The Meek Shall Inherit The Earth (Big Piles Of It, All Over Their Front Lawn)

Now listen, I am no Miss Marple, but I'm pretty sure I have a mystery on my hands. Something very, very strange is happening on my street right now---more specifically, in my own front yard---and I could use your input in getting to the bottom of it. Or not even getting to the bottom of it, really, because I'm not sure we're even going to do that, but maybe you could just shake your head in bewilderment along with me. That totally counts. 

Are you ready? Detective hats on! Trench coat collars up! Magnifying glasses out! The mystery commences.

(Okay, it's only a mystery in a sort of lame suburban way---don't expect any gritty Law & Order business---but it's a mystery all the same. I trust you played Clue when you were younger; that is all the training you'll need. Well, that and some good snacks and maybe a potty break. This is going to be a long one.)

Last Thursday, during my week in between jobs, I spent the majority of the afternoon planting a front border of snapdragons and petunias in the brick planter right outside my front door. (I know, I know, but we can't all snort lines of cocaine from Lady Gaga's navel, you know; some of us have to be just a smidge less rock 'n roll.)  When I was done, I was so proud of how pretty they looked that I took a picture and sent it to my parents. It looked like this:

We'll call this Exhibit A. Nice, right? Obviously still needs a whole bunch of other things behind the border, but it's getting there.

Early Friday morning we left for Maui, and on Sunday night, when we came back, I was anxious to see how my new flowers had fared in my absence. As I approached the planter in the dark, I saw the weirdest thing: about a third of the flowers, mostly those in the bottom right-hand quadrant, were buried under a huge mound of earth.

How bizarre!, I thought. But....maybe it was windy while we were away? And the wind blew some of the dirt? It seemed kind of unlikely, honestly---there was no dirt anywhere else, and no sign of any other wind-related activity---but it was late and I was tired and I had just been on a plane for five hours, so I went to bed and forgot about it.

And then the doorbell rang at 2:30am.

If there's one thing more terrifying than the phone ringing at 2:30am---which is, in and of itself, a fairly terrifying thing, I think you'll agree---it's the doorbell ringing at 2:30am. I sat up in bed, heart hammering, and elbowed Sean---in whose marriage vows it was written (at least in my head) to assume the responsibility for investigating this sort of thing---and he went down to have a look. He came back, moments later, saying no-one was there. Probably just kids messing around, he said, and went back to sleep. 

(I, however, lay awake for a good two hours afterwards, keeping the would-be serial killers away with only the power of my mind. I tried to buy the kids-messing-around thing, but I couldn't quite do it. Ours is a quiet street, very residential, which is virtually deserted as soon as it gets dark. In a year of living here, there has been no equivalent tomfoolery. To ring our doorbell, you'd have to really want to do it; you'd have to walk up our path and find it. All in all, it just seemed a little weird.) 

In the morning, however, things were even weirder. On our lawn, in three separate places, were three large piles of earth.

As far as I could tell, they hadn't been there the night before when we got back from the airport. Had they had something to do with the midde-of-the-night doorbell ditch? Possibly, but we didn't know for sure. Later that morning, I cleaned them up, along with the large mound of dirt in the planter, which had in fact destroyed quite a few of the flowers, and we puzzled on it. An animal? A large bird? An animal or large bird also capable of ringing doorbells? A person with a grudge against us?

And then today it happened again.

AGAIN. In broad daylight.

When Sean left the house this morning for work, there was no dirt on the lawn. When I went downstairs for the first time this afternoon to check the mail around 3pm, there were three entirely new piles of dirt on the lawn.

(The author apologizes for her typo. The author was obviously supremely flustered by the appearance of the three new piles of diet---uh, dirt---on the lawn and intent upon conveying the news immediately, sausage fingers be damned.)

When Sean came home from work this evening, we went outside and examined the new piles. There was no doubt that the earth had been dumped there, rather than burrowing up from beneath. I got my phone out and started taking pictures. I hoped the person who had committed the act---I imagined they were watching---could tell I was being very serious about this picture-taking, very official indeed, like I was compiling evidence for the special branch of the FBI that deals with residential garden crimes. Oh, you know there's one.

