Thursday, December 23, 2010

Easy Peasy Crochet Scarf

I wanted to make something special for my good friend Jeanne for Christmas. We are both originally from sunny Southern California and this Pacific Northwest winter weather chills us a bit, so I thought a crochet scarf would be perfect. You see, I'm a beginner even though my mom is an expert. Some things run in the family, some take a little longer and more work.

I found this pattern for a single crochet scarf at the Lion Brand Yarn website. They called it a Wedding Favor Scarf. I call it an Easy Peasy Crochet Scarf. Here are the directions.

Easy Peasy Crochet Scarf

ch(s) = chain(s)
sc = single crochet

SCARF

Ch 121
Row 1: Sc in 2nd ch from hook and in each ch across - 12o sc at the end of this row.
Row 2: Ch 1, turn, working in back loops only, sc in each sc across
Rows 3-14: Repeat Row 2. Fasten off.

FINISHING

Weave in ends.
Add fringe if desired.

I chose to use Lion Brand Homespun in Fiesta colour. It made a beautiful, nubby, multicoloured scarf. The yarn is twisted with a tight thread holding the twists in place. On the down side, I found it very difficult to use and hard to pick up the back loops without splitting the yarn. On the up side, it hides a multitude of errors. Not a bad thing for a beginner like me.

Do you have any patterns to suggest for a beginner like me? My hook is itching to get started again. -- Margy

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

The Corner Restaurant

When Wayne and I drive down to the Navy Base at Oak Harbor, we often get hungry along the way. A handy place to stop is at the corner where Highway 20 turns south from Fidalgo Island to Whidbey Island. And what better name for the restaurant than The Corner Restaurant.

We've been there for lunch and dinner, but haven't tried breakfast yet. The timing of our trips hasn't lent itself to that experience. However, their $3.99 weekday specials look very tempting.

Today we had the seafood baskets. I got the prawns and Wayne had the fried clams. They were big orders with lots of fries and a side of coleslaw. Speaking of the fries, they were wonderful, crunchy outside and moist inside. I asked how they were made, but was told it's a secret. Other choices include sandwiches, soups, salads and lots of comfort foods like meatloaf, turkey and roast beef dinners. There's even an early bird special from 4:00 to 6:00 p.m. where two can dine for $13.99.

If your tummy has enough room, their homemade pies are great. My favourite is the blackberrry of course. So turn on in at "The Corner" for a great meal any time of the day. -- Margy

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Winter Warmth

When it's cold and wet outside ...

Bro likes to soak up a bit of winter warmth in front of the blazing wood stove up at the cabin.

Did you know that Bro is famous? He plays a staring role in all of Wayne's Coastal BC Stories books. On more than one occasion, John (Bro's pet parent--but don't let him hear I called him that!) has been approached by someone saying, "Isn't that Bro? Then you must be John." Even though John is a very private person, I think he likes having a famous dog in the family. -- Margy

Friday, December 17, 2010

High Flying Skies Over Bellingham

As a follow-up to my post yesterday about flying, I am sharing some sky shots from our airplane 997.

Squalicum Harbor, the Bellingham home to many private and working boats ...

and snow-capped Mt. Baker in the distant background.

Come "slip the surly bonds of earth" with me. -- Margy

Thursday, December 16, 2010

The Annual Inspection

What do you do when the skies are gray, and the weather isn't tempting for a flight? Schedule an annual inspection for your airplane. Being on a winter cycle isn't a bad thing for us here in the Pacific Northwest.

Every airplane is required to have an annual inspection, and the aircraft's manufacturer has a maintenance manual that spells out what must be included. A certified aircraft mechanic and/or facility does the work. Here in Bellingham, John Ring, owner of Whatcom Territory Aero Service, and his chief mechanic Joe take care of things for us.

Aircraft owners can do some items in preparation for the annual inspection or assist along the way. But for us, we develop a "squawk list" to let the mechanic know about problems we are experiencing in addition to the airworthiness directives for inspections, parts replacement and components that have reached their end of life.

There are two exceptions to an annual inspection. The first is for aircraft used to carry persons for hire or flight instruction. They are required to have a more frequent inspection every 100 hours of engine time. The other exception is a progressive inspection that results in a total inspection of the airplane within a calendar year.

Flying is a very safe activity when all flight safety and maintenance precautions are taken. Wayne maintains very detailed records for 997 to make sure we are ready to go when good weather finally arrives. -- Margy

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Squalicum Harbor

On Bellingham's waterfront you'll find a bustling mixed use marina at Squalicum Harbor. On one side there are hundreds of private power and sailboats lined up waiting for a Pacific Northwest boating adventure. Seems like very few get out except in the most warm summer months. Too bad.

On the other side, you'll find a large working marina filled with fishing and large sea-going boats. That is my favourite side to explore. There are several docks you can stroll to talk to fishermen and see them working on board.

On shore you can walk through the net storage area to see all of the working equipment waiting for the next open fishing season.

