I alluded to my neighbor yesterday, but I didn't want to talk much about it. I was still fuming. Today, I am feeling a bit better, though I still think more drama may be around the corner.
I've mentioned before that I hate drama, and I really haven't had much from all of my neighbors in the past.
Anyway, these particular neighbors are interesting. They moved into the neighborhood 2 1/2 years ago, at the same time as the neighbors on the other side of them moved in. The house that they bought had stood empty for 3 years as it was in the many stages of foreclosure, so the neighborhood had treated it like a vacant property: kids played in the yard, my chickens free ranged on it, I mowed it, and mostly it was just...unused. When they moved in, since it was winter, my chickens were in their coop close to their food, the kids weren't really playing outside, so they had no problems with any of us. Come spring though, my coop had spaces the chickens could get out and roam and the kids still ran on their grass.
So I totally understood that year when they complained to me about my chickens. I saw that they truly were a problem, so when they called and told me that they were trying to seed their lawn and my chickens were eating the seed and could I please do something with my chickens, I apologized and brought them a top of the line (think $40) bag of grass seed from my feed store (that I owned back then). The only frustration was that they called right before I left for work, and I couldn't fix anything right then, but I got on it in the space of a couple of days.
They still ended up calling the police, though, because a few renegades still got out during those first couple of weeks as I was patching up places where they continued to get out. Then they complained of the rooster crowing and had a police officer come out again.
And that was the first year.
The second year, they complained that chickens were getting into their yard (and her husband came over after he'd been drinking to yell and swear at my husband about it). Again, it was in the spring before I had a chance to patch up the problem areas that had happened during the winter. So we put up a chain link fence between us and them to contain the strays, and I patched up my coop. They said they didn't have money to contribute to a fence, and we were thankful that we had been given most of the fencing material by a friend who had offered it to us. (It was second hand, used to fence in an area for a bit, and our friend had been given the materials, but wasn't going to use it, so he gave it to us.) Their family didn't so much as dig a fence post, but simply watched us carefully, as we put up the fence a good half foot or more into our property. (My husband is the most polite person I know, thinking of other's feelings way more than I do. He knew they were attached to a certain bush and chose to put our fence into our yard more so that they could keep the bush intact. Smiling (which was more than I could do), he told them that he was going to do that for them.)
For understanding and clarity: the neighbor on the other side of my next-door-neighbor built a chain link fence on their side after the neighbors I've been telling you about complained of the other neighbor's children being on their propery. So they have a mostly fenced yard because of problems with neighbors on both sides.
Now we are into our third spring with these people. Winter here isn't finished and the ground is mushy with mud since the snow melted last week. Most of the chickens have been in, with the exception of a handful of bantams that were hatched in the orchard and that fly 30 feet up in a tree to roost at night and have been impossible to catch. (As a side note, the orchard is owned by a neighbor. He has never had a problem with our chickens being there. Just so you understand...)
So on Sunday morning at 9:00 a.m. ...on Sunday, when the store is closed!... this woman decides to call and tell me that she has had a problem with "twenty" of my chickens being in her yard in the past few days. Huh. I think that is about my entire flock, but anyway..... I tell her we will take care of it. My son goes into the orchard and tries to catch the bantams. He comes in defeated. I call her and tell her that since it is Sunday and the feed store is closed and I don't have any chicken wire at my house I can't do anything right then, but if she had some chicken wire she could just put it at the base of her fence (the one bordering the orchard) and the chickens won't be able to get into her yard. Her response? "I don't think it is my responsibility to take care of your chickens." and then she told me that "You don't have to do it today, I just wanted to make you aware of the problem." I tell her that I'll do something on Monday.
So on Monday I call my neighbor with the orchard, asking if he minds if I go onto his property to put up the chicken wire on his side of the already existing field fence. He didn't have any problem, he just told me to "do what I needed to do to appease her". And he told me that she went over to his house to talk to his wife on Sunday morning at about 10:40 a.m. (after telling me at 9 a.m. that I didn't have to do anything about it today, but she just wanted me to be aware), and then called him that night around 6 o'clock. Thankfully he told her that he wasn't going to get involved: no signing a petition or complaining to anyone about it. He said that he isn't bothered by my chickens. He also told her that I had been here first and had had my animals long before she got here. Thank heavens for good neighbors!!!!
So last night, Jared and I caught the renegade chickens as Steve poked them out of the tree as they tried to roost last night, and we put them in a dog run that is fully enclosed. But I still don't trust that a police officer won't be by.
And that is my tale of woe with my neighbor. It is also as gossipy as I get, so I hope that you don't take me for a gossip. I just simply hope that at some point everything will work out with this neighbor, because I hate the contention.
I don't know, maybe I *am* a crappy neighbor, but I just really wish that they valued neighborly peace as much as the $15 the chicken wire would have cost them, because it really would have ended their problems for good.