Friday, January 18, 2008

Living in the Country?

In my last post, Deb commented on how much light there was in my backyard at night. Even though we live outside the city limits, we are in the middle of area that's zoned "Commercial." Our property also runs right next to Highway 63 which is THE major north/south highway in and out of Rochester. We're also only about 1/2 mile from the Rochester International Airport. Since we built our house here in 1987, there has been a boom in commercial development all around us. Our subdivision hasn't been annexed into the city of Rochester yet, but the new subdivision built just north of us IS (with city water and sewer and cable TV). I believe it's only a matter of time before we become part of Rochester. The other development is that a frontage road is being planned so we will no longer be able to get directly on and off Highway 63 from our subdivision. And naturally, since our property runs right along the highway right-of-way, where do you think that frontage road is going to go?? Yup, right through my backyard wildlife habitat. We have heard that's going to happen around 2010 so I'm trying not to think about the devastating effects and whether I even want to be living here anymore to see that. Anyway that's another story for another day.

My original intent here was to show you what I see when I look out my living room window at night. This time of year everything's twice as bright outside because any available light reflects off the snow. The other night when I took the owl picture, there was also a low cloud ceiling and snow, so all of the lights on the ground were also reflecting off that.

Here's what's on the east side (my backyard) of Highway 63:

The new Sterling Truck 24 hours. Security lights around the entire building and tall parking lot perimeter security lights also. Lovely isn't it? When I was planting my trees, I never even thought to plant trees for obscuring the view this direction because there was a nice little hobby farm there with beautiful 100+ year old oak trees--all gone now for this! And if the lights aren't offensive enough, every time a semi truck pulls into the back for service (those are the service entrance doors on this side) they have to honk their horn and you guys all know how loud a semi horn is, don't you? Grrrr...... I hate this place! I fantasize about purchasing a shoulder-mounted rocket launcher from the internet and vaporizing them! (Hasta la Vista, Baby!)

Here's what I see on the other (west) side of the highway.

What's over here? Another semi-truck business, the city water tower (providing water for the airport, the commercial businesses and a residential subdivision to the north), and the thing that looks like flames is actually smoke coming from Mayo's medical waste incinerator that's catching the reflection from those ugly orangey-colored street lights in the parking lot of that facility. (Note to self: be sure to ask about a couple of bonus rockets with a pre-paid order.)

All of this is made more unbearable by the fact that traffic is almost non-stop on this highway. It used to be that when I put the dogs out in the middle of the night, I wouldn't see or hear a car, but that's a thing of the past. Amazingly enough, almost every day we have to wait for traffic before getting on the highway to go to work at 5:15 a.m!

I yearn for darkness and silence at night and this town's just getting way too big and too close for me. So, Deb, is there anything for sale in your neighborhood??


Robin (Bumblebee) said...

Move here!!! It's plenty quiet and dark.

You could live on the Chesapeake Bay. We could do lunch and trade vegetables and bird stories. Maybe you would take me for a ride on your motorcycle!

--Robin (Bumblebee)

RuthieJ said...

Sounds like a plan, Robin! And it never gets to -20 in January either, does it?

Meggie said...

Even though I live on 3 acres, mostly wooded, there is a refrigeration plant close by. Semis in and out all night long. I don't have air conditioning, so in the summer it is quite annoying (with the windows up I hear them). When they were clearing the land for the plant I complained to the excavators that they were destroying habitat. They laughed in my face.

Mary said...


It's Friday night and I'm on my third glass of wine - you are making me laugh onto the floor with your sense of humor!

It's everywhere! Lights, building, congestion... When you think you are nestled into a quiet nature preserve - BOOM! It's gone.

After living near BWI airport and listening to Sunday night air traffic, and living near Dover Air Force Base and watching the C-5's touch down nearby, nothing phases me anymore. Except: Directly across the street from my subdivision, they flattened a nice nature preserve to build another unnecessary strip mall. That will - no doubt - attract more HOSP.

I'll be wanting to sell my house, too, in a few years. But moving 50 miles away from the office will really put a burden on my gasoline bill. Ughhh.

Happy Weekend to you! You have a lovely home, full of the best of nature. Be Thankful.

Lisa at Greenbow said...

