Sunday, March 17, 2019

Back Up the Lake

Yea!!! After about two months away we are finally going back up the lake. I'm so excited! For the first time we became Canadian Snowbirds and headed to Arizona for some winter sun. You can read all about it on my sister blog, Margy Meanders.

I finished the time up with a bit of surgery and recovery at our Bellingham condo in the States. Now we get to go home!

I want to see what has happened in my absence. Did my daffodils bloom and herbs survive the winter? How is my composting experiment in plastic barrels doing? Did my potatoes in storage and canning jars in the pantry escape freezing during the cold spells. And did my transplanted blueberries get new growth?

Has there been any wind or snow damage? What about the lake level? We'll soon know the answers to all of our questions.

Why do we love it so much? It's the best place on earth to live. Besides reading my blog, you can discover more about float cabin living at our YouTube Channel and in Wayne's Coastal BC Stories books. The first, Up the Lake, is available for free as an e-book at Amazon and most online booksellers. Chapter 2, "Boats and Planes," tells about how we discovered Powell River and found the home of our dreams floating on a lake.

Watch for lots of new stories after we get home!

Thanks for visiting part of my world this week. For more great posts from Our World Tuesday click here.

Also a meme called Through My Lens by Mersad.

Visit Letting Go of the Bay Leaf for more Mosaic Monday.

And Tuesdays with a Twist at Stone Cottage Adventures.-- Margy

Saturday, March 02, 2019

"5 Acres and a Dream" by Leigh Tate

5 Acres and a Dream: The Blog link.
I enjoy reading blogs written by people, especially women, who live off the grid or in remote locations. Many off-gridders don't blog or write online, so I also follow homesteaders.

My online search led me to Leigh Tate's 5 Acres and a Dream: The Blog. After reading her posts and communicating through comments I decided to check out her book 5 Acres and a Dream: The Book.'m glad I did. It tells about how Leigh and her husband Dan started homesteading on a five acre plot with an aging house and structures that needed lots of work to make them into their dream homestead.

Leigh describes their mutual dream for "a simpler life, a life that gave us a sense of purpose, appreciation, and satisfaction with what we do and how we do it." Their homesteading mindset began early while raising and homeschooling children, but never on land of their own. With their children grown, planning began in earnest for a dream homestead. Cost was an issue, so their plans evolved over the three year search, and through the subsequent years on the new to them property. Flexibility made them so successful.

5 Acres and a Dream: The Book is organized both chronologically and topically. Chapters that were especially helpful for me were:

The Establishment Phase - rethinking what was necessary.
Food Self-Sufficiency - growing and preserving food.
Energy Self-Sufficiency - including a wood-burning cookstove.
Water Self-Sufficiency - including rainwater and greywater tips.
Obstacles and Difficult Things - homesteading isn't easy.

The book is filled with photographs and drawings to illustrate and enhance the story. There are even some homestead recipes to try. Leigh has written additional helpful homesteading resources.

Amazon Links to additional books by Leigh Tate include:

Preppers Livestock Handbook: Lifesaving strategies and sustainable methods for keeping chickens, rabbits, goats, cows and other farm animals

Critter Tales: What my homestead critters have taught me about themselves, their world, and how to be a part of it

Amazon links to Homestead How To Series:

How To Bake Without Baking Powder
How To Mix Your Own Feed Rations
How To Get Cream from Goat's Milk
How To: Home Soil Tests
How To Make Amish Whitewash
How To Garden for Goats
How to Preserve Eggs

I found Leigh's book both engaging and helpful at the same time. I highly recommend it for anyone who is thinking about starting a homesteading or off-the-grid lifestyle, or someone who has started down that path and is looking for more resources. And stop by 5 Acres and a Dream: The Blog to find out how Leigh and Dan's dream is evolving.

There's also the monthly Book Review Club for teen/young adult and adult fiction over at Barrie Summy's blog.

Also shared with Your the Star at Stone Cottage Adventures. -- Margy

Sunday, February 24, 2019

Wayne and Margy's Rental RV Trip

Getting our El Monte RV and packing up.
Where have Wayne and I been for the last month? Now that we're Canadian citizens, we decided to try out being Snowbirds. We called our winter escape, Wayne and Margy's Rental RV Trip. Below are some highlights.

Click on the brown Trip Log title links to see pictures and read the posts on the Margy Meanders Blog.

Lessons Learned: We learned a lot along the way about RV life and what things are important (and unimportant) in an RV of our own.

Wayne and Margy's Rental RV Road Trip:

Trip Log Part 1: Pickup at El Monte RV in Washington, a stay at the Bellingham RV Park, then south to Eugene, Oregon.

California: Mt, Sbasta, Sacramento River, and Central Valley

Trip Log Part 2: Southern Oregon to Red Bluff, California, and a look at our RV bedroom.

Trip Log Part 3: Red Bluff to Bakersfield's unique Orange Grove RV Park, and a look at our RV bathroom.

Trip Log Part 4: Bakersfield to Redlands through the Mojave Valley, and how our RV handles waste.

