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Valley People (July 27, 2023)

BILLY & WANDA OWENS of Boonville are celebrating their 60th Wedding Anniversary. Married in Reno, Nevada, on August 2, 1953, the popular local couple has spent most of their married life — 53 years — in Boonville except for seven years when they lived in the San Joaquin Valley. An Anniversary Party and Potluck Lunch/Dinner is scheduled at the Philo Grange Hall on Saturday, August 5, 2023 from noon to 5pm. The public is welcome. 

ELIZABETH KNIGHT: AJ Hobbs has been part of this Valley since the family moved here when he was a young kid. 

His Aunt and Uncle ran the church that used to be Assembly of God. He has built new homes in the Valley with Burroughs Construction. He was always helping anyone who needed it. He had a huge heart. He was a protector of his many nieces and nephews. Anything helps, please. Prayers for his family. 

GoFundMe message: “Trying to get some money together so we can get my uncle cremated and have a celebration of life for him. His name was Arthur Hobbs, he lived in Boonville. He was a very special person to all of us and deserves to be celebrated. He was always doing for others and we need help doing this one last thing for him."

News Article:

GoFundMe: (Do your own private research prior to donating online.)


Phillips Hill Winery, an Anderson Valley institution for 20 years, plans to close by the end of the year.

“Though the decision was incredibly difficult, after producing its final 2022 vintage last year, Phillips Hill Winery will close with the completion of its 20th and final season,” said founder Toby Hill.

A native Californian and grandson of a grape grower, Hill earned a BFA from the California College of the Arts – San Francisco. After several years of pursuing the visual arts, he developed a newfound obsession with Pinot Noir. In 1997, he purchased land in the Mendocino Ridge appellation, overlooking the Anderson Valley. Trusting in his sense of balance and composition, and with support from local winemakers, he made his first wine using 2002 Pinot Noir grapes grown on Oppenlander Vineyard, nearby in Mendocino’s Comptche.

Combining old world winemaking practices inspired by Burgundian winemakers with grapes from new world vineyards, Phillips Hill wines are terroir driven and aim to offer a genuine expression of the land.

“Phillips Hill Winery was born out of the natural obsession for any artist to create—my first efforts involved harvesting and nurturing two tons of grapes on the concrete floor of what was initially built as an art studio. Since then, it has evolved into a two-decade expression of our coastal wine region in a bottle,” said Hill. “Our gratitude for the community is tremendous. From the winegrowers, winemakers, Anderson Valley Winegrowers Association, tasting room landlords, and all the customers who enjoyed our wine—we appreciate everyone who supported us along the way.”

When the doors of the Phillips Hill Tasting Room on Highway 128 close, Hill will return his home winery on Greenwood Ridge back to an art studio and begin pursuing his lifelong ambition to be a full-time artist. Phillips Hill partner Natacha Durandet, WSET 3, who has a wealth of worldwide wine knowledge and a lifelong passion for wine, will pursue a new path in the wine industry.

“After twenty seasons of discovery, exploration, passion, and hard work, it is time for us to continue our evolution and embrace new undiscovered territory. We hope our customers continue to support local family-owned wineries and businesses in Anderson Valley,” Hill said.

The 2020, 2021, and 2022 vintages are sold out. A limited selection of wines will be available to purchase at the tasting room or online through the summer at

For further information:

ED NOTE: The Phillips Hill closure in Boonville comes on the heels of two other recent valley retail closures: The Company Store restaurant next door to Lemons Market in Philo (formerly Jamie’s Café, formerly Libby’s Restaurant), and the Bewildered Pig restaurant in the Deepend. Both outfits were said to be suffering from staffing problems and a decline of business in the wake of covid.

MARY O'BRIEN: 8:54 pm Saturday night traveling west on CA 128 between Boonville and Philo.

(photo by Mary O’Brien)

AV VOLUNTEER FIRE & AMBULANCE BBQ: The First Responders of Anderson Valley gathered together last Sunday to eat hearty and be celebrated by the community they serve. The Lion’s Club prepared and served the Tri-tip, chicken, coleslaw, baked beans, watermelon and deserts. It was a big job on a very hot day. A tempting silent auction and a tireless swinging band kept things interesting. Early on it looked like it was going to be a disappointing turnout but as time rolled on a very respectable crowd showed up. I mean who would not want to support the Fire Dept./Ambulance? Too early to know how much money raised but we all hope it was a lot. (Terry Sites)

FROM THE ARCHIVE of the late Wayne McGimsey: The first settlers weren’t averse to settling disputes outside established procedures, perhaps because in early Anderson Valley there were no agreed-upon procedures. I have a copy of a confirming letter written by Phocian McGimsey, Wayne McGimsey’s father: “Alderson McGimsey was born in Missouri in 1829. He came to Napa County, California, in 1852. He met his wife, Nancy Elizabeth Wallace, in Napa and they were married in Napa in 1854. They came to Anderson Valley in 1855 and settled here with the rest. They were all from the South. John Ornbaun married Ann McGimsey, Gramp Alderson’s sister. Alderson and John Ornbaun didn’t get along. Out by Yorkville was a place they called Elk Horn. In 1869 they had a big dance in the hay loft. John Ornbaun and Gramp Alderson McGimsey didn’t like each other. They got into a fight and then Gibbins (Gibbons?) and Rawles got into it also. I don’t know Gibbins and Rawles first names. Grandpa McGimsey was shot twice and stabbed 17 times and then lived 48 hours. (But) Grandpa shot old John Ornbaun in the mouth when he was dying. Old John spit the teeth and the bullet out.” And went on living.

