Planning is just another word for ‘not going to happen’.

Raining.  But not cold.  A bit bleak but not too bad.  The sun is definitely going down earlier.  Wood stove runs every day but not all day.  We are starting to ‘feel’ winter coming on.

Our last guests for the season are coming at the end of the month – a day or so after a classroom of high school seniors come to ‘visit’ an off the grid home (us) as that same class did last year.

This has been a very, very busy year.

And, even though we got a lot done, we did not get ENOUGH done so outstanding chores still beckon.  Too many.

Yesterday I received my six new solar panels.  They will add 1900 watts to my already 2100 watts but this next grouping will be on the roof of the house rather than my tower-of-power array behind the house.  I think it will work well.  Eventually.  We still have to install them and working on the roof (slick steel) in the rain is just asking for an accident.  We’ll just have to pick the right DRY day (when there are no guests, yoga, bookclub, post office, community efforts, meetings, whales, ravens, squirrels, gatherings or quilting).

I also have to build a second bridge (amongst other things).  The first one we built this summer (to the back of the house) is great!  And we had W’fer help to remove the lower, rotten-to-the-core one last month (a bridge to access the under-house).  But there is a major gap-on-a-severe-slant where the old bridge was that is now slippery-with-rain and so getting under the house is a smidge difficult. 

Reason for telling you something rather boring….?  Well, you see, like so many things out here, one thing affects the other.  Putting solar panels on the roof requires running cable down through the house to the underside and then running it back to the power-room and so, roof installation requires under-house access.  Slippery roof.  No safe access to the underside.  More danger than there should be.  Classic Dave planning.

A recent guest casually remarked, “I love the way your buildings and decks are all connected in such an organic way.  It all just kinda flows.  Eclectic.  Did you plan it that way?”

Words failed me.

Speaking of failure…..

Scheer and Trudeau are vying to be the front runner in a race that is destined to be so close that the party that comes in third is likely to hold the balance of power.  We’ll probably have a minority government.  I am OK with that.  It’s worked well in BC.  I like minority governments.  Well, I HATE all governments but the weaker they are, the more I prefer it.  Why?  Because power corrupts and they are all corrupt.  Take away some of the power and they are less corrupt. 

Maybe.  We’ll see.  Jagmeet Singh – king maker.  Who woulda guessed?

And – just an observation: At a Scheer rally recently, Andrew Scheer mentioned Trudeau’s name.  His supportive crowd jeered Trudeau and chanted ‘Lock him up!’ Very reminiscent of concerts by Trump and the Deplorables.  That kinda says something about the current group of Conservatives, don’t you think?

Speaking of success….?

Proof that there really is a God:  little Great Thunberg was well received in Alberta.          


Community….who knew?

Every Wednesday in the summer starting in late Spring, a few of the local women run a coffee shop on the community dock for a few hours.  The regularly scheduled gathering  is coincided with the doctor’s visits every two weeks and the regular mail-plane delivery.  It is always well attended as it is the only socializing mechanism that comes regularly and does NOT have an agenda. 

We gather often enough when there’s an issue that needs addressing but, generally speaking, casual encounters are exceptions in an area of 250 square miles that hosts just under 250 people.  If I am out on the water, I am unlikely to see anyone to chat with.  When I am up at the main community ‘area’, if there is no mail plane or Wednesday coffee, there are no other people.  We are remote, after all.  So, if ya wanna see some local folks in a social-like setting, Wednesday ‘dock-day’ is the right time.

And it is a very important thing to do…..some folks are even older than me and more than just a few are single.  A little socializing helps keep a lid on the tendency to ‘bush-madness’ that often afflicts the lonely, remote and isolated.  And, as a rule, everyone has a touch of being ‘bushed’ by deepest, darkest February.  Winter is when it sets in.

But, of course, the dock and outdoor coffee-and-a-scone scene doesn’t play out so well in winter storms, rain, and bleak afternoons.  We have been stopping the Wednesday dock day usually by the end of September, give or take.

