ON THE 24th of September at the Anderson Valley Fairgrounds between 1 and 4pm the friends and family of Loretta Jean Houck are invited to gather to celebrate her amazing life. There will be food, beverage, cigars, pictures and more. We will tell our favorite stories and remember how blessed we all have been to have known her.
HERE COMES THE MACHINE, there goes labor. This mechanical grape harvester was hauled in to the Goldeneye Vineyard this morning (Monday).
STRAIGHT from the boss, Mary Anne Montana as delivered to the Supervisors: Of the 1,298 animals, mostly dogs and cats, 94 percent got out alive, a figure Ms. Montana downsized to 90 percent later in the week. The figure covers January through the end of June, and seems to be bordering on the miraculous.
WHEN KAREN OTTOBONI dropped by the other day with the gift of excellent blackberry jam, I mentioned the phenomenal growth of the vegetable garden at the Elder Home. Karen has been instrumental in the creation of both the senior housing and the garden. “Cold Creek Compost,” Karen explained. “Potter Valley. They only deliver by the truck load.” Cold Creek arose in the face of serious opposition of its neighbors, but savvy management has not only cooled out its critics, its product is super.
‘VELMA’S FARM STAND’ is the name of Chris and Stephanie Tebbutts’ new commercial venture on Anderson Valley Way, northwest of Boonville. Fresh flowers, olive oil and seasonal fruit Friday to Monday from noon to 5pm until the end of fall.
THE TEBBUTTS and their gifted builder, the excellent Mr. Triplett, have done a brilliant re-model of what had been a prosaic garage and the long-time home of a mysterious figure said to be a Spaniard, who lived in a tiny room in a corner of the structure. I believe he’d worked for Buster and Velma Farrer, owners of the property prior to the Tebbutts, hence Velma’s Farm Stand. Velma Farrer was quite an interesting person. As a young woman she'd lived for some time in pre-revolution Cuba, a glamorous sin state operated by the American mafia. How she'd come to live in then-remote Anderson Valley with a crusty rancher who was old even when he was young, is not known.
INTERESTING NOTE from Nikki and Steve of Petit Teton Farm south of Boonville, and if you haven’t stopped in there you’re missing a true roadside adventure: “There is a lot of confusion, misconception, and just plain lack of knowledge about the animal slaughtering and butchering business...for good reason. There are federal, state and local rules and obfuscation seems to be the name of the game. It has taken us several years to understand some of the ins and outs of the process but it still makes little sense. We are only allowed to sell meat at market or off the farm if it has been USDA slaughtered AND butchered. But not all meat. We are not allowed to sell venison or wild pigs, any "wild" harvested meats, ever, because they can't be sent to a USDA facility. On the other hand we can sell up to 2,500 chickens processed on the farm (not a USDA facility). And chickens, in our opinion, are one of the most dangerous meats. We believe that will be the same when we start selling squab. Yaks are labeled an "exotic" meat (we assume that the beef industry keeps it from the "domestic" animal category for financial reasons), and is able to be processed at a USDA facility as long as the butcher has a special permit to do exotics. We haven't finished researching this because we haven't a need yet, so we don't know if the slaughterhouse needs a special permit as well. Needless to say, not all slaughterhouses/butcher shops have this permit so lord knows how far we'll have to go to have our yaks processed for sale. The closest slaughterhouse for us is in Petaluma — a long two-hour drive for an animal. We had to train our pigs to use the trailer then we drove very slowly in the wee morning hours to the facility otherwise they become sick and tense and the meat is damaged. For a charge, the slaughterhouse then transfers the carcass to a butcher shop of our choice as long as it's on their list. The final packages need to be picked up by us. In the case of the recent cow, that's 13 boxes of meat for which we have to find freezer space. All USDA slaughterhouses supposedly have a USDA agent living on the premises overseeing all the processing. Based on some of the stories we have heard, we wonder what those agents are really doing and what our tax dollars are paying for. Enough with the rant. Have fun and eat healthy food.”
AS OLD HIPPIES EMERGED from the redwoods last Saturday night, their stoned eyes fixed on the ghost of Jimi Hendrix, his guitar screaming at the Navarro Store, of all places. A good crowd enjoyed this true blast from the past brought to us by the inimitable, and most improbable impresario Dave Evans. Take a bow, Dave! Take a bow, Jimi (aka Randy Hansen)!
THE SAVINGS BANK of Mendocino County is closing its branch in the Pear Tree Shopping Center. More people are going electronic, the Bank says. But Boonville, in the heart of thriving Anderson Valley, home to several dozen multi-millionaires and probably the wealthiest population in the County, has no bank. Haven't had one since about 1980 when WestAmerica took over the small but lucrative 1st National of Cloverdale and promptly closed the Boonville branch. And closed it not because it hadn't always made money, but closed it because it didn't make enough money. We still have the building and the walk-in vault that served Boonville for many years.
BIG CHUCK MANNON, president of the Savings Bank begun by his family in the late 19th century, has never struck me as the most imaginative guy around — cf his architecturally dull bunker bank in central Ukiah. But then bankers, at least the old school ones, were prudent, plodding individuals who did business only with people likely to pay their loans off. Bankers these days are about as prudent as a sailor on a three-day drunk. So, listen up, Chuck! You can make money in Anderson Valley. We pay our bills! Come on over. The old vault in the center of Mendocino County’s most happening community awaits.
STURDY METAL DESK Free! Good condition. Exciting vibes replete with almost forty years of violent prose and top secret communications. Woodgrain top. Even some hanging folders. If this desk could talk people would die. Can be picked up at AVA office. First come, first served. 895-3016.
