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Bird’s Eye View (May 6, 2015)


Greetings one and all. If you are sitting comfortably then I shall begin. It’s that time of year again, when I leave these parts for the Annual Turkey Vultures and Lesser Birds of Prey Convention at a secret location many miles from here. You will no doubt be pleased to hear that I shall be receiving a Special Vulturanitarian Award for lifetime services to the Birds of Prey Community of Northern California, to go along with yet another Carrion-Eater of the Year Title (Anderson Valley Region). Thanks to everyone who has made these awards possible, particularly of course Hummingbird, my fellow Vultures, and the noble carcass-providers. During my absence, It remains to be seen if I shall be able to write this column each week, although I shall certainly try to. Please prey for me.

The news of Loretta Houck’s freakish yet awful accident last Thursday evening has resonated around the Valley as much as any such tragic accident in recent years. Loretta, a close friend of Hummingbird’s, is currently at Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital where she is undergoing procedures to help her recover from her fall on to rocks that were in the back of her and husband W.Dan’s truck as they helped to set up a fire pit in the AV Brewery’s grounds for the gathering of guest brewers etc in town for last Saturday’s Brew Fest. On the day after the accident, Dan reported that the back of her skull was crushed and neurosurgeons operated to relieve swelling and to deal with massive hemorrhaging and inner brain blood clots. The operation was a success but they will not know the extent of the damage for quite some time. On Sunday, Dan sent this update to Hummingbird who forwarded it to many Valley folks: “Lots of very positive signs. She is occasionally taking extra breaths, essentially pushing the ventilator. She is moving all of her limbs in an apparently intentional manner. She has been scratching her belly today. She has opened her eyes briefly and looked around. This morning she took hold of the bed railings on either side and nearly pulled herself up. She wiggles fingers and toes, more readily on the right. Good trend but it could all change instantly with more swelling or infection. She is strong, she has surprised several nurses with her moves to pull tubes out or stop uncomfortable procedures. We sense that it is the Loretta we know fighting with whatever means available to come out. Thank you all for the thoughts, prayers and offers of help. It is out of our hands at the moment but when it is our turn it is wonderful to know there are so many available for the work ahead.” Loretta, who is the former owner of local store Laughing Dog Books and currently the County Fair Business Assistant at The Fairgrounds in Boonville, no doubt has the support and positive energy of many Valley folks as we hope and pray for favorable news and join her in collectively summoning up the necessary spirit and belief for her recovery. She is a strong woman and if anyone can come through this she can. We’re with you Loretta.

Public Service Announcements. Calendars and pens at the ready. #740. The Vets from the Mendocino Animal Hospital have confirmed three upcoming dates for when they will be in the Valley. Thursdays, May 14, June 4, and June 25. That’s every three weeks and an almost regular schedule! #741. The Boonville Farmers Market has moved back to its regular summer location in the parking lot at the Boonville Hotel. It runs from 10-12:30 and you are encouraged to come by with your locally grown or made food or crafts, to sell or trade, or just stop in to check out the wonderful produce etc that is for sale. For more info, call Cindy at 895-2949. #742. The Anderson Valley Grange is having its regular second Sunday Pancake Breakfast on May 10 from 8:30-11am. Prices range from $5-10, kids through hungry folks, for a delicious, locally-sourced breakfast. Choices include pancakes (gluten free is available but extra gluten is not), eggs, and bacon, with a choice of juice, tea or coffee included. #743. The AV Lending Library run by The Unity Club is open Tuesday and Saturday at The Fairgrounds. Tuesday 1.30pm. 4.30pm and Saturday 2pm. 4pm. #744. The County Dump is open from 9am. 4pm Tuesday, Wednesday, Saturday, and Sunday. Remember, no dead animals! #745. The latest small business opening in town is A.D. Jones Jewelry, open Thursday to Monday from noon to five each day at its location in Railroad Car #1 opposite the Redwood Drive-In. The owner/operator is Andy Jones who covers a wide range of jewelry-related areas from repairs and restoration, to collectibles and antiques, and even watch batteries. #746. Support your local businesses!

