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View Full Version : What would you give the wonderful neighbor as thanks?



dmalbone
Feb. 9, 2010, 06:06 PM
You might remember me mentioning something about our wonderful neighbor who is absolutely wonderful. He lives next door and our house used to be his parents' farm. Their parents passed away and we bought the house and they've just been amazing, always helping us out with little things here and there. Winter is amazing... he's come over and plowed our driveway every.single.time it snows. He probably pities us since we don't own a tractor yet. :lol: DH calls and thanks him every time, but I want to show my appreciation. The first words out of the guys mouth are always "sorry I couldn't get all the way down. Hope it's ok!") I get the feeling he feels kind of fatherly towards us (we're younger and he has kids our age that are gone) and it's probably partially because of sentimental reasons since we own a piece of his family's farm.

What would be something nice we can do for him? We have nothing to offer help/farm-wise really. I know monetary offerings are usually a slap in the face for us "country-folk". Maybe not? Homemade cookies? Doesn't seem like enough... Gift cert. to the one chain restaurant in town? I guess I don't know what farm people protocol is!

Vindicated
Feb. 9, 2010, 06:13 PM
Can you cook?
Invite him and his wife over for dinner. I always think that is very neighborly

Tobias
Feb. 9, 2010, 06:13 PM
I think that a warm plate of homemade cookies would be great! I know that people really know you are grateful because you put the time into it. anyone can run to town an buy a gift card. but not everyone really puts their heart into it like you can with a plate of cookies!

My sister and I love to bake and are always making stuff for our BO because she is always blanketing out horses, washes and repairs blankets and sheets, gives extra turnout, adds supplements etc. all with no extra charge, she just wants to.
The BO and her family really appreciate a plate of goodies!

That is sweet of you to want to do something for him. So many people in this world just take things for granted. You have a kind heart!

MunchkinsMom
Feb. 9, 2010, 06:13 PM
I think if he lives alone, or if it is just him and his wife (you mentioned that his kids are grown up now), that you could invite him over for a meal with you? It would be a good way to get to know him better also. Or if he has animals to feed, a gift certificate to the local feed store might be a nice idea also.

chemteach
Feb. 9, 2010, 06:17 PM
I would give him a gift card to a local restaurant and a gift card for gasoline/diesel.

see u at x
Feb. 9, 2010, 06:18 PM
I vote for inviting them over for dinner AND the plate of cookies or brownies that they can take home with them. :) I wish you guys were all MY neighbors; I haven't had really nice or friendly ones in a long time!

dmalbone
Feb. 9, 2010, 06:18 PM
Thanks for the idea. He does live with his wife. I don't really cook though. :p I mean, I can get by, but I wouldn't want to put him into an awkward situation pretending to like my food. :lol: But in all seriousness, DH and I are vegetarians, and I don't know if I could cook something that would live up to their expectations of a "come over for dinner" type thing. Aside from that... we had a flooding incident and almost our entire house is subfloor right now so that would be a little embarrassing. I've also been leery because we've changed a LOT of stuff in here in the past year we've moved in from what it used to look like when his parents lived here, so I'm probably foolishly just afraid of hurting their feelings or something. Does that make sense?

dmalbone
Feb. 9, 2010, 06:19 PM
Also.. nope, no animals for a feed store gift cert.

BunithGrace
Feb. 9, 2010, 06:22 PM
I would give him a gift card to a local restaurant and a gift card for gasoline/diesel.

This. With Cookies :D

JSwan
Feb. 9, 2010, 06:22 PM
Are you friendly with his wife? Most people really love their tractors - and she might know of something he might like for his tractor. Or another tool or accessory.

I like the gas card idea. If you can't think of just one thing - you could make up a little gift basket with a gas card, gift certificate to a local restaurant, and some cookies.

Will you be my neighbor? :)

dmalbone
Feb. 9, 2010, 06:26 PM
I've sadly not met his wife. I've gone over there a few times and she wasn't home. :( I keep trying to meet her, but it hasn't happened yet. I did used to work evenings and weekends, and she still works during the day somewhere so it was near impossible. I think I like the idea of making a little gift basket with cookies and a couple of gift certificates. Thanks for all the help!

dmalbone
Feb. 9, 2010, 06:27 PM
cookies do solve all of life's problems don't they?