While you are there stop for a brew and a bite to eat at Nicki's Bella Marina overlooking the guest boat moorage area or the Web Locker Restaurant for a tasty lunch.

There are two parks in the area as well. Zuanich Point Park is a great place to stop as you wander through the marina. It is a local spot for kite flying and also offers paths for jogging and roller-blading, picnic tables, a children's play area, water access and wonderful sunset views. A more primitive park is Squalicum Beach Park (see my December 4 post) before Marine Drive turns up the hill. You have to pass through an industrial area, but at the end there is a dirt parking lot that leads to a sandy/rocky shoreline. At low tide you can walk all the way to the start of the Bay to Baker Trail. But don't get caught when the water comes in. Both parks are open from dawn to dusk. -- Margy

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Everyone's a Food Critic

Chopped on the Food Network had an unexpected judge this last week.

The four contestants were preparing holiday appetizers, entrees and desserts under the watchful eye of our cat Stick Tail.

Stick Tail wasn't inspired by the cranberries, but thought the turkey dishes had some promise. Though he thought salmon would have been a better holiday meal choice. -- Margy

Friday, December 10, 2010

Sunset at Squalicum Beach

When I went to Squalicum Harbor last week, I stopped by Squalicum Beach to watch the sun set.

This little park in Bellingham Washington is tucked away in an industrial area, but is well known with off-leash dog walkers.

At low tide, you can hike along the shore for a long ways.

Or just sit on a driftwood log to enjoy the peace and calm as the waves lap at the shore. -- Margy

Friday, December 03, 2010

Clouds Over Powell Lake

Our Bellingham skies have been gray and misty this week so I reached back in my archives of Powell Lake photos. I love clouds and Powell Lake is a great place to find some beautiful examples. Here's the view looking south through First Narrows with the glacial eroded Bunster Hills in the distance.


Storm clouds are brewing to the north. Lenticulars like this big guy mean winds and turbulence.

On a calm day there are clouds above and clouds below.

Wish I was there for real. -- Margy

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

A Special Friendship

I would like to introduce a special friend who has helped me immensely over the last ten months. Her name is Jeanne. She started as a good friend of my husband Wayne. In fact, on our first date, Jeanne brought cookies for our flight to Catalina Island.

Over the years, we've shared our home and lived near each other. Last January, Jeanne chose to move to Bellingham and found a place across the hall from Mom. Jeanne is a great cook and baker. In fact, she makes most of our dinners when we are in town. When she isn't making something gourmet from scratch, you might find her in one of the local bakeries or specialty shops.

It was fun to have Jeanne come to Powell River to see our special home up the lake. While she was there, she got her first taste of quad riding. Jeanne rode Wayne's red Kodiak and, for a change, I got to be the lead. She also got to go to a Kings hockey game with our good friends Dave and Marg -- friends meeting friends.

When Mom was in the hospital and rehab, Jeanne came to visit all the time. She brought Mom little treats. With all that yucky hospital food, they were really appreciated. Mom also enjoyed all the gossip Jeanne brought from the condo coffee klatches. Jeanne's visits helped Mom reconnect with her life before back surgery. That was a very important part of the healing process.

Now that we are home, Jeanne has become one of the family. She fixes Mom's breakfast, lunch, and dinner. She runs errands, helps with cleaning, and most importantly, shares her time with Mom. They are good friends, and that makes Jeanne an even more special friend of mine.

Do you have a special friend? I sure hope so. -- Margy

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Historic Fairhaven

Bellingham has it's old town sections. One is called Fairhaven. It's a quaint district along the bay with historic brick buildings, restaurants of all types, and numerous little businesses perfect for window shopping.

This monument commemorating the city's start sits in front of an old warehouse on the seawalk/bike path. It's a lovely place for a stroll and picture taking. Fairhaven was established in 1883 by the principal land owner Daniel Jefferson Harris in hopes that it would become the western terminus of the Great Northern Railroad. It didn't and the once booming turn of the century town fell on hard times.

Fairhaven is a favourite place for several blogging friends to meet. Mary Beth comes a little ways north from Stanwood to meet up with Betty and me for several hours of coffee, sweet treats, and browsing. Several of our favourite haunts are the Eclipse Bookstore and Village Books (makes us sound a bit high brow), and Avenue Bread (for our coffee, treats and a loaf for later).

You can find Betty at her blog called Mud Creek Mama. Mary Beth has several blogs. I don't know how she does it. One is more than I can handle. She has Small City Scenes of Stanwood, Holy Houses, day4plus, and Country Charm. Do you have any blogging friends you meet with? What kinds of things do you do? - Margy

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Snow Dog

Where our good friend John goes, so goes Bro. Or maybe it is the other way around. Sometimes it's hard to tell.

When John takes his quad for a ride into the bush, he's never alone. Right behind in his own handmade plush box is John's Black Lab named Bro.

Bro likes riding in all types of weather, but his favourite seems to be winter. He's a true "Snow Dog."


