Monday, October 14, 2019

Happy Thanksgiving from Powell River Books

For all of my Canadian readers and friends ...


Up the Lake

the home of

If you are celebrating your Thanksgiving today, we both hope it is a joyous one. -- Wayne and Margy Lutz

Friday, October 11, 2019

Airplane Noise and Blue Skies

If you love to watch military aircraft, Whidbey Island in Washington State is the place.

You can camp at Deception Pass State Park or enjoy the beaches near Naval Air Station Whidbey Island.

Take a seat and hear the jets roar or watch the marine patrol aircraft take off and land.

If you have a military ID, you can enter the base for an even closer look at the EA-18G Growler fighter jets ...

... and the larger maritime patrol and reconnaissance P-3 Orions and P-8 Poseidons. All of these planes and their personnel keep our country secure and safe.

In between sorties there are blue skies and white clouds to enjoy.

Posting to Sky Watch Friday. Go to the Sky Watch Friday website and you'll see sky photos from all over the world!

Stop by and take a look at a meme called All Seasons.

And a Wednesday linkup My Corner of the World at Photographing New Zealand. -- Margy

Thursday, October 10, 2019

Available Online: "Flying the Pacific Northwest"

Perfect for Pilots
and Aviation Enthusiasts of All Kinds

Flying the Pacific Northwest

by Wayne J. Lutz

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 where recreational aircraft give us the freedom to pursue personal goals. Hints for cross-county and local flying, as presented by a 7000-hour FAA certified flight instructor. For armchair pilots and experienced pros, this book is an escape so realistic you’ll swear you’re airborne.  

Kindle $5.99
Print from $10.95
Check with your favourite e-book dealer 
for other formats.

Check here if you need a Kindle 
or free Kindle App.

If you enjoy the book, consider writing a review at
Happy reading! - Wayne

Wednesday, September 04, 2019

Coastal BC Plants: Indian Pipe

I is for Indian Pipe

Indian Pipe poking up through the moist duff.
I was walking through a grove of mature hemlocks and firs when a spot of white caught my eye. What I thought was debris on the ground turned out to be an exciting find, Indian Pipe (Monotropa uniflora) emerging after days of rain with warm temperatures.

These pictures were taken on July 11. We were supposed to have a dry, hot summer, but unexpected rain changed growing conditions, especially in the shaded forest understory.

These specimens were just emerging, so they were a brilliant white. At maturity, they turn dark or black. Another common name is Ghost Plant, you can see why.

Indian Pipe is a herbaceous (non-woody) perennial (lives from year to year) plant. It's white because there is no chlorophyll. Nourishment comes from underground fungi associated with tree roots. You can find Indian Pipe in temperate, moist zones of Asia and North America.

They appear after dry spells followed by periods of rain. The white stems, rise from a fleshy root mass. The plants reach their full height (5–30 centimetres) in just a few days. Small leaf-like structures are translucent, giving them their ghostly appearance. At the top there is a single flower that droops downward, looking like an upside-down pipe, until the fruiting body is mature.

Have you ever discovered an unusual plant? What was it? Where did you find it?

References: E-Flora BC Atlas: Monotropa uniflora and Wikipedia: Monotropa uniflora.

For ABC pictures from around the world, stop by the ABC Wednesday blog. This is the twenty-fifth round of this popular meme.

And a Wednesday linkup My Corner of the World at Photographing New Zealand.

Another fun meme is All Seasons. Stop by and take a look.

A for a new favourite of mine, visit Letting Go of the Bay Leaf for Mosaic Monday. -- Margy

Wednesday, August 28, 2019

Growing and Preserving Garlic

Garlic harvested from three containers.
I've grown garlic for years. In the beginning, it was in small containers. I got plenty, but the bulbs were on the small side.

I'm always changing the plants in my float garden. After I removed an old asparagus patch, there was room to grow garlic in the empty space.

Garlic takes very little attention. Plant cloves with the growth point up, mulch, water, feed periodically, dig, dry, and enjoy.

Fall planted garlic heavily mulched with chopped garden waste.

I purchased garlic bulbs good for my climate at the nursery. Now I save my best bulbs for fall planting.  A few bulbs go a long way. You pull the cloves apart and plant them seven inches apart for growth room. I plant in fall and mulch heavily through winter.

