Thursday, December 14, 2017

Driftwood Santa Wall Hanging

A bit of the cabin for Christmas in town.
Does wood ever speak to you? Sounds silly, but every time I pick a piece of driftwood out of the lake I listen to what it has to say. Most often it's, "I just came by to help you keep warm this winter."

But other times, driftwood has a different message. Stumps beg to become floating planters. Medium sized gnarly pieces ask to come aboard to decorate our deck. Smaller pieces often have a unique message of their own.

This piece of driftwood told me it wanted to become a Christmas decoration we could bring out each year to celebrate the holiday.

I must be honest, I saw an article in the Peak newspaper advertising a local crafter's wares at Artique, the local artist cooperative shop. When I saw this piece of wood float by, I knew what it would become.

All it took was some acrylic paint, yarn to make a ball for the top of Santa's hat, and two nails and a piece of yarn on the back for a hanger. The driftwood shape was perfect just the way it was for the task.

I enjoy using handmade decorations for the season, and my driftwood Santa wall hanging fits right in for our city or cabin decorations.

Are you making anything special for Christmas this year?

Hop on over to the Not So Modern Housewife and see some great ideas for homesteading and simple living. more ideas? Try Nancy's Our Simple Homestead Blog Hop. Margy

Monday, December 11, 2017

Christmas Shopping Suggestions

Give a little bit of
Powell River
for Christmas

Put a little "sunshine" in your holiday shopping. Head on over to and take a look inside these exciting books in Wayne's Coastal BC Stories series. They're popular with locals and visitors to the Sunshine Coast because they're all about our Powell River region. Each book focuses on a different perspective. I know there's one that will fit someone special on your holiday shopping list.

Up the Lake with stories about hiking, boating, flying and survival off the grid in a floating cabin on Powell Lake. This was the first book in the series and has a variety of stories about the Powell River region. Up the Main focuses on getting into the Powell River backcountry by bike, quad, and hiking. Come ride along with us on a quad to places like Theodosia Inlet, the head of Powell Lake, and on logging roads and local trails near and far.

Up the Winter Trail takes the reader snowshoeing, hiking and biking during the winter months. This would be a good book if you are planning on coming to the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver.

Up the Strait cruises the Strait of Georgia to uncrowded and pristine anchorages. Follow our 24' Bayliner Halcyon Days into Desolation Sound, to unique Mittlenatch Island and the Gulf Islands.

Up the Airway wings you across Canada to show off our beautiful country from up above. Fly along with us in our Piper Arrow, land to camp at remote strips with gorgeous scenery, and meet unique animals like the muskox.

Farther Up the Lake follows in the footsteps of Wayne's most popular book, Up the Lake. Read about living off the grid in a float cabin, the beauties of Powell Lake and the many different ways you can enjoy the backcountry.

Farther Up the Main takes you beyond the original Up the Main to explore the glaciers of Mt. Alfred, the remote Theodosia wilderness, a logging road ride to our cabin, and on an impromptu overnight stay waiting for a summer swollen stream to subside.

Farther Up the Strait takes you on voyages to more remote inlets and anchorages in Desolation Sound and beyond. Did you ever want to put a new engine in your boat? Follow along as our Halcyon Days gets a new lease on life and energy boost.

Cabin Number 5 follows John as he constructs a float cabin from the water up.  Over the years, when time and money are available, the cabin grows board by board. If you've ever dreamed of living off-the-grid, you'll enjoy Cabin Number 5 (yes, it's the fifth one John's built).

Off the Grid is the story of transitioning from city-folk life when we bought our cabin. We learned how to generate our own power, use propane for appliances, maintain a kitchen garden, live in harmony with nature, and exchange our hectic lives for a more simple lifestyle.

Beyond the Main takes you beyond the stories in Up the Main and Farther Up the Main as Wayne and I explore the Powell River and Powell Lake backcountry on our ATVs. Discover trails to ride and meet local off-road enthusiasts who are glad to show you the way.

Powell Lake by Barge and Quad takes you on a unique tour around the Powell River, BC, region. Following Up the Main, Farther Up the Main, and Beyond the Main, this book takes you on Powell and Goat Lake adventures with our barge loaded with quads to explore places few people get to see.

Off the Grid: Getting Started is the newest book in the Coastal BC Stories series. Following titles like Up the Lake, Cabin Number 5 and Off the Grid, this book gives the reader information and tips about how to go from city life to living off the grid. As in previous books in the series, our float cabin home is an example of how we made the move and lifestyle switch.

