Tuesday, October 9, 2012


Thanksgiving is upon us although you wouldn't know it by the weather. We have a lot to be thankful for this year as in each of the past several years. Thanks to our friends and family, without whom we would not have been able to build a cabin on Gambier Island.
We will be heading to the cabin this weekend for Thanksgiving turkey dinner on Sunday. Let us know if you would like to join us for this feast - we would love to see you.
Sonja and Kevin

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Not logical or low-impact but maybe long-lasting: arttificlal reef project looms

This past weekend was a bittersweet one for us as we face some major and unwanted changes in Halkett Bay. As we watched the seals in the bay I wondered what was in store for them in the days ahead, For some time we have been fighting against the sinking of a warship which is being touted as an ecological and economic boost to the area. However the more I read about artificial reefs the more convinced I am that, in this case at least, this is a bad idea. Recently the US government has put a stop to using ships of this era to create artificial reefs. In one case, fish in the area of a dumped ship saw an over 1000 percent increase in PCB levels. Proponents of this reef say that it will remediate a site which has been damaged by years of log booms, and while this area has been a booming ground, that's not the side if the bay they're planning to sink the ship on. I think what makes me angriest about all of this is that it is being done under the guise of 'enhancing' the natural habitat while little to no study has gone in to making sure this is actually the case. I know I have talked to several divers who assure me that artificial reefs are teeming with life but just like seagulls or bears at a dump, that doesn't reassure me that we've created a healthy eco-system.
The explosion from the sinking will likely kill nearby seals in the area and recent changes in environmental regulations pushed through in the latest budget mean that a thorough environmental assessment won't be required either. So how big an impact this 'eco-tourism' project will actually have may not be known for years to come. 
I've created a blog about some of the information I've gathered, you can find it here www.artificialreefsrealconcerns.blogspot.ca. There is also the savehalkettbay.com website.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

The Shingle Best Weekend of 2012

How many puns can people make using the words shingle and shake? About as many as the hundreds of nails that were used to put up the shingle siding on the power tower!

In addition to the many bad puns our long weekend also featured




and nature bingo!

ready to take the plunge

getting crafty!

We also had lots of neighbours and visitors coming to check out our progress. I am getting quite practised at our '7l cabin tour.' If I had to summarize the things I emphasized most about our building journey they were:
  • Start with things you love. In our case, it was the land first, then the windows which we built the house around.
  • Find some common ground that will shape your decisions.
  • Create a good base camp
  • Enjoy the process!
Big thanks to Mike, John, Maddy and Blake and our land partner Bill who brought the beautiful cedar shakes from Vancouver island,

Monday, August 27, 2012


Kevin discovered growlers at a local brewery. 64 oz bottles that you pay a deposit on. Cheaper than a six pack and the beer's quite tasty!

Kevin discovered

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Synchronized swimming and the beginning of the end of the scaffolding!

Another lovely weekend for Halkett Bay Builders!
Mike and Ralphie on the roof and breezeway

Maddy finishing the painting the window sills brown

We put our salvaged corplast on the east wall of the power tower. Now both sides of the tower have a nice diffused light during the day and a great glow at night.

and we got started on the siding for the power tower

What's missing from this picture? Scaffolding!! Sometimes taking something down feels like almost as big a deal as building something up! Taking down the scaffolding off the west wall of the cabin felt like a HUGE step forward!

And we still had time for fun and leisure

Lora studying to be our tree expert

Lunch time!

Lora and Kevin practising for the Halkett Bay Synchronized Swim Club!

What a fun and satisfying weekend!

Big thank yous to Mike, Maddy, Lora and her amazing gazpacho, Alex for coming over to finish his Chinese checkers game, Mother Nature and/or global warming for the amazing lightening light show.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Meteor weekend

This week we had visitors from Korea, Alberta and East Van!

Jan and Rich stopped in on their way back to Alberta to lend a hand with the roof and the siding

Sean (Shawn?) was visiting from Korea. He's a friend of Brad's and interested in doing a film project on sustainable building.

Highlights were the ukelele music, stargazing on the trampoline, swimming and Brad's impressive backflip. Thanks again to Brad, Shawn, Jan and Rich, the sun for shining and the Perseids Meteor shower for putting on such a great show!


Sean (Shawn?) came with B-rad

update for those interested in Halkett Bay

Hi everyone,

We had a great weekend with Pere, DeeDee, Sonia, Nitin, Brad and Alpha helping out moving the shed (see the video at 7lcabin.blogspot.com), preparing the power tower for siding, painting deck boards, installing
door hardware and even some plumbing and drywall! But it wasn't all work: Swimming, Booby trap, custom built beverages and Bocce balanced the weekend and the weather held.

We are looking forward to another great weekend of working and play.Conditions look great for some ocean swimming. If you are interested in joining us we will be there all long weekend and most weekends
through the end of September. Drop us a line, or an e-mail.

Sonja + Kevin

Monday, July 30, 2012

F(ant)astic weekend!

Another VSOP* weekend with great help from Pere, Deedee, Sonia (not me, the other one!) Alpha, Brad and Nitin.

