Sunday, October 19, 2014

Saving Tomato Seeds

I was surprised when tomato plants sprouted in my flower planters. Not wanting to look a gift horse (or fruiting plant) in the mouth, I transplanted three to my garden. When they produced I got suspicious. There were two grape tomatoes and one that look like the "vine ripe" ones we get at the market. Then I remembered, I used compost toilet soil on the flowers, and seeds do survive digestive tracts. That's nature's way of planting.

Fermenting tomato seeds.
I figure, if nature saves seeds, why can't I? I found directions on the web and here are my results.

I picked prime tomatoes from the plants and removed the seeds including their gelatinous covering. To remove the covering, I used the fermentation method.

Place the seeds in water and leave them in a warm place for several days. A moldy scum will form.

Rinse the seeds and put them in fresh water until they rinse clean. I used my finger to stir them in the strainer and pick out any last bits of gelatinous material.

Then place the tomato seeds on a paper plate to dry. Do not use an absorbent material, the seeds will stick.  I only saved a few from each plant, so I separated them on one plate.  Stir the seeds as they dry. They will even stick somewhat to the hard surface of a paper plate.

When the seeds are dry, store them in labeled paper envelopes.

In spring, I'll plant my tomato seeds and see who's better, Margy or Mother Nature. I'll let you know. -- Margy

Friday, October 17, 2014

Dock Cable Installation

Fall is when we prepare the cabin for winter. This includes checking our anchors. The 3/4-inch steel cables can deteriorate and weaken over time. Fall’s lower lake level and still warm water makes it a good time to do repairs.

Putting the rope in place.
This year, we doubled the anchor for our dock.

It’s used for our woodshed float and new barge. With that heavy load, a strong wind could snap a weakened cable. Double cables are like an insurance policy. They're available when you need them most.

Pulling the cable in place.
Our good friend John came helped us with the project. His expertise as an “aquatic engineer” is unsurpassed. Plus, he built our cabin and knows it inside and out.

First, the distance was measured and cable ordered with enough extra to swag down in the water, out of the way of props and to prevent breaking under stress.

Bringing the cable to the dock.
Steel cable is heavy and unwieldy to handle. Wayne and John used a long rope to span the distance from the end of the dock to a sturdy stump on shore that was in a good position to be the anchor point.

Once the line was in place, our cedar log raft was used to carry the cable to the stump so John could anchor that end with a loop and cable clamp ratcheted down tight.

A turfer pulls in some slack.
Then, as Wayne pulled the raft towards the dock, John let out the cable. He was careful not to let it reaches the lake bottom and get caught on snags or logs.

As they neared the dock, the pulling became more difficult. Even with buoyancy from the water, the steel cable became very heavy.

The cable is "tied" to the dock.
When the raft reached the dock, John secured the end of the cable with a rope.  This was attached to a turfer, and the cable was mechanically pulled farther out of the water until there was enough slack to attach it to the cedar log that supports the dock.

A cable clamp to secure the cable.
John wrapped the steel cable around the exposed log and tied in a knot.

He used another clamp to connect it together and keep the wrappings from coming undone.

Then the loose end was secured with a log staple.

Dropping the cable in place.
Thanks to John we’re ready for those winter storms. And we don’t have to worry about losing our dock’s precious cargo. -- Margy

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Announcing Two New Powell River Books Blogs

N is for New Blogs

Powell River Books is proud to announce the creation of two new blogs. They are spin offs from this main Powell River Books Blog to make things easier for readers with specific interests.

Powell River Quad Rides will rebroadcast quad riding posts. This should make it easier for ATV enthusiasts to find information about the Powell River backcountry. The rides will be categorized by location for even quicker access. Resources and links to local information is included on a separate page.

Margy Meanders will begin as another spin off blog. Posts about recipes, crafts, and travel will be gradually moved from the Powell River Books Blog. New posts about city cooking, crafts, and travel outside of the Coastal BC region will appear only on Margy Meanders.

In 2013, the blog Wayne J. Lutz, Author was created to highlight Wayne's science fiction books. It remains an important part of the Lutz blog family.

These changes will help keep this main Powell River Books Blog more on topic with posts about float cabin living, boating, flying and Coastal BC.

Click on any image to take a look and let me know what you think. 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, October 14, 2014

Fiddlehead Dock on Powell Lake

Our next trip with the barge and quads was to the Fiddlehead dock, named for nearby Fiddlehead Farm that produced food for the early Powell River area, a 60's "hippie" commune owned by Mark Vonnegut who wrote The Eden Express, an eco-resort until 2002, then sold again and logged.

