Sunday, September 29, 2013

Downsizing Boat Style

You've heard about our Hewescraft purchase, but what about our other boats. Things were getting a bit crowded around the cabin, so we decided to downsize.  Our Campion bowrider was our main means of lake transportation and she served us well for eleven years. On our trip north towing our new boat, we met Dale at the Horseshoe Bay ferry terminal. He was in the market for a boat, and it turned out our Campion met his needs. It feels good knowing she is going to a great new home.

Our other boat was a Bayliner 2350. She used to be our ocean boat, but moved up the lake for winter use. Our good friend John helped us sell that one too.

The new Hewescraft is replacing two former boats. That opens up a lot of dock space, and reduces our upkeep tremendously. Downsizing in life is always a good thing. -- Margy

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Hewescraft Ocean Pro

There's nothing like a new boat. Not just new to us, but brand new. We said we would never purchase a new boat again, you usually get more bang for your buck with a gently used boat. But we fell in love with the Hewescraft Ocean Pro, but none were available locally on the used market. We saw that as a good sign.

The Hewescraft is fun to use to take lake day trips, but our reasoning was to get a boat that was safer to use in the winter going to and from our float cabin home.  Powell Lake is about 51 kilometres (32 miles) long and over 300 metres (1000 feet) deep in places. During storm winds, waves over three feet high can kick up.

While we wouldn't try to get up or down the lake in severe conditions, even smaller waves in our old Campion runabout felt uncomfortable. We made a perfect choice!

And Stick Tail gives his five claws up "paw of approval" for the new Hewescraft. He usually doesn't like traveling in vehicles, but in the new boat he can sit on the dash and easily see out of the large windows and watch the lake and forest pass by.

Would you be interested in an aluminum welded boat by Hewescraft? These skookum (strong) boats come in a variety of sizes and styles. We found the best deal at Tom-n-Jerrys Boat Center in Mount Vernon, WA. Ask for Lee, he set us up with a great deal, and a great boat! -- Margy

Friday, September 27, 2013

Out With Summer, In With Fall

Last Monday when we headed out of Hole in the Wall to First Narrows, the sky told the whole tale.  To the north it was Fall.

Looking south, the encroaching storm was chasing Summer away.

I just wish it could last a little longer!-- Margy

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Powell River Kings Hockey

Wayne and I love to go to Powell River Kings Junior "A" Hockey games. Our hometown team draws players from around Canada and occasionally the United States. It's great hockey and lots of fun joining our neighbours to cheer the players on. GO KINGS GO!

For about a year, there's been no concession stand for food during games. But good news, the wait is over. They city has selected Planet Cleve to take over running indoor food sales.

The last time Wayne and I were at a game, they were outside with their mobile food cart. Now getting a "best burger on the planet" from Planet Cleve will be even easier.  Or choose a pulled pork sandwich, hotdog, or prawns. A recent Facebook post says there will be even more choices inside, including the "best fries on the planet." We'll have to try some of those next time.

But it's awfully hard to focus on hockey between bites. She looks, she bites, she scores. Yum!

Update: Powell River Kings games are still the best "game" in town, but the food concession is  now the Bite Club offering traditional and healthy options.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Fall Comes in with a Bang

Or at least several claps of thunder.  On Monday, up at the cabin, we had one of the heaviest downpours in a long time. The thunderstorm was short lived, but packed quit a punch and gave us about a quarter of an inch of rain in about ten minutes, not to mention the pelting hail.  Here's what it sounded like under our tin roof.

In the end, Mother Nature graced us with a beautiful rainbow. Just a hint that a nicer afternoon wasn't far away.

How's the weather where you are?  Did Fall come in with a bang where you are? -- Margy

Monday, September 23, 2013

Preserving: Harvesting and Storing Potatoes

Each year I grow potatoes in barrels. I get enough from three barrels for Wayne and I to enjoy through the winter. I've found that Yukon Golds make a nice sized spud that stays firm and fresh when stored for months. Any that do sprout by spring I use for seed potatoes. The barrel on the left is ready to dig because the plants have died back. The one on the right isn't ready yet.

This week I dug up two barrels worth to store for winter use. First I let the soil in the barrels dry. I find digging the potatoes out with my hand is easiest on me and the potatoes. Eliminating cuts from sharp objects helps the potatoes store better. To help keep my digging hand and nails cleaner, I wear a latex glove.

As I dig, I remove the dry dirt to make it easier to find the potatoes all the way at the bottom. I save the soil for use again in next year's potato barrels. For storage, I put the soil in plastic yard bags and let it dry some more. After sealing the bags, I store them in the shed. Using my own seed potatoes and saving my soil greatly reduces the cost of growing potatoes each year.

Here's my bounty from just one half 55-gallon barrel. I left them in the sun to dry and to allow the skin to firm up. It's best not to wash potatoes before storage. Just brush off any excess dirt and then inspect them for damage. Damaged spuds should be eaten as soon as possible. They do not store well and may damage your good produce.

