Friday, July 20, 2007

Once More Into the Fray

The tree killing next door neighbor has been at it again. (See April 26, 2007.)

I'd been hoping that she would be satisfied with her chemical incursions this year, but, alas, she wasn't.

This spring, as every spring, she sprayed herbicide under the fence between our back yards. It's the only logical explanation I can come up with for why there's a three foot wide dead strip in the plant material right beside the fence between our yards each spring. Fortunately she lives on the vinca jungle side, so most of what she's murdering is vinca - which grows back with astonishing speed. The spray has also badly damaged a small pine tree. This year all the needles on the bottom branches of the tree fell off at the same time the vinca died and the needles that have grown in to replace them are short and deformed.

I've never said anything about it to her. I don't figure it would stop her and I don't want to give her the satisfaction of knowing how much it annoys me. I wonder if she thinks I don't notice it or if I'm too dumb to realize what she's doing.

She tends to be terribly petty too. Before she butchered my big pine tree a couple of years ago, I heard her one afternoon instructing her two boys on how to dispose of any pinecones that fell into her yard.

Throw them into the trash can?
Toss them over the fence into the yard where the tree was?
Hurl them hard and high over the fence to make sure they land in the next door swimming pool?

This June she decided to murdilize the insect population as well as the plants and had an exterminator out to fumigate her yard and house. I'm allergic to most aerosol pesticides, so I had to flee for several hours and wheezed every time I went outside for a couple of days. Combining that with the memory of the pinecone bombardment makes me really, really want to throw any snails I find into her yard. The snails couldn't slime their way back into my yard, because the fence between our yards sits on a tall cement footer, so it would be a good way to get rid of them. I suspect the only thing that stops me is the knowledge that they wouldn't do any harm. All the vegetation she has is close-mowed grass, so snails wouldn't have anything to eat or any place to hide.

This evening the Engineer and I were eating dinner at the picnic table when we noticed that the damaged little pine, the cedar next to it and our lovely blue spruce were looking rather strange.

Sure enough, she'd been at them with a chainsaw again. Hacked off every branch that could be reached while balanced on a ladder in her yard, then threw all the severed branches into my yard. I suspect that this will be the death of the little pine tree, and it looks like we are going to have to top the cedar to save it.

I honestly don't understand her. Neither the blue spruce nor the cedar ever shed any needles or cones into her yard. The little pine has been so injured by the annual herbicide spraying that it never has the strength to produce cones. And the trees have got to look terrible from her side. She'll see the trunks and a mess of stubbed off branches. I'm scared to death that next time she goes after them she's going to simply top them all as far below the fence line as she can reach from a ladder in her yard. She did it to the row of oaks the neighbor behind her had shading his tennis court. All she left were the trunks, not a branch or a leaf on a single one.

I think tomorrow I'm going to call the neighbor on her other side and see if I can take some pictures of the devastated trees from his back yard. I will take photos from the street and my side. I will compose a letter, in duplicate with pictures included, and have it notarized at my bank. I will send her a copy by registered mail. I want her to understand that if she dares to top my trees, she will be speaking to my lawyer.

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