Sunday, September 18, 2011

Duck Love Story, a sequel

The two week deadline we gave the neighbor to keep his poultry on his own property had expired on Monday last week.  On Tuesday and Wednesday, the six ducks were still making daily trips to our pond. 

We were plotting how we would "contain" the ducks in a crate on Thursday night and call the county Animal Control on Friday morning, but, surprisingly, the ducks stayed home on Thursday!  Evidently the neighbor did make the fence around his poultry yard higher, as he said he would.  We were pleasantly surprised, and relieved that the situation was resolved amicably.

But on Friday, one duck, and only one, came back.

 He (at least I think he is a he) seemed a bit confused that he was alone, he didn't wander around eating bugs in the yard, but merely stood next to the pond.  On Saturday, he was joined by a wild female mallard. He did not leave the next morning to go home, as had been the habit of the group of six ducks that had been visiting every day, but instead both of them swam around the pond and stood around looking at each other.

We're not feeding either of them. They must be living on love.  This week on Wednesday morning I was eating my breakfast and was sure I heard quacking outside my kitchen window.  I went to the door and looked out, and sure enough, he was heading toward home, possibly to score a meal of grain?  The mallard was not with him.   By Wednesday evening after we returned from work, he was back at the pond. Later that evening, while we were feeding the fish, he suddenly shot up into the air and flew about 30 or 40 feet!  Not very high, but flying, nonetheless!

We've never seen these domestic ducks fly before.  I think the mallard must be giving him lessons, as we see her flying around quite frequently.  Now that is true love!

Saturday, September 03, 2011

Forgive our Trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us

Acts 19 

If therefore Demetrius and the artisans with him have a complaint against anyone, the courts are open, and there are proconsuls; let them bring charges there against one another. If there is anything further you want to know, it must be settled in the regular assembly. For we are in danger of being charged with rioting today, since there is no cause that we can give to justify this commotion.” When he had said this, he dismissed the assembly.

1 Corinthians 6

When any of you has a grievance against another, do you dare to take it to court before the unrighteous, instead of taking it before the saints? Do you not know that the saints will judge the world? And if the world is to be judged by you, are you incompetent to try trivial cases? Do you not know that we are to judge angels—to say nothing of ordinary matters? If you have ordinary cases, then, do you appoint as judges those who have no standing in the church? I say this to your shame. Can it be that there is no one among you wise enough to decide between one believer and another, but a believer goes to court against a believer—and before unbelievers at that? In fact, to have lawsuits at all with one another is already a defeat for you. Why not rather be wronged? Why not rather be defrauded? But you yourselves wrong and defraud—and believers at that.

Speaking of boundaries, while the kids were visiting us at the farm, we discovered that someone had come on to our property and cut down the brush along the fenceline leaving a large open space between the neighbor's property and ours.

I did not to want to get the kids or grandkids upset, so waited until last weekend to address the issue. The brush was cut about 5-10 feet into our property.

I took my John Deere Gator and a log chain, went to the orchard and retrieved some fallen branches, and dumped them along the fence line.  As I was working, it dawned on me that someone was shouting.  I looked up and saw a guy standing on the deck of the house across the way and waving his arms.  I put my hand to my ear in the classic "I can't hear you" position, and then I heard him shout "WHAT ARE YOU DOING!!!" 

Of course I was not going to shout back, and if he was confrontational, I didn't want to be alone with him, so drove the Gator back to the garage to pick up my husband and show him what I had been doing.  As we drove up, we saw the neighbor driving his tractor away.  I showed Ed the results of my work, and he agreed that I was definitely on our side of the property line.  He was kind of surprised that I was mad enough to go to so much trouble.

I was still mad, so went back to the house, got the staple gun and the Tyvek No Trespassing signs, and went back and posted two of them. Since they (apparently) had cut down all the trees, the only place left to put the sign was on the pile of brush.

I drove to another field and circled it, trying to relax and inspect our hypothetical alfalfa crop.  When I came back to the field with the open cut-out, I saw a woman standing on her side of the brush pile with her hands on her hips in a very agressive posture.  I waved and drove the Gator over to talk to her. 

She immediately started on the offensive "Why didn't you come talk to us before you did this?" I told her I didn't know who had done it, and I sure wasn't going to accuse anyone. I asked her why she didn't talk to us before she cut down the brush? She said she didn't know who owned the property or how to reach us. I explained that those records are available in the township office, and all she had to do was look online.