Exhibit B: Who does this?

Exhibit C: Seriously, what is wrong with you?

And THEN, if the weird piles of dirt weren't enough, I looked over at my planter and discovered that---brace yourself, deep breath---about five of my brand new petunias had been BEHEADED.  At first I thought the flower had just drooped and fallen off, but a closer inspection revealed a pretty neat snapping off of the stalk (plus, there were no petals around, like there would have been if the bloom had fallen off naturally.)

Internet, what is going on? First my flowers are covered in dirt, then the dirt appears on two separate occasions in random piles on the lawn---along with a possibly related 2:30am wakeup call---and then, as if that weren't enough, several of my flowers also have their heads unceremoniously chopped off. Is someone trying to send me some sort of message, Sopranos style? Am I being targeted by a garden terrorist? 

In the meantime, I am looking into a nannycam shaped unassumingly like a watering can. I'm also looking into staying up all night in front of the window with a loaded BB gun down the front of my pants. 

1
Alli
Jun 30, 2011

How extremely odd. Is it related to the gardener card in the mailbox? How could two such events NOT be related? Perhaps you looked like a good target for a gardener-type scam (I'm not sure what that would entail... stealing your topsoil?), but when you so started actually gardening they had to step it up a notch? I think a nanny cam is definitely in order. All you need is a little web cam in the corner of a window right?

2
Camels & Chocolate
Jun 30, 2011

I now rescind my request for an invitation to your new(ish) abode. Because dude? That sh*t is WEIRD, yo! And can I state the obvious? ONLY IN SAN FRANCISCO.

3
Pretzel Thief
Jun 30, 2011

...the hell?!

Weeeiiiiiiird, dude. Hope you solve the mystery soon and a big HELL YEAH to the watering can nannycam!

(Dratted garden terrorists.)

4
Joanna
Jun 30, 2011

What can I say? I am Miss Marple and this is clearly a complot between moles and squirrels with the help of a tall White tailed deer for the doorbell ringing!

5
Isobel
Jun 30, 2011

That is so completely bizarre! Definitely need some kind of camera, I think - but my brain is still mostly stuck on "WHY?!?!"

6
Noelley
Jun 30, 2011

Looks like you have a resident gopher. I'm not sure how he could possibly have rung your doorbell, but stranger things have been known to happen in SF!

7
Patty
Jun 30, 2011

Are you sure it's not a gopher? We have gophers in our yard, and it's amazing how fast they can pile up a mound of dirt that looks pretty much how your photo looks. One could have also eaten the tops off of your flowers. Not sure about your door-bell, but hope you get the mystery solved soon.

8
Jess - daysgoby
Jun 30, 2011

Why do we always assume the squirrels are up to no good?

Most likely they were trying to WARN you of the hooligan gopher USING THEIR LAWN and muscling in on their trees/turf.

(If you can't understand why they did so in the dead of night, it's obvious you've never seen the EFFORT it takes to get a herd of squirrels organized enough to form a tiny pyramid AND press the doorbell.)

9
sarah
Jun 30, 2011

to the peeps who think it is a gopher ... how do gophers ring doorbells?

no help to offer holly as I am just as stumped. but I definitely think you should hang out with a bb gun (:

10
Red boots
Jun 30, 2011

Perhaps someone is trying to tell you that your gardening skills aren't up to their exacting standards (though I personally think it looks pretty damn good!).

11
laura
Jun 30, 2011

this is, by FAR, the most bizarre thing i've ever seen/heard of. what in the world?!
{i apologize for having nothing more to offer you than my own bewilderment.}

12
Loonytick
Jun 30, 2011

The plant stuff definitely looks like the work of either gophers or moles. I think the doorbell is a separate issue.

13
beth
Jun 30, 2011

So weird, are you sure it's not moles?

Two weeks ago our mailbox disappeared - post was perfectly fine, unblemished and upright.... the actual box was just gone.

