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Fruit Loopy Entitlement Pigs

I have a front yard planted with super dwarf fruit trees to give a green fence, and three grape vines being trained to grow over a pergola to give shade and fruit. The peach has been producing for a few years IF the frost doesn’t get it which happened so we only got a few fruit. The apple trees finally put some fruit on and held them, I got a few. The quince has been fruiting for a few years, it puts on BIG YELLOW apple things, and I’ve had to explain, those are NOT apples, they are quince (I love quince jam).  I don’t have a huge harvest, but it’s enough to enjoy some fresh fruit and I knew what was put on them (sprays or not).

There’s going to be a dip in temp so I spent morning plastic sheeting the screen house and moving container veggies in for the few days; then I get about another month of growing…. and this afternoon went to harvest the front yard. The red table grapes has been harvested for a few weeks and are nearly gone; the green table grapes turned out rock hard this year and it put on very few.  The Concord grape vine is happy and it gave. I am about through harvesting a full  cake pan off that and a car rolls by. I hear “she’s harvesting already” and they take off.

Less than ten minutes later, I’m getting off the step stool and up pulls a pickup truck and five adults and four kids get out. They start across my lawn with baskets and pails in hand and start looking at my trees!  I say, “‘Excuse me”,  to those descending on the quince,  “but that’s a QUINCE and it’s nowhere near ripe yet.” Someone picks a couple of the green grapes and tries them and does,  “Eww gross”, and spits.

The mother of this batch, starts in… “You don’t have any fruit?!?!?!?”    Um no, I didn’t get much harvest as spring frosted a lot. I have a big cake pan full of concord grapes in hand, the last of the harvest.

“Oh OH NO! I need 10 bushels of Peaches, 15 bushels of apples, and 6 flats of grapes! How can you not have ANY!?!?!?!?!”   She’s staring at the grapes I’m holding.

“What about the Farmer’s Market, their last weekend is this weekend? The (another state) peaches and (different state apples) looked really good last weekend.”

“Oh no no no. You always have LOTS in your yard, always. I just planned on coming over here!”

My DH has heard voices, and opened the front door. I hand him the grapes and make the gesture with my body blocking “close and lock door”. He does, stepping out of sight in house.

“What! Wait! Where are those going!”

“Into a pot dear, I’m making jelly tonight…”

“How dare…”

“No, how dare you, please leave NOW. And I counted the quince. If any leave I’ll turn the picture of your truck sitting in front of my house over to the police. Go, now, please go.”

I called the non emergency dispatch number and left a note for the dispatcher so they have a heads up in case I have to call on these … people. My lawn when it’s fully mature might do 1/3 to 1/5th the amount she was looking for… I mostly got a good fresh taste this year. Just because you can SEE it doesn’t mean it’s yours for the picking… 0911-14

I’ve encountered several land entitlement pigs over the past 30 years of home ownership.    Everything from kids walking right into the property to eat the cherries off the tree to hunters who sauntered into my pasture intent on shooting crows.   More recently a neighbor decided he and his employees liked our driveway better than his own until told that was not acceptable.  Anyone with a large piece of rural land can tell stories of hunters or people on motorcycles/ATVs trespassing to the point of  breaking down fences, cutting fence wires, etc.

In case of such narcissistic entitlement, the only remedy is a spine of titanium to confront it head on and not back down from the guaranteed guilt trip that is sure to justify the behavior.

{ 342 comments }

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  • PM September 17, 2014, 8:53 am

    I think the problem with “on the vine” fruit is the same as food in the fridge at the office. People (particularly people who have never been poor or hungry) think of food as a never-ending commodity. They think that if they see something, they want it and take it, the person who owns that food can just go get more.

  • Cherry91 September 17, 2014, 9:08 am

    “I need 10 bushels of Peaches, 15 bushels of apples, and 6 flats of grapes!”

    Then BUY them, entitled one. No one owes you anything. Also, those numbers are ridiculous. I can see someone giving away a few pieces of fruit, but she wants an entire orchard for free?

