Monday, December 11, 2017

Christmas Shopping Suggestions

Give a little bit of
Powell River
for Christmas

Put a little "sunshine" in your holiday shopping. Head on over to and take a look inside these exciting books in Wayne's Coastal BC Stories series. They're popular with locals and visitors to the Sunshine Coast because they're all about our Powell River region. Each book focuses on a different perspective. I know there's one that will fit someone special on your holiday shopping list.

Up the Lake with stories about hiking, boating, flying and survival off the grid in a floating cabin on Powell Lake. This was the first book in the series and has a variety of stories about the Powell River region. Up the Main focuses on getting into the Powell River backcountry by bike, quad, and hiking. Come ride along with us on a quad to places like Theodosia Inlet, the head of Powell Lake, and on logging roads and local trails near and far.

Up the Winter Trail takes the reader snowshoeing, hiking and biking during the winter months. This would be a good book if you are planning on coming to the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver.

Up the Strait cruises the Strait of Georgia to uncrowded and pristine anchorages. Follow our 24' Bayliner Halcyon Days into Desolation Sound, to unique Mittlenatch Island and the Gulf Islands.

Up the Airway wings you across Canada to show off our beautiful country from up above. Fly along with us in our Piper Arrow, land to camp at remote strips with gorgeous scenery, and meet unique animals like the muskox.

Farther Up the Lake follows in the footsteps of Wayne's most popular book, Up the Lake. Read about living off the grid in a float cabin, the beauties of Powell Lake and the many different ways you can enjoy the backcountry.

Farther Up the Main takes you beyond the original Up the Main to explore the glaciers of Mt. Alfred, the remote Theodosia wilderness, a logging road ride to our cabin, and on an impromptu overnight stay waiting for a summer swollen stream to subside.

Farther Up the Strait takes you on voyages to more remote inlets and anchorages in Desolation Sound and beyond. Did you ever want to put a new engine in your boat? Follow along as our Halcyon Days gets a new lease on life and energy boost.

Cabin Number 5 follows John as he constructs a float cabin from the water up.  Over the years, when time and money are available, the cabin grows board by board. If you've ever dreamed of living off-the-grid, you'll enjoy Cabin Number 5 (yes, it's the fifth one John's built).

Off the Grid is the story of transitioning from city-folk life when we bought our cabin. We learned how to generate our own power, use propane for appliances, maintain a kitchen garden, live in harmony with nature, and exchange our hectic lives for a more simple lifestyle.

Beyond the Main takes you beyond the stories in Up the Main and Farther Up the Main as Wayne and I explore the Powell River and Powell Lake backcountry on our ATVs. Discover trails to ride and meet local off-road enthusiasts who are glad to show you the way.

Powell Lake by Barge and Quad takes you on a unique tour around the Powell River, BC, region. Following Up the Main, Farther Up the Main, and Beyond the Main, this book takes you on Powell and Goat Lake adventures with our barge loaded with quads to explore places few people get to see.

Off the Grid: Getting Started is the newest book in the Coastal BC Stories series. Following titles like Up the Lake, Cabin Number 5 and Off the Grid, this book gives the reader information and tips about how to go from city life to living off the grid. As in previous books in the series, our float cabin home is an example of how we made the move and lifestyle switch.

All books are available online in Kindle and Kobo and print formats through Amazon. E-book readers can also find the titles available through Smashwords and many other e-book sellers. Print books are also available locally in Powell River at Coles.

For more information, go to Happy last minute Shopping! -- Margy

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Overwintering Geraniums

When I lived in Southern California, geraniums were perennials. They remained in the garden year after year. Now that I live in Coastal BC with freezing temperatures and frost, they act as annuals when they're outdoor plants.

Covering method.

One year I tried saving my geraniums by mulching and covering them with plastic in their repurposed BBQ planter. It was marginally successful and several roots made it through the winter months to regrow when spring arrived.

Dormancy method.
Another year I tried the dormancy method. The plants were removed, the roots cleaned and the stems cut back before being wrapped in newspaper. After spending the winter in our condo guest bathtub, regeneration was again marginally successful.

Taking the planter indoors isn't an option. We travel during the winter and indoor cabin temperature can drop below freezing.