14
Lori
Jun 30, 2011

My neighbor discovered the odd burying of the flowers in her flowerbox - that is the piling of dirt on her flowers in her flowerbox - was the work of squirrels. She finally caught them at it one day. We theorised that something in her compost? had attracted them.

15
Samantha
Jun 30, 2011

I laughed out loud during this entire post. Not because I'm not concerned (because I most definitely am), but because you are the best storyteller around. I nearly spit out coffee at "loaded BB gun down the front of my pants".

I wish I could help! As an Agatha Christie enthusiast (and... ahem the Poirot movies), I feel like I should know something about this. The doorbell thing is the freakiest part! Is there a pirate? Maybe a pirate once lived at your house and he's looking for his buried treasure, but you had to plant those damn petunias and snapdragons on top of it? But then why would he cut the tops off...?

Dude, I don't know.

16
Michelle
Jun 30, 2011

Yours isn't one of those wireless doorbells you get at the hardware store, is it? Our doorbell wiring was so old that we opted for a wireless one, only to discover with a 6am wake-up call that our neighbors had purchased the exact same model.

17
abd
Jun 30, 2011

Weird stuff like this happened to me all the time in CA. The husband and I started calling it the California Crazies. Who was crazier, the person randomly doing weird stuff in our front lawn*, or us, trying to figure who and why? The short answer, it was totally us.

But then one morning, I had a super early meeting at work. I got up at the crack of dawn and tried to leave for work, only to find two homeless gentlemen sleeping in my car. I was so mad! I told them to get out of car. They just looked at me and asked how I liked their art. Yup, art. I told them it was sub-par and I thought that maybe they needed to find another yard to decorate. They got of the car and left and moved their artistic endeavors to my neighbor's yard. I watched her slowly lose her mind trying to figure out how to get it to stop.

My advice? The baby camera.

*Weird stuff in front lawn:pulling up all the realtor signs in the neighborhood and placing them in our front lawn, picking all the lemons from our tree and leaving them on our front step in a perfect pyramid, digging a giant hole in our front lawn, taking all the stuff out of my glove box and leaving it in my mailbox).

18
April
Jun 30, 2011

Sounds like squirrels. If they buried food in your lawn and planters last winter, they may be looking for it now. We've had them do the same thing to petunias as well. As for the piles of dirt on the lawn, are they near the planter? If so, it the squirrels pitching dirt out to find what they are looking for. If not and there is no burrow hole....yeah, I've got nothing for that. I have awakened in the night certain that someone rang the doorbell but no one else has heard it, could have been you dreaming and totally unrelated to the dirt piles?

19
Ris
Jun 30, 2011

I have no. idea. This is so strange! If I were you I'd be camped out behind my front door, looking out the peephole, until I caught the perpetrator in action. Let us know when you figure it out!

20
Jeannie
Jun 30, 2011

I can't explain the doorbell, but I think the dirt piles are from gophers. Years ago I briefly lived with friends at their house at 33rd and Fulton. It was in the spring and summer and they had the piles, too.

21
Kate in Ohio
Jun 30, 2011

In our neighborhood there is fierce competition for the best lawn. Perhaps they did not see you as a threat last year since you were working so hard on the kitchen, but now that you have shifted your focus they are warning you to back off. That and you may have a gopher.

22
Chris C.
Jun 30, 2011

Those dirt piles totally look like gopher-piles to me. Though they're unlikely to have been in your flower bed, it seems. Perhaps that was a cat digging in there for its, um, potty needs? Or a squirrel looking for food it buried?

23

That is creepy. Like, really... really creepy. I'm not normally one to overreact, but you might want to let the police know that something has been happening. You're not sure exactly what, but something. I realize you might feel silly doing it, but it's just too creepy to not have on record, you know?

I'm sorry for my overuse of the word "creepy," but I really can't think of anything else to say about it.

24
Nothing But Bonfires
Jun 30, 2011

Thanks for all the advice, guys!

I'm not entirely convinced it's gophers or moles, because there doesn't seem to be any evidence of DIGGING. There are no holes or anything in the lawn, just these random piles of earth that seem to have been PUT there.

