Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Five, Six, Pick Up Sticks

My dog Stewie occasionally sits by the French doors to the patio growling.  There's a lot of wild animal activity out there, so I'm rarely concerned about what he is seeing.  I finally decided to stop what I was doing and investigate what it was that captured his attention on a daily basis.  I saw a one-legged bird hopping around on our deck.

A few days later I noticed a handful of sticks on the patio, and assumed the monsoon winds blew them there.  But day after day, more and more sticks appeared in a haphazard pile.

I finally caught the one-legged bird red-handed delivering sticks to the pile.  I'm not sure what it is trying to accomplish.  It is definitely a strange location to try to build a nest, and there is no place above this point where a nest could have fallen from.  I've been tossing old bread slices, buns and heels out over the railing of the patio, flinging them like Frisbees to the wildlife, and the slices are always gone within a few hours.  I guess my generosity has encouraged some birds to take up residence.

In other news... a major stick has been removed from my craw and I'm free!  I can now walk outside at any time of day or night into my backyard to do barn chores and not have eight big guard dogs barking at me, and I no longer have my neighbors' eyes persistently prodding me.  They have officially moved out, and it feels so liberating to finally have peace, quiet and privacy.

The last time the horse trainer was here giving a lesson in my arena, he had to yell over all the barking in order for us to hear his instructions.  I don't ride in my arena often, mainly because these neighbors were in the habit of coming outside with their dogs every time I came outside.  I rode on the trails to get a break from the ruckus.  Now I can actually ride on my own property, as you have seen in recent posts.

I can also sit on my own patio and enjoy the view or read a book without the unwanted company of both noisy dogs and noisy humans.  I can talk to my horses again and know that no one is on the other side of the fence eavesdropping.  I can curse at the hay for falling apart and collecting in my bra without someone clearing his throat a few feet away from me to let me know that he is in my air space and can hear everything.  I can train my horses without unwanted observations, assumptions, judgments and comments.

I knew there was no point in raising complaints about the barking dogs, because the previous owners of my home took that route and never got any results.  The dog owners insisted that the barking was all in their imaginations, or that they were hearing some other dogs in the neighborhood barking.  "Our dogs never bark," was one of the first forceful proclamations they made to us when we met.  I now realize that was more of a threat than a denial.

The dog owners had spread rumors about the people who filed noise complaints against them, insisting that they were nuts.  Apparently, the man who lived in my house before me was suffering from schizophrenia, but I have no doubt that living next door to so many persistently barking dogs for eight years straight did drive him bananas.  I'm pretty sure the barking was why they moved out and sold the house to us.  I remember overhearing the daughter say to her stepfather, "Dad, we're trying to get you out of here since this place drives you crazy."

The barking wasn't so bad when we first moved in, and I suspect I have the previous owners to thank for that.  However, as the neighbors collected more and more dogs over the past couple of years, the barking really got out of hand.  It didn't help that the neighbors encouraged the dogs to bark at people and chase them off whenever someone simply passed by their place.  The dogs also fought viciously with each other, but the neighbors insisted that they were "just playing".  I've had visitors come to my house and want to run over next door to break up dog fights because it sounded like the dogs were killing each other.  I'd try to calm my visitors down by assuring them that this was a daily occurrence and no dog ever got seriously injured.

At any rate, I survived and now that these neighbors and their dogs are gone, it is as if a spaceship somehow picked up the entire neighborhood and set it down gently in a completely different world where everything is calm, quiet and peaceful.

For a long time I wondered how the neighbors always knew when I walked into my backyard and could come outside so quickly once I was out there.  Then I saw pictures their real estate agent had taken of both the inside and the outside of their house, and I realized that my backyard is in clear view of their windows and patios.  One photo, which was taken to show the views, displays my entire backyard with all of my horses.  I know they are trying to make it look like my backyard is a part of their property, so I hope no one buys the place and thinks they are getting my barns and arenas.

My truck has been in the shop for the past couple of days, because the battery warning light went on and no one can figure out why.  When my husband checked under the hood, he found a bird's nest on top of the battery, but that has since been cleaned up and the battery has been tested and deemed as being in good condition.  I suspected a chewed or loose wire was the culprit since birds and ground squirrels have been getting up under the hood, but the mechanics can't find any problems with the wiring.

The truck is only a couple of years old, and this is the second time I've had to take it in because of a warning light not turning off.  The other time the air bag warning light was on because the man who installed my trailer braking monitor drilled right through some wires in the floorboard.  The mechanics have also tested my key fob, because sometimes that can cause warning lights to turn on, but there's no problem with it either.  I'm looking forward to getting this mystery solved so that I can get my truck back.


Sam said...

I wonder (and it is a little too late) if they had a kennel license? Our limit is two pups per acre.

I'm glad you have some peace and quiet!

Nuzzling Muzzles said...

Sam - They had 8 dogs on 5 acres, so they'd be okay.

Now I'm getting inundated with Looky Loos. People are cruising past the house and one man parked behind my house and walked down on to both my property and my neighbor's property to survey the neighborhood -- probably looking to see if he would have good neighbors. Sadly, he would not BE a good neighbor, because he didn't respect the No Trespassing signs and he attempted to look into the windows of my house.

I'm hoping horse people will buy the place because 3 of the 5 acres have stalls and arenas, but so far all these lookers are rich retired men driving large luxury cars, and they don't look like horseback riders to me. They look like city slickers in search of a slice of heaven that they can ruin.

Nuzzling Muzzles said...

2 year old truck needs a new alternator. I guess the heat fried it. Time to clean out the garage.

Sam said...

I'll keep fingers crossed that horse folks do buy it! We could use a few more of them out here.


achieve1dream said...

Yay for the neighbors moving!!!!!!

Sorry about your truck. :(