I was downstairs changing over the laundry when I heard something outside. It really sounded like someone was raking in my front yard. I looked outside and yes indeed, my neighbor was raking my yard.

Why was she raking our yard? Yes, there were a lot of leaves there, but we have big trees and it is fall. We just did the whole thing on Friday and it’s only Monday.

Do your neighbors rake your yard? Should I be grateful? offended? scared? Do I tip her? What the hell?

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  1. I would send her a “Thank You but get the hell out of my yard” card. Or, maybe some hobby ideas for her because she apparently has nothing better to do.

  2. We used to have neighbors that would shovel our driveway immediately after it snowed because they “didn’t like how it looked when we waited”. I guess we weren’t fast enough for them. Either way, it was nice not to have to do it. I baked them some cookies each time but I don’t think it was necessary.

  3. Put her on a plane and send her to Kansas. I have plenty of leaves to rake here.

  4. Our neighbor used to snowblow [can that be used as a verb?] our walk, all the way up to our door, every time it snowed. He did it before we even got home from work. So for Christmas each year we got him a $25 gift cerftificate to a restaurant [a restaurant where a friend of ours was the manager and gave us the gift cert for free…yes we are cheap, thanks for asking].

  5. We have a neighbor who does stuff like this all the time…takes out/brings in our trashcans, brings over various ridiculous household items we “might” need. True story: When another neighbor moved into the ‘hood they were doing major renovations on their house and living through it. They basically were living out of 1 room and put a mini fridge and micro in it. One day they came home and there was a ceiling fan in said room. They both looked at each other and said, “Was there a ceiling fan there when we left this morning?” Turns out the Mr. Fix-It neighbor knew they were without air conditioning and took it upon himself to break into their house and install a new fan. If he wasn’t so harmless I would have been VERY scared. 😀

    I give him a Home Depot gift certificate every Christmas.

  6. There is being nice, and there is being creepy. That’s just creepy.

    I mean…how bad is your yard? Is it really that bad, or is this woman a super freak? I’d say something, like…”wow, thanks…but we just raked on friday”-have you ever actually said anything to her? Is this the same woman who mowed your lawn? In her skirt?

    Weird. Weird. Weird.

    That being said, my neighbor just gave me a box of broken toys pulled out of various garbage cans in the area.

  7. One word: Landmines.

  8. Regardless of how creepy or bad or anything else, they raked your freakin’ yard. My advice is to stop raking all together and just let them take care of it. By the way it’s 90 in Santa Monica today.

  9. Frank Sucks says:

    Is there a fence or something in between the two yards? Not that it matters.

    So he/she raked your yard? Great! When your shoveling snow this winter don’t stop at the property line when you are doing the sidewalks. (you have sidewalks?) Just pass on the kindness and be happy you have an old school neighbor.

  10. We have a neighbor that will sometimes come mow our front yard in the summer. At first I thought it was weird, but after we figured out who it was, we knew he was just doing it to be nice. It worked out really well for us when our lawnmower broke down for a couple weeks last summer.

  11. Maybe this is part of her new exercise regimen. I just raked our backyard this weekend and it was a good workout. Assuming this is the reason for her free yard work on your behalf, make some cookies, and then walk outside with them, eat them in front of her and tell her you made her cookies, but knowing how she’s watching her figure, you were helping by eating them for her.

  12. What Kbee said. :)

  13. I suppose I wouldn’t know what to do either….except say thank you. I have very anal neighbors who care for their yard very particularly. One of them blew all the leaves from his yard into the other neighbor’s yard because the leaves came from his tree. Creepy things like this happen all the time on my block.

  14. Is this the crazy neighbor who mows her lawn in a dress?

  15. In Terre Haute where I was born, the mayor refused to do leaf collection or snow plowing because in his words “God Brought the leaves – God will take them away”.

    So – I guess you could embrace this philosophy and assume God sent your neighbor to do it.

    I think the thing that makes it weird is that it doesn’t sound like you have a FRIEND relationship with her. If I raked your yard, then you’d say “Hey my friend raked my yard that’s cool.” But not having the friend status makes it sort of a “busy body” status – or even insulting. Like you were being lazy so she had to do it for you.

    I appreciate the whole old school neighbor idea, it’d be nice. But I just don’t really think strangers or near strangers are that “nice” anymore.

