Sunday, September 16, 2018

Food Security and Becoming a Locavore

The annual Fall Fair celebrates food security.
Food security is more in the news these days, especially in small remote towns like ours. Locavore is a popular word to describe participating in the local food movement.

The Powell River Food Security Project works to ensure that everyone, especially vulnerable people, have access to the foods they need to stay healthy and thrive. To help get the word out about home gardening, they host the annual Edible Garden Tour.

Garden Club members share information at the Fall Fair.
The Powell River Garden Club supports home gardening with monthly meetings to share ideas and listen to guest speakers.

The Powell River Farmer's Market provides local farmers with the means to get products to local consumers. At the end of the growing season they highlight local efforts at their annual Fall Fair. In addition to Saturday and Sunday seasonal markets, there are others in the region, some during winter.

It's difficult for me to get the the farmer's markets. My solution to food security is a kitchen garden at my floating cabin home. Some items produce year round, but my main harvest starts in June and lasts through October.

My floating garden with four raised beds and a solar watering system.

My garden floats on the lake. It has four raised beds that I use for crops like beets, carrots, kale, chard, broccoli, onions, garlic, lettuce, spinach and herbs. It's amazing how much you can produce in 160 square feet.

Container gardening in blue barrels.
To increase my growing space I use containers on the decks. 55-gallon plastic barrels cut in half make great growing spaces for plants like blueberries, red currants, rhubarb, tomatoes and potatoes. Smaller containers work well for peppers, eggplant, zucchini, winter squash, beans, peas and more herbs.

August and September have been a time of plenty. We eat most of our produce fresh, thus reducing our dependency on grocery store items.

To preserve some for winter I've canned jam, pickles and relishes. I've hung onions and garlic, dried herbs, stored potatoes and saved seeds. Beets, carrots, broccoli and kale will stay in the garden for winter harvesting. Later I will pressure can the last of my potatoes and carrots.

Fresh carrots and potatoes.
Each year I have one plant that's the best. This year it's my Scarlet Nantes carrots.

I usually get small ones since my float garden has shallow beds. But this year they are huge! The larger ones must be reaching all the way down to the bottom of the bed where it meets the lake water. Maybe that's why they are so large, they have a steady supply of moisture when days are hot.

Does your town have a food security project? How have you become involved? Do you have a kitchen garden?  I'd love to hear about your experiences.

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. -- Margy
Hop on over to the Simple Life Mom and see some great ideas for homesteading and simple living.

Want more ideas? Try Nancy's Our Simple Homestead Blog Hop.

Head over to Blogghetti for Happiness is Homemade to see more recipes, crafts and DIY projects. -- Margy

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

A Summer Retrospective

I know, summer isn't over until September 22, but with Labor Day come and gone, and kids going back to school it seems that way.

Wayne and I both used to teach. He was a professor at Mt. San Antonio College and I was an administrator (formerly an elementary school teacher) in Mountain View School District. Every year I still get my back-to-school "nightmare."

We both retired early to enjoy float cabin living on Powell Lake in Coastal British Columbia. Now summer is a seasonal word for us rather than vacation time.

That doesn't mean summer isn't busy. Here are some of the highlights from this year.

We've had lots of visitors. We kicked it off by inviting members of the Powell River Garden Club to see my float garden. In July, Kurt arrived from California in his Husky. His wife Leslie joined him for a few days including a stay at the cabin. Then our friends Dave and Marg brought three grandkids (and their dog Crystal) to spend a few days with us.

Sometimes we like to get away. The nearby chuck (ocean) is a good spot. Our shake-down trip was to nearby Texada Island. Other adventures included Heriot Bay, meeting Kurt and Leslie in Campbell River, a four day upcoast cruise, and another four day cruise to Johnstone Strait. We tried salmon fish but haven't caught one yet.

Life isn't all play. Wayne pressure washed our cabin decks. A major project was to remove our stairs and shed to comply with the water lease. John was a big help so we repaid him by towing his new shed. Dave installed a pole for our Xplornet satellite dish. We are also cutting and storing firewood. That's a job that will continue for some time to come.

When we are home on Powell Lake, we use it for some amazing recreation. To name a few, riding our quads on the many logging roads and trails, fishing for trout, sailing in Wayne's 19' O'Day Mariner daysailer and camping with our barge after the quads have been offloaded. There's also hiking, swimming and just relaxing with a good book.

Gardening is a big part of my summer. Garden Club members came up in three groups of seven to visit. It was so much fun for everyone. Both of my Dracaena spike plants bloomed. It has been a very good year for my flowers, fruits and vegetables, but watering has been a challenge with all the hot days.

We eat most of the garden produce fresh, but I enjoy preserving some things for winter. This year I made jam, dill pickles, relish, diced tomatoes and tomato sauce. My home grown red currants made a tasty jam. I found a food mill at the thrift store that has made canning much easier. I also dry and store onions, garlic and potatoes.

It's been a very good summer for us up the lake. How was yours?

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.

Head on over to Tuesdays with a Twist at Stone Cottage Adventures.

And visit Normandy Life for more Mosaic Monday. -- Margy

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Self Contained Mobile Meal Kit in a Bag

A self contained Mobile Meal Kit in a bag.
Earlier on this blog I described a mobile meal kit we take on airline trips to use when we want to eat meals in our hotel room.

For camping trips it's nice to have a more inclusive kit so I created self contained Mobile Meal Kits to use for barge camping with our quads, camping in our own airplane and traditional car camping trips.

I've put several kits together for each purpose because they're so economical.

