Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Lake Washington Ship Canal

W is for Lake Washington Ship Canal

Between the southeast end of freshwater Lake Washington and the salt water of Puget Sound there's a man enhanced connector called the Lake Washington Ship Canal.

Using this waterway boats and other watercraft can make their way from freshwater Lake Washington, through the Montlake Cut to Portage Bay and Lake Union, through the Fremont Cut to Salmon Bay (which is a mix of fresh and salt water), and finally through the Hiram M. Chittenden Locks to Puget Sound.

A cruiser heading through the Montlake Cut.

Wayne and I visited Seattle to go to the University of Washington for NCAA women's softball regionals and a WNBA Seattle Storm vs Phoenix Mercury basketball game at Key Arena.

Brittany Griner and the Phoenix Mercury vs Seattle Storm.

We walked a lot and enjoyed the Lake Union Ship Canal Trail from the UW campus down to Portage Bay. Rather than following the traditional southern route, we used the northern side to reach the Aqua Verde Mexican food restaurant for dinner one day, and lunch the next. I highly recommend them. There's a great view and I had the best chili rellano ever!

All along the Montlake Cut there are benches and picnic tables. We relaxed after our lunch one day watching kayakers leaving the Aqua Verde Paddle Club and geese and ducks enjoying the fresh grass and flowers.

Two families of Canada Geese enjoying a Portage Bay park.

There was even a beautiful Laburnum tree in full bloom.

Beautiful Laburnum Tree in bloom and I-5 in the background.

On the way back to the UW campus for a game we passed the university's oceanography dock with it's hefty research boats waiting for another expedition.

The UW research vessel dock at the end of the Montlake Cut.

Seattle has many areas to explore, but for us the University District is a favourite. What's yours? Do you have any recommendations for restaurants and places to explore?

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.

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

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

"The Golden Spruce" by John Vaillant

One place I want to visit is Haida Gwaii (formerly known as the Queen Charlotte Islands). This island archipelago is 90 km (56 miles) by ferry from Prince Rupert on the northern British Columbia coast.

Speaking of ferries, I get some of my best books about BC in the gift shop on the ferry between Horseshoe Bay and Langdale on the Sunshine Coast. That's where I found The Golden Spruce (Vintage Canada, 2006) by John Vaillant.

The Golden Spruce was a 300 year-old yellow-coloured Sitka spruce located on Graham Island in Haida Gwaii. It grew from a minute seed that sprouted around 1700 into a massive tree "sixteen storeys tall and more than six metres around." This amazing biological wonder was the result of a rare genetic mutation that thrived along the bank of the Yakoun River in a rich, fertile lowland called a "spruce flat."

Vaillant likens the Golden Spruce to the bumblebee which can miraculously fly despite having less than aerodynamic characteristics. With limited chlorophyll in its needles, the carotenoids (the same substance that makes fall leaves turn red, yellow and orange) shine through. Not surprisingly, this unique tree had special significance to the Haida First Nation. It also made it a prime target for Grant Hadwin, a former logger turned environmentalist. The Golden Spruce is the story of the tree and its demise at Grant Hadwin's hands in 1977 and so much more.

John Vaillant artfully weaves together the history of Haida Gwaii's discovery, Haida inhabitants, logging practices in British Columbia, and the life of Grant Hadwin. The author is a master at blending facts and background information into a story that grabs the reader. I enjoyed it very much even though the event itself was a sad occurrence. If you are looking for a book that gives an unbiased depiction of logging and life in remote areas in British Columbia, I highly recommend The Golden Spruce. story of Grant Hadwin and the Golden Spruce was also made into an award winning film called Hadwin's Judgement in 2015.

Have I piqued your interest in Haida Gwaii? You might also like a book that is a favourite of mine, Gumboot Girls by Jane Wilde and edited by Lou Allison (Caitlan Press, 2014). It's a compilation of memoir vignettes of adventurous women who lived in Haida Gwaii and Prince Rupert in the 1960s and 70s. You can find out more about these women on their Facebook page Gumboot Girls.

I was featured on Stone Cottage Adventures for Words on Wednesday for writing tips, stories, book reviews/tours, poetry, blog posts, current events/facts, and publishing books. - Margy

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Tofino and Ucluelet, BC

T is for Tofino

Yvonne on a cliffside trail in Ucluelet.
I took a spring trip to the west coast of Vancouver Island with my friend Yvonne Maximchuk. It was partly for work with lots of time for play.

Yvonne is an author and artist. She needed to drive to several galleries to pick up paintings that were on display and take them to the Filberg Lodge in Comox for a show on Mother's Day weekend.

We stopped in Port Alberni and purchased lunch makings to use for hikes and beach visits.

Our first stop was Long Beach in the Pacific Rim National Park. It wasn't a sunny day, but still the long hard packed sandy beach was beautiful.

Long Beach in the Pacific Rim National Park Reserve.

We were surprised to see hundreds of thousands stranded Velella Velellas (By-the-Wind-Sailors). Some were fresh and others had already reduced to their chitonous structure.

