Friday, August 16, 2019

Float 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 homearts and shop classes have been eliminated.

For the artist in all of us, visit Paint Party Friday.

Shared with Your the Star at Stone Cottage Adventures.

Read homesteading, homemaking and DIY posts at Self Sufficient HomeAcre's Farm Fresh Tuesdays.

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.

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

Also posting to a meme called Through My Lens by Mersad.

And Travel Tuesdays at Intelliblog and Tuesdays with a Twist at Stone Cottage Adventures.

Visit Letting Go of the Bay Leaf for more Mosaic Monday and My Corner of the World at Photographing New Zealand.

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

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

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

Saturday, July 20, 2019

Summer Cruising Part II

Going slow through Thulin Passage.
With calm winds, we treated ourselves to another cruise, this time up the Strait of Georgia to Squirrel Cove on Cortes Island.

We're lucky to live so close to world famous boating destinations. In about an hour, we were looking for a spot on the Squirrel Cove public dock (first-come, first-serve). It's small and popular with islanders and tourists. With power, it cost $20 for our 25-footer. Boaters resupply at the general store and many anchor in the large all-weather cove.

Halcyon Days at the end of the Squirrel Cove public dock.

We were lucky to find a spot on the shore side of the dock even though it was tricky to reach with the extremely low spring time. Not long after we got there, a prime spot on the outside opened up so we pulled Halcyon Days around and tied her up for our overnight stay.

Relaxing and reading in the shade on shore.

We spent the afternoon reading and then went to the Cove Restaurant for an early dinner served by Flying Squirrel Takeout. Crispy calamari and fish tacos hit the spot.

Historic Refuge Cove general store.
The next day we motored across to Refuge Cove on West Redonda Island. We've been here many times for fuel and last year stayed overnight. Refuge Cove has a long history of providing products and services in remote Coastal BC.

In summer, visitors arrive in boats large and small. Overnight moorage is first-come, first-serve at a dollar a foot.

Halcyon Days at sunset with the store and restaurant in the background.

Enjoying a cold one at the Upcoast Summer restaurant.
The fuel dock has gas, diesel and propane. The general store has everything from fresh vegetables to hardware. Other services include a post office, used books, showers, laundromat, garbage service and Internet.

This trip we didn't bring any food to cook. We went to the Upcoast Summers restaurant for pizza at lunch and hamburgers at dinner.

Convenient parking at the Lund hotel dock for $10 for 2 hours.

We started early the next morning so we could stop in Lund to deliver some of Wayne's Coastal BC Stories books to Deborah at the Tug-ghum Gallery and have breakfast in the remodeled historic Lund Hotel, now called The Lund Resort at Klah ah men.

Trolling for salmon near Powell River.

What would a cruise on the Strait of Georgia be without trolling for salmon. When it was catch-and-release, we hooked one. Now that we can keep our catch, not a nibble. But as they say, a bad day fishing is better than a good day __ (you fill in the blank).

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

Posting to Sky Watch Friday where you'll see sky photos from all over the world!

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

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

I'm also posting to a meme called Through My Lens by Mersad and Travel Tuesdays at Intelliblog. -- Margy