June is a month of change. Finally, the earth is colorful again after far too many months of gray; gray trees, gray remnants of snow banks and gray skies. Now, the grass and trees are green, and the flowers are blooming. The sunset from my kitchen window a few nights ago was the most beautiful combination of corals, reds, oranges and yellows imaginable.

The earth is not all that is changing; people are too. Children are playing outside and riding their bicycles. Joggers are running past, hoping to erase that winter weight gain. And then, in my neighborhood, the “turf war” has begun.

Let me be clear, the “turf war” in my neighborhood is really a lawn care contest. Who cut the grass first? Who got a new zero-turn mower? Who got their ‘weed and feed’ spread before dandelions started to pop up? I think it is a friendly competition, but I can’t be sure. We have one person who is really serious about the lawn and landscaping.

Their perfectly manicured lawn is a beautiful shade of deep green from a special blend of seed varieties. His landscaping is flawless and, even his landscape stone is pristine and perfectly placed. I can’t prove it, but it appears that even the birds recognize the perfection of his lawn and don’t “drop their business” on his property.

On the other hand, our lawn is pretty average. It is not horrible, but it is not competition standard either. We have merely typical grass, shrubs that need to be trimmed, and, yes, we even have dandelions and wild garlic popping up in the flowerbeds.

In truth, our lawn would be much better if we didn’t have two adorable but active dogs. An invisible fence keeps them in the yard, but they bark at birds, bicyclists and joggers. They run laps around the house leaving paths and bare patches of dirt in their wake. We have a few small holes where the dogs were digging for something, and some mounded up spots where they left something behind. Argh!

We do our best, but we lack our neighbor’s passion for our turf. We are fortunate that ours is a friendly “turf war.” That is not the case in many neighborhoods, gated communities, common-interest developments and residential subdivisions. Unless resolved quickly, neighbor disputes over property lines, fences, barking dogs, and even people taking short cuts on someone else’s grass can escalate into serious, threatening and even dangerous situations.

Mediation Services of Adams County can assist in those neighborhood disputes. We provide conflict resolution services, including mediation and conflict coaching, for a modest fee based on a sliding scale. Sessions are always scheduled promptly in a location convenient to the disputants. Win-win agreements are the usual outcome. For more information, check out our website www.mediateadams.org or call our help line at 717-334-7312.

Capt. Janet McNeal is retired from the Pennsylvania State Police. She is an MSAC Board Member and the owner of Law and Grace Consulting, Milton, Pa.

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