What Will The Neighbors Think?

We live in a very quiet neighborhood. When our windows are open, sounds and smells often waft out to the curb.

Our son liked to guess what we were cooking when he pulled into the driveway, just by sniffing.  We cook food that would be considered  pretty exotic by most people in town. We often hope that homesick Pakastanis and East Indians will follow their noses to our house so we can give them a good meal that  tastes like the old country.  Tonight we are cooking Stifado, a garlicky Greek beef stew, and Turlu, a Turkish version of ratatouille. (We had leftover Eye of Round, and we were hungry for spicy vegetables). I can smell both in the driveway.

When husband isn’t home, I like to crank up the classical music. He loves classical music, but at a reasonable decibel level. On Thursday night I had a strange compulsion to hear the 1812 Overture. Really loud. Especially the cannons. Maybe it was because it was Midsummer’s Eve.  When it came to the first cannon shots at 12:43 into the recording, I stopped it and replayed it multiple times. Then there are the cannons at the end, about two minutes later.  I played and replayed that part. Both cats were hiding under the dining room table. I then saw two people walking their dog past our house. Oh, my, what must they have thought about us?!

What could people surmise about you by walking past your home? What smells and sounds waft into your neighborhood from your home?

38 thoughts on “What Will The Neighbors Think?”

  1. Rise and Shine Baboons,

    The neighbors say I live in the garden during the summer. They are correct. I am headed out there to weed some more this morning. Also heading to the Dog Park.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. OT – Steve, I’m waiting – more or less patiently – for your assessment of your new abode. So hoping that you’ll like it there.


    1. I’ll say more when I’ve been here longer, PJ. I’m concerned about a few things, but it is too early to judge. This building was designed intelligently and built well. I want to say it is “classy.” The kitchen seems incredibly good. Every staff member I’ve met has been welcoming and helpful. The young woman at the front desk tells everyone she’s in love with Liam. I tried for two years in Michigan to teach the staff I was Steve. They persisted in calling me Mr. Grooms right to the end. I’m already Steve to the folks running this place.

      Liked by 5 people

      1. My comment above was misleading. By “kitchen” I did not mean the tiny area here for preparing food. I meant the food service that caters our meals. They are the biggest surprise of the move. We had a catering service in Michigan that served food that was, at best, school lunch quality. My rent here includes one catered meal a day. Yesterday it was beef Strogonoff on noodles, baby carrots steamed with herbs, a zesty beet soup and coconut cream pie. I was preparing all my own meals in Michigan. Here I will only make sandwiches or heat up eggs and toast, counting on the food service for evening meals. This one new fact improves my life more than anyone could guess.

        Liked by 2 people

        1. Sounds like a good deal, and you won’t have to do dishes. Do they deliver the meals to your apartment, or do you go to a dining room?


        2. They will deliver, PJ, but there is a charge for that. I just got the menu for the next week, and I’m amazed at how good things sound.

          We just did our first grocery shopping trip at my old Lunds store. I nearly wept for joy at the selection and the good people running the place. 🙂

          Liked by 1 person

        3. Dining in the dining room is probably a good way to meet some of your fellow residents, and become part of the community. It’s nice that you have a menu ahead of time so if there’s something on there that you don’t care for, you can make arrangements to have something else.


        4. I tried eating at the dining room in Michigan. It did not go well. There was one old guy with Alzheimer’s who kept barking out the same message over and over. It is a challenge for me to dine with strangers (my hearing is poor, plus I have a hand tremor that makes eating tricky). But I’ll give it my best shot here. The folks I’ve met here seem far more approachable than those in my last senior community.


  3. How I wish, Renee, that I lived closer to you. Your cooking sounds so fabulous to me. What kind of Turkish pepper paste do you use in your turlu?


    1. Husband put in half-sharp paprika and Penzey’s Turkish seasoning. It has lots of sweet red peppers, eggplant, okra, green beans, zucchini, parsely, onions, and and garlic. It was baked, and seems to be more like a casserole than a stew. No pepper paste, but that sounds intriguing.

      Liked by 3 people

        1. Sounds scrumptious. I would have never thought to put okra in there, I’m not very confident around okra.


    2. I think we should apply Baboonish peer pressure on Renae and Chris to move here instead of the planned retirement move to Easter S. Dakota. We can all plan group meals and they can cook.

      Baboonish Bananas for dessert of course. I will contribute those.

      Liked by 6 people

  4. I lived next door to one of the nicest guys in St Paul. But we sure differed. Donn was obsessed with his lawn. I consider much lawn care wasteful and environmentally unsound. Although Donn and I never talked about politics, I could tell he was quite conservative.

    In the end, I decided I to be–or pretend to be–the sort of neighbor Donn deserved. I mowed more often than I wanted to. I trimmed my shrubs almost as assiduously as he trimmed his. I displayed no pink flamingos or liberal campaign signs on my property. I managed my lawn in ways that wouldn’t offend my kind and friendly neighbor.

    Liked by 3 people

  5. The weeds in the garden are so annoying. By the end of today our yard will be much better looking, and people will know that good Lutherans live in our house, not marauding cossacks.

    Liked by 3 people

  6. There is a lot of foot traffic in my neighborhood and I always used to wonder when I yelled at the kids, especially if the windows were open, how much they heard and what they thought.

    Back when I cooked, there were some good smells coming from the house: homemade cookies, homemade bread.

