I had a nightmare last night that woke me and did not allow me to get back to sleep. In it, I walked to a swing set I had in my backyard (which is not there in reality), sat down to enjoy the view of the mountains, only to discover that the Dept. of Parks and Recreation plowed a hiking trail right through the middle of my backyard, surrounded it with a chain-link fence, and slapped a NO TRESPASSING sign right in my face on my side of the fence. They built a shack on their side of the fence, and I couldn't see over to it look at the mountains. Also, hikers were passing by in droves, and they were all staring at me and my property. I turned just as livid over having it happen to me in a nightmare as I would have had it happened in real life.
I'm pretty sure I know what brought it on. More snowbirds have shown up at the house two doors down from me. One evening I was out feeding the horses when I saw four of them pop up out of the arroyo and walk toward their house. They have a trail they made that they surrounded by rocks that leads from their house down to where our properties meet. Once they are in the arroyo, if they turn left, they are on my property, so they are supposed to stay to the right. But, of course, they never do. They traipse wherever they please.
Unfortunately, in this case, I did not see them on my property, so there was no point in talking to them about it. I need to catch them in the act of trespassing. Why does it hurt if they are hiking in my section of the arroyo? Well, twice now I have been knocked down by a horse they spooked while they were walking around down there. Getting hit by a galloping horse is kind of like getting hit by a car. It doesn't feel good.
My horses are so jumpy with all of the neighbors sneaking around that they have started spinning, bolting, and plowing me down when my husband just walks around the corner of the house or hay barn. They didn't used to do that. All of this sudden activity down in the wash has put them on edge. When they hear something heavy moving around on the rocks and in the bushes down there, they assume it is a mountain lion or some other predator and they just want to get as far away from it as possible. If I happen to be in their flight path, there is little time for me to jump out of the way or throw up my arms in an attempt to stop them.
Anyway, I went to another neighbor's party the other night, and the host introduced me to one of the men who lives in that house where the people come from who use my section of the wash for their recreational purposes. I immediately felt disdain for this man because he launched into a lecture on the history of the neighborhood, making a big point out of his house being the first on the street. I received this same lecture from one of his relatives last year. It is apparent that this clan believes that they own all the land for miles, despite other houses being built on it and other people paying the mortgage and taxes on it, simply because they were here first.
He then began asking me nosy questions about the mental health of the man who owned my house before me. I don't like nosy people, and I don't like people who gossip about others, so I told him I knew nothing about it. I guess I said it in a way that communicated my disgust, and the man started walking backwards saying, "Oh, I see. Well, I will move along then."
I didn't see him the rest of the night, so I think he scurried home, hopefully with a little bit of poop in his pants.
The next person I was introduced to immediately put me under a subtle attack for owning too many horses in his opinion. The guy didn't even live in that house, and I could tell that he was annoyed that he had to look at my horses from where the party was being held.
The next group of people I met were staying in the house as guests, and they admitted to trespassing on our property for their recreational purposes, and thanked us for not shooting them. They said they were curious about exploring the arroyo. There are frickin' arroyos all over the place. They can go out into the desert across the street from our houses and explore to their heart's content on public land. Why the hell do they have to do it in my backyard?
The more I talked to them, the more I realized that it's the city person mentality. They're scared to go out in the desert, so they go where it is close to civilization where other people are nearby to help, should they step on a rattlesnake or get into other trouble. I realized that my backyard had become a place where city people can explore nature within shouting distance of other people. Well, let me tell you, if I catch anyone in the act, they will hear some shouting.
This one guy was complaining about the ravens in my barn squawking. They made him so angry that he wanted to kill them. I was floored by his reaction to a bird. I mean, he lives in a big city back east where he has to listen to loud vehicle engines and honking day in and day out, yet the voice of a bird is what drives him crazy. I'm the opposite. I love listening to the birds, and get annoyed with people who rev their engines and race their motorized vehicles back and forth in front of my house.
In fact, this man complained about a lot of things, including him being allergic to something in our area. Yup, people who are allergic to animals and hay probably shouldn't go to rural ranching areas for their vacations. Either that or they should stock up on antihistamines and keep their mouths shut. Residents aren't going to get rid of their horses and hay so that visitors can be more comfortable on their visit. I came home from that party with a scratchy throat and cough, but I think the problem for me was other people's colognes and perfumes.
One funny thing about the party is that I was working down in my barn most of the day wearing a cowgirl hat, jeans and boots, but I changed for the party into nicer, cleaner clothes with comfy shoes and no hat, only to discover that the majority of the party-goers dressed up in cowboy hats and boots to fit the rodeo theme. I was not aware of any theme for the party until I got there. I should have just attended in my usual apparel. I usually don't participate in social events, because it's just my luck to have a long string of toilet paper stuck to the bottom of my shoe or my zipper undone. Sure enough, right before we left, I thought I had better check myself in the mirror, and found this huge black fleck of I-don't-know-what stuck to the side of my nose and cheek. I probably picked it up while mucking manure.
The whole experience made me glad that I no longer live in a city. I have nothing in common with people who do live in cities. I love nature. I love peace and quiet. I love being alone. I'm not interested in what other people are doing unless they are doing it on my property. Anyway, I'm pretty sure that dealing with those people at that party is what triggered my nightmare about having my back yard taken over by the Dept. of Parks and Recreation. Though I'm not liking the heat we're getting in February, I am hoping it will be sending a lot of our winter visitors back to the cities they came from so that I can work safely around my horses again without having to adorn myself in bubble wrap.