Always store potatoes away from light and temperatures between 5 and 10 degrees Celsius are best. If they get too cold, the starch will turn to sugar and cause them to be sweet. Paper bags, burlap bags or cardboard boxes are good for potato storage. Do not use a plastic bag. Trapped moisture will accelerate spoilage. Avoid storing potatoes with apples, onions or garlic. They produce a gas that causes potatoes to spoil quickly. If potatoes are exposed to the light they will turn green. Remove any green portions before eating. Potatoes are a member of the Deadly Nightshade family, and the green part is poisonous.

I wrap my potatoes in newspaper and store them is open sided plastic baskets ($1.00 each at the Dollar Store). This keeps them away from the light and separates them from neighboring potatoes. The paper allows the potatoes to "breathe" but also prevents too much moisture from escaping. I keep the baskets under the bed in the downstairs guest room, the coolest place in the cabin. Properly stored potatoes will remain dormant and will not sprout for about three months after harvesting. That makes for lots of comfort food meals throughout the winter months. -- Margy

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Goat River Day Trip

Wayne, John, Bro (John's trusty Lab), and I took the new Hewescraft out for a leisurely cruise.  We love how it performs. It'll be a fun and safe boat for our frequent lake travel to and from the cabin. This week's day trip was through Goat River into Goat Lake.

Goat River can be tricky to navigate in low water, but we raised the outboard and cruised through slowly.

Wayne and Bro went up in the bow to watch for submerged rocks, snags, and sand bars.

One advantage of low water is that you can see where many (but not all) of the snags are located.  Fortunately, the route is well marked because it's part of the famous Powell River Canoe Route.

On the way home, there were spectacular reflections as we passed through the stump forest where the river empties into Powell Lake.  Wasn't this a beautiful way to end a nice day in the new boat? -- Margy

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Lazy, Hazy Days of Late Summer

This week we had an unexpected run of summer weather return. We used it judiciously to head to our favourite beach on Powell Lake.

We took the tin boat around to Chippewa Bay and met John, Mike, and Craig for a swim and relaxing afternoon on the sandy shore.

John's Lab Bro enjoyed it too, hunting for frogs in the shallow, warm water. It doesn't get much better than this. I sure hate for it to end. How is your summer drawing to a close? -- Margy

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Famous Pooch

Bro is a famous pooch here in Powell River.  He is one of the main characters in Wayne's Coastal BC Stories books.  Bro is getting up in years now, he's about 16.  That's senior citizen range for a Black Lab.

But Bro keeps on trucking (or I should say quadding). Wherever John goes, so goes Bro in his hand crafted aft quad box.

Here's Bro hanging out on the beach after a lively frog hunt. That sure gave him a youthful glow. Pets are such an important part of lives, aren't they. -- Margy

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Ain't She Sweet?

When you live on the water, having a skookum (strong) boat is important. Since 2002, we've used our Campion bowrider to travel to and from our float cabin. She's a fine boat, especially in summer when the passenger can sit up front and enjoy a cool breeze. But in the winter when Powell Lake can get some nasty waves, the Campion isn't really a safe choice.

Wayne's been looking for a new boat and we've finally made our choice. We decided on a Hewescraft 2200 Ocean Pro, and the best deal was at Tom-n-Jerrys Boat Center near Anacortes, WA. Lee helped us online, via phone, and in person. He also helped us prepare for the import process at the Canadian border.

We left early to make sure there was enough time to clear customs and make our ferry up the Sunshine Coast on time. We were pleasantly surprised that it only took thirty minutes to get the paperwork and GST/PST payments done at Canadian Customs.  We even had time to catch an earlier ferry home.

Ain't she sweet? We got lots of looks and visits as we rode north on the two ferries to Powell River. Stay tuned for her launch and maiden voyage to her new home up Powell Lake. -- Margy

Sunday, September 08, 2013

Rearview Reflection

Whether I'm looking ahead or checking the rearview mirror, quad riding in the Powell River backcountry is exhilarating -- blue skies, white clouds, green forests, bright pink Fireweed.

Because our winters are mild, we can ride year round, except in the high country where snow opens up different possibilities -- snowmobiling, quadding with snow tracks, snowshoeing, and cross country skiing. Come visit Powell River and discover all that we have to offer. -- Margy

Friday, September 06, 2013

Pacific Crossing

Storms march across the Pacific Ocean to land on the west coast of North American.

A daylight crossing to Hawaii allowed us to see just how this happens.

Fortunately, it was a fairly calm day with puffy clearing clouds.

Maybe some of this moisture will make it all the way to water the veggies in my floating garden. -- Margy

Tuesday, September 03, 2013

Coastal BC Place Names

Places get named by individuals to honour someone or because of a distinctive feature. Some place names get used often enough for them to become institutionalized, and possibly featured on a map.  Here's a place Wayne and I have named to help is navigate up and down Powell Lake to our float cabin home.

This large fir has taken a beating during storms. It lost its crown and the remaining lower branches remain in a palm-like array, the trunk leaning precariously out from the cliff. Consequently, we call this landmark Palm Tree Point.

Have you ever named a place? What's the story behind it? -- Margy