Saturday, December 4, 2010

Mind Your Own Beeswax

This is what the vegetable garden looks like right now. A hot mess! To the right, you'll see two new beds that we put in during the fall.  We used old reclaimed wood beams from the attic.  The wood was still in good condition, the hubs planed it and cut the boards to size.  I am excited about having beds this year, because we can put in a better mix of potting soil, compost and amendments.  I'm also hoping for less weeds.  I have to clean up the garden, it looks disheveled. I haven't had time to clean it up between the raking of leaves, planting bulbs, and my regular house chores. 
What do you see wrong in this photo?  Does anything jump out at you, look out of place?
Here is a closer look. See it now?
Okay, here it is around the back side.  All the leaves that I've been raking around the property, I've been keeping some of the lawn bags to use in the composter.  I tried to hide it behind the garden so that it wasn't an eye sore.  Were you able to see the bags from the above 3 photos?  Because that is the view from our neighbor's perspective.  However, the other day, one of our neighbors inquired about the lawn bags and asked my husband what our intention was for keeping bags of leaves.  He explained to her that it was for composting and she was less than thrilled of the idea of us hoarding bags in our backyard.
I collected about 15 bags of leaves that I plan to use all year.  Because of the neighbor's comments, my husband requested that I don't add any more bags to the "collection" and as a compromise, we'll cart the leaves into the woods next door.  I started to make a big pile of leaves that I can go to if needed for more composting material.  I couldn't help but feel a bit annoyed about the whole idea.  My husband explained that he thinks the neighbors feel that the bags of leaves and compost will attract critters to the property.  Our neighbor made an effort to tell him that she found a rat in her backyard, as if to imply that we attracted it there.  I'm sorry but my bags of leaves is not going to attract rats, we live in a borough of New York City, there are MILLIONS of rats here already and my bags of leaves are not enticing as a half eaten hot dog thrown onto the subway tracks.  If it sounds like I'm venting, it's because I am.  We try very hard to make our yard / garden presentable.  We fixed our dilapidated garage.  We put in a nice garden.  We planted 100 spring bulbs, 4 rose bushes, 3 peonies, and 1 lilac bush.  But our bags of leaves area are apparently an eye sore.  (sigh)  This is exactly why I'm hesitating on getting chickens.  I can't imagine what they'll say about that.  What do you think.  Should I be worried.  How do you handle unwanted comments?


  1. Geez Louise! I don't blame you for being annoyed! Bags of leaves do NOT attract rats, and they are essential for making good compost. Those bags you have will compost down to nothing before long. And if you do keep even more, there is no way she can complain about the mess, in this day and age, when everyone is being encouraged to stay green!

    I think you have done a GREAT job working on your yard. I cannot even see the bags in ANY of the pictures you have shown of your neighbor's view.

    I am outraged on your behalf! Your nosy neighbor needs to mind her own beeswax, definitely! I'd advise you to give her some nice, ripe tomatoes next year, which you could offer with the point that they would not be possible without the leaves, but she probably doesn't deserve them!

  2. That's too bad that your neighbor seems to be anti-compost - what a drag. But it looks like you found a good compromise, moving the bags. I thought it was really food scraps that attracted rats - if you don't plan to add them, I doubt it'll be a problem. And I didn't even notice them in those first photos.

  3. Ahaha! That is the exact reason you should GET chickens :) Unless you want to be friends with your neighbors. I would leaf(hehe) the bags right where they are.

  4. Your compost area is very well organized and neat. Leaves will not attract rats and neither will the compost bins if properly maintained. (no meat in them) Every once in awhile I will see a field mouse come out of the bottom of the compost bins. With regard to the chickens, I would check with the code department to see if they are allowed. During WWII most people in the city had chickens. Now, there may be code changes that may not allow them.

    People can be very strange. We live in a very nice neighborhood with very nice neighbors on our block. I purchased this house 6 years ago and the one next door 3 years ago. I have improved the grounds by 200% with the landscaping, the perrenial gardens and my vegetable gardens. Last fall I received a typed letter in the mail telling me that there were some bushes that should be trimmed and some leaves that should be removed around the landscaping on both properties!!! I couldn't believe it...I have the nicest properties around!! Now I'm venting :)

  5. Ya!^ You're not going to make everyone happy! There will always be a nay sayer! Just take her some fresh vegetables and make her feel all guilty for being so ignorant!

  6. Hi Mimi,
    I clicked your photos to enlarge them so I could see what was out of place. The only thing I could think of was the hanging basket. Those bags were barely visible behind your fence! It's your property, and you put them where they would not be where your neighbors should be looking. What business do they have looking at that part of your yard, anyway?

