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Urban Permaculture: Issues with the Neighbors.  RSS feed

 
Charlie Michaels
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I live in an urban environment in northeast jersey where everyone is anal retentive and all have 4 neat foundation shrubs and lawn for their front yard, anything else is blasphemy and weird. So i chose the blasphemous and weird path, and last year converting the front yard to a food producing jungle, thinking any other neighborly concerns would be surpassed by the fact that my awesome garden is helping them secure a food future. Well, neighbors don't seem to understand really.

My yard is basically something any permie would recognize and go "Wow, everything here I totally get and understand and so awesome". Its a cool looking jungly thing with all kinds of fruit tree, goumis, blueberries, lots of j chokes, comfrey, bee balm, herbs, yarrow, buckwheat, strawberries, cosmos and other stuff.

So I knew my costarican neighbor doesn't like it as he's been saying "Man I dont like what you're doing" at least 3 times now. I've been thinking till now "Well, its our property so, too bad?

But today he comes to me with a dam good reason. "Man I don't like what you're doing, because I've lived here 10 years, and I just got a cricket problem and have to call the exterminator. Before you put this plant stuff in I've never had a cricket problem in all my time living here." I think he's suggesting that nobody have a garden  with lushness ever, at all. He might be thinking, "well your crap is weird looking and not neat". But even in the neat ornamental plantings, still, I hear crickets in them.

My problem is that, yes, he is right! It definitely attracts crickets, but am I supposed to destroy hundreds of hours of work and convert it back to a green oblivion? Is he suggesting that nobody be allowed to have any type of garden at all, because they attract bugs?

In an urban enviornment "plant your garden at least 50 feet away from the foundation" or something means that you have no garden at all.
 
Tom Celona
Posts: 37
Location: Asheville, NC
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Congrats on what sounds like a great installation. Maybe to late... but sometimes you can counter early negativity by sharing in some your abundance. They might find themselves too overwhelmed with delight in your berries to mind the crickets.

secondly - I wonder what sort of cricket problem he's enduring? I've got em all over the wood piles and around the house, but they never hurt anything as far as I can tell. I'm genuinely interested BTW, I don't mean to belittle what problem he may be having.
 
Charlie Michaels
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TCel wrote:
Congrats on what sounds like a great installation. Maybe to late... but sometimes you can counter early negativity by sharing in some your abundance. They might find themselves too overwhelmed with delight in your berries to mind the crickets.

secondly - I wonder what sort of cricket problem he's enduring? I've got em all over the wood piles and around the house, but they never hurt anything as far as I can tell. I'm genuinely interested BTW, I don't mean to belittle what problem he may be having.


Thanks for your reply.

I think the mere existence of crickets is what the guy's problem is. Never had crickets before, now he has a couple, and its all our fault.

Never thought I'd say this, but can't wait till the economic collapse comes so I don't need to please everybody in every which way in order to grow some food. City governments are the worst when it comes to doing anything out of the norm on your front lawn btw, we've had multiple summons.
 
Guy De Pompignac
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Location: SW of France
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mrchuck wrote:
Never thought I'd say this, but can't wait till the economic collapse comes



So he could eat his crickets 
 
                                
Posts: 98
Location: Eastern Colorado, USA
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mrchuck wrote:
But today he comes to me with a dam good reason. "Man I don't like what you're doing, because I've lived here 10 years, and I just got a cricket problem and have to call the exterminator. Before you put this plant stuff in I've never had a cricket problem in all my time living here."


Like someone asked, what's this guy's definition of a cricket problem?  Some people are pretty squeamish... one little cricket will set them off.

Meanwhile, consider a couple frogs and a little habitat for them.  Neighbors might object to chickens, but they won't notice frogs happily munching away on the crickets.  Lizards eat them too.  Put out a birdbath and maybe a bird feeder.

When you put in a garden, the pests always come first.  The predators come when there's an abundance of food for them.  It may help to explain this to the neighbor, or it may not, but you'll at least convey that you're doing something about it.
 
David Biland
Posts: 45
Location: Southeastern USA - Zone 8
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You could inform him the the "American Dream" of the white picket fence, lawn, etc. is just that.....a dream!  That dream is just about over.  You could try to reason with him but that would most likely not work.


"Reason is not automatic. Those who deny it cannot be conquered by it. Do not count on them. Leave them alone." - Ayn Rand
 
John Polk
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Try to explain to him "Los grillos traen buena suerte" (crickets bring good luck).
 
