Sunday, January 20, 2019

Book Review of "Up the Lake"

With a wonderful twist, Wayne's Coastal BC Stories book Up the Lake received a tremendous review from Leigh on her blog 5 Acres and a Dream.  What a wonderful way to be a star for the day. Click here to read Leigh's review.

Up the Lake book review at 5 Acres and a Dream.

Up the Lake is the first book in my husband's thirteen book Coastal BC Stories series about Powell River, BC, and the surrounding region. It tells about how we discovered Powell River, Powell Lake, and float cabin living. There are also stories about flying, hiking, boating, quadding, and of course fishing.

Would you like to read Up the Lake? If you have a Kindle or a Kindle app on your handheld device you can get it for free from Amazon. Click here if you need a free Kindle App.  

Up the Lake is also available in print from Amazon and many other online booksellers for $9.95.

Thanks Leigh. We're glad you enjoyed the book. We hope our readers will follow this link to 5 Acres and a Dream to learn more about your homesteading life and experiences. -- Wayne and Margy

Shared with Your the Star at Stone Cottage Adventures. And Tuesdays with a Twist at Stone Cottage Adventures.

Saturday, January 12, 2019

Coastal BC Birds: Great Blue Heron

We have a seasonal visitor to our float cabin home on Powell Lake, a Great Blue Heron. Each fall he (or she maybe) returns to our protective log booms to fish. He stands motionless for a long time before leaping into action to catch a meal.

One morning I went out front and saw the Heron standing on the boom.

Look to the left of my floating garden for the Heron.

I watched for a long time and even walked out to the corner of the float to take pictures without disturbing him.

Changing position.

Great Blue Herons are a common sight at the marina in town and nest in nearby trees. The subspecies in our area is the Pacific Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias fannini).

Flexing his wings.

The Pacific Great Blue Heron has Canadian Species at Risk Act (SARA) and Canadian Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC) special concern status. They are protected under the British Columbia Wildlife Act and the Canadian Migratory Birds Convention. When the City of Powell River was building a new community track, construction stopped due to the discovery of nests. We now have a lovely track away from the nesting site.

Framed by my floating garden.

Pacific Great Blue Herons are found from Alaska to Washington State in coastal areas. They are a large bird standing over a metre in height. There are 4,000-5,000 adults in Canada.

Herons are identified by their blue and grey feathers and black stripe from the eyes backward. In flight, Herons look prehistoric, matched by its piercing squawk.

Do you have Herons where you live? Are you as infatuated with them as I am?

References: Nature Canada, Pacific Great Blue Heron (online), The Cornell Lab of Ornithology All About Birds, Great Blue Heron (online), and Bird Watcher's Digest, Great Blue Heron (online).

Thanks for visiting my post this week. I'm linking up with Camera Critters and Saturday's Critters. Check them out for more great animal pictures. -- Margy

Sunday, January 06, 2019

Coastal BC Fungi: Late Fall Specimens

A moist environment leading to West (Hammil) Lake.
On our quad ride in the Duck Lake region of Powell River in early December we came across fungi, some young and some old.

I'm not able to identify some of them, maybe you can help. And if I've made a mistake, please let me know.

A Coral Fungus (genus Ramaria) found on the Blue Trail Connector .

Next is a bracket fungus called Artist's Conk (Ganoderma applanatum) found nearby on the Blue Trail Connector. It got this common name because it's a favourite with artists for painting and etching when dried.

I'm not sure if these are young Artist's Conks on the downed tree or some other type of bracket or shelf fungi. They are growing out of the cambium layer of a dead hemlock (I think).

Our ride also took us to West (Hammil) Lake. You can reach it from several directions, but we used a trail to the north side near a creek and marshy spots. I don't know what this mushroom is called, but there were clumps of them near the creek on moist spots. It's looks like an old specimen whatever it is.

Another old specimen from the same location. Looks like it's tasty for some critters or slugs.

