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Valley People (June 10, 2020)

AS EVERYONE ELSE who knew David Summit, we are saddened by his premature death near his home in Potter Valley. David was born and raised in Boonville to the well-known Summit-Waggoner clan and was a strong family man, a hard worker, always had a cheerful word for everyone he encountered. He is missed by all of us fortunate to have known him.

JAMIE LEE clarifies last week’s fire at Nash Mill. “Hi all, I am the owner, and the fire began near, or at the Yurt at the upper bench of my property. I have no idea how it started, but just saw it all engulfed in flames. No one was hurt and the fire response was phenomenal, except for electricity and a small propane tank, there was nothing to catch fire up there. Inspectors are here today with a clean-up crew. Thanks to Francois and the Nash Mill Road Road Crew for all they do as well.”

VELMA’S FARMSTAND at Filigreen Farm opened for the season Frida, hours between 1pm-5pm. These are abbreviated hours. A normal weekend schedule will resume as the growing season lengthens. Filigreen Farm is now offering an array of spring vegetables as well as a limited number of first come, first serve diversified veggie boxes (8-10 items) for $40. We are also offering olive oil, flower bouquets, frozen blueberries, and dried prunes for sale. We can accept cash/card/check. This week we will be donating 50% of sales to a multidisciplinary, cooperative nonprofit ecosystem rooted in Black ecocultural traditions and textile arts to regenerate custodial landownership, ecological stewardship, and food and fiber economies in the South. Please email Annie if you have any questions or if you would like to reserve a box in advance.

WE' ENJOYED a full 'strawberry' moon last Wednesday night, a perfect setting in which to howl down the coronavirus and support for the men and women in the trenches fighting it. 

(photo by Judy Valadao)

IS THERE ANY CORRELATION between full lunar appearances and lunatic behavior in human-type beings? Hard to say in today's social context, aberrant behavior as prevalent as it is, but I've known cops, cab drivers, and many other persons working night shifts who say there's a definite increase in general craziness when the moon is full.

CENSUS FORMS are much improved over the confusing and too-lengthy questionnaires of yesteryear. And just as easy to complete on-line. But I still see lots of them hanging in their little plastic unattended on doors and gateposts here and there around Boonville, despite or because of, "Your response is required by law" in bold type on the enclosed envelope, a threat about as meaningful as those mattress warnings not to remove them. A sprightly young Hispanic woman is counting noses in Boonville. We'd love to interview her about her experiences which, given these odd times, have got to be memorable.

WE GET lots of unusual mail, among it some great stuff, including this successful handwritten poem from Susan Van Knopka called "Open the Window On The Landing Where A Small Tree Waves":

Open the window on the landing where a small tree waves

Breathe in the mingling Jasmine and Rosemary

Put your lips for a flower kiss, softly

Bend to embrace Japanese Maple

Let it spring back as maroon leaves, lacey red, dance in the light

Smile as someone scrutinizes and say "we all need hugs"

Lay in the grass: hands, cheek, smell the earth

Rub your hands with Fennel, then cup your hands to your nose

Reach for the Bee Bomb, do the same

Put a Mullen leaf in your pocket and see what happens

Taste some wild mint and miner's lettuce

Pick up a bay seed, take it home to a cool place, plant and wonder if

Stride up Indian Rock and peruse the distant bay

Believe the joy of early birds

See the sky, read the weather

Sit over a small stream on a rock wall wet with moss

Everything sings

Watch in the darkness how the lightning moves

Fall asleep in rain

SHERRI HANSEN WRITES: “The committee of folks working on the All Year Reunion [Anderson Valley High School] exchanged thoughts and have decided to cancel the event for this year. Details will come later this year regards a Better-than-Ever reunion next year. See you all in 2021!"

MARSHALL NEWMAN NOTES: "Regarding the Boyce/Graves archive. I recently ran into something similar, but for an old-line Anderson Valley family. How nearly 100 years of family photos and other ephemera ended up for sale on-line from a dealer in Humboldt County is a sad mystery… The upshot is, after buying the Sanders’ brothers Peachland photograph – the one you printed – a couple of weeks ago, I asked the dealer if she had anything else. I ended up purchasing 50 photographs and other ephemera that appear to be most (she sold a few pieces previously) of Leo Sander’s family archive. I will be donating the lot to the Anderson Valley Historical Society."

AND MARSHALL sends along another photo postcard, this one from

“Van Zandt’s, near Philo. I have not seen this one before.

Probably not the current Van Zandt’s Redwood View Resort, but more likely the one from the late 19th-early 20th century – Hazel Hill – that later became Tumbling McD Resort and then Wild Iris Retreat.”

LAZ OF WILLITS COMMENTS: An undertaker I once knew told me, “Your most treasured possessions, in less than a generation, will be somebody else’s yard sale”.

RURAL JUNKYARDS. Residents of the Gschwend Road area of Philo/Navarro complained long and loud that George “Dirty George” Gowan had fouled his property along Floodgate Creek so thoroughly that it ought to be designated a Super Fund site. The county is still hauling junk outta there. We all thought George's random piles of wrecked vehicles and miscellaneous junk was about as comprehensively and eco-destructive an assault on those idyllic acres as could be achieved. 

