Sunday, April 29, 2012

What will I find?

YEA! I get to go home. Homecoming is always sweet, no matter how long the absence. Don't you feel that way? Wayne and I discovered our float cabin by chance in 2001 and haven't wanted to be anywhere else.  

We left from the South Terminal at Vancouver Airport on a Pacific Coastal flight to Powell River. From there it's only a 25 minute flight up the Sunshine Coast, a fifteen minute drive to the Shinglemill Marina, and a 25 minute boat ride up Powell Lake to our cabin home in Hole in the Wall.

What will I find? I know my floating vegetable garden needs some attention. During my last trip in late March I got all my planting done. I was worried about getting my hand dirty after surgery.  I hope my new strawberries have taken hold. Is the unknown critter that's been digging up my flower pots still be hanging around? I sure hope he (or she) hasn't made it out to the floating garden! What will I find?

Actually, it doesn’t matter. I'll find the best place in the whole world. Our cabin on Powell Lake inspired my husband Wayne to write the Coastal BC Stories series. You too can head Up the Lake and Farther Up the Lake through his books.

Do you have a place that inspires you? Maybe it is where you live, or a vacation home or destination. Maybe it is that special place to sneak away to when you want to be alone. Let us know about it and why you like it so much. -- Margy

Friday, April 27, 2012

Cruising the Highways of Coastal BC

The Texada Island Ferry patiently waits offshore each evening for the Comox Ferry to return to Powell River from Vancouver Island. This time of year it's just after sunset when the sky has a warm glow and the water turns a luxurious iridescent blue.

After all the cars and passengers have disembarked, the smaller Texada Island Ferry docks to pick up anyone traveling on to Texada Island. Here on the Sunshine Coast, our highways include an ocean cruise. Come visit Powell River and see how much fun getting here can be. -- Margy

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Steveston Harbour

The Steveston Harbour was and is a working harbour managed by the Steveston Harbour Authority. The Gulf of Georgia Cannery and the 100 year old Canada Fishing Company (Canfisco) is now a national historic site with excellent tours and displays.
Steveston Harbour is home to the largest fishing fleet in Canada. And lucky for us, there's a large Fish Sales Float were you can purchase just caught salmon, shrimp, and other wonderful seafood delights right off the fishing boats.
In addition to fishing boats, large tugs pull barges with heavy loads up and down the neighbouring Fraser River.

Thanks for visiting my Watery Wednesday post this week. For more great liquid posts click here. -- Margy

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Burrard Bridge

The easiest way to get to downtown Vancouver BC from the south is by bridge across False Creek, a short, narrow inlet off the Strait of Georgia. There are three to choose from, but the Burrard Bridge is the most unique.
The Burrard Bridge is a steel truss Art Deco structure designed by George Lister Thornton Sharp and erected in 1932 under the direction of engineer John R. Grant.

The two massive concrete pylons have intricate architectural details. Their purpose is to hide the massive steel bridge supports in an aesthetically pleasing manner. You don't see new bridges do that as much these days.

The high central span gives private and commercial boat traffic unimpeded access to the protected harbours along of False Creek. So, if your headed to Vancouver on Burrard Street, make sure your passenger has a camera ready. Better yet, stop at nearby Granville Island and get some nice distance views. -- Margy

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Hop, Skip and a Jump

This duck did a running start to get airborne, leaving a splashy trail behind.

I'm guessing it's a male Mallard because of the ring around his neck, but the wing feathers made me think maybe it was something different. Anyone good at duck identification out there? -- Margy

Friday, April 20, 2012

Day is done,

gone the sun,

but the tugs keep on working, bringing pulp to the mill. -- Margy

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Into each life some rain must fall

As Henry Wadsworth Longfellow so eloquently said, "Into each life some rain must fall. "

This lovely lass wasn't afraid of the misty midday on the Steveston BC docks.

