Homeowners Associations…HOAs.  A necessary evil?

Home Owners Associations. Or HOA. A necessary evil?

Let’s talk HOAs.  We have never lived in a community with a HOA, we do now. We have always had homes and property where since we bought it, pay for it and own it we could do pretty much what we wanted. Not any more.

We get that in communities you need some rules, regulations and restrictions. It make sense. We get that they don’t want purple painted brick homes or RVs and boats parked unkept in driveways, We get that they want yards looking nice and neat. We don’t get that having written conditions, codes and restrictions, board members can arbitrarily decide what is and isn’t allowed.

Our community is small and quiet. We don’t have amenities here, no pool, clubhouse, walking paths or lake. We have a total of about 6 roads, a front entrance that is kept up and street lights that are maintained. We also have fake grey rocks over our well heads and underground utilities. The underground utilities require above ground boxes, ugly above ground boxes. We are the lucky home owner who has those boxes on one side of our yard. We have a flower garden around them and are attempting to hide them.

Here’s where the issue comes in, we put up white vinyl decorative panels in a “L” shape to hide these boxes from street view. We have lovely flowers and decorative grasses growing in front of them.  We have in no way blocked access to these boxes. The entire back and one side is open for maintainence when needed.  All in all the flower garden is looking like an English cottage garden and really adds to the yard

SO, imagine our surprise when we get the “compliance letter” from our HOA stating that it had been brought to their attention that we have put up white vinyl fencing and white vinyl fencing is not allowed. Don’t you love the sentence “brought to their attention”?  We did.

We can find nowhere in any of the rules, codes, conditions or architectural paperwork where is says no white vinyl fencing. In fact vinyl is one of the allowed materials.

 Webster gives the definition of fence as..

A structure like a wall built outdoors usually of wood or meal that separates two areas or prevents people or animals from entering or leaving.

What we put up does not separate two areas, nor does it keep anyone or anything from entering or leaving…it is purely for decorative purposes. 

If you have ever dealt with an HOA, you know it can be like banging your head against a brick wall. We have been told that the board never approves white vinyl, why, well certainly not because it’s not allowed, but apparently because someone doesn’t like it. And apparently we were remiss in not asking permission first before we put this up, seriously…IT IS NOT A FENCE.  Please see definition above…we repeat it is NOT A FENCE.  It’s decorative and designed to hide the offensive utility boxes. You know, like the grey fake rock we have to have to hide the well head.

However, wanting to be good neighbors we have filled out the proper form and having been assured that white isn’t going to make it, have asked if a forest green one would be approved.

Now we wait and see. Because if it isn’t approved we have some very interesting ideas that will in no way be mistaken for a fence.

Updates to come….have a blessed day

Any resemblance to real or imagined individuals, living or dead, is purely unintentional. All opinions are solely the opinion of the author.  If you see yourself in this post, oops!

Garden update – May 2016

This garden adventure continues and this time it looks like we stand a chance of actually making this work.  We have tomatoes ripening, strawberry plants growing, potatoes plants thriving, mini cucumber plants enjoying their spot, and the herbs are flourishing.  In an effort to continue to find the right balance between sun and water we decided to move one tomato plant container and the strawberry plants to an area in our front yard that gets more sun daily to see if it helps.  Our concern there is critters…so we are considering our options to protect the precious plant from invading marauders.  While to some gardening seems like a simple, easy task, for some reason the gardening skill has evaded me.  I can manage herbs and indoor house plants but tomatoes, peppers, lettuce, and other such delicious edibles always seem just beyond my level of skill.  As the summer progresses I will be anxious to see if perhaps this year we win on this adventure.  

Another year, another attempt at a garden

If you have been reading my blog, you know that we have attempted and failed for a number of years to grow a vegetable garden here at our home in North Carolina.  We went from your standard in the ground open to the critters garden in 2012, while it started out great and it looked like we would have a bumper crop of fresh tomatoes, that dream ended when one morning I discovered all the green tomatoes had vanished off the vines overnight.  I blamed Big Foot, but it was more than likely a family of light fingered raccoons who discovered the open air grocery store and pilfered the tomatoes, leaving no evidence behind.  Garden-1, Us-0

In 2013 we built our garden cage out of a carport and fencing.  We covered the entire thing, including the ground with fencing.  It was bolted into wood and anchored down with fence posts.  We even grounded it, in case of a lightning strike.  This thing was going nowhere and nothing uninvited was getting in.  We planted and set up a watering system on a timer and awaited our glorious yield.  We planted tomatoes, peppers, zucinni, lettuce and cucumbers.  Alas, another failed year.  Not enough sun, too much water, we just could not figure it out.   The tomato plants grew straight up but yielded no fruit.  The pepper plants tried but only succeeded in giving us one tiny pepper.  Garden-2, Us-0

Not wanting to give up, we tried again in 2014 and 2015.  We had some trees cut down hoping to get more sunshine on the garden, we adjusted our watering schedule to account for less sun, we monitored and begged those plants to grow.  Again, tomato plant grew up at an alarming rate, reaching at least 8ft, but no fruit.  The pepper plants grew slowly and tried valiantly to give us what we wanted but lost that battle.  We did containers one year and raised beds another year.  The only thing that grew was some Swiss chard, and it didn’t show up until winter.  Garden-4, Us-0

Now it’s 2016, this year we have left the garden cage and moved back into containers.  We watched the sunshine in the yard and picked a place that is almost in the center of the yard to place them.  We relocated our watering system and downsized to four containers.  We have four tomato plants, three pepper plants, and numerous pepper plant seedlings.  We also have a unique lettuce growing system on our deck railing that consists of a rain gutter attached to the railing with drainage holes drilled in the bottom.  I think this year we have a fighting chance.  Already the tomato plants are growing tomatoes, and are not spiking towards the sky.  The lettuce is growing quite nicely, and the pepper plants are trying their best.  It’s still early in the season, so only time will tell.  And as an experiment we are growing watermelon, mini cucumbers and potatoes on a small area by our driveway that gets sun and was grass free. 

Now we wait.