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Valley People (October 21, 2020)

SARAH SONGBIRD, the popular, Boonville-based singer of the Real Sarahs, has been badly injured in a car accident. She writes:

I am incredibly moved by the outpouring of love, support and generosity that I’ve been receiving from friends, fans and community all over the world. People I’ve never met, people that have known me for decades and all stages between. It’s interesting how the worst tragedies can illustrate just how much you are loved. 

I’ve had 3 surgeries, I’ve got a fractured left ankle, right femur, right rib, sternum and pelvis on both sides. My right kneecap was destroyed and has been removed. 

My goal right now is to figure out how to get my pain low enough to learn to get out of bed so I can get to a rehab facility and start making my way home. My second goal is to be walking again by Solstice. 

All of you are walking this healing journey with me and I can’t believe all the phone calls, cards, gifts, and flowers that have been offered with the purest love, support and appreciation. I am solidly convinced that I have been on the right path, doing the right things with my life, and am really seen for the person that I am. 

I am blown away at how you are all showing up for me. I am receiving your love and it is helping to lift me up out of this dark experience and reminding me that I will get through this with the help and love of all of you.

If any of you want to support the Go Fund Me that has been set up for us, here is the link.

Here are the remains of my first ever brand new car, Mystang Sally. We had some awesome adventures together. 

I thank her for somehow protecting Jon and I from death. Even though I was trapped for 40 minutes while the rescuing heroes saved my life, I will always be grateful for her little body for keeping me alive inside during the worst wreck I’ve ever seen. 

My biggest gratitude is that the love of my life Jon Tyson also made it out alive. Apparently the universe thinks we’ve got some really important things still to do and gave us the chance to really show up for that.

He’s also pretty beat up and he’s gonna need a lot of love and support. Please send some well wishes and prayers his way as we find our way back to the magical life that we’ve been creating together. Life will never be the same and I’ll never forget being held in the most beautiful web of love and kindness. Thank you! 

@ Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital

THE NATIONAL OCEANIC and ATMOSPHERE ADMINISTRATION (NOAA) has released its new U.S. Winter Outlook predicting warmer-than-average temperatures except for states in the Northwest. It comes after the NOAA's National Centers for Environmental Information revealed that last month was Earth's hottest September in 140 years. More than 45% of the U.S. is currently experiencing drought.

ANDERSON VALLEY is certainly among that 45%. Never have seen it this dry. Never saw the Navarro looking worse. Never saw almost all The Valley's feeder streams dry up. Never saw so many water trucks hauling the stuff of life through The Valley and on into the hills.

THE EERILY DRY WEATHER contributes mightily to the prevalent anxiety out there about everything from the election to the latest employment stats — 23.3 million unemployed and about 6 million more Americans now defined as impoverished, and these are the official statistics, meaning you can safely add ten mil to each.

IN THE EARLY 1970s, the winter rains started often enough in early September that the Boonville Fair was moved two weeks earlier in the month which, one year, still wasn't early enough because it poured the entire three-day Fair weekend. Now, the weather people tell us to expect rain in December. If then.

STACEY ROSE, candidate for a seat on the Anderson Valley Community Services District board, is the first candidate ever for that responsibility to erect professionally rendered campaign signs, and he’s certainly the only candidate for the job to post what seems to be a live family brawl on his Facebook page. If Stace the Ace gets elected, CSD meetings are unlikely to be the meeting equivalent of Sominex.  

THE AV SENIOR CENTER is looking to hire a Part time kitchen helper. Tuesdays and Thursdays, about 10-15 hours per week total. A great part time opportunity. Please contact Fal at

EMERGENCY TIP, a reader writes: “When I was at Ukiah Costco 2 weeks ago they had Ready Wise emergency food buckets for less than $60. I did a quick online price check and the cheapest I saw was $80. I have seen several prepper articles that I believe ranks Ready Wise in the top 3 or 4 of emergency food brands. If you have to bug out in a hurry it may be much easier to grab a bucket vs pulling food out of your pantry. Just a thought...”

I DIDN'T KNOW that tigey tobe is Boontling for marijuana until I saw Ernie Pardini's recent post. Gratifying to see that Boontling lives on, and that Ernie keeps it alive.

ANOTHER LOCAL wonders how she might safely eject a skunk from her Have-A-Heart trap. Several valley people suggested tarps and poles, which is what I've done many times with skunks, raccoons, feral cats, and possums, the last being the toughest ejection. Skunks take a few seconds to maneuver their rear ends into position to spray their adversaries. I caught so many of them I learned their moves, so I did away with the tarp, keeping only the pole to position the trap so the skunk sprayed where I'd been a second earlier. The spray, which can easily exceed twenty feet, is a striking lime-green which, as it sends its futile arc at its tormentor in the morning sun, was always one more rare, rural delight.

WHEN HISTORIAN Katy Tahja put out a call for recollections of the Anderson Valley libraries of yesteryear, Marshall Newman promptly replied, “Yes, there was an Anderson Valley Library before the one at the Fairgrounds. In the late 1950s and early 1960s, it was in a pretty cabin in what was then Indian Creek County Park, just south of Philo. I believe the Anderson Valley Unity Club ran it, as it does the one at the Fairgrounds. If I recall correctly, this library was open two afternoons each week. Not a big collection of books, but the “cabin in the woods” aspect made visiting the library and checking out books – for this then pre-teen – an adventure.” Marshall adds, “I found mention of the land  as state property (possibly already designated as a ‘State Reserve’) in the 1952 Conservation Yearbook and another mention in a State Park Commission Report circa 1948.” 

