Saturday, June 18, 2022

Bats, Bees and Birds

Coming home is always fun. We were last here in winter. Now it's spring going on summer, even though Mother Nature is holding on to cold rainy weather. One exciting thing about coming home is checking for critters that return each year.

  Little Brown Bats

Every year we have bats at our cabin. They arrive in May and stay the summer.  One of the first things I do is check a favourite roosting spot under the metal roof of the propane shed. 

I found a Little Brown Bat had already moved in. It's probably male, because females group together under the cabin roof to raise their young. It's noisy at dusk and dawn as they wiggle out and in, but they keep the mosquitoes away. Here's the little guy under the shed roof. 

Mason Bees

I was worried my Mason Bees wouldn't have enough empty nesting blocks, but the enterprising bees cleaned out the old ones and are filling them up again. A few bees are still working away. My colony grew from two bees in 2015 to over 100 in 2019. 

Sadly, I lost the colony due to a long absence in 2020. Fortunately, a few native bees got me restarted last year. I love giving pollinators a helping hand. Here's more about my bee experiences:

Readying My Mason Bee Hotels 
Revitalizing a Bee Hotel
Drilling Nesting Blocks
Building a Simple Bee Hotel
 
Tree Swallows

Two Tree Swallows flew in and out of the birdhouse on my floating garden. They arrive in mid-May, followed by Barn Swallows in June. This year the occupants are Tree Swallows
 
Sometimes a pair of Violet-greens will get there first. Swallows fly all the way from their winter home in Mexico to raise families in Coastal BC. My arms get tired thinking about it.
 
There are lots more critters for me to enjoy around my float cabin home. What do you like to watch where you live? -- Margy
 

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

Thanks for visiting my post this week. I'm linking up with Saturday's Critters. Check them out for more great animal pictures.

Shared with Your the Star at Stone Cottage Adventures. And Tuesdays with a Twist at Stone Cottage Adventures.

Friday, June 17, 2022

FREE E-Book: "Up the Lake" by Wayne Lutz

The book that started it all!

Up the Lake
Coastal BC Stories

from


Head up Powell Lake to experience life in an off the grid float cabin, take a boat to world famous Desolation Sound, ride a quad into the back country and fly overhead for a unique view of this incredible place. Read Up the Lake by Wayne J. Lutz and see how much fun it can be.

Print for $9.95
Kindle for Free
E-Book for Free
(prices may vary in Canada)

Visit PowellRiverBooks.com 
for more information and 
additional titles in the Coastal BC Stories series.

Tuesday, June 07, 2022

Finally Heading Home

Our Powell Lake float cabin home.

Last Wednesday Wayne and I drove to the Peace Arch border crossing in Blaine, WA. Most Canadian COVID-19 border restrictions have been lifted for vaccinated travelers. The online ArriveCAN app is still needed. 

Rules are in flux, so check before you go with the Canadian Border Service Agency and US Customs and Border Protection.

We timed our border arrival to catch the first of two BC Ferries needed to get to Powell River. To ensure we made our connection at the second ferry, we had a reservation.

Arriving at Saltery Bay means we're almost back to Powell River.

There's no quarantine requirement for fully vaccinated. Because of the relaxed rules, we headed home early after our Arizona Snowbird RV Adventure. After a few days in town to take care of business, we got in our Hewescraft and headed up Powell Lake to our float cabin home.

Heading to First Narrows with Hole in the Wall beyond.

Here's our cabin and the view from our front porch. Purchasing our unique off-the-grid home in 2001 was the best choice we've ever made.

Here's the cabin's interior. It's 500 square feet with a sleeping loft. We have a woodstove for heat, propane appliances and a hand water pump in the kitchen, and a bathroom with a composting toilet.

Here's a video created by Kirsten Dickson at Faircompanies featuring our float cabin home.

 Travel is fun, but here's no place like home!

Living through the COVID-19 pandemic has been hard on everyone worldwide. Wayne and I hope you and your family are starting to come out the other side in a safe manner. -- Margy


Blog sharing at Through My Lens by Mersad and Wordless Wednesday by Natasha.

And Travel Tuesdays at Intelliblog, Tuesdays with a Twist at Stone Cottage Adventures and My Corner of the World at Photographing New Zealand.

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

Sunday, May 29, 2022

"The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek" by Kim Michele Richardson

The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek by Kim Michele Richardson (Sourcebooks Landmark, 2019) was recommended by my husband Wayne. He's typically a scifi aficionado, but found this historical fiction novel compelling. Through extensive research, the author has effectively woven factual events into a well written tale.

