Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Coastal BC Plants: Bracken Fern

B is for Bracken Fern

Everywhere you walk in the forests of Coastal British Columbia, you find Bracken Fern. Large lacy fronds radiate from a central point and can reach heights over 3 metres (10 feet).  In BC, most Bracken Ferns are from the genus Pteridium species aquilinum and subspecies lanuginosum

The ferns grow from an underground rhizome and are perennial, lasting from year to year. In winter, the fronds die back and regrow from small curled shoots (fiddleheads) that emerge in spring. 

Bracken Ferns grow in both sunny and shady spots, and in dry to moist soil.  This allows them to be plentiful throughout the region. Some preferred locations to find Bracken Ferns are in recently cut or burned sites where they are among the first plants to return, and along forest trails.

Along the granite cliff and on the hill above our cabin we have lots of Bracken Ferns. I love their graceful leaves and bright green colour. 

Do you have Bracken Ferns where you live? ABC pictures from around the world, stop by the ABC Wednesday blog. This is the fifteenth 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 22, 2014

Red Letter Films Comes to Hole in the Wall

Last week we hosted a crew from Red Letter Films in Surrey, BC.  They came to our float cabin home to tape a segment for an upcoming television “magazine style” series called Chalet de la Cote Ouest about unique cottages and chalets in British Columbia. 

Red Letter Films is producing this series for a new French language television network called Unis (a division of TV5). The logistics were all coordinated by Dan. It must have been a monumental task to get the host and film crew from location to location in a quick and orderly fashion in order to meet the airing deadline in November.

On Thursday, July 17, the show's host Evelyne, camera technician Catherine (Cat), and assistant camera tech Creighton (Crey) met Wayne and me at the Shinglemill dock with equipment in hand. We transported them up the lake in our barge and boat. Here's Cat filming from the bow as the rest of us ride in a bit more luxury in the boat.

One unique aspect of the filming was that it was in French. Evelyne would first ask a question in French and then translate it into English for us. Wayne's and my responses will be dubbed into French during editing. I wonder how we will sound.

It was fun to share our unique home in this special way. We feel so fortunate to have discovered it by accident in 2001 while we were on a flying vacation to BC. In the early days, it was a vacation getaway. Now it's our full-time home, and we wouldn't want it any other way.

You can find out more about Red Letter Films at:
"Stay tuned" for more information about the segment for our float cabin home this coming November.

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

Saturday, July 19, 2014

COMING SOON: FREE Kindle E-book "Up the Inlet" on August 1-2

Each month I have special offers for my Kindle readers. Don't miss this exciting opportunity to get a free book about boating in Coastal British Columbia.

Click Here on August 1-2

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Additional FREE Kindle Days
September 5-6 and October 4

Are you a science fiction fan?
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If you enjoy the book, consider writing a review at
Happy reading! - Wayne

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Coastal BC Plants: Alders

A is for Alders

Living in Powell River BC, I've been fortunate to explore the surrounding backcountry and have seen many interesting plants. This post is the first in a series about Coastal BC plants that I've encountered. It's also part of my weekly contribution to the meme ABC Wednesday.

Alder is a good place to start, not only because it's the first letter of the alphabet, but Alders are a common tree in Coastal BC. The Red Alder is found most predominately in open areas that have recently been disturbed such as roadbeds and logging slashes. Alders almost immediately take a foothold in the once shaded area that's now exposed to full sun.  It's considered a weed (even though it becomes a full grown tree) because of its persistent and pervasive nature.

The Alder is an important part of the regeneration of a forest. Forest succession is a process of death and rebirth. On a natural scale, the Alder is one of the good guys. In a forest replanted with evergreens (cedars, firs, pines), the lowly Alder isn't as welcome. Even though it's a nitrogen-fixer and adds richness to the compost on the forest floor, it strangles out newly planted trees that are being grown for profit.

Young Alders along Shermans Main, Powell Lake, BC
Alders provide an almost instant green cover to brown forested areas. They join berries and shrubs in providing borders along steep logging roads. For someone like me with a fear of heights, that's a huge plus.

Aboriginal people used Alder bark for dyeing, and the wood for smoking meat and carving. Today it is used for furniture, flooring, and firewood. ABC pictures from around the world, stop by the ABC Wednesday blog. This is the fifteenth 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 15, 2014

Rain Barrel Water Collection System

Over the years, as a result of composting, I 've developed a plot of soil on our exposed granite cliff. The down side of using this area for gardening is limited access to water. It's a long haul with heavy buckets climbing four flights of stairs up from the lake.

