Thursday, September 16, 2010

Good Fences...

...make better neighbors. I won't venture so far as to say that they make "good" neighbors, but I'm sure they must make better neighbors than what I've got.

I have noticed that my nosy neighbor has been trying to time getting her mail at the same time I do. I have a habit of feeding the horses their lunch, then walking up the street to pick up the mail. So, me feeding the horses tips her off that I'm about to get my mail, which gives her the chance to check out what I got. This is the same lady who used to walk up onto my porch to read the return addresses of packages I got when she thought I wasn't home, but in reality I was just too busy working at my desk to open the door and bring in the package.

So, I started waiting until 2:15 PM to pick up the mail. After a couple of days of that she caught on, and I saw her walking up the street at exactly 2:15 PM with her mail. Fortunately, I got held up by some problem that day. Then yesterday I took the dogs for a short walk and the mail carrier just happened to arrive right then. My nosy neighbor saw me walking up the street toward the mailboxes, and she ran out of her house, jumped in her car, and raced up the street to try to head me off at the pass. However, by then I was turning around to walk the dogs back to the house via the trail around my pasture, so she missed me.

Then yesterday I went outside to clean up manure along the fence. I knew I was being watched closely from the house. Lostine started doing something bad, so I had to run over to her and shoo her away. As soon as I left my post at the fence, I heard my neighbor's front door open and close, then saw her out of the corner of my eye running for her car. I heard her car door slam and expected to hear an engine start up. I returned to the fence to clean up the manure and when no engine started up, I looked in the driver's seat of the car. No one was there. However, the back seat had fully tinted windows, so I could not see in. I suspected she was sitting in the back seat of her car behind those tinted windows watching me shovel manure. She's done odder things, so it wouldn't surprise me.

Between her always watching for me from her house and car windows, me having to look at all the junk in her yard, whirlwinds blowing all the junk in her yard around and spooking my horses, the endless traffic next door, and all her guests always pestering me while I'm trying to work with the horses or do barn chores, I made another phone call for an estimate to build a wall between our properties. Over $8,000 for one 140-foot long cinder block wall. Ugh.

Then I asked what the height limit is for a wall in our county and was told that it is 6-feet. Hmmmmm. That won't work. Because my neighbors' property is elevated higher than mine, they can still stand on their porch or their driveway and see right over a 6-foot solid wall. I could make it taller, but would legally need permission from my neighbors and I'm sure they would not approve of me taking their favorite view of me away. I'm their only form of entertainment. They love to watch me trip over the hose and fall down while I'm cleaning out water troughs. It's even funnier when I actually land in the water trough. They love to watch the horses sneak up behind me and tip over my wheelbarrow of manure so that I have to pick it all up again. What would they do without me?

Another suggestion was that I could build the wall higher and ask for forgiveness, since that is easier than asking for permission, but if the neighbors complained to the county, I'd have to pay even more money to lower the wall. It's just not worth the risk. We can't erect anything that is wood, because the beavers will eat it. I tried installing a hedge, but the horses were eating it before I could even get it into the ground. My only option is a solid wall. Has anyone had a solid wall around horses? Are there any hazards that go along with it? I'm not concerned about them getting cast against the wall, because the wall is on the uphill side, so it shouldn't be too hard for them to roll downhill to free themselves.

My mother has offered to pay for the wall to improve the property value of this house, since she owns it. I'm sure that the junkyard next door would be a huge deterrent to anyone who might want to buy the house in the future. A wall would cover that up. I'm thinking I will go with the legal 6-foot limit and take what I can get as far as improved privacy and less distractions goes.

I really would like to ride my horses on my property more often like I did years ago before these neighbors moved in. I'd also like to be able to sit on my patio and read a book without being stared at. If I get a spare 10-minutes over my lunch break to exercise or groom a horse, I want to be able to do it without having a curious child or lost stranger talking to me from the other side of a chain-link fence. Just think of all the possibilities! My farrier can actually trim my horses' hooves without an audience, and bonus! I can actually pick up my mail without my neighbor knowing. Freedom and privacy are priceless. Unfortunately, it takes a lot of money to gain such a lifestyle.

14 comments:

Anonymous said...

Is it possible to build a 6 ft. and then put planters on top with something that gets really bushy and thick?

Lulu said...

I am SO excited to hear you are going to build a wall!!! I would think that 6' would at least HELP with the nosey neighbors.

I cannot think of any issues the horses would have. Heck, they might appreciate the privacy!

Anonymous said...

How about complaining to the county about the junk and petitioning to get the neighbor to build a 6 foot wall to screen the view of the junk- at their expense and on their elevation.

bobbybradley53 said...

That stinks! We purposely got a wireless dog fence from Havahart Wireless so we wouldn't have to build a fence. Our neighbors are great and now our dogs can run and play.

JanLou said...

Sounds a bit of a pain. But at least she is nosey not nasty and hostile. That could be much worse but little consolation I'm sure. Got to be honest, if my neighbour had horses I could see from my garden I would be tempted to sit and stare but don't think would be checking out her mail just her horses.

fernvalley01 said...

Go for it and biuld the wall, it might not totally block their view but it would help . the other choice might be, your barn is if your barn is made of portable stalls is to move it to that side of the property along the fence , and whatever you do in front of the stalls is private.If that isnt doable , how about a couple of shade shelters there.But ultimately if Mom will help build the wall... I sure hope you can do something that will improve your quality of life!

achieve1dream said...

