Winchester-Nabu Detective Agency Year Two: Case File No. 49-101
AMBER LOVE 22-APR-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 Patreon.com/amberunmasked 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 PayPal.me.
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Where We Left Off:
We celebrated our 100th post about the Winchester-Nabu Detective Agency! Lately, our nemesis is not a member of Chipmunk Mafia, but a team of rogue squirrels we call the Leverage squirrels.
Spring officially arrived in New Jersey where the mornings were chilly and the afternoons could be absolutely anything from hot to sleeting. Having lived in this house since I was ten, I recall being told that with warmer weather, the trespassing critters should be leaving the shelter of the house and making their ways back to the great outdoors. We’ve also always had cats and not all of have been good mousers. Nonetheless, it was another old wives’ tale that I’ve been told forever: having a cat would keep the mice away because they would be able to smell a predator. It’s simply not true.
For once, the cats in residence seem to work well together when it comes to mousing. Oliver and Gus have both been witnessed with the rodents near them. They seem to politely take turns “playing” with their catches. We’re never sure which one is the actual hunter. I’ll add here that they don’t share their toys this well. Gus is generally a bully and wants whatever Oliver has whether it’s a toy, a plant, or food.
Gus is clearly lethal when he’s outside hunting. He can spot activity across a hundred yards without a problem. There are also times when he’s absolutely sure something juicy is under foot, but he can’t find anything. Chances are they are burrowed under the dirt and safe while contending with the large cat causing them mini earthquakes.
It was a rather unusual occurrence that Oliver and Gus caught three mice in three days! And that was all of our mousey interactions.
The Cook shouted out that the boys had a mouse. She captured it in a plastic container and I was able to snap one photo. She also told me that it appeared to have a broken leg at the very least.
Then I told her it would probably be safe to release it outside in the rock wall around the cars — the domain of Cheeks Moretti, don of the Chipmunk Mafia. We haven’t seen Cheeks since the fall. Voles have been inhabiting his domicile all winter long. We hoped for the best, but weren’t sure what kind of survival chances a disable field mouse would have back in a natural setting.
I came from a yoga class and found the elder humans in the living room around the hearth. Neither cat came to greet me at the back door like they usually do. The cats were in the living room too occupied with something more interesting. Oliver and Gus were concentrating under the half-log with branches coffee table my grandfather made. Between them was a tiny field mouse, lying still. I thought for sure it was deceased.
I fetched an empty coffee can and easily scooped the tiny mouse into it. Lo and behold, it was alive. I released this mouse on the same rock wall near the cars. Poor thing also had a badly broken back leg, but I hoped it would be able to survive.
I went back in to quickly scoop some of the feed labeled “squirrel food” which has a lot of corn, sunflower seeds, and a few peanuts. The poor little thing was not interested in the food. It did move around a little once it realized I was not there to continue hurting it. Another mouse with a broken leg? Was it perhaps the same mouse as before who returned and found its way back inside?
There are more pictures and some videos in the Instagram post from April 5th.
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No one came to greet me at the door when I arrived home at The Winchester-Nabu Detective Agency. Even when Gus is sleeping, he'll get up to greet me. Then I was debriefed on the situation. Another #mouse caught. Second one in 2 days — or, did the same mouse return? This one also had a broken back leg so either that's Gus' MO or it's the same mouse. Either way, the #adorable critter was released in the rock wall and left with an abundance of food. Perhaps it limped away to die in peace but I tried to give it some comfort after it's attack.
On April 7th, I was alerted to another mouse capture. This time, the boys brought it upstairs to the Winchester-Nabu Detective Agency office (also where I sleep). It was 0445 which is 4:45am for those not using European time. The victim — or intruder depending on how you look at it — was not only alive, but still rather spunky. I went to the other room and found an empty glass jar with a lid which used to house a candle. I have a tendency to save them. I was surprised how easily the little critter popped into the jar. It was dark and at that hour, I did not pause to use my phone for a picture while I was holding it as a flashlight at the same time.
At this pre-dawn hour, I then walked BAREFOOT through the house and outside! I didn’t want to risk stepping on a lot of gravel bits, so rather than walk around the cars, I stopped at the beginning of the rock wall. I released the mouse on the stone border next to the ivy patch which entwines the rock wall. Somehow, I eventually got back to sleep.
Gus and I were on the top observation deck by 0800. I had my coffee in hand finally. I’m used to Gus staring out into the mysteries of the landscape. Something different started to happen. Gus went over to the netting which is a failed attempt to “Gus-proof” the roof access. He tried to scooch under the railing as is his M.O. for roof access, but it wasn’t an ordinary escape attempt.
Down below us in the foliage something was moving. I ran back inside for my camera (of course) to see if I could get any photographic evidence of the disturbance. As we watched, it was clear that this was another mouse looking for a way inside the house through the area of Oliver’s wing where he shares space with the elder humans.
I had to wonder if this was the same mouse that I released hours before. It was all that far for it to travel from the ivy patch to the window under Oliver’s bedroom.
April 6th was another mouse catastrophe. Fortunately, this time the boys of the Winchester-Nabu Detective Agency were not directly involved. The chauffeur took my car to the garage for an oil change. Upon removing the filters and such, a dead mouse was discovered.
This is the second mouse corpse to be discovered in my car. I’m sad for them, but this time I was grateful it wasn’t in the blower for the heat and air conditioning like the first one.
Since this mouse was not a cat crime, I’ve listed it last even though it was sequentially before Mouse #3.
For some reason, the Winchester-Nabu Detective Agency building has become a birthing spot for field mice. The cat detectives have done an excellent job at apprehending the trespassers. The humans have tried to release the rodents outdoors hoping the best for their survival.
One body has already been found near the release location. More bodies may turn up or maybe the mice that survived will return with some angry friends.