Wednesday, September 15, 2021

Rock Painting for Cabin Decorations

Kobe in 2021.

Over the years I've painted several large rocks. When fall arrives and flowers depart, they brighten our lower deck.

Sometimes a rock tells me what it wants to become. The first one told me it wanted to be a turtle. Rocks sometimes tell different people different stories. Wayne saw Kobe Bryant's basketball shoe so I named it Kobe after the Los Angeles Lakers star. Kobe needed a repaint in 2016 and again this year.

The original rock that became Kobe the Turtle.

For my second project, I searched for a ladybug shaped rock. It was smoothed by Powell Lake's waves and easier to paint. It was so heavy I had a hard time carrying it from the Shinglemill beach to our boat. 

This summer I painted a rock I call Frogger after an old-time computer game. I selected the rock on a barge camping trip to Goat Lake. It looked perfect, but after painting I don't think it was best shape.

Frogger on the corner of the front deck.

Frogger has taken up residence on the other side of our front deck. Her weight will help hold the corner down when wind and boat waves wash through our front "yard."

I had lots of fun painting this summer. Do you paint rocks? Are they large or small? Tell us your stories. -- Margy


Hop on over to the Simple Life Mom and see some great ideas for homesteading and simple living.

Posting to Friday Favorites at Condo Blues.

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

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


Saturday, September 11, 2021

Returning to a New Normal

First time heading up Powell Lake in July.
Like for many of you, the last year and a half has not been normal. In the beginning, I tried to blog about throwback topics. But without the ability to get home to our float cabin on Powell Lake, the joy of blogging was lost. 

I even lost interest in reading blogs and making comments. You would think with time on my hands, blogging would be a welcome diversion, but that didn't turn out to be the case.

Our float cabin finally comes into view, homecoming is sweet.

I hope this interim period of a new normal finds you with good health and more joy in life. For Wayne and I, we are settling into a safe, vaccinated, masked and distanced existence.

On July 5, Canada lifted its mandatory 14-day quarantine for returning fully vaccinated citizens using land borders. We waited until July 12 to let agents get used to the new procedures. On September 7 restrictions were relaxed for fully vaccinated foreign nationals as well. These are huge steps towards a new normal for individuals and businesses.

A new coat of yellow paint and green trim makes a our home look new.

After an absence of eight months, getting back up the lake was a relief. We worried about what might have happened in our absence, but our good friend John kept an eye on things. By and large, everything was just as we had left it, except for a beautiful new exterior paint job. John and his brother Rick made our 23 year old cabin look brand new. 

Uh, oh. My float garden went wild with weeds.

Jeff from Valley Marine launches our boat.
Over that last month and a half Wayne and I have focused on cabin chores, boating and relaxing. There's no safer place than home, but at this home we can get outdoors whenever we want. I think that's what I missed the most, the ability to get outdoors and enjoy nature.

How about you? How are you adjusting to a new normal? -- Margy

Monday, September 06, 2021

"River for My Sidewalk" by Gilean Douglas

Between our float cabin and the granite wall there's a protected pool. In summer, the water is warmed by the reflect sun, making a natural heated swimming pool. 

The water can reach 24ºC (76ºF). It's a perfect spot to sit in a floating chair to read. I usually read on my Kindle, but in this watery environment I choose print backs. I find a good selection of at our local used bookstores, thrift shops and the Powell River Kiwanis Club book sales.


A memorable read from this summer was River for My Sidewalk (Sono Nis Press, 1984) a memoir by Gilean Douglas. It was first printed by J.M. Dent and Sons in 1953 under the male pseudonym Grant Madison. They thought customers wouldn't believe a woman could live alone in the wilderness and wouldn't buy the book. Gilean continued as Grant Madison until 1983, with the majority of her works first printed under that pseudonym.

Gilean was born in 1990 in Toronto into a privileged life. That changed dramatically when she was orphaned at sixteen. She married several times, traveled extensively and worked as a photo-journalist. In 1939 she moved to British Columbia and began living off-the-grid in remote cabins. There she continued working as a journalist, author and poet.

I got a signed book.
River for My Sidewalk is about her years living in an old miner's cabin on the Teal River near Duncan on Vancouver Island. She gardened, fished and gathered foods from the land. Few visitors were invited to stay, and her elevated hand pulley river crossing kept most fishermen and hunters away. She shared her land and life with animals including Grampa Cougar.