These small, pointed capped mushrooms were growing in a cluster nearby among dried needles and moss. Does anyone have an idea about their identification?

And this one was flipped over showing the intricate gills.

I'm not knowledgeable enough to be a mushroom forager. But I am an avid fungi observer. How about you?

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

And also a meme called Through My Lens by Mersad. And Tuesdays with a Twist at Stone Cottage Adventures.

Then try Letting Go of the Bay Leaf for Mosaic Monday. -- Margy

Saturday, December 29, 2018

2018 Gardening in Review

I enjoyed a long season of gardening again this year.

My floating garden on Powell Lake, BC.

Here's a review of my gardening posts from 2018. Click the titles to read the complete posts.

January 2018 -- Winter Garden Wonders about my first year of trying an active winter garden using my floating garden raised beds and selected containers.

February 2018 -- Pressure Canning Potatoes from my own crop grown in half 55-gallon barrels strategically placed around the float cabin deck.

March 2018 -- Pressure Canning Carrots from the Scarlet Nantes I grow in my floating garden raised beds. They make a short, sweet stubby carrot perfect for eating, storing and canning.

March 2018 -- Repotting a Red Currant tells how I made a large container from a 45-gallon black barrel to transplant my two year old red current plant. The currants were so happy in their new home that they gave me plenty of fruit for jam.

May 2018 -- Float Cabin Living: Can You Have a Garden? -- This was a segment of my series about off-the-grid living in our float cabin home on Powell Lake, BC.

July 2018 -- Summer Garden Highlights shares some of my garden successes including a visit from members of the Powell River Garden Club.

August 2018 -- Overwintering Geraniums shares my most recent and most successful method of overwintering outdoor geraniums in a cool to cold climate. Right now they are enjoying indoor life in our Powell River condo.

August 2018 -- Raising and Drying Herbs tells how I make my home grown herbs last throughout winter. For fun I hand painted recycled containers to liven up my spice shelf.

October 2018 -- Harvesting and Storing Potatoes shares how I grow potatoes in containers on my cabin deck. I save my own seed potatoes, making it a very economical food to grow.

November 2018 -- Guest Blogger on Terra do Milho -- I was invited by Monique, a homesteader in Portugal, to write a guest post for her blog. You can read more about Monique's experiences at her Terra do Milho website.

December 2018 -- Composting with Chop and Drop in the Garden and Containers describes how I am using a method called chop and drop to use garden waste as mulch and layered in empty containers to decompose over the winter months.

How was your gardening this year? What were some of your successes and challenges you learned from. -- Margy

Hop on over to the Simple Life Mom and see some great ideas for homesteading and simple living.

Want more ideas? Try Nancy's Our Simple Homestead Blog Hop.

Head over to Blogghetti for Happiness is Homemade to see more recipes, crafts and DIY projects. -

And a new Thursday site to visit, Frugal Living on the Ranch's Bloggers Pit Stop. - Margy

Monday, December 24, 2018

5 Favourite 2018 Powell River Books Blog Posts

Each year I like to share posts that were favourites with my readers. Here are the top 5 for 2018 in order. Click the titles to read the posts.

1. Repotting a Red Currant:  In 2017, I purchased a bare root red currant. It outgrew its container so I made a large one from a 45-gallon plastic barrel for its permanent home.

The red currant repotted with a trellis to support vertical growth.

Related post: Red currant jam from my first harvest.

2. Crochet Armrest Cover:  In 2013, we replaced the sofa that came with our cabin. It was used to start with and on it's last legs (literally). In 2018, I made crochet armrest covers to extend its life.

Crochet armrest cover to extend the life of our new sofa.

Related post: What goes up, must come down.

3. Float Cabin Living - The Series:  In 2018, I updated a series I originally wrote in 2007 about living in our float cabin home. The twelve posts delve into off-the-grid living topics.

Our Powell Lake float cabin home.

Related post: Off the grid float cabin YouTube video reaches over one million views.

