Sunday, February 02, 2020

"Dancing in Gumboots" Edited by Lou Allison and Jane Wilde

Have you wondered about what life would be like if you had taken a different path in your youth?

Books like Gumboot Girls and now Dancing in Gumboots make me think? Both are anthologies of memoir vignettes by women who moved to Coastal BC in the 60s and 70s. Their stories are opposite to my choice.

I followed my conventional upbringing until I retired. It was then I followed my heart and moved to live off the grid in Coastal BC.

Dancing in Gumboots: Adventure, Love and Resilience - Women of the Comox Valley (Caitlin Press, 2018), edited by Lou Allison and Jane Wilde, follows in the footsteps of Gumboot Girls.

Dancing in Gumboots shares the lives of 32 women who followed their hearts and dreams in the 70s to Vancouver Island's Comox Valley and the nearby Gulf Islands.
We spent the summer together on the boat, exploring the islands and bays and sailing the straits of Barkley Sound. Brenda Dempsey in "Beyond the Valley"
There is a safe way to be awakened: hook up with another like-minded soul. Josephine Peyton in "Quest for Community"
We gathered oysters, dug for clams and fished. Parksman Pete ran the campground and, from time to time, he'd give us odd jobs to help stretch the dollars. Monika Terfloth in "I Took the Scenic Routes "
Friday was mail day, and all the cabin dwellers came into town for supplies and to get together with friends at the Likely Hotel. Gwen Sproule in "Home is Where the Heart Is"
After every spring season, we set up another camp, this time at the Courtenay Fairgrounds, where we staffed the kitchen for the annual Renaissance Fair. Cara Tilston in "Finding Home"
Many of the youthful arrivals to the Comox Valley have remained in their adopted community. You can read more about these amazing women at their Gumboot Girls Facebook page.

Powell River and Lund also had an influx of adventurous young people during the 60s and 70s. Here are some of their stories.

The Eden Express is a memoir by Mark Vonnegut, the son of famous author Kurt Vonnegut. Mark purchased vacant rural farmland near Powell River that became a haven for people who wanted to get back to the land and live a simple life. It later became Fiddlehead Farm, a hostel for like-minded people.

In The Way Home, Terry Faubert tells her story about coming to Lund, north of Powell River, and building a home for herself and her son. It wasn't easy for a single mom. I was honoured to be asked to help during the editing process of this memoir by a friend from the Powell River Gardening Club.

Adult Child of Hippies was the story of Willow Yamauchi growing up in Lund, a magnet for young people during the hippie and draft dodger movement.  Willow became a CBC Radio producer and interviewed me for about my float garden. The book is full of pictures from that period of time.

The End of the Road was a film recently produced by a Powell River area local Tai Uhlmann about the Lund counter-culture era.

We saw its premier at our local historic Patricia Theatre.

Did you come of age during the 60s and 70s? How did you approach those years? Did you maintain a conventional lifestyle or participate in the counter-culture movement? No matter which you chose, would you have done anything different then or now? -- Margy

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. -- Margy

Tuesday, January 28, 2020

Float Cabin Deck Replacement Part 2

Cedar boards heading up the lake.
This is the second post about replacing the cedar deck at our float cabin. In the previous post, I gave you a little history about how our good friend John built our cabin's foundation and deck.

If you missed it, scroll down to the next post.

The Hewescraft is a great work boat.
John did the whole project for us. He arranged for old growth cedar boards to be cut to specification. The largest load went up on our barge.

Extras went up on our Hewescraft. Both of these are great work boats.

To give John the time and space needed to work, we coordinated it with our Snowbird RV Adventure to the States.

John repaired the foundation pony walls before replacing the deck boards.

John replaced the cabin's deck a section at a time. Work went from October through December. We were able to get up to the cabin during construction to check on things and enjoy our off-the-grid home.

The cabin front deck, half old and half new. Can you see the difference?

Here are the results. I love the look and smell of fresh cedar lumber.

The side deck and boat dock looking towards Goat Island .

The rear side deck and dock. John added a bull rail to secure our boats with ropes.

The side and front deck.

The front deck looking towards the transition float to shore.

Waste not, want not. John cut up the old deck boards to become future firewood. What wouldn't fit into the floating woodshed remains on our cedar log work float.

Cut up deck boards stored on our cedar log work float.

Old deck boards cut up and stored in our floating wood shed.

Now we are set for another 22 years at the least. Who knows how long we can live up the lake, but if we are able, the sturdy deck and foundation repairs will support us. -- Margy

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.

Visit Tuesdays with a Twist at Stone Cottage Adventures.

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

Saturday, January 18, 2020

Float Cabin Deck Replacement Part 1

Spring 2018 before pressure washing.
My last post was about major maintenance and improvement projects we've done at the float cabin over the last two decades. I left off our most recent one so you can see it in perspective.

Just like any home, it's only as good as the foundation.

After removing the stain aging was evident.
Over the last 22 years, time and weather have taken their toll.

Periodically, we've replaced individual boards and a few supports to extend the life of our foundation and deck, but in 2019 it was evident that we needed to do much more.

Our float cabin's raft during construction.
But first, a little history. Our cabin floats on a lashed together raft of 40-foot cedar logs. Cedar is durable and buoyant. Floats do get waterlogged, but adding plastic barrels underneath gives increased flotation. The best news, our cedar logs are in good shape.

Crosswise logs and steel cables secure the float logs together. On top, pony walls of vertical then horizontal 2x4s are nailed into the cross-member logs. This provides a level platform for the cabin and deck.

The pony walls are then added to the float log foundation.

Vertical 2X6" boards are nailed on top of the pony walls. Throughout this process, everything is double-checked to make sure it's level.

