Sunday, October 30, 2011

Granite Lake Quad Ride

Wayne and I went for a quad ride to Granite Lake. We started in town at the parking area near Edgehill School on Abbotsford Street. This is such a handy place to enter the forest trails. After the Duck Lake Bridge, we followed Duck Lake Forest Service Road to link up with the Granite Lake Road.

The ride is mostly over well maintained forest service roads, but the last portion on the Granite Lake Road has one tricky creek crossing. The water is shallow, at least this time of year, but the gully is deep. It doesn't look that steep in this picture, but for me it was.

Granite Lake is known for its trout fishing. Wayne threw in his line, but didn't get any nibbles. Maybe the fish have already moved deeper up here in the higher country. When you catch one, you will notice they are much darker than regular rainbows. Maybe it's from the dark tint to the water.

From the surrounding mountains, you can see how this lake got its name. I just love the granite outcroppings. We ate our lunch on the shore before heading back down the road. Even on this nice weekend, we were the only quads out in our neck of the woods. What a great way to enjoy nature.

On a calm day, the reflections on Granite Lake are amazing.

Do you want to explore the great outdoors in Powell River? Would you like a book full of maps and trail descriptions with GPS locations? There's a great book written by Dave, the president of the Powell River ATV Club. It’s called the ATV Trail Guide and costs $25. If want a copy, you can contact PRATV at their website. They are also on sale locally in Powell River at Quality Parts and Guy's Cycle Works. All profits support trail maintenance and building activities. -- Margy

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Mr. Pumpkin Butt

Wayne and I went driving through Paradise Valley in Powell River's regional district and found the most amazing Halloween decorations. The house had a huge web with a massive spider guarding his "prey."

Next to the driveway was the Haunted Valley Cemetery.

But the highlight was Mr. Pumpkin Butt mooning passing drivers.

What a creative family! -- Margy

Friday, October 28, 2011

Blue Above, Gold Below

During fall it's typical for waves of storms to pass through quickly, then clear to gorgeous blue skies. Looking east towards Goat Island the view up was a beautiful sky blue.

But as my eyes were drawn downward, there was a "sunny" golden glow coming up from below.

Our fall leaves are about two weeks late, but well worth the wait.

This cabin belongs to Max Pagani and his wife Monica. Max is a local realtor with Coast Realty. Contact Max at 604 414-8829 or if you are interested in local property, or even a cabin up the lake. -- Margy

Monday, October 24, 2011

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

Yesterday, Wayne and I had a nice, cool Fall ride to one of our favourite destinations, Granite Lake. I'll tell you more about that when we get back from the cabin at the end of the week. Except for one creek crossing, the ride isn't challenging (for people like me), but the country along the way is amazing. You can read more about a previous ride in Wayne's book Up the Main in a chapter called "Four." Of course, that means 4X4.

A Great Book
for the Outdoor Enthusiast

Up the Main
Coastal BC Stories

Travel up the main logging roads for an unparalleled backcountry experience. Whether you go by ATV, motorcycle, mountain bike, car or on foot, you can find clear mountain streams, hidden lakes and uncrowded campsites. Read Up the Main by Wayne Lutz and ride along with us. 

Go to for ordering information or use one of our trusted partners.

Kindle $2.99 USD at
Other Ebooks $2.99 USD at
Print version $12.95 USD at

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Time for Reflection

Standing on the deck of my float cabin always gives me amazing views in the sky, and in the water, especially on a calm fall day.

We've had more blue skies than normal, giving us glorious days with lovely reflections.

Here you can see our "front yard" with a captured log glistening in the early morning light. It's good to reflect back on all the good things life has to offer. -- Margy

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Kitchen Kapers Kontinued

In 2008, I shared a post about my kitchen. Since we purchased our cabin home from our good friend John in 2001, we haven't changed much inside. But this year we've undertaken several improvement projects. Last week you read about the completion of our bathroom and side porch. Now we've moved on to the kitchen.

Our kitchen remodel is much less involved, but the results are still going to be dramatic. We decided to leave our kitchen counter and shelves the way they are. We love the simplicity. So the first step was replacing our propane appliances. John picked up our new refrigerator and stove at Rona.