WHICH inspired me to think of the Anderson Valley's history as palimpsest which, in capsule form, would begin with the Original People living their thousands of years in an untroubled Eden until the first rumor of Spaniards arrived, maybe one of their 16th century vessels spotted off the coast, a white puff of sail, and then more rumors of pale invaders moving westward from the east, and then roving bands of Spanish soldiers at the turn of the 19th century scouring the Anderson Valley for captive-converts to build the missions at Sonoma and San Rafael. After that the film snapped, and our history spun by in a subliminal rush of violence and destruction, culminating in the November 3rd election when the film goes totally dark.

LOCAL POLL WORKER Kathleen McKenna writes: “If you are a registered voter and have not yet received a ballot, call the Elections Office (234-6819) to find out why. Completed ballots can be dropped off at the Fairgrounds office M-F, 9-4. These ballots will be picked up by the County on a regular basis, and they can start the verification process. The ballot envelop must have a signature that matches the one on the registration record. If the ballots are submitted early enough, the Elections department will attempt to contact voters who submit ballots with missing or mis-matching signatures.”

KIRK VODOPALS of Navarro: “Re water trucks and weed. I still find it ludicrous that the County didn’t make water supply their first criteria for pot permit applications. I see many parcels that claim to be legit (or on the path to legal) that have wells that barely produce enough for domestic purposes. You can’t use terms like “farmer” or “agriculture” if your most essential input requires a bi-weekly 50-mile delivery via a diesel spewing water truck.”

HISTORY NOTE: "Four P-39 planes were forced down in two separated sections of Mendocino County last week and one was completely destroyed, one was slightly damaged and the other two suffered no damage at all. The plane that was destroyed fell last Thursday evening. The pilot was forced to bail out of his plane when it ran out of gasoline. He picked a heavily wooded section where there were no signs of habitants, jumped out of the plane and parachuted to safety. The pilot landed on the Fish Rock Road near Yorkville and the plane crashed about a quarter of a mile northeast and was completely destroyed by fire." (Fort Bragg Advocate, October 13, 1943)

JUST GOT MY COPY of part-time local guy Bill Kimberlin's “Inside the Star Wars Empire, A Memoir,” and started reading and didn't look up for a hundred pages. Knowing nothing about movies other than how to sit and watch them, Kimberlin's memoir skillfully mixes understandable techno-info with truly fascinating anecdotes of his encounters with the genius-titans of the business —he's on a first name basis with George Lucas who, we learn, is a modest, unassuming fellow. As is author Kimberlin who downplays his obviously crucial contributions to Lucas’s film classics. The author relays several unsentimental but touching vignettes from his early years as a kid orphaned when his parents died prematurely. It's been a while since autobiographical prose has grabbed me like this book.  Great stuff, and you don’t have to be interested particularly in films to enjoy this book.

MORE DRIVE-IN MOVIES at the AV GRANGE: Coming up this SATURDAY night Oct 24th: ‘COCO.’ Rave reviews, beautifully animated with a message about bringing people together through music and family. The movie starts at dark, weather report says it'll be pretty cool so bundle up. Showing these movies has been a lot of fun and the Grange will continue to show movies as long as weather permits.

LOCAL GROWERS — pot, silly, not grapes — are complaining that prices are already down to an average of a grand a pound for primo, off 500 bucks from what a lot of gardeners were expecting when this year's Green Rush kicked off last spring. And the harvest is just beginning, but the accompanying pot-driven home invasions are now year round, with crime generally so much more prevalent in the County post-covid that Sheriff Kendall has called for help.

THE POT BIZ, once it became truly lucrative in the early 1970s, has always come with fear and anxiety at this time of year, especially and naturally in areas remote from the pavement. A friend told me recently he'd been challenged by Mexican growers at the foot of his driveway in the hills west of Boonville, aggressively challenged, and this is a guy who's lived on the same parcel up the hill he developed in 1970. My late brother, on a morning walk with his wife in the Willits hills was only yards past his own property line when a guy with a shotgun emerged from the bushes to warn, “Far as you go, bub. Turn around and leave.” Everyone in the county can tell versions of these encounters. For non-growers, especially in rural developments like Ranch Navarro here in the Anderson Valley, the annual menace presented simply by the presence of their grower neighbors, represents a burden they didn't expect when they bought their few acres of paradise.

WOW! One seven-day week after County Clerk Bartolomie mailed out ballots, she announced last week that some 8,000 of them are already back to her, signed, sealed and delivered, which she says is more than 10 times higher than in past years. “Normally at this point, we would have received about 700,” she said.

MENDO LANDSLIDE for Biden, or Trumpers voting for the first time? The post-election breakdown of the Mendo vote is going to be interesting. Outside Mendo, election results seem likely to be downright thrilling.

One Comment

  1. Marshall Newman October 22, 2020

    I heard the story of the P-39 crash (has to be the same incident – how many planes crash here?) around 1960, soon after we Newmans moved to Anderson Valley. Apparently several people heard the engine sputter and saw the pilot bail out. By the time he reached the ground, a welcoming party of three or four locals had gathered nearby to greet him.

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