RockinHorse
Feb. 9, 2010, 06:35 PM
I would vote for cookies, brownies or a good coffee cake but since you don't cook those ideas are out (store bought is just not the same). Food is still a good choice that is appreciated by most people.

I know you said you and your husband are vegitarians, however, if you aren't morally opposed perhaps you could take them a nice ham or some steaks or something like that.

dmalbone
Feb. 9, 2010, 06:41 PM
Oh don't get me wrong, I can bake! I woman has to have SOME standards. :lol: Baking doesn't count as cooking to me.... maybe that's why I'm overweight. Hmmmmm.

Bluey
Feb. 9, 2010, 06:48 PM
Are you friendly with his wife? Most people really love their tractors - and she might know of something he might like for his tractor. Or another tool or accessory.

I like the gas card idea. If you can't think of just one thing - you could make up a little gift basket with a gas card, gift certificate to a local restaurant, and some cookies.

Will you be my neighbor? :)

That gift basket with a few little things and a gas card.:cool:
If you don't cook, some of those green Andes mints make a good basket filling.;)

I think that all my friends are addicted to those mints and our local jerky.:p

jj.black
Feb. 9, 2010, 06:53 PM
Invite them over for dinner! Or cook something and take it to their place.

If not, you can always bake some cookies, or make them a fruit/gift basket. Gift cards always work!

dmalbone
Feb. 9, 2010, 06:53 PM
That gift basket with a few little things and a gas card.:cool:
If you don't cook, some of those green Andes mints make a good basket filling.;)

I think that all my friends are addicted to those mints and our local jerky.:p

Good idea. I was addicted to Andes mints for the longest! It was when I could find the ones that were green on the outside with the thin chocolate layer in the middle. Can't find them anymore here. :( Well, maybe that's a good thing... :D

JSwan
Feb. 9, 2010, 06:59 PM
cookies do solve all of life's problems don't they?

Yes. :)

Especially chocolate cookies.

eta - I think I know what you mean about having made changes to his parents home. When we moved here, we made a lot of changes, including tearing down an old barn. For a couple of years we'd get a visitor now and then. An old friend, or an adult who remembered visiting the place as a youth. They'd tell us some stories and show us where they'd played as children, or gone hunting, I'd show them around... and they looked a little sad.

dmalbone
Feb. 9, 2010, 07:09 PM
Yeah. :( I can definitely see how it could be sad for them. The children (next door neighbors) did live here for a while as well. The house went up for sale when their mother went into a nursing home and then she passed away. I've always wondered why none of their kids ever moved into this one. At closing I told the daughter (not the neighbor, but lives close) that she was welcome to stop by anytime and she got choked up and said she didn't think she'd be able to do that for a while, but thank you, and started crying. :cry: We replaced all of the carpet (well, which right now is just subfloor), and painted. All of the walls were just plain white and I like COLOR. Our living room and kitchen are turquoise for instance. They're huge vaulted ceilings so it definitely makes a statement lol. Completely our style, but the overall feel of the house is completely different. We took down all of her old homemade curtains that they left. He's said how it will be nice to have horses nearby so I know they're happy about that, but the inside of the house is totally different... I mean when they passed away they were in their 80's and we're in our 20's so our styles are totally different. I just think it would be really awkward for them. I can't see them turning us down to come over for dinner, trying to be polite, but I guess I just don't want to make them feel like they have to put themselves in that situation.

ETA: Plus, it seems like it makes a difference, but their parents are the ones who actually built this house and were obviously the only ones to ever own it. There is even a big box in one of the cabinets with all of the receipts from the home building... down to trips to the local hardware stores (no longer in existence) for extra boxes of nails.

cheval convert
Feb. 9, 2010, 07:13 PM
A hearty homemade vegetarian soup, homemade bread, salad, wine and homemade cookies for dessert all make a fine meal on a winter's evening. Nothing fancy but perfect comfort food. (Or good mac and cheese instead of the soup.) Besides it's the company, not the food, that makes for a memorable meal.

