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Friday, July 28, 2017


Let me tell you a ghost story.  Well, sort of a ghost story?  I don't really know what to call it.  One of those what-the-hell-I-don't-understand events.

Let me back up.  I had the nosiest neighbor.  She was friendly.  Too damned friendly.  Before you judge me, you have to understand that she sat in her lawn chair, feet from my back door, waiting to pounce on me while blasting country music.  Not the better kinds of CW.  I had to listen to endless twangy repetitions of how the wife left and took the truck and dog but left the kids.  God, I hate country music.

I put up a 12' long privacy fence, just enough to block her direct view of my back door.  She moved her chair 12'.  I added more fence.  She moved her chair back a bit more -- but the "music" originated from the same place.  She just turned up the volume.  I blasted some rock in return.  One time, I was scantily clad while painting the inside of a bedroom window, and she literally shoved half her body through the open window to talk to me.  Do you understand wet paint, bedroom, get out of my house???

It didn't help that she had a large, vicious dog.  She was a hoarder.  She didn't clean.  She wasn't a beauty, and her horribly rotten teeth didn't help.  Sometimes I felt drunk from the wafting beer fumes coming over the property line.  I hate the smell of beer too.

For all of that, sometimes I fell for her friendliness.  Her nosiness was universal, so she told me the dirt on everyone on the street.  She told me all the dirt on herself for that matter, so I doubt she'd care about me talking about her now.  She had a brain tumor removed when she was younger.  Maybe they took out the part that dictates boundaries?  Whatever.  For the most part, we got along well enough.  I just kept adding fence.

One night, the paramedics came and I saw them wheel her out on a gurney.  She sat up and argued with the paramedics before they put her in the ambulance and took her away.  I didn't see her again.  I wondered what happened, but I didn't want to go over to the filthy house to find out.  I might've felt obligated to sit in that house and make nice, and I have bad history of being forced to sit in a different filthy house.  Back then, it was with a certifiably crazy old woman.  I couldn't make myself do the neighborly thing again.

The mailman was often lackadaisical about getting the mail to the right houses, and I got something that looked important for the next-door neighbor's husband.  I handed it over the fence and asked about his wife.  He said she'd died.  I expressed my sympathies, adding, "I didn't think it looked good when they took her away, but since she was arguing with the paramedics I thought maybe she was going to pull through."

He looked at me very oddly and said, "She was already dead when they got here.  I'd been out for the day, and found her dead on the floor when I got home."

To completely change the topic, let me continue my seasonal rant about wildlife.  My dog set off the skunk twice, but thankfully wasn't sprayed.  My pear trees are dripping with fruit, and the damned squirrels are picking them, nibbling a bit, then knocking more pears off the trees to nibble some more.  They do the same thing to the tomatoes.  Why can't they just take one and finish it??  I wish the groundhog would kill the squirrels, then commit suicide.  I made giant balls out of grapevines, and they seem to be working against the deer because they don't like to get their legs tangled up.  I think I'll make more deer balls.  The first of the garden's bounty is starting to come in and I've gotten the canning stuff out again.  Enjoy some summer pics...

Plums, cherry/plum/rhubarb, bread and butter pickles

Squirrel damage

Hoping that I'll get to eat at least some of the pears?


Ripe tomatoes which are kind of a green pink brown.  No idea of the variety.
I kept seeds from a salad I enjoyed a couple of years ago.

Jane, this pic's for you :)

My 17-year-old puppy refused to pose by the deer balls to let me show you their size.


  1. Interesting story... obviously your neighbors' spirit was quite strong to have that last image conveyed to you after her passing. Somewhere I've read that you can slip calf high stockings over ripening fruit & vegetables. Tie gently yet firmly around the stem. Supposedly this protects the fruit & vegetables from errant animals.

    1. Maybe I'll try this around some of the lower hanging fruit. I'd be willing to share a little with the varmits, but I hate all their wasteful destruction!

  2. You know, I kept reading after you changed tacks and don't recall a single word. The image you left in my mind, the possibilities of what it might mean... those stayed with me. Wonderful writing. Maybe not the best experience... great photo of the pears, though. And something about deer not liking to get their feet tangled up? I will go and re read.

    1. Thanks :) It wasn't such a bad experience for me since I just thought the neighbor was sick enough to go to the hospital but well enough to keep arguing.

  3. Cute illustration, and what an intriguing story!
    And I guess we can count local wildlife as neighbors too, yours being the freeloading, wasteful variety. "Deer balls". I wonder if they're available to buy? Probably under a buck. *wink*

    1. I did see deer balls for sale online. I didn't realize till later that their deer balls have a metal frame which would be a LOT easier than twisting this stuff all around itself.