Monday, April 15, 2019

3 Kindle Ebooks FREE from April 19-23

As a special thank you to all of our blog readers, here are three Kindle ebooks just for you.

Pick one or all, they're FREE
from April 19-23

and you don't have to own a Kindle to enjoy them. Just get a free Kindle app for your smartphone, pad or computer. 

Check here if you need a free Kindle App.



Flying the 
Pacific Northwest

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. For armchair pilots and experienced pros, this book is an escape so realistic you’ll swear you’re airborne.

Click here for your FREE copy of Flying the Pacific Northwest.




Up the Inlet

Description: Come boating up the inlets of coastal British Columbia, where the mountains drop into the sea, and lifestyles focus on self-assurance and a different sense of purpose. Follow along as we cruise northward from the Strait of Georgia, to Cortes and Quadra Islands, and beyond.

Click here for your FREE copy of Up the Inlet.




http://www.amazon.com/Across-Galactic-Sea-Wayne-Lutz-ebook/dp/B00AR6AOLCAcross the Galactic Sea

Description: Spaceship Challenger is on mankind’s first galactic voyage using a high-tech blend of space jumps and cryogenic hibernation. Captain Tina Brett leads her ship towards the ultimate goal, first contact with alien intelligence, until a navigational glitch changes everything. Then there's a mutiny, or is it something more? Six individuals on an epic journey for the good of mankind.

Click here for your
FREE copy of Across the Galactic Sea


Happy reading from Wayne and Margy
www.PowellRiverBooks.com

Saturday, March 30, 2019

"The Trees in My Forest" by Bernd Heinrich

For Christmas Wayne gave me The Trees in My Forest by Bernd Heinrich. He knows I like books about nature and the outdoors, no surprise after being married on Christmas Eve thirty-seven years ago.

Usually we purchase e-books for our Kindles, but this one is special. It includes hand drawn illustrations of the trees in Bernd's Maine forest. I've become interested in illustrating my cabin journals, so it was a good match for my reading and artistic interests.

Bernd was born in Germany in 1940 and moved with his family to Maine as a young boy. He grew up on a farm and loved exploring nearby forests. Now he's a professor emeritus in biology from the University of Vermont and lives between a home in Vermont and a cabin in his western Maine forest.

Fungi, moss and lichen at work in our forest.
After starting with a forestry emphasis at the University of Maine, Bernd switched to biology at UCLA, followed by teaching entomology at UC Berkley. In 1977, he returned to Maine and purchased three hundred acres of former farmland and logged hills. It included a varieties of ecosystems including a steam, swamp, hills, a granite ledge, former pastureland, and a cabin.

A pine reclaiming a Powell Lake forestry road.
Bernd walks us through his property and chronicles change from acquisition in 1977 through the late 1990s. Logged areas and farmlands have regenerated into natural woodlands. He points out the relationships between trees, smaller plants in the understory, fungi, insects and animals. While most of the book is descriptive, there's enough science mixed in to teach the reader something new.

Our cedar, alder, maple and granite outcrops.
Since I live in a logged and forested region, Bernd's story was both engaging and informative. While the trees differ from Maine to Coastal BC, there are some commonalities. We have pine, hemlock, fir, cedar, broadleaf maples and alders. Bernd has spruce, fir, aspen, alder, birch, several varieties of maple and apple trees gone wild. He has granite ledges, even though ours are more prominent.

I enjoyed this book so much I purchased A Year in the Maine Woods. In this earlier work, Bernd settles into a log cabin on his wooded acreage with his pet raven. I don't see any problem reading these books out of order. It will be like a prequel, so popular in films these days.

The Trees in My Forest (Ecco, 1998) by Bernd Heinrich is available online at Amazon and most other online booksellers.

Do you have any books about nature, off-the-grid living or adventure to recommend? I'm always looking for a good read.


There's also 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. -- Margy

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Readying My Mason Bee Hotels

M is for Mason Bees

Last week I was a guest author about Mason Bees on Farmgal's Just Another Day on the Farm. You can read about it and find links to my previous Mason Bee posts by clicking here.

We just came home after two months away. In my recent post Back Up the Lake I speculated about what we might find.

One thing I was anxious to check was my Mason Bee nesting blocks.

Repainting the Mason Bee Hotels,
Mason Bees start emerging from their cocoons in March. It's a fun process to watch and I hoped I hadn't missed it. Even before I went inside the cabin, I looked at my Mason Bee winter storage box on the side porch. It's a cool spot that only gets a wee bit of sunshine. All was quiet.