Here is the menu for the Community lunches and dinners over the next week at the Senior Center at the Veterans” Building in Boonville. The Center asks for a $6 donation from seniors for both lunches and dinners and charges $7 for Non-seniors for lunches and $8 for the dinners. Tomorrow, Thursday, May 7, the lunch, served by Marti Titus and her crew at Noon, will be Chicken picatta, rice, green beans, farro and kale salad, and Tiramisu for dessert. Then, next Tuesday evening, May 12 at 6pm, the dinner will feature Beef and broccoli, rice asian slaw, raspberry gelatin, barley salad and cherry dump cake for dessert. As this is the 2nd Tuesday of the month, the dinner will be followed by Bingo at 7pm. All meals include vegetables, salad bar, and fruit, plus milk, coffee, tea, and lemonade. What a deal. it maybe the best $7 you’ll spend all week! Hopefully you will be able to attend, and remember. ALL ages welcome!

Topics and Valley events under discussion this week at The Three-Dot Lounge: Moans, Groans, Good Thoughts, and Rampant (yet surprisingly reliable) Rumors from my favorite gathering place in the Valley.

…A number of 3-Dot regulars were particularly saddened to hear that Gracie, the loving and much beloved Tibetan terrier whose best friend and guardian was Leslie Hummel, formerly of All that Good Stuff store in Boonville, had been put to sleep due to an incurable case of Lyme disease. To add to the sense of loss, the two of them, woman and dog, were about to embark together on an extended road trip across America in a recently acquired fifth wheel. Gracie was a special dog, one who had many admirers, and her sudden death at the age of just six-and-a-half will leave friends of Leslie, Valley dog lovers, and anyone else who was aware of the precious bond that these two shared, with a deep sorrow. Undoubtedly, caring thoughts and heartfelt wishes for the grieving to fade as quickly as possible are with Leslie at this difficult time.

… “Awesome” is a word that could be used to describe Gracie with justification. However, in my humble opinion, the word is expressed far more often than it is warranted, and one cannot help but question whether everything referred to these days as “awesome” is really as awe-inspiring as the way the word is defined? Much of what is so described is, if the truth were to be spoken, “especially good,” “very tasty,” “exceedingly pleasant,” particularly interesting,” “very well done,” “most impressive,” etc. Things that are actually awe-inspiring and earn the description “awesome” could equally be referred to as being breathtaking, magnificent, overwhelming, stunning, sublime, and wondrous. So come on, was that burger actually “breathtaking,” or was it “especially good’? Just wondering, trying to keep it real.

…Given the weather we have experienced recently, of which there seems no end, it would seem that the helicopter-esque frost protection fans used by a number of the Valley’s wineries are not going to be causing any more discomfort until next year. Inevitably this hot Valley topic of February and March would appear to have run its course, for now. Interestingly, while the problems have been widespread through the Valley in the last couple of years, in the Deep End / Christine Woods region this noise pollution has been an issue for many years, since 2008 in fact! Here is a comment that appeared in this column seven years ago, back in April of that year.

“This week’s Whine of the Week comes about as a result of The Nest being situated about a mile or so away from the nearest winery, which is apparently not nearly far enough! Over this past weekend we experienced three successive nights of temperatures below freezing and when this occurs, particularly at this time of year with the vines budding, the wineries choose to turn on their giant fans that blast air across the vines and prevent the frost from damaging them. The noise these fans make mean it’s like living under The Bay Bridge with a constant loud hum/whirring continuing through the night. Those who live closer to the vines than we do can probably cannot hear themselves think! For someone who loves a glass or two of the red nectar this may sound a little hypocritical, and it is! However, at times the noise resembles a helicopter landing a couple of hundred feet away, even for those somewhat stupefied from enjoying a little too much wine. As for those who don’t even drink, they must be most upset at this selfish behavior by the wineries from which there is no hiding. It doesn’t seem right. I have no answer, but in the meantime I’ll have a glass of Pinot and give it some more thought.”

Clearly this almost light-hearted piece was written before things became unbearable locally, and affected greater numbers further afield. The rest is history.

Time to take my leave. Until we talk again, Keep the Faith; be careful out there; stay out of the ditches; think good thoughts; be wary of strangers with more dogs than teeth; please remember to keep your windows cracked if you have pets in your vehicle; and may your god go with you. A final request, “Let us prey.” Sometimes poking, often stroking, but almost always humbly yours, Turkey Vulture. Contact me with words of support/abuse through the Letters Page or at PS. On the sheep, Grace. Hi, Silver Swan, behaving yourself? Hopefully not! Bobwhite Quail, what are you knitting for me next?

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