Wednesday, October 30, 2013

The looking back on the posts post

I recently found this piece of paper lying around the cabin. It's a record I made of a milling session when Kevin was cutting the logs into posts. This documents the amount of time (2 hours) it took to mill 3/4's of one post for the foundation.

Here are some more photos from that fun but exhausting time when we were milling and building the foundation.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Late October

The weather was perfect, the food was great and the card playing highly competive! A great weekend all around.
Terrible picture but great food: sitting down to a dinner of BBQ chicken, ribs and potato salad.
Curious fur-filled poop discovered on the upper road. Cougar?

What is this amazing monolith? Could it be the very first post in the new railing system? 

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Thanksgiving 2013

This is Kevin taking a shadow selfy and enjoying a Thanskgivng sunrise. We had so much to be thankful for this year: good food! amazing weather! roof! walls! wood stove! long extension cords that bring power from the power tower! cute dog! cute partner! and last but not least the 70 PEOPLE WHO HAVE HELPED US OVER THE YEARS!

many thanks to:
jesse patrica billg dale coe pere deedee marc matt janice alex don lewis willy molly jose sara pancho pat winram the Swiss family of three whose names we can't remember! cath naomi maddy jordana terry+2 sonia chris nitin brad alpha blake shawn sean louise nessa miles suzanne doug rohini jodi bill mike john kevin n grady christa kevin l annie simon jerome eric rick courtney eric jan rich rj miss kim derek yael birgitte lora drew waylon / frances / kristen

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Fog and fun

A hike around the property and through the park

Robin and Kevin playing mancala

We were promised sunshine but instead it turned into a curiously foggy weekend.  Fall is definitely in the air but that means the start woodstove and bonfire season is just around the corner!

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Labour Day weekend 2013

What an amazing weekend it was! The very last of the scaffolding was taken down. Can we get a woo-hoo?  And almost as quickly as it was taken down it's being transformed into new decking for the 'grotto' the rather large and airy space underneath our cabin. 

When the crew wasn't building there was some good eating happening with my second and most successful attempt at pork ribs in a homemade molasses BBQ sauce and some very delightful chocolate chip cookies provided by Mike. Nigella if you are reading this, I can tell you that Mike can follow a recipe like a hot damn and is pretty handy with power tools too. He is also a skilled crib player as his 4-0 victory over Kevin will attest. Just something to think about now that you are single....

The tray I made from leftover cedar battens and siding was quickly put to use for coffee and crib. 

Other highlights included swimming, mancala playing (Kevin got his revenge here) spotting of seals and a small weaselish creature by the dock and a lot of general basking in end of summer.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Cabin inspiration from a few bays away

This past weekend we went to visit a friend on another part of the island, near where Kevin and I got married (nearly 14 years ago!) Her work and energy are always inspiring so I could have taken dozens of photos but here are just a few of my favourite details about her place. 

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

July flies by

July has gone by so fast! We got the initial inspections done, found a set of stairs floating in Howe Sound, built decks, grew tomatoes, ate great food, rescued Ralphie when he fell off the dock, trampolined up a storm and enjoyed every minute of the amazing weather. 

Just to summarize where we are:
  • the initial inspections by the engineer and the permits people have been done which means we can now begin the wiring, plumbing etc.
  • the exterior is completed except the gutters and interior of the breezeway
  • the decking (except the interior of the breezeway) are completed
  • the tomatoes we are growing are delicious!
  • Fresh grown mint and bourbon go very nicely together
Big thanks to Maddy, Kristen, Brad, Sean, Nessa and Matt

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Long weekend at Halkett Bay

Hi y'all,

Apologies for the infrequency of correspondence. I am sure that you have been checking our blog ( for the latest updates on our cabin building adventures. We have been up on Gambier Island most weekends this spring and plan to continue into summer. OUr project is going pretty well although I was reminded that we need to renew our building permit as it has been 6 years since we first got ours!

The weather has been a mixed bag this spring but look what the long weekend has in store:


Graphic forecast

26 Jun

A few showers
  • 18°C

27 Jun

Chance of showers
  • 60%
  • 22°C
  • 15°C

28 Jun

Chance of showers
  • 30%
  • 24°C
  • 16°C

29 Jun

  • 24°C
  • 17°C

30 Jun

  • 24°C
  • 16°C


  • 25°C
  • 15°C

We have been enjoying our first attempts at gardening, great food and a championship disk golf course right at our doorstep. If you feel like joining us let us know and we can make arrangements. Look forward to seeing you all this summer,

Sonja + Kevin

Monday, June 24, 2013

Crittter report: mysteries solved and mighty cute marten spotted

 For years we have heard a strange booming sound in the early evening. Our theories were belching deer or bullfrogs. Our land partner Bill has finally solved the mystery.

"So I heard that eerie bellow from the pond. This time I was determined to track it down. As I snuck up on the croaking frogs, there was that bellow again and again. No buck to be seen, so a bull frog it had to be. Damn - didn't those froggies sense the danger they were in? As I drew level with the pond, the bellow seemed to drift up Andrew's hill. In billygoat mode I charged up but the bellow seemed to draw further away. One speedy bullfrog I thought. As I neared the top of the hill, the bellow suddenly transformed to a roar, seemingly from a nearby tree. I paused and waited, admittedly a little scared, thinking in this fading light I was about to confront the mother of all climbing bull frogs. Thirty seconds and there it was again, but 50' further east, then south, then west. This was super climbing, flying mother of all bull frogs messing with my head!

