Saturday, September 26, 2020

Come to Powell Lake for Fall Foliage

Leaves turning on Goat Island.
People go east on expensive fall foliage trips. It's a region well known for trees in spectacular hues of yellow, orange, red, purple and brown. Like the Atlantic Provinces, broadleaf trees around Powell Lake change colour.

In front of our cabin, Goat Island has a glorious display of maples, dogwoods and alders. The swaths of colour paint the hillsides along stream carved gullies and slopes.

Have you wondered how this colourful display occurs? Chlorophyll, the pigment that gives leaves their green colour, gets energy from sunlight to transform carbon dioxide and water into carbohydrates (sugars and starch). Leaves also have yellow to orange pigments called carotene and xanthophyll, but they are overpowered by chlorophyll most of the year. When fall arrives, things change.

Days are shorter and deciduous trees, ones that lose their leaves, get ready for winter. Chlorophyll, and its green colour, begins to diminish. This allows the yellow and orange colours to become more dominant.

Reds and purples are created when glucose (sugars) are trapped in leaves after photosynthesis stops. Bright sunny days and cool nights in autumn cause leaves to turn the glucose into red to purple colours. A brown colour is from wastes left behind in the leaves.

As winter approaches, leaves begin to fall. Where the stem of a leaf is attached to the tree there is a special layer of cells. This layer gradually breaks down until it can no longer support the weight of the leaf. When storm winds blow, leaves drop. Trees become dormant and live off the food they have stored over the summer. Their stems, twigs and buds are equipped to survive extreme cold until the following spring.

Fallen leaves are not wasted. They become part of the thick humus layer of the forest floor and decay to replenish the soil with nutrients. There also absorb rainfall, hold moisture and become food for organisms that are important to the forest ecosystem.

Here are some resources if you would like more details:

Next year when travel is safer, come to Powell River in Coastal BC to experience fall foliage. People here are friendly, the resorts are uncrowded and the restaurants are great. The opportunities are limitless. You won’t be sorry you chose to head north rather than east. -- Margy

Stop by and take a look at a meme called All Seasons, Travel Tuesdays at Intelliblog and My Corner of the World at Photographing New Zealand.

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

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

Also blog shares called Through My Lens by Mersad, Wordless Wednesday by Natasha and Tuesdays with a Twist at Stone Cottage Adventures.

Thursday, September 24, 2020

FREE Kindle Ebooks for Your Reading Enjoyment from October 8-12

Right now with so much time indoors and distanced activities outdoors, reading is a great escape. Here are three Kindle ebooks to whisk you away, even to the future.

Pick one or all, they're FREE from
October 8 to 12.
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. 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

Wayne and I encourage you to stay safe and stay well!

Sunday, September 20, 2020

Coastal BC Birds: Steller's Jay

Steller's Jay
Swinging on the feeder.
This week I heard a familiar cry from the granite cliff next to our float cabin home. It was a Steller's Jay. I discovered their presence in our area in 2017 when one arrived to enjoy some seed at my homemade twirling bird feeder. If one wasn't annoying enough, in 2018 five arrived at once.

Last year I didn't see any before we left for a fall RV trip to Arizona. This year were are staying longer up the lake due to the COVID situation. Yesterday, a single Jay arrived and loudly announced his presence. This morning he played the part of a rooster to wake us up.

Steller's Jays are member of the Corvid family including ravens, crows, and magpies. They can be annoying at times, but they are still a welcome visitor to our off-the-grid home. -- Margy 
P.S. This is the first post I've written with the new version of Blogger. It has been a horrible experience trying to write and edit. If you use Blogger, what has been your experience? Any tips you have would be greatly appreciated. 

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

Tuesday, September 15, 2020

September Cruisin'

Crossing the Strait of Georgia.
It's been an unusual year in so many ways. We were self isolating from March through July 15 in our Bellingham condo.

Then we decided it was better to head home to our float cabin on Powell Lake and completed our 14-day quarantine the end of July.

