Wednesday, August 28, 2019

Growing and Preserving Garlic

Garlic harvested from three containers.
I've grown garlic for years. In the beginning, it was in small containers. I got plenty, but the bulbs were on the small side.

I'm always changing the plants in my float garden. After I removed an old asparagus patch, there was room to grow garlic in the empty space.

Garlic takes very little attention. Plant cloves with the growth point up, mulch, water, feed periodically, dig, dry, and enjoy.

Fall planted garlic heavily mulched with chopped garden waste.

I purchased garlic bulbs good for my climate at the nursery. Now I save my best bulbs for fall planting.  A few bulbs go a long way. You pull the cloves apart and plant them seven inches apart for growth room. I plant in fall and mulch heavily through winter.

Fall planted garlic sprouts in early spring.

When the tops start to brown, wilt, and fall over, it's time to pull the bulbs. If the weather is dry, I leave them on the surface to dry.

Initial drying in the garden after pulling the garlic bulbs.

After the surface of the bulbs have dried, I brush off as much of the dirt as possible, tie the tops of half a dozen together, and hang them in a protected spot outdoors.

Hanging to dry in the shade under the side porch.

This starts the preserving process. I leave them outdoors until the skin on the bulbs is dry and flaky. I trim the tops shorter and hang the bundles in the cabin's storage room. By this time there's no odour, and they're handy to grab for cooking.

Dried garlic hangs in our storage room ready for use.

If you live in an apartment with a balcony, or a home with limited garden space, you can still grow garlic and have plenty left over to share with friends and family. -- Margy

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Renewed Raised Bed Floating Garden

My float garden in 2007.
My floating garden was built by our good friend John in 2003. It's served us well over the years, but the cedar siding on my four raised beds and the center walkway are rotting away. It was time for the wood to be replaced.

Over the years my garden has been highlighted in the media.
I called John for the renewal of my floating garden. He purchased cedar 2x8s and nailed them to the outside of my existing bed borders. That was the easiest solution without tearing off the old boards and losing precious soil in the process. 

Closeups of the new raised bed siding and center walkway.

Each bed is four feet wide and eight feet long. Soil depth is seven inches, but you would be amazed at how much I can grow in this little space. Click here to read more about float gardening.

New cedar boards outside and in.

Heavy fiberglass cloth called mill felt is on the bottom of each bed. The mesh is fine enough to keep the soil in, yet porous enough to allow water to drain. Click here to read more about the construction.

My renewed floating garden back out on the log boom to deter critter invasions.

Do you garden in raised beds? What are some of your favourite crops? -- Margy

Friday, August 16, 2019

Cabin Journal: Homemaking

I grew up in the 50s and 60s. In junior and high school, classes in sewing, cooking and homemaking were "electives" girls had to take.

When I was working, homemaking was farther from my mind than algebra. I did the minimum possible and Wayne shared in the duties. Now I enjoy homemaking, especially up at the float cabin. You'll find me sewing, cooking, baking, canning, gardening and even housework.

June 27, 2019

With cooler weather we had a fire in the woodstove and I turned on our battery powered inside decorative lights. It's the first time since we've been home that it was dark enough to enjoy them. Unless we stay up past 10:00, there's plenty of sunlight to keep the cabin bright. I used the indoor time to do some hand sewing. I patched a cloth grocery bag and covered new holes and thin spots in my work sweat pants. I had them before I met Wayne, so they must be pushing 40 years old. Wow!

I call my sweatpants Patches for obvious reasons.

Click here to read "The Story of Patches".

July 2, 2019

We are running low on fresh food. Yesterday was the last doughnut and the bread ran out on Saturday when I made peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for our breakfast while driving the barge to the Shinglemill. I had a banana and a half going brown, so I looked up a recipe online for banana bread. I was short some mashed banana so I settled on a recipe or pineapple banana bread. I didn't have any crushed pineapple, but I did have some tidbits left over in the fridge from our fruit bowls. I diced them finer and had everything needed to make a late breakfast with fruit, a hard boiled egg for Wayne and yogurt for me. Yum! Plus we have extra for dessert or breakfast tomorrow.

Cooking and baking are now fun.

Click here for the recipe and directions to make Pineapple Banana Bread with Pecans.

Did you take homemaking classes in school? Or were you a lucky guy who got shop? Educational offerings have changed a lot over the years. More classes are co-ed, but unfortunately many of the home arts and shop classes have been eliminated. -- Margy

Monday, August 05, 2019

Quads and Camping on North Vancouver Island

Our truck and double quad trailer.
Wayne and I like to take our quads on barge trips around Powell Lake and truck and trailer trips to land based destinations. We took our Tucson SUV to North Vancouver Island to plan a future ride.

Read more about that road trip at my Margy Meanders blog.

The Campbell River ATV Club has been instrumental in developing off-road routes using logging roads throughout North Vancouver Island. They have also worked with RCMP precincts to allow access to lodging, food and gas. Click here for more information.

There are map resources for Forest Service and logging roads.

A section of the North Island route map from the Campbell River ATV Club.

Here are some of the campsites we discovered on our trip.

Picture from Rec Sites and Trails BC.
Elk Creek Recreation Site: Seasonal campground south of Highway 19 near the the Sayward turnoff. Seven site campground with good availability but no direct access to logging or forest service roads but could make a good homebase then transport quads to off-road areas.

Montague Creek campground.
Montague Creek: Two small primitive sites along the river just past Sayward via Eve Main. Direct access to logging roads but too tight for us.

Upper Klaklakama Lake Campground: Small site at the top end of the lake. Too tight for us but direct access to logging roads. Another large campground farther down the lake.

Woss Lake Recreation Site campground.
Woss Lake Recreation Site: Twenty-four sites with good availability on upper Woss Lake with easy dirt road access via West Woss Road. Sites large enough for our truck and trailer and direct access to logging roads. Logging railway historical display in town.

Georgie with empty lakefront site.
Georgie Lake Recreation Site: A nine site lakeside campground reached via the Holberg Road out of Port Hardy and Georgie Lake Forest Service Road. Sites are large enough for us and there is good access to an extensive logging road network for riding. However, it is too far on rough roads for us, but we did find a travel trailer there.

Link River campground on Alice Lake.
Link River Regional Park: A 22 site campground on Alice Lake near Port Alice. This is the one for us. Good access via SE Main and there was good availability even on a holiday weekend. It has a host and reservations in summer and first come, first serve the rest of the year. Lots of logging road access in all directions.

We could stay here many times and still not explore everything. Plus there is fuel and shopping in nearby Port Alice for extended stays. Don't know when, but we will be returning with our truck, trailer and quads for a new kind of adventure up North Vancouver Island's mains.

Want to read more about our quad adventures? Three of Wayne's Coastal BC Stories books focus on backcountry adventures including Up the Main, Farther Up the Main and Powell Lake by Barge and Quad.

All three are available in print and e-book formats at Amazon and most online booksellers. In Powell River they are available at Coles in the Town Centre Mall. -- Margy