Burra Maluca
Mother Tree
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The pet shops in Portugal (and the pet sections of the supermarkets) sell tiny plastic cages for putting single crickets in, presumably so you can bring them into the house and hear them sing. 

Maybe I should send one to your neighbour and then he can spend many happy hours trying to catch himself a free pet?
 
Karl Teceno
Posts: 91
Location: Portland Maine
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Do you have any chickens? Offer to bring your chickens over and thin out his cricket herd,lol.
I too live in the city, in Portland Maine. I have a neighbor to the left of me that I give eggs and veggies to. I have a STARBUCKS to the right of me that I bribe the employess with eggs. No one ever complains... and I have a rooster that we got by mistake, which is a no-no by city ordinances. He crows his guts out. Most people laugh and like it.
Good luck... don't give in or give up!

Karl
 
Charlie Michaels
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John Polk wrote:
Try to explain to him "Los grillos traen buena suerte" (crickets bring good luck).


Lol that would piss him off so much.

I am getting chickens next yera though, hopefully they'll eat some of the backyard crickets.

I wonder if he knew crickets were such revered pets would he still call an exterminator?
 
jacque greenleaf
pollinator
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Location: Burton, WA (USDA zone 8, Sunset zone 5) - old hippie heaven
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Can you get your yard certified as a wildlife sanctuary? Then you can explain that the crickets are bird food!

And I second finding out exactly what he means by having a cricket problem. Is it their mere presence he doesn't like, or are they causing some kind of damage. If there is real damage, then yes, you must figure out a way to stop or mitigate that damage, and the burden of accomplishing this is on you.
 
Jonathan Byron
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Here is one urban wildlife sanctuary program (via the Humane Society). Not sure that it will change any minds, but they have a nice sign.

https://gateway.hsus.org/uwsp/index.cfm
 
paul wheaton
master steward
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1)  I would not take ownership of the crickets.  That could set you up for a lawsuit. 

2)  I would put up lots of bird feeders.  The birds will quickly eat the crickets.  But this is just a short term solution.

3)  I'm thinking that saying anything like "I don't like your use of toxic chemicals so near my house" sounds like an admission of guilt about the crickets.  I'm trying to think of a high road.  Maybe "if you have too many crickets, maybe you should get chickens."

I'm stumped on finding a higher road.  Surely there is something really excellent. 

 
Tyler Ludens
pollinator
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Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
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Seriously, how do you know they are "your" crickets?  Do they have little name tags?

"I don't have a cricket problem, I wonder why YOU do?"
 
Thelma McGowan
Posts: 170
Location: western Washington, Snohomish county--zone 8b
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I think the mere existence of crickets is what the guy's problem is. Never had crickets before, now he has a couple


odds are the crickets are not really your neighbors biggest issue. He probably is just plain irritated with you and the crickets are the only reason he can come up with that makes sense. He can't really come over and say "Hey Man...Your fruit trees are really bugging me"

Maybe avoid talking about the crickets and try to determine what the real problem is......are your fruit trees or bushes blocking a view or interfering with his ability to get in and out of his drive way or car? are your ground covers creeping into his yard? maybe rotten fruit is landing on his porch or roof?

stand in his yard and look at your property and try to see from his perspective. Maybe all you need to do is put up a cheap bamboo screen and he will feel better. when people act petty like you neighbor , they usually just need a sincere jesture of acknowledgement and that can fix the problem. offer to trim back one of your bushes or "build a little bridge so he can get over  it"....that can help diffuse a crabby person.
 
Dave Miller
pollinator
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Location: Zone 8b: SW Washington
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Here is what I would do.

1. Be very observant, and see if you can figure out when your neighbor does their grocery shopping.
2. Just happen to be working in your yard when they come home from shopping, and at that moment just happen to need to go speak with them about borrowing or returning a tool or something.
3. Offer to help them carry in their groceries.
4. Observe what kind of food they like, especially fresh foods.
5. If you grow those in your yard, when you have some extras, bring some to your neighbor.
6. Keep doing this over and over until you have them hooked on your fresh foods.
 
