Scamming little brats

New Eckington Kid on the Block has posted his/her unfortunate experience with some scamming kids. Not only was he/she (really I don’t know his/her gender) out of $17 bucks, the little theives also attacked the checking account. My neighbor B. got hit once (at least 1 year ago) but I think he just gave cash so that was all he lost.
My useless bit of advice. Think Girl Scout Cookies. Now at some point in your life you will get hit up by some friend/neighbor/ co-worker/ random parent to buy their kids’ cookies. Thin mints are my fav (if you see any give me a heads up). Anyway, it usually works like this, you pledge to buy the cookies, you forget about the cookies, a month later you get a mysterious call demanding money and a cookie pickup. Only then do you hand over the dough for cooked cookie dough. Same thing for any other cookies, fruit, jewlery, gift wrap, or whatever crap they’re making middle schoolers sell these days. You pledge to buy it but you don’t hand over any cash till the little people give you your stuff. Anything else, more than likely a scam.
There is another thing, more than likely a scam, helping kids buy football jerseys. I get hit up for this every so often on the metro or at the metro. Middle School aged boys mummble something about fundraising and sports and hand you a copy of some form that looks as if it has been copied a hundred times before. I usually tell them I support the kids on my block and I don’t want to risk supporting an opposing team. The kids on my block have never hit me up for fundraising money (candy, yes; odd jobs money, yes).

April 1st- Gardening

Ah it is going to be a busy, busy weekend. Besides having to remember to Spring forward (turn your clocks 1 hour ahead) and being April Fools’ fool, it is also the first day to plant a lot of stuff according to the University of Maryland (or State of MD) Home and Garden Info Center’s planting guide (*PDF). I got all sorts of plants going and I’ve been pulling the worms from the compost (so they can work on the next batch) and using the compost from Fall’s and this Winter’s clippings and refuse. Although I am trying to grow some things from seed, I have a feeling that I will give into the tempation and buy whole plants, particularly if they are interesting varieties. Last year I gave in to the Zebra Tomato, takes forever to turn red, but very yummy.
I am tempted to wander over to the National Cathedral’s greenhouse (take the 90 bus going to McLean Gardens) to grab some more herbs. Like I need more. Maybe I just want to use the 10% discount (.doc file). There are herbs over at the Garden District, but I have to go out to the Cathedral anyway and try to hunt somebody down. I know I’ll stop by the Garden District to at least pick up dirt.
I’ve told some of you that I am planning to make my yard an all edible yard. Let’s see how that works out. I might keep some grass but I wonder if peppermint (for mojitos!) and thyme would make a better ground cover. I also want to plant swiss chard for color. The blueberries are struggling along, making me wonder if I should add more. I’m going to try squash again, but this time in the ground. As I wrote, we’ll see.

Guys on the corner

It is difficult to judge if the corner is getting better or worse since last year. I know it is better than the first year I moved here, but comparing it with 2005, hard. The problem, our friendly neighborhood drug dealers.
There was a crowd of surly teens that used to hang out in front of one house, where other surly teens lived. Sometimes there would be a little back and forth to the corner but they’d go back to their friend’s house. Recently I have noticed that some surly teens have taken to hanging out on the corner, where normally they had not been before. It seems to me that they are trying to make new hang out spots. One neighbor mentioned that they had set up in front of her house, with chairs. She called another resident for neighborhood reinforcements. I haven’t heard of the kids doing it again.
Recently I heard of an old timer confronting the guys on the corner about cleaning up. The corner boys asked the old timer why everyone called them drug dealers. Ha! Let’s see, you hang out on a corner, in a neighborhood where you don’t live, where there has been drug activity before. Gee, I don’t know. It’s one thing when you hang out in front of a friend’s house, it is a whole ‘nother when it is on the corner or in front of someone you don’t know.
And since I’m slightly touching the topic, out neighborhood crack ho has branched out into drug dealing. She doesn’t do the corner, she hangs out in the middle of the block and it has been mentioned by a neighbor that she was spotted distributing something in a tiny little baggy. Is this improvement, because to be a seller you must be able not to smoke up all your inventory. But she’s going to get caught one day, if the cops bother to stop her, because she isn’t as organized as the dealers. The dealers don’t keep the inventory on their person. They hide the drugs in garbage cans, in people’s yards, in other neighborhood nooks and crannies so when they are stopped by the police they don’t have drugs on them.
Is it getting better or worse? Still very hard to tell. I’d like to think as more folks who are less tolerant of drug dealing and anything that looks like drug dealing remain and like minded folks move in, yes, it will get better. More people calling the police, fewer people providing shelter and safe haven for the dealers, more people maintaining their properties so there are fewer places to stash the stashes, those things should make things better.