Category: On animals

Celebrating rescued Equamore horses

By Midge Raymond,

Equamore Foundation horse sanctuary’s annual Open Barn event in Ashland is a chance to celebrate all the great work Equamore does for horses all year long. Upon walking into the barn, visitors learned about Equamore horses through an array of photos and stories, and could then wander through the barn to meet the horses face to face.

I was able to meet several new Equamore horses, all of them so happy to be in a place where they are safe, cared for, and very well loved.

Walking through the barn I saw many beautiful horses I’d met before — among them Magic, Sara, Thor — and I also met Pal, a new rescue who is still a little shy but clearly very happy to be at Equamore. His owner had abandoned him to fend for himself, and thanks to Pal’s cleverness he was able to find a water source and survive long enough to be rescued by Equamore. He now has food, peace, and affection — and though the photo below is a little dark, it’s easy to see what a sweet guy he is.


Another new arrival is the beautiful Johnny B. Goode, who was rescued after the Jackson County Sheriff’s office received a report of a starving horse. Fortunately, though he was in very poor condition, Johnny is a great eater, and as you can see in the photo, he is bright-eyed and lovely.


Gandalf was a young stallion and one of several victims of an owner who wanted a herd of Percheron stallions and mares roaming freely. As a result of his owner’s unfortunate ignorance of horse care, Gandalf had to spend his life defending himself from the herd’s dominant stallion, and his body bore the horrible scars of his many battles.

Thanks to the hard work of Equamore staff, Gandalf was rescued along with Flint, another stallion, and Diamond, a mare. Gandalf was gelded soon after arriving at Equamore (along with Flint; you can read his and Diamond’s story here), and his wounds have been treated and are healing beautifully. As you’ll see in the photo below, he is a gorgeous, affectionate horse who will walk right up to you and stretch his head forward to receive a little love.


If you love horses and want to help, there are many ways to support Equamore and other horses.

You can donate directly to Equamore here. And to support a specific horse you’ve fallen in love with, click here, then find the horse’s profile to make a donation.

You can support other Oregon horses by contributing to the Oregon Hay Bank.

You can check out Inspired Pet Portraits by Dana Feagin, an Ashland artist who does wonderful portraits of animals from local shelters and sanctuaries, including Equamore. Several Equamore horses are featured in Dana’s collection, including beautiful portraits of Wishes, Kizzy, and Bojingles.

Vegan dining in Friday Harbor

By Midge Raymond,

San Juan Island is one of my favorite places to be in the world, mostly because of the stunning scenery and wildlife: windswept ocean vistas, rocky black-sand beaches, bald eagles, red foxes…the list goes on and on.

Almost as glorious as all the beauty and wildlife was to find a restaurant and wine bar that epitomizes all that San Juan Island is about. Mike’s Cafe & Wine Bar is not only lovely and delicious but its all-vegan menu and Northwest wines show that this local business is serious about its appreciation of the environment it calls home.

Let’s get to the wine first. Owner Mike Sharadin is also owner and winemaker of Northwest Totem Cellars, a small, family-owned winery producing hand-crafted wines in Woodinville, Washington. The wine list at the cafe features a variety of local wines, available by the bottle, glass, or flight — but Mike had me at the Northwest Totem’s Sangiovese, which was delicious and happened to pair very well with the pizzas I was having. Beer lovers: there are lots of local beers on the menu as well.

As for the menu — I only wish I’d been able to try everything on it (already looking forward to my next visit). If you stop in for a beer or a glass of wine, you might try the spiced bar nuts, pretzels with savory mustards, or truffle oil popcorn. Small plates include bruschetta, hummus, spanikopita, and a vegan charcuterie platter with mushroom pate, herbed tofu cheese, olives, and French country bread.

The larger plates include the most delicious vegan pizzas I’ve had. I tried the pesto and the supreme, both amazing: crisp, cheesy, wonderfully spiced, and somehow light and filling at the same time — in other words, just perfect. Other larger plates include a pesto “chicken” sandwich, pasta of the day, and a Szechwan Sizzle.

All this, and vegan cheesecake, too.