But then it dawned on us – that makes no sense….winter is when it is NEEDED.

And so, this past Wednesday was the first day of the winter coffee shop set in the warmth and embrace of the community-built ‘bunkhouse’ that is more like a real house (tho made in the ‘island style’ with cedar board-and-batten and rustic everything else).

And it poured like hell on Wednesday.  It was a deluge.  But there we were, Sal and our house guests and me amongst the locals having coffee.  Socializing.  We went for the ‘cafe opening’ but we also got our flu shots and got to introduce our city friends to the locals.  It was good.  It was very good.

The best part?  We figured maybe 40 to 50 people showed up.  Maybe more.  Many came for the flu-shots but all stayed for the coffee and/or soup and cookies on sale.  It was a very Norman Rockwellian scene with dogs, roaring fire, great food and everyone mingling about.

But – as it turns out – there WAS also an agenda…………………….

As you know, we have a community area, a town centre, as it were, but without a town.  Or even a centre.  What we have as the locus of our gatherings is the post office on the dock and, of course, the dock and floating cafe’ – in the summertime.  But, that is all located down at the seafront.  You have to trek a few hundred yards further up hill to get to the school (12 kids, two rooms, one teacher) and the juxtaposed gymnasium and mini-clinic (120 sft) to get to the rest of the ‘town’.  Trudge another forty feet or so and you get to the ‘Bunkhouse’, the basic meeting-place for any real community business.

And….that’s it!  Mostly.

But….one former resident donated five acres to the community some years back and that five acres is right next door to the bunkhouse.  Then another neighbour added 20 acres more – right next door. AND the regional district just bought seven acres which we will have the most ‘planning and use’ influence on.  The school playground is right across from the school and abuts those seven acres.  We are, in effect, consolidating a small ‘village’ area that is contiguous from the ocean to well past the bunkhouse.  And then………

….one of the locals offered up 20 more acres for a very reasonable price ($150K) and one of our committed and generous neighbours immediately offered up $50K to ‘add’ that 20 acres to the community’ – contingent, of course, on the rest of us chipping in the balance.  Sal and I ponied up what we could and so did a few others and about half of the purchase price is now obtained.  We are gonna expand the village lands.

Expanding from land acquisition to village developers is quite another hurdle…we’ll see how that goes.

So, now we are now begging for donations.  See: utm_source=customer&utm_medium=copy_link&utm_campaign=p_cp+share-sheet

If the link doesn’t work, just search Google for: Go Fund Me Lot 302 Read Island.

“Dave!  Why would I send money to buy land for a remote community?”

Well, there is no GOOD reason to do that for you or anyone, really.  I think we all know that.  But a weak-kneed, pathetic answer is: the land we control (now over 47 acres contiguous) will be offered up as ‘village land’ in some sort of way.  I envision (but do not make the decision) that we will lease camping spots or small-cabin sites on the first 7 acres of waterfront to those who may wish to be part of our community in some meaningful way even if it is just summertime use.  The donation doesn’t entitle you to anything except a tax donation receipt and a kept-in-the-loop status as to how that grand vision is progressing.

“Dave!  Are YOU asking for money?” 

I am NOT (I hate asking for money) but the community asked us all to ‘put the word out’ for the sake of the community and my blog was specifically cited as an example of that (So, yeah.  I AM asking for money).  All I can say is that, “If you have any interest in this kind of OTG thing, you might want to consider it.  No one is taking one red cent for anything except the purchase price.  No admin.  No salaries.”

End result….?  Don’t know.  It is NOT the end yet.



Duh…he TOLD us!

Donald Trump thinks he is a mafia boss, a don. Like in the Godfather. Why would he think that? Well, there is the obvious – he works, acts, lives like a Mafia boss…crooked and everything. Who knows what crimes he has committed? The guy is a very stable, stupid Corleone wannabe.

But, to be fair, he grew up in a mafia-dominated industry (Construction)and a mafia infused community. He’knew’ gangsters who were, in his own words, some really nice people. You know, like the white supremacists in Charlotteville?

