigate until Thursday, when there was a lull in my cooking. The neighbor was a good 10 to 15 feet inside our property line, cutting down trees, burning and making a path. I don't know why he was making a path when there is a dirt road just inside his property line. The husband told me that the tractor with the flashing light I saw was probably the bobcat the neighbor owned. Hubby saw him with it before when he went over to talk with him once.

Our lines are clearly marked, so there was no excuse for him to be over on our side. They bought their house about a year after us, and the surveyors left their orange markers and neither they or us, have taken them down. When the husband went over there to ask, the neighbor denied being there and said he saw the smoke and called the fire department. When Hubby asked if he had a bobcat, the neighbor got all shady and said he didn't know what Hubby was talking about. Instead of pointing a finger, my husband said that he was tired of trespassers and he was going to catch them sooner or later, then walked off. He hopes that it was enough of a warning to keep the neighbor away.

Might be time to invest in some fencing materials.

Might also be time to get a dog. A dog would have barked and alerted me to the fact that someone was out there, and I would have known instead of being caught unaware. The more I think about that day, the more I think it would be nice to have a dog around the house, me being deaf and not being able to hear certain things, especially when Hubby is away at work. We would train the dog to bark when someone is at the door or someone is outside. A dog would also be nice to have when the kids are playing outside and we can train the dog to stick around the children at all times.

I've been scanning the web for local shelters for puppies and am keeping an eye out for ads in the local papers. We can't afford a pure-bred and we're looking for a mid-size dog. The prices for shelter dogs have sky-rocketed! We saw one puppy that we liked and found out the adoption fee would be $325, not including the required spay/neuter costs. Ouch! A local shelter down the road asks $125, also not including spay/neuter costs. After we first moved here, we got a dog from the local SPCA for $75, including micro-chip and neutering, but unfortunately, he didn't work out with us and we took him back a few days later. We know we have to start with a puppy and not an older dog, since we have cats and small children and babies.

If anyone local knows of a place that has puppies for a reasonable price, let me know.


mishkazena said...

The arrogance of the neighbor. Good thing you caught him. It's very odd about him making a clearing when there is a dirt road already. It sounds like he may have a different plan in mind. Whatever, he is now notified that you both are aware of this. Good luck.

I have dobermans. They are good for alerting us to sounds. However, for a country dog, you can check where rescue organizations show pictures of their dogs. Most of their adoption fees are reasonable. You can find puppies listed at, too.

Throwback at Trapper Creek said...

Oh Jenny, that is terrible. A dog increases a human's senses by about 200 yards. Our dogs are a god send. I always thought our old dog that died last year should have been a hearing ear dog. She alerted to the phone ringing, or any strange sound with no training from us.

You would have peace of mind with for yourself and your children with a dog. I'm glad your hubby went over there and spoke with the neighbor, hopefully that will end his shenanigans!

Grrrr... stories like this make my blood boil!

Hope you had a nice turkey day. :)

Dianrez said...

Check into hearing dogs, some agencies will train them for you to specific sounds as you need. They do require maintenance and to be kept in training, so might not be practical when you also have kids.

Good fences make good neighbors, so that's a great idea. There are laws about appropriated land becoming neighbors' property if not challenged, so a letter from your lawyer might be in order.

Wendy said...

A fence is a good thing :), and it doesn't have to be anything fancy. You could just pile brush in that area where he's been doing the clearing ... or plant a line of trees :).

jenny said...

Mishkazena-- I have been looking on petfinder, and I see some nice looking puppies there.. the only thing that stops me is the prices. It's a big deal getting a dog, with all the fees and then the food we will have to buy and the vet costs and dog license, etc... We are not going into this dog ownership thing lightly. Wish us luck!

Trapper-- We always talk about putting up a fence, for the peace of mind with our kids, but now we will most definetly be looking into it. The neighbors are more than a little strange and they have caused the neighbors on the other side of them some problems. I'm thankful they haven't pestered us, but I sure wish I knew what they were up to out there.

You have beautiful dogs but I don't know about that long hair! I prefer short-haired dogs. Do their hair ever get matted on the undersides?

Dianrez-- a hearing ear dog would be nice, but they are beyond our price range. A friend of mine has experience training her dogs so I'll be picking her brain for training tips.

Hopefully it won't come to that-- needing a lawyer, but for now, the husband tacked up "no trespassing" signs all along the property line that borders the neighbors'. See if that works.

Wendy-- the property line is already in the woods, so no tree planting would work there. We'll go simple and do posts and wire fencing for now, until we can afford better fencing materials.