The only thing that Bro doesn't like about snow is when it rains down on his head from alders weighed down with a fresh accumulation of the white stuff. First it lands on his head, and then it piles up in his box. Between stops, it makes for a cold nose and butt.

John is always looking for ways to keep Bro warm and comfortable on the trail. A sweater and raincoat keep his body warm. Then there's a hoodie for his head and ears. It may not look dignified, but seems to be a welcome addition to his winter attire.

When he reaches the destination for the day, Bro knows there will be a tasty lunch of crunchy dry food topped with tongue licking good sardines. For dessert there will be pieces of John's sandwich, cookies and muffin. When the meal is done, he enjoys sharing the spectacular views with his human buddy. Man truly is dog's best friend.

Do you know someone who has a pet partner like Bro? Tell us their story. -- Margy

Sunday, November 07, 2010

Pacific Northwest Plants: Amanita

Amanita

Today I took a walk to the mall. On the way back, I found mushrooms bursting through the soil in the parking lot planters.

I'm not much at mushroom identification, but I found an excellent site called Rogers Mushrooms. There is a feature you can use for visual identification.

Based on a search through the site, I believe these are different stages of a mushroom called Amanita. It starts out as a firm, bulbous cap that is white to cream. The upper surface is scaly. As it matures, some of the caps get an orange tint, especially those in direct sunlight.

It was a sunny, warm morning after two days of heavy rain. The mushrooms were growing at the base of pine trees in planter soil that was littered with tree mulch. The mature caps became concave, splitting the flesh in several places.

Do you know mushrooms? Maybe you can help me with the identification. -- Margy

Monday, November 01, 2010

Stick on the Job

Do you know any working pets? Many are high profile such as guide dogs, hearing dogs and guard dogs. You have sled dogs, herding dogs and hunting dogs. You even have therapeutic horses. But you don't often hear about working cats.

What are some jobs for cats? Well, there's the tried and true mouser. Or maybe you'll find a cat "working" in a shop, greeting guests at a B&B or helping out in a nursing home or hospital. All of those pats and pets are good for the patient as well as the working feline.

After twelve years of leisure, our cat Stick Tail has a job. In 2007, he moved to Bellingham to live with my 91-year young mom. When we are in town, we get visiting rights. But the majority of the time he is on the job up in her condo. Here are some of his tasks:

  • Begging for food even if the dish isn't empty
  • Sitting next to her to watch the Wheel of Fortune
  • Crawling in bed after breakfast so it can't be made
  • Staring at the fireplace until it is started
  • Giving her ball of yarn a big whack
  • Sleeping, sleeping and more sleeping

It's a demanding job, but someone has to do it. Who better than Stick (Mom calls him Kitty Cat). Stick now has an even more important role. His picture helped Mom stay grounded through four long weeks of hospitalization and rehab following back surgery. Now that she's home, his furby kind of love is just what the doctor ordered.

Do you know a working pet? Let us hear his or her story. - Margy

Friday, October 08, 2010

Clearing Clouds

Fall storms bring rain and wind, but they are followed by lovely clearing clouds.

Watch them in action.


Thanks for stopping by. -- Margy

Thursday, October 07, 2010

Farther Up the Main Book Launch

Wayne has just completed a new book in his Coastal BC Stories series. It follows in the footsteps of his second book about backcountry exploration, Up the Main. Naturally, it is entitled Farther Up the Main and focuses on our favourite place on earth, Powell River, BC. In it you will read stories about the people and places that make this region so unique.

You are invited to join us at a free book launch event.

Farther Up the Main

Friday, October 22, 7:00 pm at
Coles the Book People
Town Centre Mall

Go to www.PowellRiverBooks.com for ordering information.
Print for $16.95
Kindle for $3.99
Ebook $3.99


If you already have a book from the Coastal BC Stories series, bring it with you. Wayne would love to autograph it for you. Hope to see you there! -- Margy

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Paddling for Salmon

Wayne went out on opening day to try his hand at salmon fishing. No luck from shore, so he thought maybe a kayak would give him a better chance. He found a Dirigo Angler by Johnson Outdoors at Wholesale Sports in Burlington, WA. And the timing was perfect. It was $759.99, but with a 30% off sale, plus a 5% military discount, not bad.

For his first paddling fishing adventure, Wayne picked the Skagit River. He already knew it from our kayak camping trip last August. He launched at Sedro Woolley's Riverfont Park boat ramp to float and fish his way down stream. But just after he got started, he snagged his line. The speed of the river ripped all the line off his real, leaving nothing to catch a big one.

This section of the Skagit is wide and fairly fast. When we paddled it in the summer, we rarely saw anyone in a boat or on shore. Now with salmon season open, there are lots of people everywhere. I met Wayne at Burlington's busy Roger "Gus" Tjeerdsma boat launch to give him a ride back to Sedro-Woolley to pick up his car.

For more information about fishing in Washington State, go to their website.

Do you have a favourite fishing hole? Is it secret, or can you share? -- Margy