Nevertheless, I did google how one gets rid of gophers and found this rather superfluously violent article ("gas them!" "drown them!" "smoke them!"): http://www.wikihow.com/Get-Rid-of-Gophers. I guess gophers really get people's anger fired up. Since we're in San Francisco and I'm a soft-hearted wuss, I think I might just sit down and have a really sensible, reasonable talk with them instead.

25
Sassha
Jun 30, 2011

Dude! Park yourself in the front yard and just dare anyone to look in your direction...

Seriously though - we live in Oakland and have some serious mole issues. They are *adorable* but they will wreak havoc on your yard, leaving piles that look just like that. And they work fast! We had 10 beautiful heads of lettuce growing and I went out last weekend and found the little suckers had dug their way through the lettuce, eating up the roots, killing all of the plants and leaving mounds of dirt in their path.

26
Nolita
Jun 30, 2011

I would not be able to sleep until a surveillance system was in place. The previous owners of our home installed 4 cameras and we have 24 hour recording of video. We've had to go back to review tape 2 times for crimes: one was a real piece of work neighbor mowing his clippings onto our driveway! (I am certain that HE was the reason the previous guys installed the system) and another happened when a car chase ended in our driveway while we were out of town. That was interesting to watch. When we have gatherings guests clump around the monitor to watch other guests arriving so it's entertainment too. You can set up the DVR to be accessed from the Internet too! Hope you get to the bottom of this soon. Stay safe! (And maybe post a friendly sign in your lawn to ward off the hooligan(s)?

27
Tracy
Jun 30, 2011

Didn't you used to work for Travelocity? Maybe you could borrow one of their gnomes and have it watch the front for you. (Or put the nanny cam in there).

28
beyond
Jun 30, 2011

ok, this would freak me out a bit, i have to admit. didn't you once get an anonymous note in your mailbox regarding the garden? could that be a link? a hint?

29
Nothing But Bonfires
Jun 30, 2011

Tracy, a gnome nannycam is brilliant. And I do indeed have a spare gnome lying about.

30
Carole Clark
Jun 30, 2011

I imagine that in the next few days, so as not to look too suspicious, you will get a flyer in your mailbox advertising dirt removal. Everyone is trying to make a buck these days.

But seriously, this is odd.

31
Home Sweet Sarah
Jun 30, 2011

What a MYSTERY. A very creepy mystery! Even though it would very much suck to stay up all night, I feel like that's what you have to do to get to the bottom of this! I know I absolutely could not sleep knowing someone was prowling around my front yard. (Especially because I live near the prison, although I don't think anyone is locked up because of garden terrorism.)

32
Stephanie S.
Jun 30, 2011

That is CRAZY! It's just like you are living out an episode of "Pretty Little Liars" (TELL ME you are watching this show!). That's creptacular. Please keep us updated... I am seriously intrigued!

33
Kavita
Jun 30, 2011

Oh boy, somebody's really messing around with you guys. Definitely people, since they rang your door bell at 2.30a.m., and they're kinda nasty too - I mean they beheaded flowers. Bah! Oh, I'm supposed to help and not state the obvious right? Right! Fingers crossed you solve this one real soon. If you do, I just might send you a post I'd written a while ago as there's a mystery there I have yet to unscramble(Note to self: Stop adding to Holly's woes!).

34
saucepanman
Jun 30, 2011

Did you check your neighbors' gardens to see if they had the same problem?

What about that rather strange woman from across the street? Seems like something she might do.

Hate to hear you're having this trouble when you've worked so hard on getting things sorted out.

35
Nothing But Bonfires
Jun 30, 2011

Saucepan Man: Definitely isn't happening to anyone else on the street, unless they're faster at cleaning up the dirt piles than we are. And right now, the strange woman across the street is certainly on the Potential Culprit list, particularly as a) she came up and asked me about the flowers while I was planting them last week and b) we once witnessed her smashing a bottle and putting the broken glass in the house next door's mailbox. Still, innocent until proven guilty and all that: hence the nannycam.