Ruthie I feel your pain. When I moved here with my DB 13 yrs ago it wasn't near as noisy on our stretch of road. We were at the edge of town. Now the strip malls and Marts are all a block away. Gone are the fields and orchards that used to surround us. Sigh~~

Anonymous said...

Wow. This is heartbreaking! It's been happening all over Maryland too. By the time DC and Baltimore are done sprawling, there'll be no natural or agricultural Maryland left.

Hope you find some quiet night-sky somewhere, and lots of interesting critters to enjoy it with!

RuthieJ said...

Hi Meggie,
I had the same type of reaction from our township planning & zoning committee when I complained about the ecological disaster of building this truck center. I watched one of the committee members read my letter and smirk over those words--boy did I see red then! Some people call it progress, but I've never seen it that way!

Hi Mary,
I'm glad you saw the humor--this post was supposed to be funny but it turned into kind of a rant, I guess.
I hear you on the airport noise--the MN National Guard does their C130 practice flights out of RST. Sometimes they fly so low the dishes rattle in the cupboards--scares my kitty to death!
The spousal unit retires at the end of 2008, so once the daily commute is over we'll be looking for something a lot more rural.
Thanks for the reminder--I AM thankful for what I've been able to achieve here in the last 19 years and once leaves are back on the trees, it won't be as bad.

Hi Lisa,
Thanks for understanding, since you're going through the same thing. I'm glad you have your beautiful backyard oasis also and are helping to replace a little bit of nature that's been taken away from around you.

Hi Terry,
Thanks so much for stopping by my blog. I wonder if we'll ever see the day when developers actually care about the environment and listen to the objections people like you or I put forth. It worked in the movie "Hoot" with those kids, but real life never seems to take nature into account (and those guys have lots more $$$$ than I do too!)

Anonymous said...

You need a small town like where we live. Philip moved away from the city and lives in a smaller town then what we live in and loves it. He can't hear his neighbors snore at nite anymore and Charlie has room to run. I didn't realize all the lite and noise from the truck place. Our place hasn't changed much since we moved here.

barefoot gardener said...

Move on up to the Zumbro Falls/Mazeppa area! It is beoooootiful, and I can visit you when Mr. Barefoot's band plays at Roo's in Zumbro Falls.

Not that I want you to move for selfish reasons, or anything.

Jayne said...

I am so used to being in the country now that I can't imagine being able to see those lights. I used to live adjacent to I-75 and could always hear the interstate traffic and it was always "light" at night. Now, I shudder to think of living there. I so feel your frustration Ruthie. Come on down to north GA! :c) We'll set you right up here in the rural country.

RuthieJ said...

Hi Mom,
Yeah, I know Philip really likes his new place and Charlie loved running in our backyard last summer so it's good they moved to a small town. And you've still got the quietest neighbors across the road (maybe that's the key--finding property adjacent to a cemetary!)

Hey Barefoot,
Do you live that close to me?? I've been on that highway that runs east from highway 52 straight into Zumbro Falls and would love to live in that area (good deer and turkey hunting too). And it's not selfish....wouldn't it be great if we could pick who we wanted for neighbors?

Hi Jayne,
Rural north Georgia complete with titmice and bluebirds in my backyard all winter? Sounds pretty heavenly to me! (wonder how long it would take me to learn to say "y'all" without a Minnesota accent??)

Richard said...

Want rural?, there's plenty of room on Diamond Lake. Only 365 homes around it and very little traffic. Property taxes will probably kill you but you have to take the good with the bad.

Richard said...

I forgot to mention that there are only around 100 year round residents so it's really quite in the winter.

Marsha said...

No truck center lights here but we do have an all night security light...

It's not very quiet these days either as the dogs are barking at the sounds of the coyotes.

Nice to see the view of where you live even if it's not the perfect nature view I expected.

Richard said...

Also forgot to mention that we have a new Super WalMart and a Home

Anonymous said...

I think it's pretty awesome that despite all that buildup around, you still see plenty of biodiversity in your backyard! And I think it's pretty awesome that you share it with the world!

Larry said...

Light pollution can sure ruin your view of the stars at night.-They have been encouraging new lighting that minimizes light pollution around CT recently.