California: Tehachapi, Redlands, my journal and  he Colorado River.

Trip Log Part 5: A rain day in Redlands then off to Casa Grande, Arizona.

Trip Log Part 6: Two days at the Pima Fairgrounds for the Tucson RV Show, and how our RV hooks up to utilities.

Sharing the road with big rigs to Arizona.

Trip Log Part 7: Lost Dutchman State Park in Apache Junction, the Superstition Mountains, and RV refrigerators.

Trip Log Part 8: Apache Junction KOA, back to the Lost Dutchman, and RV levelers.

Lost Ducthman State Park, Apache Junction.

Trip Log Part 9: Tempe's Apache Palms RV Park for three days of Arizona State University Women's Softball, and RV maintenance.

Downtown Tempe's Apache Palms RV Park for ASU softball.

Trip Log Part 10: Heading back from Arizona through Desert Center, the Los Angeles basin, then Visalia via the Ridge Route.

Course reversal: California via the Ridge Route.

Trip Log Part 11: North through the Central Valley to Red Bluff, and using weather and road condition apps during a snow delay.

Trip Log Part 12: Making it over the pass on I-5 to Oregon, camping on the Rogue River, and our RV kitchen.

Snow delays at Red Bluff then a run north between storms.

Trip Log Part 13: Back to Washington, the unique McChord Air Force Base campground, and a return to the Bellingham RV Park to deconfigure our rig.

Washington: McChord Air Force Base and Bellingham RV Park.

It was an amazing first RV trip for us. We hope you got to see some of the details by clicking the Trip Log title links. If you have any questions, please leave a comment. -- Wayne and Margy

Saturday, February 02, 2019

"Educated" by Tara Westover

For Christmas I received Educated by Tara Westover from my friend Jeanne. She knows I like memoirs and off-the-grid. This book was off-the-grid in more ways than one.

Tara grew up in rural Idaho with a survivalist father, herbalist mother and older brothers and a sister. Their piece of the family ranch was now a scrapyard, and her father, who was extremely paranoid, was actively preparing his family for the End of Days.

Tara's young life was tough. Her father, who most likely was mentally ill, kept a tight rein on everyone. Home schooling (mostly no schooling) was used to keep his children hidden from a government he perceived to be dangerous.

While the book's main theme was Tara's drive to become educated, the backstory depicted an abusive home life for herself, her siblings and mother. Even after such a difficult upbringing, it was hard for Tara to separate from her family.

Tara wanted to go to school, but her father wouldn't allow it. She was needed to work in the family scrapyard. Her brother Tyler went to Brigham Young. Raised as devout (if not radical) Mormons, it was a logical choice. Plus, BYU accepted home-schooled students who passed the ACT. He encouraged Tara to try and she was accepted.

What follows is Tara's journey through becoming educated from nothing at all, through self-teaching, through university and ultimately to earn a PhD in history at Cambridge. Tara persevered through many challenges, so many it seems difficult to understand how she survived, let alone received an education.

The book was hard for me to read because of the harsh conditions Tara recounted from growing up. Unfortunately, that has been a common theme in other books published recently.

The memoir North of Normal follows Cea Sunrise Person from the Canadian wilderness to a nomadic urban existence with her mother. Cea's search for "normal" first led to becoming a supermodel, then a rewarding life with children of her own.

The novel The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah follows a similar theme with an abusive father, mental illness and isolation on a remote Alaskan property paralleling recent memoirs about coming of age and self-actualization.

At Amazon, Educated is available in three formats: hardback, paperback and Kindle. It is also widely available on bookstores and at other online booksellers.

What have you been reading? What about something fun and uplifting? -- Margy

Friday, January 25, 2019

997's Annual Inspection

997 on jacks to swing the gear.
We took our Piper Arrow 997 to Vertex Aviation Services for the first time for an annual inspection. Vertex is located at Skagit Regional Airport about fifteen minutes flight time from our homebase at Bellingham International Airport.

We are very happy with the service at Vertex. Owner Lin Holdeman squeezed us into an already busy shop schedule. You can read more about the annual here.

Owner Lin giving us personal attention.

This week we picked 997 up to return her to the hangar at Bellingham. Come along for the ride.

Wayne and I enjoy flying throughout the Pacific Northwest and beyond. Pilots and aviation enthusiasts will enjoy reading about some of our adventures in Flying the Pacific Northwest. Follow us to out-of-the-way spots in Western Washington and Oregon where recreational pilots and their aircraft have the freedom to pursue adventure. It's available in print and e-book formats at Amazon and at most online booksellers. -- Margy

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Transplanting Blueberry Bushes (Again)

Blueberries in pots on the cabin deck.
My blueberry bushes have had several homes over the last three years.  To get ready for their fourth summer, I decided to move them from beside the cabin to the nearby transition float. This will get weight off our cabin's float, and give them a sunny spot to thrive.

Winter is a good time to transplant and prune because plants are dormant. Production last year was minimal, so I'm hoping the change will stimulate growth and fruiting.

