New Kayak!


I have boats on the brain today!

I’ve always wanted a kayak, but even more so after my boyfriend introduced me to ocean kayaking a few years back. He has a pair of SOT (sit-on-top) kayaks that we enjoyed using for sightseeing, short journeys out to nearby islands and rockhounding along the shore. However he’s once again back up north, this time taking position of editor for a paper in Inuvik, NWT. I miss him already!

So it was finally time to get my own!

I initially had my sights set on basically the same kayak my boyfriend has, an eMotion around 6-8 feet long. Too bad it’s nearly impossible to find this brand in BC, but there are some models by other companies that are very similar. I had also read in a few places that these smaller kayaks can be shoved into the back of a hatchback, which is exactly what I planned to try.

I wanted something suitable for fishing, since if I’m out on the water alone I know I won’t be able to resist. There are a wide range of fishing kayaks on the market, but they are all in drab colors and outfitted with more fancy gear than I think I need. I want something small, light, uncomplicated and with room to bring the dog who probably loves boating more than I do.


I decided to settle on the Perception Tribe 9.5 in sunset. I would have preferred another color, but this was the only one in this model they had left. That’s ok, I like the high visibility of the yellow/orange/red and since it’s nearly September, the new kayak shipments won’t be in until February. If I want any paddling this season it was this little boat or nothing!

I really like the stability, self-draining and unsinkableness of the SOTs. You can easily swim off them, stand upright on them and take them in quite rough ocean. This one can hold 300 pounds and weighing only 46 pounds I can just manage to carry it myself.

I also picked up a fiberglass paddle, lifejacket, floating tow line (regulation), a pair of neoprene shorts, a paddle leash and a fishing rod mount that I will install myself.

It turns out this 9.5 foot boat CAN be shoved into the back of a hatchback, which is great, but I’m hoping to rig up a foam and strap system to put it on the roof, as having it in the car restricts visibility a bit. I’ve done the research and I know I can secure it safely.

Now where to go first??



The Martin Sheen


While fishing in Port McNeill last week I noticed an interesting sailboat glide into the marina. I like checking out boat names, mostly because a lot of them seem silly to me, and this was no exception. The Martin Sheen.

I’m used to names like “It’s a Fisher”, or “Finally” or the “Santa” something. But this was the first boat I had seen that was named after a celebrity. It was a big, fancy boat too so it didn’t seem like a joke. The vessel had a tiny pirate flag and a carved wooden mermaid at the bow. I thought it was interesting enough to take a couple of photos.


This morning when I checked my instagram feed as I do when I wake up, I saw the exact same boat turn up on the page of a very popular National Geographic photographer who I followed recently. What a coincidence! Here’s the post:


So this must have been happening right around the same time we were there fishing. It turns out the boat is a research vessel owned by the Sea Shepherd organization and was named after their longtime benefactor, you guessed it: Martin Sheen himself.

Kinda neat, right?

Fishing Trip to Port McNeill, BC


Getting the prawn trap ready to drop

I’ve always loved fishing, but it’s only been in the past few years that I’ve been introduced to ocean fishing. This is all thanks to my lovely boyfriend who comes from a very skilled fishing family.

As he is currently visiting from his journalist post up in Nunavut, we decided to try to get ourselves a fishing trip in. A quick 5 hour drive north to Port McNeill and we were all set to go.


Handsome ship’s captain

We’ve fished before around Nanoose Bay and we always have good luck. We generally pull up rockfish, greenlings and small lingcod with the occasional salmon or sea cucumber. We also usually set prawn and crab traps which do well and once even nabbed us an octopus.

Fishing up north is a bit different. We had to try a lot of spots in order to get any nibbles and prawning was a  no-go, except for the dozen or so good-sized whelks that came up. We like those kinds of surprises though and I plan to try to use them in a tasty chowder. Crabbing was hit or miss, but when we hit we really hit. We easily pulled in our limit of two male Dungeness each per day and they were the biggest crabs I’ve seen, many dwarfing our crab calipers.


One of our whelks


Big male Dungeness crab

Once we found a good spot, we started pulling up yellowtail and quillback rockfish by the half-dozen. The majority were released and we kept our limit of one each. Nice big fat fish that made up our dinner that first night. Yum!


Once we found the rockfish, we found the big lings lurking underneath. I’ve caught plenty of small lings before but was shown the fight of my life with my first monster. He stuck himself against an underwater cliff face and wouldn’t budge. It took me almost an hour to land him and I estimate he was around 17 pounds. It felt like I was fighting my dog at the end of the line!



Little did we know that that would be the smallest ling we would take home this trip. The next one was even larger and came up in record speed, I think it was about ten seconds. My boyfriend gaffed him expertly and not five casts later there was another monster at the end of my line. You know you have a big fish when you think you’re snagged on the rocks at first tug! This one gave me a bit more of a fight but didn’t stand much of chance with no cliffside to jam himself into. Humpback whales spouted nearby on their way through the passage to their feeding grounds as we dragged him into the boat, easily a 22 pound fish and as long as my leg. My new record!