I took the opportunity to refurbish my two bee hotels.

The refurbished Bee Hotels with their nesting tubes.

Nesting blocks filled with cocoons.
They haven't had any maintenance since they were repurposed from old birdhouses and attached to a south-facing post on our front porch. The fresh paint not only made them look better, but helped preserve their fiberboard construction for a few more years to come.

Wayne helped me moved the heavy winter storage box to a spot under the porch near the Bee Hotels. It will be protected from any spring showers, yet it will be close enough to the hotels for nesting.

Commercial Mason Bee nesting tubes.
My drilled wood nesting blocks are all full of cocoons. I needed something quick and easy to use for the emerging bees. I chose Milliard cardboard Mason Bee nesting tubes. I prefer the homemade wood ones because they are safe to be left outdoors in a protected spot. Mice love to chew cardboard tubes, so they have to be stored either indoors (in a cool spot) or in a protective container outdoors.


Now the full nesting blocks and the refurbished Mason Bee hotels are on the south facing side of our front porch. The recent warm weather and sun are sure to give them the clue that it's time to emerge.

Do you have nesting places for native bees. It's fun and easy. Here's an online resource to use to get started. Also, plant pollinator friendly flowers in your garden. Bees need all the help we can give them.

Head over to Blogghetti for Happiness is Homemade to see more recipes, crafts and DIY projects.

A Thursday site to visit, Frugal Living on the Ranch's Bloggers Pit Stop.

And the ABC Wednesday blog. This is the twenty-fourth round of the meme originally established by Denise Nesbitt. It has now being maintained by Beverly, Roger and Melody. -- Margy

Friday, March 22, 2019

How to Build a Mason Bee Hotel Series

Te first of a three part guest post series.
Earlier this month, I made a comment on Farmgal's blog Just Another Day on the Farm. It was a post about ordering Mason and Leaf Cutter bee cocoons and an interesting viewing house to watch all the action inside. That led to an invitation to write guest posts about my Mason Bee hotel experiences. Click the links below to read the posts.

Monday was the first of three guest posts in Farmgal's How to Build a Mason Bee Hotel Series. It tells how Wayne and I made nesting blocks by drilling pieces of driftwood.

Wayne helped me drill the holes part way through the blocks.

Tuesday's guest post focused on how we repurposed old birdhouses into Mason Bee hotels to hang on our front porch's south facing post.

Giving the old birdhouse a facelift with new paint.

Wednesday's guest post focused on attracting mason bees and caring for their nesting blocks through the year.

We mount the Bee Hotels on a south facing surface.

If you would like to read my original Powell River Books Blog posts in their entirety, please click on the links below.

Building a Simple Mason Bee Hotel
Drilling Nesting Blocks for a Bee Hotel
Bee Hotel Update
Revitalizing a Bee Hotel

It all started in 2015 with two native Mason Bees nesting behind a small solar panel on our front porch.

The two original Mason Bees nesting in a crevice on the front porch in 2015.

Each year we've expanded the number of nesting blocks to accommodate all of the bees we are helping to multiply. That's good for my garden and for the natural surroundings where we live.

Chickens pictured on Farmgal's blog.
Thank you Farmgal for letting us share our experiences.

I encourage you to get to know Farmgal. She's a fellow Canadian who lives on a farm near Ottawa. You can find her online at:

Just Another Day on the Farm
On Twitter as @farmgal1800
On Facebook Just Another Day on the Farm
And Farmgal for Hire

Do you have a Mason Bee hotel or nesting sites for other natural bees? Do you raise honeybees? What are your experiences? All bees need our help so they can continue to help us! -- Margy

Sunday, March 17, 2019

Back Up the Lake

Yea!!! After about two months away we are finally going back up the lake. I'm so excited! For the first time we became Canadian Snowbirds and headed to Arizona for some winter sun. You can read all about it on my sister blog, Margy Meanders.

I finished the time up with a bit of surgery and recovery at our Bellingham condo in the States. Now we get to go home!

I want to see what has happened in my absence. Did my daffodils bloom and herbs survive the winter? How is my composting experiment in plastic barrels doing? Did my potatoes in storage and canning jars in the pantry escape freezing during the cold spells. And did my transplanted blueberries get new growth?


Has there been any wind or snow damage? What about the lake level? We'll soon know the answers to all of our questions.