Fiddlehead Farm is a frequent lunch stop for Powell River quad riders. The buildings are gone, but a grassy meadow still has scattered apple trees.

I couldn't resist, but the apples weren't as tasty as I remembered.

We followed Giovanno (sometimes spelled Giovanni) Main south to work our way over to the Lewis Lake camp- ground. We started up towards the free Tin Hat cabin, but turned back (I'm still scared of steep conditions).

We accessed Lewis Main but went around the back side of the lake rather than taking Spring Main to the campground. The last time we rode in this area was 2007. That time we approached from Goat Lake Main using our truck and trailer.  Things change and memories fade. We backtracked over the same route with a short excursion up Deep Lake Main. There's lots to explore another day. Camping at the dock was beautiful and quiet.

The next morning we broke camp before our ride. Wayne was fueling the quads while I took down the tent. To my dismay, one of the tent poles shot out like and arrow and landed out of sight in about 20 feet of water. That put a damper on things, but the ride along Rainbow Main buoyed my spirits.

Years ago I rode Rainbow Main with disastrous results. I was petrified of heights and newly logged sections had very steep drop-offs. Both Wayne and John thought I might never be able to ride again (Up the Main "Quad Acrophobia").  I'm better now, just not 100% as John would say. This time I really enjoyed the views and forest regrowth.

Overlooking the mouth of Goat Lake from Rainbow Main.
We explored a spur that followed the south shore of the Goat River. Someone has maintained this old logging road, probably to access fishing spots along the way.

When we got back to the barge ramp we went "fishing" for the tent pole. With sun reaching down into the depths, and a good aim with a fishing lure, Wayne snagged our prize and we now have our tent back to use on future trips. YEA!!!

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

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Coming Soon: FREE Kindle E-book "Flying the Pacific Northwest" on November 2

Each month I have special offers for my Kindle readers. Don't miss this exciting opportunity to get a free book about flying in Washington and Oregon.

Click Here on November 2

for a FREE copy of

Description: Airports of Western Washington and Oregon form the backdrop for adventures in the Pacific Northwest. Take the controls of a Piper Arrow, as your personal flight instructor leads you to out-of-the-way spots where recreational aircraft give us the freedom to pursue personal goals. Hints for cross-county and local flying, as presented by a 7000-hour FAA certified flight instructor. For armchair pilots and experienced pros, this book is an escape so realistic you’ll swear you’re airborne.

Always free for Amazon kindleunlimited subscribers
or just $5.99 regular price.

Check here if you need a Kindle 
or free Kindle App.

If you enjoy the book, consider writing a review at

Happy reading! - Wayne

Friday, October 10, 2014

"Drawn to Sea" by Yvonne Maximchuk

I’m drawn to books about the region where I live (Coastal BC) and especially books about women who’ve chosen a rural or rustic lifestyle. Yvonne Maximchuk wrote such a book, Drawn to Sea - Paintbrush to Chainsaw: Carving Out a Life on BC’s Rugged Raincoast (Caitlin Press, 2013).

Yvonne left her lower mainland home to live in the upcoast wilderness. She always loved the outdoors, and is open to adventure. After her marriage ended, she and her two children, Theda and Logan, moved with her boyfriend Albert to Echo Bay on Gilford Island.

Her new life began in a rented float house. As you can imagine, this was a big part of the book’s appeal for me. Plus, Yvonne inspired me with her willingness to try new things outside of her comfort zone. Her tale about a bad storm that made her think that her “bold new life is about to end in tragedy after less than a month” reminded me of my own storm experience. It was just as unnerving, but way less dangerous.

Yvonne learns about wilderness living as she goes: fishing, canning, gardening (her float garden looks much like mine), using a chainsaw (I’m not there yet), and building a house of her own (way beyond my skills). With two kids to raise and take to school by rowboat. I can imagine that each day brought new challenges and excitement.

Yvonne met Billy Proctor, a famous longtime resident and founder of the Echo Bay Resort. That may sound fancy, but Bill is a hardworking logger and fisherman who welcomes coastal travelers to enjoy his home. He helped Yvonne and Albert (who she later married). Yvonne and Bill became fast friends and fishing partners as well.

Yvonne is an artist as well as an adventurer. She uses her speedboat “Sea Rose” to reach majestic locations to paint and draw. The cover of her book is just one example of how she captures the essence of the land and sea she loves.

Yvonne has spent the last thirty years carving a life out of the rugged BC wilderness. I wish I’d had her courage earlier in life to take such a chance. -- Margy