Whew- that was a close one! Aaron decided to cut the grass on Sunday around 10:30 AM. I was outside pulling some weeds and had noticed through the shrubs that some neighbors were enjoying a late breakfast in their garden. This observation combined with several other previous clues about peculiar German rules and "quiet hours" led me to run inside and log on the Internet with a search of "lawn mowing Sunday Germany." Result: Forbidden! Why? Noise pollution. Sunday is Ruhetag- rest day. I ran back outside, flagged Aaron down and gave him the news. He wheeled the mower back into the shed, neither the police or neighbors complained and we decided to go for a hike in a nearby forest instead of doing yard work. Alles gut!
Sometimes we are surprised by the kinds of things that are regulated here in Germany. A couple others we have broken unknowingly- you can't trim your bushes after March 15 to protect the nesting birds. You can't wash your own car due to the soap run-off into the ground water. Of course Aaron and I have made some jokes about all of these rules, but when it's all said and done most of them aren't bad. I love baby birds as much as anyone and I think we all deserve clean water. And who hasn't been irritated by a neighbor who decides to fire up their mower or power tools at just the time you've sat down to relax in the sun? And when the population is as dense as it is in most of Europe it is even more important to have some rules to keep the peace and keep things courteous and neighborly.
But it does beg the question of how we ignorant foreigners would ever know these things! No one would think to tell us because it is so normal for them and we would never think to ask because we are not used to these types of rules. But as our neighbor pointed out to us, "Ignorance is no excuse!" Thank goodness for the Internet. Now I'm on the search for any other unique German laws we need to abide by!