Sunday, August 30, 2020

"Wild Fierce Life" by Joanna Streetly

I find great books by local British Columbia authors in the retail shop on BC Ferries. It takes two ferries to travel between our home in Powell River to Bellingham.

Recently I purchased Wild Fierce Life: Dangerous Moments in the Outer Coast (Caitlin Press, 2018) by Joanna Streetly. If you've read my previous reviews, you know I enjoy books by and about women who live in remote locations, especially Coastal BC where I live.

Joanna Streetly grew up in Trinidad. At 18 she came to Vancouver to attend Capilano University to study Outdoor Recreation and Leadership. As a part of that program, she obtained a practicum position at the Wickaninnish (Kwisitis) Interpretive Centre in Pacific Rim National Park on the rugged west coast of Vancouver Island.

Long Beach in the Pacific Rim National Park.

Following her practicum she moved 40 klicks north to Tofino, a fishing, logging, tourist and surfing hub. She put her outdoor skills to work as a kayak guide and on whale watching tours. She's lived in town, land cabins and what I like best, float cabins. Almost thirty years later she still lives in a Tofino floathome with her partner and daughter.

Tofino's float home community at Strawberry Island.

Wild Fierce Life is a memoir of memorable, exciting and sometimes life threatening experiences. Each chapter gives the reader a peak into what it's like growing and maturing in a rugged land and ocean environment. You can read more about Joanna at her website.

Vancouver Island's rugged west coast.

 I thoroughly enjoyed reading Wild Fierce Life while floating in the natural "swimming pool" at my float cabin on Powell Lake.  It's not as remote or rugged as her float cabin location in Maltby Sough, but the concept is similar. Joanna is an artist. Each chapter is illustrated with a map (which I wish more authors would do) and wildlife images. 

The Tofino coast, a surfers haven.

Read Wild Fierce Life for a glimpse of what love, life and wilderness exploration is like in a unique coastal environment. It's available in print and ebook formats online at the following booksellers. -- Margy

Caitlin Press - Her Publisher
Amazon.ca (print and Kindle apps and readers)
Amazon.com (print and Kindle apps and readers)
Barnes and Noble (print and Nook readers)
Apple Books (through the Books app)
Kobo (for Kobo apps and readers)

Other books by Joanna Streetly include:

Silent Inlet is a fictional story about a small town on the west coast of Vancouver Island.
Paddling Through Time is the account of a kayak adventure through Clayoquot Sound.

There's also the monthly Book Review Club for teen/young adult and adult fiction over at Barrie Summy's blog.

Check out Booknificent Thursdays at Mommynificent.com

Also shared with Your the Star at Stone Cottage Adventures and Book Review Linkup at Lovely Audio Books.

Thursday, August 20, 2020

#ThrowbackThursday: Composting in a Plastic Barrel Step by Step

My former wire bin composter.
Two years ago I lost the location for my simple wire compost bin. I'd used it for years to compost my garden and kitchen scraps at our float cabin home. I had to find an alternative that could be handled on the cabin deck or in my floating garden. One method I learned about is called chop and drop.

Chopped garden waste for mulch.
Chop and drop works well for garden waste. As plants are trimmed or removed, the residue is chopped into small portions and used as mulch in garden beds and plant containers. The majority of my composting needs are taken care of in this manner.

Cutting a plastic 55-gallon barrel in half.
It doesn't work as well for kitchen scraps because the smell can attract critters. I decided to compost kitchen waste in a 55-gallon plastic barrel cut in half. Barrels in my town cost $35. Check nursery, building and farm stores, or use a large plastic bucket or trash can that isn't too deep.

Now that my first batch of soil is ready to use, I'm starting over.


Composting in a Plastic Barrel
Step by Step

A kitchen compost container.
Cut the barrel in half. Drill drain holes in the bottom. Make two composters or use the other half as a planter.

Place four inches of soil in the bottom to start.

Use a kitchen compost container for fruit and vegetable trimmings chopped into pieces.

Layering chopped plant matter, Rot-It and soil.
When the container is full, spread the contents over the layer of soil.

Add garden trimmings if you have them.

Sprinkle with compost accelerator. I use Rot-It.

Moisten with water.

Add 1" of soil over fresh items.

A cover cut to fit and a plastic mesh cage.
Cover with a porous material and surround with a cage to keep small critters out. If you live in bear country, enclose your composter.

