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Bird’s Eye View

Greetings one and all. If you are sitting comfortably then I shall begin. Let’s start with a couple of very different events that I attended on my travels through the Valley last Saturday evening. First, a very ‘nice’ soiree at The Madrones, formerly Taylor-Roberts, and now the wine ‘mall’ just south of Philo. ‘Mall’ is a little unfair perhaps; it’s a very pleasant set-up there, with 4 small tasting rooms and a ‘lifestyle’ shop called ‘Sun & Cricket,’ although I know some old-timers think the buildings are an eyesore and inappropriate here in the Valley. But you can’t please everyone. Anyway, It was Bink Winery’s open house. A crowd of about 60 wine-sippers and pizza nibblers assembled. I’d guess that I normally know at least 80% of the guests from different walks of Valley life at local events, but on this occasion I knew maybe 20%. There were some Valley winery people but the majority were ‘not from these parts’ and probably wouldn’t have known a Turkey Vulture even if I had defecated on my own feet. It was a very pleasant crowd. Host Jim Roberts was most gracious and almost convinced me that the businesses were 4 small local wineries, and the Bink Rosé was perfect with the savory thin crust pizza. But by 6:30pm it was time to move on.

I headed into Boonville and joined a very different crowd of 100+ gathered at the Apple Hall for the Pop Warner Football Fundraiser. Most of the ‘obvious suspects’ were there, the majority being AV High School graduates. The delicious tri-tip dinner was efficiently served by the next generation of young footballers — all very polite and eager to work. The beer and wine selection was good, the prices reasonable, the raffle a success, and I believe over $1500 was raised for the kids. I could not help but wonder about the absence of any schoolteachers. I know this was not school sports, but these kids attend the school and I would have thought there might have been somebody from the school, just observing and sharing. Dean Titus and the Coyote Cowboys provided the music. Current NFL player and former AV standout, Martin Tevaseu (New York Jets), provided a bonus for the aspiring young footballers. Virtually everybody there knew everybody else so the event was thoroughly enjoyable and a real Valley affair. Many thanks should to all those who worked so hard to put it on — Tony and Melanie Pardini, with lots of help from Ernie Pardini, Jessica Johnson, Erica Lemons, Ginger Johnston, Reba Pardini and Fernando Alvarez, and the guys on the grill — Steve Rhodes, Bobby Mayberry, Gary Abbott, and Goober Johnston, the Lions Club bar staff of Will Housley and Kevin Lee, Scott and Saffron Fraser who secured the beer and wine donations, not to mention the other food contributors, including Shauna Espinoza and Bronwen Hanes with their wonderful pasta salad. Apologies to anyone I forgot.

Public Service Announcements. #314: The vets from the Mendocino Animal Hospital will be in the Valley twice this month; each time at the AV Farm Supply, north of Philo on Hwy 128, 2-3:30pm. The first visit is tomorrow, Thursday July 21st, they’ll return next week on the 28th. #315: The ‘Not-so-Simple Living Fair’ celebrating and sharing rural skills with various workshops, demonstrations, discussions, and food is at The Fairgrounds this weekend — July 22nd-24th. All the details and schedule is at, or call 684-0028. #316: A very special evening is planned to benefit the Senior Center on Friday, July 29th at 7pm— the first in a series of Guest Chef Dinners. Tom Rodrigues of Maple Creek Winery in Yorkville will serve a rotisserie-style Roast Pork dinner with fresh and delicious side dishes, using local ingredients, plus dessert and wine. Seating limited to 60 guests, so call the Senior Center (895-3609) for further details or get your tickets from Laughing Dog Books in Boonville.

Topics discussed this week at The Three-Dot Lounge: yes “Moans, Groans, Good Thoughts, and Rampant Rumors” from my favorite gathering place.

…Even though it’s still July, practices have already started for the fall sports at the high school. Football Coach John Toohey has over 20 players in his squad at this point and there are high hopes for a successful season in the newly-formed Eight-Man League. Boys Soccer Coach Steve Sparks tells me that there were 20 guys at the team’s first practice last week, including eight returning starters from last season’s Championship- team. Meanwhile, there will be a benefit at The Grange on August 20th to raise money for these sports and the under-funded but much appreciated Cheerleading Squad, coached by Kerri Sanchez, Jennifer Espinoza, and Kelly Andersen — more details to follow.

…Several regulars stopped by at The Three-Dot after watching the Women’s World Cup Soccer final at The Buckhorn in Boonville. They said that the US should have had the game won by halftime but the resilient Japanese women held on and finally won on penalty kicks at the end of regulation. I saw some highlights and the standard of penalty-taking by the US women was very poor indeed. Perhaps the excellent coach I kept hearing about should have had her players practicing that aspect of the game a little more? Having made that rather unfair remark, I should say that this remains a very unsatisfactory way to end a soccer match — particularly a final, and yet after decades of discussion a better method has still not been found. It’s like a Super Bowl tie being settled on a series of field goals or the World Series on a home run derby. Not acceptable.

…Talking of unacceptable situations, a few days ago my friend and fellow AVA contributor, Steve Sparks, drowned his sorrows at The 3-Dot with a bottle of Jameson’s Irish whiskey upon finding out he would not be returning as the Exhibitor for the ‘Animal Husbandry-Sheep-herding Section’ at this weekend’s ‘Not-So-Simple Living Fair.’ Apparently this had nothing to do with last year’s ‘incident,’ the committee having simply decided to go with an ‘expert’ to take his place, albeit it someone from outside the Valley. Sparks does not accept this explanation. “Last year I managed to lose the entire flock of sheep and it took over an hour to recover them but surely that small incident should not count against me,” spluttered the clearly disturbed amateur shepherd, as he opened his second bottle. “Corporal Raindrop, Rob Google, the Bates Apple Motel kid, and their assorted committee members can all kiss my pimply ass.” Shortly after this diatribe, Deputy Walker escorted a tearful Sparks from the premises.

With the hot weather almost with us, please remember to keep your windows cracked if you have pets in your vehicle; children too I suppose. Otherwise, Keep the Faith; be careful out there; stay out of the ditches; think good thoughts; and may your god go with you. One final request, “Let us prey.” Humbly yours, Turkey Vulture. PS. Contact me with words of support/abuse through the Letters Page or at

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