Sunday, October 30, 2011

Granite Lake Quad Ride

Wayne and I went for a quad ride to Granite Lake. We started in town at the parking area near Edgehill School on Abbotsford Street. This is such a handy place to enter the forest trails. After the Duck Lake Bridge, we followed Duck Lake Forest Service Road to link up with the Granite Lake Road.

The ride is mostly over well maintained forest service roads, but the last portion on the Granite Lake Road has one tricky creek crossing. The water is shallow, at least this time of year, but the gully is deep. It doesn't look that steep in this picture, but for me it was.

Granite Lake is known for its trout fishing. Wayne threw in his line, but didn't get any nibbles. Maybe the fish have already moved deeper up here in the higher country. When you catch one, you will notice they are much darker than regular rainbows. Maybe it's from the dark tint to the water.

From the surrounding mountains, you can see how this lake got its name. I just love the granite outcroppings. We ate our lunch on the shore before heading back down the road. Even on this nice weekend, we were the only quads out in our neck of the woods. What a great way to enjoy nature.

On a calm day, the reflections on Granite Lake are amazing.

Do you want to explore the great outdoors in Powell River? Would you like a book full of maps and trail descriptions with GPS locations? There's a great book written by Dave, the president of the Powell River ATV Club. It’s called the ATV Trail Guide and costs $25. If want a copy, you can contact PRATV at their website. They are also on sale locally in Powell River at Quality Parts and Guy's Cycle Works. All profits support trail maintenance and building activities. -- Margy

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Mr. Pumpkin Butt

Wayne and I went driving through Paradise Valley in Powell River's regional district and found the most amazing Halloween decorations. The house had a huge web with a massive spider guarding his "prey."

Next to the driveway was the Haunted Valley Cemetery.

But the highlight was Mr. Pumpkin Butt mooning passing drivers.

What a creative family! -- Margy

Friday, October 28, 2011

Blue Above, Gold Below

During fall it's typical for waves of storms to pass through quickly, then clear to gorgeous blue skies. Looking east towards Goat Island the view up was a beautiful sky blue.

But as my eyes were drawn downward, there was a "sunny" golden glow coming up from below.

Our fall leaves are about two weeks late, but well worth the wait.

This cabin belongs to Max Pagani and his wife Monica. Max is a local realtor with Coast Realty. Contact Max at 604 414-8829 or if you are interested in local property, or even a cabin up the lake. -- Margy

Monday, October 24, 2011

Available Online: "Up the Main" by Wayne J. Lutz

Yesterday, Wayne and I had a nice, cool Fall ride to one of our favourite destinations, Granite Lake. I'll tell you more about that when we get back from the cabin at the end of the week. Except for one creek crossing, the ride isn't challenging (for people like me), but the country along the way is amazing. You can read more about a previous ride in Wayne's book Up the Main in a chapter called "Four." Of course, that means 4X4.

A Great Book
for the Outdoor Enthusiast

Up the Main
Coastal BC Stories

Travel up the main logging roads for an unparalleled backcountry experience. Whether you go by ATV, motorcycle, mountain bike, car or on foot, you can find clear mountain streams, hidden lakes and uncrowded campsites. Read Up the Main by Wayne Lutz and ride along with us. 

Go to for ordering information or use one of our trusted partners.

Kindle $2.99 USD at
Other Ebooks $2.99 USD at
Print version $12.95 USD at

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Off the Grid Living Up the Lake

Today we're heading up the lake for a few days at our float cabin. It's a unique place to live. Want to read about how we handle off the grid living? Wayne has written two books about our cabin life.

The first is Up the Lake. It tells about how we discovered our cabin on Powell Lake, about life in our off the grid, boating to world famous Desolation Sound, riding our quads into the back country, and flying overhead for a unique view of this incredible place.

Coastal BC Stories

E-book for $1.99

Following in the footsteps of the most successful book in the Coastal BC Stories series comes Farther Up the Lake. Head up Powell Lake to experience more about our life in an off the grid float cabin, winter on the lake, spend the night up at the Head of Powell Lake, go beachcombing for logging history, and much more.