Dan Wallace
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Ha!
I live in a dense urban setting too and have an Indian neighbor that does the same thing, repeatedly tells me he doesn't like it. Then one day he tells me my plants are attracting "mosquitoes". Doesn't make any sense. I finally realize he's talking about honey bees!
I make sure to cut back any vegetation that's growing on to his side and try to be as friendly as possible but just like I'm disgusted by his green lawn, he can be disgusted by my jungle
 
Rob Sigg
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How are the rest of your neighbors? If hes the only one then Id say if you have done nothing wrong then ignore him, live a good example, share your stuffs with him, and hopefully he will come around. You can't please everyone. I agree that taking responsibility for them is not something you should do. Thats like saying your newly planted trees caused it to rain more in your area and now you can't play in the sun as much.
 
Jeanine Gurley Jacildone
pollinator
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Crickets - tell him to go fishing - free bait.

Sorry that was a bit mean - I have a cold and am feeling mean tonight.

Seriously, I feel for you - that is a difficult situation.  I can only think that the suggestions of sharing some produce or maybe growing some cut flowers to give them might soften the relationship a bit.

Pauls idea of a bunch of bird feeders might help too.

I do agree that he probably has just manufactured this cricket problem just to complain.  And... bottom line he is probably just a complainer by nature - as soon as you 'fix' this problem he will find something else to complain about.
 
                                
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I've had a few comments about my front lawn from a man who lives a mile down the road, but runs past everyday.  Every year I let certain parts of the front lawn grow tall because of the plants growing there.  I want the chicory to bloom and so I don't mow down by the road and yes, everything else grows tall as well.  It's my yard.  Right now I don't harvest the chicory, but I want it to grow in my yard and so I let it grow and bloom.  It's quite pretty, covering the yard in purple.

This man always has to make a crack as he goes by about the height of the grass and when I do mow everything, about 4-5 weeks later there is always a comment like "Yard finally looks good again."  or "mower was broken huh?"

I smile and wave.  Wish I could just let my dog chase him, a$$.

My husband's brother did the same thing.  I had a good, healthy crop of plantain in the back part of the yard, right next to our patio.  He was visiting for a family wedding.  We were out back having lunch and he could NOT stop talking about how the back part of the yard, by the chicken coop needed mowed.  He saw a mess of weeds.  I saw a great amount of plantain and yarrow to be harvested.  After eating he got up and paced back and forth, looking at the 6-foot by 30-foot (steep hillside) patch and then turned and said, "If your mower is ready to go, I'll take care of it for you."  I finally lost my cool and said, "I don't WANT it mowed, I asked my husband to NOT mow it until after I harvest the plantain!!!  I also want the yarrow and the plantain to set seed BEFORE we mow."     

Geez.  Some people just don't get it.  And the sad thing, is some people NEVER will.

Tami 
 
Charlie Michaels
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Chefmom wrote:
I've had a few comments about my front lawn from a man who lives a mile down the road, but runs past everyday.  Every year I let certain parts of the front lawn grow tall because of the plants growing there.  I want the chicory to bloom and so I don't mow down by the road and yes, everything else grows tall as well.  It's my yard.  Right now I don't harvest the chicory, but I want it to grow in my yard and so I let it grow and bloom.  It's quite pretty, covering the yard in purple.

This man always has to make a crack as he goes by about the height of the grass and when I do mow everything, about 4-5 weeks later there is always a comment like "Yard finally looks good again."  or "mower was broken huh?"

I smile and wave.  Wish I could just let my dog chase him, a$$.

My husband's brother did the same thing.  I had a good, healthy crop of plantain in the back part of the yard, right next to our patio.  He was visiting for a family wedding.  We were out back having lunch and he could NOT stop talking about how the back part of the yard, by the chicken coop needed mowed.  He saw a mess of weeds.  I saw a great amount of plantain and yarrow to be harvested.  After eating he got up and paced back and forth, looking at the 6-foot by 30-foot (steep hillside) patch and then turned and said, "If your mower is ready to go, I'll take care of it for you."  I finally lost my cool and said, "I don't WANT it mowed, I asked my husband to NOT mow it until after I harvest the plantain!!!  I also want the yarrow and the plantain to set seed BEFORE we mow."     

Geez.  Some people just don't get it.  And the sad thing, is some people NEVER will.

Tami 


oo that's the kind of thing that would piss me off as well
 
Derek Brewer
Posts: 113
Location: Hatfield, PA
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I'm rather surprised that no one here has even tried to see things from other points of view, and that no one has used these opportunities to educate others. Perhaps that is just missing from these anecdotes?