 She said I was interfering with wildlife movement.  I disagreed, as there are plenty of holes along the fence line big enough for a deer to get through.  "Why'd you have to go and post this!" Well, obviously whoever cut down the trees needed to know that they had crossed a boundary they should not have crossed. It is NOT a public park.  We do not want trespassers on the property.  There are certain people that we know and trust that we have given permission, but other than that, we do NOT expect people to trespass.  "We don't trespass," she replied. I said I wasn't accusing her of trespassing, but I just wanted to be clear for the future.  We do not want the liability of someone hurting themselves on our property, when they are trespassing.

She mentioned that they had hired a landscaper who took it upon himself to cut down the brush.  I responded that whoever hires the landscaper is responsible for what he does under their supervision.  Then she backed off and said that the landscaper only had a garden tractor, not a brush hog,  she saw somebody else cut down the brush.

Her father came down the hill.  He must have seen us talking and wanted to take his daughter out of harm's way? I started explaining my position, and he offered that "I admit, I hired the landscaper, but he took it on himself to cut down the brush".  So daughter has established herself as a liar of the first order, and Dad didn't know she had changed the story on the fly.

During the course of the long conversation, she admitted she had shot a rabbit and taken the quad through our field to collect it.  She also talked about her guns and her expertise at deer hunting.  Her father mentioned that he often walks through the orchard.  I told them both that they DID NOT have permission to be on the property.  He said he understood the liability issue.  Then he started tattling on all the other neighbors that have trespassed in the past.

My conclusion is that there was no landscaper, and since Michigan now allows baiting of deer, she is trying to entice any deer on our property to come into her yard by giving them a big open space to go through.


Twelve days ago, I got up my nerve and rode the 4-wheeler over to discuss the duck situation with the next-door neighbor.  I went to the back door, there was a fence around it.  Not wanting to open the gate without permission, I went to the front door. 

There was a kiddie gate across the top of the steps, and it was closed.  Still hesitant to cross marked boundaries, I circled around to the back again, noticed the garage door, and knocked.  From my position outside the house I could see the guy feeding his dog in the basement.  The lights went on and off.  I knocked again.  I could see his wife in the hall upstairs, and I could hear raised voices.  I knocked again, and again.  I heard the word "DUCKS" shouted, but the rest of their argument was unclear.  I knocked again. 

The basement lights went on and off again.  I could still see the man.  I am sure he looked right at me. I knocked again.  Everything went quiet.  After a few more minutes I decided they weren't going to come to the door.

Just as I turned to leave,  the man opened the door.  After some discussion about how I should have gone to the front door, that they couldn't hear knocking on the garage door,  I explained that I had talked to his wife a month or more ago, and said that the ducks could become a problem, and that my prediction was correct.  The ducks are a problem.  They leave eggs, feathers, and poop in my pond.  The vegetation in the pond is changing due to the "fertilizer" .

His response "but the ducks enjoy it so much!" I explained that I cannot enjoy my pond now for fear of salmonella or dirty water.  He said the fence around his coop was too low, and that is how the ducks get out.  I told him we had appreciated it when he was able to keep the ducks at home for three days when my grandchildren were visiting and we gave them permission to chase the ducks out of our yard.   As soon as the grandchildren left, the ducks returned.  He said he couldn't afford to buy more fencing.  I explained that is was his responsibility to keep his livestock in his yard.  I asked when he would be able to get the fence. (Never mind that the ducks are home all day until he gets home from work, after his daily return the ducks are released to visit our house.)  He responded that he thought in two weeks he would have the money.  I shook his hand.  I noted that I want to keep good relations with my neighbors and I would hate to have to call animal control.

So, of course the ducks have still been here on a daily basis.  Knowing it is a problem, instead of trying to keep the ducks at home, he is pushing the limit.

Two more days.  On Tuesday following Labor Day, if the ducks are still visiting us, I have a plan.  The Macomb county regulations say that you should contain the animal before calling the animal control office.  So I am going to tear up some of my deer fence for the garden and make some low fences between the house and garage (on the ducks' daily path), which should funnel the ducks right into an open-doored dog crate.  There will be fish food and water in the crate, which will hopefully entice the ducks into the strange arrangement.  As soon as they go in, I will "Bang" the door shut behind them, and call animal control. 

Do you think this will work?

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