Sunday, March 28, 2010

Canning: Pickled Beets

Six weeks ago I pulled the last of my beets and put them in storage. I was checking and noticed some were starting to dry out so I decided to can what was left. For a recipe, I used my favourite canning reference book, the Farm Journal's Freezing and Canning Cookbook.

Canned Pickled Beets

24 small beets (2-2 1/2")

Cook beets well. Cool, peel and slice.

1 large onion sliced (if desired)
2 cups 5% acid strength cider vinegar
1 1/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons canning/pickling salt
1 cup water
6 whole cloves
1 stick cinnamon

Tie cloves and cinnamon in a cheesecloth bag. Bring vinegar, water, sugar, salt and spice bag to a boil. Add sliced beets and onions and simmer for five minutes. Remove the spice bag.

Fill four sterilized hot pint jars (I used two quarts instead) with beets and liquid to 1/4" from the top. Remove air bubbles and clean the jar rims. Place sterilized lids on top and secure with rings.

Place jars in a boiling water bath that covers the lids by at least 1" and process for thirty minutes. Begin timing once the water returns to a full boil. When done, remove the jars and allow them to cool undisturbed. Once cool, check the seal. Keep your jars in a dark, cool place until needed.

This is a lot more work than the simple fresh pickled beets I make in the summer, but it's a good way to keep the last of my crop from spoiling. - Margy

Saturday, March 20, 2010

7 Awesome Things about Spring in Powell River BC

Today is the first day of Spring and I'd like to invite you to my favourite place on earth, Powell River, BC. Here are 7 awesome things about Powell River for this spring.

1. Very friendly people. One of the first things we learned about Powell River is that it's filled with friendly people. Stop at the Tourism Powell River Visitor Centre in the Crossroads Village Shopping Centre next to Quality Foods on Mondays through Fridays 9:00-5:00. Pick up a free Powell River Living magazine or a Powell River PEAK to see what's happening around town.

2. Great places to stay. In the middle of town is the Town Centre Hotel, lounge on the beach at the Oceanside Resort and Cabins, or immerse yourself in history at the Townsite's Old Courthouse Inn. We have a special place in our hearts for the Willingdon Beach Campsite. That's where we stayed when we first discovered Powell River.

3. Tasty restaurants. From everyday to fancy, we have it all. Start the day with coffee and a cinnamon bun at Rocky Mountain Pizza, great eggs benedict at Starvin' Marvins, or a really big breakfast at my good friend Margaret's Magpie's Diner. Grab lunch in the mall at Moose n' Eddies, but don't leave town without a brew and steak at the Shinglemill Pub on Powell Lake. Sit and watch boats coming and going from logging sites and float cabins up the lake.

4. The Mill and Historic Townsite. Powell River was founded as a mill town for the Powell River Paper Company. The paper mill is now owned by Catalyst, but Powell River is no longer a company town. Homes are now privately owned and the Townsite was designated a National Historic District by Parks and Monuments Canada in 1995. Discover more about Powell River's history at the Museum.

5. The Open-Air Market. Powell River's farmers market is open April to September. Watch Around Town in the PEAK for opening and special event dates. Come for fresh produce, flowers, home baking, hand crafts and local entertainers on the Open Mic Stage on Saturdays 10:30-12:30 and Sundays 12:30-2:30.

6. Lots of outdoor activities. Whether you favourite activity is boating, hiking, ATVing, winter sports, kayaking or just relaxing, Powell River has it all. We are famous for our scuba diving, Sunshine Coast Trail, Powell River Canoe Route and rock climbing. Forest campgrounds and easy access to the back country make it paradise for outdoor enthusiasts.