John's friend Ernie loaned us his converted boat barge (normally used to transport quads on the lake) to haul our new appliances up to the cabin. When you live in a water access only location, you have to be a bit inventive. John backed down the boat ramp and the quad ramps dropped from the barge right onto the tailgate of his truck. That made the transfer of the heavy appliances a lot easier.

When they got to the cabin, the barge backed up to the deck. The ramps reached all the way to the top deck, making the off load just as easy. When the installation was done, the process reversed to remove our old appliances. But don't worry. They are going to a good home. John is taking them down to his new cabin. Bro is hoping we left a few doggie treats inside for him. -- Margy

Friday, October 21, 2011

Ferry Trails

Last week we had some spectacular sunsets, but this one was the best. The sun is setting earlier, so the North Island Princess arriving at 6:50 caught the last light of day.

A moment later, you could see the wake trail she left glistening in the hot pink glow.

Come to Powell River and ride the North Island Princess to nearby Texada Island for an adventure and sunset tour. -- Margy

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Off the Grid Living Up the Lake

Today we're heading up the lake for a few days at our float cabin. It's a unique place to live. Want to read about how we handle off the grid living? Wayne has written two books about our cabin life.

The first is Up the Lake. It tells about how we discovered our cabin on Powell Lake, about life in our off the grid, boating to world famous Desolation Sound, riding our quads into the back country, and flying overhead for a unique view of this incredible place.

Coastal BC Stories

E-book for $1.99

Following in the footsteps of the most successful book in the Coastal BC Stories series comes Farther Up the Lake. Head up Powell Lake to experience more about our life in an off the grid float cabin, winter on the lake, spend the night up at the Head of Powell Lake, go beachcombing for logging history, and much more.

Coastal BC Stories

Go to
for ordering information.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Woodstove Refinishing

Our Kozi woodstove is a vital part of our float cabin. It makes all season living up the lake possible. This time of year, we only need an early morning and night fire, but in the middle of winter, it will be running 24/7. It provides us with lots of heat, but it also provides a cooking surface for heating lots of water, and even an occasional meal.

All that work takes a toll on the stove's surface. The first step in refinishing the surface is to scour away the rust and grime with a stiff wire brush. Then smooth the surface with sand paper and clean it thoroughly so no dust or rust particles are present.

We chose Tremclad High Heat Enamel in a flat finish. This paint resists heat up to 650°C (1200°F), well within the range of the surface of a woodstove. It is thick and covers well. Brush strokes smooth out during the drying process for a smooth finish that isn't supposed to crack or peel. I'll keep you posted on that.

We let it dry for a week while we were away. Originally, we planned a second coat upon our return, but it looked fine with just one. We will save the remaining paint for a future coat, or maybe for the chimney pipe. Not only does our wood stove look a whole lot better, but it will protect the metal so it will last many years longer.

For information about how to refinish your indoor chimney pipe click here. That makes the refinishing job complete and improves the appearance 100%. -- Margy

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Inexpensive Storage

Last week you saw the completion of my new bathroom. I was so excited, I didn't know which to use first - the toilet or the tub. Well, nature took care of that decision for me. On my first night back, I used the wood stove to heat four big pots of water. What a luxurious feeling to sit back and have a hot soak.

The next thing was to put together the bargain pantry I found at Walmart. It was originally $89, but on sale for just $49. It's made of MDF (medium-density fiberboard), but it's quite sturdy. And it came in a white finish that is perfect for my new room.

While I was in town with Mom, Wayne put it together for me. You may wonder why I'm putting a pantry in the bathroom. First, in a small home you use the space you have wisely. Second, it will be the coolest room and that's the best spot to store my canning.

Up on top, Wayne has space for his model Coast Guard Cutter that has been displaced because of our kitchen remodel. I think it looks good here, giving a spot of colour against the light walls. What do you think? -- Margy

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Buster's back ...

and Wayne's gonna be in trouble
Hey la, hey la my Buster's back.
If you see him come,
better cut out on the double
Hey la, hey la my Buster's back

Sorry, but the 60s song by the Angels just popped into my head.

This is pretty late to see our resident Garter Snake. But this year everything seems to be running a bit late. I saw Buster sunning himself on the brow log below our back deck.

