Sunday, January 20, 2019

30-Day Drawing Challenge

C is for Drawing Challenge

I've been participating in a fun activity this month, the 30-Day Drawing Challenge. It's sponsored by the Comox Valley Community Arts Council.

Comox is 40 miles and across the Strait of Georgia from Powell River. To get there in real life, you need a ferry. But in cyberspace it's a lot easier.

I learned about the challenge from an online friend. Stephanie's an artist and active in the Comox Valley art scene.  You can see some of her works on Facebook.

I'm new to drawing. My only training was a one quarter art class in junior high school (in the early 60s) and two one day drawing tutorials here in Powell River. I'm inspired to take more.

I've been drawing to illustrate my cabin journal. I used the challenge to continue that process. The first four were our float cabin home, the kitchen hand water pump, a giant waterbug I found on the float, and a float cabin anchor chain.

The next four included a treasured hummingbird pin my dad made for my mom many years ago, a self portrait in the quad mirror, a sunrise and sunset on the shortest day of the year, and the jellyfish related Velella Velella I saw at Pacific Rim National Park.

The last was my feet warming in front of the woodstove. As it worked out, this drawing was on the last page of the 13th volume of my ongoing cabin journal(s).

The Challenge has inspired me to continue drawing and to expand from pencil and Bic pen to watercolour pencils and ink pigment liners in various widths.

I went to the Economy Shop in Powell River to get a gently used satchel and zippered pencil cases to keep my new supplies organized. Now I can draw anywhere.

Do you draw? What media do you use? What are your favourite subjects? If you want to get started, look for a challenge in your area. I've found the artists are welcoming and willing to share their knowledge.

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

And also a meme called Through My Lens by Mersad.

And Tuesdays with a Twist at Stone Cottage Adventures.

And Letting Go of the Bay Leaf for more Mosaic Monday.

For ABC pictures from around the world, stop by the ABC Wednesday blog. This is the twenty-fourth round of the meme originally established by Denise Nesbitt. It has now being maintained by Beverly, Roger and Melody. -- Margy

Sunday, January 6, 2019

997's Annual Inspection with Vertex Aviation Services at Skagit Regional

Final approach to Skagit Regional Airport.
What do you do when the skies are gray, and the weather isn't tempting for a flight? Schedule an annual inspection for your airplane.

Being on a winter cycle isn't a bad thing for us here in the Pacific Northwest.

Every airplane is required to have an annual inspection, and the aircraft's manufacturer has a maintenance manual that spells out what must be included.

A certified aircraft mechanic and/or facility does the work. This year we took Arrow 997 to Vertex Aviation Services at nearby Skagit Regional Airport. Owner Lin Holdeman and his crew of mechanics and technicians are taking care of everything for us.

Arrow 997 in the Vertex Aviation Services hangar for her annual inspection.

There are two exceptions to an annual inspection. The first is for aircraft used to carry persons for hire or flight instruction. They are required to have a more frequent inspection every 100 hours of engine time. The other exception is a progressive inspection that results in a total inspection of the airplane within a calendar year. Neither of those apply to us.

Wayne talks to Dorie, the Vertex aircraft mechanic working on 997.

Aircraft owners can do some items in preparation for the annual inspection or assist along the way. We choose to develop a "squawk list" to let the mechanics know about problems we are experiencing in addition to the airworthiness directives for inspections, parts replacement and components that have reached their end of life.

Organization is a sign of a good shop.

Covers and panels are removed to check components inside and out. Because this is the first annual inspection for 997 at Vertex Aviation Services, she's getting a very thorough inspection.

The airplane is on jacks to test raising and lowering the landing gear.

We are very pleased with the service being provided by Lin and his crew. We've asked him to book us again for next year.

Vertex owner Lin give our airplane (and us) personal attention.

Flying is a very safe activity when all flight safety and maintenance precautions are taken. Wayne maintains very detailed records for 997 to make sure we are ready to go when good weather finally arrives.

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

Also, check out Through My Lens by Mersad,

Tuesdays with a Twist at Stone Cottage Adventures,

And Letting Go of the Bay Leaf for Mosaic Monday.
-- Margy

Monday, December 24, 2018

5 Favourite 2018 Margy Meanders Posts

Each year I like sharing posts that were favourites with my readers. Here are the top 5 for 2018 in order. Click the titles to read the posts.