7. Heading up the lake. Powell Lake is a land-locked glacial carved fresh water fjord. I love living in a float cabin up the lake in Hole in the Wall. You can rent a float cabin or boat to experience life on the lake for yourself. You can also read about off the grid living on Powell Lake in Up the Lake and Farther Up the Lake by Wayne J. Lutz at

Need more reasons to come? Visit Tourism Powell River. Hope to see you here soon! -- Margy

Monday, March 15, 2010

Cabin Cooking: Easy Minestrone Soup

Fall and winter are hot soup weather. Wayne usually BBQs our dinner, but if I have leftover steak or roast, making minestrone for supper is a great alternative.


3 cups water
2 packets or cubes of beef bullion
leftover steak or roast diced (or cooked hamburger)
1 carrot sliced
1 stalk celery sliced
1/2 green pepper course chopped
1/2 onion course chopped
1/2 cup diced tomatoes
1/2 can red kidney beans
1 can V-8 or tomato juice
1/2 cup macaroni
1 teaspoon fines herbs
salt and pepper to taste

Put water, bullion and meat in a pot and bring to a boil. Lower to simmer, add veggies and cook until they are almost ready. Add V-8, macaroni, herbs and seasoning. Simmer until macaroni is soft. The soup will thicken slightly as it cooks. In less than an hour you'll have a healthy homemade soup.

Serve in a bowl with grated Parmesan cheese as a garnish. I like to top crackers with margarine sprinkled with Lawry's lemon pepper and dill weed. Together they makes a hearty dinner. -- Margy

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Available Online: "Up the Lake" by Wayne J. Lutz

A Great Book for
the Outdoor Enthusiast

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.
Go to for ordering information.

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Breakwater Books in Powell River BC

As you probably can guess from the name of the blog, books are an important part of our life. Wayne writes books, I edit books (mostly Wayne's), and we're a small book publishing company. But we couldn't make it without the help of local bookstores that carry Wayne's titles. One of our strongest supporters in Powell River is Breakwater Books.

Breakwater Books is strategically located near the corner of Marine Avenue and Alberni Street. It's a great part of town to walk, window shop, have a bite to eat and purchase a good book to read. The owners are Sean and Ruth. They have great books to browse, a free wireless hotspot, tables and chairs for relaxing, and a great little coffee shop with breakfast sweets and lunch treats.

When you enter the store you'll find tables displaying books of interest, including lots of local titles. Look close and you'll see all six books in Wayne's Coastal BC Stories series. Other good finds include the Sunshine Coast Trail Guidebook and Along the Edge of the Salish Sea by our local hiking expert Eagle Walz.

Sean and Ruth also host book launches, author readings and other cultural events in their store. So come on down to Breakwater Books. You'll be glad you did. -- Margy

Saturday, March 06, 2010

Like a Virgin ...

"... for the very first time," goes the Madonna song. Our good friend Jeanne had lots of firsts this week here in Powell River. She had her first tin boat ride on Wednesday, she went to her first hockey game on Thursday, and on Friday she topped it off with her first quad ride.

A first ride is very important so we went to two experts for advice. We asked John about possible destinations with no logging and easy roads. When we met Dave (president of the Powell River ATV Club) and Marg for the hockey game, we continued our discussion. Dave and Marg are currently giving classes for youth in our community about ATV safety. What's good for kids is even better for adults, if we will only listen.

After all the input we decided on Southview Road. Usually it's our access road for Theodosia, but today it would be our destination. We parked in our usual turnout and offloaded the two quads. Wayne gave Jeanne her initial instructions and monitored her first solo. Being a flight instructor, he's used to this role. After Jeanne demonstrated a working knowledge of starting, forward and reverse, he released her for a short ride up and down the road. After three laps he turned her over to me.

I was the lead for the ride while Wayne remained with the truck. I took Jeanne at a slow pace up Theodosia Branch 2. Usually we are going so fast we don't appreciate the thick stand of second growth trees along the way. We turned off on Theodosia Branch 6, a smaller less traveled route. When it narrowed even more and started climbing over rocky terrain, we opted to return to the larger dirt road.

