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Bird’s Eye View (Mar 26, 2014)

Greetings one and all. If you are sitting comfortably then I shall begin. The Old Buzzard is particularly ornery this week, along with many other Valley folks, and justifiably so. He has much to say. But first, the Public Service Announcements. Calendars and pens at the ready.

Sheep Dog Trial. Saturday, March 22. # 986. RESDA’s (Redwood Empire Sheep Dog Association) first sheep dog trial of the year takes place this Saturday at the Johnson Ranch at the corner of Hwy 128 and Hwy 123 just south of Boonville. Members of the public are welcome and the action gets started around 9:30pm and will go for three or four hours so feel free to stop by at any time and watch humans and dogs working together as good as it gets. #987. The Winemaker dinner to benefit the AV Housing Association is on Saturday, March 29. This will be at Scharffenberger Cellars at 6.30pm. Call 895-3525 for more information. #988. The Community Singing at Lauren’s is also this coming Saturday, March 29 at 8.30pm. Go along and sing-along. You will know lots of the songs. I guarantee it! #989. The Barn Sale returns in less than two weeks for its usual spring, summer, and fall run after a four-month hiatus. This takes place at The St. Elizabeth Seton Catholic Church Refectory on AV Way just north of Boonville from 9am to 3pm on both Saturday and Sunday, April 5 and 6. #990. The Vets will not be making any more visits to the Valley this month. However, they will be here on two Thursdays next month. April 10 and 24.

Here’s the menu for the Community lunches over the next week at the Senior Center at the Veterans Hall in Boonville. The Center asks for a $6 donation from Seniors and charges $7 for Non-Seniors. Tomorrow, Thursday, March 27, the lunch, always served by Marti Titus and her crew at 12.15pm, will be Joe’s Chili, Cornbread, Salsa, Cheese, Quinoa salad, Broccoli salad, and Cinnamon Roll cake for dessert. Then next Tuesday, April 1, the menu will feature sheep eye soup, squashed squirrel pie, and skunk brownies for dessert. Ah! April Fool! It will actually be Meatloaf, Mashed potatoes with gravy, Peas & Carrots, Rolls, Quinoa Salad, and Birthday Cupcakes. Remember, all ages are welcome! Hope to see you there.

Now let’s discuss both the Winery and Whinery News in tandem, as reported by The Old Buzzard for his weekly column “Signs that the Apocalypse is Approaching.”

“I am writing this in a sleep-deprived state of anger. The Valley is in uproar. Everybody is talking about it. I refer to the noise pollution produced by the fans used at various wineries to protect their vines against frost. ‘Is that a helicopter landing in my yard?’ is the most common question heard around the Valley since ‘When is someone going to feed Ken Allen to the pigs?’ Many further comments are all over Facebook as local folks have been kept awake, night after night, for the past week or so.

“For us up at The Nest in the Deep End we have been talking about this problem for a number of years and now that Valley folks in other parts further inland are being affected it is finally getting the attention and criticism this practice deserves. Turkey Vulture and I have long protested the anti-social and self-serving actions of Goldeneye Winery, our local branch of minions to the Duckhorn Dynasty and I have had many folks talk to me about this over the past week or so and it shows no sign of abating.

“The vines have recently had ‘bud-break’ and the frosty nights are with us. The result of this combination is that certain wineries are turning on their helicopter-like fans for several hours every night and in certain areas of the Valley sleep is near impossible. One of the worst offenders, yet again, is the aforementioned Golden Nose Winery, whose Narrows Vineyard just south of Floodgate has the loudest fans of all. and I say that not just because they are less than a mile from The Nest where Turkey Vulture, Hummingbird, myself, and others of our ilk reside. The fans at the Narrows are acknowledged by anyone who has heard them to be the loudest in the Valley. In fact, even folks in-the-know at the Golden Mouth Winery have admitted to this!

“It should certainly be pointed out, however that this year they are not the only ones committing this anti-social ‘crime.’ This past week has also witnessed sleepless nights endured by folks in the heart of Philo and even Boonville, courtesy of vineyards in those parts of the Valley who shall be named by others, certainly. The best way of protest is to call in at the tasting room of your nearest offender and collect your earplugs and case of wine that they are surely handing out free of charge as some sort of peace offering for their invasive behavior.