Fall planted garlic sprouts in early spring.

When the tops start to brown, wilt, and fall over, it's time to pull the bulbs. If the weather is dry, I leave them on the surface to dry.

Initial drying in the garden after pulling the garlic bulbs.

After the surface of the bulbs have dried, I brush off as much of the dirt as possible, tie the tops of half a dozen together, and hang them in a protected spot outdoors.

Hanging to dry in the shade under the side porch.

This starts the preserving process. I leave them outdoors until the skin on the bulbs is dry and flaky. I trim the tops shorter and hang the bundles in the cabin's storage room. By this time there's no odour, and they're handy to grab for cooking.

Dried garlic hangs in our storage room ready for use.

If you live in an apartment with a balcony, or a home with limited garden space, you can still grow garlic and have plenty left over to share with friends and family. -- Margy

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Renewed Raised Bed Floating Garden

My float garden in 2007.
My floating garden was built by our good friend John in 2003. It's served us well over the years, but the cedar siding on my four raised beds and the center walkway are rotting away. It was time for the wood to be replaced.

Over the years my garden has been highlighted in the media.
I called John for the renewal of my floating garden. He purchased cedar 2x8s and nailed them to the outside of my existing bed borders. That was the easiest solution without tearing off the old boards and losing precious soil in the process. 

Closeups of the new raised bed siding and center walkway.

Each bed is four feet wide and eight feet long. Soil depth is seven inches, but you would be amazed at how much I can grow in this little space. Click here to read more about float gardening.

New cedar boards outside and in.

Heavy fiberglass cloth called mill felt is on the bottom of each bed. The mesh is fine enough to keep the soil in, yet porous enough to allow water to drain. Click here to read more about the construction.

My renewed floating garden back out on the log boom to deter critter invasions.

Do you garden in raised beds? What are some of your favourite crops? -- Margy

Friday, August 16, 2019

Cabin Journal: Homemaking

I grew up in the 50s and 60s. In junior and high school, classes in sewing, cooking and homemaking were "electives" girls had to take.

When I was working, homemaking was farther from my mind than algebra. I did the minimum possible and Wayne shared in the duties. Now I enjoy homemaking, especially up at the float cabin. You'll find me sewing, cooking, baking, canning, gardening and even housework.

June 27, 2019

With cooler weather we had a fire in the woodstove and I turned on our battery powered inside decorative lights. It's the first time since we've been home that it was dark enough to enjoy them. Unless we stay up past 10:00, there's plenty of sunlight to keep the cabin bright. I used the indoor time to do some hand sewing. I patched a cloth grocery bag and covered new holes and thin spots in my work sweat pants. I had them before I met Wayne, so they must be pushing 40 years old. Wow!

I call my sweatpants Patches for obvious reasons.

Click here to read "The Story of Patches".

July 2, 2019

We are running low on fresh food. Yesterday was the last doughnut and the bread ran out on Saturday when I made peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for our breakfast while driving the barge to the Shinglemill. I had a banana and a half going brown, so I looked up a recipe online for banana bread. I was short some mashed banana so I settled on a recipe or pineapple banana bread. I didn't have any crushed pineapple, but I did have some tidbits left over in the fridge from our fruit bowls. I diced them finer and had everything needed to make a late breakfast with fruit, a hard boiled egg for Wayne and yogurt for me. Yum! Plus we have extra for dessert or breakfast tomorrow.

Cooking and baking are now fun.

Click here for the recipe and directions to make Pineapple Banana Bread with Pecans.

Did you take homemaking classes in school? Or were you a lucky guy who got shop? Educational offerings have changed a lot over the years. More classes are co-ed, but unfortunately many of the home arts and shop classes have been eliminated. -- Margy

Monday, August 05, 2019

Quads and Camping on North Vancouver Island

Our truck and double quad trailer.
Wayne and I like to take our quads on barge trips around Powell Lake and truck and trailer trips to land based destinations. We took our Tucson SUV to North Vancouver Island to plan a future ride.

Read more about that road trip at my Margy Meanders blog.

The Campbell River ATV Club has been instrumental in developing off-road routes using logging roads throughout North Vancouver Island. They have also worked with RCMP precincts to allow access to lodging, food and gas. Click here for more information.