We continued up Branch 2 to the bridge just short of the seven kilometre mark. It was a good place to stretch our legs and enjoy a pop in the warm sunshine. From a viewpoint you could see down to Okeover Inlet and its many oyster farms. After our short break we headed back down the way we came. In about two klicks we saw a good looking guy hitchhiking. What a surprise, it was Wayne.

On the way back we found a flat, mossy quad trail heading into the bush. Wayne had already hiked it to make sure it was safe for Jeanne to try. In just a few metres, Jeanne experienced what it's like on a quad ride through the rainforest undergrowth so typical in our area. She was amazed at the experience.

Having access to the backcountry is so important for Powell River residents and visitors alike. We are fortunate in Powell River that the Regional District and ATV Club are so supportive. -- Margy

Monday, March 01, 2010

Float Cabins for Sale on Powell Lake BC

Wayne and I love living in our float cabin home on Powell Lake in all seasons. While we enjoy summer a lot, the quiet months of fall, winter and spring are a special time up the lake. Several float and land properties have recently come on the market, so don't wait too long. Purchasing our float cabin home was the best thing we ever did. Why don't you come up and see what Powell Lake has to offer. (Updated 9/11/18)

Powell Lake Cabins and Properties

Are you interested in getting a cabin of your own? Here's an updated list of cabins and properties up the lake that are for sale. Some are through real estate agents, so you can get more information via their websites. Other cabins are for sale by the owners with information on Craigslist or Facebook pages.

Powell Lake Cabins and Properties For Sale

POWELL RIVER PEAK NEWSPAPER LISTING (Oct. 17, 2018): A float cabin plus a large second float in an excellent protected location 20 minutes from the marina. Asking $150,000. For more information call the owner at 604-485-7082.

MLS LISTING: 14131 Powell Lake is beautiful float cabin is in a bay of its own with sandy beaches near Olsen's Landing.  The large float cabin ready for you to use in all seasons. It has two stories with plenty of room for family and friends to visit on a warm summer day to enjoy sunning, swimming and fishing. It has 3 bedrooms plus extra space upstairs for guests, full and half bathrooms, and a large open concept living area downstairs. with a pellet stove to keep you warm. Solar panels for power are quiet and efficient. In back there is also covered boat parking. All of this for $199,900. For more information contact Warren Behan of Royal LePage at 604-485-2324 or click here.

MLS LISTING:  12940 Powell Lake is a float cabin with lots of deck space for outside summer fun, and a swim platform for the little ones.  The open concept cozy cabin has one bedroom downstairs and a sleeping loft. Features include vaulted ceilings, tongue and groove pine ceiling, tongue and groove yellow cedar floor, wood stove, propane fridge, on-demand hot water, stove and freezer. Also included are a generator, solar system and a composting toilet. All this in a great location that's very protected for $148,000. Click here for more information and pictures, or contact Harry Zroback of RE/MAX at 604-483-8333.

MLS LISTING:  10100 Powell Lake is a large 1200 sq ft float cabin for sale for $159,900. The cabin has 3 bedrooms that can sleep eight comfortably plus a hide-a-bed for 2 more.  Amenities include an on-demand hot water heater and all the bells and whistles. Custom work throughout must be seen to be appreciated. Click here for more information and pictures, or contact Warren Behan of Royal LePage at 604-485-2324.

FACEBOOK MARKETPLACE LISTING: This Powell Lake owner is taking offers for a 680 sq ft two bedroom float cabin. I comes furnished, has a water supply from a glacier fed waterfall behind the cabin, an on-demand hot water, and a new composting toilet. All remediation for the upland has been finished with a letter being sent. The cabin will be sold with full approval. Lots of winter sun, zunga tree, year round use. It is located just past the hiking trail to Beartooth water fall. Asking price is $110,00.  Click here for more information.

MLS LISTING:  7395 Powell Lake is classic barn style float cabin just minutes from the Shinglemill marina by boat. It's nicely maintained with recent float and deck upgrades, a huge breakwater with newer cables, and 25 new flotation barrels added in 2016. Solar panels and a battery bank are included along with appliances and bedroom furniture. This cabin is turn key and ready to enjoy right away for only $139,900.  For more information contact Ross Cooper of Re/Max at 604-485-2741 or click here.