OH YEAH? Move over, George. Take a drive up Deer Meadows. I hadn't been up that road in a few years, not since my old friend White Man Frank died, but driving beyond the turn to White Man's I remember a packrat named Jim had begun hauling wrecked vehicles up to his property a few miles into the hills east of Boonville. Jim's place was an eyesore for sure, but Jim, try as he might, still hadn't achieved Dirty George status when he turned in his rusted carburetors for angel's wings. 

JIM'S heirs and assignees have now overtaken Dirty George and their old padrone and, by now, must be the absolute champs among Mendo land abusers. I believe the bank foreclosed on Jim after he died and, given the shocking state of the place with its wrecked industrial detritus piled on top of piles of wrecked industrial detritus, punctuated with uninhabitable house trailers — whole acres of it — whichever bank has title to the place won't be able to give the place away. 

A RELATED irony is that this hilltop mess is just downhill from the home of noted local enviros Connie Best and Laurie Wayburn in a neighborhood of conservation easements. Someone or someones still live on Jim's place, managing to carry on Jim's life work of pointless wreckage-accumulation. Whoever is there now has continued to haul stuff up the hill and pile it on top of Jim's legacy-treasures. Any other place but Mendocino County, i.e., a place still more or less governed, would have abated Jim while he was still among us. Never happened, and I know there have been complaints because I made one myself twenty years ago. This Deer Meadow's atrocity has at last got to go. 

FRIDAY MORNING about 11 there was suddenly a lot of thumping tumult right at the door of Boonville's beloved weekly. I thought a fight had broken out on our front porch, which was odd because fights usually occur after visitors have stepped over the magic threshold. Cautiously opening my office door, I found a young couple wrestling two huge dogs, an intra-species fight that had begun next door at the Redwood Drive-In when the dogs broke loose from the couple's van and sprinted next door to our place, probably having spotted a cat. One dog was way too much dog for the Missus, and the Mister could barely subdue the dog he was wrestling. The couple’s teenage daughter, rather than help with the family pacification effort, stood by laughing, not that I could blame her. When the couple finally had their beasts more or less under control — the things were a good 70 pounds each and appeared to me to be laughing — the human two apologized to me for the disturbance, the most excitement at the office since Colonel Von Umlaut of Greenwood Road had dragged his purple neon booze nose inside for a passive-aggressive visit, pre-coronavirus. Fighting their dogs for control all the way, the dog wrestlers dragged their animals back to their vehicle next door and drove off. I'm still wondering how many times a day they repeat this folly.

LITTLER MENDELSON is a high end Frisco law firm specializing in union-busting, which isn't to say Theodora Lee of Theopolis Vineyards, Yorkville, an attorney with the firm, isn't a nice person who makes good wine, but it was Littler Mendelson who were paid mightily by Roederer to bust up the attempt by Roederer workers to get a tiny pay raise in 1998. Vineyard workers at the French-owned winery, the oldest and among the richest wineries in the world, had struck and subsequently voted to affiliate with the UFW. Mendo's wine mob was shocked, and immediately convened meetings with the silk-suited legal thugs from Littler Mendelson on how to stop workers from organizing. The leaders of the Roederer strike were fired and blackballed, as were any workers suspected of union sympathies. 


“Hello, from my studio in Anderson Valley, Mendocino County, California. I hope you are well and safe during these extraordinary times. Many of us are looking for methods to process and accept the monumental changes to our lives and the unknown of our future. 

My method is to continue to make art. In March, when ordered to shelter in place I was already well into creating a new series of barn paintings. Aptly barns are shelters in a place hence the new paintings took on a heightened perspective. Each new barn painting offers a quiet refuge. 

When Time Stands Still is a catalogue of my new work you can view it on my website:

Please let me know if you have any questions or insights, I would enjoy hearing from you."

NOT TO BE left out of the national uprising, twenty-plus right-thinking Valley persons turned out Sunday afternoon on 128 across from the Redwood Drive-In to remind passersby that the revolt is everywhere, even here in the serene Anderson Valley.

FROM DAVID SEVERN:” Spurred by the murder of George Floyd and in solidarity with protests across America and even across the ocean, 17 Anderson Valley people came together Sunday at 12 noon to express their opposition to systemic racism coupled with police, often fatal, brutality towards people of color.

Not a bad turn out having only been noticed briefly on Facebook the afternoon before. It was agreed to return every Sunday at 12 noon until the matter is resolved. Please, if you too are saddened and angered at the ongoing racist attitudes and treatment of people of color, join in and let your presence be your voice amplified in the growing roar for social justice for every human being in this country and on this planet, Earth.”

GIMMEE SHELTER: "Respectful artist couple looking for a home to rent near Mendocino village. Not smokers and no pets. Excellent references and good credit. In search of a place with a garage or outdoor building for a shop. Can pay up to $1500/mo. Looking to move by the first week of July, but can be flexible."

NOT QUITE PLAINTIVE, but there are so many quests like it in Mendocino County, especially in the banana belt and doubly especially for ground zero domicile heaven, Mendocino Village. Old timers, and not so old Old Timers, will remember when a good part of Mendocino Village was vacant and Fort Bragg was practically paying people to move in. Now? Young people just starting out on life's adventure (sic) are already damned every which way unless they come from families able to help them, and most young people don't enjoy hereditary good luck. 

A READER explains that random gunfire so familiar as part of the rural sound track: "There is always that group of illegal growers who think that regularly firing guns lets the neighbors know they are armed and not to be trifled with. It does not work out that way, it always has the effect of worrying neighbors about stray bullets to the point that they call the cops."

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