“Having started out in the Valley a decade or so ago under a cloud of corporate irresponsibility you’d think Golden Ear would try to avoid such ill-feeling. In fact at times in recent years they have reached out and somewhat ingratiated themselves to the community. But, no. here they go again. And I’m not even going to mention their past indiscretions such as desecrating historic Native Indian sites or their other recently reported “misdemeanor” of taking water from the local creek that has little water, protested against by former AVA Editor David Severn outside the winery gates just a week ago. I am talking about a particularly Machiavellian winery here, and I don’t care if it means I have to forego my tipple of their splendid Pinot as a form of protest, one which I urge you to join me and others in making.

“Whilst most wineries now use water for frost protection, Golden Neck continues with these fans at this particular vineyard, although they have said they will replace them in the next year or two with water from the reservoir they recently installed, filled up with water from an almost dry creek perhaps? In the meantime, for the many folks having to endure this severe noise pollution, it is a case of “deal with it.” As for those annoying people who say it is just part of living in an agricultural area. give me a break. These folks either work for the wineries in question or do not live within the range of the noise pollution or they would not be uttering such gibberish. Surely the wineries have a moral obligation to have as little affect on their neighbors as possible and this act of selfishness is far from achieving that. Besides, I am reliably informed that while they have some rights under the law, they are not allowed to add fans wherever they wish and if it’s deemed that such an addition has led to an unreasonable situation then local residents also have rights.

“The main point is that there are alternatives. They may cost money but if anyone has plenty of that it is Golden Wallet / Duckhorn and the other offending wineries. A case of the wine produced at The Narrows goes for $960! Yes, $80 for a bottle of their 2010 Pinot! What a joke! We local residents are trying to get some hard-earned sleep and they get $80 a bottle for preventing us from doing so! Do I really have to go and picket the Napa home of Dan Duckhorn, the almighty leader at Duckhorn Wines and its subsidiary here in the Valley. Golden Ass, and play my Black Sabbath collection at full volume in the middle of the night to get a little understanding?

“Before I finish with this particularly disturbing ‘Sign that the Apocalypse is Approaching,’ I should share with you the following statement on Golden Scrotum’s website that is dripping with unintended irony. “The diverse population and landscape of the Mendocino coast of California provides the winery with a remarkable amount of opportunity to make a difference in our local community.” I couldn’t possibly comment other than to say, “Pass the sick bag, Bruce.”

“Apparently the Narrows Vineyard does not produce many grapes so one could be forgiven for suggesting they just pull them up and re-start with a neighbor-friendly frost protection system installed. However, the powers-that-be at Golden Penis have a high regard for the Pinot Noir produced at The Narrows and of course at the end of the day that is the most important thing so what do they care? Well, perhaps they could consider turning on the fans at a lower temperature, say 25° instead of 28°? Or even just leave them off all together and see what happens. This kind of thinking is probably not the kind they like and as Mr. Dan Duckhorn enjoys a deep sleep in his mansion many miles from the Valley it is probably the last thing on his mind. However, if anyone wishes to call him to let him know how his or her sleepless night is going, his home number is.” (Continued on page 74).

Very interesting and informative, Buzzard. I hope you have success with your protest. I too shall be boycotting Golden Eye wines and urge readers to do so also until something is done to reduce the effects of the distressing current situation.

Meanwhile, for your Quote of the Week, let’s go with some classics on the role of big business and corporations on society. First, this observation by Henry Ward Beecher (1813-1887), the American Congregationalist clergyman, social reformer, and speaker, known for his support of the abolition of slavery, who said, “The commerce of the world is conducted by the strong, and usually it operates against the weak.” Even industrialist Henry Ford (1863-1947). Yes that Henry Ford, weighed in with a momentary thought of altruism when he commented, “A business that makes nothing but money is a poor kind of business.” The Irish novelist, Oliver Goldsmith (1730-1774), observed, “Honor sinks where commerce long prevails.” But perhaps the most meaningful of them all are these words from one of the great men of history, Mohandas K. Gandhi (1869-1948), who so very wisely, yet fairly, stated, “It is difficult but not impossible to conduct strictly honest business. What is true is that honesty is incompatible with the amassing of a large fortune.”

Oh, dear, have we upset somebody? Should I get my coat and leave? No, not likely. I am with all the folks who support the Old Buzzard on this issue. See you on the picket lines! Until we talk again, Keep the Faith; be careful out there; stay out of the ditches; think good thoughts; and may your god go with you. A final request” “Let us prey.” Humbly yours, Turkey Vulture. PS. Contact me with words of support/abuse through the Letters Page or at PPS. Skylark. read any good books lately? … Keep on humming, Hummingbird. … Everything cool with you, O.J.? Of course it is.

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