Saturday, October 21, 2017

Toad in the Hole

Toad in the Hole
On a quad ride in nearby Chippewa Bay, I did a bit of exploring on my own while Wayne rode some of the new logging roads.

Wayne doesn’t like wait when I stop to take pictures, so splitting up for a while gives us both a chance to enjoy what we love best.

On the side of a new logging road covered with crushed rock, I found a Western Toad (Anaxyrus boreas) hiding in a hole he had excavated under a jumble of medium sized rocks. He looked snug and well protected from other critters, but maybe not the weight of large logging trucks hauling massive loads. This is one reason they are on the B.C. Provincial Yellow List and are a species of "conservation concern."

Hiding under rocks on the side of a new logging road.

My first thought was to call him “Toad in the Hole.” I remember that was the name of a fast food booth at the Los Angeles Country Fair when I was a kid. I looked it up online and Toad in the Hole is a British dish made with sausages baked in Yorkshire pudding batter.

But enough of my culinary sidetrack. Western Toads are found in rocky areas, but usually near streams or ponds. This is because they reproduce in a water environment. Tiny young toads emerge in late summer to fall, often in large groups covering paths and roadways.

Sitting still through his photo session.

The Western Toad chooses to live in abandoned animal burrows or holes under piles of rocks. They can also dig themselves into sandy soil if it is available.

Western toads have warty skin with a large oval parotoid gland behind each eye that secretes a substance to deter predators. Toad colours vary from gray to greenish with black-spotted reddish brown warts.

A long dorsal stripe and parotoid gland behind his eye.

I took lots of pictures, but didn’t disturb my Toad in the Hole. If I was a predator, his glands would have exuded a neurotoxin with a bad taste. But I wouldn’t have to worry about catching warts. That’s just an old myth.

Toads are good to have around. They eat lots of insects; so, if you see one in your garden, leave it alone. It will be a good neighbor and fun to watch.

Do you have toads where you live? Do you have any toad stories to share?

References: Nature: An Illustrated Guide to Common Plants and Animals BC by James Kavanagh (Lone Pine, 1993), British Columbia: A Natural History by Richard Cannings and Sydney Cannings (Greystone Books, 2004), Plants and Animals of the Pacific Northwest by Eugene N. Kozloff (Greystone Books, 1995) and B.C. Frogwatch Program (online).

Thanks for visiting my post this week. I'm linking up with Camera Critters and Saturday's Critters. Check them out for more great animal pictures. -- Margy

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Somewhere Over the Rainbow

O is for Somewhere Over the Rainbow

This time of year with short days we often fly home on Pacific Coastal Airlines. It takes about 25 minutes from Vancouver International Airport rather than five or so hours by car and ferry. On this flight, it was partly cloudy, with scattered showers. As we broke through the overcast, below our wings a rainbow formed.

I always knew my Powell Lake float cabin home was in paradise.

 Now I know it's also the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.

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. 

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, October 12, 2017

Refrigerator Pickled Peppers

This year I grew a variety of peppers including bell, banana, jalapeno, and Anaheim. I used my jalapeno peppers to make hot salsa and Cowboy Candy (sweet pickled hot peppers). I used a mix of bell, banana and Anaheims in my sweet cucumber pickle relish. Now that my plants have stopped producing, I picked enough to make one jar of refrigerator pickled peppers.

I picked a recipe from the Safe Canning Recipes Facebook page that I follow. It's a great place to learn about canning from experts. Click here to find their pepper recipe linksClick here for the Refrigerator-Pickled Banana Peppers recipe on the "Who Needs a Cape" blog.

Refrigerator Pickled Peppers


3 cups of vinegar (white or apple cider)
4 medium-sized banana peppers
1/4 cup sugar
1 tbsp. salt
6-10 garlic cloves, peeled
1/2 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp dill (or fresh dill sprigs)
1 tsp black peppercorns (divided)
2 clean jars


Wash and prepare peppers. I used a combination of banana peppers and Anaheim chilies (a mild variety).  I found that one medium and seven small peppers would not quite fill a pint jar.

Slice (if desired) and remover seeds (if desired). I chose to cut mine in rings and include most of the seeds. Be sure to wear gloves for spicier peppers. Peel garlic cloves.

Combine vinegar, sugar, salt, oregano, dill and 6 garlic cloves in a medium saucepan. Bring to boil then reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes.

Raw pack prepared peppers to warm sterilized jars. Add peppercorns and fresh dill, if desired.

Strain brine mixture and discard scraps. I strained and filled my jar in one step. Fill jars with brine to cover the contents.

Cover lightly the jars with canning lids during the cooling process. Once the jars are cool, discard the canning lid and over with a screw-type lid.  Transfer the jars to the refrigerator.

I used a pasta sauce jar and a repurposed plastic lid for my pickles. Since refrigerator pickles don't need to be processed in a water bath, this was a good use for my recycled items.

Let the peppers steep in the brine for at least 24 hours before eating.  The longer they sit, the better they will become. Keep the jars refrigerated so you can enjoy these peppers with salads, sandwiches or as a tangy snack.

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.

Head over to Blogghetti for Happiness is Homemade to see more recipes, crafts and DIY projects. on over to Sunny Simple Life for more simple ideas for your home or homestead. -- Margy

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Marine Avenue, Powell River BC

M is for Marine Avenue

Highway 101 is called the Pan-America Highway because it runs all the way from Canada down to the tip of South America.

Our nearby community of Lund boasts that it is the end (or beginning) of this lengthy intercontinental thruway.

But within the limits of Powell River, BC, it's better known as Marine Avenue.

Marine Avenue starts in Westview and ends in the Historic Townsite.  There's a lot of history along this roadway. When the Townsite was created for the workers at the papermill in 1910, it was known as Oceanview.

In 1959, the name was changed to Marine Avenue.  On the east side there's Manager's Row. These large homes originally housed the papermill's most important employees. Perched above the Strait of Georgia, they had a birds-eye view of the ocean and mill below.

As Powell River's population grew, people moved to homestead land north and south of the company owned town. The community that grew to the south was called Westview. The "main drag" became Marine Avenue.  Today you can still see many of the old buildings preserved as stores, restaurants and homes. Thanks to "You Know You Grew Up in Powell River" for sharing this historic picture on Facebook.

Today Marine Avenue is an important part of life in Powell River. It's the location of important events such as the Blackberry Street Party and the Santa Claus Parade.

It's also the home of Powell River Books.

Come take a stroll down Marine Avenue. Maybe I'll see you there.

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

Friday, September 1, 2017

Blue Summer Skies at Dodd Lake

Viewpoint on Goat Main overlooking Goat and Powell Lakes.
On a recent quad ride with friends in the Powell River backcountry, we stopped at a picnic spot at the north end of Dodd Lake.

To get there you turn off Highway 101 at Dixon Road then take Goat Lake Main past the Dodd Lake Campground to Windsor Lake Main. Turn right until you reach an old logging road that leads down to the lake and a picnic area right on the shore. This last section is best done by quad, mountain bike or hiking.

Picnic shelter at the north end of Dodd Lake.

There are so many great places to explore in the Powell River backcountry.

A pocket gravel beach near the picnic spot.

Some are maintained by logging companies like Western Forest Products. Click here and you can download a map that shows logging roads in the area.

Beautiful cumulus clouds on a warm summer day.

This picnic site is maintained by it's users. As you can see we take good care of it.

Do you have user maintained recreation sites where you live? Are they well maintained? -- Margy