Aren't there laws about junk? I can't remember but it might be worth checking into. It may have been about burning or burying it so I could be wrong. It's been too long ago since I checked into it. I know how you feel about the price of fencing though. I live on a corner and really want to fence the two sides by the road because I'm sick of people feeding my goats, stealing my goats and catching my chickens. Grrrrr!!!!

Laughing Orca Ranch said...

Fernvalley's got a new and clever idea. Not just a wall, but a shelter for the horses. Are there height limitations on those, too? How far from the property line can you place a shed or structure?

I must admit that sometimes I enjoy watching my two neighbors' horses when they are out in their paddock or at the end of their arena. I can't see neighbor Val's horses when they are at the end closest to the barn, though, and if I see any of my neighbors out there working with their horses or in their yards, I like to give them privacy anyway, and I make a point of always looking away and not staring.
I must admit that I often feel exposed when I walk up to our barn because it's on a hill and is open to our entire neighborhood. Even my neighbor Val's kitchen and living room windows look right out to my paddocks and pasture. But I can't say that I ever feel like she or her family are staring at me or watching me. I think they probably respect my privacy, too.

I hope the wall solves some of your problems and gives you some much needed privacy. You deserve it!


~Lisa

Cheryl Ann said...

I'm pretty sure your county code office would give your junky neighbors a citation. I know that my county is pretty agressive with this, especially if they THINK they can get $$$ from a citation! Heck, I got a warning from my city because I had...GASP!...dead grass next to my mailbox! So, your county would probably LOVE to cite your neighbors and make some money! You could call them and make a complaint.

Nuzzling Muzzles said...

Just to answer a few questions...

I have talked to the county about the junk next door and they did say it's illegal. I filled out the complaint form, but didn't have the heart to turn it in. The guy runs a construction company out of his home which is partly why he has so much junk. The house probably only has 900 square feet, so there's no room to store anything inside. I suspect the woman is a hoarder, like the people on the TV shows who can't let go of any material possessions -- which can be a form of mental illness if it is excessive. On top of that, they are very poor. They couldn't afford to pay $8,000 for a wall any more than I can. I believe that if I have mercy on others, perhaps someone will have mercy on me when I get into difficult situations.

I do like the idea of extending the height of the wall with something temporary. I can't put any plant life up there though, because the horses will eat it.

Two of my stalls are on a foundation and very permanent. At the time I was ready for a third stall, I wanted to build it like an L shape for the purpose of blocking the neighbors' view. However, we couldn't afford another permanent add on, so we bought a very cheap portable stall that has to be anchored down to the side of the barn, so I didn't have any choice of where to put it. I have no time to build a lean-to myself, so I'd have to pay someone, which ultimately would cost the same if not more than a wall.

These particular neighbors have no interest in my horses. My horses are in front of their faces all day, but they only come out and stare or snoop when I come out to do chores. They board horses on their own property and have no interest in them.

I have other neighbors who happen to come out to do their own chores while I'm doing mine and they don't bother me at all. Either they wave hello or talk to me a bit and then go back to their chores, or they just do their own thing. They don't sit in cars by my fence or stand on their porch and watch me like I'm under the eye of a microscope.

Overall, these neighbors are getting better, though. Lately, I've been mostly pestered by their guests. If I didn't work 60 hours a week and had more free time, I'd be more patient with the interruptions, but after a while they all add up and I can't find time to do my chores and work with my horses since people on the other side of the fence are always monopolizing my time.

Nuzzling Muzzles said...

Case in point... I just went outside at 7:45 AM to bring in the garbage can, and the woman immediately came out of her house onto her front lot and stared directly at me for the duration of when I brought in the garbage can. I stared back directly at her waiting for her to act normal like my other neighbors by waving and acknowledging me, then going back to her business, but I suspect she didn't have any business other than to come out to stare at me. If the wall were there, she could not have seen me. She would have had to walk onto my property to stare, and then I could have had a case to ask her to leave because my insurance doesn't cover accidents on my property very well. I actually just had a chat with an insurance agent about people trespassing on my property and she said that having NO TRESPASSING signs up does not protect me from liability.

Anonymous said...

What would happen if you gave HER a staredown? When she comes out to stare at you what if you just dropped what you were doing and then turned to face her and did nothing but stare back? It may take some of your valuable time to win a staring contest but it's a suggestion. As for the fence...I'd do it. Some fence (even if it's not quite tall enough) is better than no fence at all. You can figure out about adding to the top of it later, like putting removable lattice panels to extend it further and if you get complained about they can be easily removed.

Breathe said...

That woman needs medication. That compelling need she has is making her a prisoner as much as it does you.


A wall is a great option, but do you still have a plan to move?

Kerry said...

rural nieghbors make better neighbors because.....there is more space between you and the neighbors!...supposedly. It doesn't sound like there is that much space. I like the wall and hedge idea, but it might be difficult to pull off. Maybe you should just go do some chorse butt naked - that might scare her off. Better yet, I should send my husband over to help you with your chores. He doesn't mince words and can tell her to mind her own business and once or twice with him she would never stick her nose in your business again!