Our good friend John devised a rain water collection system using a 55-gallon plastic barrel and a tarp suspended from trees.

It's situated above my plot, so gravity provides enough pressure to water my plants. Summer gets pretty dry, so my one barrel didn't last long. John upgraded me to a double-barreled watering system.

The plastic barrels will probably outlive me, but the tarp has been exposed to rain, sun, snow and wind for about ten years.

It needed to be replaced to make sure both of my barrels were filled before the last rains of the season.

We purchased a heavy duty woven polyethylene tarp that was UV resistant. Wayne had to resize a larger tarp because there were no longer any of the exact dimensions we had before. I purchased a grommet kit so we could place connection points that matched our tree attachment locations.

While the tarp had disintegrated over the years, the clothes line cording was still in good shape. 

We untied the old tarp and put the new one up in it's place.  With both of us working together it took over an hour. John probably completed the initial installation all by himself in half the time. But it made us feel good we could do it ourselves.

Thanks John for the design. Without it, we would have had a harder time of getting the new tarp in place. Sorry, it isn't as neat and tidy as yours, but the rain barrels are almost full again. I guess that's what counts. -- Margy

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Roosevelt Elk

Here in Powell River there have been several releases of Roosevelt Elk into the bush. It was a combined effort between the British of Columbia Ministry of Environment Wildlife Branch and members of the Powell River Rod and Gun Club:

Mainland Roosevelt Elk Recovery Project (LMRERP) began in 2000 as a response to a combined need to both control nuisance Roosevelt elk along the urban fringe of the Sunshine Coast and fulfill the desire to continue re-establishing historic Roosevelt elk ranges in the Lower Mainland Region.

Riding in Olsen's Valley last month, we came upon two elk on the main logging road. They were using this open artery to move easily between open slash areas rich with grasses and other food sources. It's exciting to see these majestic animals. -- Margy

Wednesday, July 09, 2014

Coastal BC Plants from A to Zed

Alder on Shermans Main, Powell Lake
Having grown up in the States, I said “zee” for the letter Z. Becoming Canadian, I’ve had to relearn that the last letter of the alphabet is “zed.” When I call someone on the phone, I have to think about where they are located. If they are south of the border, I spell my last name L-U-T-ZEE. If they are here in Canada, it's L-U-T-ZED. I’m sure recipients on both sides would figure it out if I made a mistake, but I don’t want to sound like an outsider in my new British Columbia home.

This brings me to the end of Round XIV of ABC Wednesday. I’ve participated for about five years now. Most of my posts have been about float cabin home, the Powell River area, and Coastal BC in general.

Zostera marina (eelgrass)
For the next round I'm going to do a series about Coastal BC Plants. I’ve been fortunate to travel along the coast by boat and into the bush hiking and by quad. I hope you enjoy the stories and pictures about plants I’ve encountered from Alder to Zostera marina.

Thanks for your ongoing readership. -- Margy

Monday, July 07, 2014

AVAILABLE ONLINE: "Flying the Pacific Northwest"

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Check with your favourite e-book dealer 
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Check here if you need a Kindle 
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If you enjoy the book, consider writing a review at
Happy reading! - Wayne

Sunday, July 06, 2014

Twilight Reflections

Lately, Wayne and I've been camping on Powell Lake using our barge as a tent platform.

Being right on the water, we are getting some wonderful sunset and twilight sky and water reflections. This one is looking west from the Shermans logging dock near the Rainbow Lodge area.

The lodge is a historical building on Powell Lake that once was a retreat for the local paper mill managers and their guests. Today it's privately owned as the Rainbow Recovery Retreat. -- Margy

Saturday, July 05, 2014

Cedar Waxwings

This week I've been hearing a high pitched whistle from the trees around the cabin. It wasn't a familiar sound. I thought it might be a bat, but the time of day was wrong.  Then one evening Wayne called me out to the float garden. A small flock of Cedar Waxwings weas foraging. When I used my Bird Songs Bible, I discovered they were the source of the sound. This book is a great resource for off-the-grid (and Internet) living.

Cedar Waxwings aren't common around our cabin. They are fruit eaters, so I wasn't too worried about my veggies.

They stayed quite a while for us to watch.

They were most interested in the egg shells I had in the garden. They may not work to deter slugs, but they seem to be something the Cedar Waxwings like in their diet, most likely for calcium and grit for digestion.

It's fun to watch the birds around the cabin. What kinds of birds are in your area? -- Margy