When it's time to add a new layer, stir the ones below first.

Continue layering waste and soil until the barrel is full.

Let your composter rest with it's porous cover on for several months while the organic matter decomposes. Periodically moisten and mix to encourage the composting process.

Compost turned into rich soil in 8 months.

Your rewards will be less kitchen and garden waste going into the garbage stream, and free rich soil coming into your garden.

Do you do compost? What process do you use? Do you have any tips to add to my post? -- Margy

If you've ever dreamed of living away from town in an off-the-grid home, or in town with a simple lifestyle, you'll enjoy reading Off the Grid: Getting Started.

Smashwords ebooks for $4.99

Or go to PowellRiverBooks.com for more ordering information.


Hop on over to the Simple Life Mom and see some great ideas for homesteading and simple living.

Want more ideas? Try The Green Acre Homestead's Our Simple Homestead Blog Hop.

For homesteading, homemaking, DIY and self-sustaining posts visit Farm Fresh Tuesdays at The Self Sufficient HomeAcre.

Thanks for visiting part of my world this week. For more great posts from Our World Tuesday, click here.

Tuesday, August 11, 2020

Cabin Baking: Refreshing Sourdough Starter

Sourdough bread baked in a Dutch oven at the cabin.
After being away from my float cabin home for nearly six months due to the pandemic, I was worried my sourdough starter might be dead.

When we left in January for our Snowbird RV Adventure, I took my starter to town because we turned off the propane fridge.

Active yeast bubbles formed while warming in the kitchen. It's ALIVE!

After the two week mandatory quarantine at the cabin after re-entering Canada, we went to the condo and I immediately checked my starter. 

I have two separate containers. One is my cabin batch that's been working since 2005. The other is my cloned city backup batch. Over time they've diverged in flavour, so I treat them separately. I've heard that's because natural environmental yeasts differ.

Float cabin batch on the left and city batch on the right.

I put each batch into a separate bowl and let them warm on the stovetop. I was socked to see how active they became.

To feed them, I stirred in 1/2 cup lukewarm skim milk, 1/2 cup white flour and 1 tablespoon granulated sugar.

I feed each batch separately to preserve their unique flavorss.

I left the bowls uncovered to capture natural yeast from the air. I covered them overnight. In the morning, both batches were active and bubbling. There was no need to add commercial yeast to revive them. I gave them a second feeding and another rest overnight before returning them to their plastic containers for refrigeration.


I was careful to use non-reactive bowls and utensils (plastic, ceramic, glass or wood). Why do I have a town backup you ask? One year my cabin propane fridge went on the fritz and I lost my starter. Having a backup in town saved the day.

Do you have sourdough starter? How do you take care of yours? -- Margy


Posting Wordless Wednesday by Natasha and Friday Favorites at Condo Blues.

Shared with Your the Star and Tuesdays with a Twist at Stone Cottage Adventures.

Hop on over to the Simple Life Mom for some great homesteading ideas.

Want more ideas? Try The Green Acre Homestead's Our Simple Homestead Blog Hop.

Head over to Blogghetti for Tasty Tuesday for recipes, crafts and DIY.

For homesteading, homemaking, DIY and self-sustaining posts visit Farm Fresh Tuesdays at The Self Sufficient HomeAcre.

Wednesday, August 05, 2020

Update: Float Cabins for Sale on Powell Lake BC

Our float cabin on Powell Lake.
Wayne and I love living in our float cabin home on Powell Lake in all seasons. Summer is back and we are really enjoying cabin life. We returned to Canada and completed our mandatory 14-day quarantine up the lake. I couldn't think of a better place to self isolate.

Right now there are still a few float cabins on the market, but don't wait too long. They could be gone in a flash. Purchasing our float cabin home was the best thing we ever did. Come up and see what Powell Lake has to offer.


Powell Lake Cabins and Properties

Are you interested in getting a cabin of your own? Here's an updated list of cabins and properties up the lake that are for sale. Some are through real estate agents, so you can get more information via their websites. Other cabins are for sale by the owners with information on Craigslist or Facebook pages.


Powell Lake Cabins and Properties For Sale


FACEBOOK MARKETPLACE LISTING: Twelve year old float cabin on Powell Lake. It has 3 bedrooms, a bathroom and a kitchen. These are the only details included in the posting, but the picture shows there's much more included. The asking price is $160,000.  Contact the seller on Facebook for more details.