1. Gumboot Girls:  I participate in a monthly online book club. My review of the memoir anthology Gumboot Girls edited by Lou Allison and Jane Wilde was a hit. They have recently released a new book Dancing in Gumboots about the Comox region on Vancouver Island.

An anthology about women's lives in the 60s and 70s.

Related Post: Darkest Before the Dawn by Canadian author Mike Martin.

2. Lake Washington Ship Channel:  Wayne and I enjoy traveling for college sports. The University of Washington is within driving distance from our part-time Bellingham condo. Here we enjoy football, basketball and softball games, plus sightseeing.

A cruiser heading through the Montlake Cut.

Related post: USC Basketball Sport-cation.

3. Cruisin' to Campbell River's Discovery Harbour Marina:  We keep our 24' Bayliner at the marina in Powell River. From this home base we can explore many destinations along the BC Coast and popular Desolation Sound.

Our 2452 at the Discovery Harbour Marina for the night.

Related post: An overnight cruise to Van Anda on Texada Island.

4. Tofino and Ucluelet, BC:  Last May I had lots of fun on a trip with my friend Yvonne Maximchuk to the west side of Vancouver Island. We visited galleries, beautiful beaches and then the Filberg Lodge in Comox for her art show.

Here I am at Chesterman Beach on a misty day.

Related post: Drawn to Sea by Yvonne Maximchuk.

5. Make Ahead Breakfast Enchiladas:  I find lots of interesting things to make by following blog parties and hops. I enjoy cooking in our float cabin home the best, and love testing out new recipes. The one you liked best was easy breakfast enchiladas.

Related post: Ginger spice cake.

2018 was a very good year up the lake at the float cabin and meandering around. We hope yours was as well. - Wayne and Margy

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

And also a meme called Through My Lens by Mersad.

And Tuesdays with a Twist at Stone Cottage Adventures.

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Ginger Spice Cake

Ginger Spice Cake hot from the oven.
Wayne and I like something sweet to end our dinners. We sometimes buy pies and cakes at the market on shopping day, but after we've been up the lake at our cabin for a week or so, I get a chance to do some baking. This week I wanted something spicy and sweet, so I picked Ginger Spice Cake.

I reviewed my cookbooks but didn't find a recipe that sounded "just right." I went online and found one at Epicurious.

Ginger Spice Cake


Mix wet and dry ingredients separately.
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon ground ginger
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon allspice
1 egg
1/2 cup molasses
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
1 cup buttermilk


Mix together in small batches.
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Coat a 9-inch round cake pan with nonstick cooking spray. Cut parchment paper to fit the pan bottom and place it inside. I chose to use a rectangular pan for easier cutting.

Sift the dry ingredients into a large bowl.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the egg, molasses, sugar, and melted butter until thick. I don't have an electric mixer so I used a whisk and mixed by hand.

Mix well between each addition.
Gradually mix in the dry ingredients in 3 batches, alternating with the buttermilk.

I didn't have any buttermilk so I added one tablespoon of lemon juice (or you can use vinegar) to a cup of regular milk and let it sit for five minutes.

Beat for 1 minute after each addition to incorporate the ingredients and strengthen the cake’s structure. Mix until the batter is smooth.

Pour into a prepared cake pan.
Pour the batter into the prepared cake pan and smooth the top until even. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes or until a wooden toothpick inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean. My cake took 50 minutes in my propane oven.

I didn't frost my cake. I served it with a spoonful of the Apple Pie Filling I canned earlier in the week and a dollop of whipped cream.

Topped with home canned Apple Pie Filling and whipped. cream.

It made a nice end to our comfort food dinner of beef strips in gravy over masked potatoes with a side of steamed homegrown carrots and broccoli. Yum! -- Margy

Saturday, December 8, 2018

"Darkest Before the Dawn" by Mike Martin

I always like to give credit to my blogging friend Crafty Gardener for leading me to a great author, Mike Martin. He's a Canadian born in Newfoundland, the location he's picked for his Sgt. Windflower Mystery Series.  I've read several of the books including A Tangled Web.

Mike's newest and seventh book in the series is Darkest Before the Dawn, One of the great things about his books is that you can read one as a stand-alone without difficulty. But knowing more of the backstory is always good.

The main character is Sgt. Winston Windflower, a Royal Canadian Mounted Police officer of Cree heritage that is posted in Grand Bank, Newfoundland.