MistyBlue
Feb. 9, 2010, 08:12 PM
Hot food.
And you don't have to be a great cook...if you have a crock pot look online for great easy as heck crockpot recipes like chili or stews. (both can be made vegetarian) And baked goods are always welcome...buy them from a decent bakery if you have to. :winkgrin:
I know I thank my neighbor who helps out with his HUGE Case when my smaller New Holland can;t get a job done with home baked stuff and hydraulic fluid fill ups or topping off his diesel tank. But then I always have both fluids on hand by the ton, LOL!

Dance_To_Oblivion
Feb. 9, 2010, 08:22 PM
Yeah. :( I can definitely see how it could be sad for them. The children (next door neighbors) did live here for a while as well. The house went up for sale when their mother went into a nursing home and then she passed away. I've always wondered why none of their kids ever moved into this one. At closing I told the daughter (not the neighbor, but lives close) that she was welcome to stop by anytime and she got choked up and said she didn't think she'd be able to do that for a while, but thank you, and started crying. :cry: We replaced all of the carpet (well, which right now is just subfloor), and painted. All of the walls were just plain white and I like COLOR. Our living room and kitchen are turquoise for instance. They're huge vaulted ceilings so it definitely makes a statement lol. Completely our style, but the overall feel of the house is completely different. We took down all of her old homemade curtains that they left. He's said how it will be nice to have horses nearby so I know they're happy about that, but the inside of the house is totally different... I mean when they passed away they were in their 80's and we're in our 20's so our styles are totally different. I just think it would be really awkward for them. I can't see them turning us down to come over for dinner, trying to be polite, but I guess I just don't want to make them feel like they have to put themselves in that situation.

ETA: Plus, it seems like it makes a difference, but their parents are the ones who actually built this house and were obviously the only ones to ever own it. There is even a big box in one of the cabinets with all of the receipts from the home building... down to trips to the local hardware stores (no longer in existence) for extra boxes of nails.

I understand this completely!! We are in a very similar situation with our new place :) Homemade baked goods always go over well!!

Trakehner
Feb. 9, 2010, 08:45 PM
I'd suggest simple.

He's plowed your driveway...great gloves, better than he'd probably buy for himself.

Food is good...you're vegetarian...that's great, but immaterial.

Invite them for dinner (or do potluck)

Eggplant Lasagna with a loaf of really good bread

Mushroom Spaghetti sauce with very good pasta and really good bread

A nice gourmet country ham or really really good bacon via internet...but bring them over yourself, it makes it special that you are veget. and are giving him something he'll like

Cheeses...also some great internet cheeses available and some great bread again...bring them over yourself (these are neat canned cheeses from WSU, they're great: http://cougarcheese.wsu.edu/)

Cookies are good, Pies are great (guys tend to like pies more than cake)

Magazine subscription...the gift that keeps on giving

Do something nice for his wife too! He'll appreciate it perhaps even more than a gift to him.

dmalbone
Feb. 9, 2010, 08:56 PM
Thanks Trak. The food over at my house won't happen for reasons that I talked about above, but the nice cheeses are a good idea and I'll add that to the basket.

BuddyRoo
Feb. 9, 2010, 09:03 PM
If you're up for some recon...figure out where he gasses up or gets maintenance done. Tractors always need SOMETHING....putting a credit on his account at the local place for repairs would probably be well received!

Ware Whip!
Feb. 9, 2010, 09:06 PM
If you are not comforable baking, Ghiradeli makes a few amazing browning mixes.

How about some great coffee? I just got a two pound bag of Tim Hortons Whole Bean, at Sams Club.

A gas card would be lovley as well.

There is nothing like a good neighbor.

Blue Yonder
Feb. 9, 2010, 09:12 PM
Another vote for cookies. Still warm, if you can time it carefully.

Don't overlook the value of a note, too. A handwritten note expressing gratitude for his kind helpfulness and gratitude for having such exceptional neighbors -- that would probably be remembered forever. In our online age, we sometimes forget how powerful a thank-you note is!!

Foxtrot's
Feb. 9, 2010, 09:14 PM
If your house is habitable - re renovations - home hospitality is hard to beat, friendly and neighbourly.

