Saturday, June 30, 2018

Coastal BC Animals: Chipmunks

Chipmunks

Joining the birds for a snack.
Up the lake at the cabin we have a pair of chipmunks that visit our float cabin almost daily.

If there is food in the bird feeder they stop by for a try to get their share. Consequently, the Juncos have to go without for a few days between fillings.

If the feeder is empty, they boldly come on the deck to see why we aren't attending to their needs. Many forest critters like to eat my crops growing in pots and containers on the decks. At least the chipmunks are polite about not digging into our growing food supply.

Visitors from Powell River report that there are few chipmunks left in town. They surmise that the growing gray and black squirrel population may be pushing the cute little guys farther into the bush.


Chipmunks can be distinguished by the stripes on their face and back. Their colouring is yellowish to brownish gray with black and white stripes. Often there is a reddish cast to their sides.


Chipmunks are very energetic and agile. We see them climb the nearly vertical granite cliffs next to the cabin.

There are four varieties listed for BC. I'm not sure which kind come to visit us. It might be a Red-Tailed. Can you help?


Here's a link to a good (and free) manual for identifications: An Identification Manual to the Small Mammals of British Columbia. -- Margy

References: BC Adventure (online) and Nature Canada (online).

Thursday, June 28, 2018

Cabin Cooking: Chocolate Chip Muffins

Making my own tulip muffin cups with parchment paper.
Wayne and I will be going on quad camping trips and boat cruises this summer. I like to prepare foods in advance to make meal preparation easy. Here's a recipe for yummy muffins from Kraft Canada that pack well and eat even better.

CHOCOLATE CHIP MUFFINS

INGREDIENTS:

Mix dry ingredients first.
• 2 cups flour
• 1 Tbsp. baking powder
• 1/2 tsp. salt
• 3/4 cup chocolate chips
• 1 egg
• 1/2 cup oil
• 1/2 cup sugar
• 3/4 cup milk
• 1 tsp. vanilla

DIRECTIONS:

Mix wet ingredients and sugar.
Heat oven to 400ºF.

Combine first 3 ingredients in large bowl. Stir in the semi-sweet chocolate chips.

Whisk the remaining ingredients in a separate bowl until blended. I will increase the sugar to 3/4 cup next time because I like a sweeter muffin.

Adding the wet to the dry mixture.
Add the wet mixture to the flour mixture and stir until moistened. Don't over mix or the muffins will turn out tough. The batter should be lumpy not smooth.

Spoon into muffin pan cups coated with cooking spray. I also used squares of parchment paper in each cup.

Filling the muffin cups.
Fill each cup until it's three quarters full.

Bake for 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean.

Cool the muffins in the pan for 5 minutes then transfer to a wire wire rack and cool completely.


Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes.

The recipe is for a dozen muffins, but with my smaller pan I got fifteen. Store in a sealed plastic bag or container for best results.

Muffins ready for our quad camping trip to Goat Lake.

Do you have any favourite foods to take on vacation trips to make meal preparation easier? -- Margy

Thursday, June 21, 2018

Update: 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 the quiet months of fall winter and spring, there's nothing like summer up the lake. Long warm days are just made for swimming, fishing, BBQs and family get togethers. Several properties have recently sold, 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.


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

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.

CRAIGSLIST LISTING (6/6/2018):  For sale, a float cabin on Powell Lake 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 Honda 3000 watt inverter generator, huge solar system and a composting toilet. All this in a great location that's very protected for $150,000. To contact the owner visit Craigslist.

MLS LISTING:  This well built float cabin that has all the bells and whistles to make your vacation legendary. The main living space has loads of natural light coming in from all sides of the building. The open layout is perfect for entertaining and expands onto a large front deck. There's one bedroom on the main floor complete with a 3pc bathroom and an upstairs loft offers more sleeping accommodations. All this for $169,000. For more information contact Paige Anderson of Royal LePage at 604-414-8650 or click here.

FACEBOOK LISTING (5/30/2018):  Large 1200 sq ft float cabin for sale for $175,000. For more pictures you can visit the owner's Facebook profile. 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. Needs some finishing. Custom work throughout must be seen to be appreciated. Click here for more information and to contact the owner.

FACEBOOK LISTING (3/4/2018): For sale, a turnkey rancher style float cabin located at Deigo Point. That makes it only 20 minutes from the Shinglemill marina by boat. The cabin comes with solar power and generator backup. The layout includes three bedrooms, woodstove heat, access to TV and a great neighborhood. There is a new kitchen and an updated bathroom with hot water. From your front deck there are fabulous views of the lake and Goat Island. A huge amount of outdoor space is available for entertaining. The asking price is or $225,000. Click here for more information and to contact the owner to view this property.

