Saturday, August 01, 2015

Coastal BC Insects: Tule Bluet

Our natural swimming pool behind the cabin attracts more than Wayne and me. Floating around in my inflated chair called Utopia I see lots of interesting things: bullfrog pollywogs, water striders, trout, bullhead, garter snakes, even an occasional river otter.

During a recent swim I saw a beautiful Tule Bluet Damselfly. This damselfly is found near lakes and ponds along the coast from British Columbia to Mexico.

Male Tule Bluet Damselfly

It has the distinctive thin abdomen of the damselfly. Based on the blue colour, this is a male. Females are paler or greenish-yellow.

Tule Bluet in a carnivorous Sundew.
Adult Tule Bluet Damselflies eat soft bodied insects including mosquitoes. That's another critter in our arsenal against those biting insects. But around my pool they have to be careful. Carnivorous Sundew plants love to catch them in their sticky traps.

Mating Tule Bluet Damselflies
After mating, the male grasps onto the female to protect her while she lays her eggs under the water.

If you are near a lake, pond or calm stream from May through October, keep your eyes open for Tule Bluet Damselflies.

Camera Critters Thanks for visiting my post this week. I'm linking up with Camera Critters and Saturday's Critters. Check them out for more great animal pictures. -- Margy

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Our Hole in the Wall Cabin on CBC Radio

Wayne and I are honoured that Willow Yamauchi from CBC Radio selected our float cabin home to be part of a radio rebroadcast about alternative homes in Canada called "Out of the Box" that will air during the BC long weekend.

CBC Radio One
Monday, August 3
5:00-6:00 pm

In addition to our Powell Lake float home, the hour long presentation includes Canadians living in a yurt, earthship, cob house, and converted shipping containers.

In addition to the radio program, the CBC News for British Columbia website published a very nice article about our cabin to go along with the radio program.

Our portion of "Out of the Box" was a rebroadcast of a 2013 interview with Willow Yamauchi (who grew up in nearby Lund). You can read more about that program here.

There isn't an online link to the whole "Our of the Box" program, but you can hear my portion that originally aired on the CBC show "North by Northwest."

Click here for a link to the interview portion of the program. NOTE: The audio player will come up in a separate window. -- Margy

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Coastal BC Plants: Wild Chicory

C is for Wild Chicory

Along the roads and trails right now there are some beautiful flowers reflecting the hue of the summer blue skies.

I stopped to take some pictures of the Wild Chicory plants. I even captured a buzzing bee gathering a bit of nectar.

I did some research and learned that Chicory (Cichorium intybus) is a perennial herb that is native to Europe and the Middle East. It was later introduced to North America and has now become "naturalized" to our locale.

I've heard about Chicory from my parents who had to drink it as a coffee substitute during World War II, but I never made the connection to this lovely flower, or the fact that it is related to cultivated versions such as Belgian endive and radicchio.

So if you are out walking or hiking, keep an eye out for this lovely blue flower.

For ABC pictures from around the world, stop by the ABC Wednesday blog. This is the sixteenth round of the meme established by Denise Nesbitt and now maintained by a team including Denise, Roger, Leslie, and other hard working volunteers. -- Margy

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

"Beyond the Main" Highlighted in Powell River Peak

Mel and Wayne heading up the lake.
A few weeks ago, Mel Edgar, a reporter from the Powell River Peak, came up the lake to our float cabin for an interview about Wayne's newest book in the Coastal BC Stories series called Beyond the Main. The book was a catalyst for a conversation about ATV riding in Powell River, and quad riding in general.
The article entitled "Backcountry author journeys to back of beyond" was published in the Wednesday Peak on July 15. You can click on the image at the left, or this link to read it online.

In addition to our quad experiences, the article had lots of information provided by members of the very active Powell River ATV Club. If you are interested in getting in touch with the Club, you can contact Ted Wrubleski at

Wayne and I aren't expert riders (yet), but we do enjoy exploring the many logging roads and trails built in the Powell River backcountry. can read about some of our recent adventures in Beyond the Main. It's available locally in Powell River at Coles or Breakwater Books. It's also available online at and many other booksellers in both print and e-book formats.

Right now there's an introductory $2.99 special for Kindle readers at We hope you'll check it out.