I wasn't the only person attracted to her big bright umbrella. I got the feeling she was a model because a photographer with a large camera and an even larger lens kept following her around. -- Margy

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Murals of Steveston BC

Today I'm taking a mini-vacation to one of my favourite lower mainland towns, Steveston BC. I had the opportunity to meet fellow blogger Rhianna. She writes about her float home in a blog called The Eclectic Arc. She's also a massage therapist here in Steveston. As we walked around, I noticed several murals adorning the sides and backs of buildings in this quaint town.

This large mural features Orcas that frequent the Strait of Georgia.

Most murals have a nautical theme, even the side of Village Bikes,

and the Steveston Coffee Company. I just wish I had a brighter day for sharper pictures. I guess I'll just have to come back. -- Margy

Monday, April 16, 2012

Lloyd Kahn Coming to Emily Carr University

Lloyd Kahn is on a BC book tour for Tiny Homes: Simple Shelter. His first stop will be Emily Carr University on Granville Island in Vancouver BC.

Thursday, April 19, 7:00 p.m.
Emily Carr University of Art + Design
South Bldg, Room 301
1400 Johnston Street, Granville Island

Here's more information from their website.
The presentation is in partnership with Banyen Books & Sound of Vancouver.

Lloyd will be on Hornby Island on April 22, Denman Island on April 23, and in Victoria on April 25 at 7:00 pm, University of Victoria, David Lam Auditorium in the MacLaurin Building. Check his blog for details.

Tiny Homes: Simple Shelter by Lloyd Kahn is available in many bookstores and online. It has 1,300 full-colour photos of a wide array of small homemade shelters. It's already in its second printing with over 20,000 sold worldwide in three months. It features:
Tiny Homes on Foundations
Tiny Homes on Wheels
Tiny Homes by Architects
Prefabs and Kits
Earthy Materials
On the Road
On the Water (that's me!)

And check out pages 210-211 for Our Little Cabin up the Lake. Quite an honour for our little place in Powell River, BC.

Links for more information and purchasing options:
Lloyd's Blog
Shelter Online
Shelter Publications on Facebook
Shelter Publications on Twitter
Check it out online and get a copy for yourself. Then come meet Lloyd to get your books signed by the master. -- Margy

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Bridges of Granville Island BC

Today's bridge post is a three-fer. This week I took a mini-vacation to Granville Island in Vancouver BC. It's a great destination tucked underneath the Granville Street Bridge. You have to weave around a bit on back streets to get under the bridge pillars, but the effort is well worth it. The island has shops, restaurants, parks, a waterfront hotel, the Emily Carr University of Art and Design, a huge indoor Public Market, and is home to Granville Island Brewing.

To the west of Granville Island is classic Burrard Street Bridge spanning False Creek.

To the east is the Cambie Street Bridge, with Science World in the distance. This historic glittering geodesic dome in East Vancouver was originally built as Expo Centre for Vancouver's Expo '86

All three bridges will take you downtown Vancouver for even more wonderful sights, tastes, and adventures. -- Margy

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Granville Island Public Market

There's nothing like a farmer's market, and Granville Island has a wonderful one. It's indoors and has lots of booths to choose from for flowers, vegetable, baked goods, coffee and tea, meats, and delis. There are also great places to get a quick late breakfast, lunch, or early dinner. Market hours are 9:00 am to 7:00 pm.

Rather than buy a lunch, I decided to build my own by shopping. I got a glass of fresh squeezed organic grapefruit juice from Fraser Valley Juice & Salad, a fresh sesame bagel from Siegel's Bagels, and a slice of organic BC Alpindon cow's milk cheese from Benton Brothers Fine Cheeses. I took my booty outdoors and found a bench overlooking the water. What a great meal.

I wasn't the only one to think it looked good. One of the ubiquitous seagulls kept me company through the whole meal. A raised palm, and a firm no kept him in his place. But those hungry eyes were hard to ignore. -- Margy

Friday, April 13, 2012

Granville Island 7-ton Crane

This large 7-ton crane from Granville Island's working days in now on display on the northeast end of the island. It was originally built in the 1920s to serve the industries on the island that used the waters of False Creek to transport their goods.

