Saturday, February 27, 2016

Seveneves by Neal Stephenson and Endurance by Alfred Lansing

It's funny how one book can lead to another. I'm not a huge scifi fan, but I read a lot of books Wayne buys for his Kindle and puts in our shared family library.

Seveneves by Neal Stephenson is a novel about the breakup of the moon and how it lead to debris demolishing the earth in a Hard Rain. Humankind takes to the skies in a Cloud Arc of small spaceships to save the race and digital DNA of plants and animals. To wait out the thousands of years needed for earth to stabilize, the space colony builds a ship to salvage an asteroid needed for water and fuel. The ship was named the New Caird after the boat used by Sir Ernest Shackleton to escape the Antarctic in the early 1900's. Upon return to the space colony, the asteroid was merged with the remains of the space station and renamed the Endurance after Shackleton Antarctic exploration ship. I not only enjoyed this book about a possible future, but my interest in Shackleton's experience was peaked.

Endurance by Alfred Lansing was originally published by Carroll and Graf Publishers, Inc. (New York) in 1959. It's now available as a reprint by Basic Books or on Kindle. I found mine used at Cozy Corner Books in Coffee in Bellingham.

In 1914 during the age of exploration on earth, Sir Ernest Shackleton lead the Trans Antarctic Expedition. Both the North and South Poles had already been reached, so Shackleton proposed crossing the Antarctic continent as the next adventurous goal to be reached. His ship, the Endurance, carried the captain and a crew of twenty-eight. Due to heavy ice, they never made it to shore. They subsequently lost the ship to crushing ice in the Weddel Sea. In all, it was a two year story of true endurance to survive on ice floes, cross dangerous Arctic seas, and land on barren Elephant Island. Shackleton sailed the 22.5-foot James Caird 650 nautical miles away to a whaling station on South Georgia Island in a last ditch effort for rescue before starvation. It's an epic story of adventure, perseverance, struggle, leadership, and survival.

Amazingly, through all of the struggle, the captain and many crew members kept journals recounting the struggles. These were made available to Lansing and became a primary source for his account.

So the past and a scifi future come together. Both were about true adventurers who took the chances needed for ultimate rescue and survival. I recommend both books for your reading pleasure and enlightenment.

For more information about Shackleton and the Trans Antarctic Expecition check out:

South! - Illustrated account by Sir Ernest Shackleton
The Endurance - 2000 Movie
Shackleton - 2002 Movie
Shackleton - 2011 Documentary
Shackleton: Death or Glory - 2013 Television Series
Ernest Shackleton Movie - YouTube by Anthony Perry
The ICE 2014-16 Project

What are some of your favourite adventure stories? -- Margy

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Meatloaf Brasciole

When I get the chance, I like to watch Rachel Ray on the Food Channel. I don't make many of her recipes, but one caught my eye, Meatloaf Brasciole.

They are both favourite foods, now they come rolled (literally) into one. You can find her recipe at the link above. I made a few changes for my taste.

Meatloaf Brasciole


1 pound ground beef
1/2 pound bulk mild Italian sausage
1/2 cup bread crumbs
salt and pepper
2 cloves garlic minced
1/4 small onion chopped fine
3 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon Italian spice blend crushed
1 egg
1 cup arugula or spinach leaves
6 slices prosciutto
6 slices provolone cheese
extra-virgin olive oil for drizzling


Mix bread crumbs, salt and pepper, garlic, onion, Parmesan cheese, and Italian spice in a large bowl. Whip egg and stir into dry ingredients. Crumble hamburger and Italian sausage over the mixture and mix well by hand.

Line a cookie sheet with waxed paper and flatten meat to a 1/2" thick rectangle. Cover meat with arugula, prosciutto and cheese. Leave all four edges uncovered for sealing.

Use the waxed paper to help roll the Meatloaf Braciole ingredients into a large log much like a jellyroll.

Drizzle with extra-virgin olive oil to coat lightly.

Be sure to seal all sides to keep all of those goodies inside. The cheese just loves to try and ooze out.

Roast the meat roll for about 30 minutes in a 350 degree oven. It cooks quicker than you would think.

Remove and let it rest for 15 minutes before cutting. Cut in 1-inch slices and serve.

Top with a spoonful of marinara sauce and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese if you like. Serves 4-6 people.

I served my Meatloaf Brasciole with a pasta and broccoli side dish (much like the one on Rachel Ray's recipe page) and garlic toast. It was a nice and easy dinner for Mother's Day last Sunday.

Do you like to watch food shows? What are some of your favourites? Have you tried any of the recipes? -- Margy

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Flying to and from Bellingham International Airport (BLI)

Piper Arrow 997 at Bellingham International Airport (BLI).
Our airplane Piper Arrow 997 is home based at Bellingham International Airport (BLI). This is very convenient for us as we travel back and forth to Powell River.

BLI is located in northwest Washington near the Canadian border. This places it in an excellent position for border crossings. Customs and Immigration services are available on the field. It is also a good jumping off point for the San Juan Islands in the nearby Puget Sound (see San Juan Island Flying Adventure).

Final approach at Bellingham International Airport (BLI).
The airport is operated by the Port of Bellingham. There is plenty of transient parking on the ramp and services include fuel (Bellingham Aviation Services and Bellingham Fuel Services), maintenance and avionics. Bellingham is our home base and Whatcom Territory Aero Service (360-647-2376) is our maintenance facility.

Bellingham is also a very convenient airport for commercial operations.

