Smile, it’s good for your face

You know me – I like fresh air. Whenever it’s not too wet or wild, cold or hot outside, I like to have my windows open.

We’ve been experiencing some pretty turbulent weather here – unstable – meaning, one minute it’s a howling dumper, two hours later the clouds have broken up, the sun is beating down, and you’re looking for somewhere to dump that bulky jacket.

Yesterday I watched the rain come down, always constant, sometimes downright dumping, the clouds moved through like a herd of angry buffalo. The mood was dynamic – at times the sky would lighten, the rain would  slow, even stop for a few minutes, and we could get out to take a walk. But it had to be a short walk, because suddenly the herd would move in again and the raindrops would become big and heavy, pelting us like little stones. Our raincoats and the dogs little garbage-bag capes are hanging wet in the garage, never seeming to have time to dry out completely before we throw them on again.

This morning I realized it was not raining. I was sitting at my computer and I noticed the silence coming through the walls. At 6 am I  took the dogs for a stroll in the back yard and was shocked to see all the stars and a very bright crescent moon. So, I went in the house and opened the windows – it gets stuffy in here when it’s raining, smells like dogs and farts and feet. 

OMG! – hit in the face by the smell of my neighbor’s sour wood chips. It  smells like the Koppers plant!

My idiot chicken-keeping neighbor has bought a load of treated wood chips, and they’ve soured. She’s spreading them on the pathways in her backyard, which run along the other side of the fence, right under my windows. Here’s someone else’s post about their experience with “sour mulch”.

Yes, they not only stink, they’re “toxic”, and I’ve seen the results in other people’s yards – they will not only kill any small plants you expose them to but will kill the foliage on a tree up to about 4 feet off the ground.  

I can’t believe this woman. She’s one of the worst three neighbors I’ve ever had – Number One was the guy who was growing dope in the same house in which his wife was doing daycare, and they were selling pit bull pups as well as dope. It takes a real ass to measure up to that guy. Number Two was our neighbor Augie, who used to fight with his wife all the time and hit our fence occasionally when he pulled out of his driveway such a fight. It takes a real ass to measure up to a guy who could measure up to Ass Number One.

So there we have Michelle, Number Three Ass. Michelle moved  here from Oakland when her 43 year marriage hit the rocks. This my husband  got out of her when she trapped him at the mailbox one day not long after she’d moved in.

Here’s a tip  for you middle-aged divorced  women – don’t open up that first conversation with the new neighbor with “My Husband Just Dumped  Me”. My husband was completely freaked out, he made me get the mail for a month, and looked through the fence before he approached the gate.

We waved but avoided them after that, until they brought in six chickens. Within a week we noticed a dramatic uptick in flies – whereas in past we might have seen one or two around  a pile of dog crap in our yard, we now had them attacking us and the dogs all over the yard, including the patio. They started getting in the house – it was almost impossible to get out our front door without letting at least one fly in. And they weren’t just house flies – there were the tiny manure flies that are part and parcel of chicken ownership.

I was surprised when my tenant, who never complains about anything, mentioned that the flies were starting to “infest” our garbage cans. Yeah, we know, flies like garbage. But we’d always kept the can  clean, the garbage inside wrapped, and we’d never seen the kind of cloud that was developing around that lid before. They were starting to annoy my tenant’s kids when they took out the trash, starting to get into her house too.

So, I tried to be neighborly. I got a pamphlet from my vet that spelled it out – if you have chickens, you have to do some sort of fly control. The pamphlet went over the fly life cycle, the different kinds of flies, and  offered a variety of natural products to avoid spraying poison. I thought that was pretty nice of me.

The response? “We  don’t have flies!” 

So, we went out, and at an expense of about $3.50 – $4.50 per  trap, we bought fly traps and hung them along our fence, between us and the chickens. They filled up, I mean,  it’s gross – a little plastic bag full  of wiggling flies. They get in but they can’t get out, and they eventually drown. They die in there, and more flies come in, the thing gets completely  packed, until you have a bunch of live flies living off the dead flies in the bag. You can  hear it buzzing from feet away, meaning, time to replace it. 

We’ve spent almost $100 on fly traps since she brought in the chickens. But they work. 

Yesterday I ran into this woman at the end of the driveway when I was taking my dog in and she was taking her dogs out. I wanted to shout, “You Stink!” but couldn’t do it.

How do you deal with people like this? Well, I’ve been doing some reading and working on positive thinking. So I tell myself, the fly traps will work when the ground erupts with flies later this week, and the mulch will  air out within a couple of weeks and the smell will go.

Positive thinking = learning to eat shit with a big grin on your face.







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