Tag Archives: neighbors

I Still Can’t Spell Opossum Without Looking It Up First

I really admire this guy’s devotion to his feet. Or her feet.

I looked up how to tell whether a raccoon is male or female and the Internet says females are smaller. Seems like there would be other clues.

Yesterday colleague came over to rototill and while I was out in the backyard I cleaned out the water bucket which was filthy and had some green in it.

Already last night one of the visitors tipped it over.

During the snow for and for several days after I did not have a single opossum sighting but it’s been back through.

Bunny has been the biggest performer, hanging out right in the center of camera range and twitching every couple of minutes so I end up with 50 video clips. He’s also been busy nibbling on the Jerusalem artichokes that I grew, harvested, and then left sitting in the shop for months before throwing them into the garden.

I finally ordered seeds and was momentarily distraught when they were sold out of some items except I remembered that I am a minimalist gardener who often fails to even harvest things so basically I was distraught about my future composting.

I started 4 cherry tomatoes on the windowsill plus ordered 2 regular tomato plants since I have had such terrible luck with tomatoes for the past many years. Who wants to be this year will be great and we will have tomatoes everywhere? (I hope this is what happens.)

Did I ever mention that the renters next door moved? We were so relieved. They were pretty quiet the past year with just a few loud nights. Rumor is that the house will be put on the market. It is perfect for a flip house or rental property so fingers crossed that nice friendly people who actually want to live there buy it.

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Smokey morning at Tishawnik.

I don’t think I ever did an update on the new neighbors behind us. We talked to them and they are fine. They were a bit vague about exactly what they plan to do and I’m not sure if that means they are still assessing what they have or they don’t want to tell us.

They demolished the garage which we knew had to happen from the son-in-law. We understand they plan to build an extra mother-in-law apartment and then do some sort of upgrades to the house.

The rental process is on hold – they had such a big response they decided not to deal with it right now. They work like mad over there. I think they’ve shown up every day since they bought it.

Note from Nov 26, 3PM: I scheduled this to post yesterday and just now when I checked to see what happened I find a note “missed schedule.” I thought this was a computer. How does it miss the schedule? It is still scheduled for yesterday. SMH.

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The New Rental House

The rental house next door has been almost completely quiet since the Covid. Although on Halloween I woke up after midnight to the sound of people talking. After such a quiet night I was curious what was going on and of course it was next door.

The house behind us has been in the same family for over 40 years. The man died a number of years ago but the woman hung in there for a long time. We’ve gotten to know her son-in-law because he likes to B.S. over the fence when he’s in town. The woman passed away this summer and they worked like crazy to get the house empty and ready for sale.

They told us they sold it to a flipper who plans to rent it.

Flipper got the keys on a Thursday and spent Friday and Saturday with a chainsaw and a chipper getting rid of almost every tree and shrub on the property. Beautiful 10 foot tall rhododendrons. Pretty trees with fall colors. Now there’s a bare house with a rental sign on the lawn.

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Did something try to eat one of my apples? I gasped when I found it on the ground like this. It’s a little green and I had to chop it into tiny pieces to eat it because of the braces, but it was pretty and tasted good. Red McIntosh.

I’ve been meaning to write about the bro house across the street. We called it the bro house because when they first moved in it seemed like a bunch of guys lived there in rotation. We were never sure what was going on over there. In all the years they lived there no one ever even made eye contact.

At some point everything changed and the bros were gone and it was a lady and a baby with the main guy.

My story is about their dogs. They had Boxers.

One day the main bro was driving down the street in his SUV with all these dogs sticking their heads out the window, happily barking. So then I referred to the dogs as the Cerberus.

There were four dogs and they barked a lot. You could always tell when UPS or FedEx drove up because of the chorus of dogs. (Not complaining, I thought it was cute.)

One day I was out in the front yard and the woman was yelling at one of the dogs and it had a very not-dog name like Rosemary so what I was hearing was: Rosemary! Bad! Bad Rosemary! Stop it! Rosemary! Bad!

But all the dogs were barking so I’m not sure why Rosemary was called out.

All of this is in the past tense because a week or so ago there was a moving truck and since then all the cars and the Cerberus are gone.

After my post last week I decided I would buy a wildlife cam. I was like Calvin (of Calvin and Hobbes) waking up every few hours wondering about all the wildlife I was capturing on my new camera. The minute I woke up I put on pants and ran outside to get the camera card.

This was the single picture on the card. Impressed?

I’m pretty sure that’s a cat.

I treated the lenses with some stuff that will hopefully not mist up. Stay tuned. I’m going to get Bigfoot or something good soon.

