Friday, November 30, 2012

Fly the Friendly Skies

The waves of storms we've been having are interspersed with sunny breaks. Last week when I took Wayne to Vancouver International Airport, a beautiful rainbow emerged from the darkness.

From the ground, it could be seen from horizon to horizon, much wider than my lens could capture.

I wonder what it looked like for the passengers of this jet? -- Margy

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Ever Green

Evergreens get their name because the remain green throughout the year.  When deciduous trees like alders and maples lose their leaves each fall, the evergreens continue to give our hills and mountains a nice green glow.  Around our Powell Lake home, the evergreens include fir, hemlock, cedar, and some pine.


With a little sunshine, the distinctive colour of each variety comes out.

The forest is a prolific entity.  When trees are cut for roads or logging, seeds rapidly sprout to take back the clearings. In less than a year, alders begin to grow. Evergreens follow shortly thereafter.  Roads are soon obliterated.  But a little use and trimming keeps abandoned logging roads open for quads and hikers.

On a quad ride, we saved some seedlings from the road bed. Now our planters have evergreens we can enjoy year round.  On the left is a cedar, and on the right a two-fer, fir and hemlock.

When they get larger, we'll transplant them on our granite cliff to join our natural evergreen forest. -- Margy

Monday, November 26, 2012

Eggplant and Zucchini Parmesan

Wayne and I want to be healthier and lose weight.  We read Eat to Live by Joel Fuhrman and have put many of his recommendations into action.  Our fast paced life has fostered poor eating habits. It's time to get back to basics.

A big eye opener was protein. You always think of animal proteins, but many vegetables are high in protein without the fat and calories

Eggplant and Zucchini Parmesan

Sauce:
1 onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, diced
8 oz mushrooms, sliced
2 tsp Italian herbs and 1 tsp oregano powder 
1 tomato and 1 bell pepper, chopped
1 large can pasta sauce

Saute onion, garlic, and mushrooms in one teaspoon olive oil. Add herbs and heat to release flavours. Add bell pepper and tomato. Finally add pasta sauce and let simmer for 30 minutes.

Ingredients:
1 large eggplant
3 medium zucchini
1 red pepper, sliced
2  sprigs fresh basil
4 oz grated mozzarella cheese

Cheese Filling:
1 can spinach
8 oz ricotta cheese
1 tsp Italian herbs
1/2 tsp garlic powder
4 oz grated Parmesan cheese 

Topping:
4 oz each grated Parmesan and mozzarella cheese

Directions:
Slice eggplant and zucchini lengthwise 1/4 inch thick.  Lightly salt and drain on paper towels for 30 minutes. Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray. Lightly oil eggplant and zucchini slices and broil each side until lightly browned. 

Mix ricotta, Parmesan cheese, drained spinach, Italian herbs, and garlic powder.

Coat a 9.5 x 9.5 inch deep baking dish with cooking spray. Ladle sauce to cover the bottom.  Cover with half of the eggplant and zucchini.  Top with sliced red pepper and torn basil leaves. Add cheese filling and sprinkle with mozzarella cheese.  Lightly cover with sauce.

Layer with eggplant and zucchini, then remaining sauce.  Bake covered at 350 degrees for 45 minutes.  Remove cover, add cheese, and bake until lightly browned.  Remove from oven and let rest before serving.

This casserole provides a substantial main dish for 8 hungry diners, or plenty extra for frozen meals. Add a green salad and sliced tomatoes with fresh basil to complete the meal. Definitely healthy and filling. -- Margy

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Boathouse, Houseboat

This picture lets you reflect a little bit on the meaning of words.  Boathouse - a "house" built for boats.  Houseboat - a boat built to be a "house" for people.


Crisp fall days can produce some of the best reflections here on Powell Lake in Coastal BC.  In case you missed it, check out our Powell Lake home that was featured on the Travel Channel's show Extreme Houseboats.  They call it a houseboat, we call it a float cabin. Either way it is a great place to live. --  Margy

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Bundled Bro

It may be fall, but winter weather has arrived, especially in the high country. Down at the cabin it's wind and rain, but snow is starting to accumulate in the mountains.

Our good friend John and his Black Lab named Bro don't let a little cold stuff slow down their back country exploring.

They just bundle up and head out to enjoy the smoother trails and quiet forests.  Hopefully I get out there on my next trip home. -- Margy

Friday, November 23, 2012

Rainbows at Sunset

This week we've had some pretty stormy weather.  On Saturday, just before sunset there was a narrow band of sun breaking through.

Against the dark eastern sky, a full double rainbow appeared briefly.

Fortunately, I glanced up and saw it through Mom's condo window. It was so brief. By the time I took the third shot it started to fade. -- Margy

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Stash-8

When I took Wayne to the airport this week, I saw an interesting sight.  Taxiing by was a Dash-8 owned by North Cariboo Air with a mustache on the nose. I grabbed a quick shot as it was moving past.