Gilean was an adventurer willing to give up an easy life to experience the wonders of nature. The tales of her experiences cut across time. There are still places where you can live a simple life, if you are willing. 

In 1947 her cabin burned. She married again and moved to Cortes Island, up the coast from my Powell River home. After her marriage ended, she remained on her 138 acre waterfront off-the-grid homestead and lived there until her passing in 1993.

Uganda Passage near the location of Gilean's Cortes homestead.

Do you like to look for old and unique books in used book and thrift stores? What are some of your best discoveries? -- Margy

Sunday, May 30, 2021

Book Review: "The Age of Great Dreams: America in the 1960s" by David Farber

On January 1, 1960, I started the new decade lying on the den floor of our Compton home, eyes glued to the TV. We always watched the Pasadena Rose Parade. Then it was Rose Bowl football, especially when USC (Dad's university) or UCLA (Mom's) played. We were a family of tradition, and I've carried many of ours into my adult life. I was in elementary school, Eisenhower was president and in my young mind all was well.

My last book review was The Fifties. I'm following that with The Age of Great Dreams: America in the 1960s by David Farber. Like The Fifties, this book is organized by major events and themes. It paints a picture of life, culture, economics, politics, science, race relations, and warfare through the decade.

On the right, ready for Camp Fire Girls camp.

While I enjoyed childhood activities, the Nixon-Kennedy election contrasted past values with new ideas. I remember Kennedy's motorcade while family camping in Yosemite. Racism was prominent in Compton and the Watts riots weren't far away.

Christmas with Mom and her extended family.

The first international event I remember was the Cuba missile crisis. It seemed far away, but scary. My parents didn't shield me from world happenings, but they weren't a major focus in our home life. Family support and interactions were at the forefront. It's a value I hold close to my heart.

In college for me, 49er Days rather than protests.

Sixties culture matured during high school and college. Campaigning for Bobby Kennedy clashed with my father's political views. Hearing about the shooting live on my bedroom radio was a huge shock. The Vietnam War and a potential nuclear attack were pressing concerns. 

The 60s for me was a mix of fun and determination to excel in school. What I didn't perceive then was how much I grew up in white privilege. Recent events here in Canada and the United States have brought this into focus. I can't change my past, but I am determined to acknowledge it and work to help and support others however I can. -- Margy

Tuesday, February 02, 2021

Book Review: "The Fifties" by David Halberstam

Our Compton home built in late 40s.
The political and social events of this past year got me thinking, were things really better when I was a kid? My formative years were in the 50s. I grew up in Compton, California, a suburb of Los Angeles. There were still dairies between expanding housing tracts and the Los Angeles River ran free. From my point of view, the world was a settled place and my family was doing well.


My current interest (and sometimes dismay) in U.S. politics instilled a desire to know more about the past. To learn more, I chose to read The Fifties by David Halberstam, author and Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist for the New York Times.

The Fifties was first published in 1993. In it, Halberstam chronicles key events from the decade with photographs, a list of interviewees, an extensive bibliography, end-notes and a detailed index. As a history major, I found it well researched and well written.

Halberstam set the stage for the 1950s by reviewing the effects of the Depression and World War II. Rather than use a sequenced approach, he presented information in themes such as politics, emerging businesses, housing, television, the arts and movies, the bomb, the Cold War, civil rights and much more. Each theme dovetailed with other events to create a unified picture of the times.

Camping was inexpensive and fun.

Many of the names and events were familiar, but the details were fuzzy. I do remember the 1952 election and saying "I like Ike." I don't remember eating at McDonald's until the 60s, but do remember hamburgers from the Beany's drive-in. Cars were important for my parents to get to teaching jobs, and for summer camping trips. I remember bomb drills at school and seeing a mushroom cloud while on a trip through the Nevada desert.

It was disheartening to read how politics haven't changed all that much. I had hoped to read about bipartisan cooperation, but that wasn't the norm then either.

I wouldn't trade growing up in the fifties. For me they were good years spent in a good town with good friends and great parents. They were important years in determining the adult I would become. Were you growing up in the 50s? How were those years for you? -- Margy

Thursday, December 31, 2020

2020 Year in Review

2020 has been like no other year, filled with stress, fear and isolation worldwide. After an Arizona RV trip, Wayne and I chose to self-isolate in Bellingham until July. Many of my posts included "throwbacks" to better times in our float cabin home on Powell Lake. 

