Thursday, June 25, 2020

#ThrowbackThursday: A Perfect Day Up the Lake

Recently, someone asked me to describe my perfect day. Here it is. I wake to twinkling reflections of sunlight on the ceiling of the loft bedroom in our float cabin on Powell Lake in British Columbia. The sun rises over Goat Island and the rays bounce off the water.

I brew coffee laced with cream to enjoy on the front deck, watching work boats head up the lake. When summer crowds are gone, we get to have our little piece of paradise all to ourselves. Even in fall when there’s a chill in the air, golden maple leaves shine with a radiant glow.

After breakfast, I work in my floating garden. I grow tomatoes, onions, beets, lettuce, spinach, carrots, kale, chard and herbs. I also grow a wide variety of things in pots on the deck. Just a little weeding and feeding keeps everything in top shape. I pick some fresh veggies to clean and chill for dinner.

While I'm gardening, Wayne often uses his chainsaw to cut wood for our winter woodpile. Wood floats right up to our deck begging to be added to our supply. When he's done I use my log splitter to make stove-size pieces, and the fruits of our labor stack up fast.

Lunch is a quick snack so I can get ready for work. At least that's what I call it. In the summer I like to read on the deck while soaking up the rays. Living in the north makes taking advantage of the sun important. From October to May there aren't many days to see, let alone soak up its rays.

Just before sunset we get our poles and climb in the tin boat. We troll out into First Narrows and over to the waterfall. If we're lucky we catch a trout. And lucky for him, we catch and release. If we aren't lucky, we still catch a beautiful sunset over the Bunster Hills.

Dinnertime is my favourite. Wayne is the cook and BBQ is his specialty. We start with our garden fresh salad then have our meat right from the grill, maybe accompanied by an ear of corn wrapped in foil. After a meal like that I don't mind washing the dishes.

While summer is my favorite time of year, I've been known to wish for cool evenings. That's because I love a fire in my wood-burning stove. It's so efficient at heating our cabin that it really needs to be a cool evening, or we have to open the sliding glass doors. If the loft gets hot, it’s hard to sleep.

Some people might not think that my perfect day is all that exciting, but sharing it with Wayne in this wonderful place makes it so. If we need a little more excitement, we take our quads out to ride logging roads into some of the most beautiful country in the world, or take our sailboat out for a spin around the lake. Or we can take our Bayliner out on the chuck (ocean), kayak in protected bays and inlets, or hike the Sunshine Coast Trail.

We both worked long and hard at busy city-folk careers as educators. We still work long and hard, but at enjoying our off-the-grid lifestyle. Want to read more?

Go to and look at Wayne’s books in the Coastal BC Stories series. Our perfect days just keep on coming. -- Margy

Saturday, June 20, 2020

"Off the Grid: Getting Started" by Wayne J. Lutz

This is the newest and thirteenth title in the Coastal BC Stories series. Unlike previous books about adventures and life in a float cabin home, this book is a how-to guide for people interested in moving out of the city and off the grid.

Wayne J. Lutz

From the author of the Coastal BC Stories series, Off the Grid: Getting Started provides more detail about what it's like to live off the grid. What are the essentials you’ll need and how do you get started? This practical how-to guide considers all aspects of remote living and moving off the grid, including site selection and the creation of your own utilities. Investment and ongoing costs of backwoods living are evaluated based on a  building-block approach. This book is designed for those who seek an evaluation of basic remote lifestyles and how to make it happen. If you've ever dreamed of living away from town in an off-the-grid home, you'll enjoy reading Off the Grid: Getting Started.

Smashwords ebooks for $4.99

Click here if you need a Kindle or Kindle App.
Also available from additional online vendors.

Or go to for more ordering information. -- Margy

Thursday, June 18, 2020

#ThrowbackThursday: Two Decades of Float Cabin Maintenance and Improvements

Our cabin at the wall of Hole in the Wall.
You've just seen our float cabin inside and out. This post shares what it has taken to maintain and make improvements over the years to make our off-the-grid cabin a home.

Our float cabin at Hole in the Wall on Powell Lake, BC, was built in 1997 by our good friend John. He has an extraordinary talent for lashing together cedar log floats and building cabins from the waterline up.

We purchased the cabin in 2001, and with John's expert help we've maintained and improved it. He's a Jack of all trades who never ceases to amaze us.

John and our Cabin #3, the third one he built.

Here are some of the projects I've written about since I began blogging in 2006. Follow the links to see the stories.

Floating woodshed in 2007.
Repairing our log boom in 2008.
Adding barrels for extra flotation in 2008 and 2015.
Woodstove blow back solution in 2009.

Wind generator in 2009.
Bathroom and porch addition in 2011.
Indoor plumbing in 2011.
A new coat and colour of paint in 2011.

New propane stove and refrigerator in 2011.
Custom shelves made by John in 2012.
Upgraded ceiling insulation in 2014.
Pine paneling in 2014.

Making a new anchor in 2015.
Float log burning (carefully) for dry rot in 2015.
Solar system upgrades in 2015.
Enlarging our protective log boom in 2016.

A new front deck in 2017.
Xplornet satellite Internet in 2017.
Float cabin anchor repair in 2017.
Renewed floating garden in 2019.