To support the deck boards, vertical 2x6s are nailed on top of the pony walls.

Yellow cedar is best for decking. Next is old growth red cedar. Last is second growth cedar. Most of our foundation was yellow cedar, but a few spots included second growth wood.

A second growth cedar log on top was replaced with an old growth cedar beam.

Our good friend John (and cabin's builder) replaced our deck. When he took off the old boards, he discovered several supports that needed replacing. In particular, a second growth log was rotten. He chose to replace all 40-feet with milled 6X6" beams.

Here are some related cabin construction posts:

Float construction
Extra Flotation Power
Log Burning for Dry Rot
Cable Up - Anchoring System

In Part 2 I'll tell more about the deck replacement process. -- Margy

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

Posting to Through My Lens by Mersad, Tuesdays with a Twist at Stone Cottage and My Corner of the World at Photographing New Zealand.

Friday, January 10, 2020

"Off the Grid: Getting Started" by Wayne J. Lutz

This is the newest and thirteenth title in the Coastal BC Stories series. Unlike previous books about adventures and life in a float cabin home, this book is a how-to guide for people interested in moving out of the city and off the grid.

Wayne J. Lutz

From the author of the Coastal BC Stories series, Off the Grid: Getting Started provides more detail about what it's like to live off the grid. What are the essentials you’ll need and how do you get started? This practical how-to guide considers all aspects of remote living and moving off the grid, including site selection and the creation of your own utilities. Investment and ongoing costs of backwoods living are evaluated based on a  building-block approach. This book is designed for those who seek an evaluation of basic remote lifestyles and how to make it happen. If you've ever dreamed of living away from town in an off-the-grid home, you'll enjoy reading Off the Grid: Getting Started.

Smashwords ebooks for $4.99

Click here if you need a Kindle or Kindle App.
Also available from additional online vendors.

Or go to for more ordering information. -- Margy

Sunday, January 05, 2020

Two Decades of Float Cabin Maintenance and Improvements

Our cabin at the wall of Hole in the Wall.
Our float cabin at Hole in the Wall on Powell Lake, BC, was built in 1997 by our good friend John. He has an extraordinary talent for lashing together cedar log floats and building cabins from the waterline up.

We purchased the cabin in 2001, and with John's expert help we've maintained and improved it. He's a Jack of all trades who never ceases to amaze us.

John and our Cabin #3, the third one he built.

Here are some of the projects I've written about since I began blogging in 2006. Follow the links to see the stories.

Floating woodshed in 2007.
Repairing our log boom in 2008.
Adding barrels for extra flotation in 2008 and 2015.
Woodstove blow back solution in 2009.

Wind generator in 2009.
Bathroom and porch addition in 2011.
Indoor plumbing in 2011.
A new coat and colour of paint in 2011.

New propane stove and refrigerator in 2011.
Custom shelves made by John in 2012.
Upgraded ceiling insulation in 2014.
Pine paneling in 2014.

Making a new anchor in 2015.
Float log burning (carefully) for dry rot in 2015.
Solar system upgrades in 2015.
Enlarging our protective log boom in 2016.

A new front deck in 2017.
Xplornet satellite Internet in 2017.
Float cabin anchor repair in 2017.
Renewed floating garden in 2019.

In writing this post, I was amazed at how many projects we completed with John's help over the last two decades. And there's one more big one I'll share with you in the weeks to come. If you have any questions, please leave a comment and I'll get back to you. -- Margy

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

Visit Letting Go of the Bay Leaf for more Mosaic Monday and Tuesdays with a Twist at Stone Cottage Adventures.

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

Tuesday, December 31, 2019

5 Favourite 2019 Powell River Books Blog Posts

Each year I enjoy sharing blog posts from throughout the year that were favourites with my readers. Here are the top 5 for 2019 in order. Click the titles to read the complete posts.

1. 5 Acres and a Dream by Leigh Tate:  I enjoy reading books written by people, especially women, who homestead or live off the grid. Leigh's homesteading book was both engaging and helpful at the same time. And I continue to follow her blog.

5 Acres and a Dream: The Blog link.

Related post: Becoming Wild by Nikki Van Schyndel who also participated on the History Channel's Alone: The Arctic this year,

2. Back Up the Lake:  In late March we finally got back to our float cabin home after a two month stay down in the States for our Rental RV Road Trip and an extended period in Bellingham. Coming home is always such a wonderful feeling.

Our Powell Lake float cabin home.

Related post: Remembering a Fierce Winter Storm recounts the story of a massive storm during my first solo visit to the float cabin in 2001.

3. Spring Garden Update: After an additional six weeks in the States, we got home in late May. There was just enough time to prepare my floating garden and containers on the cabin deck for planting.

Preparing the floating garden for late spring planting.

Related post: Renewed Raised Bed Floating Garden tells how John replaced rotting cedar sides and decking to refurbish my garden float.

4. Coastal BC Plants - Indian Pipe: As I discover new and interesting British Columbia plants, fungi, insects, animals and birds, I write about them on my blog. Click the links to see the posts.

Related post: Cabin Journal: Beds, Bugs and Birds. I also write and draw illustrations in my cabin journals.

5. Summer Cruising Part II:  Last summer we went out in our Bayliner 2452 on the chuck (ocean) several times. The Strait of Georgia is a very popular cruising spot and it's right on our doorstep.

Halcyon Days at sunset with the Refuge Cove store in the background.

Related post: Annual Boat Maintenance at Valley Marine to get our boat ready for winter storage.

2019 was a very good year for us. We hope yours was as well. -- Wayne and Margy

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

And also a meme called Through My Lens by Mersad.

And  Tuesdays with a Twist at Stone Cottage Adventures.