We finally got our Bayliner 2452 in the ocean at Powell River's Westview Harbour in August.

After almost a year stored on land there were a few issues that needed to be resolved.

Moored at the Discovery Harbour Marina dock in Campbell River.

We finally got out for a fair weather cruise on September 3. We decided to visit a few favourite marinas close to home.

A walk to the traditional burial grounds of the Wei Wai Kum First Nation.

Our first stop was Discovery Harbour Marina across the Strait of Georgia in Campbell River on Vancouver Island. To get there, it's easiest to go through Discovery Passage at slack water, either high or low tide. Tidal currents are strong south of nearby Seymour Narrows. Over two days we enjoyed local walks and outdoor dining at the Rip Tide Pub.

Tying up in a prime spot on the Heriot Bay Marina dock.

Next we headed to the Heriot Bay Marina on the east side of Quadra Island. Even though it was Labour Day weekend, there were spots at the dock and outdoor dining space at the Inn's Heron Restaurant. We enjoy eating out and it makes traveling by boat much easier for us.

The Gorge Harbour Marina and Resort is upscale and fun to visit.

Working our way east across the northern end of the Straight of Georgia we stopped in at the Gorge Harbour Marina. We originally planned to be here one night, but wind on the forecast extended our stay and the opportunity for two dinners at the Floathouse Restaurant. Don't have a boat? They offer camping, RV sites and cabins on Cortes Island.

The Squirrel Cover public dock with the store on the far shore.

Our next stop at the Squirrel Cove public dock was brief. Walking to the store I tripped in a pothole. I thought I was okay, but my little finger looked funny. Not ha ha funny, but weird broken funny. We cleaned up my scrapes and motored back to Powell River to get it set. We took a two night break up the lake before resuming our cruise.

My "broken wing" giving a thumbs up to the Refuge Cove Store.

Rather than returning to Squirrel Cove (no I don't hold a grudge), we went to our next planned stop, Refuge Cove. We needed gas, so it made sense to stay for the night. The restaurant didn't open this summer due to COVID-19, but the store had snacks to tide us over.

After Labour Day this popular marina had lots of first come, first serve dock space.

We didn't anticipate the severity of smoke arriving from the fires raging in the United States. It was a good thing we decided to head back to Powell River the next morning. We could see for about a mile, but the next day it was much worse.

Limited visibility traveling through Thulin Passage by the Copeland Islands.

Despite our two interruptions, it was a great September cruisin' excursion. And it will be one we'll remember for years to come.

Have you done any safe and responsible September excursions? -- Margy

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

Also blog shares called Through My Lens by Mersad and Wordless Wednesday by Natasha.

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

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

Sunday, August 30, 2020

"Wild Fierce Life" by Joanna Streetly

I find great books by local British Columbia authors in the retail shop on BC Ferries. It takes two ferries to travel between our home in Powell River to Bellingham.

Recently I purchased Wild Fierce Life: Dangerous Moments in the Outer Coast (Caitlin Press, 2018) by Joanna Streetly. If you've read my previous reviews, you know I enjoy books by and about women who live in remote locations, especially Coastal BC where I live.

Joanna Streetly grew up in Trinidad. At 18 she came to Vancouver to attend Capilano University to study Outdoor Recreation and Leadership. As a part of that program, she obtained a practicum position at the Wickaninnish (Kwisitis) Interpretive Centre in Pacific Rim National Park on the rugged west coast of Vancouver Island.

Long Beach in the Pacific Rim National Park.

Following her practicum she moved 40 klicks north to Tofino, a fishing, logging, tourist and surfing hub. She put her outdoor skills to work as a kayak guide and on whale watching tours. She's lived in town, land cabins and what I like best, float cabins. Almost thirty years later she still lives in a Tofino floathome with her partner and daughter.

Tofino's float home community at Strawberry Island.