Invite for wine and snacks (heat and eat, cheeses/breads/fruit), (or coffee and desert), explain your home modifications and plans, while respecting that the house is changed from his parents' day - and give them a certificate, cake, cookies, whatever.

Just be yourselves, casual, friendly, grateful - its easy. It is probably how they see you anyway, not putting on the dog.

SonnysMom
Feb. 9, 2010, 11:02 PM
There are actually Andes mint chocolate chips for making cookies. I use a chocolate chip cookie recipe and replace it with the chips.
I only use about 3/4 of the bag for one recipe. The mint can be a bit overpowering. But I generally don't like mint but I like these. If you make multiple kinds of cookies pack these separately as the mint is kinda absorbed by the other cookies.

I think there was a mint choc chip brownie recipe on the bag. Yummy!!!

Carrera
Feb. 9, 2010, 11:03 PM
I have a hay guy that is in his late 60s and seems to have adopted me and my SO. He grows hay just for us, for a great deal.

At the major holidays I give a nice bunch of flowers and a home made pie. Usually apple that is grown on my farm.

Its the "I care, thank you" heartfelt touches that really are appreciated.

Foxtrot's
Feb. 10, 2010, 12:04 AM
Whatever you chose to do - it will be appreciated if it comes from the heart and shows a little effort went into it. It is all about being bothered. These days old fashioned kindness and good manners seems less common. Sometimes an e-mail just does not cut it, when a personal card, with real handwriting means so much.

HungarianHippo
Feb. 10, 2010, 12:28 AM
Very cool of you to think about this. I wouldn't worry about some grand gesture, just do some little stuff. Keep it small because in his mind, he's only doing little stuff for you (even though it feels miraculous to you). It's not as if he's putting the plow on just for you, it probably only takes him a few minutes to plow you out. I guarantee he'd be embarrassed by some big thankyou gift. Cookies or breads are great, especially if you can deliver to their door and meet the wife. Maybe at the end of winter, a thank-you card with a gas station gift card would be good. It's easy to avoid the apperance of a "gift" by saying that you'd like to at least pay for his gas.

Neighbors can make (or break) everything. It takes work sometimes to be neighborly when you don't have a lot in common with each other, but in the end it's so rewarding when you know that you're all looking out for each other.

Pookah
Feb. 10, 2010, 08:31 AM
So many good ideas! Cookies and gas money are always appreciated, and things like splurge gloves are so appreciated when you're working outdoors!

As far as inviting him to see your house--several years ago a wonderful family bought the horse farm where I grew up. A year or so after they moved in, I went to the farm with a friend to try a horse for sale. After we rode the horse, they invited us into the house for a cold drink--but the mom told me that they had made a lot of changes to the house, and that if it would upset me to see changes to my childhood home, she would be happy to bring a tray outside. It didn't upset me a bit, and actually it was really neat to see some of the changes they had made, and wonderful to see another family enjoying a home where I had many great memories--but just her acknowledgement of that made it such a more positive experience. So when you are ready to invite them over, if you just acknowledge that you know you've made some changes from what his parents had, maybe it will make it easier on him too.

Alagirl
Feb. 10, 2010, 09:01 AM
Will you be my neighbor? :)


hey there Mrs Rogers! :lol::lol::lol:

Cookies are always good, together with a heartfelt 'Thank You' note.

Vindicated
Feb. 10, 2010, 09:10 AM
If a home made dinner is out of the question, I agree with those saying COOKIES!! Unless he is diabetic.


Knit him a hat and scarf?

Have you noticed if he is a "coffee" guy? Is there a coffee mug that will work/hook to his tractor? Do they make a cup holder for a tractor? This is the type of gift I like to find.

I like the small thoughtful things rather than the big gift, he sounds like a humble guy.

The people I gift appreciatively, like my farrier-I find him things all year long, and give him them as I get them. Little suprises make him happy

kookicat
Feb. 10, 2010, 09:12 AM
I like the idea of home baking. :) You could add some hot drink packets to the basket too. :)

Timex
Feb. 10, 2010, 01:04 PM
or, rather than have dinner at your place, you could always take them OUT to dinner. ;)

Threebars
Feb. 10, 2010, 01:35 PM
Who thinks that gift cards of any kind in this instance are a really 'meh' thing? Yes, even the gas card - to me it feels.. I don't know, just not.

