Saturday, August 19, 2017

Off the Grid: Getting Started

The first night sleeping in a tent at our off-the-grid cabin.
Sometimes life presents opportunities that are too difficult to ignore. That's the way it was for us when we discovered British Columbia's Sunshine Coast. We came here on a flying vacation in 2000 and fell in love with the area. In 2001, finding a unique off-the-grid float cabin on Powell Lake sealed the deal.

John during construction of a bathroom addition.
We purchased a cabin built by a local named John. We knew very little about off-the-grid living, but were avid campers. In fact, we camped on the cabin deck until the transfer was final.

Wayne helps John install a new front dock.
We say that when we purchased our cabin, John came with it. Over the years he's been our off-the-grid living mentor and a good friend. By working along with John at our cabin and others around the lake, we've become more self reliant. Without his help, getting started would have been a lot more difficult for two "city-folk".

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.

Newest Release

Coastal BC Stories

Check with your favourite online bookseller or go to for more ordering information.

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.

It’s time for “Outdoor Wednesday.” Click HERE for more outdoor pictures. -- Margy

Monday, August 07, 2017

How to Make a Twirling Bottle Bird Feeder

A little over a year ago I saved directions about how to make a twirling bottle bird feeder from one of my favourite blogs, Wanderin' Weeta (With Waterfowl and Weeds).

The twirling design was to make it squirrel proof. My problem isn't squirrels, but a Steller's Jay that is making a mess with my bird feeders. He's too big and knocks the seeds into the lake.

Here are the directions from Wanderin' Weeta's site, slightly modified:


  • Empty plastic pop bottle with screw-top lid
  • Clean thin twig about 8 inches long
  • Sturdy twine
  • A washer or nut
  • Duct tape
  • Sharp knife
  • Hammer 
  • Small nail, large nail and a straight pen
  • Choose a clean plastic pop bottle.
  • Remove the label.
  • Push a small nail through the plastic about an inch and a half up from the bottom. Use a large nail then a straight pen to make the hole fit the stick.
  • Make another hole on the opposite side of the bottle.
  • Use a nail and hammer to make a hole in the center of the lid.
  • Use a sharp knife to cut two inch horizontal slits about 1/2 inch above each hole. 
  • I used duct tape to cover the sharp lower slit edges.
  • Squeeze just above the slits to make U-shaped openings for birds to reach the seeds. 
  • Thread twine through the slits. Tie one end firmly around the top of the bottle just below the lid. Pull on the other end until the twine holds the two U-shaped sections permanently open. Tie firmly around the neck of the bottle. 
  • Force the twig (I used a length of bamboo plant stake) through the bottle. It should fit snugly. This will make the perches.
  • Thread another length of twine, about 3 feet long, through the lid. Tie the inside end around the washer or nut. Pull the washer tight inside the lid and tie a knot on the outside. 
Finishing Touches:
  • Fill your bottle with bird seed. 
  • Screw on the cap.
  • Hang the bird feeder from a tree or post. To keep squirrels off, hang it at least a foot away from any branch. 
I hung my new twirling bird feeder on the bridge railing.

Did it solve my Steller's Jay problem? Well, not completely. But with smaller holes in the feeder, the Oregon Juncos at least have a fighting chance to get something to eat before it all gets flicked out.

Thanks Wanderin' Weeta for giving me this great idea. And for my readers, I highly recommend visiting her website. She's a nature expert, superb photographer and takes us along to explore Vancouver Island's many trails and back roads.

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, August 02, 2017

Old Timer

For more wordless pictures from around the world check out Wordless Wednesday.

It’s time for “Outdoor Wednesday.” Click HERE for more outdoor pictures. -- Margy

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Homemade Garlic Dill Pickles

This year I grew two key ingredients for my dill pickles. Of course, the first was pickling cucumbers. The other was dill. I picked up a seedling at the nursery. Boy has it grown and do the bumblebees love it.

I selected a recipe from my favourite Facebook group's website Safe and Smart Canning Recipes. It's a group that provides lots of assistance to experiences people and those of us just learning the art of canning. Here is the complete recipe. I only had enough cucumbers to fill two pints.

Garlic Dill Pickles


16 pickling cucumbers (depending on size)
2 cups apple cider vinegar
2 cups distilled white vinegar
4 cups water
5 tablespoons pickling salt
2 peeled garlic cloves per jar
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper per jar
1 teaspoon dill per jar
1/2 teaspoon black peppercorns per jar


In a large pot combine the vinegar, water and salt. Bring to a simmer. Arrange jars on counter. Place the spices and in the bottoms of the jars.