  • another Laura September 17, 2014, 11:15 am

    If the fruit thieves weren’t very bright, post a sign: WARNING! Fruit treated with di-hydrogenmonoxide, a chemical compound which is good for fruit but proven to be harmful to humans in large amounts. Water does not waah it off.
    😉

    • Mary September 18, 2014, 11:01 am

      Unless of course the thieves google the term!

    • Rug Pilot September 19, 2014, 6:28 pm

      Dihydrogen monoxide, a corrosive chemical which causes Smith-Allen effect when in contact skin and can be fatal if ingested in suffcient quantity.

      • Mary September 22, 2014, 3:54 pm

        Can also be fatal if consumed in insufficient quanity!

        • Mary September 22, 2014, 3:55 pm

          Sorry, quantity!

  • acr September 17, 2014, 11:35 am

    The crop theft is bad enough, but the stories of people cutting down beautiful TREES are just HORRID. Especially the (endangered) sandalwood and the 80 year old walnut!

    • Lizajane September 19, 2014, 7:58 am

      I know. Aftee reading that, I really worry about our giants. My neighbor is home most of the day. I think I’ll tell her if she ever hears chainsaw s, dial 911

  • Amanda H. September 17, 2014, 1:39 pm

    Hmm…note to self: prioritize cameras on my property before I invest in nice plants, once I have a house.

  • YardFruitLady September 17, 2014, 3:35 pm

    Update: since I submitted this, it has been less than a week. I had called the dispatch office, warning them. I started talking to neighbors and the grapevine.

    These people (family cluster) have visited almost everyone in town that has fruit or nut trees or grapevines-I was the first apparently. Some places they DID ask if they could go in and harvest yon fruit tree in their back yard (because there was a big dog on duty) All the pecan, walnut, and almond tree owners have seen them… there wasn’t any pecans or almonds this year, IF we get a peach crop we may get the others…

    The guy that always has tons of zukes and cukes, they took the largess he bestowed upon them willingly; to the farmer’s market last weekend. I guess that yelling match wasn’t pretty, he was there too with his extra. There were enough complaints lodged that the police chief went to have a talk with them when they were at home, this morning. Yes she wanted all that fruit from me, to sell at the farmer’s market it seems. And was rather put off I was ‘out’. And others around town are ‘stingy’. Last farmer’s market is this weekend and they’ve been encouraged NOT to set up a booth. Also they better not put up a sign in their front yard selling… the police chief stopped by here afterwards to ask me more questions and to tell me to call immediately if one quince goes missing, and save the picture of their vehicle in front of my house. They also got busted for keeping chickens again too. (not allowed in city limits and yes they are IN town)

    It’s appalling to read all the other submissions, of people that think all food is communal and if they can take it it’s theirs. And get incensed if the one that owns it and/or grew it, think they have the right to it.

    We have found our puppy, and she will be coming home in about another month. Gives us time to puppyproof the place and look up our dog training materials. We used the system to train our last dog, and the method really worked. If I have to put chickenwire around the grapevines to keep her out of falls and low hanging fruit, that’s a minor thing. Thankyou whoever mentioned grapes aren’t good for dogs. She’s going to be more tan than reddish or cream; and we’re working on a name.

    • Mary September 17, 2014, 7:42 pm

      Bad enough that they were trying to steal your fruit, but even worse that they were trying to sell it at the farmer’s market!

    • hakayama September 17, 2014, 8:29 pm

      THAT IS BEYOND FUNNY!
      The brass … of those folks coming to get fruit YOU grew to sell at the farmers’ market. And you suggesting they should go buy fruit there. Oh the rich irony of it all.
      I’m glad that the community is getting the proverbial number of those moochers.
      I hope that the gate in the fence is lockable, so that there are absolutely no ambiguities. AND, as someone mentioned, motion sensitive cameras might be a good investment. Not too pricey either. Just look at how the rest of high tech dropped in cost over the years.
      If you don’t have huge equipment, moving largish trees just might be too costly.
      Re puppy and grapes: there’s a good chance that your doggy will not even want grapes. At a time when I did not know about how toxic grapes were to dogs, I would set out all kinds of veggie foods for my mini “wannabe labrador”. He never, ever took even ONE grape. Quite possibly, a raisin in the middle of cake might be a different story.
      Best wishes and good luck.

