Pests... the human kind. I'm looking forward to it getting to be consistently above 110 degrees this weekend and beyond, so that the pests will go into hibernation. But that's the only reason why I'm looking forward to those high temperatures. Otherwise, I'm not looking forward to it at all.
This week we have been visited by quite a few suspicious strangers. There are people who wait for all the winter visitors to leave, and then they case neighborhoods looking for opportunities to steal mail, yard decorations, and to break into vacant houses. One day when I was on one of my short hikes with a horse, I saw a man on a motorcycle come cruising very slowly up the street checking out all the properties along the way. I heard him stop somewhere around my house, so I turned around and headed back home to see what he was up to. He left before I could reach him, but it appeared as if he had been tampering with my mailbox, because the flag was up. I only leave it up if I have outgoing mail, and I hadn't had outgoing mail in days. I checked with my husband, and he said he always takes outgoing mail to his office in order to guarantee that it won't be stolen before USPS picks it up.
Then last night I waited longer than usual to do my barn chores because I wanted the house to cast shadows over the barn before I started my work. I heard motorbike engines coming up the street and stopped to see what was going on. Two teenaged boys on dirt bikes came cruising slowly up the road as if they were trying to keep their engines quiet, and they were scoping out the neighborhood. When they hit the dead end, they paused for a while, and then slowly drove back down the street.
My first thought was that they had better not be looking for a dead end road to drag race on. I'm so sick of having to chase people off our street for doing that. That's totally rude to the residents.
I heard their engines cut out just up the street, but couldn't see them. It sounded like they had stopped at one of the gates to the bridle trails. Then it hit me: These were the guys who have been illegally racing their dirt bikes around on the bridle trails at night. I can hear them, and I see their tracks in daylight. There are some horseback riders who ride at night in the summer to avoid the heat, and those dirt bikes could spook the horses and cause a serious accident. There are good reasons for why motorized vehicles are not allowed on those bridle trails, but some people refuse to obey the law since breaking the law doesn't hurt them in any way and they get to have fun while doing it.
For months, I have been trying to catch these guys. If there is still a little bit of light out when I hear them racing around in the desert, I drop everything and rush out there on my mountain bike with my zoom camera to try to get a visual on them, so that I can call the police. But I can never find them, because they either spot me or sense me coming before I reach them, and they leave the scene. If they can spot me coming on a mountain bike, they can spot a police cruiser a lot easier, so I don't want to bother the police until I've got something to help them catch these guys -- something beyond me just hearing their engines and seeing their tracks.
Anyway, one of them must not have been able to get his bike through the horse gate, so he drove back up the street to the gate in front of my house. I had some steely eye contact with him as he passed my house. I guess he thought better of trying to get through the gate in front of a witness, so he took off going a lot faster than he was going when they were casing the neighborhood. Of course, I didn't have any camera on me at the time. They both were long gone before I could even get into the house to locate my phone.
While I was trying to deal with those two guys, a third guy on a dirt bike showed up on the cliff at the back of my property, and he looked like he was considering driving down the cliff into my back yard until he saw me, and then he turned around and raced off. So, I got invaded from all directions simultaneously. I figured it was a good thing that I postponed doing barn chores, because otherwise these guys would have gotten away with their illegal activities and probably would have returned several times to do it again.
What bugs me is that other neighbors are aware of what is going on, and they don't like it, but they are all a bunch of weenies. They're too scared to come out of their houses to confront these people, so I'm always the one who has to do it by herself. Sometimes if I get into a yelling match with someone, a neighbor will come out to support me, but I always have to make the first move. Usually, all it takes is some eye contact to scare these people off, so it would be nice if other neighbors would at least come outside and stand on their driveways or in their yards to make their presence known. Instead, they just hide in their houses, which makes the criminals think the houses are vacant, and then the trouble starts.
I have this one neighbor who asks me for a verbal report on all the suspicious activities that have been going on, because he knows I'm always chasing off strangers who are up to no good, but he never helps me out when there is a problem. He just wants to know how I've been handling it, as if I'm the official neighborhood watch dog and it is my job and only my job. Ahhh, one of these days, if the gods are kind to me, I will live out in the middle of nowhere, and I can just let the wild animals eat any strangers who come around to cause trouble.