Tuesday, November 27, 2007

The Sweet Sounds of Country life

As if I needed reminders that I have joined a rural community based on the lumber industry, the nearby wood processing plant started up some antiquated bit of machinery today, with a drive that screamed like a banshee and gears that rattled like a tank going over a mountain of scrap metal. This, I hope, will not be a machine that is operable after dark, tho with the kleig lights that most places have, there is no such thing as “after dark” anymore, not really. At least it doesn’t sound like it is close by, so the volume isn’t at ear-damaging levels. But it’s a reminder that in rural settings, you are either in the million-plus bracket and create a McMansion in a homeowner’s association-ruled area where ecru is a daring color and noise is only allowed from the migrant yardworkers’ leaf blowers (I suppose they consider it soothing?), or -- like me -- you’ve chosen a place for its “good value” (code word for no yuppie would touch it) and you put up with the local neighborhood, hoping that all the real nasty surprises will reveal themselves before you close on the house.

Quiet middle class neighborhoods are being squeezed in very much the same way as the middle class itself; girdled into smaller and smaller plots… either through in-fill -- building another house in your backyard -- or by new developments designed to reduce any worry about escaping a burning building: you just put a plank out your window and crawl into your neighbor’s. I am all for conservation and not over-consuming the earth, but why does that always start with the lower and middle class and then run out of steam before it ever moves higher??

Anyway, I finally cut down the waist-high weeds and grass in the back yard. I was thinking how the place must have been a garden recently, because there was such soft soil underneath… it wasn’t until the “haying” was over that I realized I’d been stepping on mole-mounds. I have always had such clay soil that moles were discouraged, and so I’ve never worked with them, but I do know that they are a scourge of the garden. This is gonna take some thinking.

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