FACEBOOK MARKETPLACE LISTINGPowell Lake lease for sale in Rainbow area. Beautiful deep spot with great views and sun exposure with the best place to swim. Decent breakwater and all onshore remediation taken care of. There is a cabin, but it’s in poor shape. A tear down in my opinion. Please message me for questions. The asking price is $60,000.  Contact the seller on Facebook for more details.

MLS LISTING: 9742 Powell Lake is a newly built float cabin on the first point past Henderson Bay that just needs a bit of finishing. Large covered walk around deck, great access to shore and bluffs. Two level with 1 bedroom on main and 2 bedrooms up plus a large loft. Wood stove, metal roof and loads of skylights. New "eco john" sewage waste combustion system plus an extra float to build a small shed. Reduced to $159,000. Click here for more information, or contact Dan Marusin of EstateBlock Realty at 250-984-8355.

MLS LISTING: 9428 Powell Lake is a two year old float cabin only 15 minutes by boat up the lake in popular Henderson Bay. All new from the cedar log float upwards: new cedar decking, anchors and ropes, 2 x 6 construction, insulation, wiring with full solar power, on demand hot water heater, tub with shower, composting toilet, wood stove for heat and a kitchen with a solar powered fridge and gas range. Cedar and metal siding, metal roof and thermal windows. The asking price is $164,000. Click here for more information.

MLS LISTING: 9242 Powell Lake is a land cabin on a half acre waterfront lot with a beautiful sandy beach. It has two bedrooms, a bath with a shower, a large living room with a cozy woodstove. The little kitchen is a perfect .place to prepare meals to enjoy in the glassed-in breakfast room.  A covered front deck is the perfect place to relax on a warm summer evening. There's a lovely garden, a waterside deck and fire pit on the beach, plus a handy sheds for storage and firewood. It’s all ready and waiting for you to enjoy for $235,000. For more information contact Warren Behan of Royal LePage at 604-483-8173 or click here.

MLS LISTING: BC Land Professionals is offering a lakefront lodge. The property is 8.35 acres of Crown lease land (renewal due in 2021) with 1300 feet of lake frontage. There are 5 self contained cedar cottages: 3 two-bedroom and 2 one-bedroom. Each has a full bathroom with showers, sinks, toilets, and full kitchens with brand new appliances. Living and eating areas are fully furnished with wood stoves for heat. The fridge, stove, hot water and lighting are propane. Other buildings includes a wood fired Sauna and tool shed. The foreshore and docks are protected by log breakwater. The complete package is at a reduced price of $299,000. Click here for more information and pictures. For more information call toll free at 1-866-558-5263, the office at 604-694-7626 or mobile at 604-483-1605.

MLS LISTING: BC Land Professionals is offering a stunning 1.7 acre island with two cabins that's only a 20-30 minute boat ride from the Shingle Mill Marina. It includes a main cabin, guest cabin, outbuildings, foreshore license and dock. The asking price is $275,000. Click here for more information and pictures. For more information Jamie Zroback at (604) 483-1605 or Jason Zroback at (604) 414-5577.


Powell Lake Cabin Services

Powell Lake Cabin Services: Already have a cabin up the lake? We are always looking for help with projects around ours. Our good friend (and float cabin neighbour) Justin Behan offers services such as cargo delivery, lumber packages, cubes, propane tanks, wood stoves, and anchor and rope supply. In addition, Justin is now a distributor for Sun-Mar composting toilets just like the one we installed in our new bathroom addition. For more information, call Justin at (604) 483-6527.


Powell Lake Real Estate: Want a real estate agent that really knows float cabins? That's Harry Zroback (our man Harry who helped us get our cabin) from RE/MAX. Harry owns a cabin himself, so he's an excellent person to contact for all your "up the lake" real estate needs at 604-483-8333 or harry@powellriverrealestate.com.



Powell Lake Stories

Want to know more about life up the lake. Check out these books from Wayne's Coastal BC Stories series:

Up the Lake (Free for Kindle and e-books)
Farther Up the Lake
Cabin Number 5
Off the Grid
Off the Grid: Getting Started
Powell Lake by Barge and Quad
If you have any questions about Powell River, Powell Lake or cabin living, I'd be glad to help out. Just leave a comment or use the e-mail link in my profile to send me a message. -- Margy