I'm citing the following as examples and don't mean any offense. Just offering some constructive feedback that will hopefully allow future issues like this to be resolved before they begin, let alone escalate.

mrchuck wrote:
My husband's brother did the same thing.  I had a good, healthy crop of plantain in the back part of the yard, right next to our patio.  He was visiting for a family wedding.  We were out back having lunch and he could NOT stop talking about how the back part of the yard, by the chicken coop needed mowed.  He saw a mess of weeds.  I saw a great amount of plantain and yarrow to be harvested.  After eating he got up and paced back and forth, looking at the 6-foot by 30-foot (steep hillside) patch and then turned and said, "If your mower is ready to go, I'll take care of it for you."  I finally lost my cool and said, "I don't WANT it mowed, I asked my husband to NOT mow it until after I harvest the plantain!!!  I also want the yarrow and the plantain to set seed BEFORE we mow." 


I've had this type of thing happen too. However, I usually explain why it is the way it is before the situation escalates. For example, if he mentioned it, why not say "Oh, that's my permaculture plantain garden/experiment", then segue the conversation into a small education session and avoid the issue. Often times handling things this way will gain a convert.

mrchuck wrote:
I live in an urban environment in northeast jersey where everyone is anal retentive and all have 4 neat foundation shrubs and lawn for their front yard, anything else is blasphemy and weird. So i chose the blasphemous and weird path, and last year converting the front yard to a food producing jungle, thinking any other neighborly concerns would be surpassed by the fact that my awesome garden is helping them secure a food future. Well, neighbors don't seem to understand really.

My yard is basically something any permie would recognize and go "Wow, everything here I totally get and understand and so awesome". Its a cool looking jungly thing with all kinds of fruit tree, goumis, blueberries, lots of j chokes, comfrey, bee balm, herbs, yarrow, buckwheat, strawberries, cosmos and other stuff.

So I knew my costarican neighbor doesn't like it as he's been saying "Man I dont like what you're doing" at least 3 times now. I've been thinking till now "Well, its our property so, too bad?

But today he comes to me with a dam good reason. "Man I don't like what you're doing, because I've lived here 10 years, and I just got a cricket problem and have to call the exterminator. Before you put this plant stuff in I've never had a cricket problem in all my time living here." I think he's suggesting that nobody have a garden  with lushness ever, at all. He might be thinking, "well your crap is weird looking and not neat". But even in the neat ornamental plantings, still, I hear crickets in them.
Emphasis mine.

In this particular example, it seems that you came into an established neighborhood, ignored the existing social dynamic, and installed what you think is a cool example of a permaculture installation without discussing this with anyone else in the area. That, to me, is un-neighborly and a recipe for disaster. I'm a huge fan of individual property rights and the right to do what you please, but it appears that you did this without thinking how others in your area would react.

To put it another way, when doing a permaculture design, you have to take into consideration all of the factors and energies of your landscape, both tangible and intangible. I would suggest that that includes your neighbors and how they will react to what you design. At least to some extent.

They probably don't know what permaculture is. They probably look at your garden and think it's just a mess. In order for them to think any different, you need to take the extra steps and try to educate them. Have a neighborhood BBQ, invite folks over, and share the bounty that you have. Show them what can be done with such little space instead of just having it and confusing them  .

Remember that the people each have very different life experience and, hence, perceive things differently. How you handle others and the consideration you show them will largely affect how they perceive and react to you. You reap what you sow.
 
paul wheaton
master steward
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Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
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I think in all the world of permaculture, this sort of thing is the most difficult. 

My concern is that this person is bored and looking for a cause. 

What if this person is .... a bit crazy?  And, frankly, I think most people are a bit crazy.  Will they spray your property ("for the good of the neighborhood"?  Will they stoop to vandalism or crazy ickiness?

I was visiting with somebody the other day who said "those guys own 19,000 acres.  Well, they actually only own 14,000.  But they rent the other 5,000.  They aren't farming any of it.  The only reason they are doing this is privacy.  They just want that much buffer between themselves and their neighbors."

I think that if you have somebody that might be crazy, the strategies are:

1)  minimize or eliminate all communication.

2)  distraction:  get them interested in something else.

Another concern I have is general decency:  if you give these people cookies, are you actually rewarding poor behavior?  So then you might think that you should give your other neighbors cookies.  But then you might find that you just caught the attention of some other crazy people that might even be crazier than the first one and sure as hell won't be bought off for a damn cookie. 

So then it seems wise to get to know the neighbors and build lovely relationships with lovely people and make the best of it. 