Bellingham International Airport main terminal.
It's served by Alaska/Horizon and Allegiant airlines with destinations including Los Angeles, Phoenix, Las Vegas, Palm Springs, Oakland/San Francisco, Portland, Seattle, and even Hawaii.

Bellingham has excellent public transportation. The Whatcom Transportation Authority Route 50 bus stops at the Airport and the service can take you throughout the area at a very reasonable price. There are rental cars available at both the general aviation and main terminals. And of course there are many taxicabs. You can even catch the Quick Shuttle to Vancouver if you don’t want to fly yourself.

Bellingham Farmers Market at Depot Market.
Things to do in Bellingham:

Downtown museums, restaurants and shops

Farmers Market Saturdays April-December plus a Winter Market

Hiking trails throughout the area

Mt. Baker Highway drive to Artist Point and ski areas

Old Fairhaven with many shops and restaurants

For more destinations click Flying at the right. You can also try where pilots post other interesting destinations.
Fly high and fast! -- Margy

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Breakfast at Diamond Jim's Grill in Bellingham

Our good friend Jeanne suggested we try a new breakfast spot, Diamond Jim's Grill in Bellingham. It's one of the top ten breakfast spots listed on Yelp and I agree.

We went on a Sunday and weren't surprised that we had to wait for a table. The menu has lots of breakfast choices. I checked the menu out online so I already knew I wanted their 2-2-2 special for $6.99. That's two eggs, two breakfast meats, and two breakfast breads. I went for two eggs over easy, two sausage links, and two biscuits and gravy. I LOVE biscuits and gravy!

Wayne got the chicken fried steak and eggs, and Jeanne had the half order of Eggs Benedict. The portions are huge, but do offer a half portion for many items.

Because every table and stool at the counter was full, we had to wait a bit for our food. But the coffee kept coming while we waited. You can find Diamond Jim's Grill at 2400 Meridian St. They are open 7:00 am to 3:00 pm for breakfast and lunch. Wine and beer (some local choices) are available along with Mimosas to fancy up your breakfast fare.

Do you have any favourite breakfast spots? What puts them at the top of your list? -- Margy

Saturday, February 6, 2016

"Tisha" As Told to Robert Specht

People know me. I received several books for Christmas and have been busy reading ever since. One was Tisha, the story of a nineteen year old girl named Anne Hobbs who was assigned as the teacher for the small, remote gold-mining community of Chicken in Alaska in 1927.

Tisha reminded me of the memoir of Hughina Harold, the young teacher in Totem Poles and Tea who went to Village Island in Coastal BC to teach First Nations children in 1935. It also reminded me of the book Ralph Edwards of Lonesome Lake because the story was told to another person who served as the co-author.

Tisha (Bantam Books, 1977) was told by Anne Purdy (formerly Hobbs) to Robert Specht who put the engaging tale into a format that read like an adventure thriller. I stayed up late two nights because I couldn't put it down.

Tisha was what an Indian boy named Chuck called Anne because he couldn't pronounce "teacher." Anne grew up in a poor coal mining family. She longed for adventure, so after several years of teaching (she started at sixteen) she signed up to go to Alaska like she dreamed about with her grandmother.

After an arduous journey on horseback through harsh country, she found herself in Chicken, Alaska. It was a very small community with a predominately white population. Indian wives or partners and their children of mixed heritage were looked down upon by town residents. Not only did Anne have to contend with negative attitudes when she opened the school's doors to Indian children, but she had to create a curriculum and develop teaching materials with next to nothing to work with.

Anne was a natural born teacher. My mom was like that. Learning in her classroom was fun and exciting. Anne also got in trouble with the locals for falling in love with Fred Purdy, the son of a white man and an Eskimo wife. But without Fred's help, Anne wouldn't have been able to learn all the skills she needed to live through the harsh winter and come out as a true Alaskan, no longer a cheechaco (outsider).

Tisha is read by youths, young adults, and grown-up like me. It has universal appeal to the adventurer, those interested in history, and anyone who loves a good love story.

For more information about Anne Hobbs Purdy check out:
Anne's School House
Town of Chicken Website
Legend of Tisha Continues
Town of Chicken Facebook Page
Town of Chicken Facebook Album
1976 newspaper article following the publication of Tisha
The mining history of Chicken is still alive 
Tisha is available from Amazon in hardback, paperback and kindle formats. Also, check your local bookstore or favourite online vendor. -- Margy

Monday, February 1, 2016

Crockpot Turkey Meatloaf

When the weather is cold it makes me want to bring out the crockpot and make some of my favourite recipes. There's nothing better than a nice warm hearty meal after a long day working outdoors.

We love meatloaf, but on occasion like a lighter version. Here's a recipe for one using ground turkey.


Mom always added a touch of love.
1 1/2 pounds ground turkey
1 cup grated carrot
1 cup chopped onion
2 tablespoons oil
1/2 cup bread crumbs
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
1/8 cup ketchup
2 eggs
salt and pepper
seasonings to taste

Mix all ingredients in a large bowl. For seasonings I used salt, pepper, garlic salt, poultry seasoning, and thyme.

Form the meat into a rounded loaf in the bottom of the crockpot. Bake on low for 8 hours or high for 4 hours.

To make my meal a little easier, I added cut red potatoes to the pot to cook along with the meatloaf. Then I'll cook a few fresh veggies and make some garlic toast. That'll take the chill off any cool night. -- Margy