"Department of Public Works
City of Birmingham
This letter is to notify you that your property was investigated on 4/23/2009 and a warning was issued for violation of City Ordinance Section 11-8-8 for: Overgrown/Junky Yard.
All grass, weeds bushes, saplings or sprouts (9 1/2 inches or greater in circumference) shall be cut to a height range of from two (2) to four (4) inches on the entire lot; including abutting alleyways and the area between curb and street. At least 50 percent of any right of way, alleys, unopened roads, etc. that adjoin a lot are to be cut. Vegetative cover shall be maintained after weed removal. There shall be approximately 2 inches of grass or other ground cover remaining. All cleared vegetative materials, as well as junk, inoperable motor vehicles or man-made debris located on the property, shall be removed from the site and disposed of properly and legally.
Please bring the above referenced property into compliance with City Ordinance on or before Monday, May 11, 2009
A follow-up investigation will be held in seven days. If the property is still in violation a citation may be issued, and if we are unable to contact you a warrant will be issued.
Please notify us if and when the property is brought into compliance. This will allow for a follow up inspection to verify compliance with City Ordinance 11-8-8.
You cooperation is appreciated.
Department of Public Works"
Overgrown, sure. But junky? It looks like the meadow in Bloom County.
I recall William James writing about seeing a homestead in West Virginia and remarking how unattractive it appeared from afar. But as he neared it and saw its efficiency and efficacy, he was stunned by the beauty of its harmony with the surroundings. I believe his philosophical conclusion was that most people are stupid.
So I called and spoke to Inspector Jones and told him what I was up to, namely, 2009: A Tomato Odyssey. I explained that I needed the grass to be tall enough to go to seed to make my "green manure" that much more green. He was skeptical at first, wondering who in his right mind would have 60 tomato plants in a postage stamp-sized yard. I went on about my project.
I think I must've touched something from his childhood, maybe a grandfather's vegetable garden or his grandma's potted plants, because the more I explained what I was doing, the more and more he got on board.
He said to try to keep the yard visible from the street scythed down at least. Then he wished me the best of luck. I did refrain from asking him what "weeds bushes" were. Never heard of that variety. Nor did I thank the Department for the complete confusion the "9 1/2" in circumference" paragraph caused, despite the helpful numerical (2) (4) clarification.
I'm with Billy James: I really hate people, because most of them are stupid. And each and every day I'm astounded by a person's mind-bogglingly willful ignorance. But every once in a while, if you're sincere and earnest, some of them actually do listen.
More rain yesterday, and more today. I'm starting to feel like I'm a bit player in "This Bulging River".