Wash and slice the cucumbers. You can slice them any way you prefer: coins, spears or chunks. Pack the slices firmly into the jars, leaving as little space in between them as you can.

Pour the brine into the jar, leaving 1/2 inch head space.

Wipe the rims, apply warm lids and rings, and process in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes. Promptly remove the jars from the pot and allow them to cool on a towel placed on the counter.

Make sure each lid has sealed (you will hear the popping sound as each jar seal). After 24 hours press down on each lid to make sure they do not pop back up. If they do not, the process is complete.

Garlic Dill Pickles

I followed the recipe but used my own fresh dill heads rather than the dried dill. These were easy dill pickles to make. Now all I have to do is wait for them to absorb all the flavours before enjoying my homegrown, homemade garlic dill pickles.

Do you make pickles? What are some of your favourite recipes?

Head over to Blogghetti for Happiness is Homemade to see more recipes, crafts and DIY projects. on over to The (mis)Adventures of a "Born Again" Farm Girl for more simple ideas for your home or homestead. -- Margy

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Goat Lake Barge and Quad Ride

One of our favourite spots to take the barge and quads is the head of Goat Lake. Because of a large construction project last year at a friend's cabin we didn't get there. Last week was our best chance while the lake level was still high enough.

Barge and quad routes for Goat Lake.

We offloaded our quads at the barge ramp and out of the way for two days of camping and riding on the logging roads and trails.

Since there isn't a dock at this location, we used our empty barge for both our tent platform, lounging spot and kitchen area.

The Eldred River flows into Goat Lake. Wayne took some time to do some catch and release fishing in the rushing water.

We stopped at the Eldred Valley rock climbing location. After walking down to the river we met a climber and he pointed out friends high on the cliffs. Here's one of the steel cable lines they use to cross the river to reach the high cliffs on the other side.

This trip we tried a new road, B Branch that heads up to Emma Lake. It was a nice shady overgrown logging road in good condition for a quad. We met a pickup coming out. He was having more difficulty, especially crossing a steep sided stream.

To get to and from Goat Lake you pass through meandering Goat River. At low water it is shallow and difficult to navigate. Where Goat River empties into Powell Lake there's a stump forest where logging occurred prior to the installation of the dam in the early 1900s. Follow the markings and floating buoys to stay clear. This passage is also part of the Powell River Canoe Route.

Wayne and I share driving duties in the barge. For such a large craft it is easy to drive and maneuver. It is also very stable even in rough water.

It's the best purchase we ever discovered on Craigslist.

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

Friday, July 21, 2017

Goat Lake Reflections

On our recent trip to Goat Lake we had beautiful weather.

Goat Lake reflections on a calm afternoon.

After mid-day uplake winds calmed we had a beautiful view with mirrored reflections to the southwest.

Stop by Weekend Reflections for more great photos from around the world.

Today is Sky Watch Friday. Go to the Sky Watch Friday website and you'll see sky photos from all over the world! -- Margy

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Powell Lake by Barge and Quad

Newest Release

Coastal BC Stories

And other Online Booksellers

Wayne and I have lived in our float cabin on Powell Lake since 2001. In 2003, our good friend John introduced us to quad riding.

In the beginning, we followed John around as he introduced us to the many logging roads and trails in the Powell River region. At that time, we kept our quads on a trailer in a hangar at the airport, and drove to off-load locations.

In 2012, we tried keeping our quads a short boat ride away from our float cabin.

It made it easier to go riding, but we were limited in the roads and trails we could explore. Plus, they were exposed to the elements.

Thus began our quest for a landing craft to house and transport our quads to all of the roads and trails around Powell and Goat Lakes.

In 2014, we found a perfect 22' barge on Craigslist and quickly bought it sight unseen.

Now our quads can remain at our float cabin, ready in an instant for day trips and camping adventures. We can also maintain them better and protect them from the weather.

In Powell Lake by Barge and Quad, you can join us for quad adventures to destinations on Powell and Goat Lakes accessible only by boat. You will visit unique places where all-terrain vehicles can explore logging roads and trails in picturesque British Columbia. 

Check with your favourite online bookseller or go to for more ordering information.