Click the titles to read the complete posts.


1. Dancing in Gumboots by Lou Allison and Jane Wilde -  I read more in 2020. Did you? I like books written by women who homestead or live off the grid. Dancing in Gumboots is an anthology of stories by women who came to live in the Comox Valley on Vancouver Island during the 1970s.

Related post: Gumboot Girls by Lou Allison and Jane Wilde was the first anthology of stories by women who settled in Haida Gwaii (formerly Queen Charlotte Islands) and Prince Rupert in the 1960s.


2. Throwback: A Perfect Day Up the Lake -  We finally got back to our float cabin home in mid-July. We were in Bellingham when the U.S./Canada border closed due to COVID. Getting home was wonderful even with a 14-day mandatory quarantine.

Our Powell Lake float cabin home.

Related post: Goin' Home, I'm Goin' Home tells about our most unusual border crossing and the COVID quarantine we completed up the lake.


3. Throwback: Spring Gardening - We missed spring planting up the lake this year. I shared a throwback post about how my floating garden started.

My floating garden in late spring from a previous year.


Related post: What a Difference a Year Makes shows how overgrown and gone to seed my floating garden was when we returned home in July.


4. Refreshing Sourdough Starter - In the first days of the pandemic and yeast was in short supply, making sourdough bread was big thing. I left my starter in the Powell River condo fridge. It had to wait six months for a proper feeding. Amazingly, it refreshed easily and was ready for a new batch of tasty bread.

Active yeast bubbles formed while warming in the kitchen. It's ALIVE!


Related post: Improved No-Knead Sourdough Bread gives you tips I've learned to make easy and tasty sourdough bread.


5. Do you have a kicker?  We made it to Powell River in time for some summer cruising. We socially distanced at marinas and on shore. But we had a few challenges: a leaky new head (toilet), I broke my little finger, and the leg that propels our Bayliner 2452 malfunctioned. Six hours later, and after dark, we limped into Powell River using our emergency kicker motor. Due to COVID back orders, we are still waiting for a replacement.

Putting along at 4.5 knots with the kicker.

Related post: September Cruisin' takes you along on some of our successful summer cruises and a peek at my "busted wing."


2020 was hard, but we had each other for support. We hope 2021 will bring better times for all. -- Wayne and Margy

Sunday, December 06, 2020

Book Review: "Christmas in Newfoundland" by Mike Martin

Christmas is approaching, so I'm sharing a Christmas book written by my favourite Canadian author, Mike Martin. I discovered his Sgt. Windflower mystery series through Linda at Crafty Gardener. Here's a guest post Mike did for her blog.

Christmas in Newfoundland: Memories and Mysteries is part of the Sgt. Windflower series. It includes heartwarming stories with the series characters, and personal memories about Christmases past.

The theme of each story is the wonder, spirit and caring of the Christmas season. I enjoyed hearing how Sheila and Sgt. Winston Windflower celebrated the season in Grand Bank, but I found the chapters about Christmas remembrances from the perspectives of children and seniors who lived in Newfoundland the most interesting. I'm pretty sure some came right from Mike's own life.

I've been to Newfoundland twice. I've been to St. John's but never Grand Bank. It was heart warming to read about how families celebrated this special time of the year in times past and small towns.



I'm an only child and grew up in Compton, California. We always traveled to Modesto to spend Christmas week with my grandparents. I loved visiting their country home and learning about our family's Swedish and Norwegian heritage through foods and traditions.

Christmas Eve is very special for us. Wayne and I were married in front of the Christmas tree at my parent home in Sun City. What could be a better present to give and receive?


Mom and Dad taste testing the turkey in 1990.


Wayne made a childhood Christmas dream come true soon after we were married. As a child, I always hoped to find a pony on the front lawn. At 35 years of age, Wayne walked me to the stable near our Pomona home on Christmas morning to introduce me to my very own Christmas horse, Misty. What a huge surprise.

Thanks Mike for inspiring me to think back to Christmases past to find and relive the joys they brought in my own family.

Enjoy the season by curling up with an inspiring Christmas book. You can find Christmas in Newfoundland in print and Kindle formats at Amazon.com and Amazon.ca.  -- Margy