Our house backs up to an alley in Old North Durham, and a couple of months ago, our shed out back was robbed. Someone broke the locks off the doors and took our bicycles and our lawn mower. Since then, my partner and I have been discussing ways to make our belongings more secure. We’ve put locks on the gates across the back of the yard. We’re talking about moving the fence back so that the shed is inside the yard instead of on the alley. One side of our yard doesn’t have a fence, so we think maybe we should put one up–or maybe build a wall. That would give us privacy and make things safer.

Once we borrowed our neighbor’s lawn mower, after my partner bought a swing blade and tried to cut the grass with that. I don’t know why we’ve dawdled so long about replacing our mower. We got the insurance check, and we’ve had the time to shop. I feel afraid to get another mower. We’ll have nowhere else to keep it except the shed, and I’m worried that whoever stole the mower will come back and break any new lock we put on there. Maybe we should move the fence back first. Make sure the yard is secure. Protect our space.

We went out on the first Saturday that really felt like fall to shop for a new mower. But we got caught up in other errands and still didn’t get one. We came home and found our grass cut and our walk swept. Front and back. And our yard, though not large, is no treat to mow. The kid next door told us that our neighbor Jack mowed our yard after he finished mowing his. This made me think again about putting up fences and walls. When we try to keep out the bad elements, how many good elements are we keeping out at the same time?

Thanks, Jack.