Sunday, August 15, 2004

There goes the neighborhood 

We've got new neighbors across the back fence. Renters, actually. Either their arrival or the departure of the previous renters inspired the landlord to spruce up the place. Y'know, when it comes to yard care, there are four types of people. First are those who live for their yards. If it's a sunny day, odds are they are out in the yard--pulling weeds, tending plants and just generally getting dirty. Their yards are showplaces and it's a joy to live in sight of one of these homes. The second level of landowners are those who want a nice yard but pay others to do the work. With this type, you only get a showplace yard when they are really rich, but even in the poorer neighborhoods, second level yards are nice and neat. The third level of landowner is a do-it-yourselfer, like the first level, but they don't get fancy. The yard is usually mowed, the trees eventually get pruned and the flower beds are weeded, but overall the design of the yard is simple. Then you have the fourth level. A fourth level landowner might mow the yard if they need to get a part from the junked car that's rusting in the front yard. They've got a commitment to nature, to see our urban and suburban communities return to their primeval state. That, or they're just too durn busy to mess with a stupid yard. Either way, they are the lowest of the low on the yard care spectrum.

Me, I'm a definite level four. Pavement is forever and that suits me just fine because that means it doesn't need mowing. (Fortunately for my neighbors, Noodles is a level three and keeps the yard relatively suitable.) Until the last few weeks, the house in back also sported a level four yard. (An oddity, because the owners live down the street and their home is almost a level two.) But bit by bit they've been cleaning up the place--replacing the dilapidated picket fence with a clean, new chain-link, chopping away the ivy and blackberry vines, and even chopping down the cherry tree which gave shade to my six foot wide back yard. (And my bathroom. I really don't like having the morning sun brightening the whole room. I prefer to have my morning sun about one in the afternoon.) Like I said, I don't know the entire rationale behind this transformation. The disappearing tree, I've discovered, was due to the machinations of the new renters. Two of the three work for a landscaping company and they took out the tree for free. But they only moved in this week and the improvments started a few weeks before that. It's probably just a case of things coming together for the betterment of all. (Bright bathrooms notwithstanding.) Oh, well.....