Westerns Whales and Oceans blog

The Thousand Mile Challenge

A good challenge may help distract you from the endless episodes of corona chatter, death, and mob destruction.

Let a good challenge provide distraction and relief from today’s endless episodes of corona chatter, death, and mob destruction. My challenge? 1,000 miles.

We’ve been plenty busy salvaging Moonlight Mesa Associates from three, yes 3, fires since March. The latest fire wiped out three of the company’s four acres. It was started, experts believe, by somebody who drove down the highway with their chains dragging on the cement. Unless you’re around trucks and trailers you might not know that the safety chains often drag on the ground. This can cause a spark. Arizona is bone dry right now.  (The 1,000 miles is coming up.)

Fortunately, the building and immediate grounds were saved, although the fire came as close as 10’ from the back of the building. We were huddled 1600 miles away in Anacortes licking our wounds from our earlier disasters when our realtor called and informed us that helicopters were dropping buckets of water on our back porch. Hmm. Stunned at yet another catastrophe and unable to do anything at the time, we stayed a few more days in Anacortes, then took a beautiful week-long trip down the coast driving back to Arizona avoiding any discussion of what might be awaiting us.

So, where do the thousand miles come in? I’m getting to that.

Needless to say, we spent the next few weeks pushing back our fire-line. This means raking, hoeing, and hooping acres of dull, dead, dry grass that’s knee deep, and cutting limbs off out-of-control creosote bushes and damaged mesquite and palo verde trees. It’s beginning to look good…the part we’ve done anyway.

IMG_1479    So, now onto the 1,000 miles. On a recent windless morning, we actually stole away and went rowing at Lake Pleasant. We arrived at 6:00 a.m., and were launched by 6:20. It helps if you know that I’m an avid rower. I currently own two rowing vessels. My rowing skiff, complete with row-wings made by my husband Tom, is in Anacortes, WA. with our small tugboat. My wherry, built by my husband for my birthday several years ago, lives with us in Wickenburg. It has the full set-up of sliding seats, 9’6” oars, and of course, row-wings. It’s a creation of beauty!

50dfc-oldfolksweb-jpeg Rowing is very physical – and mental. I wrote a book about this, The Old Folks in the Boat, which I took off the market. (You may order a copy from me if you wish – it’s heavily discounted.) Anyway, I won’t go into the details at this time. However, as we rowed I realized I needed a good, challenging goal to boost my morale. On a whim I decided I would row 1,000 miles this year. Oops. I then realized the year is half over and I’ve hardly rowed due to the move, the fires, and my mule launch. So, I decided I’d row 500 miles in 2020, but in 2021 I would row 1,000 miles.

In July  we’ll be building the new shop. ( We do the job. No contractors.) But, I’ll sneak in some rows and in August we’ll head back to the tug where I can row every day. Still, 500 miles is a lot of miles. Arizona is hot hot hot…too hot to row unless I start at 6:00 in the morning. Can’t get the shop built and row every day, though.

Not everyone needs a challenge. I do. It keeps me enthused and determined and distracted from today’s endless episodes of corona chatter, death, and mob destruction. I need that. So far, I’ve only rowed 10.92 miles this year, but the year is not yet done. Keep in mind that the skiff is more difficult to row than the long, graceful wherry which can be rowed by either one or two people. The skiff is slower for one thing, and only one person can row. The wherry glides through the water like a fish…or surfer…whatever. Unfortunately, the wherry cannot go with us to the tugboat…it’s too big for our small vessel and it’s too risky to tow it behind the tug. Nevertheless, I’m excited about this challenge. I’m feeling pretty positive, in fact.

Do you have a challenge?

My First Big Challenge...crossing oceans
We managed to survive 7 years and 25,000 miles aboard a 34′ Cal 2-34. Now THAT was often a challenge!

 

Too Much Noise

Too much noise. There is simply too much noise for people to think clearly and calmly.