I LOVE the idea of a crockpot full of soup, and some home made bread/cookies,and definitely a hand written note - something that says "thank you friend and neighbor", not "I feel obligated to pay you for a service".

Just me thinks. ;)

pj
Feb. 10, 2010, 01:43 PM
Thanks for the idea. He does live with his wife. I don't really cook though. :p I mean, I can get by, but I wouldn't want to put him into an awkward situation pretending to like my food. :lol: But in all seriousness, DH and I are vegetarians, and I don't know if I could cook something that would live up to their expectations of a "come over for dinner" type thing. Aside from that... we had a flooding incident and almost our entire house is subfloor right now so that would be a little embarrassing. I've also been leery because we've changed a LOT of stuff in here in the past year we've moved in from what it used to look like when his parents lived here, so I'm probably foolishly just afraid of hurting their feelings or something. Does that make sense?


Take them out to dinner.

Equibrit
Feb. 10, 2010, 01:54 PM
If you have a veggie garden you could keep him supplied with fresh veggies.
Some nice warm gloves to use on the tractor; http://www.eddiebauer.com/EB/Mens-Shoes--Accessories/Hats/index.cat#ppl=%7Btype%3A%22transition%22%2Censembl eId%3A%2234949%22%2CformatStr%3A%22product%22%2Cpa ssedIdObj%3A%7B%22ensembleId%22%3A%2234949%22%7D%2 CcategoryId%3A%2224035%22%2CpathInfo%3A%22C1C23210 C24035%22%2CcolorId%3A%22273%22%2CsizeIdSelected%3 A%22-1%22%2CquantitySelected%3A%22-1%22%2CimageName%3A%22EB09IB_0141549_273P2%22%2Cim ageTypeCode%3A%22P%22%2CcatPath%3A%22%7E%7Ecategor yId%3D24035%7E%7EcategoryName%3DHATS%7E%7EpCategor yId%3D23210%7E%7EpCategoryName%3DMENS-SHOES--ACCESSORIES%7E%7EgpCategoryId%3D1%7E%7EgpCategoryN ame%3DEB%22%2Ccs%3A%220%22%7D

betsyk
Feb. 10, 2010, 02:30 PM
I love the veggie garden idea! flowers, too. Do you have a deck or a patio or someplace you could all sit outside on a summer evening and have a cool drink and some munchies? that would keep you out of the house, relieve you of much cooking, could easily be vegetarian, and is casual enough not to produce too much anxiety on anyone's part! I know it's months away, but it could still be worth doing.

Foxtrot's
Feb. 10, 2010, 04:08 PM
A hanging basket - so he can spend all summer deadheading and watering it?

retreadeventer
Feb. 10, 2010, 05:48 PM
Hmm....welll.....

I plow for my neighbors. Really, I don't want food or cookies or stuff. Really time is my most precious thing, and, really - MONEY. What you should do is find out if he plows anyone ELSE, and talk to them, and find out if they pay him. Most farmers have a situation where they normally just go over and plow out the neighbors without being asked, but sometime during the year, talking over the fence, they've got an arrangement.
My neighbors OFFER to pay. Some neighbors I accept the money from. Others, that I value and are friends, I do not. I know they will check on the water for the horses if I am stuck at a horse trial all day if I call and ask, or will bring back a wayward Jack Russell. Or they help bring in hay when a thunderstorm is imminent and we need all hands on deck.
My neighbors went and got a tank of diesel for me in the diesel can, and actually helped me finish the barn work on Monday morning so I could get an extra hour on the tractor to start on their road.
So my answer is find out if pay would be acceptable -- and ask him if it would offend him to offer to pay at least for the diesel. I would be upfront and not sort of go around town paying for stuff for him, that is more embarrassing for farmers, I think.
Just my opinion, having just got off a tractor plowing out neighbors....and have a couple of days ahead of doing the exact same thing over again....due to current blizzard. :)