E&J TOWING & RECOVERY, formerly Starr Automotive, is open for business at the same old site in central Philo. The bona fides of the new owner? Impeccable! He's James Maki, a first cousin of the much-missed Bob Maki, who responded so promptly and so efficiently to the Anderson Valley's automotive disasters for so many years we took him for granted as a community amenity as steady and as reliable as sunrise. Bob is at his Boonville home enjoying a well-earned retirement from those 3am winter calls he unfailingly answered. Triple A? It's complicated, and I don't want to make it even more complicated by attempting to explain the new procedures which, I'm sure, James Maki can explain to you card holders.

BILL KIMBERLIN: This is a Mid-Century Modern house above Anderson Valley in the Mendocino wine country. It is in a forest location that has been brightened up with some tree trimming. You get a pond with Koi fish big enough for a small rowboat. Lots of acreage to roam around on and it is priced in the high five hundreds.


• Brock Farms

Farm stand is open Tuesday-Saturday, 10-7ish,

closed Sunday and Monday. 

• Velma's Farm Stand at Filigreen Farm

Friday 2-5pm and Saturday 11am-4pm

The farm stand is open Friday from 2-5pm and Saturday 11am-4pm. For fresh produce we will have: blueberries, summer squash, cucumbers, eggplant, lettuce, napa cabbage, carrots, beets, turnips, sprouting broccoli, spring onions, herbs (basil, parsley, dill, cilantro, shiso), and hopefully the first few ripe tomatoes (very limited!). We will also have dried fruit, tea blends, olive oil, fresh and dried flower bouquets, and some everlasting wreaths available. Plus some delicious flavors of Wilder Kombucha!

All produce is certified biodynamic and organic. Follow us on Instagram for updates @filigreenfarm or email with any questions. We accept cash, credit card, check, and EBT/SNAP (with Market Match)!

• Blue Meadow Farm is Open!

Open Tuesday - Sunday 10:00am - Dusk

Closed Mondays

Cherry & Early Girl Tomatoes!

Walla Walla Onions, Lettuce, Basil

Zucchini & Patty Pan Squash

Peppers & Eggplant


Blue Meadow Farm 3301 Holmes Ranch Rd, Philo (707) 895-2071



Email Mikhel@wayfinderarchery for more info. 

Mikhel at Wayfinder Archery is teaching four half day sessions in our beautiful meadow on Lambert Lane. Come for one session and then stay for open range time and equipment use with instruction after sessions. Wayfinder has a beautiful collection of vintage and contemporary recurve bows of all sizes and draw weights. We will pair you with a bow that fits your level and teach proper form for instinctive shooting. No equipment or prior experience needed. It’s so fun, embodied, and addictive! to sign up!

SARAH KENNEDY OWEN: Regarding the raven/crow/swallow situation.: Take heart, the crows may go away! We had a whole murder of crows living nearby in an oak tree. We could not hear them but the people who lived near the oaks must have gotten an earful. The crows have moved on and the ravens keep them out. However, I must say, I have never actually seen a crow or raven take babies out of their nest. That’s not to say it never happened. My biggest worry with the birds is the global warming situation, which makes it hard for the parents to keep the babies alive during the hottest days. Also, water is sometimes hard to get during a drought. If you look at the Capistrano swallows (and there is a beautiful book , written and illustrated by Leo Politi, “The Song of the Swallows,” for children, on the subject of the Capistrano swallows) you will notice that the mission where they returned had a huge fountain/birdbath which may have been what kept them coming back. Also, the practice of using pesticides on produce and grapes can kill a lot of delicious tidbits for the birds. So far, the birds do hunt in the vineyards and seem to be getting lots of food. But it could be that insect populations are going down, and thus the bird populations will diminish as well.

MIKE GENIELLA: “We are enjoying our first delivery of fresh peaches (Redhavens) from Potter Valley's Langdon Day Farms. Terese and I grew up in peach country in the Sacramento Valley. These peaches are as good as they get. We salute Grace and John March, the third generation to run a Mendocino County family farming operation. Personally, I am happy to help promote their efforts because, folks, I signed up for weekly orders and am near the front of the line!”

THE EDITOR seconds the motion that these Potter Valley peaches are, by far, the best peaches the editor has ever tasted, and he speaks as a lifelong peach lover. He has three struggling peach trees at ava headquarters in Boonville whose yields are pretty tasty, but almost pathetic against these Potter Valley marvels.

MONDAY AFTERNOON on deadline. Me, talking out loud to myself, “I might have to run over the hill to get a Powerball ticket.” 

MY COLLEAGUE, The Major. “You'd go all the way to Ukiah for zero chance of hitting the jackpot?”

ME: “Would you drive to Ukiah for $875 million?”

THE MAJOR: “Do the math. Your odds of winning are the same as not playing, get it?”

ME “I sweated my way through high school algebra because everyone said I'd need it. Guess what? I'm 84 this very week and never once have I used algebra or even been asked to use it. I wish someone had told me those odds when I was 15.”

THE MAJOR: “If you don’t know any algebra you’re not likely to use it or even be asked to use it.”

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