MLS LISTING: Jamie and Jason Zroback of BC Land Professionals has the "Ultimate Fly-in" Cabin listed. It's a float cabin on Frogpond Lake on Goat Island in the center of Powell Lake. This all-inclusive float cabin is accessible by plane or boat and vehicle via a logging road on the island. Just a few of the amenities include: main cabin, guest cabin, shop, propane and generator for power, 3 boats, and all the furnishings. This secluded cabin is one of only three float cabins on the lake. The cabin and its lease for occupation are at a reduced priced at $124,900.  Click here for more information and pictures. For more information, call Jamie at (604) 483-1605 or Jason at (604) 414-5577.

MLS LISTING: 9256 Powell Lake is a land cabin on a half acre waterfront lot for $279,900. It's only minutes up the lake from the marina. This two-bedroom, self-contained cabin is in a park-like setting with approximately 140 feet of lake front. It has an open floor plan with 2 bedrooms on the main plus a sleeping loft. Amenities includes an on-demand hot water system, propane fridge and stove, plus a 2000-watt inverter. An aluminum ramp leads down to your own private dock. For more information contact Warren Behan of Royal LePage at 604-485-2324 or click here.

MLS LISTING: 9242 Powell Lake is a land cabin on a half acre waterfront lot with a beautiful sandy beach. It has two bedrooms, a bath with a shower, a large living room with a cozy woodstove. The little kitchen is a perfect .place to prepare meals to enjoy in the glassed-in breakfast room.  A covered front deck is the perfect place to relax on a warm summer evening. There's a lovely garden, a waterside deck and fire pit on the beach, plus a handy sheds for storage and firewood. It’s all ready and waiting for you to enjoy for $279,900. For more information contact Warren Behan of Royal LePage at 604-485-2324 or click here.

MLS LISTING: BC Land Professionals is offering a lakefront lodge. The property is 8.35 acres of Crown lease land (renewal due in 2021) with 1300 feet of lake frontage. There are 5 self contained cedar cottages: 3 two-bedroom and 2 one-bedroom. Each has a full bathroom with showers, sinks, toilets, and full kitchens with brand new appliances. Living and eating areas are fully furnished with wood stoves for heat. The fridge, stove, hot water and lighting are propane. Other buildings includes a wood fired Sauna and tool shed. The foreshore and docks are protected by log breakwater. The complete package is priced at $379,000. Click here for more information and pictures. For more information call toll free at 1-866-558-5263, the office at 604-694-7626 or mobile at (604) 483-1605.

Powell Lake Cabin Services

Powell Lake Cabin Services: Already have a cabin up the lake? We are always looking for help with projects around ours. Our good friend (and float cabin neighbour) Justin Behan offers services such as cargo delivery, lumber packages, cubes, propane tanks, wood stoves, and anchor and rope supply. In addition, Justin is now a distributor for Sun-Mar composting toilets just like the one we installed in our new bathroom addition. For more information, call Justin at (604) 483-6527.

Powell Lake Real Estate: Want a real estate agent that really knows float cabins? That's Harry Zroback (our man Harry who helped us get our cabin) from RE/MAX. Harry owns a cabin himself, so he's an excellent person to contact for all your "up the lake" real estate needs at 604-483-8333 or

Powell Lake Stories

Want to know more about life up the lake. Check out these books from Wayne's Coastal BC Stories series:

Up the Lake (Free for Kindle and e-books)
Farther Up the Lake
Cabin Number 5
Off the Grid
Off the Grid: Getting Started
Powell Lake by Barge and Quad
If you have any questions about Powell River, Powell Lake or cabin living, I'd be glad to help out. Just leave a comment or use the e-mail link in my profile to send me a message. -- Margy