Sunday, July 19, 2020

Goin' Home to Powell River, BC


Our Powell Lake float cabin home.
As the Mick Jagger and Rolling Stones lyrics go:
I'm goin' home, I'm goin' home
I'm goin' home, I'm goin' home
I'm goin' home, bome, bome ...
Home, bome, bome ...
Back home,
Yes, I am.
Alright!
I bid a short farewell to my loyal Margy Meanders readers. Time has come for Wayne and me to leave for our Powell River Canadian home. We've waited since March to make the move due to strict quarantine requirements. But now is the time since the Canadian quarantine requirement was extended to August 31.

Wayne and I drove to the Pacific Highway crossing in Blaine. Because we became Canadian citizens in 2018 and Powell River is our home, we were allowed to cross the US/Canada border that is closed to non-essential travel for US citizens and other foreign nationals.

BC Ferries recommended that everyone remain in their vehicles.

Rules are in flux right now because of the COVID-19 pandemic, so check with the Canadian Border Service Agency and US Customs and Border Protection before you try to go.

Back in our Hewscraft finally heading up the lake.

We'd hoped to wait until the quarantine requirement was lifted, but decided it was best to go now while there was still some summer left to enjoy our float cabin home up the lake. And there couldn't be a better place to isolate ourselves for the required 14-day quarantine period and beyond if needed.

First Narrows on Powell Lake means we are almost home.

The border crossing was smooth and our BC Ferries connections worked perfectly even without reservations. We left the Bellingham condo (which has been our Washington residence for self-isolation) at 8:12 am after loading the last of the groceries to make it through the quarantine period, and arrived at our cabin deck at 6:15 pm. That's a little longer than normal to make the 260 kilometre (162 mile) trip because we built in extra time for border paperwork and early ferry terminal arrivals.

There's no place like home!

While we are up here in Powell River, there will be little content to share on Margy Meanders. But never fear, we will be back in Bellingham and the States by late September if pandemic conditions allow.

In the meantime, come visit us on the Powell River Books blog for Canadian and off-the-grid stories.

Living through the COVID-19 pandemic has been hard on everyone worldwide. Wayne and I hope you and your family are doing as well as possible during these difficult times. -- Margy


Thanks for visiting part of my world this week. For more great posts from Our World Tuesday, click here.

Also blog shares called Through My Lens by Mersad and Wordless Wednesday by Natasha.

And Travel Tuesdays at Intelliblog, Tuesdays with a Twist at Stone Cottage Adventures and My Corner of the World at Photographing New Zealand. -- Margy

Saturday, July 4, 2020

Exploring Bellingham: Window Hummingbird Feeder


Our condo balcony with a window hummingbird feeder.
In addition to our daily exercise walks, park visits and grocery shopping, Wayne and I are spending a lot of time indoors these days. Probably the same as you.

I miss my garden and visiting critters back home at the float cabin on Powell Lake.

To bring a bit of nature into our living space, I bought a geranium to tend and a hummingbird feeder to watch.


Because our cityfolk condo in Bellingham is on the third floor, I didn't want a hanging feeder that would drip. I researched online and found a model that could sit on a flat surface. I ordered one ffrom Fred Meyer for parking lot pickup. Unfortunately, it wasn't available.

The ant moat with suction cups is on the left, and the feeder insert on the right.

Then I discovered window feeders. The railing around our condo's balcony has a glass insert, so I chose the Juegoal Window Hummingbird Feeder that shipped direct from Amazon.

It's hard to get a closeup with my iPhone through the window.
It comes with an ant moat that attaches to the glass with two suction cups. The feeder lifts out for easy cleaning. I leave it in place to fill to prevent sugar water spills. I haven't needed to fill the ant moat with water, but back home up the lake it was a necessity.

Almost immediately, a hummingbird came to the feeder. Maybe my geranium with bright pink flowers enticed him (or her) all the way up to the third floor.

I've only seen one hummingbird, but he faithfully comes for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Sitting on the built-in perch enjoying sips of sugar water.

He must be keeping the ready supply of food a secret, unlike what happened back home. Here's a video of a hummingbird feeding frenzy at the float cabin.