    Liked by 5 people

  7. Well, I think there may be a few opinions about our front door, which we painted last summer in a nice bright yellow – the color “goldenrod” comes to mind… There are so many little gray houses with white trim here, I decided it needed some pizazz. Now when I tell people how to find us, I give the street coordinates and say “gray house with the yellow door” – no problem!

    But to answer the questions – they will surmise someone likes to grow food, as the bit of side lawn we have is completely planted, and in front of that is all raspberries and a tiny apple tree. This prompted Next-door Neighbor to try out growing a few veggies in a space between the garages, which means we now, between the two of us, have enough zucchini to start our own Farmers Market.

    We’re gradually turning the boulevard into flowers, but meanwhile don’t mow much of it, so it’s mostly ________ (pineapple weed? or a near relative) and crabgrass. Luckily there don’t seem to be a lot of lawn freaks close, so I haven’t heard anything negative.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I really like it when people paint their front doors a joyous color. Ours is a deep red which I just love. I have seen purple, sage green, turquoise. Who says we staid Midwesterners don’t have any personality. It is all tied up in our front doors.

      Liked by 3 people

      1. Our house is grey stucco with purple trim and a beautiful purple front door. And right now my three Weigela bushes out front are covered with big deep red flowers; a joy to behold.

        Liked by 6 people

        1. We also have a purple door (with white stucco and blue/grey trim – and sub some shrub roses and a rain garden for your red-flowering bushes…).

          Liked by 1 person

  8. At this morning’s farmers’ market I picked up a bunch of fresh radishes, sugar snap peas, and a head of romaine lettuce. Tonight’s dinner will feature a creamy radish top soup and left-over pulled pork on a brioche bun festooned with romaine lettuce, sliced red onion and tomato. Isn’t summer eating is grand?

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Oops, just remembered that tonight we’re going to the Danish midsummer celebration, Skt. Hans Aften. Guess I’ll have to incorporate those sugar snaps, and radishes into a fresh salad of some sort as my contribution to the pot-luck. We’ll be burning a witch later in the evening while standing around the bonfire singing some traditional Danish songs for the occasion. I love these old traditions.

      Congratulations to tim’s Emma on her graduation. Your party conflicted with this once a year gathering, so I’m sorry not the make it. I trust you’ll do just fine without me.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Doh! I got completely wrapped up in home projects and totally forgot! Shoot. Congratulations tim and Emma – sorry I missed the festivities.


  9. My stories have already been told by other baboons so far. I spend a lot of time outside gardening in the summer as well. For those of you who’ve been here, you know that my project of “less grass, more flowers” is going really well. I’m never quite sure what the neighbors think when they look and see all of the flowers and no lawn. And I also have ljb’s ssue — with all the windows open, I’m sure people hear me yelling at the dogs!!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Occasionally Husband will shout an oath quite loudly when he is frustrated – I have heard him from half a block away. I do wonder what the neighbors think of that (especially because they are not always “mild oaths”). As for the rest – the good cooking smells tend to happen in the cold months when the windows are closed, so no sharing with the neighbors…unless I bring them a plate of whatever I have baked. Next door neighbors seem amused by the wild barking of the two new pooches, so I guess I’ll take that as a win that they are not annoyed by Sugar needing to protect us from people out walking, robins on the lawn, thing that rustle in the house, the wind…

    Liked by 2 people

  11. It’s odd how sound carries.

    Low tones, having longer sound waves, can travel farther and through materials more than higher pitched, shorter sound waves. (because they get stopped easier). So if the wind is right, we can hear the thumping from a bar 4 miles away or the stock car races from the fairgrounds 8 miles away.
    Last night, the neighbors had fireworks. A nice, quiet, still night (other than the fireworks). When we can hear the train clearly it’s going to rain. (Generally that’s a south wind, which generally brings rain).

    And while we don’t often hear voices or people talking, I did wonder how often the neighbors heard me yelling at the cows.

    And no one close enough to smell anything baking.

    We try to keep the grass cut by the gates and mailbox. Driving in you’d think we keep a nice farmstead. But get out between the sheds to see the ‘junk pile’ or behind the barn where stuff gets piled and you’d wonder.
    I know another farm like ours. From the road, it looks like a pretty well managed place; a busy farm, lots of cattle and machinery. One day I came at it from another direction. And I wondered who’s junky place that was? Lots of broken machinery in the weeds and crap all over. And then came around to the other side and realized it was the same place.

    Just read the phrase, “Good from far and far from good.”

    Liked by 3 people

    1. My grandmother used to brag that my uncle had “the cleanest oats in the township”. Farmers are judged by the orderliness of their farmsteads.

      Liked by 3 people

  12. I have gotten a lot of gardening jobs over the years due to the “neighbors” question. When I went to talk to the first woman who called me about my ad, she said something along the lines of “I don’t need everything to be perfect, but I don’t want the neighbors to think the place had been abandoned and nobody lives here.”

    In the intervening years, I’ve heard many variations on that same theme. “The yard looks so overgrown – I don’t know what the neighbors must think of me.” That translates into job security for me.

    Sometimes I wonder if people would work in their yards at all if they didn’t have neighbors to consider.

    The cooking – I don’t know. I don’t think my neighbors know what I’m cooking. They might hear some music from time to time, though.

    Liked by 4 people

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