Wild Fierce Life is a memoir of memorable, exciting and sometimes life threatening experiences. Each chapter gives the reader a peak into what it's like growing and maturing in a rugged land and ocean environment. You can read more about Joanna at her website.

Vancouver Island's rugged west coast.

 I thoroughly enjoyed reading Wild Fierce Life while floating in the natural "swimming pool" at my float cabin on Powell Lake.  It's not as remote or rugged as her float cabin location in Maltby Sough, but the concept is similar. Joanna is an artist. Each chapter is illustrated with a map (which I wish more authors would do) and wildlife images. 

The Tofino coast, a surfers haven.

Read Wild Fierce Life for a glimpse of what love, life and wilderness exploration is like in a unique coastal environment. It's available in print and ebook formats online at the following booksellers. -- Margy

Caitlin Press - Her Publisher (print and Kindle apps and readers) (print and Kindle apps and readers)
Barnes and Noble (print and Nook readers)
Apple Books (through the Books app)
Kobo (for Kobo apps and readers)

Other books by Joanna Streetly include:

Silent Inlet is a fictional story about a small town on the west coast of Vancouver Island.
Paddling Through Time is the account of a kayak adventure through Clayoquot Sound.

There's also the monthly Book Review Club for teen/young adult and adult fiction over at Barrie Summy's blog.

Check out Booknificent Thursdays at

Also shared with Your the Star at Stone Cottage Adventures and Book Review Linkup at Lovely Audio Books.

Thursday, August 20, 2020

#ThrowbackThursday: Composting in a Plastic Barrel Step by Step

My former wire bin composter.
Two years ago I lost the location for my simple wire compost bin. 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 about 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 cost $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 the other 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.

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

Want more ideas? Try The Green Acre Homestead's Our Simple Homestead Blog Hop.

For homesteading, homemaking, DIY and self-sustaining posts visit Farm Fresh Tuesdays at The Self Sufficient HomeAcre.

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

Tuesday, August 11, 2020

Cabin Baking: Refreshing Sourdough Starter

Sourdough bread baked in a Dutch oven at the cabin.
After being away from my float cabin home for nearly six months due to the pandemic, I was worried my sourdough starter might be dead.

When we left in January for our Snowbird RV Adventure, I took my starter to town because we turned off the propane fridge.

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

After the two week mandatory quarantine at the cabin after re-entering Canada, we went to the condo and I immediately checked my starter. 

I have two separate containers. One is my cabin batch that's been working since 2005. The other is my cloned city backup batch. Over time they've diverged in flavour, so I treat them separately. I've heard that's because natural environmental yeasts differ.

Float cabin batch on the left and city batch on the right.

I put each batch into a separate bowl and let them warm on the stovetop. I was socked to see how active they became.

To feed them, I stirred in 1/2 cup lukewarm skim milk, 1/2 cup white flour and 1 tablespoon granulated sugar.

I feed each batch separately to preserve their unique flavorss.

I left the bowls uncovered to capture natural yeast from the air. I covered them overnight. In the morning, both batches were active and bubbling. There was no need to add commercial yeast to revive them. I gave them a second feeding and another rest overnight before returning them to their plastic containers for refrigeration.

I was careful to use non-reactive bowls and utensils (plastic, ceramic, glass or wood). Why do I have a town backup you ask? One year my cabin propane fridge went on the fritz and I lost my starter. Having a backup in town saved the day.

Do you have sourdough starter? How do you take care of yours? -- Margy

Posting Wordless Wednesday by Natasha and Friday Favorites at Condo Blues.

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

Hop on over to the Simple Life Mom for some great homesteading ideas.

Want more ideas? Try The Green Acre Homestead's Our Simple Homestead Blog Hop.

Head over to Blogghetti for Tasty Tuesday for recipes, crafts and DIY.

For homesteading, homemaking, DIY and self-sustaining posts visit Farm Fresh Tuesdays at The Self Sufficient HomeAcre.