Category Archives: Life in General

Building a cold frame

This morning skies were hazy, our day was moving slow, and we needed a project.

Step 1: Go to the hardware store and ask what is needed to build a raised bed with a cold frame. Builder Bob gave us some great ideas and then had to run to catch the supply boat. We went home and watched a few youtube videos on how it’s done. This one is my favourite. Materials needed: Four 8×2 boards (ours are spruce, which is inexpensive and was not pressure treated), a sack of 3″ nails (though some shorter ones would have been good too), 1″x1″ sticks, about 8 or 10′ (I don’t know the building term for these), 24′ of 1/2″ PVC piping, 6 pipe clamps, a hammer, a pencil, a tape measure and a saw. And some plastic (though we didn’t finish that part today).

Step 2: Get supplies, spread them out. We decided on a 4’x4′ box. Boards come in 8′ pieces and 4′ is a great size since you can reach across it fairly easily. So we got four 8′ boards. This picture only shows three because Dave is in the process of cutting the fourth one in half. We cut all of them in half, to prepare for the next part.




Step 3: Make the sides of the raised bed. We used some 1″x1″ as a cleat first to secure the two halves of a board together (this makes the raised bed two board widths deep). Later, we used this cleat to help hold the corners of the raised bed together.





We only did this for two sides of the bed. The other two sides we used the 1″x1″ to secure the boards together in one place: the centre. I didn’t take any pictures of this part.


Step 4: Attach the pipe clamps. We decided that the pipes would be fitted to the inside of the raised bed, even though we had seen others attach them to the outside. Dave nailed them in using some shorter 2″ nails we found in the basement.





We only did this on two sides. The PVC pipe will be anchored to them, and bent over to the other side to form the structure for the frame.



Step 5: Assemble the raised bed. We nailed the corners together to make the square bed. I also added some nails to anchor the sides without the cleats to the cleats.







Step 6: Final assembly! Dave cut the PVC pipe into 8′ lengths, and then we installed them into the clamps in the frame. Oh, but first: we put down cardboard to kill the grass and any weeds that might make their way into the soil.

Step 7: The final step. We attached a PVC pipe to the top of the hoops to just make them a bit more secure. We used some nylon string to just tie it on.

The sun did peak through while we were working and we had a great afternoon.
Tomorrow: fill with soil. We’ll use a mix of some “wild” soil from a recently dug up area on our property (not dug up by us, for the record) and some sea soil and peat moss. And maybe also put the plastic up. We bought a 10’x16′ feet piece,  because they come in 16′ lengths. We’ll probably have lots left over.


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Filed under Garden, Life in General, Posts by Hana

A day on the West Side

Bamfield is divided into a West and East side. The Bamfield Marine Science Centre is on the East side. To get to the West side, you have to take a boat; there are no roads to get there. Today we decided to head over to the West side and visit the beach there — Brady’s Beach.

We called the local water taxi and the friendly captain picked us up within a few minutes. We shared the ride with two tourists who were carrying a map that showed a new trail to Brady’s Beach. The usual way to get there is to take a fairly round-about route on the West side roads, so we were decided the new trail might be a fun short-cut.

Along the wooded and muddy trail, we saw several exciting wildlife signs: two fresh piles of bear scat, and deer tracks that followed the trail for a good distance. To be conscientious visitors in bear territory, we made sure to make noise as we walked and kept aware of our surroundings. I grew up in BC bear country, so while bears don’t scare me (and I’m generally very happy to see a bear at a distance), I know the importance of staying aware. (As a side note, does anyone else remember this awesome BC Ministry of Forest video about bear safety? It was a legend among BC camp counselors in my camp days, and perhaps still is.)

Needless to say, we arrived on Brady’s Beach NOT eaten by bears, but feeling a bit hungry ourselves. We built a small fire and roasted some smokies. Yum! Then, we made bannock — another throwback to my camp counselor days. Bannock a la camp counselor is a very simple recipe. Get some Bisquick, and mix in enough water to make a sticky dough. Wrap the dough around a stick and roast slowly over the fire. When it feels hard (no longer squishy), it is pretty much done.

Almost always, there is still a little bit of gooey dough left on the inside uncooked, but that’s just the way bannock over a fire goes. Carefully pull the bannock off the stick, and drop a bit of jam into the hole from the stick. Enjoy!

After our lunch, we walked back along Brady’s Beach.

Once we got to the boardwalk, the centre of activity on the West Side, we got a few groceries at the store, and walked down to the Boardwalk Bistro and had a lovely afternoon snack. The boardwalk is beautiful because the rhododendrons have been blooming (they’re almost finished). A lovely finish to a relaxing day.


Filed under Fauna, Life in General, Posts by Hana, Recipes

Community Garden

Our new home has a community garden! We received a very warm welcome that included a place in the garden.

The garden has been built recently and consists of raised beds. The shared tool shed has everything we would need, and water is provided through rain collection off the roof of the shed.

A few people have started planting already, but our plot will have to wait a while. I’m currently back in the city for the next two weeks arranging the move of our belongings, as well as purchasing new items (like these) that will make our lives easier in the wet environment.  I also bought this wonderful (and ugly, perhaps wonderfully ugly) ceramic pot into which we’ll throw our kitchen compost until it is ready to go out into the compost bin.

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Filed under Life in General, Posts by Hana

New beginnings

We’ve moved to the wild wet coast! Living in a coastal town of about 200 people, accessed only by boat or 100 kilometers of gravel road has some unique challenges. Here we’ll write about the true awesomeness of this coast—its wild fauna, flora, weather, and ecology. We’ll talk about remote living—limited access to groceries, recipes for self sufficiency, gardening, hiking and boating. Summers are busy times; lots of work to do and tourists to dodge. Winters will be quieter, with many visits to neighbours, slow cooked stews, and time spent relaxing after a busy season. Come join us on our new adventure!

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Filed under Life in General, Posts by Hana