I did a bit of research online and learned that their fleet of planes are participating in Movember which supports men's health, men's mental health, and prostate cancer.  Starting on November 1, men around the world start clean shaven, then grow mustaches.  Their participation helps raise awareness about these important issues and raise funds at the same time. Thank you North Cariboo Air.  You made me more aware of these important issues. -- Margy

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Salmon Run Up Sliammon River

I follow Rod Innes of Powell River, BC, on YouTube so I can be notified each time he submits a new video.  This week I discovered a wonderful documentary of the Chum (Dog) Salmon running up the Sliammon River to spawn.  Watch this informative video and you will learn a lot about salmon in the wild, salmon preservation efforts at the local Sliammon Hatchery, and great views of the Powell River region.



The Sliammon Hatchery is in the Sliammon First Nations village just north of Powell River on Highway 101.  If you are in the area, the hours of operation are from 8:30 to 4:30 Monday through Friday.  Thank you Rod for this excellent documentary. -- Margy

Monday, November 19, 2012

Tamale Pie

Staying with Mom, I need to cook for our suppers, and also for frozen meals for Mom and her attendants when I'm away.  This weekend I made a large tamale pie that fit the bill. I started with a recipe by at About.com and gave it a vegetarian twist.

Tamale Pie

Filling Ingredients:
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 bell pepper, chopped
  • 3 stalks celery, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil 
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1-8 oz can tomato sauce
  • 1-14.5 oz can stewed tomatoes, cut up
  • 1-15 oz can whole kernel corn, drained
  • 1-15 oz can kidney beans, drained
  • 1- 2.25 oz can sliced olives, drained
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
Cornmeal Base and Topping:
  • 1 cup yellow cornmeal
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 3/4 cups cold water
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 2 tablespoons butte
  • 1 cup grated Cheddar cheese for topping (optional)
Directions:

Saute onions, garlic, green pepper, and celery in olive oil until translucent. Add chili powder and cumin and cook briefly to bring out the flavours.  Add tomato sauce, tomatoes, corn, kidney beans, olives, sugar, and salt. Heat to a low boil, then simmer uncovered for about 20 minutes until the flavours marry and it thickens.

In a saucepan, combine cornmeal, salt, and chili powder. Add water and cook over medium heat stirring constantly until thickened. Mix in butter.  If it's too thick, add a little extra water.  Use cooking spray on a 9.5 x 9.5 inch (or similar) deep baking dish. Spread half of the cornmeal mixture on the bottom.  Next layer all of the filling.  Spread the remaining cornmeal mixture over the top. Bake at 375° for 45 minutes. Sprinkle cheese over the crust about 10 minutes before the casserole is done.

It was so good, Wayne, Mom and I ate almost a third. But I still had six large servings to freeze for future meals.  And the best part, I didn't have to go to the store. Everything in the recipe was available in my pantry or refrigerator.

Do you have any favourite recipes that freeze well? I'd love to hear about them. -- Margy

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Getting Stumped

Fall is the time of year when the water level in Powell Lake is at its lowest. That's because there's little rain over the summer, and power generation at the dam sucks away quite a bit.  Fortunately, because our float cabin is in about 90 feet of water, we are safe from going aground. The up side to the dry season is that,many submerged stumps emerge to provide a more "decorative" shoreline.

Now that the rain has arrived in earnest, everything will look a whole lot different when I get back home. -- Margy

Friday, November 16, 2012

Tomorrow's Gonna' Be a Brighter Day

You may have been wondering where I've been these last few weeks. Usually I only miss a few days when we're up at the cabin without the Internet.  This time I've been staying close to Mom to help her through a difficult time.  Now that things are settling down a bit, I'll be able to get back to cabin living and share about our off-the-grid experiences.


Nature reminds us that better times are always on the horizon as in the words of the Jim Croce song, Tomorrow's Gonna' Be a Brighter Day.

But there's truth and consolation
And what I'm trying to say
Is that nobody ever had a rainbow baby
Until he had the rain ...

Come on tomorrow
It's gonna be a brighter day
Thanks for all the caring comments. Mom is doing better day by day. -- Margy

Tuesday, November 06, 2012

Winter Greens

This year I decided to grow some winter greens.  When my float garden was finished with its summer crops, I replenished the soil with all-purpose fertilizer and added Swiss chard and kale seeds. By late September, I had some nice sized sprouts that gave us fresh and healthy additions to our salads and vegetable dishes. With our mild start to fall, there was plenty of good growing weather.

I now see I underestimated the size of kale. Since I had plenty of room in the bed, I should have given each crop more growing room.



But maybe staying close on those cold winter nights will keep them more warm and cozy. I'm hopeful that both will last through spring. This is the first time that I have grown kale. In fact, I'd never tasted it before. I must say I like it even more than the chard.

Do you grow any winter crops? What has been successful for you? - Margy

Friday, November 02, 2012

Comox Gets Hammered

It's been rainy lately, but I think Comox across the Strait of Georgia is getting the worst of it.

Look at this rain cell focused on top of our across-water neighbour. -- Margy