What’s a nice way to demand something of your neighbor?

The stove timer summoned me at 4:59 am. My husband and I had made a lot of brave talk last night about jumping out of bed to beat the heat. I’m tired of store bread, I wanted to get a loaf of bread in the oven by 6:30.  I remembered all that brave talk the night before, and I pushed my way out of the sack.  

At 5:30, after the dough was in the pot, I walked outside with my dogs. The sky was so overcast I couldn’t see any stars, but a sweet, cool breeze was ruffling my hair. As we returned to the house I could have sworn I felt a couple of raindrops on my shoulders.

At 5:50 I heard what I would call a “hard sprinkle” pattering in the treetops outside my windows. I hope it will clean some of the gunk out of the air, but I’m happy enough with the wet smell coming in the house.  When I looked outside I could see the little rain drop patterns in the dry dirt – I was surprised, I figured those drops would evaporate before they touched the ground.

Neighbors’ chickens are making their usual fuss. The flies are bad, we’ve got traps strung all along the fence between us and they are full and buzzing. One trap is about $5 so we add water when they’re getting dried out and try to make them last as long as possible. Meanwhile, neighbor has learned to clean her coop, but composts it in an open bin, right over the fence from my tenants’ windows. 

I approached her with a pamphlet from my vet last Summer – her response – “We don’t have flies!”

So, I read the city code, she’s in violation all over town, now I just have to work up the nerve to print a copy, hand it to her, and demand in a nice but firm way that she fence her birds and her open “organic composter” 20  feet off my property line. The other day I was looking out my living room window, and a chicken standing right next to my fence squirted at least a quarter cup of shit out of it’s butt. But my neighbor refuses to admit that chickens might cause flies. She’s actually brought in a half dozen more, and she’s trying to sell eggs from a stand in front of her house, which is also illegal.

I just need to work up the nerve to confront her without saying anything inflammatory. I’m all on board,  but my mouth is ready to nail her to the barn door.

I’m so sick of having flies crawl on me whenever I’m trying to use my yard. It really disgusts me when I find them “resting” on my laundry. I can’t sit in my pool with a drink because the flies are all over it. In fact, they’re all over us when we sit in our pool. They come on in force when I feed my dogs on the front porch. Oftentimes my husband stands over us with the fly swatter, the current count is 13 flies in 5 minutes.

The other day I had one in the kitchen, I got so mad I caught and mashed it with my bare hand. 

We have fly swatters hanging from posts all around the yard – next to the BBQ, next to the pool, next to the laundry line. But she doesn’t have so much as one fly trap, even though she’s responsible for the problem. 

How do you talk to a person like that? 

Anybody got any suggestions? 






6 thoughts on “What’s a nice way to demand something of your neighbor?

  1. Well, Juanita, I am not sure where you live, but in most town and cities there are rules that apply as to how many chickens you can have in your back yard. For the very reason (s) you are talking about. Anyone that says their chicken’s poop doesn’t attract flies is an idiot or doesn’t even go outside to relax on the back porch. You need to keep peace with your neighbor, so I wouldn’t directly complain to her. Find out how many chickens she is legally allowed to have then report her to the city, I am sure the other neighbors have noticed the increase in the fly population, but once the city comes to investigate… Maybe they can “drive by” and notice she is selling eggs and stop and question her about how many chickens she has and maybe ask to see them. Then they will see where her poop compost pile is and how many chickens they have. When I first moved back to Missouri my parents had 20 cats and some of them pooped on the back porch and in the grass near the house. The flies were really bad and the smell… Well, some of the cats have died or disappeared and I got rid of one that was having issues. This year I think there are only 8 cats and they have no issues. The fly population has drastically reduced and we can sit on the back porch. Make arrangements with the city to call when she is selling eggs in front of her house so they can “casually” drive by and catch her with that violation. Keep us posted how this turns out.

    • Thanks for the advice – I will do that. I’ll contact my chicken and egg selling friends at the Farmer’s Market for back-up, they really don’t like these “clandestine” operations, they’ve worked too hard to build a respectable market.

      I finally realized, I’m not being a bad neighbor, and I didn’t start the problem, so I have no need to feel guilty.

      I remember when we bought this property almost 20 years ago, my neighbors telling us about the woman next door to us having had many, many cats. It wasn’t her fault – she was very old, and just had a kind heart, she kept putting out food, and they just kept coming. She had her own cats holed up in the house, and the other cats were like a motorcycle gang that had moved in on her. She appreciated the neighbor’s intervening.They all had to act together – and some of them really don’t have much use for each other – but they banded together to help this old lady and make arrangements for the cats. Some were placed in homes (one neighbor took two of them and had them for years), others had to be put down due to horrible condition.

      the problem with most of our neighbors is they are new and don’t know the rules. Another reason I want to nip this in the bud is that “backyard chickens” are getting to be all the rage right now, I don’t want any of the other neighbors thinking they can do same.

      • Well, Juanita, a couple of chickens would be OK for some of your other neighbors. At least the chickens do eat flies if they can catch them. Luckily, most of your neighbors probably don’t want responsibility of caring for chickens anyway. Truthfully, a couple of chickens having run of the back yard would make no difference in the smell and probably not with flies. But several of them in a stationary pen would eventually become messy and definitely not be a good thing in town.

      • I agree – an old neighbor of mine had four chickens which she kept in a very neat coop. She treated them like pets, taking them out of the coop when she was working in the yard. She and her husband ate fresh eggs every day and we never had a problem with flies.

        This gal started with four and now has 12. She allows them to roam the yard, they’re right against my fence all day, which is illegal. The flies have increased dramatically since last Summer when she first brought the birds in. I’ve read up on flies – wet straw and poop are a perfect incubator, and that’s what she’s doing in her open poop bin.

        So, you’re right, I’ll talk to code enforcement and see what their enforcement policy is, I don’t want to confront her again. I tried to be nice last time, and she was an idiot. It is a real fad here – people just want to be trendy, they don’t know what they’re getting into until all their neighbors are pissed off.

      • I don’t know anything about your neighbor, but apparently her increase in chickens is just because she wants to sell eggs. I don’t know, but if she really stops to figure it out, she will realize that having 12 chickens and selling eggs is not making her much, if any, money. If you are going to have chickens in your back yard in the city, you should only have enough for your own use. You have to consider your neighbors. Seriously, she has not taken much of anything into consideration.

      • “Seriously, she has not taken much of anything into consideration.”

        You got it! Thanks for the sympathetic ear, I needed to talk this one through. I don’t hate chickens, I think it’s great to keep a few birds to supply your household with fresh eggs. But, run a commercial egg operation out of your suburban driveway? No.

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