Wayne saw him too, but gave him a wide berth. Buster isn't Wayne's favourite critter. -- Margy

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Indoor "Plumbing"

Our new bathroom has been a big project for John (our good friend and builder) and us. Here's how it progressed:

Under Construction - Ed's video
Up Goes the Frame - walls
Site Supervisor - roof beams
Save That Nail - rain delay
Toilets and Telescopes - composting toilet
Night Watchman - John and Bro
Bathroom and Porch Addition Nears Completion

We are trading in our trusty outhouse up on the cliff for an indoor composting toilet inside the cabin. The view won't be as great (looking out through the trees and down the cliff to the the lake below), but the convenience will be appreciated.

Instead of climbing four flights of stairs, we just have to go into another room. No rain, no wind - how civilized.

We chose a Sunmar Excel NE. The NE stands for non-electric. While it isn't hooked up to our cabin's solar powered electrical system, it does have its own panel to run a small fan within the air circulation pipe. That helps eliminate odour, and keeps the air moving around the compost as it processes. We've had our composting toilet in operation for almost a month now, and are very pleased.

We purchased our toilet at Pete's Plumbing here in Powell River. It's important to shop local. There's also a new distributor in town, Justin Behan. He also provides other cabin services such as cargo delivery, flotation cubes, propane tanks, and anchor rope supply. You can reach Justin at (604) 483-6527.

As you can see, the air circulation pipe rises above the roof line and has a built-in rain deflector. There's also an overflow tube just to make sure there are no accidents indoors.

Our bathtub was in our downstairs storage room. Now it's part of a real bathroom. The tub, however, isn't connected for hot or cold water. Our bathtub is a cold weather luxury. In the summer, our natural swimming pool is all we need for a cooling swim or wash.

We'll continue to heat our water on the wood stove. I can fit four large pots on the surface at the same time, and a hot winter fire will get them almost boiling. Add an equal amount of cold water, and you have enough for a nice soak or soaping down. And there's nothing like bathing with a friend to save water.

The bathroom will give us some additional space for storage, but that's another story. -- Margy

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Growing Garlic

This is the first year I've tried growing garlic. It sounded like a good crop for a summer I wouldn't be around much for tending and watering.

I planted the cloves in late March in several of my unused pots on the deck. This make for easier to water. By June, they looked like this. Of course, I didn't know what was happening under the ground.

In September, I pulled up my first crop. I call it a qualified success. Of the fifteen cloves I planted, they all sprouted. Of those that sprouted, ten produced bulbs. What was unusual about my bulbs was that they had no wrappers. After doing some research online, I think I let them stay in the ground too long. If you have any suggestions for next year, I'd love to hear them. -- Margy

Saturday, October 08, 2011

Strawberry Nursery

I'm pulling out my strawberry bed. They will stay productive for about three to four years if renovated and maintained. Mine's been in the same spot in my garden under the watchful eye of Mr. Bunny ever since the float was built by John in 2003.

It's also time to rotate the location. The plants will get some refreshed soil and the grubs they leave behind will lose their hosts and die.

Strawberries send out runners from the mother plants to propagate new ones. At the beginning of the season, I remove all runners so the plants will use their energy for berry production. At the end of the season, I let the runners root themselves. As I am pulling up the old strawberry plants, I'm saving the new clones and placing them in my empty barrels on the deck.

The deep barrel protects the small plants from the fall and winter winds. The sides of the barrels reflect the sun on the soil, enhancing the warmth. Here's the nursery for my new strawberry bed to be planted next spring. And because these strawberries are clones from the mother plants, I know they will be good producers. -- Margy

Friday, October 07, 2011

Cirrocumulus Clouds

One thing I really like about living in the northwest is clouds. When I lived in Los Angeles, there was mostly high and low stratus. Up here we have such a variety.

We also have more time and reasons to be outdoors. Last week while out boating, we saw some cirrocumulus clouds. The day started overcast, then cleared to sunny and windy, then started clouding over again.

Cirrocumulus clouds are high altitude, around 12 kilometres (39,000 feet). They occur in patches or sheets, and are made up of ice crystals. Brrr!

Clouds can also help us forecast the weather. This was the last of the sun for a couple days and the rain arrived about 20 hours later. -- Margy