Friday, January 25, 2019

997's Annual Inspection

997 on jacks to swing the gear.
We took our Piper Arrow 997 to Vertex Aviation Services for the first time for an annual inspection. Vertex is located at Skagit Regional Airport about fifteen minutes flight time from our homebase at Bellingham International Airport.

We are very happy with the service at Vertex. Owner Lin Holdeman squeezed us into an already busy shop schedule. You can read more about the annual here.

Owner Lin giving us personal attention.

This week we picked 997 up to return her to the hangar at Bellingham. Come along for the ride.

Wayne and I enjoy flying throughout the Pacific Northwest and beyond. Pilots and aviation enthusiasts will enjoy reading about some of our adventures in Flying the Pacific Northwest. Follow us to out-of-the-way spots in Western Washington and Oregon where recreational pilots and their aircraft have the freedom to pursue adventure. It's available in print and e-book formats at Amazon and at most online booksellers. -- Margy

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Transplanting Blueberry Bushes (Again)

Blueberries in pots on the cabin deck.
My blueberry bushes have had several homes over the last three years.  To get ready for their fourth summer, I decided to move them from beside the cabin to the nearby transition float. This will get weight off our cabin's float, and give them a sunny spot to thrive.

Winter is a good time to transplant and prune because plants are dormant. Production last year was minimal, so I'm hoping the change will stimulate growth and fruiting.

Pruning and then transplanting three blueberry plants.

Transplanting was needed because the pots were too heavy to move. Plus, I wanted to check on the roots.

I pruned aggressively to focus the plants' energy for fruiting.

I was please to discover they weren't root bound. I loosened the roots before putting them into their new containers to encourage growth..

I loosened the root balls before replanting.

I put compost in the soil then added bone meal and ground egg shells before placing the plants in the new containers. Last summer the visiting Garden Club members brought me a third blueberry to add to my grouping. Having several varieties helps with pollination.

The shorter Northsky goes in the middle.

My Northsky is shorter so I put it in the middle. It's flanked by the taller Duke and Bluecrop from the Garden Club. I put stakes in to help train the two taller varieties upward rather than outward.

Transplanted volunteer pansies from the blueberry pots.

Last year I practiced chop and drop composting and mulching.  Pansy cuttings went into the blueberry pots. I transplanted them roots and all into my deck flower containers. After a week they still looked healthy, so I'm keeping my fingers crossed for early spring flowers.

Do you grow blueberries? What have you done to improve production? -- Margy

Sunday, January 20, 2019

Book Review of "Up the Lake"

With a wonderful twist, Wayne's Coastal BC Stories book Up the Lake received a tremendous review from Leigh on her blog 5 Acres and a Dream.  What a wonderful way to be a star for the day. Click here to read Leigh's review.

Up the Lake book review at 5 Acres and a Dream.

Up the Lake is the first book in my husband's thirteen book Coastal BC Stories series about Powell River, BC, and the surrounding region. It tells about how we discovered Powell River, Powell Lake, and float cabin living. There are also stories about flying, hiking, boating, quadding, and of course fishing.

Would you like to read Up the Lake? If you have a Kindle or a Kindle app on your handheld device you can get it for free from Amazon. Click here if you need a free Kindle App.  

Up the Lake is also available in print from Amazon and many other online booksellers for $9.95.

Thanks Leigh. We're glad you enjoyed the book. We hope our readers will follow this link to 5 Acres and a Dream to learn more about your homesteading life and experiences. -- Wayne and Margy

Saturday, January 12, 2019

Coastal BC Birds: Great Blue Heron

We have a seasonal visitor to our float cabin home on Powell Lake, a Great Blue Heron. Each fall he (or she maybe) returns to our protective log booms to fish. He stands motionless for a long time before leaping into action to catch a meal.

One morning I went out front and saw the Heron standing on the boom.

Look to the left of my floating garden for the Heron.

I watched for a long time and even walked out to the corner of the float to take pictures without disturbing him.

Changing position.

Great Blue Herons are a common sight at the marina in town and nest in nearby trees. The subspecies in our area is the Pacific Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias fannini).

Flexing his wings.

The Pacific Great Blue Heron has Canadian Species at Risk Act (SARA) and Canadian Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC) special concern status. They are protected under the British Columbia Wildlife Act and the Canadian Migratory Birds Convention. When the City of Powell River was building a new community track, construction stopped due to the discovery of nests. We now have a lovely track away from the nesting site.

Framed by my floating garden.

Pacific Great Blue Herons are found from Alaska to Washington State in coastal areas. They are a large bird standing over a metre in height. There are 4,000-5,000 adults in Canada.

Herons are identified by their blue and grey feathers and black stripe from the eyes backward. In flight, Herons look prehistoric, matched by its piercing squawk.

Do you have Herons where you live? Are you as infatuated with them as I am? -- Margy

References: Nature Canada, Pacific Great Blue Heron (online), The Cornell Lab of Ornithology All About Birds, Great Blue Heron (online), and Bird Watcher's Digest, Great Blue Heron (online).

Sunday, January 06, 2019

Coastal BC Fungi: Late Fall Specimens

A moist environment leading to West (Hammil) Lake.
On our quad ride in the Duck Lake region of Powell River in early December we came across fungi, some young and some old.

I'm not able to identify some of them, maybe you can help. And if I've made a mistake, please let me know.

A Coral Fungus (genus Ramaria) found on the Blue Trail Connector .

Next is a bracket fungus called Artist's Conk (Ganoderma applanatum) found nearby on the Blue Trail Connector. It got this common name because it's a favourite with artists for painting and etching when dried.

I'm not sure if these are young Artist's Conks on the downed tree or some other type of bracket or shelf fungi. They are growing out of the cambium layer of a dead hemlock (I think).

Our ride also took us to West (Hammil) Lake. You can reach it from several directions, but we used a trail to the north side near a creek and marshy spots. I don't know what this mushroom is called, but there were clumps of them near the creek on moist spots. It's looks like an old specimen whatever it is.

Another old specimen from the same location. Looks like it's tasty for some critters or slugs.

These small, pointed capped mushrooms were growing in a cluster nearby among dried needles and moss. Does anyone have an idea about their identification?

And this one was flipped over showing the intricate gills.

I'm not knowledgeable enough to be a mushroom forager. But I am an avid fungi observer. How about you? -- Margy