We’d made the decision to fill the lunar landscape with greenery rather than gravel, but I couldn’t get the horseshoe pit out of my mind. Sure, we might not play often, but it would be fun to have the option, and horseshoe pits are skinny little things – surely I could find a way to fit it in!
And I did. If you research horseshoe pits on the internet, you’ll find a variety of directions, from “Drive two stakes into the ground 40 feet apart and start pitching” to intricate courts with backstops, drink holders, and pitching platforms, which can add up to a rectangle about 15 feet wide and 40 feet long – exactly what we were trying to avoid.
I opted for simple. Two 3×3 frames, set in the ground, each with a spike in the middle. The spikes are 40 feet apart so the distance from the back of one box to the back of the other is 43 feet. I also put markers in the ground at 27’ and 35’ from each end. The 27’ mark is for women and children (I kid you not). The mark for men is supposed to be 37’ but that ended up being so close to the box I was afraid someone would trip so I moved it 36” out from the front of each box, which took it to about 35’. Since we don’t know any professional horseshoe pitchers, I think it’s far enough.
One end is backstopped by a big wooden box our neighbor Ed gave us when he was cleaning out his garage, which we’ll plant in. The other I dug into the bank and lined with big pieces of redwood bark, which I scavenged off the hillside. Actually, what happened was I lined the back with a big piece of redwood bark I’d been saving and then used a board for the other side because I didn’t have any more bark.
And I hated it, and I got really cranky, and I had to stop for a while because I was too hot and super cranky and think about why I was cranky and not having fun and what I realized was I hated the board. I wanted bark. So I sulked for a little while thinking about the bark I didn’t have and then I picked myself up and headed for the slag heap, where the tree guys let some stuff fall, and guess what? I managed to unearth several big pieces of bark, which made me super happy, even though I had to brush a lot of black widow spiders off them. One of them became the right side of the horseshoe pit but don’t worry, I’ll find a good home for the others.