36
Sensibly Sassy
Jun 30, 2011

uh...For once I do not have a thing to say.
That is so weird-please keep us posted on this story as it develops!

37
Laziza
Jun 30, 2011

YES, nannycam. Do it! And report back! (Uh, please. I am apparently quite personally invested in this story.)

38
LizP
Jun 30, 2011

(delurking)
I used to live at 45th & Taraval and we had gophers. There was no evidence of digging, just mounds of dirt. We had beautiful rose bushes in our backyard and one year they just up and died. The diagnosis was the stupid gophers ate the roots.

Good luck!

39
Courtney
Jun 30, 2011

Ooh, I suspect strange woman across the street! Also, have you read any of the Maisie Dobbs books? I'm obsessed and I feel like she's who you need to figure this all out.

40
James
Jun 30, 2011

Clearly you are part of M. Night Shyamalan's next feature film.

And please, learn from Plaxico Burress and do not stick a loaded BB gun down the front of your pants.

41
Kelly
Jun 30, 2011

I'm guessing you don't have deer, correct? That is always our explanation for flowers with no actual FLOWER left.
The dirt piles remind me of termite mounds...they look so sandy / grainy.
The doorbell? I HAVE NO IDEA.
So so so weird & I can't wait to read more about it later!

42
Maya
Jun 30, 2011

Definitely gopher. Moles make the ground smooshy. Gophers make those piles.

43
Karen
Jun 30, 2011

Did Sean hear the doorbell? Could that have been a dream? Dreams can seem so real sometime. Or........have you tried the doorbell to see if it works now? Maybe the gopher/mole/mystery person hit a wire causing the bell?

45
Kelly
Jun 30, 2011

Gophers for sure, we have the same thing in our backyard. But they don't ring our doorbell...

46
Operation Pink Herring
Jun 30, 2011

I'd be jumping right on the "it's a gopher!" bandwagon if it weren't for the doorbell ringing incident. Dude. That is strange.

47
Lawyerish
Jun 30, 2011

This is all a bit Blair Witch Project to me, but then I am known for going straight to the worst-case scenario.

I definitely suspect the passive-aggressive neighbor who tried to shame you into getting a gardener when you first moved in. Evidently she does not like your choice of petunias.

(Seriously, though, if someone rang our doorbell at 2:30 in the morning I would have a heart attack on the spot.)

48
Starla
Jun 30, 2011

Eek. I'm paranoid now, for you! PS. Gophers? Like Gordon the Gopher? I don't think I even really know what kinda animal that is!

49
Ally
Jun 30, 2011

Gosh, what is the name of the diet you're on?! That looks like a couple of pounds you've already lost in the front yard! Seriously, you may want to call out a pest control company; the dirt sounds like you may have some kind of lawn pests. The flowers ... two options: 1) rabbits tend to eat some of our flowers and squirrels steal our tomatoes off the vine so it could be said pests and 2) one of my friends saw a neighbor come over and snip some flowers from her bed. No kidding - how weird is that?!

50
Serror
Jun 30, 2011

Sounds like moles, and maybe squirrels. Moles (or gophers, we have moles in Seattle) for the dirt mounds and a Squirrel for the planter digging. I have had both happen in my yard.

I have a friend who cut the bottom off a Travelocity gnome (to take it underwater, they are very floaty) and was heartily scolded by the Gnome keepers when he returned.

Maybe look into a GoPro camera. Then you can use it for spying and fun stuff later. :)

51
Nancy
Jun 30, 2011

I'm going with gopher. I had the same, exact mysterious random piles of dirt on my lawn....I even dug around in one of said piles at one point TRYING to find the hole they dug up from but was never successful so I thought maybe not?

But it continued! So I had my landscaper friend (he owns his own business so I figured he knows what he's talkin' bout) confirm, it was, indeed gophers.

So what to do? Well, I considered poisoning the crap out of them route, which made me feel, well, not all together too great about myself. I mean, would it smell? When they died? Even if they were trapped underground? And besides did I really want to poison the lawn like that? It was tempting but then I got all environmentally conscious and self-righteous so poo-poo'ed that idea. I think the stuff was called "gopher-be-gone" or some such nonsense.

