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Independence Day Ramblings

July 6th, 2015 at 11:52 am

This may read like I'm complaining, or pointing fingers. I'm not really trying to do either of those. It's more like curiosity about life choices...

To start things off on completely positive note, we had a great holiday. One of DW's friends has a nearby beach house, and we spent a lot of Friday there. My small town has its annual village festival over the Fourth. Our girls were in the parade representing the Historical Society. And, we spent a lot of the rest of the weekend at DW's parent's place. So it was a fairly low-spend holiday weekend, in addition to being fun!

It's our time at my in-law's that brings me back to the beginning of my post.

My in-laws own a 160 cow dairy. Many, many years ago they bought a neighboring farm, and kept the small house as a rental. The current tenant began living there either shortly before or shortly after we got married, so about 20 years. I don't think he's paid rent in 15 years. He's a mason. He lays concrete when he's working. Sometime about 15 years ago, he was laid off for most of a summer. That's around the same time my father-in-law was starting to slow down physically. My father-in-law turns 84 this week. So the tenant started mowing the lawn, and doing other yard work. He does a very good job. No one ever has to ask him to do a thing. He starts mowing in April, and through October, not a blade of grass is out of place.

And, we're not just talking about a postage stamp yard. The mowed area includes all the lawn around the house, plus the barn yard, plus my brother-in-law's yard across the road, plus his own rental house, plus a camp next door to the farm that my other brother-in-law bought several years ago plus the tenant's rental. The tenant mows probably 30 acres of lawn, in exchange for rent.

The tenant has had a Fourth of July party at his house each year for a few years now. About four years ago, Michigan lifted the ban on citizens buying large-scale fire works. The tenant has gotten into the habit of putting on a fire works display that would rival many of the near by small-village shows.

My in-laws have, again, been vey happy with how he has maintained the grass. As far as that goes, he has, other than not paying rent, been a model tenant. He does all his own repairs, and has asked for nothing from them as far as improvements, etc.

But, it just boggles my mind how he can spend heaven only knows how much money each July on these fire works.

In the end, I think everyone is happy, although my mother-in-law does shake her head a little and mutter under her breath about the fire works. The rental house sits right next to the milking cow barn, and the fire works can startle the cows.

They could be collecting somewhere around $10,000 in rent each year. And nobody really asked him to mow all the lawns quite as frequently as he does. So, I think he comes out ahead with the mowing.

But, everyone seems to be happy. Except for a couple days in July.

4 Responses to “Independence Day Ramblings”

  1. MonkeyMama Says:

    I hear you! Had a similar experience in our own neighborhood. Plus, the money spent on fireworks is just absurd. Whether you have the money or not, there are only so many fireworks you can set off. Our neighbors don't seem to commprehend that upper limit. Maybe they try to all outdo each other?

    Since we are from a "no fireworks" city, the whole culture of it all is just completely foreign to me.

  2. creditcardfree Says:

    I don't have a lot of tolerance for fireworks either...although I do enjoy watching them from a distance. If everyone is happy than it should just continue, although my concern would be the liability if it would ever cause damage or if it would get bigger than it currently is.

  3. VS_ozgirl Says:

    My sister-in-law lives on a 16ha tropical rainforest property with her partner and they also maintain the property in lieu of paying rent. Maintenance of this property absorbs their every weekend. I think the owner is ever so grateful (he lives two states away, this is his holiday property and also where we got married). Is there any extra work he can do to increase the value of him living for free to your in laws?

  4. Bob B. Says:

    Good thought about extra work vs_ozgirl.

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