Tuesday, July 27, 2021

Farm Fresh Tuesdays

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

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

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

Check out Booknificent Thursdays at Mommynificent.com

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

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

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 Mommynificent.com

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

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

Check out Booknificent Thursdays at Mommynificent.com

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

Thursday, November 19, 2020

Wayne and Margy's 2020-2021 Snowbird RV Adventure

Lazydays electric RV storage.
Wayne and I have left our Powell Lake float cabin home to get some winter sun and warmth in southern Arizona. We'll be away from Powell River until early January. Until then, I invite you to visit my Margy Meanders blog to keep up with our travels.

Our 2019-2020 Snowbird RV Adventure abruptly ended with the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic last spring. At the end of February, we left our Sunseeker RV in electric storage at the Tucson Lazydays KOA Resort fully intending to return at the end of March to complete our trip. That never happened.
Then summer came with 100+ degree temperatures. We decided it was best to wait. We had reservations in place for this November. We debated long and hard about the safety of traveling at this time.

Our 25-foot Sunseeker Class C RV.

We decided RV travel was a form of self-isolation. We only need to shop for groceries once a week and won't interact with others in an unsafe manner. We wear our masks, social distance, use sanitizer and wash our hands just like at home. Now it's our home on wheels.

We invite you to join us to safely explore Arizona. We've again planned our Snowbird RV Adventure in three parts.

Wayne at the wheel.
Part 1 - We left Bellingham on November 15. We flew Allegiant Airlines direct to Mesa, Arizona. The Tucson direct flight was no longer available. We rented a car and drove to our first destination, the Lazydays KOA Resort to pick up our RV waiting there for us in storage. For 36 days we will explore and camp our way around southern Arizona. In mid-December, we put the RV back into storage and flew north to Bellingham for a Christmas winter break.

Part 2 - The second leg of our trip started on January 17. We flew south again to pick up our RV from Lazydays. We spent 39 days camping in the foothills east of Phoenix and Southern Arizona. In late February we put our RV back into storage once more at Lazydays and flew to Bellingham for a second break.

Tucson Lazydays KOA Resort

Part 3 - The last segment of our adventure started on March 23. After a short stay at Lazydays we spent 39 days between the Phoenix and Southern Arizona. Unfortunately, we only got to watch women's softball on television. No fans were allowed in person again this year. In late April, we put our RV back in storage one last time at Lazydays and flew to Bellingham for a summer in the cooler north. Our Sunseeker will spend the summer for a second time waiting for our return in November 2021.

For now, it's safe in storage at the Tucson Lazydays KOA RV Resort. -- Wayne and Margy

Tuesday, October 13, 2020

Do you have a kicker?

Lund fuel dock.

Not everything goes as planned. After morning fog, we headed out in our ocean boat to go to Heriot Bay. Originally we wanted to go to Campbell River, but calm slack water in Discovery Passage was too early.

We got gas at Lund and Wayne delivered Coastal BC Stories books to Tug Guhm Gallery. Despite Covid-19, Deborah had a good summer and sold out.

Almost to Heriot Bay we heard a weird ping and then a banging sound. We stopped and checked the propeller to see if we'd picked up any floating debris. Nope.

Departing Lund with historic hotel in the middle.

Wayne examined the engine compartment but didn’t see anything amiss and all of the gauges were normal. We started again and the periodic bang had changed into a constant thump, so Wayne shut us down.

Putting along at 4.5 knots with the kicker.

Heriot Bay was close but they don't have maintenance, so we started the kicker (our emergency outboard) and headed home at 2:15. At 4.5 knots it was slow. At least the sea was calm. Typically, it's an hour and fifteen to get to Heriot Bay. Wayne estimated between 5-7 hours to get back with the kicker.

All our boats have emergency kickers.

All was well until the kicker quit. Wayne found the fuel line sucked dry. He pumped it back up, only to have it stop a few minutes later. He briefly restarted the main engine to get fuel flowing again and that did the trick.

It sure was a good feeling when we were back moving again. 

Passing Lund hours later and the sun is getting low.

Sunset caught us an hour from the marina. We’ve never arrived after dark. At least we had a track on the GPS to follow. When we got to the breakwater it was 8:30. Wayne started the main engine to have more control. It was the lesser of two evils. Wayne’s window kept fogging so I went out on the back deck and yelled left, right, straight. Good thing there wasn’t a crowd to hear us arrive.

An hour away and it's getting dark.

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And so our cruising season came to an end. We contacted Jeff at Valley Marine and they sent their truck to pull us out. The diagnosis was a damaged sterndrive that would have to be replaced, but like lots of things during the Covid-19 pandemic it is on back order.

We were lucky to have an emergency kicker ready to use. It's the same in all aspects of life. Plan for the best, but be prepared. What kinds of "kickers" do you have and use to get you out of tight situations? -- Margy