I’m not talking about honking horns, sirens, and social media conflicts. I’m talking about the social upheaval and unrest that’s descended not just in this country, but around the globe. Some is justified. Some not. I’m not going there, however. We’re all living in the midst of this terrible social angst and no one needs yet another voice from the wilderness dishing out unsought opinions. I’ll keep my thoughts about George Floyd and his untimely, unnecessary death to myself. I’ll refrain from railing about the lawless looting, vandalism and destruction of so many people’s dreams. Commentary on the innocent dead left in the wake of the massive and brutal uprising will not be discussed. And most certainly Covid-19 is not going to rear its ugly head here.

Despite the brouhaha raging in cities across America, I find it odd that I’m still mostly oiled birdjust concerned about plastic pollution, the Southern Resident Pod of Orcas, diminishing salmon runs, and the continuous destruction of nature and our earthly habitat.

I’m still plugging for the Rights of Nature. I recently renewed my membership to the NRDC (Natural Resources Defense Council), and I’m applauding CELDF (Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund) for providing invaluable assistance to those fighting for the right to live in communities that aren’t damaged by greedy developers and industrial chemical tycoons.

However, I must confess that I’m a bit conflicted (is that a real word?) that I still eat red meat a few times a week. I love cows. I used to own a small herd of Texas Long Horns. I never butchered them except for one who was very mean and surly. Okay, I did eat her. I found wonderful homes for the other beautiful animals when we moved though.

I feel a bit bad that I no longer have any interest in being a political activist. Been there done that back in the Viet Nam days. I feel even worse that I’m not busting my ass getting more businesses and people involved in the JUST ONE THING Alliance. My thinking is that people have too many other things to deal with right now to be concerned about plastic pollution, captive whales held in swimming pools, the Rights of Nature, growing dead zones around the globe, aquifers worldwide drying up, the JUST ONE THING Alliance – and the list goes on.

Perhaps it’s my job to keep these things remembered until the noise stops.

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Moonlight Mesa Associates to Host JUST ONE THING Alliance

If every single person chose one form of plastic that they were willing to eliminate from their life, the results would be colossal.

JUST1THING E2   Moonlight Mesa Associates, a western book publisher, will host the JUST ONE THING Alliance on the Moonlight Mesa website, according to publisher Becky Coffield.

“It’s no secret – in fact it’s pretty obvious – we are currently engaged more with environmental issues than we are with publishing,” Coffield said. “In fact, we published only one new title this year (C.L. Lee Anderson’s The View from My Old Saddle) and we have no other titles planned for 2020.”

Moonlight Mesa and publisher Becky Coffield support the Save Our Wild Salmon Coalition and The Whale Museum in Friday Harbor with donations. “Also, the proceeds from the sales of Saving Our Oceans are donated to these organizations,” Coffield said. “But we also contribute to The Nature Conservancy (Arizona branch), CELDF (Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund) and NRDC (Nature Resource Defense Council), and we are also a member of GARN (Global Alliance for the Rights of Nature)” the publisher added. She’s also now the unofficial chairperson for JUST ONE THING.

Eventually Coffield plans on getting JUST ONE THING its own website, but for now she says,  “We do what we can do. It would be great, though, if someone volunteered to host the website – or pay for it. Obviously we need to spend more time marketing books to pay for all the things we want to support and do!”

JUST ONE THING is simple: it asks people to eliminate one plastic product. Just one.  “No one expects people to go without plastic products. It would be impossible in today’s world,” Coffield said. “But If every single person chose one form of plastic that they were willing to eliminate from their life, the results would be colossal. Just one. And here’s a good place to start because small things add up!”

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JUST ONE THING invites individuals and businesses to join this Alliance. If you’d like to do so,  Contact us and you will be added to our growing list of people who want to see plastic use and waste diminish.

 

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Save the World by Joining GARN

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Wanton slaughter of whales

As a nation we are rabidly concerned about the Covid-19 scourge, but we fail to notice, or to remember, that people have been a ruthless scourge to nature for centuries. Is Covid-19  nature’s payback, as some claim? Or is it already too late?