All books are available online in Kindle and Kobo and print formats through Amazon. E-book readers can also find the titles available through Smashwords and many other e-book sellers. Print books are also available locally in Powell River at Coles.

For more information, go to Happy last minute Shopping! -- Margy

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Overwintering Geraniums

When I lived in Southern California, geraniums were perennials. They remained in the garden year after year. Now that I live in Coastal BC with freezing temperatures and frost, they act as annuals when they're outdoor plants.

Covering method.

One year I tried saving my geraniums by mulching and covering them with plastic in their repurposed BBQ planter. It was marginally successful and several roots made it through the winter months to regrow when spring arrived.

Dormancy method.
Another year I tried the dormancy method. The plants were removed, the roots cleaned and the stems cut back before being wrapped in newspaper. After spending the winter in our condo guest bathtub, regeneration was again marginally successful.

Taking the planter indoors isn't an option. We travel during the winter and indoor cabin temperature can drop below freezing.

 Modified Indoor
Overwintering Method

Removing geraniums to transport to the condo in town.
This year I'm trying something new. I call it the modified indoor overwintering method. I removed the plants from their BBQ planters, but left their root balls intact and covered with soil.

I removed dead leaves and remaining flowers. A cardboard box lined with a plastic bag made was a good transfer container to take them to the condo in town. We leave heaters on low during winter, so there's no risk of freezing.

At the Dollar Store I purchased a plastic tub for $4.00. It was just the right size to hold all the geranium plants (a dozen) from my two BBQ planters.

Geraniums in their tub after a month indoors.
I filled the bottom with empty individual-sized plastic water bottles. Then I placed the geranium plants with their soil covered root balls in the tub. In between each plant I placed additional potting mix to help absorb and hold moisture. I placed the tub next to the glass door in the bedroom and leave the blinds open to let sunlight reach the plants.

When we go to town (about once a week) I check the moisture in the soil and add water as needed. I also remove any dead or dying leaves.  The plants have been in the condo for one month now and they are still doing well.

I will give you an update in the spring, but the experiment is worth it. For an investment of $5.00 (one tub and one small bag of potting mix) I'm potentially saving $35 (the cost of 12 plants minus my investment). And I'll have larger plants to start with. Another bonus.

Do you overwinter plants? What are some of the methods you use? -- Margy

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Value is Their Name: Value Village

I always go to thrift stores at home in Powell River. I keep a list of items I need or want, and sooner or later they show up.

Our home base in the States is Bellingham. We picked Bellingham because it has an airport for our plane, excellent health care, and city-folk things like shopping. When we are in town, I love to go exploring. I've found lots of thrift stores, but Value Village is my favourite.

Value Village is department store size and part of a chain of about 200 thrift stores across the US, Canada and Australia. They have mostly recycled items, but you will find some inexpensive new items mixed in, especially for holidays such as Halloween and Christmas. Their largest section is for clothing. They have some furniture, and a good mix of household items. Their prices are reasonable, and the profits are shared with local charities.

Recycling is an easy way to help our environment. By donating your unwanted items to a thrift store, they don't end up in a landfill. By purchasing a recycled item, you give back in two ways: to the charities the stores serve, and by giving a recycled item a new lease on life.

So, go out and have some guilt free shopping. It's good for you and the environment.

You will find the Bellingham Value Village off Meridian near Winco (my favourite grocery store).

Bellingham Value Village
150 East Bellis Fair Parkway Bellingham, WA 98226
(360) 733-233

Do you shop at thrift stores? What are some of your favourite ones? What is the best bargain you've ever found? -- Margy

Monday, December 4, 2017

Christmas Shopping Suggestion

For pilots and aviation enthusiasts alike. Take to the skies for exciting flying adventures in Washington and Oregon.

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. The book includes hints about 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.

Print for $10.95
Kindle for $2.99
or free with kindleunlimited

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

Friday, December 1, 2017

Slip the Surly Bonds

This post was inspired by the famous aviation poem High Flight by John Gillespie Magee, Jr.

Eighteen year old Magee was an American who crossed the border into Canada to volunteer for the Royal Canadian Air Force. In 1941, he was assigned to the 412th Fighter Squadron at Digby, England.

He was inspired during a test flight in the new (then) Spitfire V to the high (then) altitude of 30,000 feet. He included the poem in a letter to his parents shortly thereafter. At the age of 19, Magee was killed in a mid-air collision with an RAF trainer.

I often think of this verse as we fly through and around the clouds here in the Pacific Northwest. It truly feels like you could "touch the face of God." -- Margy