After the vandalism, dumping, and burglaries that have gone on in my neighborhood, I've become a bit of a neighborhood watch dog. If I see or hear anything out of the ordinary, I investigate it. In addition to hearing footfalls in my back yard at night, finding liquor and a syringe on the trail in front of my house, and finding hoof prints that didn't belong to any of my horses cutting across my neighbor's back yard into my front yard, messing up the rocks on my driveway, I decided to just go outside at night multiple times with my flashlight to look around.
Tonight, long after the sun had set, Stewie growled at the front door. I opened it up and shined a flashlight around my front yard, my neighbor's front yard, the street, and the trail head, but didn't see anyone. Some time later I went out back with my flashlight to let the horses out of their stalls and heard unfamiliar voices that seemed to be coming from a vacant house owned by snowbirds. That was one of the houses that had been burgled on our street.
I did what any good neighbor would do. I went over there with my flashlight to see what was going on. It turned out the voices were actually coming from the trails. People were talking loudly and I realized they must be on horseback. I heard a woman say, "If I have to get off Harley and shine a flashlight at her, I will."
I was not shining the flashlight at the horseback riders. I was shining it down the street toward the vacant house. Since the horseback riders were clearly disturbed, I shut off the flashlight. Then I heard the woman complain about how bright my floodlight was and say that people shouldn't have their outdoor lights on when there is a full moon to see by. I didn't know what she was talking about, because I can't see my hand in front of my face at night, even during a full moon, but I suspect that is because I have cataracts. Therefore, I need light in order to take my dogs outside and let my horses out of their stalls after dinner.
I heard a man's voice say, "What do they have back there? Horses?"
"Yes, they have a bunch of horses."
Then the conversation shifted to how that lady with the dogs is still trying to sell her house. I think it's funny how everyone around here knows my neighbor as the lady with the dogs, because she was always siccing her dogs on horseback riders who cut through both my property and hers. Ironically, this person who was doing the talking happened to know the one man who toured the house, and was talking about him when their voices trailed off.
I waited to see if they were going to come through the gate and cut through my property. I did hear hoof beats come up close to me and then go away, so I think they did intend to cut through my yard, but thought better of it when they saw me standing in my yard. I couldn't see anything myself, so I had to rely on my ears. I'm always amazed when people ride horses in the desert at night. It must just be that they have better night vision than I do.
In the morning I plan to go out on the trail to see if any new trash shows up. This drinker / druggie who has been leaving trash out there seems to come around every weekend. If I can figure out exactly which night he is out there, I can give the police a heads up about the activity, so they can be ready for it the following weekend. I do not want someone who could be taking hard drugs doing it in front of my house. What really bothers me is that people who hang out at the trail head can see right into my house at night, because our front door is glass. It's never been a problem, because no one has been loitering on our street at night before, but now I am considering fashioning curtains for the door.