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Apple Blossoms!

Remember the story of our old pretty apple tree’s demise and its replacement tree Sybil?

The tree has pretty apple blossoms right now. The tree isn’t big enough to handle more than a couple of tiny apples but I can’t wait to see what happens.

In other news, you maybe wondering if there is any news about the neighbors. It has been quiet over there. Only two cars. I’ve occasionally heard people out there at night. St. Patrick’s day was rowdy but not enough to complain about.

Until last weekend. Cabin fever setting in? They were loud enough to wake me up but I was willing to live with it and then the shouting started. And then screaming — it sounded like it was outside our window. Not like murder just like a furious, frustrated person.

I called 911. Later we saw EMTs and a fire truck over there.

I don’t know what was going on. I think it was a family dispute. We joked around about Glady Kravits because we were peeking out the window trying to figure out what was going on.

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This Little Figgy

This is Percy in the fall — I guess that’s frost? I can’t remember when I took the photo. (More groundhog daikon radishes in the background.)

I came *this* close to announcing that there were interesting developments next door.

Bob said he saw a moving van over there. During the holidays we had gone up to a regular 6 (six!) cars parked over there every night. But then it went down to two. Then for a couple of nights there was one and no lights on and not a sign of life.

Percy is the kind of fig tree that only has a summer crop. There’s probably some interesting reason why he produced a couple funny little figs in the fall. I don’t know what it is but I hope it’s foreshadowing for next summer.

I foolishly alerted the neighbor on the other side and asked if she’d seen or heard anything. She also complained about the six cars and was hopeful for good news.

False alarm. We’re back to 4-5 cars and they woke me up once last week at 1:30am.

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Rash Report

How do people take photos of their own arm with one hand? It took me awhile to get this and when I finally got a photo I got about 15.

I know this looks terrible but actually it’s a lot better. I have a little bit of sensation in a few spots but I’m operating as usual.

What seems like a great idea in June when there’s a coupon deal and is a giant stupid chore in October?


I vaguely remembered that I had ordered them but half hoped that maybe they wouldn’t be delivered or that I hadn’t ordered that many.


On Sunday I got home from my soccer match at about 4pm and threw on my yard clothes and ran out and worked like a maniac as the sun slowly went down and Bob held up dinner. When I went back in the house he said, “All finished?”

I said, “NO! That was only two little bags.”

But the rewards will come in spring.

While I’m here, would you like an update on the neighbors?

In August they woke us up almost every day for two weeks including a Wednesday morning at 3am. I called the neighbor and the leasing agent. Two days later they were out in front of our house carrying on at 4:30am.

That was the end of me trying to be reasonable about it.

I called the neighborhood police officer and I went to the property records and wrote a letter to the address listed for that house. I have been told that the owners live abroad and that address is a local family member.

Police officer talked to them and said they were apologetic and receptive. At this point I’m thinking they are used to trouble and know what to say but don’t really care. We have been instructed to phone 911 when there is a noise complaint which I have done once — dying of embarrassment to call emergency and complain about people yelling. The leasing agent said they talked to the tenant again about the noise. I also rallied the neighbor on the other side.

It’s been mostly better — I guess they told their friends not to park in front of our house and they move inside more quickly. Now we don’t have the windows open so that helps.

I saw the tenant out there mowing the lawn and felt bad — she has who knows how many people crashing over there. Why is she doing the lawn?

Then a loud motorcycle pulled up last night and people were talking in front at 1:30am. (And I did not call it in. That’s the drag because I have to get out of bed and get on the phone and describe what’s going on. It has to get pretty bad for me to be motivated to do that.)

I rescind my feeling bad.

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It’s That Time Again

This is my healthy tomato plant, loaded with tomatoes. It’s so loaded I have it the tomato cage staked.

Another of the special features of the rental house next door is a walnut tree growing out of the side of the house. I don’t think this is a good idea but since the owners live in another country and nobody else cares what happens to that house, the tree remains and gets bigger all the time.

Right now it is full of walnuts and squirrels. That’s what I am listening to right now — squirrels romping around the tree and walnuts hitting the ground.

The house next door has been reasonable lately until this weekend when they woke me up at least three times on Friday night and once last night so I’m thinking unkind thoughts about them again.

Remember that time I found a shriveled red potato in the back of the potato drawer? I ran out into the rain with a trowel and shoved it in the dirt. This weekend I decided to dig up one of my many, many potato hills and all of these came out of one spot. That’s four pounds of potatoes. Potato salad coming to our supper table soon.