And still, this is just scratching the surface.  People are soooooo .... unpredictable.  And it is the nature of most people to try to crush that which is not "normal".

This is a huge challenge.  Good luck.


 
Charlie Michaels
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TheLight wrote:
I'm rather surprised that no one here has even tried to see things from other points of view, and that no one has used these opportunities to educate others. Perhaps that is just missing from these anecdotes?

I'm citing the following as examples and don't mean any offense. Just offering some constructive feedback that will hopefully allow future issues like this to be resolved before they begin, let alone escalate.

I've had this type of thing happen too. However, I usually explain why it is the way it is before the situation escalates. For example, if he mentioned it, why not say "Oh, that's my permaculture plantain garden/experiment", then segue the conversation into a small education session and avoid the issue. Often times handling things this way will gain a convert.
Emphasis mine.

In this particular example, it seems that you came into an established neighborhood, ignored the existing social dynamic, and installed what you think is a cool example of a permaculture installation without discussing this with anyone else in the area. That, to me, is un-neighborly and a recipe for disaster. I'm a huge fan of individual property rights and the right to do what you please, but it appears that you did this without thinking how others in your area would react.

To put it another way, when doing a permaculture design, you have to take into consideration all of the factors and energies of your landscape, both tangible and intangible. I would suggest that that includes your neighbors and how they will react to what you design. At least to some extent.

They probably don't know what permaculture is. They probably look at your garden and think it's just a mess. In order for them to think any different, you need to take the extra steps and try to educate them. Have a neighborhood BBQ, invite folks over, and share the bounty that you have. Show them what can be done with such little space instead of just having it and confusing them  .

Remember that the people each have very different life experience and, hence, perceive things differently. How you handle others and the consideration you show them will largely affect how they perceive and react to you. You reap what you sow.


To clear things up a little, this is actually my parents house (I'm 1 and when I started this garden last year I had no concern for other people's point of view, and kind of saw them all as "evil conventional people". I was hyped up to do something super radical so thats what I did. 

Now, with all the crap I've gotten not only from this neighbor (thank god he attacks me and not my parents), but seemingly people 20 houses down the block from me, I've come to realize people are rather militant about maintaining the status quo. Seemingly normal people can and will turn violent toward you because they feel as if THEY THEMSELVES are being directly attacked. I've come to realize that's this is how some people see the situation, its as if somebody is attacking THEM.

Anyway, @TheLight. You're absolutely right. If you want to make it easier on yourself and maintain good neighbor relations, keep the peace w/e, which is invaluable, then take the other man into consideration. But what I was thinking was "fruit trees!, j-chokes!, veggies!, comfrey!, lots of flowers!" and "soil building! diverse yield! fighting the man!".

So advice to everyone, if I would do this over again, I would make it ALOT neater and NOT piss people off.

On the other hand, its too late. =P

But also, I believe this situation is too sticky for a barbecue. People in the neighborhood might learn to put up with seeing it, but they will not be receptive to learning it. Its kind of like Wheaton Ecoscale thing. I'm not saying what I'm doing is level 9 or something, but it would still seem too crazy the neighborhood.

Thanks Paul for your input on this. These situations are really sticky. If you back down and scale down your stuff, you'll look like you're giving up. If you upscale your stuff, you'll look like you're asking for war. Might have to go with option 1 on this.
 
paul wheaton
master steward
Posts: 21427
Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
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Hey chuck, this is for you:



Sometimes you just have to do what you think is right.  Damn the consequences.



 
Brenda Groth
pollinator
Posts: 4434
Location: North Central Michigan
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i would try to make it welcoming for the neighbors a bit..esp if there is a sidewalk in the front yard.

buy a good heavy bench..maybe with iron legs (you may have to bolt it to rerod so it doesn't get stolen) and set it a couple feet your side of the sidewalk, and put some beautiful flowers around it..like the cosmos..a lovely bird bath, a bird feeder nearby and if you have some scented flowers ..that would be nice too.

i also like the wildlife sanctuary thing..a nice official sign would be helpful.

make it comfortable for anyone walking on the sidewalk ..or street if that is where they walk like here..to come and sit and enjoy the view.

I have a very unconventional strip beside our paved road and I do keep an area for people to walk up next to the road..i have in the past had a bench there but do not right now..I have had people stop and ask for seeds or inquire as to "what kind of plant is that"..
 