Major accomplisments include installation of door hardware on the second floor, our very first drywall, the moving of the plastic shed and the discovery and destruction of a nest of carpenter ants. Nature highlights included deer, vultures, snakes, mice and a disturbingly large spider. Entertainment featured more Boobytrap, swimming, lots of food,  lively discussions of new technology, trampolining and bocce ball.

Alpha and Sonia show off their handiwork on the door

*visible signs of progress

See the whole Summer 2012 photo album

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

The view so far

The siding is now done on the south and west wall of the main cabin!

Trampolining with deedee


We used some of the 80 bolts we acquired on cragislist as bed legs for the two beds in the power tower. Good sitting height and a tote even fits underneath!


time out from building for a very serious game of the tantalizing and terrific boobytrap

Monday, July 16, 2012

New downstairs neighbours

The new downstairs neighbours and their kids are quite noisy!

A weekend of weather extremes with sun and thundershowers as well as a brief and very rare glimpse of the northern lights, witnessed on the breezeway roof by Kevin. I missed it completely because I had to pee...  It's hard being a girl sometimes.

Kitty came with us this weekend to chip in on pest patrol and hopefully the mice have gotten the hint. The french doors to the deck got put in and more fiddly bits of siding were installed. You'll just have to take my word for it though because I completely forgot to take pictures!

Sunday, July 8, 2012

summertime, siding and silly games

Wow, what a VSOP* weekend we had this weekend!

We started with great weather and this:

and ended with 

In between was even more good weather, lots of good food, good conversation and a few games of the 'tantalizing and terrific' game Boobytrap!

enjoying the furniture...

even the ride home is entertaining!

*Visible Signs of Progress

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Unsolicited testimonial!

the owner of the feet on the left sent us this email
Sonja and Kevin,

As a long standing member of the Halkett Bay Volunteer Labour Platinum Club (HBVLPC) allow me to offer this unsolicited testimonial.
Despite gnarly weather and some tough work, I can say to you straight that this past weekend was fabulous. The extensive re-modeling of the main living room has greatly enhanced the ambiance and this year's drinks selection is better than ever. Not only that, but new bedding has made the already five star accommodation even more enticing.
For those who remember the heady days when Mauri ribs were on the menu, I am pleased to report that this season's featured culinary specialty - butterfly chicken - matches the ribs for unparalleled succulent excellence.
From the scenic cruise to the island, through to the vintage red wine, the entertaining neighbors, the magnificent vistas, the up close wildlife encounters, and the witty literary conversation - this is an island experience like no other.


Siding the west side

Canada Day weekend at Gambier Island


Do you ever dream of spending Canada Day at a gorgeous island retreat?
Imagine drinking a cold beverage and watching the summer light fade on
the snow-peaked mountains as you review the days activities with
friends. Or waking to hot coffee watching the eagles drift lazily by.*

This could be you this weekend at Kevin and Sonja's Halkett Bay cabin.
Contact Kevin or Sonja to reserve your spot today.

*Some conditions apply.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Summer is finally here!

Hi everyone, It has been a slow start to the building season as I was taking a Saturday course for the past 10 weeks. This weekend will be our first full building weekend of the year. We are in a very enjoyable phase of the building where we are applying the siding to the building. Anyone who enjoys VSOP (Visible Sign of Progress) will enjoy putting up siding.
We have completed the guest cabin and most of the South wall of the main cabin.

 Since we last updated you we have added a trampoline to the recreational activities. In addition, the Canadian Grandmaster Disk Golf Champion has added the the disc golf course and improved the grounds for superior play off the tees and around the holes.

Mike test driving the trampoline we got for free on Craigslist

Molly and Malcom constructing a disc golf basket from an old blue bucket

The basket is even regulation size!

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Halkett Heights Cabin Project 2012

Happy new building year! This weekend will mark the official start of
the Halkett Heights Cabin Project 2012. Our goals for the year will be
-get the siding and roofing complete
-complete first inspection
-rough in the electrical
-rough in the plumbing
-have fun
-eat great food
-hang with friends
-add more knee braces to the foundation
-become proficient at disk-golf

Hope to see you there,

Kevin and Sonja

Monday, March 26, 2012

Weekend adventures and misadventures

For my birthday I wanted a weekend with friends and a comfortable place to sit!

interesting conversations 

and great food 

I did NOT want a test of our emergency evacation procedures when Maddy lost her balance and put her hands on the wood stove!!!
Fortunately, we had Mike on hand for some first aid and Jodi for TLC until she got to the emergency room in Vancouver. And she is now on the mend.

At Maddy's request we didn't let the crisis ruin our weekend and had a great Sunday of disc golf.

An adventurous and memorable weekend!

a blog about 1 cabin and 7 ideas

local / logical / lots of uses / long lasting / low impact / low cost /loveable

Big thanks to everyone!

Help Gambier Island

Gambier Island is facing numerous environmental threats at the moment when we are seeing a rebirth of wildlife. Wolves, whales, owls and more, all around us we see evidence of an eco-system on the rebound. But that resurgence is threatened by plans to allow clear-cutting, develop LNG plants, sink warships.