Tuesday, April 5, 2011

A Threat to the Trailer Park Homestead?

We finally had the trailer park manager come on in for our "90 day inspection", nearly 6 months to the day after we moved in.  For the most part, it went well.  She didn't say anything about our ginormous shelving unit, which technically should have been pre-approved because it is attached to the wall.  She didn't notice the vermiculture bin above the laundry area, which, while not technically against the rules (I think), may have raised some eyebrows.  She didn't even notice the frog cage in the boys' room which may have raised the question of does "no pets allowed" include terrarium based critters or is that just free roaming beasties.

When she was done with the rest of the inspection, she asked me to step outside for a second.  We went out the front door and stood by the front garden box.  Then it began.

She said, "Now I know I verbally approved these before you moved in, but they are bigger than I thought they would be."

Uh oh.

She went on, "Now, the main concern with this is that its going to kill the grass under it."

Uh, did she not understand from what we were telling her from before we moved in that we were planning on taking out all the grass in the yard and planting it with useful plants?  So I diplomatically replied, "We plan on putting grass seed down on any areas we do our own landscaping on before we move.  The ground will be in better shape than when we moved in" thinking about how the soil modifications I will do could only improve the soil here.

I think she thought I was up to something with that response from the look on her face, but after a second she smiled and said, "If this (box) is going to be utilized to plant flowers, we'd rather it be in the back of the lot."

Flowers?  No one ever said it was going to contain flowers!  But I suppose the vegetables growing in it mostly will have flowers, so I held my tongue on that and latched on to the wording of "we'd rather" because it's too late for this year!  That box has already largely been planted and it is too heavy to move with the soil in it, so I can't stick it to the back until fall sometime after the first frost, but before the ground freezes completely.

This whole time, I was freaking out internally.  If there were misunderstandings about the size of the boxes I already have and what they'd contain, what else was misunderstood?  Is the park management going to have problems with the rest of my trailer park homestead plans?  How much can I really get away with?  Sure, the next door neighbor said they pretty much leave tenants alone and it is basically our yard to do what we want with.  Sure, that neighbor's been living in this trailer park for 30 years, but what if he's wrong?  What if they take objection to my somewhat unconventional plans for the yard?

I think a little of this internal monologue may have shown on my face, because she asked if there was anything I wanted to ask her.  I thought about it, remembered the quote "it's easier to ask forgiveness than it is to get permission," put a polite smile on my face, and said "no, I don't think there is."
Whatever I do to the yard, it's gotta be an improvement over this monstrosity that was here when we moved in!

So, I plan to keep doing what I've been doing, keeping the same plan, but now there looks like there might be some storm clouds on the horizon of my trailer park homestead!


  1. Oh that is terrible Chris.I think the whole better to ask forgiveness than permission route is the best course of action. Surely they would not expect you to move your boxes now.

  2. In my experience the manager is a pain in the butt, putting it mildly. She actually got pissed at me for letting her know that replacement windows were mistakenly shipped in our name after we moved out and that our former neighbor had them at her place because no one was home when UPS came-I could have kept them legally since they were in our name. At least I was honest, and we never put those things in our name, we were simply the first tenants.

    Best keep toys out of sight too, she'll complain about that as well. The previous manager was a lot nicer, but she's been gone for quite awhile. I doubt the higher ups who own the park will care, but she might make things difficult. We never gardened aside from flowers (and they were out front) in the park, we used the family farm up the road. Check your lease, I don't recall there being anything about flower gardens or other gardens at all.

  3. I checked the lease carefully before anything was signed. It said the yard had to be kept up, but it didn't say anything about what form it had to be kept up in--I made sure of that! As long as my garden spaces are actively being taken care of and I don't let them get all weedy or anything, I am well within the bounds of the lease agreement.

  4. Sweet. I can remember back in the day... we were college students renting a portion of an old house that had been divided into apartments. We dug up a small plot of grass to put in three tomato plants. As long as you keep your yard well groomed, I can't imagine any problems.

  5. If she stops by later in the season, why not offer her some of your harvest. Forgiveness is moot if she's begging for more tomatoes and herbs and what-not ;)
    Hope all goes (and grows) well.

  6. Great idea, Christine! I'm also hoping that the fact that she was three months late to do the inspection indicates a lack of motivation to stay on top of things, so if there were to be a problem, she might not even get around to mentioning it until the growing season is over!

  7. In the park we used to live in,the on site manager was a royal pain,until we started planting tomatoes instead of flowers,then he was as nice as pie....but that was not the same park that you are in.

  8. Our 90 day inspection, that we didn't even know about, was delayed like that too. lol

  9. I just moved from a park like that -- the "rules" are enough to make a good person want to do bad! I really feel for you. Maybe the battles won't come - at least we can all hope =)

  10. The park we moved here from was way, way worse. I think this one will end up being okay as long as I keep it up and make it "look nice"!

  11. Companion garden~Plant marigolds with your tomatoes, brussel sprouts, lettuce. They won't even notice the veggies.

  12. That's what I'm doing. Gonna put marigolds in the front bed and there is already violets in there. Also some lavender planted, but I may have gotten it in too late. On the side border, I'm putting sunflowers in with the corn and squashes and such to draw the eye up and away from the veggies...and to conceal all the other corn and other things growing beyond them.

  13. I'm just reading this and wonder how it turned out. Good suggestions here.

    1. We eventually got a notice that the garden had to be pulled down and replaced with grass, in the middle of AUGUST! She backed down when I started making contacts at her corporate office and mentioned that there would be MASS media involvement making her look like the stinker she was being (to put it politely).

      We ended moving a little over a year after that and have a MUCH better landlord now and will probably end up buying the house we are currently renting. We definitely learned a lot about making sure specifics were in the lease rather than just verbally agreed on though!