      • YardFruitLady September 17, 2014, 11:45 pm

        All the trees and vines in the front yard I planted myself within the last 5-8 years. Most of them are ‘fancy’ superdwarfs, that I paid very good money for and maintain at 5-7 feet tall. Most of them are small enough it’s feasible to move them even if they are probably going to go ‘off’ for a few seasons until they reestablish. This year was the first year the apples did anything, so I hate having to move them, but. There’s a fellow within a block that has the ‘big boy toys’ so I can hire him for an afternoon to dig and move the trees with his big backhoe.

    • The Elf September 18, 2014, 7:27 am

      They took it to the farmer’s market!?! That’s some serious chutzpah.

      I have but a small garden. Whenever anyone has a bountiful harvest and they’re looking for homes for excess veggies, I’m the first with my hand up. But I wait until they offer. You just can’t beat home-grown, just-picked produce. When I am on the side of such largess, I USE IT. The idea of selling someone else’s labor is just anathema. Whoever thought that would be a good idea.

    • essie September 18, 2014, 9:06 am

      Hi, OP!

      I read one of your other responses and thought you had already (perhaps unthinkingly?) named the new pup. It’s obvious: “Extreme Prejudice” (Eppie, for short).

    • Library Diva September 19, 2014, 9:18 am

      That’s a shocking amount of nerve. This woman probably wouldn’t shoplift from the mall to set up a booth of her stolen goods at the area flea market. This is no different, and I can’t believe she can’t see how wrong her behavior is.

  • crella September 17, 2014, 8:19 pm

    So that’s why she wanted that much! She was getting fruit and vegetables for free and selling them! Wow…that takes some nerve.

  • acr September 18, 2014, 9:22 am

    OP – Wow. Just – wow. I am BLOWN AWAY. I always wish I could see inside the heads of people like that. How, exactly, did the reach the conclusion that this is acceptable behavior?

    OP, may I suggest a lovely rose for your fence? I recommend “Mermaid.” It falls in both the “house eater” category – it grows BIG and it grows FAST – and the “living barbed wire” category. I cannot prune this thing without shedding blood.

    • YardFruitLady September 19, 2014, 3:40 pm

      I looked that up, that is a nice suggestion. I also have a coral climbing rose that has the worst reverse thorns that draw blood, I should make more of that one. It smells so lovely, and I don’t need to put blood meal on it, it gets plenty every year in liquid form when I trim and retrellis it.
      Someone else somewhere else recently did mention Cecile Brunner too for thick thorny hedgy living barrier (I think along a roadway)

  • delislice September 18, 2014, 11:23 am

    Good heavens. Years ago we lived on a street called Peach Orchard Road, and sure enough the folks a few houses down from ours owned and farmed a peach orchard. I must have passed it several times a day. Not once did it occur to me to take any — when we wanted a basket of peaches, we knocked on the back door and paid for them.

    On the other hand, the previous dweller of the house we were in used to deal drugs, so for a while we had to deal with cars pulling into the driveway at odd hours, and people ringing the doorbell.

    • whatsanenigma September 18, 2014, 4:37 pm

      Well, at least the drug seekers expected to pay for what they expected to walk away with from the house.

      Though, given the rest of the examples given in this thread, I suspect that if a marijuana plant had been growing in the yard, somebody would have tried to pilfer it.

      And wouldn’t *that* make an interesting police report?

      • Lizajane September 18, 2014, 9:15 pm

        I like when credit is given when it’s due. 😉

        • whatsanenigma September 19, 2014, 1:19 pm

          Thanks, I do too! 🙂

      • Library Diva September 19, 2014, 9:15 am

        Believe it or not, people do that sort of thing all the time. They’ll call the police because they got ripped off trying to buy cocaine, or someone stole their marijuana plants or whatever.

        I remember one funny (apocryphal, but still) story from the 1980s. The cops were trying to clear out a bunch of outstanding warrants and sent letters the last known address, inviting them to the police station at a certain date and time to claim found drugs. Quite a few people showed up and were arrested.

