Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Vancouver International Boat Show

Wayne and Margy Lutz

Are Presenting

Off the Grid 
Getting Started

at the Vancouver International Boat Show

Wednesday, January 18
6:30 pm in Room 3

Thursday, January 19
6:30 pm in Room 3

Seminar Details: Are you interested in living off the grid in the mountains, up the coast, or maybe just at the edge of town? How do you begin, and what are the essentials to getting started? This seminar will take you through the basics of remote living, joining the learning curve with a measured approach in setting up your new residence. Although some of the principles in this presentation can be applied to boats at anchor, the primary emphasis involves those who want to reside full-time off the grid in a remote location.

Related books from the Coastal BC Stories series by Wayne J. Lutz include Up the Lake and Off the Grid. Both books are about living off the grid in Coastal British Columbia. -- Margy

Check here if you need a Kindle or Kindle App.

Or go to for more ordering information.

Friday, January 13, 2017

Come Fly With Us

Piper Arrow 997 in front of her Bellingham hangar.
Flying is one of our passions. It started for Wayne after he got out of college and he was working with his older brother running a small grass strip airport in Greenville, New York. A side benefit was that his brother taught him how to fly.

Wayne passed the passion along to me when we were dating and he also became my flight instructor.  It's nice that we can share this common interest and enjoy the pleasures that flying can bring.

Come fly with us in our Piper Arrow. She used to live with us in Southern California. Down there she got to stay outdoors on the tarmac in the warm sunshine, but up here in the Pacific Northwest with lots of rain and cold she lives in a nice protective hangar.

When we come to Bellingham we get to take her out and fly the Pacific Northwest skies. We've been lucky with the weather this week. It's been cold, but clear. That let us fly twice so far.

The first time was to practice takeoffs and landings to maintain proficiency. Here's a quick video so you can ride along.

The second was to fly to nearby Anacortes Airport to visit with our friends Ken and Sam.

Want to experience more flying adventures in the Pacific Northwest? Check out Wayne's book Flying the Pacific Northwest.  In it you can "take the controls of a Piper Arrow as your personal flight instructor leads you to out-of-the-way spots in a recreational aircraft." It's a good read for pilots and aviation enthusiasts alike.

Today is Sky Watch Friday. Go to the Sky Watch Friday website and you'll see sky photos from all over the world! -- Margy

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Woodstove Cooking: Baked Potatoes

Our Kozi woodstove.
This time of year, our woodstove is going pretty much 24/7 up at the cabin on Powell Lake. That is especially true this winter with sub-zero temperatures day and night.

Our woodstove is the "heart" of our float cabin home. Without its warmth, we couldn't live here in all seasons. 

Our stove is a KOZI.  KOZI still makes wood and pellet stoves, but our model is what I lovingly call a classic.  It came with our cabin when we purchased it in 2001, and has served us well ever since.

On top you will find pots of water heating and coffee perking. You might even find a pot of chili cooking.

Potatoes baking inside the woodstove firebox.

But there are lots more ways to cook using a wood heating stove.

Using my Imperial thermometer.
This week we used the inside of our firebox to bake potatoes for dinner. It's so easy. Just wrap a spud in aluminum foil and place it on the ledge inside the door.

To keep an eye on the temperature inside, I used my Imperial thermometer. I was surprised to see it get up to 500 degrees inside.

That's a hot fire, enough to cook my home grown potatoes in less than an hour.

Do you cook with a woodstove? what are some of your successes?

Hop on over to the Not So Modern Housewife and see some great ideas for homestead and simple living. more ideas? Try Nancy's Our Simple Homestead Blog Hop.
Hop on over to The (mis)Adventures of a "Born Again" Farm Girl for more simple ideas for your home or homestead. -- Margy

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

BNSF Caboose 12529

Burlington Northern Santa Fe train heading into Bellingham, WA
When we visit Bellingham, Washington, we are in train territory. The main tracks run along the coast heading north to Vancouver and south to Seattle and from there throughout the United States.

I like to go down to Squalicum Harbor and park to watch the trains. While I was there last week I saw a "new" caboose on the siding. I say new because it was new to me. Very few cabooses are still in service. In their heyday, they housed the rear breakman, provided space for accommodation, and storage.

This is the not first caboose I've seen in the Burlington Northern Santa Fe yard in Bellingham. First there was Burlington Northern Caboose 10792 in 2011 then BNSF Caboose 12622 in 2012. This week I saw BNSF Caboose 12529.

