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In our first house, we lived across from a corn field. We had neighbors on either side, but nobody lived behind us. Someone owned the eight acres our backyards overlooked—someone who’d bought land “up north” to retire on. It was full of trees, weeds, and rotting/rusting farm equipment parts. It was also in kind of a crappy area. The houses had all been vacation shacks at one point. Two doors down, they didn’t even have heat. In the winter, they relied on a wood burning stove. I don’t know how they did it. Winters in mid-Michigan can be brutal.

We used to throw our dog poop over the back fence. Grass clippings also found their way back there. I didn’t feel guilty about it. Nobody lived there, and all the neighbors did it. That’s where we originally got the idea.

Fast-forward about 5 years. The retired couple build a house high on a hill. We knew it was there on winter nights because that’s the only time we could see evidence of a house. About a year or two before we moved (we’d lived there 11 years), the guy asked us to stop dumping crap in his “yard.” He actually asked everybody, so we didn’t take it personally. His wife wanted to walk the property, so he was going to clear trails. We thought it would be good to finally get to know our neighbors.

Okay, no problem. We stopped dumping, and Wife even helped him clear out some of the weeds and brush wrapped in rusted and rotting farm equipment. He found engine parts and a mattress as well (not ours.) Once it was clear…nobody walked. His kids visiting from college didn’t even ride their 4-wheelers there. (Why would they when there was a perfectly good corn field across the street?)

I’d be pissed if I spent two weeks working my ass off and my significant other never got her ass out of the house. I don’t think I ever once saw her leave except by car. We never met.

That summer, a fresh crop of ragweed grew in all the areas he’d cleared. We’d never had it before. It looks like it couldn’t survive pounds of dog poop (everybody had dogs) and grass clippings (everybody had big yards.) So not only did we lose our dump, but we gained something that killed our allergies from April-August. Was this karma? I wonder…

 

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