There are map resources for Forest Service and logging roads.

A section of the North Island route map from the Campbell River ATV Club.

Here are some of the campsites we discovered on our trip.

Picture from Rec Sites and Trails BC.
Elk Creek Recreation Site: Seasonal campground south of Highway 19 near the the Sayward turnoff. Seven site campground with good availability but no direct access to logging or forest service roads but could make a good homebase then transport quads to off-road areas.

Montague Creek campground.
Montague Creek: Two small primitive sites along the river just past Sayward via Eve Main. Direct access to logging roads but too tight for us.

Upper Klaklakama Lake Campground: Small site at the top end of the lake. Too tight for us but direct access to logging roads. Another large campground farther down the lake.

Woss Lake Recreation Site campground.
Woss Lake Recreation Site: Twenty-four sites with good availability on upper Woss Lake with easy dirt road access via West Woss Road. Sites large enough for our truck and trailer and direct access to logging roads. Logging railway historical display in town.

Georgie with empty lakefront site.
Georgie Lake Recreation Site: A nine site lakeside campground reached via the Holberg Road out of Port Hardy and Georgie Lake Forest Service Road. Sites are large enough for us and there is good access to an extensive logging road network for riding. However, it is too far on rough roads for us, but we did find a travel trailer there.

Link River campground on Alice Lake.
Link River Regional Park: A 22 site campground on Alice Lake near Port Alice. This is the one for us. Good access via SE Main and there was good availability even on a holiday weekend. It has a host and reservations in summer and first come, first serve the rest of the year. Lots of logging road access in all directions.

We could stay here many times and still not explore everything. Plus there is fuel and shopping in nearby Port Alice for extended stays. Don't know when, but we will be returning with our truck, trailer and quads for a new kind of adventure up North Vancouver Island's mains.

Want to read more about our quad adventures? Three of Wayne's Coastal BC Stories books focus on backcountry adventures including Up the Main, Farther Up the Main and Powell Lake by Barge and Quad.

All three are available in print and e-book formats at Amazon and most online booksellers. In Powell River they are available at Coles in the Town Centre Mall. -- Margy

Friday, July 26, 2019

Cabin Journal: Beds, Bugs and Birds

Carrots are gone and the beds are ready for planting.
Float cabin living has lots of outdoor activities. Garden beds need to be cleaned out and replanted. Bugs (and all sorts of insects) come out. Birds return to nest.

June 4, 2019

Before we unloaded the boat after a trip to the States, we did a quick walk around the cabin deck. I could tell from a distance that the carrots in the floating garden had gone to seed in our absence and had three foot stems with white flowers on top. They wouldn't be good to eat, but were pretty in their own way. My garlic was about a foot tall and volunteer arugula was flowering bright yellow. There wasn't time to attend to gardening chores that night, everything could wait one more day.

June 4, 2019

The next thing I noticed was a Yellow Jacket paper nest beginning under the eaves near the kitchen window. That would need immediate attention after dark when they are at rest. I checked another favourite nesting spot under the overhang on Gemini's windshield. Sure enough, another nest. We got home just in the nick of time for both. Wayne shot them with wasp spray then knocked the nests into the water for good measure!

June 6, 2019

Barn swallows come to nest every year. We enjoy their company, but when they try to nest under the front porch we have to shoo them away. We've tried several ways to deter them. This year I swept down the nest beginnings and put a broom in its place. I had to keep sweeping and moving brooms until the swallows took the hint and found a better spot.

Coming home is always exciting, especially because we never know what we might find. -- Margy

Tuesday, July 23, 2019

Composting in a Plastic Barrel

My former wire bin composter.
Last summer I lost the location for my wire bin composter. I'd used it for years to compost my garden and kitchen scraps at our float cabin home. I had to find an alternative that could be handled on the cabin deck or in my floating garden. One method I learned is called chop and drop.

Chopped garden waste for mulch.
Chop and drop works well for garden waste. As plants are trimmed or removed, the residue is chopped into small portions and used as mulch in garden beds and plant containers. The majority of my composting needs are taken care of in this manner.

Cutting a plastic 55-gallon barrel in half.
It doesn't work as well for kitchen scraps because the smell can attract critters. I decided to compost kitchen waste in a 55-gallon plastic barrel cut in half. Barrels in my town are $35. Check nursery, building and farm stores, or use a large plastic bucket or trash can that isn't too deep.

