Friday, March 30, 2007

Lunch in Gibsons Landing, BC

Today I went south from Powell River to Bellingham, Washington. Rather than my normal drive straight through, I skipped a ferry and had a leisurely lunch in Gibsons Landing.

There are quaint shops and restaurants all along the harbour. Two shops not to miss are The Trading Post on Gower Point Road and Molly's Market on Molly's Lane behind Molly's Reach Restaurant.

Both are mini-malls with vendor stalls selling antiques, books, beads, clothing and just about anything else you can imagine. In the Trading Post there is a bakery called The Sweet Chef. They offer a variety of fresh baked sweets and breads. I got the Landing Cortada, a flaky pastry crust wrapped around a fruit filling including peaches and blackberries and topped with a dusting of powdered sugar. I took it with me to enjoy at the Langdale ferry terminal with a coffee from Wheatberries. They too have sweets and sandwiches for the hungry traveler. Unlike the Marketplace (vendor booths at the terminal), Wheatberries remains open year-round.

I finally got to eat at the famous Molly's Reach Restaurant highlighted in the Canadian TV series called The Beachcombers. The series is no longer aired, but the restaurant keeps going. It is right at the Landing pier and has great views and great food at a reasonable price. I had the crispy fried Vancouver Island oysters and chips. Yum! With a lemonade, I got out the door for a total of $13.72 plus tip. Rachel Ray should try Gibsons as a $40 a Day destination.

The marina has a pier, seawalk and a beautiful grass covered park. I stopped to watch boats entering and leaving the harbour even in this early Spring season. There is a fleet of working boats, and locals depart from here to cottages on nearby islands. If you want to get a tour, there are several options advertised on the pier.

The Visitor Centre is located right in the middle of the Landing across from Molly's. It is small but packed with information about Gibsons and other destinations along the Sunshine Coast. I bought a calendar and left some of Wayne's Coastal BC Stories brochures for the coming tourists. If you want a stop either north or southbound along the Sunshine Coast, I highly recommend Gibsons Landing. -- Margy

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Spring Planting

You've heard me mention my floating garden. On shore we have cliffs and forest. In addition, little critters love to devour tender shoots. I've always liked to grow vegetables, so I had to think of a new way for my float cabin.

At first I had a "garden log." I added herbs and lettuce in the log's notches. The sprouts were doing fine, but one day when we returned from town everything was gone. The culprits were Canada Geese. I guess they loved fresh vegetables too.

The next year our good friend John built a special float for me. It holds four raised beds with a handy walkway in the middle. Netting and Mr. Owl protect the developing plants from birds.

When I'm not gardening, the float is pulled out to our front log boom where it is protected from nibbling critters. To make watering easy, I have a solar powered bilge pump and hose. The perfect solution. John usually comes up with them.

Due to lots of rain, the nutrients in the soil are leached out. Each spring I augment it with peat and steer manure. Several times throughout the growing season I add plant food. I get pests, but I'm but don't use insecticide.

I have a few flower bulbs planted for spring color. The daffodils are my favorite. Strawberries border two of the beds. They've made it through several winters. Two beds are bordered by herbs. I have them in buried pots to minimize spreading. The mint, thyme, parsley, sage, rosemary and basil all survive through winter.

My annual crops include Norland red potatoes, onions from sets, green bunching onions, carrots, spinach and a variety of lettuce. These have always been good producers.

You can read more about my gardening exploits and other aspects of float cabin living in Wayne's book Up the Lake available in print and Kindle formats from Amazon, and many other online booksellers.

Do you have any stories about gardening? Do you have any hints for gardening with unique situations? Let us hear from you. -- Margy

Friday, March 23, 2007

Overnight Trip to the Head of Powell Lake

Our ocean-going 24' Bayliner spends the winter in the fresh water of Powell Lake to keep it clear of marine growth. It's good for the boat and us. We get to use the Bayliner for mini lake cruises.

This week we found two good weather days in a row, so we loaded the Bayliner for an overnight trip to the head of Powell Lake. We went on a weekend so that we could tie up to the logging dock.

We were amazed at the number of waterfalls and the huge amount of water cascading down every cliff and mountain. Many of the falls had long drops down sheer rock faces. Powell River, entering at the head of the lake, was the largest water source. The swollen river crashed down its rock shute to the lake surface.

The weather was somewhat foggy, so the snags in the northernmost part of the lake looked like a ghost forest.

We were the only boat and relished the privacy. Wayne barbecued chicken and the night was calm and good for sleeping. To keep us warm, we used our new portable propane heater just before bed and when we got up in the morning. What a nice luxury!

Do you do winter cruising? What are some of your stories? -- Margy

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Snowy Days

Making a snowman with Mom.
I was born and raised in Southern California. The weather there was pretty consistent throughout the year, maybe just a little cooler in the winter, but rarely any rain. Last night we had a gentle snow storm and woke up to glittering trees outside our window.

Our cat Stick Tail got his first taste (and paw-full) of snow. We thought he might be a Norwegian Forest Cat that escaped from the Cat Show at Pomona Fairgrounds. If so, his heritage sure didn't kick in.

Wayne grew up with snow in upstate New York. He swore he'd never return to snow country, but after 34 years in the "non-weather" environment of Los Angeles, he too is enjoying the seasons again. In Powell River we occasionally get snow.

But, you normally have to go to higher elevations to enjoy snow country activities such as cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, snowmobiling and snow quadding. Here are some snow shots from this winter.

For now, we love having distinct seasons: spring, summer, fall and winter. Maybe after another thirty years we'll tire of them, but I don't think so. -- Margy