  16. Maybe Lumpyhead and I can pay a visit to this woman and ask what she is doing and why?

  17. And Mom At Work. She can come on the field trip too!

  18. It’s kind of creepy/possibly insulting, but I’m one lazy girl, so I’d just take it in stride. Maybe have the Goon Squad make her a thank you card. Cause really, who doesn’t love kid-made crafty goodness?

  19. LOL…Your post and the responses are so darn funny.

    It is strange but it could be stranger. When I lived in West Haven I had a mom and 2 grown daughters living next door and raking just wasn’t enough for them though they did it EVERY DAY once the leaves started to fall.

    After a while they would come home from work and one of them would climb the small tree in the front yard and try to shake all of the leaves out of the tree….

    Now had they climbed my tree I guess I would have wondered what to do.

    My gut feeling is unless you are uncomfortable with her or her in your yard then let her have at it..lol…

  20. She probably was just trying to be nice and figured once she started she could do a nice deed. Just take her some cookies one day or some nice gesture to let her know you appreciate it.

  21. I’m with the just-go-with-it people. Have the squad make her a card and bring it to her with some cookies and say thank you. It sounds like she was trying to be helpful, not cast judgement on your yard maintenance skills.

  22. It depends on her Raking Attitude. Were her teeth clenched and was she almost hammering at the leaves in her impatience and frustration? Then she is a psycho control-freak who has just snapped because you didn’t remove each leaf within one hour of its landing. Did she look calm and pleasant? Then she is someone who has noticed you have twin toddlers, and/or is someone who enjoys yard work (this sounds crazy, but my mother actually finds raking therapeutic, and also likes it for the exercise), and either way thought she’d help out.

    I don’t know what I’d do about it, though, assuming she didn’t seem like a psycho in which case I’d brandish a weapon and ask her to back the hell up. Even if I was pretty sure her intentions were pleasant, I might feel criticized and defensive. Sending a thank-you of any sort might make me feel like I was thanking her for doing something that indeed needed to be done by an external party, rather than something that had been done a few days ago and would be done again soon. But I would want to thank her, because it would be a nice thing she’d be doing. I’d be conflicted, that’s what I’d be.

  23. What the fuh? I agree with Swistle. Here’s the thing, though. Even if she’s doing it because of the control-freak thing, BUT that means that she’s passive aggressive. I know we shouldn’t manipulate and all that crap, but my view is this: if a person is angry at someone but does things that are passive aggressive, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with sitting back and waiting to be told. If someone can’t say she’s angry with you, eff it. How are you supposed to know?

    So, sit back and enjoy. I just hope she doesn’t think you’ll reciprocate. Hoo! H to the N.

  24. Oops, scratch the “BUT”

  25. Have you tried raking her lawn? Maybe that is what she really wants you to do but is too shy to tell you.

  26. Maybe she is collecting leavers. From now on, every time you rake your yard, put the leaves in her yard. That should do it.

  27. By the way, I have know idea what leavers are? I meant leaves I think.

  28. You could always ignore it. Or pretend the garden gnomes came to life & did it. When you tell her that, she’ll think you are certifiable and stay out of your yard. But then you’d have to rake them.

  29. Seriously??? That’s odd. But maybe the neighbor thought she was being a Good Samaritan, helping you out because you’re busy with the kids. Since I had the twins, people try to be ‘helpful’ all the time.


  30. It means they think you’re slack. But if they want to mow your lawn as well, I say go for it!

    I wish my neighbors would do my yardwork for me.

  31. This cracks me up!! The same thing JUST happened to us!!! Except we had not raked at ALL!! I actually just wrote about this the other day!

  32. That. Is. Very. Troubled….

    I’d tell her to bugger off right quick!

  33. Does she do laundry? What about floors? Do you think she’d fly across the Pacific to come and do mine?

  34. Our neighbours – of the Old Age Security Variety — do this sort of stuff. I once gave the westerly neighbours cookies for their trouble after the husband shovelled my snow while I was Mom to the uno 5 month old… The wife called me and balled me out for the trouble.. telling me ‘This is what neighbours do’ … Someday I will have to do this for someone else.

  35. Shy must think your yard looks like crap. Or perhaps she’s just incredibly nice. If they are nice and caring I would give them a bottle of wine. If they are sour assholes I would be worried.