The mafia had a big influence in NYC. I know. I was there.

Long story made short: In the late 80’s I was invited to do a proforma for the Rouse Group, a large real estate developer in New York. That invitation included a trip to NYC, a lot of fancy restaurants and a presentation to the board. I could easily do the revenue side of the proforma and I THOUGHT I could do a reasonable approximation of the capital expenditure side but I was not so sure about the operating proforma…you know…local cost of living, taxes and such…

When I presented the revenue projections, they were suitably impressed and I scored ‘points’…but when I ‘guestimated’ the capital costs, they were more than skeptical and the operating proforma was immediately rejected.

“Mr. Cox. Your construction estimates seem low and your running costs ARE DEFINITELY low!”

“Well, I used Canadian figures which I understood to be on the high side. What did I miss?”

No answer.

And the meeting wrapped up quickly.

One of the guys walked out with me. “Dave, you did not include 20% for miscellaneous. The board doesn’t like that.”

“I was taught that the miscellaneous category was the space for fools who did NOT do their homework. I did my homework. I know the cost of janitorial services, pizza delivery and what people are tipped. I do not NEED a miscellaneous category.”

“Sorry. You don’t get it. Miscellaneous is what we call the ‘mafia tax’. Doing business in New York cost an extra 20%….mostly…but DEFINITELY in operating expenses. They ‘lean on ya’ doing construction but they lean a lot heavier once you are up and running. Call it the protection racket, corruption, whatever…doing business in New York has a miscellaneous expense and most savvy developers budget 20%. You did not.”

That was the 80’s. Trump was still learning the ‘game’ back then. He then played in that ‘game. And then….? Then he started to refer to himself as ‘the Donald’. At the time I was somewhat confused. Why would anyone nickname themselves ‘the Donald’? Seemed like a weird thing to do. I always wanted be nicknamed ‘the Flash’ or maybe “the Phantom” or even “Mad-dog”….but, despite writing ‘The Flash’ on my slippers in felt pen, nothing ever really stuck. People called me ‘Dave’.

I never wanted to be called ‘the Dave’.

But Trump went for ‘the Donald.’ And now I know why. ‘The Donald’ is his version of ‘the Don’. He thinks he is a mafia boss.

Why would he even THINK that way…?


Sal and I are good.  A bit tired, tho.  It’s been a busy summer.  Really busy.  Things were added to the empire. Other things got repaired.  Maintenance and chores.  We got a lot done.  Tons of guests, of course.  Dinners.  Happy hours.  Social events.  Community stuff.  And, of course, a lot of quilting got quilted.  All good. 

But tiring.  The sad part is that the fatigue (for me) is more than just physical.  I am a bit tired mentally.  Creative juices are down.  Desire to travel extinct.  Motivation lacking.  ‘Dave is no fun!’  General optimism remains on the plus side but that’s due to our location and lifestyle (and living with Sal, the source of all sunshine) which is very uplifting and therapeutic.  But psychologically and emotionally, we (mostly me) are running on empty. 

The largest part of it is me.  I am racking up the years.  I caught up with my aging process this year and it was a shock to experience.  When I was 70, I did not feel much different than when I was 60, maybe felt even younger.  But, when I hit 71, I felt all of those years.  It was aging accelerated.  In one year I got old.  You know the feelings….more aches, less energy, more naps…….

….but it is not just the age thing.  Getting old is definitely part of the ‘feeling’ but it’s more than that.  It’s also a slight feeling of creeping/looming despair.  Like mould.  Please do not read that last statement as black-dogs depression or real, solid, bleak despair.  It’s not that.  It’s more like a hint of despair, with a helpless sense of a larger destiny looming, a lot of confusion and a growing lack of control or influence to change the course of what seems like inevitable and horrific events.  It feels a smidge like doom.  DOOM!

“Really, Dave?  You are THAT bummed out?” 