Humpback whales feeding


Of course we also trolled for salmon. It hasn’t been a great year here for salmon and this was fruitless for the most part until we tried it in the passage where the humpbacks were traveling. The fish finder was chock full of blips and after about 15 minutes we got our first hit. Another super fast play and we had a great big beautiful coho in the boat. He was hooked through the eye so I don’t think he had a lot of fight left, we got him within about 30 seconds or so. It was the only salmon we got but still a really nice, fat fish that will turn into a lot of tasty meals.


We also got to enjoy viewing some pacific white-sided dolphins playing in the rip tides and coming quite close to our boat, as if asking us to play with them. Our evenings consisted of my boyfriend professionally cleaning and filleting all our fish and crabs, trading some of our ling steaks for some delicious fresh smoked salmon another fishing couple had prepared, and being rocked to sleep by the gentle waves. I want to go back already!


Expert fish cleaner


Gorgeous lingcod fillets



How Much Honey is in a Single Frame?


I never realized how much honey a single beehive can produce!

Just from one deep frame harvested yesterday using the crush and strain method, I got a total of over 5.5lbs of honey! That’s even after all the honey I managed to eat yesterday during the straining process.


Blocking out the sun

As you can see, the honey is very, very dark. It’s impossible to see through even when held directly up to the sun! You’d expect it to be strong-tasting, but it’s not. It’s incredibly light and citrusy. I assume the dark color is because my bees have primarily been foraging on wildflowers. I did notice while processing that the honey at the top of the frame was much lighter, and mixed with the darker honey lower down to produce the final color. Quite interesting.


Clean up crew

You’d think honey harvesting would be messy work and it kind of is, but don’t forget that any sticky equipment can be placed out near the hives and the bees (and wasps) will do the cleaning up for you. Zero waste. Honey also cleans up very easily with plain water.


Thank you ladies!




First Honey Harvest!


I decided to go into hive 1 today, the one started from a nuc this year, as last inspection it looked like they might be honey bound.


They were. Although I did find a little bit of capped brood in the top deep, all available cells were quickly being filled up with nectar and there was nowhere left for the queen to lay. Since I need her to rear bees now so we’ll have bees to overwinter, I decided to free up some space. I know I said before that I wasn’t going to harvest from this hive this year, but that honey had to go somewhere!


I decided to remove two deep frames that were completely full of capped honey. I also did some rearranging of the frames in the two deeps and added two fresh frames with foundation into the brood nest for them to get started on. I would have used foundationless, but so far all my deep frames have plasticell foundation, so I guess it needs to be used somehow. Here’s hoping they’ll draw it out quickly and give the queen room for more egg laying.


I  shook off as many bees as possible and brushed the stragglers off with a bee brush. It was fairly straightforward and the bees were not too agitated. The frames weighed probably about 8-10 pounds each and I transferred them to a clean, lidded Rubbermaid bin once they were free of bees.


Once inside my kitchen, I scraped off the comb into a large container with a wooden spoon, and then strained it through a stainless steel sieve into jars. It is a very dark colored honey on very yellow wax.



I have to admit, I’ve never been a huge fan of honey and I don’t eat a lot of it. It always seems to have a bit of a strange aftertaste to me. The harvest from one frame is more than I generally consume in a year. Well, I’m now a fresh honey convert. This is the most delicious honey I have ever tasted! It’s tangy, floral, citrusy and light with no weird metallic aftertastes. I could see myself eating it out of the jar with a spoon and wanting to drizzle it on everything. I managed to spill a drop on the counter where it hit a stray szechuan peppercorn from an earlier recipe, and it was an amazing combination! I even drizzled some on the soft boiled eggs I had for lunch and it was divine. Apparently fresh honey goes with everything!

I’m so excited to have some to bring with me to share with my family on my upcoming Seattle trip!



Downsizing the Rabbitry



I’ve decided that I have a few more rabbits than I really need, and I’d like to concentrate my efforts on just a couple of breeds. Therefore, I have some really nice breeding stock for sale!



Although I love them, I will be getting out of Californians. They are superb bunnies for beginners, gentle and easy to handle and great breeders and mothers. My young breeding pair, Samphire and Scorch, never let me down. They are purebred bunnies but do not come with pedigrees because I was never able to get them from the seller. Breed them for four generations and you will be able to create your own pedigrees though. They are both 11.5 pounds and about two years old. They are unrelated.

I also have two beautiful 12 week old does from their latest litter ready to go. Breed them pure to sell as breeding stock or cross them with another commercial breed for fast growing meat hybrids.


12 week old doe

If you’re interested in any of these superb bunnies, please get in touch! I will be selling Sam and Scorch for $40 each and the two young does are $30 each. I’ll sell you all four together for $120.