 Modified Indoor
Overwintering Method

Removing geraniums to transport to the condo in town.
This year I'm trying something new. I call it the modified indoor overwintering method. I removed the plants from their BBQ planters, but left their root balls intact and covered with soil.

I removed dead leaves and remaining flowers. A cardboard box lined with a plastic bag made was a good transfer container to take them to the condo in town. We leave heaters on low during winter, so there's no risk of freezing.

At the Dollar Store I purchased a plastic tub for $4.00. It was just the right size to hold all the geranium plants (a dozen) from my two BBQ planters.

Geraniums in their tub after a month indoors.
I filled the bottom with empty individual-sized plastic water bottles. Then I placed the geranium plants with their soil covered root balls in the tub. In between each plant I placed additional potting mix to help absorb and hold moisture. I placed the tub next to the glass door in the bedroom and leave the blinds open to let sunlight reach the plants.

When we go to town (about once a week) I check the moisture in the soil and add water as needed. I also remove any dead or dying leaves.  The plants have been in the condo for one month now and they are still doing well.

I will give you an update in the spring, but the experiment is worth it. For an investment of $5.00 (one tub and one small bag of potting mix) I'm potentially saving $35 (the cost of 12 plants minus my investment). And I'll have larger plants to start with. Another bonus.

Do you overwinter plants? What are some of the methods you use?

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.

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Value is Their Name: Value Village

V is for Value Village

I always go to thrift stores at home in Powell River. I keep a list of items I need or want, and sooner or later they show up.

Our home base in the States is Bellingham. We picked Bellingham because it has an airport for our plane, excellent health care, and city-folk things like shopping. When we are in town, I love to go exploring. I've found lots of thrift stores, but Value Village is my favourite.

Value Village is department store size and part of a chain of about 200 thrift stores across the US, Canada and Australia. They have mostly recycled items, but you will find some inexpensive new items mixed in, especially for holidays such as Halloween and Christmas. Their largest section is for clothing. They have some furniture, and a good mix of household items. Their prices are reasonable, and the profits are shared with local charities.

Recycling is an easy way to help our environment. By donating your unwanted items to a thrift store, they don't end up in a landfill. By purchasing a recycled item, you give back in two ways: to the charities the stores serve, and by giving a recycled item a new lease on life.

So, go out and have some guilt free shopping. It's good for you and the environment.

You will find the Bellingham Value Village off Meridian near Winco (my favourite grocery store).

Bellingham Value Village
150 East Bellis Fair Parkway Bellingham, WA 98226
(360) 733-233

Do you shop at thrift stores? What are some of your favourite ones? What is the best bargain you've ever found?

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

Monday, December 4, 2017

Christmas Shopping Suggestion

For pilots and aviation enthusiasts alike. Take to the skies for exciting flying adventures in Washington and Oregon.

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. The book includes hints about 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.

Print for $10.95
Kindle for $2.99
or free with kindleunlimited

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

Friday, December 1, 2017

Slip the Surly Bonds

This post was inspired by the famous aviation poem High Flight by John Gillespie Magee, Jr.

Eighteen year old Magee was an American who crossed the border into Canada to volunteer for the Royal Canadian Air Force. In 1941, he was assigned to the 412th Fighter Squadron at Digby, England.

He was inspired during a test flight in the new (then) Spitfire V to the high (then) altitude of 30,000 feet. He included the poem in a letter to his parents shortly thereafter. At the age of 19, Magee was killed in a mid-air collision with an RAF trainer.

I often think of this verse as we fly through and around the clouds here in the Pacific Northwest. It truly feels like you could "touch the face of God."

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, November 30, 2017

Beef Tamale Pie

Preparing the filling.
When we go to town, I cook things for our suppers that can also be frozen for future meals.  During colder months I like to make a large tamale pie to fit the bill. I started with a recipe by at The Spruce

Tamale Pie

Filling Ingredients:
  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil 
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 bell pepper, chopped
  • 3 stalks celery, chopped 
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1-8 oz can tomato sauce
  • 1-14.5 oz can stewed tomatoes, cut up
  • 1-15 oz can whole kernel corn, drained
  • 1-15 oz can kidney beans, drained
  • 1- 2.25 oz can sliced olives, drained
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
Preparing the cornmeal.

