Winchester-Nabu Detective Agency Year Two: Case File No. 38-90

Cat Detectives

AMBER LOVE 04-FEB-2019 Catch up on Year One and previous Year Two cases at the Winchester-Nabu Detective Agency. This work is supported by the generous backers who adore my cat stories at and they also get first access to what’s happening with my books and podcast. For a one-time tip, you can go to the new

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Where we left off:

In the last entry, there was another tragic murder of one of the rodent friends. Gus showed no remorse.

The Rock:

“You get to Alcatraz by being the worst of the worst. Unless you’re me. I came here because my mother said I had to.”

Gennifer Choldenko

This isn’t a case file, per se. It’s a different kind of update about the happenings at The Winchester-Nabu Detective Agency. A “behind-the-scenes” look, if you will.

For a couple of years, I’ve wanted to uncover a particular boulder in the backyard, mainly because of walking with Gus on our adventures. A few months ago, my mother said that boulder and the whole area of rocks were open and she remembered being able to sit on them. That made my decision for me. Besides climbing trees, Gus absolutely loves climbing on rocks.

Joe working

It would be great to hire actual landscapers who know what they’re doing and have tools for the job. Instead, I armed myself with with handy one-inch pruning shears and packed them in my adventuring bag. Any time Gus and I went over that way, I would trim back branches one at a time until he was ready to move on. Some days that meant I only cut one branch and had to haul my ass to catch up with him. Other days, he spent a long time watching the birds at the feeder so I had long stretches to start hack away more forcefully at the overgrowth. It’s not that the bushes are bad, but they’re out of control. Birds nest in them, so I don’t mind leaving them some — honestly there are even more bushes ten feet away.

One day I was able to tackle the mess of jungle from the Bunny Hollow trail while Gus stayed in his spot staring at birds. None of the mess has been cleared away. Supposedly we have a wood chipper? News to me. Anyway, I’ll wait for spring cleaning weather to find that and have things mulched up even if I’m not the one who gets to do it. I probably shouldn’t operate dangerous machinery.

clearing boulder

New Year’s Day it was extra nice because the butler, Alfredo Pesosvalor was working. We took Oliver and Gus out together. I was going to do the work, but the butler allowed me to keep an eye on the boys and he went over to the huge rock to do more clearing. Oliver was fascinated by the manual labor efforts and watched intensely. Gus only showed periodic interest.


Yoga’s Jewel of Saucha:

Everyone got up in arms either loving or hating on KonMari, the show on Netflix about living a minimalist lifestyle. If an object doesn’t bring you joy, it goes. Say goodbye. Get it out of your life. People freaked the hell out at her admission of having only 30 books. Book people like me reacted like, “What? On one shelf? In one pile?” I have boxes of books that are still in the attic and closets which have never been unpacked since moving back here to NJ. I don’t have the space I used to. But the books aren’t causing any harm where they are, so I’m okay with them being there. And yes, they give me joy even if I’ve mostly switched to Kindle reading.

This brings me to the Yoga Niyama of Saucha. Take the time to revisit my posts from February 2018 where I explained about the traditions of Spring Cleaning and how February is a great time for it. Yes, even if you’re dealing with three feet of snow. Here’s a sample from one of those posts:

“Two of the origins of big cleaning days are part of the ancient Roman traditions of Februalia (Jan 30 – Feb 2) and Lupercalia (February 15) to do a thorough cleaning of all things including the body, mainly because bathing wasn’t accessible to people on a daily basis. In neo-paganism and witchcraft, the month is still seen as a time for purification of the body and spaces. If you’re looking for a format, the Covenant of Hekate has a ritual posted as a free resource.”

February: The Tradition of Spring Purification, Cleaning, and Saucha (part one)

Last year, I explained Saucha and that one of my intentions was to challenge myself by moving my home yoga practice to a different room. After the room was finished, it still wasn’t big enough to accommodate a yoga mat and all the bins of costumes and the upstairs litter box. I don’t want to move the litterbox into Gus’ room (aka the sitting room and another Winchester-Nabu Detective Agency office) because that room is even tinier. That left me with leaving my yoga props in the bedroom and after another piece of furniture changed, it was a little less cluttered. Somehow my Saucha tips didn’t make me famous like Marie Kondo.

Gus at the boulder

At the end of 2018, I specifically wanted to make this boulder uncovering my Saucha project. It’s not about purifying the body which is the most often way to define Saucha. It is uncluttering neglecting plants and the landscape so that our outside, natural world is cleaner and more open. As I said, the boulder and tree stumps provide more locations for feeding wildlife. The uncluttered landscape will simply change the feelings being in that location puts forth.

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There’s a lot more environmental cleaning and purification to do in our immediate vicinity. It’s easier to see all the litter that’s half-buried when it’s winter and there isn’t any foliage to hide it. I’ve seen a lot of crap out there in terms of plastic like the flimsy planters that stores sell knowing you’ll get it home and put the plant in the ground or in a prettier planter. Wind could have blown them all over the place over the years, but it boils down to the fact that they were not thrown away properly when they should have been.

bird nest
The sad reality that this bird nest included litter in its structure.

When it comes to purification, you can consider your body, your immediate environment (like your office, bedroom, etc.), or your greater environment. Not to mention, you could make a commitment to do other things like carpool or get a hybrid/electric car if that’s something in your means. Surround your spaces with green plants that aren’t harmful for pets so that you can get oxygen. Use less toxic cleaning products.

Finally, toxicity also comes in the forms of thoughts. If you find toxic thoughts are the first ones to enter your mind when you’re angry (like being set off by something on the internet), check that toxicity. Take the moment to first stop, take a breath, and observe your thoughts. Reformulate them if you want.


PS – yes, the word is “uncluttered” not “decluttered” if you want to be grammatically picky, but “declutter” has entered the lexicon.

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