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Friday, July 15, 2011

A Control Freak Nation


You are conditioned to have grass and trees in your front yard. Why are front lawns supposed to be reserved for something that provides no value. You should have a right to do what you want with your property as long as it is maintained in a neat fashion. I know the property next door to mine, with abandoned foundations for townhomes that have been there for three years, is not being taken care of and the overgrowth is constantly encroaching on my yard. Now that is a problem, because it has a big effect on my property.

This lady is growing food in her front yard and the Nanny State wants to tell her what she can and cannot have in her front yard. They threatened to put her in jail for 93 days. I wouldn't mind neighbors building cedar boxes and growing plants. It saves them time and money from not having to constantly mow and this lady's yard looks neat and organized to me.

We are in the midst of a food crisis in this country. People have no clue. The bread basket is in a drought. The Mississippi has seen billions of dollars of crops destroyed. Food commodity prices have skyrocketed. Can you eat grass?

What is wrong with having a vegetable garden in your front yard if it is organized and maintained? What is wrong with collecting water? We have seen several communities try and stop this. What they need to do is clean up abandoned properties. That is the biggest issue we face.

The world we are living in is obviously not working. The Powers That Be don't want you raising your own food. They want you forced to buy food from Grocery Stores and Restaurants ultimately controlled by Big Agribusiness. There is nothing wrong with Restaurants and Grocery Stores, but this country was built upon people producing and choosing their own sources of food. The Political Prostitutes and the Bureaucracy want to put a stop to all of this. It is time that we put a stop to their control freak attitudes. It is time that they butt out!!!


Silence DoGood said...

Aesthetics. Lawns are green, manicured, and for those particularly anal, have dough rollers attached to the back of the mower deck to stripe the lawn in a particular way. We spend millions of dollars each year to achieve that greenness. Home Owner Associations (HOA’s) are formed as a means of enforcing certain rules through deed restrictions because local ordinances fail to provide that level of protection for the property owner. Well actually it’s about preserving the investment in the property so that the actions or inaction of your neighbors don’t degrade your property value. Buffer zones, zoning ordinances, and use permits are all forms of control to keep like kinds of uses grouped together. In the guise of allowing the property owner complete latitude to do as they wished, who would want to build their dream house and then 6 months later, have a steel mill move in next door? I spend between $800-$1,000 every growing season on grass seed, chemicals, and nutrients to achieve that look in the yard. The compliments from the neighbors tell me I’m successful in that endeavor. I like the way it looks and they like the way it looks and adds to the neighborhood. As an aside and completely of no consequence, but to illustrate a point, I’ll provide this. During the severe thunderstorm last week, I went and cut a tree out of the street (in the City) that the storm brought down and was resting on a power line. I didn’t have to do it and I wasn’t really crazy about the power line, but the road needed to be cleared. During my endeavor, folks from the neighborhood came and helped. We could have waited for the City to do it and in fact, two City trucks rode by and checked us out. But the fact remains, the road needed to be cleared and by us doing so, it allowed City crews to attend more serious problems than this one. The point being, we worked and contributed together for the common good. It opened the primary means of ingress and egress to our neighborhood and allowed Duke Energy to get us back on the grid and extracting bucks from our wallets sooner than if we had waited for the City to remove the tree. None of us owned the yard from whence the tree came, but I’d wager the elderly lady that owned the property was appreciative. I was humbled by the way everyone pulled together. It contributed to the restoration of my faith in others.

In the case at hand, some of the neighbors used government as a means of trying to enforce their will on the planter box interlopers through codified ordinance. That was plainly stated on the videos linked. If you wanted to incorporate raised flowerbeds in your landscape, with grass in between, I wouldn’t find that too obnoxious. But to throw down mulch and build raised vegetable beds just because you didn’t want to sew grass or sod…sounds like someone had an axe of oneupsmanship to grind and it swung both ways.

Now, if they were growing the stuff to help feed their family, I wouldn’t be writing this. But looking at the number of plants in those boxes, there is just no way in hell that was the case here. And why, if food production was the true purpose of the planters, install them in the back yard as well to facilitate yield? There is something else afoot in this instance and it became an issue of passive resistance and civil disobedience. If you read the citation, the interlopers were likewise cited for not having their dogs licensed either. Which is just another way to tax property unless these same ne’er do wells don’t have the dogs vaccinated for the same stupid reasons they don’t have their children inoculated. No, something else was at issue and it wasn’t some local government perpetuating Agribusiness.

Ok, all that sounds a bit stronger than it is actually meant. But there something smelly about this and it isn't the compost.

James Thomas Shell said...

Just my opinion. Grass Sucks.

I hate mowing grass and I'm not going to pay someone to do it. That being said, I don't want my yard to look abandoned, but I don't care about getting into Southern Living. I also am no keeping tabs on how often the neighbor mows their yard, but I also don't want 6 foot tall weeds encroaching on my property.

Manicured lawns are the culture of aristocracy. I choose not to participate. I also should not have someone else defining how much food I can raise on my property. I like to can food and give stuff away and I think it is a wholesome and natural thing to do and I think the Lawn Groomers will be changing their mind when gas is $10 a gallon, because these pursuits won't matter much then.

If a defined neighborhood wants to establish a neighborhood association and define rules that is perfectly fine, but no government agency should be strictly defining what is and isn't a defined and protected cultural norm in a city, especially over something so trivial.

Vegetable plants are plants. Strawberries are as beautiful as roses. Tomatoes as aesthetic as any shrub. It is all in the minds eye and your grass is fine by me, but in return my raised bed gardens should be acceptable to you. We can have both in my opinion.

Silence DoGood said...

Hey, I never once said I liked mowing grass!!! But I like the way it looks. While manicured lawn may well indeed be a sign of the aristocracy, I contend it is only if you have someone else do it. A man's home is his castle, you know. As far as local government regulating, there is a public health aspect to keeping the grass and weeds trimmed to an acceptable height, rather than your yard looking like something from the Amazon River basin. I think the word here would be reasonable. If you have a bunch of clods making the rules with the common sense of a walnut, you're going to get some really bizarre and completely unreasonable stuff. By the same token, there are some legal interpretations according to something called 'contemporary community standard'. Pornography is so judged. By doing so, what isn't acceptable in this community might be perfectly fine in another city in this State, and vice versa.

So in that regard, if you are a majority of one with the ornamental vegetables in the front yard, while a trendsetter on some fronts, it is certainly not going to win you any allies if everyone else on the street adheres to the traditional notions of lawn = grass (fescue, blue, or zoisa), with the requisite traditional and acceptable ornamentals with names I can't pronounce. If your front yard conceptually includes the phrase, "first, you get a 8N Ford tractor and then you..." that might be beyond reasonable for in city living, unless you live in the middle of a 40 acre field. If you do, a front yard full of cornstalks is perfectly natural.

Being one to pretty much go my own way, I understand what you're saying, but I do understand that as the neighbors sneek into your yard at night with a bottle of Round Up and a smile, the only winner is going to be the guy down at the hardware store selling the stuff to them and tomato plants to you.