        • NostalgicGal September 19, 2014, 3:52 pm

          There have also been stings where they send out letters saying come to X at certain time as you have won a lottery prize, please come claim it. Letter graphic art shows fancy cars, big TV’s stacks of cash, lots of bling… Warehouse has had some party stuff put up, some food put out, chairs to wait, and off behind there, you get called to go back and claim your stuff. Many of these showed up with friends and family to do this, and they called the WINNER back, to arrest them for the warrant. Depending on how it was run, at least the first pass they could get probably 70-80% of the warrants and arrests that were outstanding. And they could then end the party and explain to the entourage that their person had been arrested, and they needed to leave without that person… and could handle the fallout.

          Yep, the hey I think I got ripped off, can you test my drugs for me to see if I got powdered milk/sugar? Police will obligingly test it, then arrest the person if it is real. I signed the title of my caddy to my pusher to get $500 worth of cocaine, I got the money and he won’t give me my car back… oh yeah, all sorts. One city I lived in, major metro and had bus system that did work, on one route in a small neighborhood, that the bus had to slow to take a turn past, in the backyard, they had made a sort of sheltered fenced bit for their marijuana plants. You could see them plainly, if you were walking you could have reached over and gotten quite a bit off the plants. They couldn’t understand who seen their plants and called on them! (I passed them for three weekends before the bust and arrest hit the news, the next weekend all the fencing was gone and so were the plants)

          • Library Diva September 22, 2014, 10:47 am

            That is too funny!

            I attended college in a rural, mountainous part of the state. A highway ran through a good portion of it, but it was a very isolated highway. At the time, there were no rest stops (now it has one) and to this day, there is no cell phone service in large portions of it. Marijuana was found growing on the median strip of the highway in one of the more isolated parts. I always thought this was genius: unless you actually get caught harvesting it, there’s no way to trace it to any specific person.

  • Mary September 18, 2014, 4:04 pm

    Last spring all of the red tulips in my front garden disappeared. Their stems had been neatly cut, not bitten off by an animal. I was mystified until I noticed that my next-door neighbor was displaying a beautiful arrangement of red tulips in her picture window!

    • NostalgicGal September 19, 2014, 12:03 am

      That is a true head shaker. As said in this thread, Some People, wonder what they think and how and why they can think that… and do what they do.

    • crella September 19, 2014, 1:05 am

      :-0 Argh!

  • Asharah September 19, 2014, 8:52 am

    What cracks me up is thief lady saying “How dare…” when OP has the audacity to keep the grapes she had just picked so she can make jelly instead of handing them over to the intruder.

  • Alicia September 19, 2014, 9:55 am

    I’m starting to wonder if I have been in the wrong. I like making jam and fruit butters. I have hazelnuts, grapes, and berries. I asked a few years ago of a neighbor who is elderly( and needs a walker) if I could harvest her apple and quince trees as long as I give her a few jars of apple butter apple pie filling and quince jelly and quince syrup. I also harvest her berries along with mine and make jelly, pies, and syrups. She always seems so happy that the fruit is picked not rotting on tree and raves over the jelly, fruit butters, pies ect. ( she even gave me her old recipe for quince syrup which is awesome on waffles)
    Am I being a mooch? I did not mean to be.

    • PM September 19, 2014, 2:23 pm

      Not if you are giving the owner of the trees a fair share of the products. I think that sounds like a lovely arrangement.

    • Melissa September 19, 2014, 2:57 pm

      Alicia, you are not being a mooch first you are asking and sharing, the situation described is out right thieving and then reselling for a profit. Also kudos to you for being kind to your neighbor, she probably looks forward to you visits and enjoys your efforts to use her produce.

    • Ocotilla September 19, 2014, 3:23 pm

      That’s a fair bargain. When we lived in New Mexico, we would give hubby’s mother a few bottles of prickly pear wine in exchange for letting us harvest. The next year, someone stripped all the cactus pears when she was away from the house.

    • Stacey Frith-Smith September 19, 2014, 3:25 pm

      Permission makes the difference. Since she lives alone and hasn’t made other arrangements to harvest or sell them, this solution seems like a win-win.