The most recent project was replacing the main deck. John did the whole project for us. He arranged for old growth cedar boards to be cut to specification. The largest load went up on our barge.

The side and front deck.

Main cabin cedar deck replaced in 2020 - Part 1.
Main cabin cedar deck replaced in 2020 - Part 2.

In writing this post, I was amazed at how many projects we completed with John's help over the last two decades. And there's one more big one to come. Once the weather clears, John will repaint the exterior. We like the current pale yellow with forest green trim, so that's what he will use.

If you have any questions, please leave a comment and I'll get back to you. -- Margy

Tuesday, June 16, 2020

"Off the Grid" by Wayne Lutz

Our float cabin on Powell Lake is the perfect home for Wayne and me. And its water access only location 25 minutes up Powell Lake makes it totally ...

Coastal BC Stories

The 10th book in the Coastal BC Stories series by Wayne J. Lutz lets you know more about what it's like to live off the grid. We were true city-folk when we bought our cabin, but have learned how to generate our own power, use propane for appliances, maintain a kitchen garden, live in harmony with nature, and exchange our hectic lives for a more simple lifestyle. If you've ever dreamed of living away from town in an off-the-grid cabin, you'll enjoy reading Off the Grid.

Check here if you need a Kindle or Kindle App.

Or go to for more ordering information. -- Margy

Thursday, June 11, 2020

#ThrowbackThursday: Float Cabin Video by

The wall at Hole in the Wall, Powell Lake, BC.
It was an honour for Kirsten Dirksen of to take my raw photos and video clips to create a YouTube movie of our life on a Powell Lake float cabin and post it on her *faircompanies website.

Click on the image below to see her production called Off-grid float cabin: retirement tiny dream home in BC wilderness.

A water-access only float cabin location.
In 2012, Kirsten invited me to participate in one of her excellent video projects. I filmed at the cabin using my old point-and-shoot Canon Powershot 710.

Then I used Dropbox to transmit the large files all the way from Powell River to Kirsten, who lived in Barcelona, Spain, at the time. Kirsten edited everything into the professional production you see above.

Because of her strong following, we have received over 1,700,000 views and over 1,700 comments in the last eight years.

Coming home, satellite Internet, our work raft and woodshed.

I never get tired of my front porch view.
Kirsten is well known in the YouTube world for her off-the-grid and tiny homes videos. Here are some ways you can link to her works.

Kirsten's YouTube Channel
*faircompanies YouTube
Twitter @kirstendirksen
Kirsten on Facebook

Thank you Kirsten! You really captured the essence of life up the lake. -- Margy

Thursday, June 04, 2020

#ThrowbackThursday: Cabin Finishing Touches

A remote float cabin comes with lots of maintenance and improvement projects. After about a year of making changes to our guest room, bathroom and kitchen, I wanted to add some finishing touches inside.

My plan included new ceiling insulation, painting and pine paneling in the great room downstairs and the loft bedroom. These were jobs for our good friend John. To make it easier on all of us, we scheduled the work while we were away on a trip.  

The walls were stained near windows, doors and the woodstove. To brighten the room, we used white semi-gloss paint under the peak of the roof. John suggested replacing the cedar strips and I quickly agreed.

Before above, after below showing painting of the front wall.

John used rigid plastic panels to cover the ceiling insulation stained due to woodstove moisture. New panels fit between the rafters up to the peak of the roof. The new insulation gave us an attractive ceiling and helped the cabin retain more heat in winter.

Before above, after below showing the new panels for ceiling insulation.

We covered the side and front walls of the great room downstairs with pine paneling. John installed it horizontally on top of the old fiberboard. It was an easier installation, with the added bonus of increased wall insulation.

Pine paneling in the great room from the north to east to south wall.

In my kitchen, I spray water when I use the sink's hand pump to draw water up from the lake. We found a small piece of maroon Arborite (formica) for a backsplash.

Installation of the sink's new Arborite backsplash.

The loft bedroom got pine paneling for a headboard to our king-size bed, made from two twins. Getting a king mattress up the lake in the back of our boat and up the narrow stairs would have been too difficult.

Pine paneling for our king-size bed in the loft bedroom.

The finishing of finishing touch was a new sofa that did come up the lake by boat. It's the only seating in our living room, so it's an important comfort and decorative feature.

And a tribute to our beloved Stick Tail who lived to 23 years.

Thanks for visiting my #ThrowbackTursday posts about float cabin living. Next week I'll share a YouTube video about our float cabin home created by Kirsten Dirksen. -- Margy

Tuesday, June 02, 2020

Available Online: "Farther Up the Lake"

We're don't get many visitors up the lake, but when we do we like to share stories about float cabin living. John taught at Mt. San Antonio College with Wayne before our retirement. He's the person who coined the phrase "complicated simple life."

Are you interested in off-the-grid adventures? Farther Up the Lake is filled with stories about living in a remote water access floating cabin on Powell Lake in Coastal BC.

A Great Book
for the Outdoor Enthusiast

Farther Up the Lake

Coastal BC Stories

Want to know more about float cabin living? 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 life in an off the grid float cabin, experience winter on the lake, spend the night up at the head, go beachcombing for logging history, and much more. Read Farther Up the Lake by Wayne Lutz and see how much fun it can be to go up the lake. 

Go to for more information.

Available online in print and ebook formats
from Amazon and many other book sellers.