They say to write about what you know. Kim Richardson grew up and lives in Kentucky, the book's setting. Her story portrays the people, places and history of the Depression era pack horse library project in Appalachia. It also brings the extreme poverty, illiteracy, and racial discrimination to life.

Cussy Mary Carter lives with her widowed father in Troublesome Creek, a hill-country coal mining town. They are descendants of French immigrants who carried the methemoglobinemia gene, causing blue skin tones. At the time, little was known about the condition. In tight knit communities, anyone different was subjected to discrimination and persecution. 

Due to her physical condition, Cussy Mary has to go behind the back of the local librarian and apply by mail to become a Pack Horse Librarian. Her mother was an avid reader and instilled in Cussy a love for books. Serving as a unique mobile librarian, she shared her love for reading and learning with individuals and families isolated by location, poverty and antiquated attitudes.

I highly recommend The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek. I learned about a part of the United States far from my homes in California and the Pacific Northwest. Living conditions were dire, women were subjected to harsh conditions and abuse, and young children often died from starvation. Yet, families endured and the pack horse library program brought a bright diversion and educational opportunity to people with few opportunities.

The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek is available in print, e-book and auditory book options online and in bookstores.

More about Kim Richardson and Book Woman: 

Kim Richardson's website.

Kim Richardson's Facebook page.

A book trailer at Kim Richardson's website.

Controversy about another book published with similarities.

The story continues with The Book Woman's Daughter.


Visit 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.

Sunday, April 10, 2022

"Ride the Rising Wind" by Barbara Kinscote

Last week I wrote a book review about the epic cross-country horseback trip that Annie Wilkins took from Maine to California. Barbara Kingscote had a similar experience riding across Canada from Quebec to British Columbia in 1949-50. Here's a reprint of my review of Ride the Rising Wind that was posted on Margy Meanders in 2015.

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I follow several Powell River friends online. One day there was mention of a book about horses, one of my favourite subjects. As a young girl in the suburbs of Los Angeles, I dreamed of having a horse of my own. My dad helped by taking me riding at a nearby stable on the Los Angeles River, which at the time was not the cement channel it is today. I always rode Flash, but I think his name was more of a joke than a description of his fleet footedness.

When we came to Powell River, I saw a brochure offering trail rides at Tanglewood Farms. I’ve never completed my desire to check it out, but when I learned that the owner Phoebe Kingscote’s mother Barbara wrote a memoir of a riding adventure from the early 1950s, I had to get it.

Barbara Kingscote grew up in Quebec in the 1940s. She too had a love of horses. Working on a small subsistence farm, she gained the experienced needed to apply for veterinary college. In 1949 when she was twenty years old, the owners of the farm moved to the West Coast, but couldn’t take their horse Zazy. The solution? Barbara would ride the black mare all the way from Montreal to their new home in Lytton, British Columbia. But just prior to departure, Charlie, the owner, gave the mare to Barbara to be her own.

Ride the Rising Wind: One Woman’s Journey Across Canada (NeWest Press, 2006) is Barbara and Zazy’s story of the massive undertaking spanning sixteen months and over four thousand miles. Barbara left with minimal supplies lashed to Zazy’s saddle and $100 in her pocket. She stopped along the way at logging camps, farms and towns to intercept mail, buy meager supplies for herself and her horse, and enjoy the company of generous Canadians all along the way.

When she wasn’t offered a loft or bedroom, the intrepid pair slept under the stars or a tarp in pouring rain. Their winter was spent working in the cookhouse at a logging camp. That was a story in itself. But come spring, the two were back on the road.

To take such a journey today seems impossible. The roads are more like freeways, the traffic even more congested. Towns and logging camps along the way no longer depend on horses, so support would be minimal. That’s one reason Barbara’s story is so compelling. Horse people dream of such adventures and opportunities. The closest I ever came was riding in the Chilko Lake area helping a dude ranch hand with the horses.

After learning about the book, I found a used copy online. And then, strangely enough, I bumped into another at the Powell River thrift store. I always stop in every week or so to see what Canadian and regional treasures I can find to add to my reading shelf. -- Margy

Sunday, April 03, 2022

"The Ride of Her Life" by Elizabeth Letts

Margy (12) and Misty in 1960

Ever since I can remember I've loved horses. Mom told me about Grampa's plow horse on the Compton farm in the early 1900s.

