The Deck, The Creek and The Yahoos

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Just add water. Plus 8-10 years.

Great news! We bought two Bloodgood Japanese maple trees to plant on our side of the creek edge for the purpose of blocking out the lookyloos. We only need to do two things until we have some small degree of privacy back:

  • plant them
  • wait 10 years

We have little saplings of these growing randomly around – mostly tangled in the massive rhododendron bushes in front  and the plan was to try to dig them out, but these were only $13 from Aldis and they will be so much easier to plant and will have a better shot at a long life. Although I don’t know. Last fall, we transplanted the one you can see above the pillow of the  chair on the left. It immediately dropped all of its leaves, so we figured it was dead and didn’t water it or care for it in any other way. It was late to sprout leaves but there they are. so who knows. The will to live, I guess.

Speaking of planting things on the other side of our dog fence, can any of you recommend a fast growing shrub with giant thorns on it?

Guess who came back? The adult yahoos from the house behind us! Remember when they went down into the creek last year to drive golf balls? Well, they came back and brought young teen yahoos, small boy yahoos and one slightly-built yahoo in a motorized wheelchair. 10 yahoos in all.

After Easter dinner was over at their mother/grandmother’s house, they brought out the clubs and headed for the creek. Since the creek is now fenced on three sides, they came onto our property between the dog fence and the creek and pondered out loud what they were going to do since the creek has about 6″ of stagnant rainfall in the bottom. As they discussed what to do, one of the adult yahoos swung his club next to my little tree and propelled dirt clumps down into the creek bed and a young teen yahoo stood on the inside of the black fence on the narrow strip of concrete wall. His yahoo sneakers were more hanging over than standing on so he braced himself by clutching the fencing as he leaned in and out.

I used the Calm Mom voice, which I know drives everyone crazy in a bad way – and I was even wearing an apron and wiping my hands on a dishtowel – as I came out onto the deck and said “Hey guys! We’d appreciate it if you don’t go down into the creek. That’s our property and we don’t want to take any chances that someone could get hurt climbing in and out of it.” The conversation then took an interesting turn and the alpha yahoo quizzed me about where my property ended on the other side of the creek and how far north and south it extended.

The yahoos took a few more swings at my sod while muttering that they didn’t believe what I told them about the property lines and then they shuffled back where they came from while I cheerily Calm Mommed “Thanks for understanding!”

I told him that my line was at the top of the far wall of gabion. It’s quite a steep angle on that bank, but it didn’t stop a young teen yahoo from climbing the split rail fence and standing with one foot on the gabion while trying to drive a golf ball straight up into the air to get it out onto the empty lot. When that turned into a fruitless proposition, about half the yahoos tried shooting the ball in the empty (except for dog poop) lot towards their mother/grandmother’s house while various other yahoos took turns speeding the motorized wheelchair up and down  the street. At one point, I think I saw the mother/grandmother -grey hair aflyin’ – taking a turn. One small boy yahoo climbed the neighbors ornamental pear tree and picked off some of the new leaves.


They made a stab at trying to line up shots in the mother/grandmother’s small backyard. Really, the yahoos need better plans. And then soon enough, car doors slammed , loud goodbyes were shouted and that was the last we saw of the yahoo golfers.

Oddly enough, The Poodle laid low while the yahoos made their presence known and did not come round to gawk at the creek, stare at my deck or examine the split rail fence closely.


Mother’s Day is coming and the yahoos always have a loud outdoor party in July. (No golfing then – the sport of choice is to aim fireworks at our roof.) Sooner or later, the yahoos will be back. So I need some damn shrubs with big thorns on them to block off access to where the little tree is. The bigger the better in terms of thornage. What can you recommend?


11 thoughts on “The Deck, The Creek and The Yahoos”

  1. Creosote bushes, chollo cactus and tumbleweed would work, but don’t think it would survive NJ. This makes me angry and I don’t even live there. What rude people they are. And make that electric razor wire.

  2. I guess shrubs would work, but not as well as flash bang grenades and rubber bullets.

    Plant Oleanders and tell them how great the leaves are in a salad.

  3. Bamboo!! It grows quickly & the leaves can slice cleanly just like papercuts. There are types that can grow in colder climates; if you plant it carefully with proper inground barriers, you can control its spreading. Some types get REALLY tall fast!!

  4. Yew if you don’t have little kids that would eat the berries. Green Giant Arborvitae but it gets tall. Rock Cottoneaster if you like pretty colors they have red berries in the winter.
    None of the above have thorns though.

  5. I don’t know if they grow in your area, but my knockout roses have vicious thorns and grow like maniacs from late winter to late fall. Plus they have lots of blooms all season.

  6. I admit, I would have been afraid to approach the yahoos. I feel like “You never know when you might wake up to a bag of flaming dog poop on your porch.”

    I am trying really hard to figure out a tactful way of asking my next door neighbor to ask her teen daughter not to flick her lit cigarette butts out her bedroom window into my yard….brushfire season is here and so far I’ve been lucky, but it ENRAGES me to think my house might burn down some day because of that. (It’s entirely possible mom doesn’t know her daughter smokes, and having her find out would almost be worth the agony of going and talking to a relative stranger.)

  7. Second the Barberry suggestion. I had problems with kids getting under our big Spruce, so I planted a Barberry right in the way. Problem solved.

  8. Barberry is good, multiflora rose is better. Both are non-native and deer pass them by. Multiflora rose was actually imported as a natural barrier to keep deer out and livestock in.

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