    My compost area is close to 2 neighbors' yards. I had the fourth grader to the north ask me why I had windows and a broken chair in my yard (in the compost area). Later in the season, he told me he had seen mice in the compost area, and that mice are getting into the neighbors' houses. You know he's heard adults saying something. I turned the compost and saw no mice.

    These are the same neighbors that don't keep up with pulling the weeds in their few flower beds, have weeds in their bushes as tall as the bushes, and even their grass next to my veggie garden has some aggressive weeds that get into the compost pile. I have to be careful, or the whole veggie garden will be full of it. They found out the name of it a couple years ago, and sprayed it, but they couldn't remember the name when I wanted to know what it was, and this year, it grew unchecked. Oh, dear, now I'm ranting!

    I say leave the leaves where they are, or dump them into piles.

    My husband and I went to Trader Joe's this morning. It was their second day to be open, and there were lots of people. We were limited to what we could buy, because we were not going straight home from there. I found out they do not currently have plans to make Nebraska bags. Do you want me to ask my brother-in-law who lives in Colorado if they have some Colorado bags?

  7. I think your neighbors are walking around your yard, otherwise they would not be able to see the leaves. Some people are never happy. You aren't doing anything wrong. As long as there are no neighborhood covenants, you can do whatever you want.

    As for chickens, I'd get them just to spite people like that. It really is amazing how far people are, and want to be from their food. So sad.

  8. Unfortunately, some people will complain no matter what. I couldn't see the bags in the photos and I doubt they can either. Don't let your neighbor's comments get you down.

  9. ooooh, that's annoying. No, I did not notice the bags at ALL.

    What kind of person is the neighbor? Would it be worth it to have a chat with her and reassure her that critters won't be attracted to bags of leaves? and that you're out there all the time anyway? Some people might be reassured, some people might refuse to hear it.

    My brother in law has what he calls "the hole" near the woods bordering his backyard. He throws all the leaves and other cut things in the hole and says the soil there is great. He could just get some compost from the hole whenever he needs to. Maybe you should try that as a last resort? Then again, your nosy neighbor may ask why you're putting stuff in the hole.

    Best advice after all this: ignore her. :)

  10. One comment from a neighbor can make you stew and stew about what they said and make you ponder all the reasons they would have to make a remark. That is why I keep my communication with mine to a minimum, we get along great that way. I dump all the leaves i can into my garden before winter, by spring I then mulch them in with the rototiller. Your garden fence looks beautiful, it keeps the garden looking tidy and pristine! Im so impressed with your fence it has inspired me to build one just like it instead of the green coated wire fence I have now. I wish you were my neighbor we would get along great! Keep doing what your doing.

  11. Your neighbour's crazy, Mimi. Rats in a bag of leaves... What exactly does she thin k rats want with dried out leaves? Plump up the rat hole? Make a comfy nest? Did she also complain about you growing actual food in the garden too? Did your husband explain that the leaves help to keep down the smell of food in compost, and is the best way to keep the garden and the neighbourhood clean and healthy? Would she rather you have an arsenal of toxic chemicals?

    Ugh. Sheesh. Geez Louise.... I guess that neighbour will NOT be getting any of your bumper crop next year!

  12. Problem: The woman next door saw a rat in her yard.

    Solution: She should tell her husband to stay in the house!

    The best way to get around this is to give your neighbor a few tomatoes and cucs next year. That worked like flipping a light switch for me. It is outrageous that "neighbors" think that way, but they're all over like that. You could always get an old yellow school bus, park it in the yard, and put boards across the tops of the seats, and poof! There's your greenhouse! She'd love that!

    I used chain link fence lined with 3/4 inch bird netting for my compost area, and it is excellent! Composting is a way of life now. Cities are promoting it! Please don't let them infringe on your gardening joy!

    Another way of looking at it (or not) is for her to turn the other cheek. THEN SHE WON'T SEE IT! Ha! Ha!

    Seriously, please don't give in and change anything you're doing. You are in the right!

  13. Sorry to hear your neighbor rained on your compost parade. That's a shame. I think your veggie garden is fabulous, love the fence around it. :)

  14. OMG, I couldn't see the bags at all! I really don't understand people sometime... I don't bag my own leaves in PA (too much work); I keep them in a pile and pull from it as needed. I suppose you could do that instead, but really I think you should do what's best and easiest for you, as long as you're not breaking any neighborhood association rules. Chickens would probably send them over the top, but I say go for it (unless they have a big dog)! I would LOVE to have chickens.

  15. Cover it with a bright big blue tarp and see if she likes that better! Probably will make her like the bags more!


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