Hugh Hawk
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Location: Adelaide, South Australia (Mediterranean climate)
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MrChuck, though I don't know your neighbours, I'd suggest you try to have that conversation with them anyway.  People surprise me.  Often you have no idea what they are all about until you actually have a good chat with them, and then you realise you have a lot more in common than you think.  And hey, it doesn't sound like it can make the situation any worse   You just have to be careful to not make people feel attacked about their choices in the way you explain your choices - that will switch them off instantly.

As Paul has pointed out so well, the social norm will not change unless it is challenged.  If you do your stuff underground, or try to make it conform to your neighbours' expectations, you won't be playing a part in making a new and better norm.

Brenda makes some great suggestions for how to make your yard welcoming and perhaps lessen the confrontational aspect of it.
 
                        
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dunno  but when you say that your motive  partly was  "to do something radical"  and "fight the man"  it is surely no surprise  that "the man" feels attacked and fights back?   

My own opinion is that if you are trying to spread light it's best not to hit people over the head with a lamppost as you are putting it up, esp if you are going to be indignant when they object, and even more esp  if they didn't see the need for a lamppost in the first place.

People these days are concerned about property values and it's a common thing to feel that yards should "look like someone cares" and to most people that means a typical suburban yard of mowed grass and organized flower beds and ..MAYBE..a tidy  well weeded vegetable patch out back, discretely hidden by shrubbery or a fence.

In some cities I have lived in you would have been given a summons and told to get it tidied up and maybe even fined, esp if you didnt take it out right away. One city I lived in  someone was forced to take potato plants out that they had neatly lining the front walk. So your neighbors may actually have been showing a good deal of restraint  in how they dealt with you.  If you are going to turn the neighborhood upside down it's often a good idea to try to get at least some of the neighbors onside beforehand, even if they are only to the point of resignation to your  "crazy"  ideas/experiments. 

Brenda's ideas as well as those of thelight sound great..you could also fit in some concessions to the neighbors such as a sprinkling of someone's favorite flowers here and there or some herb that someone uses which might not readilly available  fresh. If you have stuff in there that people are not familiar with, then cooking some of it up and having  a street party featuring your garden produce  or even having your own barbecue when it's likely your neighbors will be around and offering them taste tests of what you are eating might help them understand a little of what you are up to. Sharing in the harvest is usually something that diffuses tensions..as long as you are sharing something that they know and use.  No point in giving the neighbor 5 pounds of Jerusalem artichoke if they have no clue what it is or how to use it and likely won;t feel it worth while to mess with it in case they don't even like it; or a couple of heads of cabbage when they loathe cabbage.

If you think about how you learn..I bet it wasn't by teachers or someone  taking what you valued and believed,   shoving something totally contrary in your face and demanding you like it /approve.   If you put yourself in the other guy's shoes for a bit, possibly some other approaches might occur to you about how to handle what you want to do without necessarilly totally antagonizing the neighbors.

Respectful communication is a wonderful thing, and need not mean you can't do what you want.
 
Burra Maluca
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Pam wrote:
My own opinion is that if you are trying to spread light it's best not to hit people over the head with a lamppost as you are putting it up.


Gotta love a quote like that...
 
Perry Way
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paul wheaton wrote:I'm stumped on finding a higher road.  Surely there is something really excellent. 


In situations like this, surely I'm not going to be happy doing what others want, and they're not going to be happy with me doing what I want, and there's more of them than me, so, as for me and my karma and sensibilities, I would just move to another place.  I'm an anarchist, I believe in freedom, literally, and I would leave, and go find another place where it is so called "fitting" to live in the manner I choose to live in, rather than force the point and someone goes to jail sometime in the future.  But if I moved to an area that was rural and more typical use being that what I wanted to do, if someone came to me and said they didn't like the plants I was growing I would tell them to go fly a kite and escort them off my land with a shotgun.
 
Perry Way
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Chefmom wrote:I smile and wave.  Wish I could just let my dog chase him, a$$.


I'd be fantasizing about how to make him trip like Carrie did in the movie Carrie.

Maybe you might need to impress him with a wee little obstacle course for his tripping pleasure? heheheh That'd make him concentrate on the task at hand rather than quipping at you like an obnoxious child pest.
 
Jeanine Gurley Jacildone
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Paul, I just watched the Wayseer video tonight - that was F@$#ing AWESOME!!!

