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Valley People (Nov. 28, 2018)

RAIN FINALLY fell on the parched Anderson Valley over the past week with a welcome two inches or so falling on Boonville alone with more on the way the next few days as we go to press. It will take a true deluge to blast the Navarro River free at its mouth where the annual sandbar stands guard at the Pacific. The battered and fish-free Navarro has never looked worse, the lethal combination of chemical runoff and lack of rain combining to starve it of life.

(photo courtesy MSP)

KEN HURST stopped in Sunday. Ken and his wife Joanadel are being sheltered by a Valley samaritan while they try to put their lives back together after the loss of their home to fire on Friday, November 16th. “We lost everything, and I mean everything,” Ken said, “including our family histories.” He said the fire began about six in the morning on the deck of the two-story house overlooking the Navarro. “Nope, no visible cause.” Ken seemed not to want to say “suspicious” but the fire inspector asked him if he had any enemies. The affable old fullback and Army veteran replied, “None that I know of.” The Hursts are fully insured but there’s no compensation for a loss this large. Ken said he and Joanadel planned to re-build.

(photo courtesy AVFD)

“PLEASE JOIN US in celebrating the final ArtWalk of 2018, hosted at Mulheren Insurance! This month we welcome one of the newest members of the local artist community, Elias Laughton. An abstract artist who works with experimental acrylic pouring techniques, Elias’ art is both intricate and fascinating... A passionate animal lover, Elias also donates 10% of all sales to the Anderson Valley Animal Rescue agency. Don’t miss out on your chance to see this exiting new artform up close and in person, as we say hello to Christmas and bid farewell to 2018!!!”

SWUNG in off the 101 corridor Sunday morning to have a cup of coffee in Geyserville, silently wondering why Boonville isn’t as, as, as… vivid, which may not be the word, but Geyserville welcomes the visitor at its south end with an intriguing array of sculptures, including a giant scrap metal horse. There are more businesses along  Geyserville’s main drag, buildings are nicely kept up and the little town seems generally more like the kind of place that takes some pride in its appearance. Pride of appearance, in Boonville, is purely the work of isolated individuals, not according to a community plan or even any expressed community desire. With all the money stashed away in the hills these days you’d think we’d at least have the equivalent of the Willits Arch or, better yet, a giant piece of art announcing, “You’re in Boonville, Ca, bub, and you won’t forget it.”

STEPHANIE KEPHART LAMB, daughter of Boonville’s Neil and Kathalene Kephart, has published a book for her friend Stephen Hurst, notice of which has appeared in Mr. Hurst’s local newspaper, The Daily Item, in Sunbury, PA, excerpts of which may also soon appear in Boonville’s weekly.

THE NUMERO UNO seed Anderson Valley boy’ s soccer team will finally get to play for the Division 3 championship — 20 days after their big win in the semi-final playoff game over 5 seed San Francisco Waldorf on penalty kicks (5-4). The combination of unhealthy air from the Butte County Fire, and Boonville’s default win over number 2 seed Jewish Community School because Jewish Community refused to play on the Sabbath, has pushed the championship match to Tuesday right here in Boomsville, 2pm at the high school. Rain predicted, but the game is on, rain or shine. (Results on line, print next week.)

THE NAMES of that great Boonville triumph elude me, but I remember a soccer playoff game on a rainy day at the high school field when a Boonville kid made an impossible curving goal from the very corner of the muddy pitch that won us the championship. Maybe someone with a better memory can fill us in.

IN OTHER SPORTS NEWS, this year’s edition of the basketball Panthers has gotten off to a traumatic start with a loss to Rio Lindo Academy out of Healdsburg, 76-14. The visiting Adventists jumped out to a 30-2 first quarter advantage in that one. Next up was Upper Lake, score not reported, and Monday night the Panthers hosted a quintet out of Rohnert Park called the Technology Titans. Hang in there, Panthers.

KIRK WILDER AND JUSTIN LAQUA are responsible for the wood chips beneath the swing and climbing structures at our Community Park next door to the Anderson Valley Health Center.