Now that my first batch of soil is ready to use, I'm starting over.

Composting in a Plastic Barrel
Step by Step

A kitchen compost container.
Cut the barrel in half. Drill drain holes in the bottom. Make two composters or use one half as a planter.

Place four inches of soil in the bottom to start.

Use a kitchen compost container for fruit and vegetable trimmings chopped into pieces.

Layering chopped plant matter, Rot-It and soil.
When the container is full, spread the contents over the layer of soil.

Add garden trimmings if you have them.

Sprinkle with compost accelerator. I use Rot-It.

Moisten with water.

Add 1" of soil over fresh items.

A cover cut to fit and a plastic mesh cage.
Cover with a porous material and surround with a cage to keep small critters out. If you live in bear country, enclose your composter.

When it's time to add a new layer, stir the ones below first.

Continue layering waste and soil until the barrel is full.

Let your composter rest with it's porous cover on for several months while the organic matter decomposes. Periodically moisten and mix to encourage the composting process.

Compost turned into rich soil in 8 months.

Your rewards will be less kitchen and garden waste going into the garbage stream, and free rich soil coming into your garden.

Do you do compost? What process do you use? Do you have any tips to add to my post? -- Margy

If you've ever dreamed of living away from town in an off-the-grid home, or in town with a simple lifestyle, you'll enjoy reading Off the Grid: Getting Started.

Smashwords ebooks for $4.99

Or go to for more ordering information.

Sunday, July 21, 2019

Cruising the Northern Strait of Georgia

Backing into John's side yard.
Our Bayliner 2452 spends the winter on Powell Lake at our float cabin. She gets a fresh water bath and doesn't have to contend with things growing on her hull. On the way back to the Westview Marina we stopped at our friend John's for annual maintenance.

Wayne at the helm.
Once in the water, we used the sunny skies and calm winds to take Halcyon Days out island hopping around the northern end of the Strait of Georgia. It was a spur of the moment trip so we decided to visit marinas near restaurants for easy dinners.

We stay at Discovery Harbour Marina quite often. It takes less than two hours to get there and we can call ahead for reservations. There's a large shopping centre next to the marina where we ate at the Riptide Pub. They have Dinosaur Bones (beef ribs), a favourite of mine.

At our assigned dock space.

Wind was in the forecast so we stayed two nights. I took advantage of the showers in this full-service marina that's an excellent provisioning stop for boats heading through the Inside Passage.

Navigating the Strait of Georgia on a calm day.

We timed our departure for slack water in Discovery Passage and to fish for salmon at the southern tip of Quadra Island. No luck.

Heriot Bay Inn and Marina
Our next overnight was at  Heriot Bay Inn on Quadra Island. We like it so much we visit several times each season.

We got fuel and arranged moorage. We relaxed in the sun until dinner on the outside deck at their Herons Restaurant.

Heriot Bay is on the eastern side of Quadra. The original inn was built in 1895, rebuilt in 1912 and updated since.

Our spot on the dock at Heriot Bay.

We really enjoy staying at this laid back marina. They have diesel and gas, and offer slips for boats large and small. For provisions, the Tru-Value market is within walking distance.

The final stop for our Northern Strait of Georgia island hop was Gorge Harbour. Passing through the narrow gorge entrance we finally spied some of the First Nations petroglyphs.

One petroglyph is the reddish colouration in the middle.

Gorge Harbour is a modern marina next to a full-service resort with cabins, RV park, store and the Floathouse Restaurant. It's very popular for boat club rendezvous and large vessels.

Little Halcyon Days in front of  the big boats at the marina docks.

After a great meal and a restful sleep we headed back to Westview Harbour in Powell River. We stopped at Mystery Reef to try salmon fishing one more time. Wayne hooked one but it got away. That was just as well since it's catch and release until July 15 to give native stock a better chance to spawn.

Thanks for cruising with us on the Northern Strait of Georgia. You can read more about our boating adventures is Farther Up the Strait. Each chapter takes you on voyages to remote inlets and anchorages. E-books are available online in Kindle, Kobo and Smashwords. Print formats through Amazon, many online booksellers and locally in Powell River at Coles. -- Margy