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Bird’s Eye View

Greetings one and all. If you are sitting comfortably then I shall begin. My dear, dear friend, Fred, a 14-year old Border collie, whose quality of life had deteriorated rapidly in just a few days, was painlessly “put to sleep” last Wednesday. He had been a wonderful companion and, unusually for his breed, a very carefree and relaxed working dog. When herding sheep, Border collies use their intelligence, their “eye,” their unique understanding of and relationship with their shepherd, and a degree of calmness so as not to unduly unnerve the sheep. Fred had all but the last one of these — he was certainly not calm. He was going to enjoy himself and not hide that fact, but his blatant enthusiasm did not affect his performance. Master Shepherd, Kevin Owens of Yorkville, upon watching Fred efficiently move a flock of range sheep high in the hills above the Valley, commented, “I’ve been watching this breed of dog work sheep for over 50 years and Fred is the only one I have ever seen who wags his tail when doing his job!”

Following the first six years of his life that were mostly spent in a state of boredom and some neglect, Fred found a new home and his exuberance in the sheep pastures can be put down to this, and the fact that he shared this home with other Border collie friends and sheep who could provide what he wanted most — hard work and play. He had found his heaven on earth. To some he was a local hero as a result of his successful efforts in helping a number of Valley folks move their sheep/goats as the lightning fires of 2008 threatened flocks. Now, with his passing, I like to think he has found the other heaven, where tail-wagging and fun while working sheep are part of every day life for the sheep dogs who make it there. If ever a dog deserves to be in Border collie heaven, it would be good old Fred. R.I.P. — and may you keep having fun, buddy.

There can be only one Quote of the Week. This, from an anonymous source, says it all, “Dogs are your best friend, your partner, your defender, and they will always be happy to see you. You are their life, their love, their leader. They will be faithful and true to you until the last beat of their heart.”

Public Service Announcements. Calendars and pens at the ready. #128. The Vets from the Mendocino Animal Hospital continue to make regular visits to the Valley and they return here tomorrow, Thursday, July 19. They will be at The AV Farm Supply from 2pm to 3.30pm and if you call them 48 hours in advance (462-8833) you can ensure that your pet’s charts are brought over the hill, and order any medications your pet might need. New customers and their pets are always welcome. #129. It’s the 3rd Friday of the month so that means the Grange Groove is back, coming to The Grange on Hwy 128, on Friday, July 20 from 8pm on, and featuring the sounds of DJ Jerry Carp! Yes, that Jerry. “The Carpster,” known primarily for his Jazz Odyssey show on KZYX, and the man who put the ‘er’ rather than ‘hip’ into hipster, has assured me that he will have them dancing in the aisles, so I urge you to get your dancing shoes on and join Jerry and the crowd for a fun night out. #130. The Navarro Store has just two shows this year — disappointing, I know. But when there are so many rules and regulations to follow and every county agency wants a piece of your pie, it is no longer possible for impresario Dave Evans to do what he used to do and give us quality live music all summer long. However, he has lined-up blues rock slide guitarist Roy Rogers for this coming Saturday, July 21 and then later in the year it will be the one-and-only Charlie Musselwhite on Sept 1. #131. Guest Chef Dinner at the Senior Center is Friday, July 27. Jared Titus is the chef and he is serving an Italian Summer Grill featuring salads, grilled chicken and shrimp, and canolis. We will be eating outside on the lawn at the Senior Center with Dean Titus and Susan Clark providing live jazzy music and fire pits will round out the ambiance of what should be a lovely summer evening. $30/person which includes your donation and a complimentary glass of wine. #132. The “Not-so-Simple Living Fair” takes place at the Fairgrounds in Boonville July 27-29. This event celebrates rural living skills and features workshops, demonstrations, local food, etc. Check out or call 895-2949. #133. The powers-that-be at the monthly Barn Sale held at The St. Elizabeth Seton Catholic Church Refectory on AV Way just north of Boonville have decided to change their event to the first weekend of the month for the next few months. So those of you expecting it on the final weekend of this month will have to wait one more week, until Saturday/Sunday, Aug 4&5. For the bargain hunters among you, I’m sure it will be worth the wait.

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

…As you will have read above, in a week or so the Valley will welcome back the Not-So-Simple Living Fair. There is no truth to the rumor that with so many Brightlighters (City folks) now living in the Valley, organizers considered re-naming their event the Really-Quite-Difficult Living Fair.

…A humble retraction… Apparently, Alan ‘Egg-layer’ Thomas, did not win the chicken-clucking contest in 2011 at the ‘Olde Time 4th of July’ gathering last year as reported here last week, and so his victory at this year’s event was in fact his first. However, I sense that, given the way he is walking these days, it will not be his last.

…Regulars tell me that the Bastille Day Celebration held last Saturday at the Fairgrounds in Boonville to benefit local public radio’s KZYX was very enjoyable but the turnout was disappointing. At the following afternoon at PawFest 2012, held at the AV Brewery to benefit AV Animal Rescue, there were about 120 in attendance but this was down a little from last year. Nevertheless, it was a joy to have so many dogs present (they were welcome on a leash) when so many laws prevent dogs and their owners spending time together in public on beaches and in forests or woods, etc.

…These situations brought a number of regulars to a discussion on the topic of the Valley being saturated with benefit events during times of economic hardships for many. With the Save Hendy Woods movement recently added to the list, and their benefit earlier in the week selling out for the Kristofferson and Bottrell concert, it would seem that this movement is the Valley’s current ‘Cause Célebre.’ Obviously, this is a very important undertaking, a wonderful one in fact, and a cause that has been enthusiastically supported from the beginning in this column, and indeed before the movement was formally created. However, it would seem that both this, and also the sheer number of other fundraisers that are now held here, have affected numbers at many events in what are difficult economic times for many. Valley folks have to make difficult choices on which fundraisers to attend and donate their dollars and the organizers of these events are becoming increasingly aware of going to the same ‘well’ time after time. We discussed the issue at length and, along with the conclusion that this community is amazingly generous, came to the realization that there are limits and, for now, the lower attendances and amounts raised at some events are inevitable.

I must take my leave. So, until we talk again, Keep the Faith; be careful out there; stay out of the ditches; think good thoughts; please remember to keep your windows cracked if you have pets in your vehicle; 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 PPS. Hi, Silver Swan. Behaving yourself? Hopefully not! PPPS. On the sheep, Grace.

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