No!  As I said, “Please do not read that last statement as black-dog depression or real, solid, bleak despair.”   It may eventually BECOME big-doom but it still just feels a little like small doom.   Tiny doom.  A small apocalypse, maybe.  I am having a hard time seeing our way out of the what-seems-like global madness showing up in so many ways in so many places so much of the time.  And I have absolutely no faith in or respect for any of ‘our leaders’.  

Maybe Greta Thunberg……

….and I am disproportionately buoyed up by the electric car/bike/boat revolution.  So, add Elon Musk to that short list.

Anyway…that is why I have not been writing.  I try to write when I have something to say, but when you are confused and going primarily on ‘gut feelings’, you have little to say except, ‘Watch out for the doom!’

On a more prosaic note: we got all our wood in plus some.  The second bathroom is up and operating.  The wrongly installed doors were re-installed properly, the access bridges were rebuilt (in what turned out to be ‘just before’ they fell down!).  New composter.  Another renovated shed.  A couple of engines re-done.  Fabulous sea-food!  Great friends!  Whales.  Life OTG has been a bit intense this year but we feel we progressed and we enjoyed it……that is a good feeling.

And I am pretty sure there will be a next year.  Maybe NOT a next century but I am looking forward to each year as it comes.  It would be nice to see fewer Trumps, Fords, Trudeaus and the usual assortment of slime trying to ‘take over the world’ and/or line their pockets while threatening nuclear war and ignoring the climate but let’s not get mired in that right now.  I have a gut-feeling about all that……it will be a small apocalyptic ‘episode’…probably just showing up as a number of mass shootings at a theatre, shopping mall or MacDonalds near you……

…oh yeah…happy Thanksgiving :))



Been awhile.  Kinda miss ya…. but, well, not much to say, really….not much news.

I am busy….busy as hell, actually, but not really working hard…..chopping wood, entertaining….making crude benches and tables….plumbing….pretty ordinary stuff….the stuff of living OTG to be sure but, on the other hand, OTG is not like it USED to be….nowadays, OTG is pretty cushy.  Let’s be honest: any doofus can do this.  I am living proof.

But, if my presence here is not sufficient to prove it can be done, get this: I bought an air conditioner AND a microwave!

I know, I know…“Dave!  That is not breaking news.  In fact, it might be FAKE NEWS!”

And, you’d be right.  Appliances newly acquired are not news.  Not in the ordinary sense, anyway.  But, but, but….on the heels of that non-news is the accompanying equally as-non-news that I have not run my gensets since May (yes, I start them all the time but that’s because the nature of carburetors is constipation and they need cleaning out or ‘using’ to keep them functional).  I have NOT used the gensets because the sun has kept us going and that includes the air-con, the microwave and all the other mod-cons we spoiled doofuses now employ while trying to pretend we are wild and crazy OTG’ers.  AND we have an electric freezer coming (the old propane gave up the ghost).

Bottom line: Sal’s going soft on me.

Still, there is some news.

We do NOT have a grocery store.  Not yet.  Maybe never.  But that’s OK because we now have an organized ‘tele-shop’ where the store is given a list of maybe 6 different OTG customers requirements.  They fill the list and deliver the ‘shop’ to the water taxi.  The water taxi delivers them to the community dock and we divvy it all up at that time.  Having $100.00 worth of food delivered to the dock costs me say, $115.00 (give or take a dollar).  To go to town and do it myself would cost me out-of-pocket easily $35.00 and the REAL math is that it would cost me $100.00 (gas, ferry, wear and tear, insurance and then add something for 4 hours at least of line-ups).

If I go to town at all, I stock up and the grocery shop would be at least $300-400 dollars (more if you count wine) so we can’t do a direct cost analysis but what I have done says the tele-shop is cheaper and way, way easier on me.  This way, I can ‘shop’ once every two weeks from the comfort of the living room and pay $15.00 twice ($30.00) and save all the aggravation.  Plus some produce and dairy remain fresher.

Bonus: Everything Wine flies in a few cases every once in awhile and the delivery is free.

