Saturday, January 19, 2008

Chippewa Bay

In the northwest corner of south Powell Lake you will find Chippewa Bay. Chippewa is well known for several reasons.

One -- It has a large dock and booming area for loggers working north and west into the Bunster Hills. Logging equipment comes up the lake on barges and booms of logs are towed back in the opposite direction. So, if you arrive by boat, it is best to come on weekends when logging is usually not active and you can explore on your own.

Two -- You will find a natural forestry museum up Museum Main. This logging road runs near two historic steam donkeys with lots of interesting items strewn across the forest floor. One is near the main, the other is about an hour hike from the road. If you arrive by boat, it's a long walk up to the first steam donkey. If you arrive by quad from Theodosia, it's easier. Well, relatively so. It's an all day ride over Heather Main, but well worth it.

Three -- In the summer Chippewa Bay is great for swimming with warmer water than the rest of the lake. This is probably due to the shallower depths. In the middle of the lake it is over 1000 feet deep, and that can keep it pretty cold all year long.

Four -- CB CB'ers, Chippewa Bay Cabin Busters are strong northwest winds that often follow major storms. They swoop out of Chippewa Bay and blast down the lower lake, trying to level everything in their path, including unsuspecting float cabins. This is one reason you will find some of the heaviest protective booms around cabins in this area.

Up the Lake has a chapter about Wayne getting caught on the lake in a CB CB'er. Click here to read the chapter for free and find out more about life on Powell Lake. -- Margy

Monday, January 07, 2008

Video Review: Seducing Dr. Lewis

No, it isn't porn. Winter is DVD time for us at the float cabin. Nights come early (4:30 p.m.) and last a long time (until 8:30 a.m.), so there's time to do things that summer doesn't encourage. Our friend Susan at Coles keeps us set with Canadian DVD titles. One of her picks was Seducing Dr. Lewis. It was a Sundance Film Festival winner produced by Jean-Francois Pouliot.

Seducing Dr. Lewis is a comedy that portrays life in the remote fishing village of St.-Marie-La-Mauderne. Fishing isn't good and the villagers are forced to subsist on the dole. With typical Canadian independence, they devise a way to attract a commercial venture to their island. But there's a catch. They have to attract a doctor to live in their small community.

A mass mailing lands in the hands of Dr. Lewis, a man with problems of his own. It's a marriage maybe not made in heaven. The villagers use their fishing skills to bait, hook and reel in Dr. Lewis as their prime catch. Each strategy they use is funnier than the last. One hilarious scene has the pub filled with townspeople gathered to watch a televised cricket match (Dr. Lewis's favourite "sport"). When Dr. Lewis goes to the head, they quickly switch to the hockey finals. A score brings the crowd to a roar - quickly the channel is changed back to cricket and a bewildered Dr. Lewis returns to a subdued pub. Just how far will they go to seduce the city doctor into staying in their "idealic" village? Get the DVD to find out, and be ready for lots of laughs. It's available at or

What are some of your favourite DVDs? It's time to head back to our cabin and it would be a good time to get a few titles to take with us. -- Margy

Saturday, January 05, 2008

Wind Warning

The news last night included a wind warning for the Pacific Northwest. As Wayne and I tried to sleep, we could hear it outside our Bellingham condo gusting to up to 55 mph (88 kph). When that happens, we worry about our cabin on Powell Lake. This morning we checked the Powell River weather report, and the gusts were about 60 klicks. That's windy, but not the destructive kind. We breathed a sigh of relief, but still wish we were there to make sure all is well.

Do you want to check the weather history for your location? For the US, go to the NOAA National Weather Service. Click here and you will see the report for Bellingham. You can change the location by typing in you city and state, or zip code. It includes a three day weather history including wind, visibility, weather conditions, sky conditions, temperature and precipitation.

If you are in Canada, go to the Environment Canada website. They have a searchable database for weather by date (from 1840 if available to 2008) and location (province and/or city). The report includes temperature, dew point, humidity, wind direction and speed, visibility, pressure, wind chill and weather.

If your town isn't included, you can click here. Select your province on the map and then your city from the drop-down list. You will get a 5-day forecast or you can check out the weather conditions for the past 24 hours by table or graph.

So if you want to check on what happened during a recent storm, try some of these connections. If you are weather junkies like we are, bookmark them so you can check back frequently. -- Margy

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Thrifty Tip

I love to browse through thrift stores. In Powell River, my favourite is the Hospital Economy Shop off Alberni near Scotiabank. They have a great selection that changes constantly, their prices are the best, plus I always bump into my friend Carol there.

Here are some of my best finds. There was a new Catalyst cap for Wayne for $.25. He doesn't work at the mill, but lots of our friends do. I found a toaster oven for $5.00 with a five day guarantee. That was a nice benefit, except I immediately voided the warranty by stripping out all of the wires to make it into a stovetop oven for my wood stove. I found a large pot for $1.00 to use to heat water for our new bathtub and I even found Never Cry Wolf by Farley Mowat for my collection for only a quarter.

We like to keep a fire extinguisher near our woodstove. You never know, you might need it quickly in case a bad spark, or worse yet, a chimney fire. But our fire extinguiser is round on the bottom. For years we left it lying on the floor behind the stove. Then one day while I was cleaning I stuffed it into a boot to get it out of the way. Wow - what a great idea! Not wanting to tie up our regular boots, I did the next best thing. I found a pair of colorful rubber boots at the thrift store for only a $1.00. Now our extinguisher is handy and "attractive" in a functional sort of way.

Do you like to shop at thrift stores? Where are some of your favourite stores? What have been some of your best finds? -- Margy

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Woodstove Safety

When we first got our float cabin, I was a little afraid of the wood burning stove. It was hard for me to get used to a fire burning in a small metal box right in the middle of my living room. I had no prior experience with such a thing in my Los Angeles city-folk life. But when the nights (and days) got cold, we quickly overcame our fear and started using our Kozi stove.

John installed our stove to minimize fire danger, but it was up to us to keep it that way. We watch the stove's components to make sure they are in good condition and replace any that seem warn or damaged. So far, we (actually John) have replaced the door gaskets once. Stove supplies can be found in most hardware stores.

Chimney sweeping is crucial for safe wood stove use. Even with our thermometer to monitor fire conditions, creosote and ash build up in the pipe and on the stove's smoke shelf. First, we burn a chimney cleaning log which is supposed to loosen the creosote deposits. On the next sunny (at least non-rainy) day we don't build a fire. First, Wayne goes up on the porch roof to clean the exterior pipe and chimney cap. Next, we go indoors to disassemble and clean the interior pipe and the stove's smoke shelf. I'm amazed how much buildup there is in just a few short winter months. But on the other hand, our trusty stove is running almost 24/7 this time of year.

If you have a woodstove, do you have any installation, care or maintenance tips? Any funny, or even scary, stories? Let's hear them. Want to find out more about our float cabin living experiences? Try reading Up the Lake. For more information or to order a copy, go to our website at -- Margy