Then there was the alternative which was "The BlackBox Gopher Trap" and really? who wants to come out onto their front yard at 7am to get the paper and see a *gopher* trapped in a box on your lawn squirming and squealing to be released? Ugh. I still have nightmares from my dad setting mousetraps in our summer cabin and waking up to some weak, pitiful squeaking noise when a mouse got his head trapped but it didn't. quite. finish. him. off. So pitiful and traumatic for a wee nine-year-old girl that I was. Sigh.

So off to the hardware store I went....And I found it! The Exhart Gopher-MoleMover Electronic Stake!!!! So apparently you pound it into your lawn and it sends patent-pending 'chatter-sounds' into the earth which, apparently is supposed to drive the gophers so mad they leave your domicile in peace and move on to their next unsuspecting homeowner. Where I found it it was $30, though. Ouch. Meanwhile the gopher-be-gone poison was a mere $3.95 for like a 30 lb bag. Tempting.... BUT, I opted for the "right" thing to do and bought the stake.

Pounding a hole in the lawn deep enough to push that damn thing in so A. I didn't trip over it and B. I didn't hear the damn patent-pending "chatter-sounds" was the hardest part. But I did it. And I waited.

A couple days later I walked out....to no new PILES OF DIRT!!! HoooRAY!!! Gophers were GONE!

Alas, though, I looked across the street and my neighbors, who frankly, I quite like, had four new piles of dirt on their beautiful green lawn. It appears my friends had moved across the street.

Oh well.

Still can't figure out how they got to the doorbell though.....

52
agirlandaboy
Jun 30, 2011

Um. This is freaking me out.

Could it be the insane(ish?) lady across the street? Who did some festive yelling and loud-music-playing on our marriage night?

53
Nothing But Bonfires
Jun 30, 2011

Leah, it's tied between her and the gophers. (Seeing as you are the second person to suggest this lady -- see Saucepan Man's comment above -- I don't feel quite so guilty about thinking it myself.)

54
Sheila
Jun 30, 2011

I have no ideas or advice for you but await the results of Gnomecam.

55
lindsay
Jun 30, 2011

It's a ghost, it's so obvious!

56
Nothing But Bonfires
Jun 30, 2011

Lindsay, that's my third choice.

57
Kristina
Jun 30, 2011

I am a farmer. What you seem to have there is a gopher. I have frequent gopher problems in my orchards. Here's what you do: kill 'em in a trap (organic, at least), poison 'em, stick a hose down their hole and when they come out, let your dog chomp them head first (my preferred method, also organic, and the dog seems to enjoy it. I do it with irrigation water.). My dad (an old farmer) calls the "sonic" method "mouse milk", as in "you can milk that mouse if you want, but don't expect much."

Just sayin'. When they go after the ornamentals, it's time to take some action.

58
Carlien
Jun 30, 2011

I love that you happen to have a spare gnome lying about. As for the mystery.. the bottle-smashing lady would be a great cause of concern for me. That sounds rather unbalanced.
Keep us posted!

59
Kim
Jun 30, 2011

My sister used to live where she had woods behind her house and one day a deer rang her doorbell. Absolutely not kidding. The doorbell rang, she opened the door, and a deer was leaning against the front door, causing the doorbell to ring. Yeah, she lost a few years off her life with that one (probably the deer did too...)

60
Bellie
Jun 30, 2011

Definitely the fruitcake across the road- I hope she doesn't read your blog haha!

61
Bellie
Jun 30, 2011

P.s ignore Kristinas horrible methods of killing Gophers- trap them humanely (no kill trap) and move them to a remote area. They are actually really cute even if they are annoying!