And the doctor comes to the island once every two weeks.

Costco flies in prescriptions free.

The barge delivers lumber, gasoline and propane (NOT free but cheaper than me going to get it myself).

We now have a ‘home-care- person on the island who ‘lends a hand’ to the elderly and infirm.

Seriously…..this ain’t hard.

……that’s probably why I have no news.  I am living the life of Riley.

Woofer #1

Swiss Chris is 30-ish, strong, capable and full of energy.  And he is pleasant.  Likes to work.  Wants to ‘get things done!’

It’s a nightmare.  We can’t keep up!  In order to keep Chris adequately engaged, we have had to enlist our nearest friends to add some workload.  They, too, can easily outwork us but everyone needs a little help around wood gathering time so they were chuffed to get a ‘woofer’ loan.   They let Chris loose on their pile of ‘wood-needing-to-be-chopped’.  A few hours later…“So, what else you got needs doing ’round here?”  They then had to go to town for more building supplies (may as well re-insulate under the house since Chris is here!).  He had outworked their schedule!

Last night, as Sal and I crawled into bed after a Chris-paced work day hauling logs up the hill, Chris went back at it!  He bounced up after dinner and went out in a small boat to wrangle any errant, good logs that needed wrangling over to our home base for more chopping!  Tides are high at night and more logs are freely afloat.  So…off he goes….

We’ve had good woofers before but we have also had mediocre and a couple of poor ones so, since you never know what you are going to get, we don’t usually plan on getting that much done.  A winter’s load of wood in is a good job.  That was the plan this year!  OMG!  If I had the materials, I could have let Chris loose and, in a week, he would have a small (maybe large) cabin built!  As it is, we’ll get almost two winter’s worth of wood in and I will have to find other chores (not hard) to keep him busy.  This guy is the equivalent of three average woofers.   Or, to put that into more relatable terms, six of us.

Just thinking about it is making me sleepy……

The Woofing situation is almost always good.  Young people.  Healthy.  Usually from some foreign country.  They LOVE it out here and our greatest reward is that they do appreciate the beauty, they enjoy themselves, see our part of the world and maybe learn a bit of OTG’ing and a have a lot of fun and good food.  If we have a woofer for a week, it is usually enough.  This year, we’ll have Chris and then, a month later, Ming and her boyfriend (USA) for another week.  Plus another girl for a few days.  But I also suspect that Chris will be back.  Translation: we will have wood!  We may actually get some things done, too….

“S’up, Dave?”

Not a helluva lot.  Same ol’, same ol’.  Chores.  But, to be fair, we are getting slower at what we do so the chores seem like there are more of them.  Chris is quite an anomaly in the otherwise glacial chore schedule we usually plug away at around here.  We usually get ‘to work’ for a few hours and then ‘putz’ a bit more at something we have an interest in or is broken and needs fixing……our day is a four hour work-day, two hour-putz-day and then some goofing around til wine and dinner time.  It’s a nice pace.  I have even been known to nap now and again.  I intend to make that a habit, actually.  Everyone needs a hobby.

My real ‘hobby’, it seems, is maintenance.  I rearranged the gen-set-shed with shelves, made a bathroom, and rebuilt a few pumps and engines.  I now have to re-build the compost bin.  Wouldn’t you know..?  I built it so well, it is rotting and composting right before my very eyes!  I may just point at the wood pile and mutter, ‘build, Chris, and compost will happen’….

It has been a strange year-to-date, actually.  Hot weather early.  Rainy weather recently.  Lots of boat and kayak travel, fewer whales although we’ve seen some.  Community is active ‘getting things done’ but, of course, summer is full-on time for their own chores and such and so a busy community is really extra-busy since they have to get their own homestead in shape, too.  But we have done some community cleanup, organized a few projects and gatherings.  Wednesday-lunches-at-the-dock are hugely popular. The place has a good vibe to it.  Feels alive and thriving.  That’s good. 

