Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Surveying the Land

I took Midge for a walk around the barn and noticed something shining off in the distance on the unused part of our land.  After putting her back in the house, I walked out with my camera to investigate.  This is what I found:


That was one big ass snake.  The front of the skin was still bulging as if it had just shed recently while going down the hole.  Well, needless to say, that creeped me out big time, so I began walking like I was following a glass shard path.  Take one step, stop, look all around, take another step, stop, look all around...

I walked around the majority of the property to see what I could find.  I found horse prints...

And a cactus I didn't know was there...

I decided to brave going down into the arroyo since it was hottest part of the afternoon and the snakes would probably be in burrows.  

This is where the horseback riders enter our property.  They ride down that outrageously steep hill by the white fence...


and come up the rocky slope...

We're worried that someone will get hurt, because it is a very dangerous descent and climb.  I saw one young boy's horse refuse to move forward, so the kid dismounted and tried leading his horse down the hill.  The horse jumped over something and almost landed on top of the kid.  What worries us is that some people might believe that since an established horse trail runs through our property that it is our job as homeowners to make the trail safe by removing sharp rocks and cutting back thorn bushes.  There are so many hazards that it is just easier to ask riders to take another route that doesn't pass through our private land.

Another reason to not allow people onto our property is this...

And this...

And this...

And this...

Obviously, some people have been using our land as a dump for Styrofoam and concrete -- items that are difficult or expensive to dispose of.  I found a sign that probably belonged to our neighbors and ended up facing down on our side of the arroyo...

The arroyo is deep and wide...

I found lots of coyote scat down there.  Someone was spying on me from above...

I hope that someday I can afford to make another arena to ride in on this part of the land...

But it looks like my brand new barn is already in need of some repairs.  The metal railings are getting sharp holes in them where they got rusted through.  I thought it took a long time for rust to eat away at metal, so either this metal had been lying around for a long time, or the rust around here is especially caustic.  If I had known this would happen I would have used pre-treated and pre-painted metal.  I still don't think it's as bad as having the horses gnaw on wood, though.  Replacing all those wood panels at the old house was a time-consuming pain.

A little later in the afternoon I noticed the horses tracking something in the arroyo.  I decided to go out on the deck to see if it was hikers, horseback riders, or motorized vehicles.  It turned out to be three coyotes.  They made a beeline for my hay barn where my bunnies like to hang out that time of day.  I tried getting a shot of them, but the best I could do was to get one coyote's butt disappearing behind a bush.

I didn't even have time to zoom in.  Fortunately, they moved along when they saw me.  What cracked me up was how Bombay had to be a tough guy and chased the coyotes along the fence line.  Gabbrielle always follows along in his antics.

It seems like we have a lot of land from looking at pictures, but now that the snowbirds are moving in, I'm learning that having more land does not mean getting more privacy.  I noticed a man and a woman standing on the bluff behind our back yard watching my husband install a flood light.  They came back the next evening and were standing up there pointing at things around my property and watching me.  Since they seemed to be habitual Lookey Loos, I decided to pay closer attention to them and watch them to see where they go and try to figure out their intentions of visiting our back yard so often.  They walked to a house at the end of the street that had ATV's, RVs, and junk cars piled all over it.  They also had horses.

The next day I saw a pickup truck parked on the bluff right on my back property line.  I came out onto my porch with binoculars to let the driver know that I was aware of his presence.  (There's been some convict on the loose who does home invasions.)  He drove off to that same house at the end of the street.  A short time later, the man came back with a young woman, stood over my back yard and they had a long discussion, pointing here and there.  I realized that the man probably lived in the house, and the young woman was a winter visitor in one of the RVs, and they were trying to figure out a route to ride the horses out to public land now that we have built on the property they used to ride through.

In the mornings I can't let cool air in through the front screen door, because of all the walkers and horseback riders that are now passing by.  My dogs spot them and charge the screen door barking.  If they hit the door, it flies open and they get out.  I don't want to be sued for someone getting bit while walking on or near my property, so I have to keep the solid door closed and only open windows.

One of the walkers took me by surprise when I stepped outside in my skimpy pajamas to let the dogs do their business.  I really need to remember to put my pants on before doing that.  Then I stepped out back to feed the horses and found bicyclists parked at the edge of my property on the bluff looking down at me at 7:00 in the morning.

So, it feels like I'm back to being in the public eye when I'm in my own back yard -- same as it was at my old house.  When we first moved here I couldn't quite understand why the neighbors were so adamant about us keeping the public off our property, but now that we have milder temperatures I'm realizing that the amount of public traffic is excessive.  It's not a once in a while thing.  It's an every-time-you-step-outside-there's-a-stranger-on-your-property-or-around-the-perimeter-of-your-property-watching-you kind of thing.

And because the snowbirds were out of state at the time this house sold, they don't know there are new owners with different sensibilities and new rules.  Signs just don't cut it.  Barriers are expensive.  Fencing off four acres would cost as much as a house.  We just have to get out there and let people know that they need to find a new route for their recreational activities and exercise.  I think if it were just a few horseback riders coming through and I knew them personally, I would allow it, but there are just too many people treating my private property like it is a part of the public land, and some of them aren't respecting the signs or our landscaping.  Some have been using the unused portion of our property as a dump site, so they ruined it for everyone else.

5 comments:

sydney K said...

Geeze. Well ill tell you one barn I managed back in Canada we had issues with riders passing through the property. Some riders we were totally fine with; they came to the barn and signed waivers stating they were well aware they were on the property and aware of horses being unpredictable wouldn't sue etc...Anyway eventually we came up with the idea of getting a custom made sign we wrote close to the following on it: Attention: Anyone found on this property without the explicit permission of the property owner will be considered treaspassing and the authorities will be called without notice. Worked like a charm. I went from chasing down people daily to very rarely, mostly just kids on ATV's once and a wile.

BrownEyed Cowgirl said...

Yea, there is really no way to get away from people down there, especially in the winter. It always amazed me how many people we ran across out in the middle of the desert. A few were friendly...most of them though, just wanted to mind their own business and have you mind yours. Pretending they actually had solitude I guess. :-/

I guess I will be considered part of the snowbird hoard soon enough. :D

Cut-N-Jump said...

Cactus is your friend. Plant it in large numbers around the border of your property- problem solved.

The parks do it here when they want to change the trails to keep them from becoming ruts. They mark out the new path and scatter cholla burrs all over the old one.

Rising Rainbow said...

I sure wouldn't like that, nor would I have expected it. Sad that so many people don't respect the boundaries of others.

Grey Horse Matters said...

I think you've got some good suggestions above. I'd plant the beaver tail cactus in rows. It gets huge and put those signs up about calling the authorities. Can't believe how obnoxious people can be and leaving garbage too!