62
patty v
Jun 30, 2011

definitely moles, i have them all over my yard every spring. look up Gardening by Cisco (in Seattle), he gave a cure for them on his show last friday night, i just don't remember the recipe exactly. it had mint fresh mint leaves in it though. good luck, and don't worry :)

63
edj
Jun 30, 2011

I am thinking back over all the people I have ever known, a la Miss Marple, but so far I'm drawing a blank. I can't decide if it's gophers/squirrels or related to the gardening card in mailbox. Sorry; not much help. I do tend to just passively read Miss Marple and not leap ahead to conclusions.

64
sarah
Jul 01, 2011

This is a great article on what gopher and mole dirt mounds look like and I suspect that, by the look of your mounds, that the gopher hole is plugged or hidden. http://www.extension.org/pages/34706/how-do-i-know-if-i-have-pocket-goph...

65
lesli
Jul 01, 2011

Wow, very weird. Those dirt piles look like ant piles to me, but while they come up fast, I'm not sure even industrious little ants could build three overnight. Well, probably, but you would certainly see them when you moved the dirt. I think you should definitely set up a gnome-cam -- very Buffy, Season 6. Except you're not part of an evil trio set on taking over Sunnydale. I hope. (Not that I'm a Buffy nerd or anything.)(Not that there's anything wrong with that!)

Hope you solve the creepy mystery soon!

66
Allison
Jul 01, 2011

I am with Lindsay!! Your house is clearly *haunted*.

67
Jessie
Jul 01, 2011

Since you do work at home now, and I'm sure on a laptop, why not set up your workspace right in front of your door or window - since it's happening during the day you'd see the person when they came sneaking over. And, I read your every post - how did I miss the story about the weird lady across the street who confessed to leaving the gardener's card????

By the by, I have an unstable neighbor who believes that a "rogue, criminal group of landscapers" comes into her yard with a backhoe at night and digs up her flowers but replaces them with other plants. She stays up at night listening for the machinery. So just be careful about how involved you get in this mystery. It can be a slippery slope... :)

68
Caroline Wright
Jul 01, 2011

Yep. It's the whackjob neighbor and MAYBE the gophers, though I won't be a bit surprised if it ALL turns out to be the whackjob neighbor. Which unfortunately begs the next question: if you DO install a secret gnome-cam, and if you DO catch the neighborhood whackjob doing cruel and unusual things to your lawn and petunias, what the HECK are ya gonna do about it? You might have A Challenging Situation to manage. Yikes. Unless their house looks like Boo Radley's, I would go talk to the people with glass in their mailbox and see what they know about the whack.

69
Kavita
Jul 01, 2011

Hmmm.....so it's gophers, but that doesn't answer 2.30a.m. door bell ringing and flower beheading now, does it!?

Fingers crossed the censor board goes easy on me today. I don't really enjoy being named "spam" you know. :-)

70
Marcheline
Jul 01, 2011

When I lived in TN, there were gophers in my yard. But, peeps - where there's a pile of dirt, THERE HAS TO BE A HOLE. Duh! And besides holes, there were huge mounded lines all over the yard where they were tunneling around.

Holly has been telling y'all (leftover Tennessee-speak) that THERE IS NO EVIDENCE OF DIGGING. Thus, NO HOLES.

Cripes! The gophers are getting a bad rap here. It's obviously the crazy neighbor. She showed interest in the flower planting, and if she's putting jagged pieces of glass in the neighbors' mailbox, then maybe you should be glad she's just donating dirt to your gardening project.

GET THE CAM!!!

71
Philippa
Jul 01, 2011

I have no advice but I totally think this madness needs to be filmed and then put up on here so we can watch the real life Marple mystery unfold! Im totally gripped. Must. Know. What. Happens!

72
Moose
Jul 01, 2011

Now I'm picturing a gopher using a really long stick to ring your doorbell. When you answer, he'll say, "Excuse me, madame, but it appears your yard has run out of dirt. Would you be so kind as to provide some more? And maybe some salt for the snapdragons."

73
Maren
Jul 01, 2011

My husband tried to convince very paranoid me that our yard hydrant (pump style) that had apparently been mysteriously left on all night was turned on maybe by raccoons. Sure...I can hardly lift the handle and make the water stay on, but the raccoons did? SO creepd out, especially because we live on a road in the middle of nowhere that maybe 5 cars an hour go down, with a driveway 1/10 mile long, and a house you can't see from the road. And we don't really have raccoons around our house ever. Excuse me while I go recheck that the doors are locked.

