Confronting one’s neighbor about noisy lawn equipment — leaf blowers, lawn mowers, etc — can be a tricky proposition. Here’s a situation showing how experiencing a common situation and talking it through can really help.
This morning, I went for a walk with a new neighbor. She had entirely reconstructed her hardscape and plantings when she moved in last spring. The rain of the past week having finally let up, her maintenance crew was out in full force, replanting a tree that had been uprooted in a winter storm, re-edging the beds, and blowing.
As we walked past her house at 8:30 in the morning, me in my QC “Turn Up the Quiet” hat, I said Wow, it’s started, the blowing! And we watched them, absorbing the grating noise. The worker, with no ear protection, was waving the blower nozzle back and forth to no evident purpose. There was nothing to blow. “What are they doing?” I asked her. She acknowledged it was silly. I said, You know, they take the equipment out and they just turn it on and use it, whether it’s needed or not.
She said, “I’m going to talk with them.”
We continued on our walk, noting the great egrets that had returned to the pond in the cemetery and lamenting the hundreds of trees that had been cut down in the golf course. We got talking about landscape maintenance and she asked me where I had learned so much about sustainable landscaping and I told her about the course I had taken at the Audubon Society. We reveled in the beauty of the river as we crossed the bridge. I pointed out a pair of red-breasted mergansers swimming in the river below us. She showed me a picture of the baby owl she had seen in a hollow tree in the cemetery. We reminded ourselves how lucky we are to live in such a beautiful part of the world.
When we got back to her house, the landscapers were still working. She greeted the supervisor with thanks for all the good work and a request: Could you please use a rake instead of blowing? And he said, smiling, Certainly. Whatever you want. You are the customer.
It was just that easy.
By Jeanne Kempthorne, JD, Legal Advisor. Jeanne is a resident of Salem, MA.
Photo by emeraldraindrops, copyright 123rf.com