Why do we love it so much? It's the best place on earth to live. Besides reading my blog, you can discover more about float cabin living at our YouTube Channel and in Wayne's Coastal BC Stories books. The first, Up the Lake, is available for free as an e-book at Amazon and most online booksellers. Chapter 2, "Boats and Planes," tells about how we discovered Powell River and found the home of our dreams floating on a lake.



Watch for lots of new stories after we get home! -- Margy

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Update: Float Cabins for Sale on Powell Lake BC

Wayne and I love living in our float cabin home on Powell Lake in all seasons. Spring is a special time up the lake. The maples are turning green and the dogwoods will soon be in bloom. That's a sign for good fishing. Only a few float cabins and land properties are on the market, so don't wait too long. Purchasing our float cabin home was the best thing we ever did. Why don't you come up and see what Powell Lake has to offer.


Powell Lake Cabins and Properties

Are you interested in getting a cabin of your own? Here's an updated list of cabins and properties up the lake that are for sale. Some are through real estate agents, so you can get more information via their websites. Other cabins are for sale by the owners with information on Craigslist or Facebook pages.


Powell Lake Cabins and Properties For Sale


MLS LISTING: 14131 Powell Lake is beautiful float cabin is in a bay of its own with sandy beaches near Olsen's Landing.  The large float cabin ready for you to use in all seasons. It has two stories with plenty of room for family and friends to visit on a warm summer day to enjoy sunning, swimming and fishing. It has 3 bedrooms plus extra space upstairs for guests, full and half bathrooms, and a large open concept living area downstairs. with a pellet stove to keep you warm. Solar panels for power are quiet and efficient. In back there is also covered boat parking. All of this for $199,900. For more information contact Warren Behan of Royal LePage at 604-485-2324 or click here.

MLS LISTING:  12940 Powell Lake is a float cabin with lots of deck space for outside summer fun, and a swim platform for the little ones.  The open concept cozy cabin has one bedroom downstairs and a sleeping loft. Features include vaulted ceilings, tongue and groove pine ceiling, tongue and groove yellow cedar floor, wood stove, propane fridge, on-demand hot water, stove and freezer. Also included are a generator, solar system and a composting toilet. All this in a great location that's very protected now for $119,900. Click here for more information and pictures, or contact Warren Behan of Royal-LePage at 604-483-8173.

MLS LISTING:  10100 Powell Lake is a large 1200 sq ft float cabin for sale for $159,900. The cabin has 3 bedrooms that can sleep eight comfortably plus a hide-a-bed for 2 more.  Amenities include an on-demand hot water heater and all the bells and whistles. Custom work throughout must be seen to be appreciated. Click here for more information and pictures, or contact Warren Behan of Royal LePage at 604-485-2324.

FACEBOOK MARKETPLACE LISTING: This Powell Lake owner is taking offers for a 680 sq ft two bedroom float cabin. I comes furnished, has a water supply from a glacier fed waterfall behind the cabin, an on-demand hot water, and a new composting toilet. All remediation for the upland has been finished with a letter being sent. The cabin will be sold with full approval. Lots of winter sun, zunga tree, year round use. It is located just past the hiking trail to Beartooth water fall. Asking price is $110,00.  Click here for more information.

MLS LISTING: Jamie and Jason Zroback of BC Land Professionals has the "Ultimate Fly-in" Cabin listed. It's a float cabin on Frogpond Lake on Goat Island in the center of Powell Lake. This all-inclusive float cabin is accessible by plane or boat and vehicle via a logging road on the island. Just a few of the amenities include: main cabin, guest cabin, shop, propane and generator for power, 3 boats, and all the furnishings. This secluded cabin is one of only three float cabins on the lake. The cabin and its lease for occupation are at a reduced priced at $124,900.  Click here for more information and pictures. For more information, call Jamie at (604) 483-1605 or Jason at (604) 414-5577.

MLS LISTING: 9242 Powell Lake is a land cabin on a half acre waterfront lot with a beautiful sandy beach. It has two bedrooms, a bath with a shower, a large living room with a cozy woodstove. The little kitchen is a perfect .place to prepare meals to enjoy in the glassed-in breakfast room.  A covered front deck is the perfect place to relax on a warm summer evening. There's a lovely garden, a waterside deck and fire pit on the beach, plus a handy sheds for storage and firewood. It’s all ready and waiting for you to enjoy for $279,900. For more information contact Warren Behan of Royal LePage at 604-485-2324 or click here.