    • YardFruitLady September 19, 2014, 3:36 pm

      She’s willing for you to pick her harvest, and you share it back with her, you’re not a mooch.

    • hakayama September 19, 2014, 4:22 pm

      Looks like a perfect win/win situation. I wonder if it falls under comensalism (sp.?) or just symbiosis.

      • Ladyxaviara September 20, 2014, 10:38 am

        It’s neither. Commensalism is two species (in your example, two people) living in close contact with one another, benefiting one but unaffecting the other. The word for both benefitting is mutualism. Symbiosis is the close, long-term associations of two species. I wouldn’t consider sharing of foodstuffs to be close associations.

        • hakayama September 20, 2014, 12:30 pm

          Thank you, Ladyxaviara. You saved me a trip to Google. 😉 Time to dig up the old bio texts…

    • Lizajane September 19, 2014, 6:54 pm

      If you really need to hear it, “No”. The difference is obvious.

    • Lindenharp September 19, 2014, 11:31 pm

      You are not a mooch. You requested and received permission to harvest her trees, and you pay for what you take with delicious homemade goodies. If the fruit really would go to waste without your efforts, then you are doing a good deed in helping your neighbor to enjoy the produce of her land.

      You could always tactfully ask if she’d like to renegotiate your informal arrangement. “Mary, I’m so grateful to you for letting me pick fruit from your trees. Would you like more pies/jelly/quince paste/etc?” If she’s getting enough for her own needs, does she have family members who would appreciate some jars of Aunt Mary’s special quince syrup? If she wants more, I’m sure you’d be willing to increase your harvesting “fee”. If not, than you can feel certain that you are doing the fair thing. You may be getting a larger percentage of the harvest, but that doesn’t make it wrong. An arrangement can be fair without having to be equal.

  • YardFruitLady September 19, 2014, 3:34 pm

    Just got done with last chapter. I got a call from the dispatch about if I had any images or video from the attempted raid, and I sent them.

    They went through the cuke and zuke guy’s acre garden and picked it clean, taking his tomatoes, beans, squash, okra, peppers and pumpkins too AND SHOWED UP AT THE FARMER’S MARKET. They had a reserved booth at an out of town one Saturday but they just had to show up at ours…

    My quince are still on the tree, they’re sort of rare up this way and too easy to trace I guess.

    • Cherry91 September 20, 2014, 4:45 am

      *Jaw hits the floor*

      They just don’t know when to quit, do they?

      I really get the feeling this is not a new activity to them…

    • Kamatari September 20, 2014, 11:56 am

      I hope with every fiber of my being that every person who showed up to the farmers market (in their party of course) to sell the stolen goods had to give the collected money to the “cuke and zuke” guy AND was fined an obscene amount. Perhaps also jail time. The police showing up to their home to tell them not to pick goods from other’s yards is fair enough warning. Maybe if they have to pay more than what they make, they’ll stop doing it.

      This sounds like a small town, so I think having their photographs in the local newspaper to warn people about the stolen goods should help. I know I wouldn’t want to buy things from someone, knowing it was stolen.

      • YardFruitGal September 20, 2014, 7:57 pm

        They were just setting up when the police stepped in. It will be some time before that one goes before the judge, and I think all five adults were arrested. As for bail and other things I have no idea yet, it will come out. That is going to take probably a few months yet. As for the news, it’s through all the coffee klatches already. This just happened, it will take time for the rest. I do hope they do have to make restitution, Mr CukeNzuke is the nicest fellow and he gives away plenty of his produce as well as sells at the Farmer’s Market here and in a few other towns. Last year he was joking with me that he could get to my car before I could, and I used my remote to pop my locks up and down, he conceded I might beat him there…. but I took a few zukes that he was more than willing to *share*. I hope the judge sentences them to all of next summer having to weed his garden. In orange (county jail uniforms are orange and white striped) and white. In our blazing sun.

      • hakayama September 20, 2014, 11:06 pm

        Any good cause for CPS to intervene too?

    • Amanda H. September 20, 2014, 8:57 pm

      Oh. My. Goodness. PLEASE tell me the police throw the book at these people.