Coastal BC Stories

Go to
for ordering information.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Woodstove Refinishing

Our Kozi woodstove is a vital part of our float cabin. It makes all season living up the lake possible. This time of year, we only need an early morning and night fire, but in the middle of winter, it will be running 24/7. It provides us with lots of heat, but it also provides a cooking surface for heating lots of water, and even an occasional meal.

All that work takes a toll on the stove's surface. The first step in refinishing the surface is to scour away the rust and grime with a stiff wire brush. Then smooth the surface with sand paper and clean it thoroughly so no dust or rust particles are present.

We chose Tremclad High Heat Enamel in a flat finish. This paint resists heat up to 650°C (1200°F), well within the range of the surface of a woodstove. It is thick and covers well. Brush strokes smooth out during the drying process for a smooth finish that isn't supposed to crack or peel. I'll keep you posted on that.

We let it dry for a week while we were away. Originally, we planned a second coat upon our return, but it looked fine with just one. We will save the remaining paint for a future coat, or maybe for the chimney pipe. Not only does our wood stove look a whole lot better, but it will protect the metal so it will last many years longer.

For information about how to refinish your indoor chimney pipe click here. That makes the refinishing job complete and improves the appearance 100%. -- Margy

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Buster's back ...

and Wayne's gonna be in trouble
Hey la, hey la my Buster's back.
If you see him come,
better cut out on the double
Hey la, hey la my Buster's back

Sorry, but the 60s song by the Angels just popped into my head.

This is pretty late to see our resident Garter Snake. But this year everything seems to be running a bit late. I saw Buster sunning himself on the brow log below our back deck.

Wayne saw him too, but gave him a wide berth. Buster isn't Wayne's favourite critter. -- Margy

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Growing Garlic

This is the first year I've tried growing garlic. It sounded like a good crop for a summer I wouldn't be around much for tending and watering.

I planted the cloves in late March in several of my unused pots on the deck. This make for easier to water. By June, they looked like this. Of course, I didn't know what was happening under the ground.

In September, I pulled up my first crop. I call it a qualified success. Of the fifteen cloves I planted, they all sprouted. Of those that sprouted, ten produced bulbs. What was unusual about my bulbs was that they had no wrappers. After doing some research online, I think I let them stay in the ground too long. If you have any suggestions for next year, I'd love to hear them. -- Margy

Saturday, October 08, 2011

Strawberry Nursery

I'm pulling out my strawberry bed. They will stay productive for about three to four years if renovated and maintained. Mine's been in the same spot in my garden under the watchful eye of Mr. Bunny ever since the float was built by John in 2003.

It's also time to rotate the location. The plants will get some refreshed soil and the grubs they leave behind will lose their hosts and die.

Strawberries send out runners from the mother plants to propagate new ones. At the beginning of the season, I remove all runners so the plants will use their energy for berry production. At the end of the season, I let the runners root themselves. As I am pulling up the old strawberry plants, I'm saving the new clones and placing them in my empty barrels on the deck.

The deep barrel protects the small plants from the fall and winter winds. The sides of the barrels reflect the sun on the soil, enhancing the warmth. Here's the nursery for my new strawberry bed to be planted next spring. And because these strawberries are clones from the mother plants, I know they will be good producers. -- Margy

Friday, October 07, 2011

Cirrocumulus Clouds

One thing I really like about living in the northwest is clouds. When I lived in Los Angeles, there was mostly high and low stratus. Up here we have such a variety.

We also have more time and reasons to be outdoors. Last week while out boating, we saw some cirrocumulus clouds. The day started overcast, then cleared to sunny and windy, then started clouding over again.

Cirrocumulus clouds are high altitude, around 12 kilometres (39,000 feet). They occur in patches or sheets, and are made up of ice crystals. Brrr!

Clouds can also help us forecast the weather. This was the last of the sun for a couple days and the rain arrived about 20 hours later. -- Margy

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

BC Ferries to Powell River

Today we are traveling to Powell River with Mom, and riding in her car is the easiest mode of transportation. Mom lives in Bellingham, so it's only an hour and a half to the BC Ferries terminal at Horseshoe Bay. We add 30 minutes just to be sure we make our ferry on time. We drive straight north on Guide Meridian Road to the border. Our favorite crossing point is Aldergrove.

