At The Coop

At The Coop

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Where There's Smoke...

Where There's Smoke         

          We have a new "neighbor" (adjoining property owner) who like to burn stuff...everyday.
          We can't walk outside without smelling smoke.
          We can't open our windows on nice days without getting the smell in the house.
           I went over once several weeks ago because there was a thick haze all around and in our house. I told him he was about to set off my smoke alarms, and he said he would put it out. The next day (and almost every day since) there has been a fire over there...brush, wooden pallets, and whatever. We got tired of it weeks ago.
           Today, there were flames 20 or so feet high and probably 10 feet across, located at the edge of the tree line. I kept a wary eye on it, as the last thing I want is for my 25 acres of woods to go up.
            I called the Metro Fire Marshall to inquire about my rights as a property owner to not have to breathe somebody else's smoke. They told me to call the non-emergency fire department number and someone would come put it out and tell him not to do it again or he would receive a citation. I told them that I didn't want to waste the fire department's time (and taxpayers' money) if the guy had a permit to burn stuff. They informed me that they don't issue permits to anyone to burn brush in open fires in Davidson County.
             I called the fire department.
             The fire got put out.
             I was cutting grass when my "neighbor" caught up with me.
             He was pretty huffy. He wanted to know if the smoke was blowing over on our property. I told him "Every day." He said that none of the other neighbors were bothered by it, and that several of them burn stuff as well. I told him that I didn't have a problem with an occasional fire. If someone wants to have a "campfire" or bonfire and have some friends over, I can understand that. I like to do that, too. But never being able to go outside without smelling it, and never being able to open our windows? I'm not okay with that.
             Then he wanted to know what I propose that he do with the 22 acres of privet (I'm not at all sure that that's what it is...and 22 acres is his whole property, including the wooded part) that he feels obligated to kill. He said the landfill won't take it. I suggested that he stack it in the woods to rot. Mother Nature would be much happier with that than with a bunch of smoke. I told him I was a big proponent of composting. He told me he couldn't do that, because he couldn't haul the stuff up the hill into the woods, and he doesn't have a chipper. Mind you, that's not my problem, but I didn't cop an attitude with him. I told him that I didn't have an answer for his dilemma, but that we were tired of smelling smoke all the time.
              He told me to never call the fire department again. Besides making him mad, I was wasting about $1000 of taxpayers' money every time a fire truck rolls. He said to come over and talk to him and he would put it out...for that day. That's not really a solution, unless I want to develop a well-worn path between our place and his. Then he told me that the guys on the fire truck told him that the next time somebody calls the fire department on him, he should put a 55 gallon drum on the property line, fill it with plastic bags and bottles, and set it on fire. He said that they said nobody would do anything about it. Needless to say, I called the fire department to ask if that was their policy. They assured me that it was not.
               I wasn't trying to give him any trouble, or cause hard feelings. I was just trying to be able to enjoy my home, unencumbered by his waste products.
               I don't think he gets it. I was trying to clear the air, but he was smoking hot when he left.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

I Love Brains...

          I love brains...not the way that zombies love brains, although I can't really say because as far as I know I have never eaten them. (I keep telling myself that one day I'm going to have to try brains and eggs, but that day hasn't arrived yet. It's not even in the foreseeable future.) No, I love brains. Human brains that function at a high level.
          I enjoy intelligent discussion with my friends, both in real life and online, as long as it doesn't get too dry. I don't want to feel like I'm conversing with (or being lectured to by) a textbook. I also enjoy lowbrow humor. It's allowed, and probably even expected, since I have that Y chromosome calling the shots.
          My wife is smart. My kids are brilliant (of course). I always tell people that my kids got their brains from their mom, who was smart enough to say "yes" when I asked her to marry me. Smartass...that's smart, right?
          My favorite songwriters are all people who I feel like function at a fairly high intellectual level. Songs that are gloriously stupid, like "Honky Tonk Badonkadonk" can still be entertaining, although I usually prefer to listen to something like "Brains" (keeping with my theme) by David Olney. Plain old stupid songs like most of those currently found on the "country" charts aren't worth the time it takes to listen to them.
          Television (especially network television) is beneath my comprehension level, even though I do watch it for entertainment from time to time. I don't plan my life around it, and I don't think I could carry on a conversation with anyone who does. That being said, I'd rather watch a Netflix series like "Marvel's Daredevil" than Carl Sagan's "Cosmos" series. Usually when I watch television, it's for (mostly) brain-dead entertainment and not for edification.
           I'd rather read John Steinbeck than Stephenie Meyer. Draw your own conclusions.
          I love it when I meet someone and I can tell by the look in their eyes that the wheels are turning. The wheels are turning, and not only is the hamster not dead, there's a bit of extra hamster in there. Not too many extra hamsters. Those people are scary. Just enough extra hamster to make the light shine a little brighter. Maybe a hamster on steroids...without the rage. I can definitely do without rage. Fire is fine. Inferno is not.
         There is a lot to be said for intelligence, especially when it is paired with rationality. College "educated" people who prefer to wallow in ignorance are the worst. If someone has limited mental capacities, it can be sad (though not always), but willful ignorance really annoys me. An intelligent mind involved in intellectual pursuits is downright sexy.
         All this writing (and thinking) has made me hungry...
...but not that hungry.
         What do you think?