Thursday, July 30, 2020

What a Difference a Year Makes in a Garden

My float garden in 2007.
My floating garden was built by our good friend John in 2003 and has served us well.

Last summer John replaced the cedar siding around the four raised beds and the walkway so I missed out on a whole growing season.

At the end of summer I left the beds cleared except for a perennial herbs. What a difference a year makes.

New cedar boards outside and in.

We visited the cabin in December and January between our Snowbird RV Adventures to California and Arizona. Then, like people around the world, we sheltered in place to slow the spread of COVID-19. At first, we chose our condo in Bellingham. In July it was time to come home to BC even with a strict 14-day quarantine.

My float garden on Powell Lake, BC, during a typical summer..

We found lots of things to do to get our float cabin home back in shape. One of them was my float garden. While we were away it was taken over by flowers, herbs and weeds gone wild.

Here's what I found when we finally got home in July, everything gone wild.

On the north side of the float garden the mint that used to be in a pot took over the front bed. The other north bed sported weeds including fireweed that must have been beautiful while blooming.

All four raised beds were totally covered with plants already going to seed.

The beds on the south side included more weeds in the front section, and a full bed of chamomile going to seed in the rear. I must have dumped soil that container with seeds for this prolific flowers. At least I love the smell and enjoy a cup of chamomile tea on winter evenings.

Over the years my garden has been highlighted in the media.
In time it will be back in shape food eough for sharing.

One bed cleared and ready for future planting.

Click here to read more about float gardening.

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

Wednesday, July 22, 2020

Coastal BC Birds: Barn Swallows Return

The nest above and plastic below.
When we arrived home at the float cabin, we were pleased to see a pair of Barn Swallows had returned this year to build a nest.

We weren't totally happy with the location outside our front door and under the porch roof, but we didn't want to disturb the the breeding pair and their recent hatchlings.

To make cleanup easier, I put plastic on the deck under the nest. Since it's right next to our picnic table, I wash it off a few times each day.

Three chicks are growing quickly.
The parents are used to our presence, so we can still eat outdoors and sit in the shade of our porch.

Last year's attempt had a disastrous end. After a week of building, the nest fell and the pair disappeared. I don't know if this is the same pair, but I hope so.

Barn Swallows build mud nests in some locations, but here it's a mixture of mud and grass.

A precarious spot for next building.

It seems they pick the most precarious spots to build their nests. This one has only a one and three-quarter inch lower support. At least the area is wide and has a substantial support on one side.

Mom and Dad both feed the chicks from dawn to dusk.

Somehow Barn Swallows are able to concoct a substance sticky enough to hold everything together, most of the time. Unfortunately, we've had a few fall over the years.

Sitting on the nest to protect the growing chicks.

Squirrels are known to attack swallow nests. A gray squirrel tried to do this week. One parent sat on the nest to protect the babies. The other chased the squirrel away until I got out the door to give him a hand.

A high flying swallow.
Based on the size of the chicks, we guess they hatched just before we arrived on July 15. One featherless baby fell out of the nest the next day. Now there are three hungry kids driving both of their parents ragged all day long bringing a steady stream of bugs.

We enjoy watching them grow and someday soon they will take to the skies like their acrobatic parents. -- Margy

Friday, July 17, 2020

Goin' home, I'm goin' home

Our Powell Lake float cabin home.
As the Mick Jagger and Rolling Stones lyrics go:
I'm goin' home, I'm goin' home
I'm goin' home, I'm goin' home
I'm goin' home, bome, bome ...
Home, bome, bome ...
Back home,
Yes, I am.

Wednesday Wayne and I drove to the Pacific Highway border crossing in Blaine. Because we became Canadian citizens in 2018 and Powell River, BC, is our home, we were allowed to cross the closed US/Canada border. It's closed to all non-essential travel for citizens from the US and other countries until July 31 and a Canadian quarantine requirement is extended until August 31.

BC Ferries recommended that everyone remain in their vehicles.

Rules are in flux right now because of the COVID-19 pandemic, so check before you go with the Canadian Border Service Agency and US Customs and Border Protection.

Back in our Hewscraft finally heading up the lake.

We'd hoped to wait until the quarantine requirement was lifted, but decided it was best to go now while there was still some summer left to enjoy our float cabin home up the lake. And there couldn't be a better place to isolate ourselves for the required 14-day period and beyond.

First Narrows on Powell Lake means we are almost home.

The border crossing was smooth and our BC Ferries connections worked perfectly even without reservations. We left the Bellingham condo at 8:12 am after loading the last of the groceries and arrived at our cabin deck at 6:15 pm. That's a little longer than normal to make the 260 kilometre (162 mile) trip because we built in extra time for border paperwork and early ferry terminal arrivals.

There's no place like home!

Living through the COVID-19 pandemic has been hard on everyone worldwide. Wayne and I hope you and your family are doing as well as possible during these difficult times. -- Margy