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Bird’s Eye View

Greetings one and all. If you are sitting comfortably then I shall begin. And what better way to do that than to sing the praises of the Guest Chef Dinner held at the Senior & Community Center last Friday evening? Having spent several hours slowly roasting and basting a 70-pound stuffed pig on a rotisserie grill, Maple Creek Winery owner, Tom Rodrigues, and his team of assistant chefs, wait staff, plus volunteer helpers from the Senior Center, served it up in professional style. It came along with a garden fresh salad, wild mushroom gravy, a medley of mashed potatoes, asparagus and gruyere cheese wrapped in prosciutto, followed by a Asian pear, pecan, and Candy Cap mushroom cake for dessert, made by Tom’s daughter Amy. Maple Creek wines were complimentary all evening long, and the gathering of 70 Valley folks were unanimously full of praise for the event, the first in a series of ‘Last Friday of the Month – Guest Chef Dinner’ evenings to raise funds for the Senior Center. Next up, it’s Diana Charles as Guest Chef on Friday, August 26th — ticket details to follow. Suffice it to say, the event will no doubt sell out fast as it did on this occasion.

For your Quote of the Week, I would like to offer this comment from Harriet Van Horne, syndicated newspaper columnist and film/television critic of the 50s and 60s when there were few women in those fields. These words seem to encapsulate Tom Rodrigues as he volunteered his time to spend it with a roasting pig and then to serve up a delicious meal to all those fine food-lovers: “Cooking is like love – it should be entered into with abandon, or not at all.” Well, to those in attendance, he certainly looked like he was cooking with great abandonment and having a lovely time.

Public Service Announcements. #302: The live music scene returns to the Navarro Store Amphitheatre among the giant redwoods for what will no doubt be excellent shows on the next two weekends. On the 6th it’s the legendary (and I mean legendary — check out his bio) American blues-harp player Charlie Musslewhite (7pm) with the Steven Bates Band opening at 5pm, then a week later it’s the always popular ‘House of Floyd’ – the Pink Floyd tribute band with laser show. With beer and wine available at very reasonable prices from The Store next door, Pablo doing his ‘magic’ on the grill, then assuming you like the blues-harp and/or Floyd, these are two Valley evenings that are as good as it gets. #303: It’s the second Tuesday of the month on Aug 9th and that means Dinner and Bingo Night at the Senior Center — good food, beer and wine, top quality bingo with prizes, and you don’t have to be a senior to attend! So I urge you to come along and support this event and remember, all proceeds go to our Senior/Community Center. #304: Here’s a heads-up that on Sunday, August 14th, it’s the annual Lions Club BBQ to benefit the AV Volunteer Ambulance at The Fairgrounds from 4.30pm to 7.30pm. Certainly one for your calendars, I’d suggest. #305: And finally this week, there’s the 2nd Annual Fundraiser for High School Fall Sports — Soccer, Football, Cheerleading, and Volleyball — at The Grange on Saturday, Aug 20th. This follows the Soccer Alumni tournament that takes place from noon to 5pm that day at Tom Smith Field next to the high school. $10 donation gets you into an evening featuring a $5 Mexican dinner, $3 beer and wine, and the DJ sounds of Alex Favella. Hope to see you there. Tickets available at Lemons Market in Philo and All That Good Stuff in Boonville, or at the door on the 20th.

Now for topics under discussion at The Three-Dot Lounge — “Moans, Groans, Good Thoughts, and Rampant Rumors” from my favorite gathering place in the Valley.

…The hot news doing the rounds and causing much discussion at the 3-Dot is that there are plans for a Medical Marijuana store in Boonville. No, not at the Health Center where it would perhaps be scene as very appropriate and even financially beneficial, but in the heart of town, between the Live Oak Building, which is home to the Valley Bible Fellowship, and Lauren’s family restaurant, and virtually opposite The Fairgrounds. Hmmm. Hmmm. Hmmm. Let’s all think about this one.

…The current issue of Real Estate, Mendo, includes a ‘love letter’ to Anderson Valley written by Bruce ‘Pat’ Patterson that includes some of his photos. This is a free publication and can be found at stores in the Valley, including the AV Market. Pat says, “People won't fight for something they don't love, or love something they don't know. I don't think anybody has ever been as alienated from nature as the American consumer, so in my nature and travel writing I try'n show what folks are missing. You know, fight fire with water.”

…From our 3-Dot regular, The Old Buzzard, comes another in his insightful series — ‘Forget The Rapture and worry about The Approach of the Apocalypse.’ Buzzard reports, “I heard this announcement on our local KZYX radio station late last Saturday afternoon. ‘Well let’s see what’s happening in the Valley today... (long pause)... Oh yes... (very long pause)... Lots of things... (another long pause)... Today it’s a work day for the Land Trust — hmmm, well that will be over by now.” Well, thanks for the information – better late than never, I guess, or is it?”

This just in. The 2012 Winner of ‘The Best Strawberries in the Valley and near points beyond’ Award goes to the beautiful product from the garden of the late Tom Smith, as wife Val continues the excellent work. ‘Truly superb’ and ‘absolutely brilliant’ were the only comments I was capable of as I devoured a few dozen last weekend. A close second was a previous winner, the earthy-fresh and sweet tasting strawberries from Saechau Farms, just south of Ukiah on Highway 101. These are well priced but for every four superb berries there was a lesser tasting one, unlike the mouth-watering consistency of the Smith’s produce. Despite this, Saechau may still have pushed harder for the top-up spot if not for the discourteous service that cost them some valuable points. And before some bleedin' heart p.c. liberal, who lives in the middle of nowhere and has little contact with what goes on in the real world, steps in to defend this behavior as an understandable result of a difference in cultures, I would just like to say to them, “Just stop it. Please. Now!”

Oh, dear, have I upset somebody? I’ll get my coat and leave shall I? But before I do, with the hot weather with us, just a reminder 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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