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Bird’s Eye View (Oct. 5, 2016)

Greetings one and all. Are you are sitting comfortably? Then I shall begin. Following his front page news item in last week’s AVA on the recent Valley Restaurant developments, my close personal friend, Steve Sparks, has rejoined the “little people” with this update on that topic. Steve reports, The many followers of the Valley’s restaurant world are still buzzing about the recent happenings, in particular about The Buckhorn, Boonville, and Stone and Embers continuing to swirl in a tornado of gossip and rumor, plus, unfortunately, a few completely untrue fabrications and falsehoods. Fortunately, I have the facts from the ‘horses’ mouths’ so to speak. The owner of The Buckhorn, Tom Towey, is planning to respond to this confusion and misunderstanding with an explanation that will be appear in next week’s AVA. This should clear up much of the silliness over the last two weeks regarding his closing. Meanwhile, Tom informs me that he has met with three prospective buyers of The Buckhorn and plans to meet with more. One of these will hopefully meet the major prerequisites that he and landlords Gary and Ginny Island would like to see in the next owner of this Valley landmark, benefitting everyone: himself, his backers, and the community at large. Also in Boonville, two or three former Buckhorn employees may be picking up shifts at Lauren’s Restaurant, which is planning to continue their popular lunch service on Thursdays thru Sundays during the fall and winter months for the first time. It is comforting to know that Lauren and co-owner Natalie Matson continue to run a restaurant that provides very good food consistently and can be relied upon to be there. Locals and our many Valley visitors alike should be grateful.

Meanwhile in Philo, after the “threat” of a four week closure, Stone and Embers then re-opened, after just a week or so, with a reduced menu last Friday. New staff have arrived, three from The Buckhorn, and co-owner Matt Barnes is confident that normal service will be resumed as soon as possible, in fact he plans to be up to full capacity this weekend.

Staying with the Philo scene, I can confirm the well-known fact that Libby’s restaurant will be closing for good after serving dinner for a final time on Saturday, December 10. Owners Libby and Jose will then embark on a very well-earned retirement after 16 years of providing the Valley with truly delicious Mexican and CalMex dishes and hospitality.

Moving forward, and in the words of my carrion-munching friend, “prospective new owners of this Valley institution are believed to be circling like a preying wake of Turkey Vultures above the noble carcass of a freshly deceased pig. Libby’s carnitas plate anyone?” Having been in the bar/restaurant business for many, many years myself, both in San Francisco and the Valley, I am very aware that it is not “all glamor,” as some folks may believe. Trying to stay on an even keel is hard enough without circumstances beyond one’s control playing such a large part, as they often do around here. I wish all those concerned every success and hope their dreams for the restaurant life will be realized one way or another. I shall probably have more to share next week as I continue with my respectful attempt to reveal the truth and keep it real. Meanwhile I suggest we all try to remember the wise words of English philosopher and social observer Samuel Johnson, who opined, ‘There is nothing which has yet been contrived by man, by which so much happiness is produced as by a good tavern or inn.’ I believe that is as true in today’s rapidly changing world as at anytime in the past. Happy imbibing, satisfying dining, and cheers.”

Public Service Announcements. #542. The Vets from the Mendocino Animal Hospital will return to the Valley twice this month: tomorrow, Thursday, October 6 and on October 20. They will be at the AV Farm Supply on Highway 128, north of Philo from 2-3.30pm. Good to arrive around 3pm; you will definitely be seen. New customers and their pets are always welcome and previous visitors should be aware that they can call 462-8833 and the vets will bring your pet’s charts with them. #543. The Boonville Farmers Market continues every Saturday from 9.30am-noon in the Boonville Hotel parking lot generously donated each week by local humanitarian J. Schmitt. Call Cindy at 895-2949. #544. The AV Lending Library run by The Unity Club is open on Tuesdays and Saturdays at The Fairgrounds. Tuesday 1.30-4.30pm and Saturday 2-4pm. #545. The County Dump is open from 9am-4pm Tuesday, Wednesday, Saturday, and Sunday. Remember, no dead animals!

Here is the menu for the Community lunches and dinners next week in 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, October 6, the lunch, served by Marti Titus and her crew at Noon, will be Chicken Alfredo and Birthday Cupcakes for dessert. Next Tuesday, October 11, the evening meal at 6pm, features Pineapple-Pepper with Chicken Coconut Cream dessert. As this is the 2nd Tuesday, Bingo follows dinner at 7pm. All meals include vegetables, salad bar, and fruit, plus milk, coffee, tea, and lemonade. The best value for money you’ll get all week! Tai Chi is available every Tuesday at 11am; on Thursdays at 11am it is Kathy’s Easy-stretch Yoga class. Also on Thursdays, the Active Life Club runs from 10am to 2pm featuring games, crafts, and music. The Senior Center/Community Bus goes to Ukiah on Mondays and Santa Rosa on the first Wednesday of the month. These trips fill up fast so sign up early at 489-1175. 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 (yet surprisingly reliable) Rumors” from my favorite gathering place in the Valley.

…A record audience tuned in to the first presidential debate of the election campaign including several regulars at the 3-Dot. Polling suggested that most voters thought Hillary Clinton put in a better performance than Donald Trump. He blamed the moderator and a defective microphone, and said he held back because he “didn’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings.” He is such a sensitive soul.

…Talking of a large audience, 200 people showed up for the memorial for Frank Wyant held at The Apple Hall in Boonville last Saturday afternoon. It was one of the best attended such occasions I have witnessed in some time and, given Frank and his family’s involvement in so many aspects of Valley life, it was not surprising. He always told it as it was and never failed to regale me when I saw him at a Valley event with some remark about the food and my failure to get as much as him. “Hey, you’re late. I am already on my second plate” was his favorite taunt. Following his own blunt style, and hopefully with his agreement, I would suggest that he was a proud curmudgeon, a wise-ass, a caring, loving, smart, and very honest man, with a keen sense of what is right and wrong, and a set of values that today’s society could learn from. I shall miss you, Frank.

…It’s raining.

…It’s still raining.

…From our 3-Dot regular, The Old Buzzard, comes another in his insightful series. “The Approach of the Apocalypse.” Buzzard reports, “I have nothing of any interest to anyone to say at this point. so I’ll stay quiet.” Thank you, Buzzard. Why can’t more folks be like that?

I’m outtahere. I’ve got see a man about a sheep. So “please take me drunk, I’m home.” Until we talk again. Be careful out there; if you break a leg don’t come running to me; stay out of the ditches; be wary of strangers with more dogs than teeth; show love to your pets, they will be faithful and true to you to the last beat of their hearts, and remember to keep your windows cracked if you leave them in your vehicle; think good thoughts; “Keep the Faith’; try to not let life get in the way of living; may your god go with you, and may your dog go with you too. A final request, “Let us prey.” Sometimes poking, often stroking, but almost always humbly yours, Turkey Vulture, still wallowing in the honor of having the second tallest tree in Hendy Woods (343.6 feet) named after me and my ilk. Contact me through the Letters Page or at PS. Keep on humming, Hummingbird. Missing the Venerable Pheasant. On the sheep, Grace.

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