Friday, February 1, 2013

Living on Water

We all need water to live so we're all "living on water", but Margy Lutz in Powell River British Columbia takes it to a whole new level. Margy is an author and photographer whose blog I've been following for years. I asked her to be my guest blogger this month and she kindly responded with the following article and photographs describing her life on the water. Take it away Margy, and thanks a million!

My Powell Lake home not only has a water view, it has a water foundation. Float cabins are a big part of Coastal BC history. During the heyday of logging and fishing, they were used as support camps that could be moved from place to place. On Powell Lake, they began as inexpensive hunting and fishing getaways for paper mill workers. Today things are a little more regulated. Float cabins have registered BC water leases and we pay property taxes.
My husband and I were looking for a place to retire and knew this was it. We laughingly say, when we bought our cabin, it came with John, the former owner and builder.  He has become our good friend and mentor. You see, Wayne and I were city-folk from Los Angeles. Learning the skills we needed to live off the grid was a lot easier with John’s help and support.
As with any house, the most important thing is the foundation. In our case, that’s a 40X40 cedar log float lashed together with ¾ inch steel cables.  We are anchored in place to a sheer granite cliff and the lake bottom 90 feet below. In a breeze we move gently to and fro, but in a big storm we can really rock and roll.
Our 675 square foot cabin is built on top of a raised deck.  The downstairs has two bedrooms (one for storage) and a new bathroom addition for a compost toilet and tub.  A great room includes the kitchen and living area.  The large upstairs loft is our bedroom.  It’s plenty of space, especially since we have the whole outdoors at our doorstep.
We have additional floats for a variety of purposes: a dock, a floating woodshed, and my floating vegetable garden.  The garden is on a pulley.  I bring it in to tend and then send it out to our log boom breakwater to protect it from hungry critters.
We live 25 minutes up the lake from the marina.  Our power sources are solar, wind, and a wood stove thermoelectric generator. We use propane for cooking, refrigeration, and additional lights. In winter we use a small generator to give our batteries an occasional boost.  Our wood stove keeps the cabin warm so we can live here in all seasons.  And a hand pump in the kitchen draws water from the lake below. Simple but effective.
Now that we’ve retired, we spend about 75% of the year in our float cabin.  Our lives follow the seasons with wood gathering, gardening, swimming, fishing, and enjoying our surroundings.  There’s nothing better than getting up and having a cup of coffee on the deck watching the sunrise over Goat Island to herald in a new day.

You can find more information about float cabin and off the grid living at  Visit Wayne’s website and you’ll find a series of books about our cabin including Up the Lake, Farther Up the Lake, and Off the Grid. Stop on by. We welcome comments and questions.

Thank you David for inviting me to be a guest on your blog and share about float cabin living. – Margy


  1. And thank you again. I love the post and the opportunity to share our story with your readers. I will be checking back here to see if there are any questions that need answering. Plus I invite your readers to visit my blog if they like. - Margy

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