MLS LISTING: BC Land Professionals is offering a lakefront lodge. The property is 8.35 acres of Crown lease land (renewal due in 2021) with 1300 feet of lake frontage. There are 5 self contained cedar cottages: 3 two-bedroom and 2 one-bedroom. Each has a full bathroom with showers, sinks, toilets, and full kitchens with brand new appliances. Living and eating areas are fully furnished with wood stoves for heat. The fridge, stove, hot water and lighting are propane. Other buildings includes a wood fired Sauna and tool shed. The foreshore and docks are protected by log breakwater. The complete package is priced at $379,000. Click here for more information and pictures. For more information call toll free at 1-866-558-5263, the office at 604-694-7626 or mobile at (604) 483-1605.


Powell Lake Cabin Services

Powell Lake Cabin Services: Already have a cabin up the lake? We are always looking for help with projects around ours. Our good friend (and float cabin neighbour) Justin Behan offers services such as cargo delivery, lumber packages, cubes, propane tanks, wood stoves, and anchor and rope supply. In addition, Justin is now a distributor for Sun-Mar composting toilets just like the one we installed in our new bathroom addition. For more information, call Justin at (604) 483-6527.


Powell Lake Real Estate: Want a real estate agent that really knows float cabins? That's Harry Zroback (our man Harry who helped us get our cabin) from RE/MAX. Harry owns a cabin himself, so he's an excellent person to contact for all your "up the lake" real estate needs at 604-483-8333 or harry@powellriverrealestate.com.



Powell Lake Stories

Want to know more about life up the lake. Check out these books from Wayne's Coastal BC Stories series:

Up the Lake (Free for Kindle and e-books)
Farther Up the Lake
Cabin Number 5
Off the Grid
Off the Grid: Getting Started
Powell Lake by Barge and Quad
If you have any questions about Powell River, Powell Lake or cabin living, I'd be glad to help out. Just leave a comment or use the e-mail link in my profile to send me a message. -- Margy

Saturday, March 02, 2019

"5 Acres and a Dream" by Leigh Tate

5 Acres and a Dream: The Blog link.
I enjoy reading blogs written by people, especially women, who live off the grid or in remote locations. Many off-gridders don't blog or write online, so I also follow homesteaders.

My online search led me to Leigh Tate's 5 Acres and a Dream: The Blog. After reading her posts and communicating through comments I decided to check out her book 5 Acres and a Dream: The Book.

https://www.amazon.com/Acres-Dream-Book-Establishing-Self-Sufficient/dp/0989711102I'm glad I did. It tells about how Leigh and her husband Dan started homesteading on a five acre plot with an aging house and structures that needed lots of work to make them into their dream homestead.

Leigh describes their mutual dream for "a simpler life, a life that gave us a sense of purpose, appreciation, and satisfaction with what we do and how we do it." Their homesteading mindset began early while raising and homeschooling children, but never on land of their own. With their children grown, planning began in earnest for a dream homestead. Cost was an issue, so their plans evolved over the three year search, and through the subsequent years on the new to them property. Flexibility made them so successful.

5 Acres and a Dream: The Book is organized both chronologically and topically. Chapters that were especially helpful for me were:

The Establishment Phase - rethinking what was necessary.
Food Self-Sufficiency - growing and preserving food.
Energy Self-Sufficiency - including a wood-burning cookstove.
Water Self-Sufficiency - including rainwater and greywater tips.
Obstacles and Difficult Things - homesteading isn't easy.

The book is filled with photographs and drawings to illustrate and enhance the story. There are even some homestead recipes to try. Leigh has written additional helpful homesteading resources.

Amazon Links to additional books by Leigh Tate include:

Preppers Livestock Handbook: Lifesaving strategies and sustainable methods for keeping chickens, rabbits, goats, cows and other farm animals


Critter Tales: What my homestead critters have taught me about themselves, their world, and how to be a part of it



Amazon links to Homestead How To Series:

How To Bake Without Baking Powder
How To Mix Your Own Feed Rations
How To Get Cream from Goat's Milk
How To: Home Soil Tests
How To Make Amish Whitewash
How To Garden for Goats
How to Preserve Eggs

I found Leigh's book both engaging and helpful at the same time. I highly recommend it for anyone who is thinking about starting a homesteading or off-the-grid lifestyle, or someone who has started down that path and is looking for more resources. And stop by 5 Acres and a Dream: The Blog to find out how Leigh and Dan's dream is evolving. -- Margy