  • wren September 20, 2014, 1:56 pm

    All this reminds me of about 20 years ago when we grew giant pumpkins and had a display of them in our front yard. Two of them were stolen. One of them was very distinctive and showed up on the front page of our local paper with a guy in costume, who claimed it grew in his own pumpkin patch. Which he apparently had in a container on his apartment balcony.

    • YardFruitGal September 20, 2014, 7:59 pm

      I hope there was follow up done by the authorities. I’ve seen some of those big ones, they’re truly awesome. And that someone could be so low as to do that then claim it’s theirs to the paper.

    • Lindenharp September 20, 2014, 10:01 pm

      This reminds me of a 19th century Spanish short story by Pedro Antonio de Alarcón. Its title is translated into English as “The Stub Book” or “The Account Book”.

      A farmer from a small town has raised 40 beautiful pumpkins. The night before he plans to sell them at the city market in Cadiz, someone steals them. He figures the thief must also be planning to sell the pumpkins, so he goes to Cadiz first thing in the morning. He finds his pumpkins at a vegetable stall; the stallholder says he bought the pumpkins from a man named Fulano who comes from the same small town. The farmer knows Fulano, who is in the habit of stealing from his neighbors’ gardens whenever his own has a poor crop. The farmer calls over a policeman, who asks if he has proof that those are his pumpkins.

      The farmer opens up a cloth bundle, and pulls out 40 pieces of pumpkin-stalks, from where his pumpkins had been cut off the vines. These irregular end pieces exactly match the stems of the pumpkins at the stall. A crowd gathers around to watch this unusual event, including the thief, who is arrested and forced to give up the money he got for selling the pumpkins.

      Was your thief exposed as a liar?

      • hakayama September 21, 2014, 9:27 am

        Hey, Lindenharp! I’ve thought of that story too, and I’m glad it was YOU that undertook the task of re-telling it.
        Also, remember how the farmer had nicknames for the pumpkins? That detail shows a degree of emotional involvement in the process of raising his crop, not just a mechanical and mechanized task in the monoculture mega farms owned folks that don’t know pumpkin from potato. 🙁

        • Lindenharp September 22, 2014, 12:08 am

          I had to locate it online and refresh my memory, because it’s been a long time since I read it. Yes, I thought it was cute that he gave nicknames to all the pumpkins. I tried to keep the retelling short, since I didn’t want to stray too far off topic.
          If anyone else is interested in reading the story, it’s available here:
          http://www.bartleby.com/380/prose/877.html

  • Asharah September 22, 2014, 6:33 pm

    I wonder what would happen in some cases, like the farmer who was growing sunflowers for sale and had people stealing them put up a sign saying something like:
    “These flowers are being grown for sale. When you take “just one” you are stealing money from me and my family.”

    • Rob aka Mediancat September 27, 2014, 6:35 pm

      What they would probably think is, “Well, sucks to be you, but I got my sunflowers, so who cares?”

  • Magicant October 29, 2014, 11:58 am

    This reminds me of the people online who sell prints of digital artwork by other people–without telling them.

  • YardFruitGal December 13, 2014, 1:23 am

    Post mortem. Mom and Dad had posted bail; the son, daughter, son in law eventually got same. The kids went to CPS and they are probably not going to get them back. First generation couldn’t get the grandkids, the parents couldn’t while they were trying to scrape bail, and that courtfight won’t be here. They got time ranging between six months and a year, time credited for the time some of them were in jail. They have to pay court costs, fees, jail costs ($50 a day) plus meds reimbursements; fines ranging between $1000 and $5000; restitution to Mr. Cuke N Zuke (approximately ten grand) and probation between two and five years. The Mom and Dad put their house up for sale and after this clears out they are all going to move back to their little rural town some states away where everyone is related to everyone else and people are ‘friendlier’ and ‘more good god fearing christian’.

    • Lindenharp January 23, 2015, 11:20 am

      Thanks so much for updating this. I’m glad that these people had to pay serious penalties for their outrageous crimes. I wish I could ask them if the friendlier people back home all own Bibles that are missing the verse: “Thou shalt not steal.”