Friday, February 24, 2017

Winter Reflections from Up the Lake

After an extended period of snow and rain, it's a welcome break to have sunshine and puffy clouds. We took advantage of the good weather to take our sailboat Ste Marie out for a spin.

Rounding Elvis Point in calm conditions.

Here are some pictures form Powell Lake ...

Too calm to sail, but a beautiful reflection to the north.

A few wavy wakes and the glassy water captured a solar halo.

How is winter treating you?

Today is Sky Watch Friday. Go to the Sky Watch Friday website and you'll see sky photos from all over the world!

Stop by Weekend Reflections for more great photos from around the world. - Margy

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Powell Lake by Barge and Quad

Newest Release

Coastal BC Stories

And other Online Booksellers

Wayne and I have lived in our float cabin on Powell Lake since 2001. In 2003, our good friend John introduced us to quad riding.

In the beginning, we followed John around as he introduced us to the many logging roads and trails in the Powell River region. At that time, we kept our quads on a trailer in a hangar at the airport, and drove to off-load locations.

In 2012, we tried keeping our quads a short boat ride away from our float cabin.

It made it easier to go riding, but we were limited in the roads and trails we could explore. Plus, they were exposed to the elements.

Thus began our quest for a landing craft to house and transport our quads to all of the roads and trails around Powell and Goat Lakes.

In 2014, we found a perfect 22' barge on Craigslist and quickly bought it sight unseen.

Now our quads can remain at our float cabin, ready in an instant for day trips and camping adventures. We can also maintain them better and protect them from the weather.

In Powell Lake by Barge and Quad, you can join us for quad adventures to destinations on Powell and Goat Lakes accessible only by boat. You will visit unique places where all-terrain vehicles can explore logging roads and trails in picturesque British Columbia. 

Check with your favourite online bookseller or go to for more ordering information.

It’s time for “Outdoor Wednesday.” Click HERE for more outdoor pictures. -- Margy

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Snow Load on the Deck

Last week we had more snow than ever before. We usually get light dustings, but last week we got deep wet snow.

For a land cabin, it's an inconvenience. For a floating cabin it's dangerous. The excess weight can sink the float foundation, and uneven loads can even flip a cabin over.

Snow weighs between 4 and 20 plus pounds per cubic foot depending on the wetness and compaction. Ours was about 12 inches thick and slightly refrozen. We have a 40 x 40 foot float with 1600 square feet of surface area including the roof.

12 inches deep X 1600 square feet = 1600 cubic feet of snow
1600 cubic feet X 20 pounds = 32,000 pounds = 16,000 tons

WOW. Our cabin sank almost a foot! That was enough to cover our cedar log foundation. That's VERY scary!

The only solution was to get shoveling. Wayne and I worked all day. We got most of the snow off of our ancillary docks and the cabin float. We were feeling pretty good until we got more snow that night.

The next day we were at it again, removing snow that slid off the roof and the new accumulation. We continued into the following day, but were finally assisted by some sunny weather followed by rain.

Kind of reminds me of an old Tennessee Ernie Ford song:

You shovel sixteen tons and what do you get?
Another foot higher and lighter you bet.

The crisis is over and float cabin life is back to normal. Whew! Even Mr. Ducky has lost his white parka.

Are you contending with snow? How our you doing? -- Margy

Saturday, February 11, 2017

"Off the Grid and Free" by Ron Melchoire

I live off the off the grid most of the year. My husband and I grew up during the back-to-the-land movement in the 60s, but neither of us participated. I guess we just weren't ready, but now we are.

David Cox the author of Our Life Off the Grid recommended another book on his blog. It was Off the Grid and Free by Ron Melchoire.

Ron moved off the grid much earlier in life than we did. He began by purchasing a 120 acre woodlot in Maine where he built his first off the grid home. The cabin was compact with few amenities, but it was cozy and comfortable even after he met and married his wife Johanna. It was informative to read about how they created a self-sufficient home with wood for heat, solar for power, and a well for water.

The last half of the book was the best part for me. Ron and Johanna found a remote site on the shore Hockley Lake in northern Saskatchewan to build their homestead. Being 100 air miles from the nearest town was a huge challenge. So was obtaining a land lease from the government. Using their many skills and talents, they created an amazing wilderness home.

I highly recommend Off Grid and Free. You'll be amazed what this daring couple did and continue to do.

You can learn a lot more about Ron and Johanna Melchoire's life on the Internet.
Off Grid and Free at
An interview by Norm Gold at
Ron Melchoire at Mother Earth News
Off Grid and Free on Facebook
In the Wilderness Website
Off Grid and Free on Pinterest
Ron Melchoire on YouTube
Do you dream about living off the grid? You can start even while living in the city. Learn some of the skills you'll need to make your life successful if and when your dream comes true. -- Margy

Monday, February 06, 2017

Winter Quad Ride from Chippeway Bay

Offloading at the Chippewa Bay barge ramp.
When you get a sunny day in winter, the outdoors calls, real loud.  Wayne went out to the barge and got our quads ready for a winter ride.

Chippewa Bay is good winter destination because it gets direct rays until the sun sets behind the Bunster Range at about 4:00. Back at home in Hole in the Wall direct sun ends at 12:30 this time of year. Winter sun and exercise are a welcome combination.

Rest break in the turnout next to a slash pile.
It takes about half an hour to get from the cabin over to Chippewa Bay. Since it was a week day, we called Western Forest Products to make sure we wouldn't interfere with any logging activities.

The low lake level and calm day made the barge ramp easy to use. We started up Chippewa Main heading for snow country. The lower road was clear and well maintained. Logging here has been quiet for several years, but that's about to change.

Powell Lake and the high country in the backgrount.

After following Powell Lake for some distance, we headed uphill towards Heather Main. It didn't take long for us to see patches of snow, and suddenly the road was covered in a thick coating of the white stuff. Like some of the people here in Powell River, we don't have tracks to turn our quads into snowmobiles.

We make it to the snow level.

After a break to enjoy sunshine and a winter wonderland, we headed back down to Chippewa Main. Heading north we passed the brushing machine where it stopped clearing alders from the roadbed.

Ready to start back down after a fun day up in the snow.
We bumped into a Western Forest Products crew surveying for replacement culverts under the road so the brusher could safely continue and the road would be ready for logging trucks.

We saved a bit of sunlight for our barge ride home, the end to a great day in the bush. -- Margy

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Powell Lake Reflections

Powell Lake has been unusually calm this week. That makes for some great reflections on its mirror-like surface.

 Looking up the east arm towards the high country.

Goat Island from my front porch on an overcast day.

A boat coming up the lower lake from the Shinglemill Marina.

No matter what the season, Powell Lake is picture perfect. -- Margy

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Cabin Cooking: Winter Garden Slaw

My floating garden is most productive in summer, but it still provides me with fresh veggies in winter.

I've put most of my garden to bed to let it rest, but I leave crops in the ground that I know can survive freezing temperatures and occasional snow.

Earlier this week I went out to pick some things for dinner. I dug carrots and beets that were still crisp and juicy. Then I picked curly kale and Brussels sprouts. This is the first year I've grown sprouts and they're a success. I even found one onion that was missed during the fall.

With my pickings I made some fresh pickled beets, and a winter garden slaw for dinner.

I grated carrots, diced onion, cut sprouts in half, and chopped enough curly kale to fill the bowl. I like to use poppyseed dressing for my slaw. It's easy and gives the veggies a nice fresh tang.

Do you grow any winter vegetables in your garden? What works for you? -- Margy