Next time you’re in Friday Harbor, don’t miss Mike’s Cafe & Wine Bar. It’s right in the center of town, at 135 Second Street), and a wonderful place to visit, whether you’re in the mood for a drink and a nibble or a meal and a bottle of good wine.

Even better, Mike’s is one of those few amazing places that actually walks the walk — a restaurant that reflects the beauty of its surroundings in its philosophy of food and wine.


Art & Animals

By Midge Raymond,

One of the reasons we founded Ashland Creek Press is to use art (for us, that would be literature) as a way to draw awareness to issues surrounding animals. As one example, The Dragon Keeper is an amazing story (suspense, a love triangle, family drama, and everything else you could ask for in a novel) that’s also a subtly embedded history of the Komodo dragon. Mindy Mejia‘s research is so expertly woven into this novel you hardly realize how much you’re learning about this incredible species, endangered soon after it was discovered. And our new fiction anthology, Among Animals (forthcoming in February) takes a look at all the ways in which animals are a part of our lives.

As someone who can’t draw a straight line, I’ve always admired visual artists — especially those who use their art to do good for animals and the planet. No one does it better than Ashland’s Dana Feagin.

I just visited the Ashland Art Center to see Dana’s current exhibit, New Animals of Sanctuary One.


Like all of Dana’s animal paintings, these rescued animals are presented in all their adorable glory.


What I love about Dana’s work is how she captures these lovely animals at the best time of their lives — after they’ve found peace at Sanctuary One, a nonprofit care farm in Jacksonville, Oregon.


Best of all: These portraits are all for sale, and 10 percent of proceeds will be donated to Sanctuary One.


If you’re not in the Ashland area, visit Dana’s website to see all of her animal portraits, many of which are of rescued animals and shelter animals (she also does commissions!). And Dana donates a portion of all sales to local animal shelters.

She’s even done a portrait of our General Manager, Theo, a former rescue kitty. We especially love seeing his face on greeting cards, though when it comes to Theo, the cards are probably only appropriate for Halloween…


Announcing AMONG ANIMALS, a fiction anthology

By Midge Raymond,

We are thrilled to announce the forthcoming publication of our first fiction anthology, Among Animals: The Lives of  Animals and Humans in Contemporary Short Fiction.

amonganimalsThe anthology, scheduled for publication in February of 2014, features stories from among the best voices in contemporary fiction (you can see a list of contributors here). We received more than 300 story submissions, and it was quite a feat to choose only fifteen…but we think you’ll be as pleased with these stories as we are. The settings and animals featured in this collection range from the wilderness to our backyards, from bears to dolphins to emus.

To be notified when this book is available, please click here and scroll down to join the mailing list. And if you’re a book reviewer, please feel free to contact us for a review copy.

Call for Submissions – Doug Fir Fiction Award

By Midge Raymond,

Ashland Creek Press is delighted to be a sponsor of the 2013-14 Bear Deluxe Magazine Doug Fir Fiction Award!

Please see below for complete guidelines, and you can also click here for details and more info.

The Bear Deluxe Magazine welcomes submissions of previously unpublished short stories up to 5,000 words, relating to a sense of place or the natural world, interpreted as broadly or narrowly as the author defines.

Entry Fee: $15

Word limit: 5,000

Deadline: September 3, 2013

Grand Prize: $1,000, writer’s residency at Sitka Center for Art & Ecology, national publication, and manuscript review

Finalists: Manuscript review, recognition, publication consideration

Award Judge: Lidia Yuknavitch’s most recent books include Dora: A Headcase, a novel, and The Chronology of Water: A Memoir. She is also the author of three works of short fiction (Her Other Mouths, Liberty’s Excess, and Real to Reel) and as well as a book of literary criticism, Allegories of Violence.

Co-sponsor: Sitka Center for Art & Ecology

Associate sponsors: Ashland Creek Press and Hawthorne Books (Ashland Creek Press and Hawthorne Books will provide manuscript review for one story of the author’s choice from award winner and finalists.)

For complete guidelines, visit or email (website is under redesign).

Online payments can be made at (please indicate “Doug Fir submission 2013-14″ in the notes with your payment). Once payment is made, submissions can be emailed to with subject line “2013 Doug Fir Award.”