Grand Bank is a real town of about 2,500 residents. It's four hour's drive west of St. John's on the southern tip of the Burin Peninsula.  As a coastal community, it's heritage is closely tied to the sea and fishing, especially cod. This YouTube video by Travis Parsons (Vinland) Photography will give you a feel for the area.

The story opens with Sgt. Winston Windflower making a presentation to women at the Grand Bank United Church. A series of break-ins has people unnerved. After all, it's a small town where people rarely lock their doors. Then circumstances escalate and the story quickly evolves into a murder mystery.

The plot expands to include the topics of suicide, limited mental health services, drugs and even bit coins. Grand Bank may be small and remote, but like most places around the world it has similar problems. You also experience small town life, get to know its people including Sgt. Windflower's wife Sheila Hillier (the mayor) and their newborn daughter Amelia Louise, his faithful collie Lady, and a ghostly specter haunting their newly renovated BandB. All of the characters are well developed and well rounded.

Wayne and I visited Newfoundland in 2009 and again in 2014. It's an exciting destination to explore with small outport villages, some much smaller than Grand Bank.

I like that Mike uses his native province as the setting because I enjoy reading about places I've visited. Now, back to the story.

Life is usually calm in Grand Bank. Then Sgt. Windflower is called to the scene of a gruesome murder in a private home. One murder leads to another. What could be happening in this seemingly quiet community? And the biggest question, will he fulfill the tradition and get his man? You'll have to read Darkest Before the Dawn to find out?

Come take a drive around Grand Bank. Your starting point is the RCMP Station.

I've said this before but it's true, the author couldn't have chosen a better locale in which to set his story. It's a perfect match.

Mike's writing style gave me a strong mental picture of the people and places. I was able to relate personally. Even if you've never been to Newfoundland, the plot and characters will make you feel right at home.

You can find out more about Mike Martin at:

Mike Martin on Crime Writers of Canada
Mike Martin on Twitter
Mike Martin's Author Page on Amazon
Mike Martin on !ndigo
Sgt. Windflower Mystery Series on Facebook
Mike Martin book reviews on the Crafty Gardener blog

Darkest Before the Dawn is available in print and ebook formats. Online options include, and !ndigo/Chapters. -- Margy

Saturday, November 24, 2018

Bellingham's Chuckanut Drive

On sunny fall days, Wayne and I like to take road trips. Recently, we chose Chuckanut Drive from the Skagit Valley to Bellingham. We were heading back to Bellingham from Skagit Regional Airport where our Piper Arrow is getting her annual inspection.

If you choose the other direction, heading south does give you the best views of the Puget Sound and San Juan Islands.

Skagit Valley is well known for tulips in the spring.
Heading north from Skagit Valley, take the Chuckanut Drive (Highway 11) exit from I-5 and make a right turn at the traffic circle on the west side of the freeway. From the north, take the Cuckanut Drive (State Highway 11) exit from I-5 in Bellingham.

The road passes through Old Fairhaven, an interesting destination of its own with lots of quaint shops and restaurants.

All along the drive there are spectacular views. This is particularly true south of Larrabee State Park. Turnouts are available to stop for pictures. There is also trailhead parking for a variety of Chuckanut Mountain Trails and the Interurban Trail that runs all the way back to Fairhaven. Some trails allow mountain bikes.

On this trip, we didn't stop at any restaurants along the drive. Well known ones are the Chuckanut Manor Seafood and Grill, The Oyster Bar and the Taylor Samish Oyster Bar and Shellfish Farm. Parking is limited along the busy road and both are somewhat pricey. If you've been to either of them, maybe you can leave a comment with a review.

Rock formation at Wildcat Cove.
South of Bellingham, is Larrabee State Park. Follow signs to the Boat Launch in Wildcat Cove for unobstructed views of Samish Bay. Parking is free and $5.00 to launch a watercraft. Gates close at dusk.

There are restrooms, picnic tables and rocky shores to explore or bring a kayak to paddle the headlands. There's also a nearby year-round campground for those who want to stay a little longer.

Old Fairhaven
We continued on Chuckanut all the way to Fairhaven. It was a nice fall afternoon trip. One resource I use for travels and activities in Bellingham is the Insider's Guide: Bellingham and Mount Baker. It covers just about every topic you might want. You can check it out at

Do you have any favourite day trips around Bellingham? Let us know. -- Margy