Thursday, April 19, 2018

3 FREE Kindle e-Books from April 20-24

As a special thank you to all of our blog readers, here are three Kindle e-Books just for you.

Pick one or all, they're FREE
from April 20-24

and you don't have to own a Kindle to enjoy them. Just get a free Kindle app for your smartphone, pad or computer. 

Check here if you need a free Kindle App.

Flying the 
Pacific Northwest

Description: Airports of Western Washington and Oregon form the backdrop for adventures in the Pacific Northwest. Take the controls of a Piper Arrow, as your personal flight instructor leads you to out-of-the-way spots. For armchair pilots and experienced pros, this book is an escape so realistic you’ll swear you’re airborne.

Click here for your FREE copy of Flying the Pacific Northwest.

Up the Inlet

Description: Come boating up the inlets of coastal British Columbia, where the mountains drop into the sea, and lifestyles focus on self-assurance and a different sense of purpose. Follow along as we cruise northward from the Strait of Georgia, to Cortes and Quadra Islands, and beyond.

Click here for your FREE copy of Up the Inlet. the Galactic Sea

Description: Spaceship Challenger is on mankind’s first galactic voyage using a high-tech blend of space jumps and cryogenic hibernation. Captain Tina Brett leads her ship towards the ultimate goal, first contact with alien intelligence, until a navigational glitch changes everything. Then there's a mutiny, or is it something more? Six individuals on an epic journey for the good of mankind.

Click here for your
FREE copy of Across the Galactic Sea

Happy reading from Wayne and Margy

Monday, April 16, 2018

Float Cabin Living: How do you stay warm?

Our Kozi brand woodstove.
If you are following this series, you've already read about our weather and storms.

Wayne and I couldn't live up the lake in all seasons without a way to keep our home warm.

Nights are longer and temperatures cool by late September.  What most people call winter weather begins in earnest by late October. From then until May (sometimes early June) we need heat.

A rare snowy day.
Our solution is old fashioned wood combustion in our Kozi wood-burning stove. It came with our cabin and has served us well.

To burn wood, you have to gather and process wood.

Gathering floating wood.
Floating wood comes right to our doorstep when the lake level rises. We also use our barge to gather wood to cut and stack.

Our friend John built a floating woodshed for us. Wood is very heavy and you don't want it to weight down the cabin's main deck.

Processing wood for the woodshed.
Wayne learned to use a chainsaw to cut log chunks into stove lengths, then we used an ax and sledge hammer to split the larger pieces.

That is until I got an electric log splitter for my birthday.

Diamonds may be a girl's best friend, but off the grid labour saving devices are more appreciated. Below are some links for more information about heating our cabin home.

Woodstove cooking.
Stocking the woodpile.
Chainsaw maintenance.
Rotating chimney cap.
Chimney maintenance. 
Indoor storage shelf.
Woodstove refinishing.
Woodstove cooking.
Woodstove baking.

Come on in, sit by the fire and get Kozi warm.

How do you keep yourself warm and toasty on long winter nights?

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. -- Margy

Friday, April 06, 2018

Yvonne Maximchuk Presents: Memoir Writing Workshop May 9 and 11

Heart to Heart ~ Writing Your Story

Author, Yvonne Maximchuk
Have you wanted to write your memoir or the story of your life to leave for the family, maybe even to publish to the world at large?

Author and artist Yvonne Maximchuk shares the first steps on the long journey of turning your memories into words on paper.

In two, 2-hour long sessions, participants will acquire all the tools necessary to get started on this fulfilling enterprise.

When ~ Wednesday May 9, 9:30-11:30 and
Friday May 11, 9:30-11:30

Where ~ Soroptimist Room, Filberg Centre
411 Anderton Ave, Courtenay BC

Cost ~ $95.00 in advance. (Sorry, no drop-ins)
Limited to 15 participants

Pre-registration required ~ Phone Yvonne at 250-974-8134 or email (Not the Filberg Center)

Let the power of the group help you move forward swiftly by arriving prepared to engage in short writing exercises. Bring your computer or paper and pen or pencil, your notes and ideas. Bring as well, a willingness to share your own words and offer respectful comment to others, in a mutually supportive atmosphere. -- Yvonne

Thursday, April 05, 2018

Float Cabin Living: The Series

Wayne and I purchased our float cabin home in 2001 while on a flying camping trip that landed us in Powell River, British Columbia.  That camping trip brought us to a new Canadian home on Powell Lake. It also brought us to life in a new country when we became Canadian Permanent Residents in 2008 and citizenship applicants in 2017.

Wayne and I were both raised in the city and lived in the Los Angeles area. Moving to the small town of Powell River was a big step, living in a off-the-grid float cabin was a huge leap. But it was the best thing we could have ever done.

We get lots of questions about what it's like to live in a float cabin. This series will answer some of the most frequent ones we get. 