The inspections on both the Canadian and American sides have always been efficient and courteous. That is a huge plus. Once across the border, we continue straight north about 7 miles (11 km) on 264th Street to Canada Highway 1. Highway 1 takes us all the way to Horseshoe Bay without going through downtown. Some caution, however, should be taken to avoid morning and evening rush hours.

Horseshoe Bay is the terminal for BC Ferries to the Sunshine Coast (Langdale), Nanaimo (Vancouver Island) and nearby Bowen Island. Signage is excellent and easy to follow. Our first ferry is from Horseshoe Bay to Langdale. On a clear day, you can see up Howe Sound to the snow capped peaks surrounding Whistler. The ferry takes 40 minutes to travel 9.7 nautical miles. You can go up to the passenger deck or outside in good weather. The Queen of Surrey is the regular ferry on this route and it has a gift shop (with lots of local books) and a cafeteria.

Langdale is next to the town of Gibsons. Take a few minutes to drive through Gibson's Landing. If you aren't in a hurry, stop for a bite at Molly's Reach. It's perched overlooking the harbour and is well known from its role in the Canadian television series The Beachcombers. There are also lots of quaint shops along this route. We usually stop on our way south when we are assured of making the ferry on time.

The drive between our Langdale and Earls Cove is 52 miles (84 km). It takes about and hour and a half due to the two lane winding road. You can make a direct connection in most cases. There are few services at Earls Cove. In the summer there is a cafe, but winter months offer only a restroom facility. We typically stop for a to-go meal as we pass through Sechelt.

The ferry from Earls Cove to Saltery Bay takes 50 minutes to travel 10.5 nautical miles. The Island Sky, one of the newer ships in the fleet, is the regular ferry on this route. Again, you will pass through unsurpassed scenery. You will glide past green, tree covered coastal islands. Look up Hotham Sound to discover pristine glaciated peaks.

The drive between Saltery Bay and Powell River is 22 miles (34 km). Plan about 30 minutes. Along the way you will get glimpses of the Strait of Georgia with Texada Island in the distance. Powell River Visitors Bureau has excellent maps on their website.

Many ferry travelers continue on to Vancouver Island from Powell River. I highly recommend that you take a few days to explore our region before you continue. There are many options to stay: camp, RV, hotel or bed and breakfast. Maybe you will be like us, captured by the beauty and people of the area. You can read about some of our adventures in BC Coastal Stories by my husband, Wayne Lutz. Books are available online at
or locally at Coles and Breakwater Books.

You can get additional information about the area at the following websites.

Sunday, October 02, 2011

Inati Bay Rest Stop

Friday, Wayne and I took the Bellingham Boat (our Bayliner 2452) out for a spin. The weather was partly sunny with an early northwest wind of about 10 knots. The boating conditions on Bellingham Bay can get pretty choppy even in a light wind because there's such a long reach between shores. It was safe, but a bit bouncy.

We crossed the bay to a favourite location of local boaters, Inati Bay. It's a protected anchorage on Lummi Island that is maintained by the Bellingham Yacht Club. Beach access, however, is restricted to Bellingham Yacht Club members. Today the water was somewhat "lumpy" with the northwest swells splashing in. On the east side, you can see a log skid, evidence of historic logging. The property is private, part of the Lummi tribal lands.

From inside Inati Bay, you can see across the water to Bellingham. I bet this is a beautiful spot at night with all the flickering lights of civilization far away, and the restful lap of water on your hull up close. We'll have to return another day. -- Margy

Saturday, October 01, 2011

Is it time to leave yet?

Wednesday we're all packing into Betha (Mom's big white Buick) and heading for Powell River for a month of fun and hopefully some Indian Summer sun.

This picture makes Mom's cat look like he's a good traveler. Stick Tail has improved over time, but it's hard to overcome getting car sick. But once he's through purging, he settles down in the back seat for the rest of the trip. I learned a lot about traveling with cats over the years. Click here to see some handy tips. -- Margy