GARN stands for “The Global Alliance for the Rights of Nature. The “Alliance” is a global network of organizations and individuals committed to the universal adoption and implementation of legal systems that recognize, respect and enforce “Rights of Nature”. Rather than treating nature as disposable property under the law, the time has come to recognize that natural communities have the right to exist, maintain and regenerate their vital cycles. “Our legal and political establishments perpetuate, protect and legitimize the continued degradation of Earth by design, not by accident.” (Wild Law by Cormac Cullinan)

“The members (of GARN) are a diverse network of scientists, attorneys, economists, indigenous leaders, authors, spiritual leaders, business leaders, politicians, actors, homemakers, students, activists: people from all walks of life in over 100 countries on 6 continents of North and South America, Africa, Europe, Asia and Australia who are looking to transform our human relationship with our planet.” (Yale Forum on Religion and Ecology)

Individuals as well as businesses can join the alliance. There is no fee to become a member. The idea in joining, however, is that you will engage in some manner, to some degree, in promoting and protecting the Rights of Nature. Even monetary donations count.

Nature isn’t just animals and birds – The title of nature also refers to all ecosystems, from rivers, lakes, forests, streams to living things. According to Wikipedia: An ecosystem is a large community of living organisms (plants, animals and microbes) in a particular area. The living and physical components are linked together through nutrient cycles and energy flows. Ecosystems themselves are of any size, but usually they are in particular places.

Being part of the GARN organization is critical. Without people working to protect oiled birdecosystems we would very shortly have none left. Corporations and state and federal government agencies would very likely claim and overwhelm every “nature area” in the country with development and pollutants of all kinds. Unfortunately, thoughtless individuals also contribute to ecological destruction. Scientists have discovered that even the most remote lakes in the world have plastic pollution in them.

david boyd book A few countries  have adopted the Rights of Nature into their constitutions. Obviously the United States is nowhere close to doing this. However, in this country there are groups who are pursuing the Rights of Nature in their areas and going to court against government and corporations and winning – often with the help of CELDF, a Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund that itself does not sue offenders, but helps its clients do so.

If one ponders the implications of our infringement on nature it’s easy to consider the real possibility that diseases of all sorts come from despoiled and invaded ecologies, “wet markets,” air and water pollution, and environmental destruction. Unfortunately, fresh water  pollution and shortages are already becoming a disastrous problem. No water – no world.

What can a person do to save the world:  Remember that even small things add up. Act on that.

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Saying Goodbye to a Way of Life

With the advent of Covid-19, most Americans will likely find life different in the near future – and maybe forever.

 

I’m no different than most Americans, although I will confess that I think the reaction to the virus has been a bit overblown; however, let me hasten to add that I’m not a doctor, scientist or other health professional. Still…

 

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The scene of the “crime”

As for my own life there are other major changes. For starters, after being pummeled by my mule about 6 weeks ago I found myself in the emergency room being radiated by a Cat Scan and ex-rays. Unable to sleep on my left side, sneeze, or laugh without gripping my side in agony, I made the decision to hang up my spurs. (To be honest, I made this decision as I painfully got up from the ground.) After 30+ years of riding horses and mules, I had no hesitation. In the past I mounted back up when I had a spill – I’d done so several times. Not this time.  My love affair with riding abruptly ended when I hit those rocks. 

 

cropped-cropped-rebaandbecky.jpgAm I sad or grieving? No. I do feel very bad that somehow I failed with this mule. I tried for nearly 4 years to make a go of it with her, but we were just not a good match even though the mule trader from whom I bought her raved about her safety and fine qualities. Did he lie? I’ll never know, but I suspect he was not exactly truthful about a few things. Anyway, it doesn’t matter at this point, I guess.

 

Other than feeling like a failure with the mule, I am not at all unhappy. In fact, as a friend pointed out, we now have a new chapter opening in our lives. WE CAN ACTUALLY GO PLACES AND NOT HAVE TO BOARD THE MULES. Boarding animals is expensive. Keeping shoes on them is expensive. Feeding them is expensive. Vet bills can be expensive. Horse/mule trailers are expensive and in AZ we go through tires quickly due to the heat. So many times we’ve passed up opportunities to take off on the spur of the moment because of the pesky question: who is going to feed the mules while we’re gone? Or we’ve come back early to feed.