74
Carroll
Jul 02, 2011

Hmm...spam filtered here too. No idea what was objected to. Let's try again...

Nope..I even tried changing the word "poop" (in my original comment) to "excrement" -- that wasn't it.

(Sigh)

Giving up for now.

75
Quyen
Jul 02, 2011

Me thinks gopher! As far as doorbell weirdness.. Do you have a wireless bell? We have one and so does our neighbor. Everytime they have someone at their door, our bell rings too. Quite amusing at say, 11. Not!

76
Joy
Jul 02, 2011

Perhaps you could install a 5 ft metal chicken to guard the yard and front door? http://thebloggess.com/2011/06/and-thats-why-you-should-learn-to-pick-yo...

This might also help deter the crazy neighbor!

77
Mia
Jul 02, 2011

Definitely going with gopher or mole or vole. On the doorbell, we had a wireless one that would ring whenever the neighbor used their garage door opener - we had to change the frequency of the doorbell to fix that.

78
elz
Jul 02, 2011

That is one PISSED off gopher. I don't know about nanny cams, but my husband uses night game cameras to see what was traipsing through our garage (raccoons) and out at our property (LARGE raccoons, deer, wild pigs, turkeys, etc). I'd definitely look into a night vision motion sensored camera.

79
Alyce
Jul 02, 2011

Gophers for the dirt.

The doorbell was robbers checking to see if you were home. They left when lights came on.

80
Pam
Jul 02, 2011

Professor Plum in the garden with the wheelbarrow.

81
Sarah
Jul 03, 2011

Omg! How bizarre! I hope you guys figure it out soon! Your story was hilarious! Thanks for the laugh. Please let us know what happens.

82
Tara
Jul 03, 2011

Lord love a duck! That is bizarre.

I cannot wait for follow up post to the nanycam (which I think it an absolute must).

83
Valerie L
Jul 04, 2011

Looks like you have a Gopher, and a door bell ditcher.

84
Victoria
Jul 05, 2011

No advice on the dirt, but we used to have a dodgy doorbell that starting ringing on its own a while ago. It turned that a few nights of heavy rain and a cracked plastic casing around the doorbell had combined to do something nasty to the wiring and make it randomly ring! Good luck cracking this!

85
Leanne
Jul 05, 2011

This mystery has been driving me nuts, so I do hope you'll update us! I've told my husband and my mother, and we're all stumped. I get a little (more) creeped out with every telling. I wasn't aware of the crazy neighbor (How can that be?? I read every post! It's another mystery!), but that sounds more like it-- ne'er-do-well lady across the street, the doorbell, the dirt, and the flower heads. Or maybe that's more my speed, which is apparently slightly Hitchcockian. Any more clues??

86
Linda
Jul 05, 2011

Maybe the lady from across the way was ringing the bell when she saw gophers, to alert you to their presence? "They're here now! They're here now! Look out the window now!"

Far fetched, perhaps.

Have you noticed any ghost tours stopping at your house?

Bmx bikers?

Someone has a crush on you and shows it in an odd way?

Yeah, gotta be the cam.

87
The Bee Charmer
Jul 05, 2011

I think you've got yourself a varmint problem of some type.

88
jes
Jul 05, 2011

I just read this entire comment thread, in an attempt to procrastinate doing more work.

And then I closed the screen, and re-opened it to leave a comment letting you know why I'm leaving a comment.

GAH. I soooooooooo don't want to be working right now. Is it very obvious?

89
Mp
Jul 06, 2011

Moles or pocket gophers. The hole is plugged with the dirt they throw behind them. Google it.

90
Emily
Jul 08, 2011

Have you considered the garden gnomes?

(I may have just spent the long weekend with a 3-year-old watching...and rewatching...and watching again...Gnomeo and Juliet. Where gnomes come alive when people aren't looking. Yup.)

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