Do you have bird feeders? What kinds of birds visit your home?

Thursday, July 2, 2020

Quarantine Cuisine: Oven Baked BBQ Pork Ribs


BBQ ribs on the grill back home at the float cabin.
We really miss the BBQ grill up at the float cabin. Practically every night, Wayne would cook meat or fish on the grill to go with the sides I made in the cabin kitchen.

In the beginning of our stay here at the Bellingham condo, our meals were varied. Now, after eating in for four months, our menus have become repetitive. I saw in the Fred Meyer flyer that spareribs were on sale. I decided to try cooking them in the oven instead.

I decided to follow BBQ Oven-Baked Ribs by Makinze Gore at Delish. I used the directions to prepare and cook the ribs. I didn't use the BBQ sauce portion. Instead I used my favourite commercial Sweet Baby Ray's Original BBQ Sauce. It's like a taste of home.

Click here to see the complete recipe. My modifications are in italics.

Oven Baked BBQ Pork Ribs

Ingredients:

A dry rub adds flavour.
2 pound baby back ribs
1/2 cup packed brown sugar (I omitted)
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon ground mustard
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Directions:

Bake covered first.
Rinse the ribs under cold water, pat dry, then peel off the tough “silverskin” membrane over the bones if the butcher hasn't already done so. Use a paring knife to loosen the edge and pull.

In a bowl, stir together the ingredients for a dry rub. I omitted the brown sugar. Massage the mixture into both sides of the ribs. Let the ribs rest for an hour or more to absorb the flavours.


Baste with BBQ sauce rib side first.
Place the ribs on a prepared baking sheet. Cover with foil. I used my large roasting pan with its rack and lid. 

Preheat the oven to 300° and bake the ribs meaty side up low and slow until very tender, about 2 hours. I added a small amount of water to the pan to create moist steam during cooking.

Prepare your BBQ sauce unless you use a commercial variety like I did.

Broil after basting one more time.
After one hour, turn the ribs over bone side up and continue to bake covered.

After two hours remove the cover, brush BBQ sauce over the bone side. Return to the oven and bake uncovered at 350° for an additional 15 minutes.

Turn the ribs to meaty side up and brush with BBQ sauce. Return to the oven and bake uncovered at 350° for an additional 15 minutes.

Turn the oven to broil. Brush the meaty side one more time with BBQ sauce. 

Ready to eat to celebrate an indoor Canada Day 2020.

Broil until the sauce starts to caramelize, 2 to 4 minutes. Watch carefully so it doesn't burn.


Happy Canada Day to all my Canadian friends.
The combination of low and slow cooking and broiling at the end makes the ribs almost like they came off the BBQ grill. Mine turned out great, minus the grill marks.

BBQ ribs were a great way for us to celebrate an indoor Canada Day on July 1. If you are in the States, why not try them for the 4th of July.

What did you fix for your holiday celebration? - Margy

Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Exploring Bellingham: Zuanich Point Park


Zuanich Point Park in Bellingham, Washington.
There are many parks and trails in Bellingham, Washington. During our stay in town over these pandemic months, we've taken advantage of several. And the good news, there are many more to explore.

We took my car to the Mazda dealer for it's first inspection. We were south of town, so on the way back we decided to visit Zuanich Point Park next to the Squalicum Harbor where we used to keep the Bayliner 2452 that is now in Powell River.


Looking across Bellingham Bay to the Fairhaven neighbourhood.


David checking out the kayaks during the 2011 Ski to Sea race.
Zuanich Point Park is well known as the launch point for the kayak portion of the annual (except this year) Ski to Sea race. We went one year with our good friend David who was visiting from California.

Zuanich Point Park's history is linked to the harbor's development. In the 60s, the Port of Bellingham acquired waterfront parcels for development. Squalicum Harbor was expanded to support industry, fishing and recreational boating. In 1990, an acre was set aside for a kite flying park.

The park was expanded and named Harbor Point Park in 1994. In 1995, it was renamed Zuanich Point Park in honor of retiring Port Commissioner Pete Zuanich, Sr.

The entrance to Squalicum Harbor and the Bellweather Hotel.