 

cropped wallace islandWe can now stay up north longer during the hot Arizona summer months because we won’t need to use a thousand or MORE dollars of our meager vacation fund to pay for boarding the mules.

 

I loved this mule. She didn’t particularly love me. She was unpredictable to the point that I started wearing a helmet two years ago. Good decision. I landed on my head, face, ribs and left leg with a splat on a rock pile.                                   

 

However, despite my “senior-citizen” age and the height from which I was sent soaring, I only broke one finger! Probably got it tangled in the reins. I am so fortunate! And I am thankful everyday for that.

 

JUST1THING E2I now have much more time to promote the JUST ONE THING Alliance, market our publications, hike and ROW, ROW, ROW, and much more time to devote to getting my Marine Naturalist Certification, the Rights of Nature, and Saving Our Oceans since I won’t have to return to Arizona so early every summer due to mule-boarding bills! 

 

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 Although I still cannot lift weights (not even 5 lb. dumbells) I can row my ergometer. I’m headed to the lake next week to see how I do in the wherry. I can hardly wait! I’d like to get into “senior” rowing competitions in the near future. Doing so will take practice and time – and I’ll now have time for that. Basically, I truly believe the changes I’m making are for the better.

 

And perhaps the changes we all may have to make due to Covid-19 will be for the better too.

 

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Release date: May 2019

 

 

     

 

Publishing Slowdown

logoMMA-lg for WPIt’s past time we got back to the original business of publishing – so I’ve been advised. While my personal interests still sit with oceans, whales and the JUST ONE THING Alliance, I’ve been reminded that we have a plethora of award-winning titles that are beginning to languish due to my divided loyalties.

First off, book sales are surprisingly down. I thought sales would remain pretty strong since most people are housebound. I pictured people reading in the long quiet evenings. Not so much, it seems. Perhaps it’s the expense – few good books are free. Even Kindle charges add up quickly and there are other expenses people must take care of before indulging in their leisure habits.

That being said, although our sales are slower, they do continue. Of particular interest is Casey Tibbs, Born to Ride (Rusty Richards), Developing the Art of Equine Communication (C.L. Lee Anderson), A Beginner’s Guide to Owning a Mule (Becky Coffield) and Some Gave All (J.R. Sanders). These titles just keep chugging along! Note that they are ALL nonfiction works.

SGA CoverJ.R. Sanders recently posted a YouTube video for Some Gave All  that is positively inspiring! What a great job. You can see for yourself at https://bit.ly/3eyPCL1. It’s totally awesome!

 

In other news…our new house caught fire, and my mule Reba launched me into outer orbit. I landed on rocks on  my head, face and left ribs. Fortunately I was wearing a helmet – something I rarely do. My mule is a big, strong girl, and I was no challenge for her in keeping my seat. Why she did this, I have NO IDEA. It wasn’t windy, too hot, or too cold. There were no bees, mosquitoes, or other scary things (like cows) around. Unfortunately, once a mule or horse gets away with this, they are inclined to do it again, so sadly Reba and I have parted ways. I found an experienced, excellent owner…AND RIDER…for her. I’m too old to be hurled onto rocks. I had to walk 1.9 miles home from this traumatizing episode and spend 6 hours in an emergency room. Enough.

 

On the bright side, I can now spend more of my free time rowing and competing in the “senior” divisions. (When did I get to be a “senior”??) Once my ribs and broken finger heal, I’ll be raring to go – wild horses can’t hold me back – so the saying goes. It’s taking all my will power not to rush off to the lake and start rowing now that the weather is good. My ribs would rebel, however – this I have learned the hard way.

 

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We’ve postponed a new publication until 2021. Hopefully Renee and Jered might be back and I’ll be ready to get very serious about publishing again. Meanwhile, one of us will continue our posts!

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Great Year for Moonlight Mesa Nonfiction Titles & Superb Response to JOT

JUST1THING E2      The response to JUST ONE THING has been nothing short of encouraging, according to publisher and JUST ONE THING organizer, Becky Coffield. Although off to a slow start due to the home and business relocation of both Moonlight Mesa Associates, Inc. and the publisher, the response to date has exceeded Coffield’s expectations.