I canned applesauce yesterday with colleague but somehow in this world where we can have everything on all our devices — even things we don’t want — all the time and anywhere, I can’t pull up a photo of our 12 pints on this computer. It’s a beautiful pink color and very delicious. We each got 6 pints plus a giant bowl to eat this week.

Last weekend we went with Geena to the Clark County Fair which was super fun and I have photos but somehow I look like Great Aunt Eunice who never washes her hair and enjoys collecting bits of string so I’m not going to share those with you. We watched the dueling dogs that jump off this dock and race across a pool — the jumps are amazing. We looked at sheep and goats and bunnies and chickens. We listened to the fiddling championships. We ate fried Nutella, onion rings, fish tacos, peach milkshakes, and had a beer before we shook shook shook our booties with KC and the Sunshine band. An epic fun day.

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Clarion West Beg-A-Thon Week #1 Report

Remember when that raccoon attacked the walls of water on my freshly planted baby tomato sproutlet?

The tomato never really recovered. This is a terrible picture. I tried to figure out a clever way to emphasize the tomato but this I best I can do at the moment.

It’s got tomatoes forming but it’s so spindly it can barely stand up under the burden.

For contrast, here’s the other tomato I planted at the same time.

I tried to take a photo of the giant weed farm the next door neighbors are growing in their front yard, but couldn’t get a shot that best showed the waving yellow flowers that will soon turn into white fluff and blow into our yard. I read on nextdoor that you can report your neighbors for neglecting their yard and it’s tempting. The situation over there hasn’t changed much. The noise in the middle of the night is less terrible and tolerable as long as all the windows are shut and the shades drawn. I am still coming to terms with the idea that I will never have my windows open at night as long as they live there.

Look at Percy! Two years old in May.

Write-a-thon Update.

Here’s a post I wrote a few years ago about the workshop and what it meant to me.

The first week of the workshop is finished. This is my week #1 report.

My original goal was to dig up a first draft I wrote years ago and get it ready to submit.

Upon re-reading the draft, I was concerned that it was such a mess. The set-up is fine but the hard part is finding an ending and I fiddled with it on and off all week and the magical portal where story endings fall out did not open for me.

This afternoon while I ate lunch I tried to decide whether to give up or not. I already know I am the kind of person that will flog on an idea long after it’s clear that I can’t figure out what to do with it.

It’s all made up, right? So there has to be a way to make up something that makes the story work. I hate to give up because I always think I *should* be able to come up with something.

While I ate, I wondered what would happen if I swapped the characters around and chose a different character as the main character and that gave me an idea. So I am going to spend one more day fiddling with it and if I have a clear idea what I want to do, I’ll work on it another week.

Otherwise I’m going to quit it and change to the kayak story and finalize.

This is my donor page.
Here is my classmate and TIRELESS beta reader Maggie.
Here is one of our workshop leaders Neile.
Here’s the list of all the writers if you want to browse.

Here’s the address if you’d prefer to mail a donation:
Clarion West
P.O. Box 31264
Seattle, WA 98103-1264

I just got my donation report and I already have donations! Already the first week we’ve raised almost $6,000. (Not me personally, all the write-a-thoners together.)

Thanks for supporting nerd writers.

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Check Items Off

I’m always amazed by how out of shape for yard work I am when spring finally gets here.

I was out for one piddly hour on Friday and one piddly hour yesterday and both times I felt like I needed to be brought back inside on a stretcher. My arms were noodles and I needed a nap.

I was going to skip today but looks like the last nice day for awhile and I still have a writing project to finish so I better get out there and show the weeds who’s boss while I can.

Twice in the past year I’ve been in a situation with an organization that I was trying to pay but having trouble doing so. In one case I went months enjoying the services for free with no one at the organization the wiser. In both cases the organizations made sure I knew that it was all my fault.

What happened to “thank you for bringing this to our attention, we appreciate you taking care of this” ?

If I had a customer going out of their way to make sure I got paid, I wouldn’t be a jerk about it.

I know I’ve mentioned it before but we have a neighbor on our street who has an astonishing capacity to do noisy things at their house. This person moved in a couple of years ago and has done everything from breaking up concrete to ripping out landscaping, remodeling, hours and hours of power washing. Now something involving a saw. I know that’s life and people have to do stuff that makes noise around the house but this single home is so consistent.

Yesterday I miscounted that I had 2 more weekends before writing project had to be done and I passed out for about 3 minutes. I have 3 more weekends which should be enough. I spent this weekend completely tearing apart one sequence that isn’t working for me. I haven’t put it all back together yet but I see my path.

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