  1. Does the cabin move around the lake?
  2. What is the weather like?
  3. What happens during storms?
  4. How do you stay warm?
  5. How do you get power away from the grid?
  6. Do you have a telephone, television and the Internet?
  7. How was your cabin built?
  8. Are there rules for living on the lake? 
  9. Can you have a garden?
  10. How can you live in such a small space?
  11. Do you have neighbours?
  12. What do you DO with all your time?

People don't always ask about the bathroom, but I'm sure they're thinking about it. And how we handle all of our waste. Most people do. I'll answer all these questions, but I won't try to do it all at once. Each week on Tuesday I'll post a new installment. Stay tuned.

If you can't wait, you can read more of my posts under the topic of Float Cabin Living in the sidebar. You can also visit the website to get information about my husband Wayne's Coastal BC Stories series of books. Many include chapters about cabin life and Powell Lake.

If you have other questions, please leave them in the comments section. I always enjoy writing about our life up the lake. -- Margy

Wednesday, April 04, 2018

Float Cabin Living: What is the weather like?

Wayne and I love watching the changing seasons at our float cabin. That's probably because we came from Southern California.

Here in southwest Coastal British Columbia we have moderate weather.

Summers are sunny and warm with only a few hot spells of 30°C. Fall and spring alternate between sun, clouds and rain with temperatures to the low double digits. Winter has more cloudy and rainy days with temperatures occasionally below zero and moderate snow on 10-15 days. As Canada goes, we're balmy.

An anemometer next to our wind generator.
Since weather is an integral part of our daily lives, it was natural for us to want to know more.

First we purchased an inexpensive portable weather radio. We listen to broadcasts from the Pacific Weather Centre of Environment Canada. Our weather 25 kilometres  inland varies somewhat, but it gives us a good idea about frontal passage and expected winds. When we hear the reports for Grief Point (in Powell River) and Sentry Shoal (a buoy south of Savary Island), we know what's coming.

Our manual and digital rain gauges.
Next came a digital thermometer. Then a wireless weather station by Acu-Rite that you can purchase at Walmart or other places that sell thermometers. In addition to temperature, it has a digital barometer and humidity gauge (hygrometer). A handheld anemometer gave us wind information, but you had to stand out in the gale to get a reading. (Oops, there goes Wayne off the deck. Just kidding!).

Solar-powered temperature gauge.
Finally we upgraded to an Oregon Scientific Complete Wireless Weather Station. (Eleven years later it's still going strong). It has a rain gauge, thermometer, hygrometer and an anemometer. Our probes are solar powered, the new ones require batteries unless you opt for the expensive professional model. There are also gauges for barometric pressure, indoor temperature and humidity.

The display panel inside the cabin.
The indoor display light is easy to turn on with a touch of the screen, saving batteries when electrical power is off.

The LED screen is easy to read and a memory feature lets us know what we missed while away.

US rain gauge into its new Coastal BC home.
One summer a good friend came to visit by motorcycle. And he had a big (literally) surprise for us. He used to be a fire captain. Part of his duties were to report precipitation to the U.S. National Weather Service. When the devices were retired, he got to keep two. One is now installed at our cabin.

Whether you start small like we did, or graduate to a professional station, watching the weather is fun. -- Margy

Tuesday, April 03, 2018

Float Cabin Living: What happens during storms?

We love to be at our float cabin home in all seasons, so we're there for all types of weather. We are relatively safe in Hole in the Wall. The bay, promontory and nearby Goat Island protect us from the worst winds. On the open lake, especially in the area dubbed the “North Sea” just beyond First Narrows, storm winds out of the southeast can whip the water into three foot plus waves.

After storms pass, clearing northwest winds blast down First Narrows creating dangerous waves. I’ve even seen hefty workboats duck into Hole in the Wall for a brief respite. Traveling on the lake in our Hewescraft would be more dangerous than staying put.

The worst damage we've experienced is a dislodged chimney, broken anchor cables (Up the Lake Chapter 4), and a rust weakened BBQ that flew the coop leaving its legs sticking up like a dead bug. That’s not bad. Several cabins have been severely damaged.

The weight of snow on the float could be a problem. Fortunately Powell Lake’s weather is moderated by the nearby ocean. Snow typically sticks only a few days. The biggest problem we have is uncovering solar panels so we can continue to gather the limited winter sun.

Rain is the most common type of storm. If you live in a floating cabin, a little more water isn’t a problem. Thin cracks between the boards on the deck let the water run right through.

The cabin rides easily up and down on its anchor cables as the lake rises and falls from wet to dry seasons.

Additional weather videos you might enjoy include:

A Snowy Day at Hole in the Wall
Windstorm Waterspouts
Mother Nature Blowing Bubbles

So, let it storm and let it rain. We’re prepared. Are you? -- Margy

Monday, March 19, 2018

Coastal BC Birds: Oregon Junco

Oregon Junco

One bird that arrives in spring at our float cabin on Powell Lake is the Oregon Junco, a regional variation of the Dark-eyed Junco.  They are a member of the sparrow family with a distinctive dark hooded head and brownish bodies. A sturdy beak is well suited for seed eating.