Tazgirl
Feb. 10, 2010, 05:56 PM
My husband plows out the neighbors and does whatever they need. One of the ladies that lives behind us bakes cookies and brings them over. He loves it and thinks it is so great that she would bake him cookies (LOL I cook but I am really awful at it LOL). So I vote for baking him some cookies. My husband would be insulted if they offered to pay him. He enjoys doing things for people.

pinkme
Feb. 10, 2010, 10:47 PM
You could make them a meal and take it to them if you dont want them to see your house at the moment (I have lived in a construction zone since birth, i kid you not, I get it).
We use to make dinners for my trainer all the time, esp when we knew she was going ot be at he barn late teaching and would have no time to make dinner for her family when she got home.
We did stuff that traveled well. Pasta, fish ect. We included desert, a cake, cookies, a pie.. and sometimes a bottle of wine :)

Griffyn
Feb. 13, 2010, 11:40 AM
Well. Once I lost my mind, was in a complete hurry and left the gate to my own horses open. Not wide open, mind you, open enough for them to mosey out eventually and on down the road. The barn owners boyfriend called me and caught them and calm was restored. THey were understandably angry AND freaked out. A nice card and 50$ gift to the local hardware/farm supply did just about cover my idiocy. The card I wrote how grateful I ws to have THEM as the barn owners. You just cant PAY people to care, but I wanted to do something to let them know how much I appreciate what they were able to do.

JohnDeere
Feb. 13, 2010, 12:24 PM
I get the "it is different now" thing you mean OP.

My great grands built a house, raised my grandma in it. I stayed there a lot summers as a child (great grands were fairly young). When great grands passed on, grandma got the house but lived elsewhere. One of her daughters (my auntie) bought it from grandma. It had to be updated though, being ~70 years old. They built on as well, big bedroom & family room.

It was wierd seeing it all different at first but they imrpoved it as well (new kitchen, bath, siding, a/c, deck). Now its hard to look at it and see the "old" house (except for the thick chestnut woodwork thats about 11 inches wide!)

I like the soup idea (esp in winter) or baked goods. With a note.

And someday karma will come round and you can help them. Good luck with fixin it up.

horsegeeks
Feb. 14, 2010, 04:58 PM
My mother died and we sold her house. The new people radically changed it ... taking out things Mother had carefully preserved for years ... including an antique mantle. So, although we would appreciate the thought of an invitation, the changes would be hard to deal with.

However, you've simply repainted and laid down new carpet. I think they might be glad to see the house cared for and loved.

There are some wonderful vegetarian dishes that everyone loves ... macaroni and cheese is real "comfort food". My carnivore husband makes the best I've ever eaten. So, mac and cheese and fresh vegetables prepared simply would go down well ... with anyone. Besides, a lot of "real" country people eat vegetarian meals when there crops come in. They aren't steak and potatoes all the time.

We have some of the best neighbors in the world. We trade favors around. We all just see a need and help out. It works wonderfully, and makes for one of the best places to live I've ever seen.

But for any situation when it doubt brownies and chocolate chip cookies covers everything!

Wind
Feb. 14, 2010, 06:15 PM
Boy, you are lucky to have a nice neighbor, and the neighbor is lucky to have somebody as appreciative as you. A little appreciation and small gestures can go a long way. We have our own small farm with 4 hores. Our neighbor (a farmer) keeps some of his cattle in an adjoining field. To keep him from having to lug water to the cattle (usually 6) my husband told him we would water the cattle. All the farmer had to provide was a large water trough and a hose long enough (100 feet) which we ran to our outdoor water spigot to the house (we have an awesome well). We also let him hook his electric fence to give him power (rather than him using a battery operated charger). We have done this for 4 years.

What has really blown our minds is that when we have passed by his farm on many occasions, he will make sure he is way away from where we would be passing by so he doesn't have to stop and chit chat. Which we do not make a habit of too often because he is busy, and you can tell when he does not want to be disturbed. He would even turn his head to pretend he doesn't see us coming. What's wrong with just throwing up your hand for a wave? For a while we thought it was something we did, but have come to the conclusion the guy is not too nice. We did not expect anything out of the arrangement, just to be helpful neighbors. A quick, "Hi, how are you would have been nice." Or some sort of acknowledgement would have been nice.

Needless to say, this spring when the guy comes over to ask if he can do the same, the answer will be "no."



L