FACEBOOK LISTING (2/1/2018):  This very private float cabin is being sold direct by the owner for $100,000.  It's on the south side of Goat Island, is protected by a large log boom and receives all day sun. The cabin is built on a sturdy steel float. It's easy to reach by boat and is about 20 minutes from the Shinglemill marina.
Private message the owner through Facebook for more pictures and 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 $149,900.  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 priced at $199,000.  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 $297,500. 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 $320,000. 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 harry@powellriverrealestate.com.



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

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Always FREE Kindle "Up the Lake" by Wayne J. Lutz

The book that started it all!

Up the Lake
Coastal BC Stories

from


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 J. Lutz and see how much fun it can be.

Print for $9.95
Kindle for Free
E-Book for Free
(prices may vary in Canada)

Visit PowellRiverBooks.com 
for more information and 
additional titles in the Coastal BC Stories series.

Monday, June 11, 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 an 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? Propane, Solar, Alternatives
  6. Do you have a telephone, television and the Internet?
  7. How was your cabin built? Float, Cabin
  8. Why did you choose to live in a float cabin?
  9. Can you have a garden?
  10. How can you live in such a small space?
  11. 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 PowellRiverBooks.com 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

Saturday, June 09, 2018

"Off the Grid: Getting Started" by Wayne J. Lutz

This is the newest and thirteenth title in the Coastal BC Stories series. Unlike previous books about adventures and life in a float cabin home, this book is a how-to guide for people interested in moving out of the city and off the grid.


Wayne J. Lutz

From the author of the Coastal BC Stories series, Off the Grid: Getting Started provides more detail about what it's like to live off the grid. What are the essentials you’ll need and how do you get started? This practical how-to guide considers all aspects of remote living and moving off the grid, including site selection and the creation of your own utilities. Investment and ongoing costs of backwoods living are evaluated based on a  building-block approach. This book is designed for those who seek an evaluation of basic remote lifestyles and how to make it happen. If you've ever dreamed of living away from town in an off-the-grid home, you'll enjoy reading Off the Grid: Getting Started.


Smashwords ebooks for $2.99

Click here if you need a Kindle or Kindle App.
Also available from additional online vendors.

Or go to PowellRiverBooks.com for more ordering information. -- Margy

Thursday, June 07, 2018

Float Cabin Living: Does it move?

Our float cabin soon after we purchased it.
One of the questions we often get is, “Does your float cabin move around the lake?” People think it's like a houseboat, which is understandable. Float cabins aren’t something you see every day.

Before we discovered float cabins on Powell Lake, we knew about the fancy floating homes in marinas such as Sausalito, Portland, Seattle and Vancouver. You may have seen a float home in the movie Sleepless in Seattle. Tom Hanks and his son lived in one.

Cedar log float with cabin floor installed.

Floating homes typically use steel and concrete float structures (yes, they float) rather than lashed cedar logs like the ones on Powell Lake.

Floating logging camp from BC Archives.
Float cabins were originally used for housing and buildings in remote logging and fishing camps. Coastal British Columbia is known for its fjords with steep cliffs plunging right to the sea. Building land structures would have been difficult, if not impossible. Also, floating camps allowed the operations to move easily from one area to the next.

Old timer still in use.
On Powell Lake, float cabins were originally built by paper mill workers from the Powell River Company. Powell Riverites were heading “up the lake” to fish, hunt and just get away. Powell Lake is fjord-like (see "Ancient Sea Water in Powell Lake"). The huge cedar logs for the float structures were plentiful. Wood to build the cabins and shakes for the roofs were right at hand. Floating cabins were a natural.

Stiff leg and cables to shore at low water.
Float cabins on Powell Lake are much the same today. They are typically no frills cabins used by locals as weekend getaways. A few are available for rent. The cabins are attached to shore by steel cables (preferred) or heavy rope. Cement anchors often serve as extra stabilization. As the lake rises and falls during the seasons, the cables or ropes may need to be adjusted.

Towing a float cabin down the lake.
While a boat can tow a cabin fairly easily, they usually remain in the same place throughout their life in a leased water lot. On occasion, you will see a cabin moving up or down the lake for repairs. Since the cabins are almost exclusively boat access only, it can be easier to do major upgrades at the marina or along the lake shore near town.

In "Weathering the Wind," you can read about how our friend John created an ingenious system to dampen the strain on the cables during wind and waves. After major storms it is important to check to make sure your cabin is still attached properly.



If you want to travel around the lake and take your house with you, a houseboat is what you need. But if you love your location and want a permanent home, a float cabin would be for you. It sure is for us. -- Margy

Tuesday, June 05, 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