An Oregon Junco on our granite cliff.

Oregon Juncos are common in the western United States and British Columbia. They live in the understory of coniferous forests. In winter they move to open areas including fields and lawns in town.

An Oregon Junco fledgling on our bridge to shore.

Oregon Juncos typically have two broods a year. Juncos build ground-based nests in protected areas. Each brood has from three to five chicks that hatch in about twelve days and fledge about twelve days later.

Mother Junco feeds one of her fledglings a seed.

For the last two years, a pair of Juncos has raised their family on our granite cliff. The female brought her young chicks to the seed feeders on our bridge to shore. It was also fun to watch young birds playing in the water in the shallows nearby.

Two fledglings taking a bath in the shallows on shore.

One year a large flock of Oregon Juncos arrived at the same time. It was the same week that I planted seeds in my float garden.

Wayne with our protective garden netting.
Wayne and I raced to cover the beds with bird netting to protect my crops. Even so, some got through and we had to help them get out. After the fact we termed this the Junco Wars. You can read that story by clicking here.

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, March 18, 2018

Repotting a Red Currant

Painting the outside of the drum.
Last year I potted a red currant in a small container. It grew substantially over the summer so this spring I gave it a bigger home.

I used a 55-gallon plastic barrel given to me by my friend John. It was quite worn, so I spray painted the exterior with Rust-oleum flat black that adheres plastic.

The bottom filled with empty plastic bottles.
The top third of the barrel was cut off (I used it for a separate planter), leaving a large area for soil and root growth. After drilling the bottom with drain holes, I filled it with a layer of empty plastic bottles.

Cutting a drainage filter.
Then I cut a large circle of mill felt (course woven polyester) to go on top of the bottles to prevent soil from clogging the drainage holes. When I don't have mill felt, I use cut-to-fit air conditioner replacement pads.

Before filling the container with soil, I inserted a 64" high metal fan trellis and attached it to the back of the barrel by drilling holes and wiring it securely in place.

My repotted red currant now has ample space for root growth and a trellis to train and support its branches. This summer I'm hoping for a good crop of berries on the branches that grew last year.

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

The cost for my new container was $24.00:

55-gallon barrel (free from a friend)
Rustoleum Spray Paint $4.00 (with lots left over)
Fan trellis from Canadian Tire ($20.00)
Plastic bottles (recycled)
Mill felt (free from a friend)

How do you get low cost large containers for growing plants?

Hop on over to the Not So Modern Housewife 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. -- Margy

Sunday, March 11, 2018

Canning: Pressure Canning Carrots

I grow carrots in my float garden. I plant in spring and begin harvesting in August. I can carrots in the ground through winter. Our climate can get below freezing, but even with a bit of snow they survive better in the ground than indoors.

This week I pulled the last of my carrots to prepare my beds for spring planting. There were so many left I decided to can them to tide us over until the new crop comes in.

I'm new at canning, especially pressure canning. In fact, this is my second time doing it. The first was with potatoes. I found a Facebook group called Safe Canning Recipes and the admins and members help answer my newbie questions. I read their blog, used their advice and then followed the recipe that came with my Presto pressure canner.

Processing the carrots.
First I had to process all the carrots. Some were quite large. Scarlet Nantes get that way yet remain crisp and sweet. I washed, trimmed and peeled them before chopping into medium-sized chunks. Thanks to Ginger on Facebook for the tip to keep them in water until ready to can.

I used the raw pack method. I packed the carrot chunks into each jar leaving an inch of empty space. Then I filled the jar with boiling water, again leaving one inch of head space for expansion during canning.

Filling the pints one at a time.

I have a dial-gauge, so I have to watch the canner while it's working. I treated myself to a glass of wine and played solitaire on my iPad for the 25 minutes of processing time. For complete safe canning instructions refer to National Center for Home Food Preservation and your canner's manufacturer.

The finished product resting for 24-hours on a rare winter sunny day.

Tonight I’ll wash the jars and put them in my pantry. Canning carrots is much easier than jam or pickles. This year I’ll do more vegetables and fruits to have on hand for winter use. It’s been nice to go to my pantry and make meals without having to go to the store so often.

Can’t you image us opening a jar of these lovely bright orange carrots for dinner some night?  Do you can at your home? What are some of your favourite things to put up?

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

Monday, March 05, 2018

Float Cabin Marina

When you live in a floating cabin, boats are a very important part of your life, but I think we may have taken it to the extreme. Our float cabin decks and docks have turned into a mini-marina. Each of our boats has a different purpose.

Our aluminum Hewscraft is for transportation on our 50 km long fjord-like Powell Lake. It's a sturdy craft to travel even in wind driven waves.

Other boats include a 2452 ocean-going Bayliner that visits in the winter for a freshwater bath, a barge to carry our quads to logging roads, a small tin boat for odd jobs and fishing, and Wayne's sailboat.

Come along on a video walking tour of our float cabin marina.

Do you have a boat? What kind do you have and how do you use it?

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. -- Margy