While I was at work on Monday, I happened to run into the woman who used to live next door to us.  Even though she no longer lives in the house, she’s rented it to a several families in the last several years.  Some good, some bad, some middle of the road.  The family that’s living there presently haven’t really been all that good in upkeep of the property, so much so my wife and I have been wondering if perhaps they had purchased the house and could get away with not keeping up the house, grounds etc.

After speaking with the woman, it turns out they’re still renting, but she’s not very pleased with what they have been doing (and mostly not doing) with their responsibilities in that area.  So much so, I thought she was considering evicting them, but probably a good talking to might do better in the long run.  While I had her ear though, I thought it would be a good time to discuss the problem on her side of the fence with the knotweed that has been a continuing problem on my side.  Every spring, the green menace shoots up and by early summer it’s already bowing over my side of the fence.  Of course the infestation on her side is causing it to come up on mine, and as I’ve mentioned in a few other posts on this site, we’ve been trying to eradicate it for years.

She seemed very interested in helping out and asked if cutting it down and spraying it would work.  Yes, but its one of those invasive type plants that doesn’t take a one time cutting and spraying lying down.  It actually fights back.  Hard.  The root system goes down at least ten feet and it comes back with a vengeance if left to its own devices.  I didn’t have a lot of time to impress this on her, but apparently it made some sort of impression, since soon after I got home my wife mentioned there was someone on the other side of the fence cutting down the knotweed.  I probably should have gone out there and talked to them, but after putting in a full day at the job, I really didn’t feel like engaging all that much and besides, it was raining.

Soon after getting home, my wife mentioned that she was observing someone in a pickup and trailer getting over to the grove of knotweed and doing some pruning.  She wanted to know if there was a name on the side of the truck, just in case it was someone who might also do tree removal, as we have a dead tree on the property that needs tending to.  I got up, hobbled to the window and looked out, but I didn’t see a name to reference.  She then asked if I wanted to go out and speak to the person, engage and perhaps get a little information, but being tired from a long day at work, I really didn’t.  A little later she looked out and saw that the stand of knotweed was gone from the other side of the fence and the person had left as well.  I haven’t managed to go outside and check out the work, but I expect the person did a good job, since through the slats of the fence there doesn’t appear to be anything on the other side.  So we’re clear at least for a week or so.

Now whether this family is going to be up and moving after being berated, I have no idea.  I do know for the most part they’re pretty quiet, certainly better than some of the renters that have been there in the past.  Just have to keep observing from my side of the fence and keep in contact (as possible) with the woman as I see her from time to time.


Along with the small engine issues and the accompanying garden fun, I have other projects that I’ve been considering doing to both spruce up the place and keep busy, since when I’m doing things, I’ve discovered I’m not lying around the house and eating.

  • For many years I’ve been wanting to replace the old borders between the driveway and the small flower beds alongside the house, but could never find the right sort of lumber to do it with.  This morning, while I was scoping out information on Home Depot about the roto-tiller, I happened to look at the print ad and found ‘landscape timbers‘.  While doing a little investigating about what all they could be used for, someone had posted a review saying that they built an outside planter with them, as they’re the right size and fairly inexpensive.  Which got me thinking, and once I was thinking I started measuring.  Instead of locating a dealer or lumberyard that sells untreated cedar lumber (not easy in this area) I could utilize this instead, and build both the planter and replace the rotting timbers that are lining the driveway presently.  And at a very inexpensive price!  Not to mention, Home Depot delivers, so I don’t have to figure out how to get the [17] 8 foot timbers to the house.
  • I have a storage bin that has the accumulated items from my parent’s house, when I moved from there in 1992.  Since then, I’ve moved the items three times, and as of this writing am really not making use of much of the stuff there.  In 2022 it will have been 30 years since moving, and if I haven’t made use of anything, it seems that I probably never will.  Saving $750 a year might be a good idea, and the remainder I could couple with my wife’s storage bin.  Yes, she has one too!
  • Last year we had a local handyman fix the two Adirondack chairs that are sitting on the side patio.  We bought them when we lived in a cottage on one of the Finger Lakes, and they moved with us, and ended up being stored in the garage for 10 years.  Finally, I dragged them out and set them up on the patio, where they’ve sat ever since.  They’re made from pine, and have weathered over the years, but could definitely use a coat of paint.  The handyman offered to paint them after doing the repairs, but painting is a relatively easy thing to do, so I declined at the time.  I actually have a third chair that I’ve been meaning to build (it was an extended ‘reward’ on a Kickstarter campaign many years ago) but just haven’t gotten around to it.  Perhaps I can do that as well this summer.
  • The shutters on the house are in serious need of repair or replacing.  I’m thinking replacing, since they’re in pretty bad shape overall, and are so old, that they’re nearly all falling apart.  Too, they have antiquated hinges that I can’t seem to find replacements for, so I might have to get in touch with a contractor and get a quote on suitable ones; but I don’t want vinyl shutters, since you don’t put plastic shutters on a 180 yr old house.  That would be a little stupid, in my opinion.  (Wow, just priced wooden shutters and got sticker shock.  $550 for a pair of redwood… even pine [pine!] is $140…)

There’s more around the place, but I think that’s sufficient for now.  Just have to get the gumption up to get around and do such things.  Some are definitely easier than others, and some are going to put a serious dent in the household funds insofar as repair and replace.  But that’s part of owning your house.  As opposed to renting.  For the most part you’re keeping it up for the next people who are going to own it.

I’ll probably do a review at the end of the summer.  See how I made out.