Welcome to the Neighborhood



As the third of my children neared high school graduation, I suddenly realized that none of my children had learned any science in all those years of school.

Not real science. Not how to observe, how to take notes, how to watch for anomalies, how to apply math, how to predict outcomes, or any of the stuff that comprises real science. They had learned how to memorize "facts", pass a test regarding the memorization of said facts, and develop a distaste for all things science.

So we got chickens. My youngest, who really wanted chickens, wrote a report that included coop design and placement, building costs, maintenance costs, hen hygiene, coop care, chicken breeds, and zoning laws. As the project unfolded, my daughter had several Aha! moments regarding applications of math. She was continually researching and learning biology, science, physics and chemistry. Getting chickens might just be the best educational decision I ever made. I made a slew of poor educational decisions, the worst of which was to send them to public school. More on that some other time.

Then I grew to love the chickens. The winters are kind of hard, but only because I have to shovel to the coop in order to do the daily tasks of feeding them, giving them fresh water, and collecting their still-warm eggs, all very pleasant tasks. My chickens get me outside every day come rain or come shine. Lilah, Barbara, Melanie, and Daphne are now a little old lady's beloved pets.

That's all coming to an end though. My new neighbors, neighbors who haven't even moved in yet, have reported me to the local code enforcer. The code enforcer found that my coop, which has housed chickens for the better part of the last forty years, is now too close to a property line. These yet-to-move-in neighbors have right of way to drive over my property to get to theirs. Several times I saw them briefly stop their cars in the only place they could see my well-hidden coop, pull out a fancy ass huge camera, take shots, and quickly drive away.

I saw them do that for the third time yesterday. A few hours later the code enforcer knocked at my door. He was very nice. He showed me where I could put my chicken coop and still comply with the new building codes regarding chickens. It turns out that smack dab in the middle of my stone patio is the only place in my entire one acre property where I can put a small coop and not break any of the new codes. I'd have to keep the run quite small, and no free ranging on my own property would be allowed.

I'll be getting rid of some family pets because these brand new neighbors, who are NYC cops, thought it best to covertly survey my property and turn me in. Folks up here in the burbs have been complaining about covid-induced NYC transplants and I thought "Let's not go around making trouble now." I have, however, joined that club.

This is not good.

Welcome to the new normal in neighborhoods - snitching on your neighbors.

Times are certainly changing, so check your land use laws today.

And take off your muzzles.


All images are my own unless otherwise stated.



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