Greetings one and all. If you are sitting comfortably then I shall begin. Welcome to the 300th edition of “A Bird’s Eye View” since Sir Bruce’s return to the helm of the AVA in July 2007. Some of you will recall that the column also ran for a period before then, from November 2004 to March 2006, when the newspaper was under the editorial leadership of David Severn. Thanks for your support. past, present, and hopefully moving forward.
Let’s start off with the exciting news that the sheepdog trial course, the one that can be clearly viewed from Highway 128 at its location alongside the Big Barn on AV Way just outside Boonville, has finally been “conquered.” Since it was installed several months ago no dog had successfully finished the complete course until last week, and it took a champion to do so. With an audience of an “amateur” shepherd, a beer expert, and two young working dogs, the 2012 County Fair winning pair of local Master Shepherd Kevin Owens and his wonderful ten-year old Border Collie Bren, expertly drove some ornery sheep through both sets of panels and the very difficult narrow shoot, before herding their woolly adversaries into the holding pen. It was a superb performance that drew wild applause from both of the assembled observers and gave obvious delight to Bren’s tail-wagging grandson Gel and nephew Winston! While this achievement will probably not be seen by most folks as being in the realm of Sir Edmund Hilary’s 1953 “conquering” of Mount Everest, in the world of shepherds and working dogs it will certainly be viewed as somewhat comparable, and there has already been talk of a “Sir Kevin of Yorkville.” Update. Following their efforts in the Fair Elimination Trial a few days later, Kevin and Bren qualified for this year’s County Fair Trial, to held on Sunday, September 15, where they will defend their Championship.
Public Service Announcements. Calendars and pens at the ready. #390. The next visit to the Valley by the vets from Mendocino Animal Hospital will not be until Thursday, September 12, but they will then come again the following week on September 19. #391. The next in the series of Guest Chef Dinners that take place every two months to benefit the Senior Center is coming up in less than two weeks. Friday, August 30 to be precise, with Happy Hour at 5pm followed at 6pm by Chef Matt Ward’s Jambalaya on rice with Hush Puppies. Tickets will certainly sell out so call Gina at 895-3609 to reserve yours. #392. That same weekend, on the evening of Saturday, Aug 31, Dave Evans, hard-working owner of the Navarro Store and impresario in the world of local live music, informs me that the Deep End will once again be the scene of a very special live performance when electric blues harmonica great Charlie Musselwhite will make his much anticipated return to the Valley. In the meantime, the store’s BBQ grill is now open with cook Guy Kephart taking over from the almost but not quite irreplaceable Pablo. Guy’s Grill will be serving some of the best bbq food around from 11am to 3pm every Saturday and Sunday throughout the summer and will no doubt be doing a brisk business at the Musselwhite show. #393. The Mendocino Bookmobile is in town next Tuesday, August 27. They are in the Valley on alternate Tuesdays for 45 minutes at each of these places and times: Floodgate 12.30pm; Philo 1.30pm; Boonville 2.30pm. Their next visit will be Tuesday, September 10. #394. The wine, food, and music event, Winesong, returns to the Valley over the weekend of September 6-8. details to follow. #395. In case you need extra confirmation, or perhaps live under a rock like some of my family and friends do, The Mendocino County Fair is September 13-15.
Here’s the menu for the next week at the Senior Center at the Veterans Hall in Boonville. The Center asks for a $5 donation from seniors and $7 for Non-Seniors for lunches and for the dinners it is $6 and $8, respectively. Tomorrow, Thursday, August 22, the lunch, always served by Marti Titus and her crew at 12.15pm, will be parmesan fish, brown rice, broccoli, spinach salad, strawberry and shortcake squares for dessert. Then next Tuesday August 27, in the evening at 6pm, the dinner will feature tamale pie, baked cream corn, tabbouleh salad, salsa, black bean salad, with a dessert of monkey tail cake. This is also “Game Night” so bring your favorite one along. And remember, all ages are welcome! Hope to see you there.
Topics and Valley events under discussion this week at The Three-Dot Lounge — “Moans, Groans, Good Thoughts, and Rampant (and often Reliable) Rumors” from my favorite gathering place in the Valley.
…News of the passing of Clyde Price Jr. was met with sadness by all at The Three-Dot this week. Clyde’s forebears arrived in the Valley in the 1890s and had family links to the Browns and Studebakers, while Clyde attended the one-room schoolhouses of the day with kids from the Ingram, Gowan, Clow, and Hiatt families. Certainly some Valley “royalty” there! Yes, Clyde was a link to the Valley’s distant and rapidly fading past and he will be missed by all who knew him and enjoyed his interesting and frequently very humorous company.
…While customers at the Three-Dot are able to dine on the finest foods available in the Valley, here at the best carrion venue for hundreds of miles, there are several other restaurant options to be had in the Valley to fit both your dining desires and budget. Now, to add to the likes of Lauren’s, The Buckhorn, Libby’s, Aquarelle, Anel’s, The Drive-In, and The Hotel, we have the French country cuisine served by the family-owned-and-operated Coq Au Vin at the former Floodgate Store on Hwy 128 in northwest AV. Several regulars have given very positive reviews and I hope to see for myself very soon. In the meantime, the restaurant is open for dinner on Thursdays thru Monday from 5pm each evening and reservations are encouraged on Friday and Saturdays. Call 895-9255 to do so.
…Opening soon. “Stone and Embers” restaurant located in The Madrones complex of small businesses/tasting rooms south of Philo.
…If either of these new restaurants can titillate the palate as did the truly excellent birria (goat soup) served up by the Ferreyra family at their party last Saturday evening, then they will be doing a great job. Two Valley goats were humanely butchered by Eddie Ferreyra and cooked by his father Domingo Sr, with all the necessary fixin’s prepared by other assorted family members and friends. When accompanied by the beer, wine, and music provided by DJ Alex Favella, this must surely have been the best of a number of Valley gatherings that night. I hope so. It was the one I spent most of my time!
…Speaking of which, my roving reporters have informed that there were good crowds at those other events. The Quinceanera for Maggie Mendoza at the Apple Hall in Boonville, Dan and Loretta Houck’s Pool and Pond Party in the Yorkville Highlands; the “Joe Blow” band’s party on AV Way hosted by Jill and Steve “It’s my party and I’ll play if I want to” Derwinski; and “The Last Night of The Lodge (Saloon).” The other event that I attended for a final couple of tipples. They were all very enjoyable I’m sure, but did they serve Ferreyra goat soup and the wonderfully smooth La Perla de Tzitzio. mescal from Michoacán? I didn’t think so.
Time to take my leave. 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 firstname.lastname@example.org. PPS. Keep on wagging that tail, Fred. PPPS. Keep up the good work, Round-eyed Robin.