Pruning and then transplanting three blueberry plants.

Transplanting was needed because the pots were too heavy to move. Plus, I wanted to check on the roots.

I pruned aggressively to focus the plants' energy for fruiting.

I was please to discover they weren't root bound. I loosened the roots before putting them into their new containers to encourage growth..

I loosened the root balls before replanting.

I put compost in the soil then added bone meal and ground egg shells before placing the plants in the new containers. Last summer the visiting Garden Club members brought me a third blueberry to add to my grouping. Having several varieties helps with pollination.

The shorter Northsky goes in the middle.

My Northsky is shorter so I put it in the middle. It's flanked by the taller Duke and Bluecrop from the Garden Club. I put stakes in to help train the two taller varieties upward rather than outward.

Transplanted volunteer pansies from the blueberry pots.

Last year I practiced chop and drop composting and mulching.  Pansy cuttings went into the blueberry pots. I transplanted them roots and all into my deck flower containers. After a week they still looked healthy, so I'm keeping my fingers crossed for early spring flowers.

Do you grow blueberries? What have you done to improve production? -- Margy

Sunday, January 20, 2019

Book Review of "Up the Lake"

With a wonderful twist, Wayne's Coastal BC Stories book Up the Lake received a tremendous review from Leigh on her blog 5 Acres and a Dream.  What a wonderful way to be a star for the day. Click here to read Leigh's review.

Up the Lake book review at 5 Acres and a Dream.

Up the Lake is the first book in my husband's thirteen book Coastal BC Stories series about Powell River, BC, and the surrounding region. It tells about how we discovered Powell River, Powell Lake, and float cabin living. There are also stories about flying, hiking, boating, quadding, and of course fishing.

Would you like to read Up the Lake? If you have a Kindle or a Kindle app on your handheld device you can get it for free from Amazon. Click here if you need a free Kindle App.  

Up the Lake is also available in print from Amazon and many other online booksellers for $9.95.

Thanks Leigh. We're glad you enjoyed the book. We hope our readers will follow this link to 5 Acres and a Dream to learn more about your homesteading life and experiences. -- Wayne and Margy

Saturday, January 12, 2019

Coastal BC Birds: Great Blue Heron

We have a seasonal visitor to our float cabin home on Powell Lake, a Great Blue Heron. Each fall he (or she maybe) returns to our protective log booms to fish. He stands motionless for a long time before leaping into action to catch a meal.

One morning I went out front and saw the Heron standing on the boom.

Look to the left of my floating garden for the Heron.

I watched for a long time and even walked out to the corner of the float to take pictures without disturbing him.

Changing position.

Great Blue Herons are a common sight at the marina in town and nest in nearby trees. The subspecies in our area is the Pacific Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias fannini).

Flexing his wings.

The Pacific Great Blue Heron has Canadian Species at Risk Act (SARA) and Canadian Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC) special concern status. They are protected under the British Columbia Wildlife Act and the Canadian Migratory Birds Convention. When the City of Powell River was building a new community track, construction stopped due to the discovery of nests. We now have a lovely track away from the nesting site.

Framed by my floating garden.

Pacific Great Blue Herons are found from Alaska to Washington State in coastal areas. They are a large bird standing over a metre in height. There are 4,000-5,000 adults in Canada.

Herons are identified by their blue and grey feathers and black stripe from the eyes backward. In flight, Herons look prehistoric, matched by its piercing squawk.

Do you have Herons where you live? Are you as infatuated with them as I am? -- Margy

References: Nature Canada, Pacific Great Blue Heron (online), The Cornell Lab of Ornithology All About Birds, Great Blue Heron (online), and Bird Watcher's Digest, Great Blue Heron (online).

Sunday, January 06, 2019

Coastal BC Fungi: Late Fall Specimens

A moist environment leading to West (Hammil) Lake.
On our quad ride in the Duck Lake region of Powell River in early December we came across fungi, some young and some old.

I'm not able to identify some of them, maybe you can help. And if I've made a mistake, please let me know.

A Coral Fungus (genus Ramaria) found on the Blue Trail Connector .

Next is a bracket fungus called Artist's Conk (Ganoderma applanatum) found nearby on the Blue Trail Connector. It got this common name because it's a favourite with artists for painting and etching when dried.

I'm not sure if these are young Artist's Conks on the downed tree or some other type of bracket or shelf fungi. They are growing out of the cambium layer of a dead hemlock (I think).

Our ride also took us to West (Hammil) Lake. You can reach it from several directions, but we used a trail to the north side near a creek and marshy spots. I don't know what this mushroom is called, but there were clumps of them near the creek on moist spots. It's looks like an old specimen whatever it is.

Another old specimen from the same location. Looks like it's tasty for some critters or slugs.

These small, pointed capped mushrooms were growing in a cluster nearby among dried needles and moss. Does anyone have an idea about their identification?

And this one was flipped over showing the intricate gills.

I'm not knowledgeable enough to be a mushroom forager. But I am an avid fungi observer. How about you? -- Margy