For starters, the Save Our Wild Salmon Coalition has enthusiastically endorsed the JUST ONE THING alliance. “The Save Our Wild Salmon Coalition has got to be one of my favorite organizations,” Coffield recently said. “Joseph Bogaard and his staff are so responsive, supportive and positive. They were quick to endorse our informational/inspirational publication last year, Saving Our Oceans, which has generated funds that we’ve in turn donated to the Save Our Wild Salmon Coalition and to the Whale Museum in Friday Harbor.”

Coffield went on to add that “The Whale Museum is another organization that has been outstandingly supportive of not only our publication, Saving Our Oceans, but they also have wholeheartedly embraced the JUST ONE THING alliance. It’s a very rewarding feeling to have organizations like these support the alliance.”

Moonlight Mesa already has an alliance with the Ocean Foundation and the Plastic Pollution Coalition. “We’re hoping that we actually get a response from the Inland Ocean Coalition this time around,” Coffield said. “More than just coastal communities and organizations need to come on board for this to be really successful. What we are getting is terrific, but there’s plastic pollution everywhere…not just in coastal regions.”

In addition to organizations, so many individuals have praised the idea and let us know via email or personal encounters. “We’re very enthused and excited to get the ball rolling on this endeavor,” Coffield said. “Now that we’re mostly settled in our new location, we hope to send the message out and recruit more organizations and individuals to the cause.”

And, JUST ONE THING has its prototype t-shirt. “The funds from any shirts we sell will be donated. More than selling shirts, though, our goal is to just get the word out and encourage participation in the alliance.”

2019 PUBLICATION WRAP UP

9780977459391.MAIN. Once again nonfiction dominated Moonlight Mesa’s overall sales this past year. Although Casey Tibbs – Born to Ride and A Beginner’s Guide to Owning a Mule  battled it out for best seller, the honor this year goes to Rusty Richards’ Casey Tibbs – Born to Ride by a small margin. “Richards’ book is going to sell forever, I think,” Coffield said. “It’s a classic in the true sense. Part of its exceptional staying-ability is that it’s available as a trade paperback and an ebook also.”

A Beginner’s Guide to Owning a Mule came in second for sales which is very interesting rebaandbeckyconsidering the book is simply a guideline about buying and owning mules. “I’m a bit surprised at the interest in mules, I guess,” Coffield said. “They are fantastic animals, but not for everyone, that’s for sure. I have one and absolutely love her, but there are days… I’m very pleased to see the interest in mule-information.”

In third place for sales was C.L. “Lee” Anderson’s Developing the Art of Equine equine_comm2Communication. “I didn’t think Lee could possibly come up with another book as helpful and informative as this one, but he surely did,” Coffield said. “We released Lee’s second book, The View from My Old Saddle, in January this year.”

SGA Cover      Fourth place is J.R. Sanders’ riveting Some Gave All. “I know if we can get this book into ebook format without having to delete most of the artwork and photos it will really take off,” Coffield said. “This book is absolutely fabulous.”

 

Saving Our Oceans placed fifth for nonfiction. “I was more than disappointed in this result,” Coffield said, “but it’s probably to be expected considering the topic and the fact that many in Arizona seem to be a bit detached and indifferent to these issues. Our work is cut out for us.”

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Jere D. James, usually a top-selling fiction author, has seen a decline in sales. Jere stopped writing westerns and sales declined when no new titles were forthcoming. The author had a fairly large following who were always anxious to buy the next book in the series. (Cover photo of the 5th book in the Jake Silver Adventure Series.)

 

NO PUBLICATIONS IN 2020

Coffield announced there would be no new publications scheduled in 2020. “We have too much work to do with Saving Our Oceans and the JUST ONE THING alliance. We also have Lee’s new title to get established in the market place. Plus, we’re looking at a new cover for Sanders’ The Littlest Wrangler. And if time permits, we’d like to take a look at Some Gave All  and see how we can get it into an ebook. We’ll be busy.”