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

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Lorquin’s Admiral Butterfly

Posing for the photo shoot up close.
Lorquin’s Admiral (Liminitis lorquini) is a large butterfly found throughout the Pacific Northwest. It’s black in colour with a band of large white spots across the middle both wings and orange tips.

I saw my first specimen at the cabin in June 2015 while it was exploring our front porch. When I went out to see if I could get a picture, it landed next to me and crawled onto my foot, just begging to be photographed.

Checking out our log raft,
Lorquin’s Admiral butterflies live on nectar from flowers.

They are often seen sunning on the ground or plants, and are drawn to moist soil where they sip for nutrients, primarily sodium which they cannot derive from nectar.

Resting in the shade.
Eggs are laid on willow, cottonwood, plum and cherry trees. The larva creates a unique structure called a hibernaculum from a leaf stem and silk threads that they generate. Inside the hibernaculum, it spends the winter, but on occasion will exit to sun itself on the nearby branch.
A useful guide for common butterflies and insects is Bugs of British Columbia (Lone Pine Publishing, 2001) by John Acorn and illustrated by Ian Sheldon. John has a Master’s degree in Entomology from the University of Alberta. The descriptions have interesting facts and are written with adults and young adults in mind, or as the author says, “bugsters.” The colour illustrations by Ian are large and with enough detail to assist in identification.

Camera Critters Thanks for visiting my post this week. I'm linking up with Camera Critters and Saturday's Critters. Check them out for more great animal pictures. -- Margy

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Third Annual Sea Fair Fly-in

The Westview Flying Club will be hosting a fly-in as part of the annual Powell River Sea Fair festival. While the Westview Flying Club has a long history of fly-ins in years past, this is the third year in a row that this tradition will be revitalized.  And with much success.

Last year 21 planes (including one helicopter) arrived to take part in the festivities. This year we are hoping for an even bigger turnout.

Click on the flyer below to read all the details.

Powell River Seafair
Wings and Wheels Fly-in
Saturday, July 25, 11:00-3:00
Powell River Airport

The airport will be open to the public following the Seafair Parade. Parking will be free. In addition to airplanes on display, there will also be a Show and Shine display of over 100 classic cars from the Powell River Vintage Car Club.

And at 12:30 pm John Mrazek will give an aerial demonstration 
in his T-6 Harvard.

For individuals flying in, there will be free camping on the field and rides down to Seafair at Willingdon Beach.

For hungry visitors, Julie's Airport Cafe will be providing great hot dogs and hamburgers on the field.

Put Seafair weekend on your calendar and join Powell River Books at the Powell River Airport for another great fly-in. -- Margy

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Coastal BC Plants: Himalayan Blackberry

B is for Himalayan Blackberry

The Himalayan Blackberry is prolific along the south coast of British Columbia and Vancouver Island. It's an invasive species that grows in thickets and crowds out other local plants. As the name indicates, it is native to Asia that was introduced in the Pacific Northwest for fruit production, but they have spread and gotten out of control.

In our area, the white blossoms start to form into small hard berries in July. By August, they are ripening to large, juicy, sweet berries begging to be picked. This year is going to be particularly early with all the not weather we've had.

I know that they are an invasive species that can clog riverbank, or engulf huge areas, but when you can pick such luscious fruit for free and make it into so many wonderful things, it's hard to hate it. Just look at this bowl full or wonderful fruit.

Wild blackberries are used to make lots desserts and preservatives. I usually pick a nice big crop at the Shinglemill Marina before coming up the lake. At home in the cabin I make them into pies, cobblers, pancakes, jam, and canned whole to enjoy all winter long.

Each year in August, my hometown of Powell River celebrates all the wild blackberries that grow in every nook and cranny with a Blackberry Festival and Street Party. It's such fun. They block off about a kilometre of Marine Avenue and local vendors and restaurants set up booths and street performers entertain.

Do you have Himalayan Blackberries where you live? How do you like to use them?

For ABC pictures from around the world, stop by the ABC Wednesday blog. This is the sixteenth round of the meme established by Denise Nesbitt and now maintained by a team including Denise, Roger, Leslie, and other hard working volunteers. -- Margy