Chicken flock

Cul de Sacs, Chickens, and Potholes

When we picked out the house we would eventually buy, I only paid superficial attention to the neighborhood. Actually, our primary concern with it was that the house we were buying was on the high end of value for the area and might not appraise at the asking price. Obviously, as we’re living in it now, it did appraise at a level the mortgage company was comfortable with. We’re still learning more about our neighbors, though, and it’s interesting to observe from a distance – some nearer than we would like! – and draw some conclusions.

The First Reader wants a house on about ten square miles of land, smack in the middle. Also, blackberry hedges and cleared fields of fire, and… none of that was possible with this house search. I, like him, prefer to be out in the country. At least, as far as you can get in Ohio, which isn’t terribly far. I spent most of my childhood in Oregon, Alaska, and then in New Hampshire, and in all those places mostly lived rurally. Sometimes, very rurally. Here? Now? We’re a hundred feet from the nearest neighbor (across the road) and only slightly more from the neighbor to our East, because their barn/shop is in between our houses. It’s not the closest I’ve lived to people, but near enough.

We chose the house because it allowed the Little Man to stay with his school, not because it was our ideal. On the other hand, it’s a very nice house, with enough land for me to have a garden and backyard orchard, so we’re not going to be unhappy. For one thing, we are at the penultimate location on a cul-de-sac, with woods coming right up to the ‘sac’ where we can sit on the front porch and observe the wildlife. The First Reader, who sits out there early in the morning reading, has seen fox and deer. I tend to sleep at that hour, so I have only seen the bunnies and squirrels. What both of us remark on are the neighbor’s chickens. There are at least two of them – a Rhode Island Red hen, and an Auracana – and they wander loose at the other end of the road from us. Why, my dear husband wonders, has the fox not gotten them? Or for that matter, cars? He and I both have years of experience with fowl, and know how likely they are to dumb themselves right out of existence.

Part of the answer, at least, are the potholes. Oh, they won’t stop the fox. That, most likely, is the little wheeled chicken coupe they sleep in at night. I haven’t seen them do it, but the neighbors must lock them in during the sleep time. Back on the Farm, ours were either in a coop, or chose to sleep high in tree branches. If I didn’t get them in the coop early enough, I’d have to go shake the strange fruit out of the trees and put them in safety. But the potholes do slow down the cars. Our little road is paved, at least back to the ‘sac’ and just chock full o’ holes. Makes driving in the dark and rain interesting, because I haven’t memorized where to be on ‘this’ side of the road, and where to turn ‘there’ and avoid them. Also means we don’t ever have to worry about folks speeding down it and doing donuts at our end of the road. Things would break. Well, ok, some y’utes might try it. Once. There are perks to having a bad road.

It does mean that if someone drives all the way down to our house, they are either lost, or, in the case of this morning’s visitor, looking for a lost dog. Poor lady. Hope her dog turns up soon, she sounded really exasperated about it. We knew the dog hadn’t been there, even before we were outside, because our dog, and the neighbor’s three, would have been going nuts. Although I could do with a stray dog to deal with all the bunnies… I can’t grow parsley, I’ve discovered. Bunnies are convinced it’s an aphrodisiac or something. They ate my plant flat down to the ground. Didn’t touch any of the other herbs, but the parsley… I might try it again on the porch in a pot. The back deck, so the dog can keep the bunnies away from it!

We’re settling in. I’m actually able to get some things done other than moving, work, and moving and work… It’s a relief to find I have a bit of time for reading again. Maybe in time we’ll meet more of the neighbors. I’m still trying to figure out if the people at the corner – the ones with the chickens – are related to the people across from us? They seem to share kids. There’s about 8? 10? Hard to tell – swarms! – of small children living on our street. Six, we’re told, belong across the street from us, and I’ve met one, who is in the same grade as my son. He says she’s mean. I think she’s sassy and I like her. Reminds me of me at that age.


18 responses to “Cul de Sacs, Chickens, and Potholes”

  1. Wouldn’t it be nice if we could pick our neighbors like we do our wallpaper? Or the plants in our garden?

    1. ooh. I could make a fun list of people I’d like to live next to. And probably not the ones you’re thinking – we’re actually not that social! LOL

      1. I’d volunteer to live distantly. You cook too much irresistible stuff. I’d weigh 300 lbs.

        1. I don’t cook like that every day. I’d weigh 300 lbs!

          1. Misery loves company. (Esp. Kathy Bates)

  2. Draven Avatar

    long as you’re sure she isn’t actually mean…

    1. I’m pretty sure as long as my 12 yo boy thinks she’s mean, that probably means she takes no crap from the guys. LOL

      1. Or she bites….

        1. This is possible. *Sigh* I’m not looking forward to next year, when puberty hits him like a wrecking ball.

  3. John in Philly Avatar
    John in Philly

    If your neighborhood children begin spending a large amount of time in the corn field, perhaps some concern is in order.

    1. I suspect the farmer would have something to say about that. Currently the nearest corn field is about a half-mile down the road from us. About as far from corn as you get in Ohio.

      1. I think the only areas in Ohio you can get far from corn are Lake Erie and its islands, urbanized areas, and possibly in some portions of the hilly, forested region of southeastern Ohio where my mind keeps insisting that I hear banjo music.

        1. We got way out in SE Ohio (near Portsmouth) looking at houses for my Mom, and the First Reader and I fell in love with a house. Sadly, we knew it had termites, but man… it sang to us. And the view! Of course, unless I was supporting us with my writing, there’s no jobs over thataway…

          1. There is quite a bit of pretty country out that way, especially from ridges where a bit of a clearing in the foliage offers long views out over a valley. And though not as awesome as the collection of caves and arches in Kentucky, the formations in the Hocking Hills are still quite impressive.

  4. For the bunny and potential deer problems (yes, the deer will eventually figure out that your dog spends part of his time in the house and that you grow tasty things), I’m partial to PlantSkydd. Warning, it smells NASTY when you first apply it, and your dog will want to roll in it. But once it dries you won’t be able to smell it. But it does a better job at keeping the local wildlife from eating my garden that any other repellent I’ve tried.

    *I speak as the owner of a giant breed dog, who’s an intact male, who has marked the entire yard and perimeter of my garden, who has a bark that makes your average GSD sound wimpy and high pitched. It doesn’t take the wildlife long to figure out that if he’s not out he can’t chase them off. Including not only deer (had a momma walk her newborn fawn right through my yard one evening) and bunnies, but also the foxes (they got into a peeing contest with him one winter) and the coyote who stole a cantaloupe right out of my garden a couple years ago, a bare 25ft from my back porch.

    1. *blinks* I really have to wonder what the coyote did with the cantaloupe!

      1. Ate a chunk and then left it about 10ft from the garden. Apparently it wasn’t what he thought it was. It was my first ripe cantaloupe of the year, I was a bit peeved.

  5. They eat apples too, I have (or possibly had, since it was before the hard-drive crash) a video of a couple of them taking off with fallen apples under my trees.