  36. Is this one of those faceless anonymous suburban neighborhoods where it is normal for you not to know who your neighbors are? You could cut the drama by just talking to your neighbor about it. Take it as a good deed until you receive information that proves otherwise.
    In the ‘hood I’m on good terms with my neighbors. We watch each other’s houses and take in the mail and paper when the other goes on vacation. Occasionally we pull in each others’ trash cans. And last week I did rake the leaves on my neighbor’s sidewalk because the wind was just going to wind up blowing them on my sidewalk. No evil intent, no judgement, just good old fashioned self interest.

  37. When I was 15, I picked up sticks and branches from our neighbors yard after a particularly bad thunderstorm. I have no idea why I did this, maybe to be nice? But I did it when they weren’t home, and didn’t tell anyone I did it. The only way they found out was they asked my parents if they picked the sticks up… and I had to come clean. Looking back, I can see that they might have been offended, but I honestly was just trying to help (they were an elderly couple, but did a lot of yardwork anyways). I think that some people don’t realize that when they try to help, it comes off as being invasive… But bottom line, it sounds like she was trying to help. At least I hope she was… and what’s this about a crazy woman mowing in a dress?? I have to see this….

  38. I say chalk it up to being nice. Also, give her my address.

  39. Next time you see her, kick her ass while screaming, “you stole my leaf collection!”

  40. open the window and holler, “Do you do windows?!”

  41. Me, I’d be super bummed if my neighbor did that. I just moved to a place with a back yard and my twins were *so* excited to “help” rake the leaves they could hardly stand it.

    Maybe next time you pass your neighbor you could passive-aggressively mutter down to your kids, “I know, dears, perhaps next year we’ll be able to jump in a pile of leaves together.”

  42. Wow, I’m a little scared at the number of violent reactions to this post. I say you say thanks and maybe offer a small token of gratitude. But if you, like some of the commenters, are particularly territorial about your yard and your yardwork and leaves (and I’m not saying that’s wrong), then while thanking her, politely tell her it’s not necessary and you’re totally all about cleaning up your own yard. Landmines and verbal sparring pretty unnecessary.

  43. Hm. Seems like a nice neighbor. When I was growing up, this was standard fare. My father mowed the next door neighbor/widow’s lawn every Saturday, snowblew (??) all the sidewalks on the block, and generally helped out wherever he could. His kids (that includes me) have picked it up. I mow my retired neighbors’ little strip of grass whenever I have the lawn mower out.

    I say, be gracious and say thank you. If it persists, then ask why. But for now, take it as a gift.

  44. I would like to know if this is the same neighbor that mowed your lawn because she could tell you weren’t home.

  45. We have a neighbor who often comes over and picks up sticks out of our front yard (big trees…sticks fall). She’s 83 years old and does it as a “Look, you have sticks, you need to pick them up” type of deal.

    I used to feel bad and go out there and do it…but now I just ignore her and let her do it herself. Tell ME how to keep my yard? Bite me, granny.

  46. Wow,not many people leave replys huh? No replys in 8 mths!!
    Any way, I wouldn’t worry about her. Let her do her thing, Maybe she just wants the extra excercise or maybe she’s on speed!!!! Enjoy!!!!

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  1. […] The good, the bad, the ugly:  Sarah and the Good Squad hears a noise and discovers her neighbor raking her yard. She writes: Should I be grateful? offended? scared? Do I tip her?  [There are some 30 comments on this post:  One word: Landmines. Another writes: I mean…how bad is your yard?] The bad: A bathroom scoundrel tries to start a flood, writes the Upstate Life.  More bad: After a stabbing, a short report by someone trying to get home. Today all traffic and pedestrians are being diverted from 14th Street between Clifton and Florida Ave and plainclothes detectives are crawling everywhere. The Luck of 13th St. And the ugly. When really big hypocrites fall… Church of the Big Sky on Ted Haggard. […]

  2. […] 1) Raking is a Pain in the Ass. I know what you are all thinking. You are thinking Well, Duh. Fine. I admit it. I didn’t know. I have actually spent little to none of my life thinking about raking, until this year anyway. I used only think about the trees in my yard if it was time to get them hurricane trimmed. Now I can’t ignore them. Plus, if you try to ignore them, even for three days, your neighbors might come rake for you. […]