Thursday, September 20, 2007

Our Neighbors

We met our Cushing neighbor this weekend (that's him up there). He's a rarity in Maine these days-- a real, live lobsterman who can afford waterfront property--even if they own the property out right, taxes for waterfront property often are more than a lobsterman can afford. Or some CFA is willing to pay such a dear price for the land, a practical Mainer will sell and move to a house off-water. Lobstermen who don't live on the water often fish from floats moored in a harbor (like that one at right).

Our neighbor lives on the water because his family has owned the property for over 250 years and he drives a truck most of the winter to supplement his fishing income. The house has no furnace and no basement. The washing machine is in the garage and the dryer is a clothesline.

As soon as they realized we were mainers, and we weren't "mass-people", they offered us lobsters Rich had brought home that day. Then they told us to borrow their kayaks any time--don't even ask. Then Richard said he'd make sure that our drive was plowed so we could get to the house in winter. If he was on the road, his wife would be able to plow us. He also volunteered to help take down any trees on our property that are "wind damaged."*

We quickly found out that they don't like the neighbors on our other side anymore than I'm guessing we's never good to jump to conclusions with neighbors or people in general, but the two interactions we've had with them make me a tad wary. The first time we met them, they handed us a formal contract for the maintenance of our lane and said that we needed to "get this matter taken care of immediately." okaaaayyy. We fully plan to contribute to the upkeep of the lane, but I'm far more comfortable working out a handshake deal--not signing a legal document that could land us in court. My word is bond. I'd hope that they are the same way.

The second time, they brought their three Irish wolfhounds over and let them run amok in our yard and garden. If you've never seen one of these puppies in person, click the link to see just how ginormous these guys are. Anyway, one tried to sit in Retired Guy's lap while the other two tormented mac the dog. One would have been a bit much, but three was out of control. Then they mentioned that they'd turned in the lobsterman* for taking down trees on his land in such a way that we took it as a warning that we should not improve the view on our land. As soon as they left, we took down about 15 trees--with a hand saw.

I also have a sneaking suspicion that part of my wariness is because they're from away and they act like they are from away. They moved to Maine because they love Maine, but now that they're here, they want to start changing things.


Boo said...

If they are going to let their monstrocity heap of dogs trod all over your garden the least they could do is treat you nice. (looks like a huge dog and times 3 must look like a veritable mountain)

They just don't understand about neighbors helping neighbors. Few people from "away" do.

the blue state blogger said...

My God! That dog is as big as a tank! What do they feed them???

mainelife said...

In all fairness, I'm from away, but I'm going to live here for the rest of my life and I know my place: Not lucky enough to have been born here, but blessed to be able to live here, and I'm not going to muck it up.

Boo-I think it's a city versus country thing: Growing up in rural Ohio, we were taught that neighbors help neighbors or no one makes it through the tough times....You might not want to have a drink with them, but you've gotta help them out.

Now as for those dogs.....can you imagine? They must feed them small children or piglets.....