Chuck, I am now 51 years old - If I had it to do over again I would raise my kids differently; I wouldn't have been as strict in many areas and I would have worked harder to keep them thinking outside the box.

Keep thinking outside the box  Chuck.
 
                                  
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Pam wrote:
dunno  but when you say that your motive  partly was  "to do something radical"  and "fight the man"  it is surely no surprise  that "the man" feels attacked and fights back?   

My own opinion is that if you are trying to spread light it's best not to hit people over the head with a lamppost as you are putting it up, esp if you are going to be indignant when they object, and even more esp  if they didn't see the need for a lamppost in the first place.

People these days are concerned about property values and it's a common thing to feel that yards should "look like someone cares" and to most people that means a typical suburban yard of mowed grass and organized flower beds and ..MAYBE..a tidy  well weeded vegetable patch out back, discretely hidden by shrubbery or a fence.

In some cities I have lived in you would have been given a summons and told to get it tidied up and maybe even fined, esp if you didnt take it out right away. One city I lived in  someone was forced to take potato plants out that they had neatly lining the front walk. So your neighbors may actually have been showing a good deal of restraint  in how they dealt with you.  If you are going to turn the neighborhood upside down it's often a good idea to try to get at least some of the neighbors onside beforehand, even if they are only to the point of resignation to your  "crazy"  ideas/experiments. 

Brenda's ideas as well as those of thelight sound great..you could also fit in some concessions to the neighbors such as a sprinkling of someone's favorite flowers here and there or some herb that someone uses which might not readilly available  fresh. If you have stuff in there that people are not familiar with, then cooking some of it up and having  a street party featuring your garden produce  or even having your own barbecue when it's likely your neighbors will be around and offering them taste tests of what you are eating might help them understand a little of what you are up to. Sharing in the harvest is usually something that diffuses tensions..as long as you are sharing something that they know and use.  No point in giving the neighbor 5 pounds of Jerusalem artichoke if they have no clue what it is or how to use it and likely won;t feel it worth while to mess with it in case they don't even like it; or a couple of heads of cabbage when they loathe cabbage.

If you think about how you learn..I bet it wasn't by teachers or someone  taking what you valued and believed,   shoving something totally contrary in your face and demanding you like it /approve.   If you put yourself in the other guy's shoes for a bit, possibly some other approaches might occur to you about how to handle what you want to do without necessarilly totally antagonizing the neighbors.

Respectful communication is a wonderful thing, and need not mean you can't do what you want.


When I put myself in somebody else's shoes, I often find they're too small, figuratively and litterally.
 
                            
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I inadvertently ensured that my neighbors will be nothing but thrilled to death at my project.  I left my property go wild for the last 2 years - just a bit of grass that gets mowed in the backyard but that has had clover welcomed into it (bees love that!).  So when I figure out what to do with this front yard monstrosity and it goes from weeds to 'purposeful chaos' they'll be delighted!!
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This thread reminds me of the thread about intentional communities, and people getting along. I am wondering if I am being a "stereotypical Canadian" in that I feel it important to try to find some way to find a meeting ground. At least to the point  that everyone feels that their point of view has been "heard"  instead of just being ignored or trampled on and snorted at as being  "wrong".  It seems to me that most of the responders seem to feel that consideration of the larger community is immaterial  and unnecessary. This surprises me and I  suspect that that attitude  leads to much more interpersonal stress and discomfort than is useful or necessary.

Some communities don't really care as much so that's a whole lot easier, but there is a continuum and some communities care very much indeed.  In the latter case, I believe you should take that into consideration and have perhaps a different approach than you would if you lived in a rain forest 9 miles from the nearest house.

Just as the plants do best in a mixed environment, perhaps people do too, as long as they, like plants, learn to coexist.  Most "invasive" plants that try to overwhelm everything in their vicinity find themselves being regarded with a degree of annoyance if not hostility by people. A field of thistle will garner a totally different reaction than one or two lonely thistles. And eventually, however long it takes, something is likely to come by and take out the invasive  plant. (unless it's that mushroom in the pacific nw. :lol

I think the same principle applies to people..but again perhaps I am simply looking at it from a different cultural background.  Learning to coexist in relative peace, if not harmony, seems to me a skill worth cultivating.  Note, this does NOT mean you don't do anything that will ever challenge the status quo, just that you do things in such a way that people can possibly have a sliver of an open mind about what you are doing when you do it, instead of feeling attacked and having to defend themselves.  
 
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