There WERE some shrubs out there ...
However, they're currently covered in snow. And that means it's time to shovel the drive. Again. Hell, even most of the Germans in the neighborhood have stopped being meticulous about clearing the snow and are doing the bare minimum.
Speaking of the locals getting less meticulous ...
Back in the 80s, for the most part, Germany was immaculate. Spotless. Trashless.
There's more litter on streets, country lanes, in parks. Sad. Some Germans point toward the East and give the influx of former East Germans, Czechs and such. My observations, though, are that the German kids themselves are less careful, more apt to toss a McDonald's sack out the window than to find a trashcan.
Now don't get me wrong, I love Germany, and mostly, really enjoy the people here. Seeing them loosen up a bit is a Good Thing (tm). Some of the most German of the Germans are incredibly tightly wrapped ...
There's a recycling collection point on the corner by our driveway, big igloo-looking containers designated for glass, paper, etc. It's usually a bit of a mess, but there's a small copse of trees tween it and the drive proper, so it's not an eyesore or anything, but occasionally a drift of old newspapers or somesuch has to be policed up.
As we live on a sort of alley, lots of folks who use the recycling point will pull into our alley, make their deposits, then use our drive to turn around. It's not annoying unless they park there (happens occasionally), or park so that they block the drive (happens a bit more often).
We've gotten used to the traffic there, and the occasional unexpected visitor, however, the giftie I found the other day was a surprise. Clearing some ice from the drive one day, I noticed what appeared to be a full 'yellow bag' in the copse of trees, tucked back in the corner.
Yellow bag is plastic, plasticized paper, styrofoam, etc. It's packed up in neat yellow sacks, (thus the name, gelbe sacke). You place it outside to be collected every couple of weeks. Recycling here isn't an option, it's the law. As a colleague of mine found out recently, you can and will be ticketed and fined if you fail to sort your trash properly and put it in the right place.
First thought was that it was the gelbe sacke was one of ours that had somehow escaped, but upon inspection, it was clear that it was neither strictly yellow bag nor at all ours. It contained batteries (a real no-no in any trash here, there are very specific laws about how old batteries and such are to be disposed of), kid's toys, all kinds of broken or useless crap that looked like someone cleaned out a child's toybox.
It had to have been dumped there by someone who pulled or walked up our drive and shoved it back in the trees. There's no way to get to the corner from the recycling area.
Damned annoying. Damned un-German.