My parents worked so Betty was my sitter. She grew up in a French chateau where they raised thoroughbreds. She told me stories about life before WWII and gave me jodhpurs she brought when she came to America.


Margy (15), Dad, Misty and baby Burke in 1963
Dad took me riding at a Los Angeles River stable. "My horse" was always Flash. I remember a movie with my little legs barely reaching over Flash's back.

I begged for a horse. My parents relented by junior high and Misty came into my life. By then the river was a cement channel, but I didn't care. My dream had come true.

This brings me to this month's review. As a kid, I read every horse book in the library. I still enjoy reading them.  I recently discovered The Ride of Her Life, the biography of Annie Wilkins by Elizabeth Letts.

Elizabeth Letts grew up in Southern California, like I did. She began riding at a young age, like I did. But she went the English route while I was a Western rider. Her love of horses has led her to write several well researched books.

The Ride of Her Life: The True Story of a Woman, Her Horse and their Last-Chance Journey Across America (Ballantine Books, 2021) is the factual account of the nearly two year journey of 63-year old Annie Wilkins, her horse Tarzan and dog Depeche Toi across America in the early 1950s.

Research included interviews, letters written by Annie to friends she made along the way, newspaper articles and television coverage.

Annie, affectionately called Widow Wilkins, grew up poor on a homestead near Minot, Maine. In her sixties, she had little savings and owed back taxes on the farm. After a hospital stay for severe pneumonia, the prognosis was only a few more years to live. Rather than giving in, she got to work and prepared for the journey of her life to see the Pacific Ocean. 

Credit: The Ride of Her Life page 278

As Annie travels, the author tells the story of America in the early 1950s. It was a time when towns were growing into cities, and roads were becoming highways. The emergence of television helped to broadcast Annie's story and built interest in her adventure.

Annie, Tarzan and Depeche Toi were successful in their quest thanks to many individuals and towns who offered lodging, meals and encouragement along the way. Arriving in Hollywood she was invited to appear on Art Linkletter's "People are Funny" TV show.

I highly recommend The Ride of Her Life to anyone who loves reading about horses, strong women, adventure and historical times. It's available in print, ebook and audio versions at Amazon and many other online booksellers.

The new Misty, Margy, Wayne and Daddy in Pomona in 1985

Before I say goodbye, here are my last two horses. During college there wasn't enough time for riding. That and my teaching career created a twenty year gap until a new Misty came into my life. (Can you guess my favourite childhood horse book?) Wayne surprised me one Christmas morning when we lived in Pomona, a childhood dream come true. And Dad was still with us to share my excitement.

Cowboy, my last horse in Pomona before moving to Powell River

After Misty came the last horse in my life, Cowboy Bich. Life moves on, but my love of horses never will. -- Margy


Visit 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.


Thanks for visiting my post this week. I'm linking up with Saturday's Critters. Check them out for more great animal pictures.

Sunday, November 28, 2021

Book Review: "For Joshua" by Richard Wagamese

Last month I reviewed Buried Secrets in the Sgt. Windflower Mystery Series by Mike Martin. Windflower is Cree and is inspired by the works of Richard Wagamese. That inspired me to read his books.

First I read Indian Horse about the devastating repercussions residential school attendance. 

Next I chose the memoir For Joshua: An Ojibwe Father Teaches His Son.

Wagamese was taken from his parents and raised by Canadian families. He didn't learn Ojibwe culture, was bullied in school and never felt he belonged. The process became known as the "Sixties Scoop" where children were forcibly placed in non-native foster or adoptive homes. Like residential schools, it was a means to force assimilation into Canadian norms and values.

In For Joshua, Wagamese tells his life story and how he struggled to learn who he was as an Ojibwe man. Life left him estranged from his son, so he used the book to pass along important teachings.

I live in the traditional territory of the Tla'amin Nation in Coastal British Columbia. Workshops following the Truth and Reconciliation of Canada Final Report opened my eyes to past and present impacts of residential schools. Reading books by Richard Wagamese has been helpful to increase my understanding. 

Richard Wagamese was one of Canada's most famous indigenous authors. He wrote novels, memoirs and Embers, Objibwe meditations. He passed in 2017 at 61 years of age, a life ended way too soon.

Richard Wagamese's books have a Canadian focus, but forced assimilation for indigenous peoples happens in many countries. I highly recommend his works as a way to increase your understanding and get involved. -- Margy