Cool days, wet dogs: Why fall is my favorite season

October 25, 2009 at 5:41 pm Leave a comment

greenWhen I bought my current home, I did it for one reason: It backs up to a couple acres of leftover land, owned by a handful of neighbors behind me who are mostly happy to just let it be — and are generous about letting me run the dogs on the small acreage.

A couple years ago, the local water district — which is pretty much run like an old-boys club and doesn’t give a damn about its customer-owners (which is hugely different from the municipal power company I work for, by the way — convinced the neighbors behind me to let them “store” some heavy equipment during a construction project. The neighbors are mostly retired and on fixed incomes, so the money was a godsend.

The problem was, the access to the land is a road between my house and my next-door neighbor’s (neither of us own any of the land), and the water district’s definition of “storage” was “use as an active construction yard 24/7.”

The neighbors on the back side of the property — the owners of the property –  felt bad about what had happened, but the agreement was signed. The best I could do was raise bloody hell and get some financial compensation for me and my next-door neighbor, along with some rules for moving the heavy equipment in and out of the yard (not after 9 a.m., not before 7 a.m.).

The project lasted for months, but I was also smart enough (pat, pat on my own back) to negotiate penalties for delay, so the neighbor and I got even more money as the noisy hell dragged on. It really wasn’t much consolation for the deceit, the racket and the jangled nerves, but eventually it was over.

Problem was, when it was over, the land looked like the surface of the moon, leveled and scraped bare by the heavy equipment as part of the “clean-up.” The space was reduced to a dustbowl — and everything inside and outside our homes was covered with a film of grit  every day for months.

But the earth likes to heal itself, so after the first rains of this fall the green is spreading quickly across the little acreage. All but the worst of the dead zone is now green, and eventually even these scars will be grown over, I know.

Today was the first time in many months I opened the back gate, coffee cup in hand, and let the retrievers run out back.

I sat there for an hour on the banks of the urban creek that runs through the small acreage, and they ran non-stop for all that time, snuffing up great smells, eating cat poop, splashing down the creekbed, rolling in rotting vegetation and generally just having one hecka good time in the cool morning air.

They could hardly believe their good fortune, and now, neither can I: They’re sound asleep and may stay that way for most of the day while I work.

Top: What the little acreage looked like before the construction. I hope by spring it’ll look like this again.…

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