(Click to enlarge)

MARY O’BRIEN reminds us that “next Saturday December 1st from 10am to 4pm Elk is the place to be. Join us for The Greenwood Community Church’s annual Arts and Crafts Fair at the Community Center. There will be beautiful hand crafted gifts and yummy holiday treats for you and everyone on your list. Lunch will be available so make a day of it.  For information call 248-917-3369”

THE "OLIO NUOVO ” or "New Oil" from the 2018 olive harvest at the Yorkville Olive Ranch is now available in 375 ml bottles. The Tuscan olives were harvested on November 3rd. 4th, and 5th and milled each day using the stone wheels at the Olivino mill in Hopland, and bottled on the 8th of November. It is unfiltered, pale green and hazy in color and translucency. Although olive oil enthusiasts in Italy and Spain gather at the olive mills early in the harvest season to get their first tastes of that year's "Olio Nuovo", the vivid, brilliant flavor and pungency may be too much for the typical American pallet. "Olio Nuovo" may be an acquired taste yet to be acquired. So if that astringent, bitter taste at the beginning and the robust, peppery finish of a decanted Tuscan olive oil is pushing your taste buds too far, the "New Oil' will probably be too much. But the taste of olives will be bright and fresh, sparkling and alive! The "Olio Nuovo" is not labeled as Extra Virgin as the lab tests are not complete, nor has the California Olive Oil Council's Tasters Panel certified it as being "Extra Virgin". The "Olio Nuovo" will only be available at the Yorkville Olive Ranch House at $ 20.00 for a 375 ml bottle until December 23rd. Call 894-0530 to reserve a bottle and arrange a time for picking up the oil.

LOCAL HANDMADE GIFTS FROM PETIT TETON FARM. Do your gifting with unique locally grown and made products. At Petit Teton Farm we grow the fruits and vegetables that go into our hand-made jams, relishes, pickles and drink mixers. We're happy to ship anywhere in the United States and will even gift wrap. Contact us, Nikki and Steve, at, 707.684.4146, or stop by the farm at 18601 Hwy 128 any day between 8:30-4:30 except Sunday, noon to 4:30.


Some interesting observations we've made on our piece of land this year — and the resulting questions. We have no good answers. Although we continue to do what we understand to be "the right things" in relation to the earth and its inhabitants, we are not feeling at all hopeful. Is the toxic air we've been breathing for weeks causing our depression? Or the toxic politics? Or our sadness at watching a beautiful world be desecrated in not so slow motion by a toxic US?  For the first time in our 13 years of raising chickens, a hawk has killed two in two days, beheading and partially eating them in the field because they are too heavy for it to carry off. Is a hawk killing our chickens because there are no mice? In the previous 14 years, large numbers of mice lived our truck, garage, house, barn, compost, fields...and fed everyone...the snakes, hawks, coyotes, cats, dogs, chickens. Where are the mice? Compared to the past 14 years living here we've seen very few of our snakes...the gopher, king, rattler, red racer, garter. Because the mice are gone? Or is it the drought? Or the smoke? A week ago the still green leaves on many of our trees froze before changing into their fall colors, then dropped all at once. Did this happen because the frost was accentuated by the smoke in the air which kept the sun from warming the earth during the day? Are the nearby fires much more vicious because we've tortured the earth? Or because there are way too many of us? Or because the forest under story hasn't been well thinned or the trees eliminated? How can we keep our animals from breathing the toxic air when they live outdoors and we live in a small house? Why and how is the air in the house any better than that outdoors? Why can't we keep an increasingly toxic world on the other side of our fence line? When are we going to wake up? Or are we all going to wake up dead? We're sorry to sound so down, especially during a holiday season, but we are realists and our reality is based on science and observation. We always live optimistically, however, and hope better days are ahead. Take care and have wonderful holidays. (Nikki Auschnitt & Steve Krieg)

AV HIGH SCHOOL AG DEPARTMENT IS READY to take your Christmas wreath orders. Please fill out this Goggle form to place your order. Wreaths and arrangements may be picked up starting Nov 30th through Dec 12th. Last day to order is Dec 8th.

BURN PERMITS. AVFD will start issuing our local burn permits starting Monday at the Boonville firehouse. Now is the time to start getting ready for next fire season!

YORKVILLE RANCH HAD A GREAT TURN OUT last weekend for a fire-ready neighborhood meeting, talking about clearing ladder fuels along road ways and around homes, putting up reflective address signage, clearing temporary refuge areas, and maintaining alternative egress routes. It's ambitious but necessary, and many Yorkville Ranch residents are sharing the workload. If your neighborhood is interested in working to become more fire resilient, AVFD is a good local resource. Contact us at 707 895-2020.

THE 2019 Boonville Fire Department calendar is now available, announces Antoinette Von Grone, "a cooperation between Tina Walter and me, only $12, all of the profits go directly to the Fire Department. We printed 75, so there is only a limited supply. You can go directly to the Boonville Fire Station Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays between 10:30am and 4pm. The calendar will also be available at Mosswood Market/Restaurant when my ambulance photo show goes up on December 1st.”

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