Thursday, November 27, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving from Powell River Books

For all of my American readers and friends ...

Up the Lake

the home of

This year Wayne and I will be celebrating our second Thanksgiving of the year watching USC football vs. Notre Dame and our old nemesis, UCLA. We'll also be able to reconnect with some friends we left behind in that nameless mega-metropolis south of the border.

Thanksgiving is a great time to step back and reflect on all of our blessings. Wayne and I live in the best place on earth and have many good friends. We both hope your Thanksgiving is peaceful and filled with joy. -- Wayne and Margy Lutz

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Coastal BC Plants: Bull Thistle

T is for Bull Thistle

The very prickly Bull Thistle (Cirsium vulgare) can be found along roads, and in fields and disturbed areas such as logging slashes. I found this specimen on a logging road near Chippewa Bay on Powell Lake.

Bull Thistle is an invasive species introduced from Euroasia. It's considered a noxious weed because it can spread easily in fields, keeping stock from grazing, and can contaminate hay.

Bull Thistle is a member of the Aster Family. It's widely distributed throughout Canada and the United States. It's a biennial plant (taking two years before going to seed) that can grow up to two metres tall. Rigid upright stems have spine tipped leaves. Thistle heads are surrounded by spines and sport bright pink to purple flowers.

Seeds are dispersed by wind on silky down. They are very viable, assisting the spread of this weed. There are few natural enemies to keep it in check. The Bull Thistle is sometimes misidentified as the Canada Thistle. Both have those beautiful bright flowering heads. Goes to show, there's always something good, even in the bad. ABC pictures from around the world, stop by the ABC Wednesday blog. This is the fifteenth round of the meme established by Denise Nesbitt and now maintained by a team including Denise, Roger, Leslie, and other hard working volunteers. -- Margy

Monday, November 24, 2014

Up the Lake: A Christmas Gift from Powell River

Early Bird Christmas
Shopping Suggestion

The book that started it all! 
 Up the Lake
Coastal BC Stories

Head up Powell Lake to experience life in an off the grid float cabin, take a boat to world famous Desolation Sound, ride a quad into the back country and fly overhead for a unique view of this incredible place. Read Up the Lake by Wayne Lutz and see how much fun it can be.
Print for $9.95
Kindle for Free
E-Book for Free
(prices may vary in Canada)

Or go to for ordering information and additional titles in the Coastal BC Stories series.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

"Never Fly Over an Eagle's Nest" by Joe Garner

Never Fly Over an Eagle's Nest (Oolichan Books, 1980) Joe Garner memoir and the story of his family from the early 1900s to the late 1950s.

Joe's mother and father fled the Ku Klux Klan in South Carolina, headed to San Francisco by train, and took a steamship to Vancouver, BC. Oland Garner, Joe's dad, heard about the "land of mild and honey" from his father. It sounded immensely better than death back home.

Vancouver didn't work out, so the Southern couple went by ship to the growing city of Victoria on Vancouver Island and  Oland got a construction job on the new elegant Empress Hotel.

Friends on the job invited Oland and Lona to visit their home on nearby Salt Spring Island. Shortly thereafter, the couple with their young daughter Ethel moved to a place they would call home for many years.

The book follows the lives of Oland, Lona and their ten children (nine to be born on Salt Spring Island). Several chapters were written from Joe's brothers' and sisters' point of view.

Pioneering life wasn't easy in a rented log cabin, the farm they built, or the house in Ganges. Joe was born in 1909, the third child in the large family. Much of the book revolves around the strong partnership between Joe and his slightly older brother Tom. Logging, fishing, hunting and construction projects took the family members throughout the province and beyond.

Joe was a contemporary of my mom and dad, but their experiences were drastically different. Growing up on a truck farm in rural Compton near Los Angeles, my mom didn't have any difficulty in going to school, or with child labour experiences (even though she always said she wished she had a nickle for ear of corn she packed for market).

One thing I liked about the book was hearing again about other early Coastal and Northern BC residents. Lona was a distant relative of Ralph Edwards whose homesteading experience on Lonesome Lake was chronicled in Ralph Edwards of Lonesome Lake and several other books. Also mentioned was Jim Stanton, who with his wife Lauretta, homesteaded at the head of remote Knight Inlet. Their lives were the basis for Grizzlies in Their Backyard. why should you "never fly over an eagle's nest?" You'll just have to read the book for yourself to find out the answer to that mystery.

Never Fly Over an Eagle's Nest was reprinted by Heritage House Publishing in 2010 and is available as a paperback from Or check out a local used book or thrift store. That's where I found mine. -- Margy

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Coastal BC Plants: Stonecrop

S is for Stonecrop

We have an unusual plant on our cliff, it's called Stonecrop. It's unusual because it's a succulent that you would expect to find in a drier climate, but it seems to thrive on the sunny face of our cliff. Surprisingly, in Coastal British Columbia, you can find it clinging to the ground on rocky, exposed outcrops.

I believe ours is Sedum spatulifolium. The leaves are fleshy and sage-green to reddish. In summer, they develop bright yellow flowers on tall stems. Historically, the Coastal Salish people used Stonecrop leaves as a styptic poultice.

Are you interested in plant identification? I use Plants of Coastal British Columbia by Jim Pojar and Andy MacKinnon. It's available from or I like it because it includes trees, shrubs, wildflowers, aquatics, grasses, ferns, mosses. lichens and some oddball (and very interesting) plants. In addition to the color pictures, line drawings, and identification information, the narratives include how the plants were used by First Nations people and early settlers. I highly recommend it for the casual observer as well as experienced botanists. ABC pictures from around the world, stop by the ABC Wednesday blog. This is the fifteenth round of the meme established by Denise Nesbitt and now maintained by a team including Denise, Roger, Leslie, and other hard working volunteers. -- Margy

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Down on the Bayou

When we got to our cabin this trip, we had a big surprise. Instead of the clear blue water we're used to, it was murky and green. Seeing down below a foot or two was impossible.

We've kept records about lots of things over the years: critter observations, gardening, events in nature, the weather.

Here's what we figure. October 2014 was the rainiest October in our records. After a long, dry summer, the creek beds collected a lot of silt and debris. When the first winter rains made them run, all that gunk was washed down into the lake. More than ever before.

Because Powell Lake is so large (and deep), it has taken the suspended silt particles from the major waterfalls at the head of the lake this long to reach us down at Hole in the Wall.

No matter which way you look, it's murky and green, and has remained that way for over a week. If you go north it's the same. If you go south towards the mouth, the murkiness clears up on the surface, but the lake is still has a greenish cast. I'm not sure what is causing that part of the phenomenon, maybe tree reflections, but it's pervasive from shore to shore.

Quite the mystery. If you have any suggestions I would love to hear them. This is a first for us in thirteen years. Makes me feel like I'm in the south living on a bayou.

Speaking of bayous, here's a YouTube video by Enchanted Escape with bayou images set to Creedence Clearwater Revival's iconic song, "Born on the Bayou."

Thanks for visiting part of my world this week. For more great posts from Our World Tuesday, click here. -- Margy