WHERE'S THE FLUGLEHORN? Maestro Bob Ayers asks what happened to the classic and valuable flugelhorn stolen by Stephen Hunter after a Big Band concert at the Philo Grange.
BRUCE McEWEN looked into it, and all of us hope Hunter is investigated separately for stealing it: “Mr. Stephen Hunter was sentenced on Thursday as we were waiting for Bronwen Hanes to cut a deal with the DA, which she was unable to do because she seems to think she’s innocent. Hunter got six years in prison for his part in the head-on collision near Indian Creek bridge outside of Philo over a year ago when he got drunk and pilfered your flugelhorn at the Grange; he got six years for DUI resulting in great bodily injury but Judge Ann Moorman suspended execution of the sentence and put Hunter on probation for five years with a hint that if he stayed sober he could get off probation in 48 months. No mention of the flugelhorn was made, but a big fuss was made over Hunter’s pastor, who was allowed to come in the courtroom in shorts. Hunter has a wife and baby in Japan, and his mother-in-law was with him. I seemed to be the only one worried about the horn. I asked Detective Espinoza, but he didn’t know. My experience has been that these things disappear at the towing garages when the vehicle owner ends up in the hospital and unable to retrieve his personal property from a wrecked car. Hunter probably wouldn’t have claimed the instrument, anyhow, since it was stolen. My understanding was that it was an antique and worth a lot of money. The only possibility for recovery would be if it was taken as evidence, since it was stolen, and maybe it lays moldering in an evidence locker somewhere.”
ACCORDING to the Press Democrat, Tomales High School is the most pleasant place to watch a high school football game. I’d say Potter Valley and Mendocino (before Mendocino gave up football) are the premier venues for pure beauty of their surroundings, but Tomales is nice, too.
ALSO ACCORDING to the Press Democrat, “the 8-man game where speed can be the great equalizer, surprises are possible.” Foot speed is the diff in most sports at all levels. Anderson Valley always has speed and ferocity. The PD says Upper Lake is the league’s pre-season favorite this year because of its starting quarterback, Derek Pritchard, and a fleet little guy with good hands, Dre Santos. I saw the first half of last year’s game at Upper Lake where Boonville had a tough time with Pritchard and Santos, and Pritchard is indeed a good quarterback, but Boonville has a very good one in Tony Pardini Jr. Fort Bragg had an excellent one, too, last season.
BOONVILLE’S very own John Toohey, this year’s head coach, not only follows in the giant footsteps of legendary coach Dan Kuny, he’s got last season’s extraordinary team and individual players fresh in the memories of local fans. “It was a special class of kids, a very rare group,” Toohey told the PD. “Probably the most talented group ever from Anderson Valley,” Toohey said. “You can’t really replace kids like that.”
TOOHEY, an AVHS grad, coached the Panthers from 2008-2012 before leaving to coach at Ukiah. The first home game of the season is here at home Friday night at the Boonville Fairgrounds versus Potter Valley.
REMEMBER Cupertino Solano? Of Yorkville? He’s the hard-working family man who shot and killed his two young brothers-in-law in 1989 after repeatedly warning them to stay away from his teenage stepdaughter. Cupertino had resorted to an old world solution to a new world problem. He ran for the border where he was arrested before he could get to the sanctuary of his old country. Cupertino has been found suitable for parole, and he undoubtedly is suitable, being a non-criminal guy. He was sentenced to 23-to-life, and most recently has been confined to Folsom Prison.
AN ILLEGAL PUMP, long inactive, is now working overtime near the confluence of Anderson Creek, the Rancheria, and Indian Creek where they form the Navarro. All three feeder streams are battered and overdrawn, as is the Navarro. This particular draw is the work of the Ashiku family, whom we dubbed the Albanian bandits after the Albanian patriarch. The illegal pump was installed when the Ashikus were in their capital formation stage via dependent youth spread over two sites straddling 128 near Philo. Both sites lacked sufficient water for the needs of upwards of 70 court-placed teenagers. West of the Madrones, and up the hill, the barbarous clan built themselves a mansion alongside the barracks for their funding units, aka “the children,” at the mention of whom the old world matriarch and patriarch launched into mawkish, heavily accented declarations about how much they “loved these kids,” few of whom, if any, were lovable. But distant governments paid big unsupervised, unaccounted for bucks to get “the kids” out of juvenile halls where it cost even more to house them until they were old enough to move on into the state prison system. For water, and to hoodwink the local authorities, the Ashikus ran a hidden line up from the river and into their well casing. “You say we have no water up here? Watch this.” It worked, but to this day the Ashikus have no riparian rights and virtually no water on their dry hilltop, not that they’re alone in stealing what’s left of our fish-free streams. The younger bandits became dentists in Ukiah, and right there you have another Only In Mendo story in a county where history starts all over again every day ,and you are whatever you say you are.
THIS WEEK AT BLUE MEADOW FARM this rainbow time of year: Heirloom, Early Girl, Paste & Cherry Tomatoes; Corno di Toro, Gypsy, Bell, Pimento Sweet Peppers; Padrons, Jalapenos, Anaheim, Ancho, Criola Silla Chilis; Italian & Asian Eggplant, Zucchini & Patty Pan Squash; Armenian, Lemon & Mideast Cucumbers, Asian Pears,; Onions, Garlic, Basil, Parsley, Purslane; Sunflowers, Zinnias & Bright Lights Cosmos