Cats photoshopped as noir detectives

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Expand for Adventures with Gus Table of Contents

Where we left off…

Detective Inspector Guster Nabu continues to skirt the law in order to investigate and protect his domain.


Due to circumstances in the neighborhood (death and aging land owners), I decided to poke around the tax records and research the property lines and ownership some more. Gus would take me all over the mountain and into Pennsylvania if I let him.

I’ve tried being reasonable in the amount of crimes we commit and “look at the other way” when we’ve encountered some warning signs. As noted in the previous chapter, Gus has sketchy taste in role models: Neal Caffrey, Parker, Pierre Despereaux, the Pink Panther — all notorious cat burglars.

The research caused only confusion. Our tiny one acre looks like a postage stamp compared to the neighboring lots of 27, 28, and 50 acres. The assessments are what makes no sense. Most of the lots have houses and other buildings like garages; since they’re all surrounded by forest, they are qualified as farms to get lower taxes. That’s all well and good, except — they are so inconsistent. The only lot that doesn’t have a house or any residential elements at all is assessed astronomically higher than others. If I recall correctly, assessments have to be every ten years or after major changes (which is truly the point of the permit process, to alert the tax office if you’ve added value to your home).

Anyway, now that I’ve confirmed the ownership of one of the nearby lots, I’ve wondered if I should reach out to them and formally ask permission to walk Gus on their property. These are not the type of people we have neighborly relationships with. They are “out of towners” who bought the acreage strictly for hunting. City people. Rich city people.


We noticed the posted signs a while ago, but since I don’t know a lot of last names of all the Grumpy Old Man’s friends, I wasn’t sure if this was part of the hunting club we were told about, maybe using a new name because someone died. You never know. They are only paying $101 in taxes! In New Jersey!!

I suppose I’ll have to find a way to navigate Gus away from the property line and only explore the south side of the mountain. If we end up crossing any of the other property lines in that direction, chances are “we” (the Grumpy Old Man anyway) knows them and won’t have us arrested for trespassing.

Oh, and it gets worse. I then entered the name into Facebook and discovered that the owners of this neighboring acreage are not only fitness buffs (fine, whatever) but also anti-vaxxers. As someone who didn’t know what to think about vaccines until I learned how the myth got started, I am very pro-vax if the being can handle it. There are valid medical reasons regarding immune systems or other health status why a person or animal would not be vaccinated, but overall, it’s better than risking it. This guy posted that the flu vaccine is the cause of the epidemic. I’ll admit, the flu vax is tricky and people who get it are often sick from it; my friend was sick for two weeks. Plus, the strains keep evolving. I don’t think it’s the cause of 4,000 people dying though. I’m usually on board with big pharma conspiracies, but this isn’t one of them.

I continued poking around through Facebook (jeez, an investigator’s golden egg, amiright?) and also saw they are nice to animals. Sort of. Again, you want to save the animals but then post about enormous steak and pizza with factory-farm cheese. Sigh, and it’s like they only care about protein grams without considering the ethical responsibility. Then I see the one mutual I have. Yes, of course it’s one of my ultra thin friends who constantly works out and thinks she needs to lose “more” weight. It’s too depressing to continue.

One of the other reasons, besides worries of being arrested, that these property lines are consuming our time is because of The Winchester-Nabu Detective Agency’s cooperative work with the magings of the underworld. The portals are all over the place. If you’ve been keeping up with the weekly Adventures with Gus, you know we are extremely interested in having working relationships with the local magings: Jersey devils, wolpertingers, maybe an American kitsune, not to mention the various faerie folk. How are we going to do that on only one acre?

Beltane Fairy House

For May Day in 2017, I had some help putting together an appropriate fairy house. It could have used more in the gardening ambiance, but it looked nice and had sparkly things to attract fae. Since I used a tree stump that was in the yard and not preserved by any polyurethane, it’s started to naturally crumble. Half the roof fell off already and other bits are looking sad. I also try to do everything with what can be found instead of spending money. I might have to reacquaint myself with some power tools even though I’m not good with them and not strong enough to hold them. If I want to cut out doors and windows from scraps of wood, I’m not sure how else to do it. It’s not that the prices on Etsy are unreasonable, it’s that I don’t want to spend $30 on a six-inch door, especially when I want larger doors.

Gus with fairy

We’re looking forward to flower season at any rate. So far the cat grass has been growing well in pots. It even looks like some of the catnip may be coming back. We’ll hopefully have another good year making the second floor balcony a welcoming oasis.