Me?  I am a little torn these days.  Loose ends.  I kinda wanna write another book but books #2 and #3 did NOT do well.  That has to tell you something – tells me to stop writing.  I kinda NEVER want to EVER travel again but that’s a bit silly, too…so I may keep it to NEVER FLYING again.  Or NEVER going to an airport, anyway.  I’d fly if I could launch from home….jus’ sayin’.

I still get ‘fired up’ about politics as a rule but, strangely, Trump and Trudeau have kinda depleted my political energy reserves.  They are exhausting.  Like political succubi…..?  It’s like watching the Three Stooges – they were never funny, but they were kinda eye-catching until you realized it was the same ol’ nonsense every time.  Same for Trudeau/Trump.  Need a third stooge?  Ford, perhaps?

Basically, we are fine.  Getting older and noticing it.  Exploiting youth whenever we can.  Doing what needs doing…slowly….and wondering….




Apologies to Calgary

I have never liked Calgary.  And I may still not (in the long run).  But last week I saw a side to it that I have never seen before and it was beautiful.  Very appealing.

Aside: whenever I am insulting an urban environment, I tend to towards dissing Toronto first.  It’s just so awful that vitriol virtually gushes from my mouth.  Too easily.  I hate Toronto and, to be fair, most of Ontario.  It’s NOT the people (altho....), it’s the humidity, the extreme temps, the traffic/commute, the Ford family and, not least on my list of worst critiques, it is the dog that wags the tail of the rest of Canada.  And I hate that.

I tend to dislike things almost in direct proportion to the amount of power they wield.  I even get annoyed at being directed by BC Ferry workers…….you can imagine how hard it is for me to cope with an airport security idiot.  Or Toronto police.  And, because Bay Street has so much power and influence in this country, I tend to hate them, too.

Part of it, of course, is just GOMs.  Grouchiness.  Grouchy is now how people who love me describe me to others……amongst other things….and you can imagine what the others then say… 

There is no question I am now a bona fide nut-bar: wanna see Dave apoplectic?  Put him on a plane that goes to Toronto.  KABLOOOOOOIE!!!!  That is all it takes.  And, to be fair, Calgary has set me off more than once, too.  Calgary airport is tied with countless others as to the second worst airport I have ever experienced.

“Why Calgary?”  Because part of the Calgary airport (YYC) has been ‘ceded’ to the Americans and the Marines patrolling “US soil’ at YYC (and in CANADA) do not hesitate to tell you that they can take you and never give you back.

But, sorry….. that was a bit of a tangent.  This blog is supposed to be ‘nice’.

My daughter and her husband just moved into their newly built new home about 30 minutes or so outside of Calgary.  They are in the country, the rolling foothills of the Rocky Mountains.  Rivers-run-through-it kinda country.  Moose have a walk-through preserve just outside their back yard.  A bear came and tossed their compost last night.  We saw deer everywhere.  It was bucolic.  And GET THIS! ….the bug count was very reasonable.  And the temperature, the air, the changing weather patterns…all good.  All VERY GOOD.

I have to ‘walk-back’ a few of the terrible things I have said about Calgary.  Apologies.

We traveled there to give them a house-warming gift-of-sorts.  She wanted a deck.  He hadn’t ever built such a thing….. and she wanted 700 square feet.  Up high, too.   So Sal and I were going there for five days to build them a 700 sf deck that resulted in an almost 10 foot-high extension of the main floor.  It’s pretty big.

I am 71.  Sal has a cracked rib.  Husband isn’t familiar with tools.  But daughter is a smart cookie and she had pretty much arranged everything and planned the logistics.  General Contracting 101.  She did good.  He did good. We did good.  And we got it 7/8 built. The decking still has to go on and so do the railings and even a set of stairs.  But the hardest part is done.

Sal’s rib?  Let me put it this way….. she worked like an illegal fruit-picker and kept just as quiet.  Without Sal we wouldn’t have gotten it done but, with everyone doing what they did, each was essential to getting it as far as we did….7/8.  Amateur team, Pro results.