Sunday, October 20, 2019

Remembering a Fierce Fall Storm

Our float cabin in 2001.
Storms in fall and winter are the worst. Low pressure systems build in the Gulf of Alaska, swoop down Vancouver Island, cross the Strait of Georgia, and head up Powell Lake. With the lows come rain and high winds. It's the wind that causes the worst damage.


Our first boat.
We bought our cabin in Summer 2001 and had several weeks of wonderful weather. The next Thanksgiving (the U.S. kind in November), I got a week off from work and went to Powell River on my own. The weather was partly sunny for my boat trip up the lake. Good thing, I'd never driven a boat alone before. Thankfully, John rode in formation to make sure I made it okay.

Stiff leg at low water.
After a few nice days a storm moved in. The rain was heavy and strong winds made the cabin jerk forcefully back and forth on her ¾” steel cables anchored to the cliff. On the backwards swing, the stiff leg (a log that prevents the cabin from hitting the cliff) bounced off the rock, sending reverberations through the float and into the cabin. With daylight, everything calmed. Whew!

Cliff anchor bolt with cable needing replacement.
The next evening a new low slammed into Coastal BC. The steel cables and their anchor bolts had been weakened the previous night. Just after dark, the wind blown motion of the cabin ripped a steel cable free. With the greater range of motion and stress, another cable snapped. With each gust of wind, the cabin swung far out into the lake, only to snap back, causing the stiff leg to ram into the rock wall.

Adding a second anchor cable for future storms.
The motion was constant and nerve wracking. The lake wasn’t safe to navigate, so there was no way to leave. To say the least, it was a very long night. Fortunately, the remaining cables held and I could talk to Wayne (still in California) via our satellite phone for moral support. You might think a night like this would have scared me away, but I love the cabin, and knew John built it skookum (strong) to be safe in all kinds of weather.

You can read the whole story in Up the Lake and learn how I got the nickname Frontier Jane. If you have a kindle or e-reader, Up the Lake is free from Amazon, Kobo, Smashwords, and many other online e-book sellers.


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

And also a meme called Through My Lens by Mersad.

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

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. -- 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 Amazon.com $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 Amazon.com
Happy reading! - Wayne

Wednesday, September 04, 2019

Coastal BC Plants: Indian Pipe

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? -- Margy

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

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