You can fit quite a lot in a small shoulder bag.
I start with a thrift store bag with zipper pouches to help organize the contents.

For meal simplicity, we don't include pots or pans. Camp BBQ meats supplement deli entrees.

There are only two of us, so I fill the kit with sets of two: plastic plates, plastic cereal bowls, plastic drinking cups, and plastic coffee mugs. I also include one larger plastic bowl to share salads.

Plastic bags keep things organized.
I organize and store all of the contents in a Ziploc plastic bags.

For utensils we take two steak knives, two soup spoons, two forks, one serving spoon, a multipurpose can opener, clothes pins, and a nut cracker (just in case a tasty crab crosses our path or to open some of those tricky drink bottle caps).

Condiments are extras from fast food restaurants. The small sealed packets are perfect in size and can be replenished easily, 

Mr. Bucket has been with us since the 1980s.
For dish washing I use a bucket. Our Mr. Bucket folds up for easy transport.

I use camp soap and paper towels for washing and drying. That way I don't have to worry about getting towels dry before packing.

For drinking and cooking water we purchase a gallon bottles to refill our smaller drinking bottles.

A small ice chest fills out our travel eating and cooking needs.

Mobile Meal Kit for a total cost of $5.00:
  • zippered shoulder bag $2.00 at thrift store
  • plastic plates and coffee mugs at thrift store $.25 each
  • salad bowl $2.00 from Dollar Store
  • plastic cups and cereal bowls (extras from home)
  • metal utensils (extras from home)

Cost of other supplies:
  • biodegradable camp soap $3.99 (long lasting concentrate)
  • BBQ lighter $2.99
  • paper towels (free from my kitchen supply)
  • Ziploc bags in several sizes (free from my kitchen supply)
  • plastic grocery and vegetable bags for trash (free)
  • fast food restaurant salt, pepper, sweetener, condiments (free)
  • folding camp bucket (he's been in the family for years)

I now have my self-contained Mobile Meal Kit ready for our next adventure where ever it may be. Do you use something similar. What are your tips and tricks? -- Margy

Friday, August 24, 2018

Ogopogo in Powell Lake

You've probably heard of the Loch Ness Monster. Well, here in my neck of the woods we have Ogopogo. Powell Lake in British Columbia is a very deep (about 365 metres or 1200 feet) glacial cut lake. There's even 10,000 year-old trapped sea water at the bottom. No wonder a "monster" is reportedly living in its depths.

Ogopogo's most publicized sighting was in Okanagan Lake at Mission Beach in 1926. He is said to be 20 to 50 feet in length with a serpant shaped body and a horse-like head. Ogopogo has also been seen here in Powell Lake. It's was recorded in an article in the Powell River News as well as Carla Mobley's classic book, Mysterious Powell Lake.

I've had two close encounters with Ogopogo. I haven't actually seen him, but I've felt his presence. The first time was while swimming around our float cabin. I felt a tug on my toes. What else could it have been but Ogopogo "pulling my leg." The second encounter was captured on film. It was his shadow on Goat Island across from my cabin. With evidence like this, I know he must be real. -- Margy

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Cruisin' to Campbell River's Discovery Harbour Marina

Our good friend Kurt from Southern California flew up to our neck of the woods again this summer. He arrived in his Aviat Husky after a stop in Bellingham, Washington, to exchange his southern wheels for his northern floats.

That gives him the flexibility to travel far and wide, hopping from lake to lake throughout the province.

Here he comes now!

Kurt's wife Leslie came to join him for a quick vacation. Wayne and I made arrangements to meet them in Campbell River on Vancouver Island. They drove up by car from the Courtenay Airport and we took our boat from Powell River across the Strait of Georgia.

The cruise across the Strait of Georgia was smooth and the sun was shining. You can't ask for more than that. We got fuel at Discovery Harbour Fuel Sales and went to our reserved slip at the Discovery Harbour Marina

Our 2452 at the Discovery Harbour Marina for the night.

We met at the nearby Real Canadian Superstore (Walmart on steroids) and the four of us got in our Bayliner 2452 to cross Discovery Passage for dinner at April Point Lodge. Wayne timed our reservation with slack tide so the crossing would be comfortable. We had a delicious dinner on the deck with an outstanding view. If you don't have a boat, you can take a water taxi from their sister property, Painter's Lodge.

Kurt and Leslie with April Point Resort in the background.

For boaters and non-boaters alike, Discovery Harbour Marina has lots to offer.

It's a full service marina offering moorage for 300 boats from 16 to 150 feet at daily, monthly, 6-months and annual rates. There's electricity, water, washrooms with showers, laundry and trash disposal included. The adjacent Discovery Harbour Centre with lots of stores for provisioning and restaurants is a huge plus. Other services at the marina include lots of boat adventure and fishing tour operators. After all, Campbell River is the "salmon fishing capitol of the world."

Cruise on over to Campbell River on Vancouver Island in Coastal BC in your boat, car or by airline.

Then "discover" a marina with a little something for everyone. -- Margy

Sunday, July 29, 2018

Available Online: "Up the Strait"

A Great Book
for the Boating Enthusiast

Up the Strait
Coastal BC Stories

It's cruising time again. Jump in the boat and head up the Strait of Georgia with us to magnificent anchorages and exciting adventures. Drop your hook in world famous Desolation Sound, discover hidden coves and meet some of the locals. Read Up the Strait by Wayne J. Lutz and then join us for the cruise of a lifetime. You may never want to leave. 

Go to for more information.

 Print for $12.95
Kindle for $2.99
ebook for $2.99 at Smashwords
(prices may vary in Canada)