Cornmeal Base and Topping:
  • 3/4cup yellow cornmeal
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups cold water
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 cup grated Cheddar cheese for topping (optional)


Saute onions, garlic, green pepper, and celery in olive oil until translucent. Add chili powder and cumin and cook briefly to bring out the flavours.  Add tomato sauce, tomatoes, corn, kidney beans, olives, sugar, and salt. Heat to a low boil, then simmer uncovered for about 20 minutes until the flavours marry and it thickens.

Assembling the ingredients.
In a saucepan, combine cornmeal, salt and chili powder. Add water and cook over medium heat. Stir constantly until thickened. Mix in butter. If it's too thick, add extra water. Use cooking spray on a 9.5 x 9.5 inch (or similar) deep baking dish. Spread half of the cornmeal mixture on the bottom. Next layer all of the filling. Spread the remaining cornmeal over the top. Bake at 375° for 45 minutes. Sprinkle cheese over the crust about 10 minutes before the casserole is done.

Ready to serve with a golden brown cheese topping.
It was so good, Wayne and I ate almost a third. But I still had two large servings to freeze for future meals. And the best part, I didn't have to go to the store. Everything in the recipe was available in my pantry, refrigerator and freezer.

Do you have any favourite recipes that freeze well? We'd love to hear about them.

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.

Monday, November 27, 2017

Christmas Shopping Suggestions


And get special pricing at Amazon on two of our popular Kindle titles!

Off the Grid
Getting Started

Description: In Wayne's thirteenth book in the Coastal BC Stories series, he shares how we got started in making a home in a remote location away from public utilities and services.  Have you ever dreamed of moving off the grid and living in harmony with nature? What will it take? How do you get started? In Off the Grid: Getting Started, Wayne shares valuable insights from our experiences that will inspire and assist you in fulfilling your own dream of a major lifestyle change.

Click here for your special holiday Kindle price.

Across the Galactic Sea
First Contact Science Fiction Spaceship Challenger is on mankind’s first galactic voyage using a high-tech blend of space jumps and cryogenic hibernation. Captain Tina Brett leads her ship towards the ultimate goal, first contact with alien intelligence, until a navigational glitch changes everything. Then there's a mutiny, or is it something more? Six individuals on an epic journey for the good of mankind.

Click here for your special holiday Kindle price.


Click here if you need a Kindle or a free Kindle App.
Both books are also available in print format.

Happy reading from Wayne and Margy

Friday, November 24, 2017

Little Squalicum Park in Bellingham, WA

Bellingham Bay can easily be reached at Little Squalicum Park. It is an official Dog Off Leash Area but there's plenty of trails for people to walk, especially at low tide.

 I went to watch the sunset and found a family playing fetch with their dogs at the water's edge.

As you can see, Squalicum Beach is a popular place for dogs to run and play. This one sure was enjoying himself along with his humans. -- Margy

Monday, November 20, 2017

University of Southern California

For us, a trip to Los Angeles always means a visit to the University of Southern California. Wayne received his Master's Degree from USC. My dad almost got his doctorate there. We are what you might call a USC family, unless you talked to my Mom who graduated from UCLA. That must have been a marriage almost as difficult as my great grandmother who was Norwegian and married a Swede.

This week Wayne and I are on a "winter" getaway. The purpose is two-fold. We want sun and warmth while it's cold and rainy at our float cabin home. We also want to go to USC sporting events, especially the annual USC vs UCLA football game at the historic Memorial Coliseum.

What sport is more Southern California than beach volleyball? We sat in on a Sunday morning practice to soak up some rays while enjoying a game.

We also saw women's basketball at the Galen Center. This time the Women of Troy played California State University at Long Beach, my alma matre. That makes it another rivalry.

Each day we walked to our favourite bench in the main quad on campus. Here we can soak up those much needed rays and relax while reading and people watching.

We also took time to walk the campus. Buildings old and new are made with beautiful brickwork. Staying across the street in the Radisson Hotel makes walking everywhere easy.

USC has a long tradition. It welcomed its first 53 students in 1880. My dad worked on his doctorate in the 1950s and Wayne received his degree in 1976. Once a Trojan, always a Trojan. Fight on! -- Margy