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there goes the neighborhood

We are continuing to see more vacancies in our 10-year-old subdivision (nice, new homes to my way of thinking). Across the street the renters noticed online that their landlord was approaching foreclosure and moved out (back to So. Calif!!!). I contacted the realtor with a maintenance offer while my little Honda mower could still get the lawn back down, but they did not reply.

Yesterday my wife and I hacked down their two-foot-tall tall weeds that were going to seed. I used a semi-commercial string trimmer while she used pruning shears on volunteer trees and heavy-stalked weeds, and weed killer on the walkways and parking areas. Today I’m going to rake up the weed straw and wheelbarrow it into our back yard for mulch, and to keep it from smothering the remaining grass, looking awful, making it hard to mow and increasing the fire hazard while people set off fireworks in celebration of … uh, oh yeah, their ability to set off fireworks.

It could be selfish motivation to keep the neighborhood from looking awful, but I think we were actually inspired just cuz it was a job that was screaming to be done and it was obvious nobody else would do it.

We will be letting it dry out this summer and we won’t be dealing with the much larger back yard that is a complete runaway jungle.

Next door, the renters just finished moving out and their lawn sprouted a FOR SALE sign. I began and will finish this morning, replacing and adjusting our sprinklers to water their lawn. The rains that have been keeping all of our lawns green are probably about gone for the season.

We have already begun mowing it when we use our human-powered push-mower to cut ours. To our minds, it looks pretty goofy to have your lawn end abruptly at the property line with tall weeds starting exactly where the surveyors would plant their stakes. While we could think of it as extra work, we view it more as an extension of our front yard and aesthetics of our home.

If more people think about their neighborhood, vicinity and take a broader view, their communities will not get so seedy as we transition from easy money to hard. Houses rent and sell a whole lot better if they aren’t demanding hundreds of hours of weed removal, soil reconstruction, sprinkler restoration and sod laying.