Changes All Around Me

I wake this morning with heavy frost on all of the trees. The intricacies of that frost is beautiful; I really should go out and photograph it! But the snow, dry and scattered, reminds me of how cold it really is outside and really… I prefer to stay inside, warm and dry. We’ve had little snow this winter so any precipitation is more than welcomed!

Outside, I hear hammering. Both my next door neighbor and the neighbor across the street are in the process of building (or having built) new barns. The barn, in progress, across the street is an ugly building. It is two-story building; the upper level to be made into a “mother-in-law” apartment. The height of this outbuilding dwarfs the main house making our neighborhood look like multi-family housing which is against county ordinances. These neighbors “over bought” and struggle to make their property “income-producing”, again, against county ordinances. This behavior is the cause of much animosity in the neighborhood causing friction amongst the neighbors and I, as president of our HOA. The covenants were well-known when they bought their property; why they push the limits with disregard to neighbors can only be described as selfish and self-serving. And a hassle for me to “police” their latest income-producing scheme.

The other new barn being built is next door. This is where the hammering noises are coming from. Several construction workers in warm, winter clothing are busy framing the new barn. The elevation of this barn is significant; 14′. I know this having been the one to approve the structure being on the Architectural Control Committee. I didn’t have a good sense of how it would look until now that it is being framed. And that height IS an approved height for outbuildings so not like I could disapprove the owner’s choice. But it is a significant “change” in the neighborhood.

Watching the construction workers hammer away, I try to think of something positive? The height of that barn WILL be a wind-break for my yard/house. The trees I’ve had planted may be more protected from those drying north-west winds? And that structure will be a physical barrier blocking my view (and my neighbor’s view) of my barn and animals. These are neighbors who like to “take walks” surveying what every other neighbor does and talking about “the neighbors” to anyone who will listen. At least with this new building, they won’t be able to sit in their kitchen alcove “spying” on what we are doing out at our barn? At least that is what I’m hoping?

The “purpose” of this new barn (required for approval) was listed as “personal use”. I’m hoping the old, rusty, farm equipment stored my side of their property will finally be “put away” and less of an eyesore? I AM grateful old washing machines or ovens are not part of their “piles” but every time these neighbors complain about equipment not working, I can’t help but think it might if not left out to rust in the elements! A little TLC would go a long way in protecting investments in equipment!

Always being ones to do things as cheaply as possible, the results reflect how inexpensive projects were done… Fences sag because posts not dug deep enough that have heaved each spring with the freeze/thaws; gates wired close because they were hung improperly; culverts ripped out because they weren’t professionally graded when installed causing poor drainage and prime location for mosquito breeding! And “dirt” delivered for horse paddock/footing because it was “free” (I offered where I purchased construction sand that not only drains well, it doesn’t “blow away” in the wind and is much better footing for equine/equid feet but alas, that would have cost money and “free” was what was chosen.) I’ve sat in on their farrier visit describing the latest hoof problem of their horses potentially caused by the material used for these animals. You end up paying “up front” or “in the end” when choosing footing material for large animals!


The snow has picked up now as the weatherman predicted it would. The hammering has stopped perhaps due to the weather? Regardless, the barn(s) will eventually be built changing the topography of the neighborhood. And I think of where I could have more trees planted isolating me and my life from those around me. The once “open space” I’ve grown used to and loved will be forever changed by progress and developments. I guess the “progress” was inevitable but it is a “change” I will have to get used to seeing/living with always remembering… the one constant in life is always change… whether I like it or not!

~ Jennifer

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