Burlington Northern Santa Fe Caboose 12529 in Bellingham, WA, yard.

Caboose 12529 was built by Pacific Car and Foundry in 1978 and began service with Burlington Northern as Caboose 12185 before the merger with Santa Fe. She's 39-feet long, made from welded steel with a windowed cupola on top. She was rebuilt by Western Fruit Express (BN) in 1990. Since then, it appears not much has been done.

Caboose 12529 sporting graffiti.

Caboose 12529 was working fairly recently in support of work trains in the state of Washington. Here's some of her rolling history:

8/1998   Working in Startup, WA, on a work train
8/2002   Working in Skykomish, WA, on a work train
2/2007   Working in Seattle, WA, on a work train
6/2009   Working in Marysville, WA, on a work train
8/2010   Parked in Scenic, WA, at the yard
6/2011   Working in Merritt, WA, on a work train
8/2011   Working in Berne and Wenatchee, WA, on a work train
12/2016 Parked in Bellingham, WA, at the yard

Little Red Caboose in Blaine, WA
I'm not sure if she's here as part of a work train or as a final resting place. Either way, I always get excited to see a caboose.

If you could have one, what would you do with it?  Make a restaurant like The Little Red Caboose in Blaine, WA? Make it into a cozy tiny house?

Check out this Mother Earth News article about purchasing and repurposing old cabooses.

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.

It’s time for “Outdoor Wednesday.” Click HERE for more outdoor pictures. -- Margy

Saturday, December 31, 2016

5 Favourite 2016 Margy Meanders Posts

Come along on a year-end tour
of the five most popular
2016 Margy Meanders posts.

My Margy Meanders blog is where I share posts about general topics. It's a relatively new blog, and I'm pleased that it's gaining in popularity thanks to you my faithful readers.  Looking back at 2016, here are some of the most popular posts.

Landing at Jefferson County Airport near Port Townsend.
Flying Day Trip to Port Townsend, WA -- When Wayne and I come to Bellingham we love to get our Piper Arrow 997 out of the hangar and take her on adventures. A favourite day trip destination is Jefferson County Airport near Port Townsend, Washington. There's a great place to eat on the field called the Spruce Goose Cafe.  When we have more time and good weather, we like to go camping in our plane on Orcas Island, Chehalis, and Siletz Bay in Oregon. We hope to get back to them again 2017.

Cinnamon Spiced Apple Spritzer
Cinnamon Spiced Apple Spritzer -- This year I did more canning and preserving than ever before. Some of my successes were dill pickles, sweet relish, and grape and plum jam. When I canned apples gleaned from a tree in the backcountry, I had lots of syrup left over. Not wanting to waste anything, I created a refreshing spritzer to cool off after all that hot work canning. Then on a snowy day this winter, I used some of the syrup from a jar of the apples to make a cinnamon apple snow cone.

Border between Canadian Zero Avenue and US Boundary Road.
Border Songs by Jim Lynch -- Wayne and I are both avid readers. Even though most of the books we read are Kindle e-books, I like to purchase used books of local interest. Powell River thrifts stores have great selections. When I'm in the States, I go to Cozy Corner Books in Ferndale. Chris, the owner, is great and the prices are amazing. Border Songs is the story of a US Border Patrol agent along Washington's border with BC. Knowing both sides made it a very fun read for me.

Soup's on!
Fresh Tomato-Tortilla Soup -- I grew tomatoes this year in my floating garden next to the cabin. I had some trouble with bacterial spots, so I made frozen tomato sauce with what I could save from my crop. After eating a thick tomato based Tortilla Soup at the Costa del Sol in Powell River, I tried making some of my own. My homemade sauce was the perfect consistency, and the flavour was fresh and amazing. I only wish I had frozen more. Next year I'll try canning some for extra.

55-gallon barrels become large garden pots.
Something from Nothing: Inexpensive Large Garden Planters -- I grow lots of plants around our cabin's various decks in containers. This year I experimented with two blueberry plants and the grew so large I needed large pots so their roots could expand and produce more berries. Pots are so expensive I decided to make some of my own from 45-gallon plastic barrels we had in storage. With a little bit of paint, they made attractive additions to our float cabin home.

We hope you enjoyed the tour. You can read more about our off-the-grid lifestyle and adventures in Wayne's Coastal BC Stories series of books and e-books. Go to for more information and ordering details.