Today Zuanich Point Park covers 4.4 acres and includes free parking, the Squalicum Boathouse available to rent, grass for lounging and picnics, paved trails for walking between the recreational and commercial harbours, a nautical themed children's play area, a small dock for water access, and of course, room to fly a kite.

The Anchor Memorial to lost fishermen.
There are two memorials within Zuanich Point Park to honour the fishermen who went to sea and did not return.

The first is large anchor that was moved to the park on dedication day in 1995 as a memorial to fishermen lost at sea between 1943 and 1975. Names on the plaque were supplied by a society of widowed wives.

The park was redesigned and improved in 1998.


"Safe Return" Fishermen's Memorial.
The bronze Fishermen's Memorial statue “Safe Return” was installed and dedicated on Memorial Day in 1999. It overlooks the entrance to Squalicum Harbor.

We walked the park's paths and sat on a bench to enjoy the sun, relax and read. It was also a great spot to people watch. There were walkers, joggers, families on the grass and children playing nearby. It felt good, like we are starting to emerge into a new kind of normal.

You will find Zuanich Point Park at 2600 North Harbor Loop Drive on Bellingham’s waterfront.  Nearby are nautical stores, restaurants and the Bellingham Yacht Club. Dine with a harbour view and watch commercial fishermen tend to their boats.

What kinds of parks are you visiting these days? -- Margy

Thursday, June 25, 2020

Quarantine Cuisine: Strawberry and Rhubarb Crisp


Growing rhubarb in a barrel at the float cabin.
Back at the float cabin I grow rhubarb in a large plastic barrel on the deck. My rhubarb never gets really large, but it was always tasty. My little put usually gave me enough fresh rhubarb for three crisps during the summer months.

Here in the city I had to buy my rhubarb at the store. I order online and do parking lot pickup so I didn't get to pick my stalks. One of the three I got was the largest I've ever seen, but it seemed tender.

Dave, our good friend in Powell River, is a master crisp maker. He gave me his recipe. That's a real friend. But my recipe file is back home so I went back to TasteofHome.com to find a one. Click here if you want to see the video that goes with it.

Strawberry and Rhubarb Crisp

Fruit mixture ingredients.
Ingredients

Fruit Mixture:

3/4 cup sugar
3 tablespoons cornstarch
3 cups sliced fresh rhubarb or frozen rhubarb, thawed
2 cups sliced peeled apples or sliced strawberries


Crisp topping ingredients.
Topping:

1 cup quick-cooking or old-fashioned oats
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup butter, melted
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Vanilla ice cream, optional

Directions

Clean and cut rhubarb into 1" pieces. Wash and cut strawberries in half. I also had some frozen leftover blueberries and blackberries that I also added to the fruit mixture.

Clean and cut the fruit ingredients.

In a large bowl, combine sugar and cornstarch. Add rhubarb and strawberries; toss to coat. Spoon into an 8-in. cast-iron skillet or other ovenproof skillet.

Cornstarch will thicken fruit juices during baking.

In a small bowl, combine the oats, brown sugar, butter, flour and cinnamon until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Sprinkle over fruit. Bake at 350° until crisp is bubbly and fruit is tender, about 45 minutes.

Add the topping then bake.


A sweet treat for dessert.
If desired, serve warm with ice cream. It also makes a good breakfast bowl, warm or cold, the following morning.

What have you been making to satisfy your sweet tooth to go with your home cooked meals? -- Margy

Monday, June 22, 2020

Exploring Bellingham: Enjoying Local Parks While Social Distancing


Do you have favourite parks? Here in Bellingham ours is Marine Drive Park. It's small and cozy. We go there often to read and soak up the sun.

A reading "room" with a view.

Other people do, too. They come in cars, on bikes and walking from neighbourhood homes.

Marine Drive Park is family and dog friendly.

There are picnic tables and benches and plenty of lawn to spread out on.

We bring our chairs to enjoy the fresh air and sunshine several times a week.

And an occasional freight train just adds to to the experience.

Burlington Northern-Santa Fe trains haul coal and freight to Vancouver BC.

Where is your favourite place to get outdoors? -- Margy