Then looking up I finally saw the flying bull frog. And yes it had wings, beautiful long narrow wings. I think it's called a night hawk, which does this acrobatic manoeuvre, similar to a humming bird, where it climbs high, stalls, does a head first dive at high speed and pulls up just before hitting the ground. It's the pull up that makes the bellow. Long live flying bull frogs."

A second mystery developed when a little reddish creature was spotted near the road and on the deck. Bigger than the ermine we spotted a few years ago and not the right colouring or location for an otter, we weren't sure what it was. But After a third sighting we are pretty sure we have a lovely pine marten neighbour.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Decking discs and divine dining

It's been a great spring so far. We've had mint from our planters, good times on the green roof and of course the nearly completed exterior siding!
But even among great weekends this weekend was special.

In the work department, Kevin finished some milling and Mike and Malcolm started on the much -anticipated decking.

He's a lumberjack and he's OK

is that decking going down? oh my so it is!

Monday, April 15, 2013

Green roof part 2 and lots more visible signs of progress

What a VSOP (visible sings of progress) weekend it turned out to be.

We finished the breezeway roof and planted our first plants. 
We made and planted several self-watering planters
We fixed the broken seats on the boat
We ate great food
We took down the scaffolding off the south wall

We finished the breezeway roof and planted our first plants. 

Maddy and Kevin working on the decking for the roof.

The decking is made in two parts so the underside can be accessed if needed.

Self watering planters from old totes

We got these totes for free from a local organic produce delivery service. Some had broken sides and a few had broken bottoms, so between the two it worked out nicely. These are an earth box/sub irrigated planter design. The bottom tote holds water, and the top tote has a well cut into it. I used a plastic yogurt container and plastic flower pots to create the inserts. This dips down into the water in the first bucket, with the moisture being sucked up as needed. In theory it should water the whole planter. The pipe on the side is to fill the water reservoir.

Landscape fabric keeps dirt from clogging the holes in the well bottoms. These are the half-height bins so even with dirt in them they were manageable to move.

We had the plastic tubing on hand but if I'd had to buy something for this I would have tried bamboo. I think a nice thick stalk would look beautiful!

I've been saving up bits of rope in anticipation of some craft project. I like that it's all different but all yellow.

 I did buy the coffee bags for $1.50 each and the plants which were about $3 each. I planted mint, basil, oregano, thyme and chives. I have a few more totes so I think I will try some greens too. 

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Green roof adventures part 1

This Easter weekend we took out first steps towards putting in a green roof on the breezeway. Because the Resist-eau coating we put on the roof wasn't UV proof, it was important that we get it covered this year.

I spent about three weeks looking for the drainage mat online, I found places in California and Ontario. Then miraculously I found a place in Burnaby that had exactly what we needed. You don't always need a drainage mat for a green roof but because our roof is quite flat (it slopes about 1.5 inches every four feet) drainage is very important.

We had top soil which we mixed in with pumice and coconut coir. We picked coconut coir since it's a by-product and renewable, unlike peat moss, and we picked pumice over perlite again for its lower environmental impact. I'd read about some even greener alternatives, such as recycled glass growstones but these don't seem to be commercially available yet, We used 1/3 of each material. I'm a little worried this mix will hold too much water since both pumice and coir are more water-retaining than their counter-parts but we'll see how it goes.

 Kevin found a rock down the hill for the step. He not only had to move it up the hill to the cabin, but then get it to the second floor. He got a little peeved when I laughed at him rolling it up the hill,

Next week we'll finish the dirt and hopefully do some planting!

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Halkett Bay update

Hi everyone,

Well I see the flowers coming up so this can only mean one thing: Halkett Bay update e-mail.

Last year we managed to get quite a bit done thanks to wonderful volunteers. This year we are keeping the goals modest:
1. Building inspection
2. Finish siding and roofing
3. Electrical and plumbing building permits
4. Rough in electrical and plumbing
5. Build stairs
6. Finish Decking

We look forward to seeing you at Halkett Bay. We go up most weekends in spring and fall and almost every weekend in summer. Contact us for details.

Kevin + Sonja

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Weekend report and the log crib aka firewood rack

This weekend Kevin made us a log holder out of the stockpile of bolts he got off Craigslist. The bolts are perfect because they are the exact length that the log needs to be to fit in the stove. If this system works we might build it in when we put in the drywall.

We also cleared out some of the leftover construction wood around the site so spring can work its magic and green the place up. The sun came out to join us as we hauled wood and built a bonfire pile for next weekend. 

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Weekend of 9-10th

Kevin used some free laminate to put down a new floor in the power tower

the mice made short work of some napkins and dishclothes they managed to get to. 

thinking about spring and green roofs (again)

As we gear up for spring I've been surfing the net looking for the cheapest and most effective way to finish up the top of the breezeway. As we have discovered time and time again, those two goals aren't always compatible. so really we are looking for the best possible compromise. One option we're exploring is a green roof.


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.