Want to see a review from my Powell River Books blog? Check out my 2016 Top Ten Float Cabin Living Posts. Hope your 2016 was as eventful as ours. Give us an update in the comments below. -- Margy

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Norwegian Yule Kage

Grandma was born in Norway. Her family immigrated to the States when she was a little girl. There's very little of my Norwegian heritage left except for a few Christmas foods. One of them is Yule Kage. It translates as Christmas cake, but it's actually a bread.

Mom made it every Christmas, but I've never made it before. I've had some success lately in making bread, so I thought I would try Yule Kage for Christmas this year.

Mom's recipe file had two cards. One was in Grandma's handwriting and the other in Mom's. Using them together I felt confident enough to give it a try.

Norwegian Yule Kage

Using an old family recipe card.

1/2 cup butter
3 tablespoons sugar
2 cups milk
1 yeast cake
(I used 1 1/2 pkgs active dry yeast)
3 tablespoons lukewarm water
3 eggs
6 1/2 cups flour
Scald milk then add butter and sugar.
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup raisins
1 cup citron
1 teaspoon ground cardamon


Scald the milk. I had to look this up. Bring the milk to almost boiling then allow it to cool slightly. Add the butter and sugar, and let the mixture continue to
Activating the yeast in a small bowl.
cool until lukewarm.

Dissolve the yeast in lukewarm water (100-110 degrees). If the water is too cold, the yeast won't activate. If it is too hot, the yeast will be killed. Stir occasionally. The yeast gets bubbly, releasing carbon dioxide gas, the stuff you need to make bread rise.

Mix in cooled liquid, yeast and eggs.
When the milk mixture is cooled, add it to 2 cups of the flour and salt. Beat thoroughly. I used a wire whisk but this could be done with an electric mixer.

Then add the dissolved yeast followed by three well beaten eggs. Beat the whole mixture until everything is fully incorporated and smooth.

Adding the raisins, citron and cardamon.
Add the raisins, citron and cardamon, and blend together while the dough is still in a liquid form.

Add the remaining flour a little at a time. At this point I switched from the whisk to a large wooden spoon. At the end, it was easier to mix the last of the dry flour in with my hands.

Knead on a floured bread board.
Turn the dough out onto a floured board. Knead for 8-10 minutes until the dough becomes smooth and elastic. Work in any citron and raisins that escaped.

Place dough in a large greased bowl. I used soft margarine. Roll the dough over in the bowl to get some of the margarine on top of the dough to keep it from drying out. Cover the bowl. I used plastic wrap covered with a tea towel. Grandma's recipe card called
Let the dough rise in a warm place.
for a damp cloth.

Let the dough rise in a warm place for about two hours, or until double in size. Mine took one and a half hours in front of the fireplace.

Punch the dough down and divide as desired. I cut mine in half for two large loaves. Form the dough into balls.

Divide dough into loaves to rise again.
I used 9-inch glass pie pans to make round loaves.  Grease the pans and roll the dough to moisten the top. Loosely cover. I used plastic wrap again. 

Place the dough in a warm place and let it double in size again (about 45 minutes).

Bake in a 350 degree oven for 30-40 minutes or until golden brown. Test by tapping the top with your finger. It should have a hollow sound when it's done.
Ready for the oven.

Remove the bread from its pan and cool completely on a rack. If you like a crispy crust, store it in a paper bag. If you want a soft crust, store it in an airtight plastic bag. 

For me, Yule Kage is not complete without gjetost cheese on top. The brand I find in the States is Ski Queen. It's a semi-hard cheese made from whey, milk, goat milk and cream.  It has caramel colour, has a unique flavour, and melts in your mouth. It always reminds me of going to Grandma's house for Christmas.

Norwegian Yule Kage cooling on racks.
I remember Mom's bread as  dense and firm. Mine was more tender, almost like white bread. Also, the cardamon flavour was more subtle. Mom ground her own, so I'm guessing it had a more pronounced flavour.

Next year when I make Yule Kage, I'll try all-purpose flour like Mom used and add extra ground cardamon. Other than that, I'm very pleased with Christmas bread.

I couldn't wait. I cut a slice, toasted it with butter, and topped it with gjetost. Closing my eyes I could feel my family enjoying Christmas and New Years morning with me once again.

Do you have any traditional holiday foods that make you feel connected to your heritage? -- Margy