A stranded Velella Velella.

Marina view from the dockside pub,
We spent two nights in Tofino at the Tofino Resort and Marina. It's totally remodeled and has a wonderful restaurant and pub down by the marina. I enjoyed the view of floating homes across the bay.

We had a queen suite with two separate rooms, one with a comfortable sofa bed. The large deck was where we spent our evenings with glasses of wine and snacks before and after dinner.

The second day we went to Ucluelet to a gallery to pick up paintings. While there, we walked a portion of the Wild Pacific Trail. There were magnificent views of the rugged coastline.

A trip to Tofino wouldn't be complete without a visit to Chesterman Beach to watch cold water west coast surfers.

Here I am at Chesterman Beach on a misty day.

The trip ended in Courtenay so I could help Yvonne set up for her art show and sale at the Filberg Lodge in Comox the next day.

The historic lodge made their wall available to display her art for visitors throughout the weekend. The lodge was the home of Robert and Florence Filberg. Robert was Superintendent of the Comox Logging and Railway Company and the home is beautifully positioned on the bay.

Yvonne with a painting at the Filberg Lodge.
Here's Yvonne with one of her paintings inside the magnificent lodge.

Outdoors there are gorgeous gardens with lots of flowers, shrubs and trees. The grounds and lodge are open to the public and very popular with locals and visitors alike.

Come visit Vancouver Island and be sure to put Comox, Ucluelet and Tofino on your travel list.

You can learn more about Yvonne, her books and art at her website. She's also on Facebook.

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.

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

Saturday, May 19, 2018

Ode to Bro

When Wayne and I came to Powell River in 2001 our first friend was John. You can't be friends with John and not love his dog Bro, Brody if you are being formal.

Bro lived a long, well traveled life. If John went anywhere, Bro was always at his side. That ended sadly this month when Bro left this earthly world to go meet his maker.
As Bro would say...

I was living in a shelter on Vancouver Isle,
When John and his family came to visit awhile.
I used my best Black Lab attitude,
And soon enough they were wooed.
We took a ferry ride to Powell River,
to a loving home that would last forever.

During my eighteen years with John,
I've been everywhere, man.
I've been everywhere.
I've been to...

Last Chance
Powell Lake
Goat Lake
Duck Lake
Princess Louisa
Last Resort
Goat Island
The Head
St. Vincent
Olsen's Landing
The Eldred
Frog Pond
Rupert's Farm
Rainy Day
Hole in the Wall
Our Float Cabin
And Best of all
My Westview home!

And many more, man.
Many, many more.
I've been everywhere, man.
I've been everywhere.

Thanks John for the best life
a Black Lab named Bro could ever imagine.

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. -- Margy

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Always FREE Kindle "Up the Lake" by Wayne J. Lutz

The book that started it all!

Up the Lake
Coastal BC Stories


Head up Powell Lake to experience life in an off the grid float cabin, take a boat to world famous Desolation Sound, ride a quad into the back country and fly overhead for a unique view of this incredible place. Read Up the Lake by Wayne J. Lutz and see how much fun it can be.

Print for $9.95
Kindle for Free
E-Book for Free
(prices may vary in Canada)

for more information and 
additional titles in the Coastal BC Stories series.

Friday, May 4, 2018

The Sunshine Coast is BRIGHT!

Powell River, British Columbia, is located on the upper Sunshine Coast. The city rises from the waters of the Georgia Strait, giving almost everyone in town an ocean view across the water to Vancouver Island. Here are two of my favourites.

 No matter what time of year, we get bright and beautiful sunsets.

If you are new to my blog I invite you to stay awhile. While I see beautiful sunsets from condo balcony in town, I spent most of my time up the lake at my float cabin.You can read more about that by clicking here. -- Margy

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

"Drawn to Sea" by Yvonne Maximchuk

The author/artist in action.
As you probably know, I’m drawn to books about Coastal BC and especially books about women who’ve chosen a rustic lifestyle. Yvonne Maximchuk wrote such a book, Drawn to Sea - Paintbrush to Chainsaw: Carving Out a Life on BC’s Rugged Raincoast (Caitlin Press, 2013).

After reading a book, I like to discover more about the author. Yvonne has a strong online.

Blog - Yvonne Maximchuk
Facebook - Yvonne Maximchuk
Caitlin Press - Yvonne Maximchuk
Email -

Review of Drawn to Sea

Yvonne left her lower mainland home to live in the upcoast wilderness. She always loved the outdoors, and is open to adventure. After her marriage ended, she and her two children, Theda and Logan, moved with her boyfriend Albert to Echo Bay on Gilford Island.

Her new life began in a rented float house. As you can imagine, this was a big part of the book’s appeal for me. Plus, Yvonne inspired me with her willingness to try new things outside of her comfort zone. Her tale about a bad storm that made her think that her “bold new life is about to end in tragedy after less than a month” reminded me of my own storm experience. It was just as unnerving, but way less dangerous.

