I was working in the garden beds on Saturday morning on our homestead, before it heated up for the day.
The boys were out with me. We were working on chores, such as watering, the chickens and harvesting.
When my inner voice popped into my head that something wasn’t right.
And I see a person walking down our driveway, and no one one else was home but us and Kirk – and that wasn’t Kirk. And here’s the thing – there is no road access to our property from above. Only way in is our driveway. From the road seen below.
It was an older lady, all decked out for a hike. Purple pants, a sun shirt, hat and a large fanny pack with hydration bottles.
She kept walking once I saw her, would not look at me. Oh, she knew she had been caught and was doing the o’ bluff it out.
Carried herself right up the driveway, out to the road and took a right.
That did not amuse me. I don’t want ANYONE on our land that I don’t know – and gave permission to be on our land.
All I can think is she started from the church that is next to us, out for a long hike, and thought no one would notice her (probably had looked at Google Maps on satellite view and saw our long driveway). Parked her car at the church so it wouldn’t get broken into, and then got walking. About half a mile from the end of our land is a public hiking area, with a trailhead into it (great area to hike in!). I get it, hiking is a huge thing for me. But the issue is…I have children. I have animals. I don’t want strangers here. They are a risk to our land (fire safety), biosecurity to my animals, and my children should have no fear of strangers. And that trailhead is not known for break-ins.
So that led me to doing detective work to figure out which way she used to get onto our land.
When we bought the land, we thinned the forest, to lower fire risk. The deer and coyotes glommed onto that, and quickly cut two distinct paths thru the woods. But normally, that isn’t an issue. The wild animals I do not care about. I see them all the time on our security cameras.
I went shopping and picked up more No Trespassing signs this morning. At least they are cheap. Add in a few screws I liberated from Kirk, and we got to work.
After a lot of walking thru our woods, I figured out the woman came in via the property line we share with a church. Their septic field sits along the property line. Two winters ago 2 trees fell on the line, and now there is an opening, so one can see into our land. And the deer took the path already there, and made it bigger and noticeable.
First sign went up here. If you miss this one, then you are doing it on purpose.
The tawny spot in the middle is the septic field mound (they don’t have a gravity field as we do). You can see the 2 stumps of the trees that came down.
I headed to the back of the land.
As I said, we thinned this forest by 3/4 in the past 4 to 5 years. You can walk through it now, with ease.
It comes out to the end, to a clearing. The power lines run here, along the highway we back up to.
There is a low area in our natural fencing of blackberry canes and stinging nettle, which the animals use – and the deer eat as well. You can see a road across the way, the highway is between us. But I wasn’t seeing any human presence.
Between this area and the woods, the trail is only visible if you know where it is. I have let the salal come back up, to hide the paths.
Still I posted another new sign on the tree. The old one had broken a year or so ago.
Having done my trek across our land, I was 99% sure the mystery person came in via the church. There is a history of their members wandering onto our neighbors land over the years as well.
I am hoping that this lady got the message she was not OK with being on our land – and won’t do it again. The signs are to remind them this isn’t the church’s land.
I handled the encounter well. I did not threaten her – but my stance was not friendly. Had she asked, I’d have been far nicer. Just ask, right? Then I’d have shaken hands and asked about her hiking plans.
I added another sign at the start of the driveway (or end of it really) which is in the upper field, on another tree. Pointing towards the church’s land. I have had signs down low, by the lower fields and such for years.
For now, it reminded me to walk my land often, looking for any potential issues before they become one.