It's no longer operational, but is an impressive display next to the Emily Carr University of Art and Design.

The gray overcast sky finally gave way at the end of the day to small patches of blue. -- Margy

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Sofa Table

For months I've been shopping for a table to put next to our sofa at the cabin. For years, we've used two oak TV trays. They have served us well, but the legs did get in the way while storing things underneath, and the surface was barely large enough to hold all the stuff we liked to have at our fingertips.

I looked in Powell River, Bellingham, and online. Small desks were too wide. Sofa tables were too long. And both were so heavy. Sometimes when I have a hard time sleeping, I design things in my head. Three years ago I drew a diagram of what I thought would be a perfect solution. I went back in my diary, found the illustration, made a few adjustments after talking to Wayne, and gave it to John.

John is great about taking my designs and modifying them to make them even better. My only mandatory requirements were solid side panels to hide our charging station, a lower shelf to give us more surface area, and the overall dimensions. As you can see, John made us the perfect sofa table.

It has a slightly larger surface area than the TV trays. The open area underneath is better for organizing and hiding our rechargeable devices. The lower shelf is great for things like books and magazines. Now Wayne has a handy spot for reading, writing and relaxing. Thanks John! -- Margy

Friday, April 06, 2012

Dogs in the Sky

We get some really spectacular sunsets here in Powell River, BC. Looking across the Strait of Georgia I saw this sundog.

From the marina I could only get one half in the viewfinder. I went up to the condo balcony and was able to capture both sides. The left was definitely more distinct than the right.

Sundogs are bright, colourful patches of light to the left and right of, and in alignment with, the sun. In the first shot, you can see it almost forms a halo. Sundogs are created by cold ice crystals in high cirrus clouds bending the rays of sunlight. -- Margy

Wednesday, April 04, 2012

More Barns of Highway 195

About two-thirds of the way from Spokane to Pullman on Highway 195 is the small town of Colfax, Washington. Colfax, founded in 1873, is the seat of Whitman County. It's also the heart of the wheat producing lands of eastern Washington. Highway 195 goes right through downtown. I just love the ad on the wall for "Rip-Proof Overalls." Just the thing to wear out in the barn.

Maybe the owner of this beautiful red barn wears some.

Isn't that a lovely setting in the little valley with trees surrounding the farm house? -- Margy

Tuesday, April 03, 2012

Float Garden Construction

Over the years, I've had lots of interest in my float garden. It's a simple, effective design my good friend John came up with. He started by lashing together large cedar logs with 3/4 inch steel cable to make the foundation. On top he built four 4X10 foot raised beds lined with a porous, industrial strength cloth called mill felt. To get enough soil, he towed the float down to the marina and loaded dirt from his brother's yard into the beds.

Cedar logs are buoyant, but soil is very heavy, especially when it gets wet. It's important to keep the beds above the waterline so they don't become saturated. For that reason, 55-gallon blue barrels are placed under the logs. The barrels are filled with water, pushed under the float, then filled with air from a compressor. Once filled with air, they snug up between the logs and stay put without attachment.

Because we get small critters that love fresh salad, John developed a pulley system to keep our garden out in the lake away from their hungry eyes. The pulley is attached to our log boom.

A rope ties to the back of the float, runs through a pulley, and passes through large metal staples on the back and front of the float. It then runs through a chain on our transition float and ties to the front of the float.

Standing on our transition float, Wayne pulls the rope to bring the garden in for me to step aboard. Then, when I'm done working, a kick and a pull sends it back out to its protected location. I can do it too, thanks to the mechanical advantage of the pulley.

Another invention John came up with is a solar powered garden hose. A small solar panel charges a 12-volt battery. When I flip the switch, a boat bilge pump kicks into action and I have instant water through a hose. Much easier than dipping a water can, and much easier on my tender sprouts.

To top it all off, Mr. Owl guards his domain to keep out critters of the flying sort. He makes an attractive addition, but his evil eye isn't quite strong enough for determined Juncos. -- Margy