Yvonne learns about wilderness living as she goes: fishing, canning, gardening (her float garden looks much like mine), using a chainsaw, building a house of her own (way beyond my skills), and two kids to raise and take to school by rowboat. I can imagine that each day brought new challenges and excitement.

Yvonne met Billy Proctor, a famous longtime resident of Echo Bay. Bill is a hardworking logger and fisherman who welcomes coastal travelers to enjoy his home. He helped Yvonne and Albert (who she later married). Yvonne and Bill became fast friends and fishing partners as well.

One of Yvonne's oil paintings.
Yvonne is an artist as well as an adventurer. She uses her speedboat “Sea Rose” to reach majestic locations to paint and draw. The cover of her book and the image to the left are examples of how she captures the essence of the land and sea she loves.

Yvonne has spent the last thirty years carving a life out of the rugged BC wilderness. I wish I’d had her courage earlier in life to take such a chance.

Yvonne up at the float cabin on Powell Lake.
Yvonne's books are available online, in BC book stores, and in BC Ferries gift shops.

I was fortunate to meet Yvonne in 2016 when she came to my float cabin. Since then, we've remained in Facebook and email contact.

I'm excited that I will be meeting up with her again this May for an adventure to Tofino on Vancouver Island, and to attend one of her art shows in Comox.

Have you ever been able to meet one of your favourite authors? How did it happen?

Join Stone Cottage Adventures for Words on Wednesday for writing tips, stories, book reviews/tours, poetry, blog posts, current events/facts, and publishing books. - Margy

Thursday, April 26, 2018

Breakfast Flight to Port Townsend

Approaching Jefferson County Airport in Port Townsend.
Being home based in Bellingham, we get to explore the Pacific Northwest in our Piper Arrow.

One of our favourite destinations is Jefferson County International Airport (0S9) near Port Townsend, Washington.

One spring day we took advantage of clear skies to fly over for breakfast. There's an old saying, "hundred dollar hamburger." Flying isn't inexpensive. We decided to get some "hundred dollar eggs" instead.

In addition to maintaining our flying skills, we gave our autopilot "George" some exercise. Linked to our GPS and ADS-B (Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast system) it makes flying in busy airspace safer.

997's panel with "George" in the upper left and the GPS in the center.

The flight was in beautiful conditions, with blue skies and lots of sun.

Looking over Jefferson County Airport towards Bellingham,.

It takes about half an hour to fly from Bellingham to Jefferson County Airport. Come along with us on an abbreviated video of our flight.

After landing, we parked right in front of the Spruce Goose Cafe. Because there's no commercial traffic at Jefferson County, the environment is like the old days of flying, no fences and security gates. There aren't too many places like that these days,

997 parked in front of the Spruce Goose Cafe while we enjoy breakfast.

We have flown extensively in the Pacific Northwest, and have camped under the wing of our airplane on many occasions.

Want to read more about flying destinations in the Pacific Northwest? Check out Wayne's book Flying the Pacific Northwest. It's available in print and Kindle formats from Amazon.

It's also available from many other online book vendors. -- Margy

Friday, April 20, 2018

"Flying the Pacific Northwest"
by Wayne J. Lutz

Perfect for Pilots
and Aviation Enthusiasts of All Kinds

Flying the Pacific Northwest

by Wayne J. Lutz

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. Hints for 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.  

Kindle $5.99
Print from $10.95
Check with your favourite e-book dealer 
for other formats.

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

If you enjoy the book, consider writing a review at
Happy reading! - Wayne

Thursday, April 5, 2018

Stuffed Acorn Squash

While the weather is still cool and I'm inclined to use my oven, I decided to make some stuffed acorn squash to go along with a roast for dinner. This recipe takes a short cut using Kraft Stove Top Stuffing.

Stuffed Acorn Squash

Cut a large acorn squash in half and scoop out the seeds.  Slice to make six lengthwise sections.

Place the squash slices a large baking dish with 1/2 inch of water in the bottom, then sprinkle with salt and ground cinnamon.

Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes at 350 degrees or until fork tender.

I start with a box of Savory Herb Stove Top Stuffing, then I like to doctor it up a bit.

Dice 1/2 cup onion, 1/4 cup celery (including leaves), 1/4 cup bell pepper, 1/4 pecans and 2 cloves of garlic.

Saute in 1 tablespoon of olive oil until tender.

Add salt, pepper and crushed dried thyme leaves (or poultry seasoning) to taste.

Mix sauteed vegetables with bread crumbs from the mix box.

Boil 1 cup of water with 4 tablespoons margarine.  Stir the hot liquid into the bread crumb and sauteed vegetable mixture. 

Remove any remaining water from the baking dish. Cover acorn squash with the stuffing mix.

Cover and bake for 30 minutes at 350 degrees. Remove the foil and bake an additional 15 minutes to brown the top of the stuffing.

This makes a great side dish or a hearty vegetarian entree.

Do you have any vegetarian or side dishes you would like to recommend? -- Margy