4. Ode to Bro:  John lost his best friend and constant companion earlier this year. When we bought our float cabin in 2001 it came with John's friendship and his dog Bro's excited (mad-man) welcomes. We considered Bro our adopted dog and felt his loss deeply.

Brody, Bro, Bro-Man

Related post: Portrait of a man and his dog.

5. Float Cabin Marina:  Last Christmas we got a Garmin VIRB Ultra30 action camera. One video showcased our boats at the cabin. When you live on water, boats are an important part of your life.

Only the barge we are on is missing.

Related post: Winter quad ride on Goat Island.

2018 was a very good year up the lake at the float cabin. We hope yours was as well. - Wayne and Margy

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

And also a meme called Through My Lens by Mersad.

And Tuesdays with a Twist at Stone Cottage Adventures.

Saturday, December 22, 2018

Canning: Home Canned Apple Pie Filling

Organizing my ingredients and equipment.
After following comments on the Safe Canning Recipes Facebook Page, I wanted to try Apple Pie Filling. I chose the tested recipe below from the Ball/Kerr websiteClick here to see the original.

I purchased a $5.99 5-pound bag of apples and apple juice from the store. The ClearJel I ordered from Amazon. The other ingredients I already had in my fridge and pantry.

Home Canned Apple Pie Filling

Prepare apples, treat to prevent browning

• 12 cups sliced apples drained
   (about 12 medium)
• Water
• 2-3/4 cups granulated sugar
• 3/4 cup ClearJel
• 1-1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
• 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
• 2-1/2 cups unsweetened
   apple juice
Measure ingredients.
• 1-1/4 cups cold water
• 1/2 cup lemon juice
• 7 pint glass preserving jars
   with lids and bands


1. PEEL, core and slice apples.

2. TREAT apple slices to prevent browning by submerging them in
Blanch apples.
a mixture of 1/4 cup lemon juice
(or 1 tsp of Fruit Fresh/citric acid) and 4 cups water.

3. PREPARE boiling water canner. Heat jars in simmering water until ready for use. Do not boil. Wash lids in warm soapy water and set bands aside.

4. BLANCH apple slices, working
Cover blanched apples to keep warm.
with 6 cups at a time, in a large pot of boiling water for one minute. Remove with a slotted spoon and keep warm in a covered bowl.

5. COMBINE sugar, ClearJel, cinnamon and nutmeg in a large stainless steel saucepan. Stir in apple juice and cold water. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat,
Cook mixture then add apple slices.
stirring constantly, and cook
until mixture thickens and begins to bubble. Add lemon juice, return to a boil and boil for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Drain apple slices and immediately fold into hot mixture. Before processing, heat, stirring, until apples are heated through.

Fill and process jars.
6. LADLE hot apple pie filling into hot jars leaving 1-inch headspace. Remove air bubbles. Wipe rim. Center lid on jar. Apply band until fingertip tight.

7. PROCESS jars in a boiling water canner for 25 minutes, adjusting for altitude. Remove jars and cool. Check lids for seal after 24 hours.

Making apple sauce and a juice drink.
I then cooked the skins and cores to put through my food mill for two half pints of applesauce. I processed the jars for 15 minutes in the hot water after the pie filling.

Lastly, I simmered the remains in the water I saved from blanching the apples.  I strained the liquid and added sugar and cinnamon to taste. Since this wasn't a tested recipe, it went in the fridge to drink right away.

My apple canning canning results.

That's how I stretched a five pound bag of apples to the max. The total was six pints of apple pie filling, two half pints of applesauce and one quart of apple juice drink. Next year I need to find an abandoned apple tree for even more savings.

Hop on over to the Simple Life Mom and see some great ideas for homesteading and simple living.

Want more ideas? Try Nancy's Our Simple Homestead Blog Hop.

Head over to Blogghetti for Happiness is Homemade to see more recipes, crafts and DIY projects. -

And Frugal Living on the Ranch's Bloggers Pit Stop. - Margy