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NESDAY | JUNE 4 | 2008

Wednesday.March 30.2016 Powell River Peak »




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Kitchen gardens bloom in Townsite Residents take pride in award-winning gardens MEGAN COLE Peak contributor

Bountiful garden: Suzan Roos pictured here with her dog Sami, has won best kitchen garden honours in the past from Townsite Heritage Society. MEGAN COLE PHOTO


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Moving from Vancouver to a more rural area such as Powell River often means dreams of beautiful gardens full of blooming flowers and ripe produce, a far cry from a few pots on an apartment balcony. When Chris Matheson and his partner Ulrich Herl bought their Townsite home, they said they knew they wanted to plant a garden, but with only some ornamental gardening accomplished at their Vancouver apartment, the biggest challenge, said Matheson, was lack of experience. “The challenges we faced with the garden included not really knowing what we were doing,” said Matheson. “We also dealt with the struggle between keeping a lawn and getting rid of the lawn.” Matheson said when they moved into their Maple Avenue home, they spent the first year watching the garden and eventually implemented permaculture plans developed by Erin Innes, a Powell River permaculture designer and instructor. With their garden producing an abundance of raspberries, strawberries and tomatoes, along with a lot of other fresh produce, the pair received a Townsite Heritage Society (THS) of Powell River award for best kitchen garden of 2015. Matheson said there are great kitchen gardens all over Powell River, but there seems to be a community in Townsite willing to share everything from experience to extra vegetables. “You see lots and lots of gardens when you walk along the alleyways in Townsite; it seems like every second house has


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a beautiful, productive garden,” he said. “People are happy to share tips, produce and plants. People love to talk. When I’m in the backyard, people will often stop and chat.” Just a couple of blocks down from Matheson and Herl’s award-winning garden, Stephen Robinson and Suzan Roos have been busy continuing to build their garden. Robinson and Roos were runner-up for THS best kitchen garden in 2015 and winner of the same category in 2008. “Ever since I started gardening, I’ve always kept a kitchen garden in mind,” said Roos. “Over the years, I’ve just gotten a bit better at growing one.” For Roos, whose garden has continued to produce vegetables for meals throughout the fall and winter, a kitchen garden is one that she can go out to any day of the year and grab a little something for her kitchen. “My gardening style has evolved into allowing as many things to go to seed as possible and just letting them self-seed,” she said. “I am super jazzed about mustard greens right now. I haven’t really grown them before, but they are perfect for our climate and for year-round greens.” In addition to hearty greens, Roos said she also has a lot of success with Alliums such as leeks and parsley, which are prolific self-seeders. Her garden also incorporates fruit trees such as kiwis and stick apples, and fruit-bearing shrubs such as blueberries. “There is a community around gardening in Townsite, because this neighbourhood is really accessible by foot,” said Roos. “You’re more prone to dropping into other people’s places and saying hello. Just walking the back alleys, I see lots of great kitchen gardens.”

EARTHLY DELIGHTS: Townsite homes such as this one, owned by Chris Matheson and Ulrich Herl, have benefited from the knowledge of local permaculturists. ULRICH HERL PHOTO

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B4 Wednesday.March 30.2016 | Powell River Peak »

Heritage homes keep couple rooted

Townsite homes full of character and renovation challenges MEGAN COLE Peak Contributor

TOWNSITE HERITAGE: Homes such as this one on Willow Avenue have been renovated to close to their original condition by local restorers. MEGAN COLE PHOTO

Love is an emotion that can change many people’s plans. For John Wegner and his wife Nia, it was the love of a Townsite home that caused them to stay in Powell River. The couple moved to Powell River in 2000 and spent three years running Willingdon Beach Campsite. Working and living at the popular camping facility, John said they saw a lot of people coming from out of town and buying Townsite homes. “We saw the market was going to change quickly, so we thought we would start to see what’s available,” said John. “When we started looking, we saw the homes were really affordable and when we found the house we bought we really

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Wednesday.March 30.2016 | Powell River Peak » B5

fell in love with it right away. That house was probably the reason we bought and stayed in Powell River.” While many people are attracted to the price and view that comes with the older Townsite homes, John said it was the character and feel of the home that drew him and Nia to it. “The longer I was in the house, the more I appreciated the quality of the craftsmanship and materials,” he said. “The way Townsite homes were built is entirely different. There is a lot more reliance on products in construction today, but when the Townsite homes were being built, the level of craftsmanship was higher.” John said there is still a lot of high-quality carpentry in modern homes, but older homes had to rely on mechanical solutions to things, such as waterproofing rather than caulking. In September 2015, the Wegner’s sold the home they first fell in love with after spending many years renovating and restoring its original character. John is now working on renovating and restoring a Maple Avenue home and said working The longer I was in on Townsite h o m e s c o m e s w i t h challenges. the house, the more I “The biggest challenges people appreciated the quality face when they buy Townsite homes is around the electrical,” of the craftsmanship he said, “especially when you’re and materials renovating, because electrical will run where you are doing the JOHN WEGNER Townsite resident renovations. Plumbing can be another big challenge.” According to John, dealing with the structure is pretty straightforward, but trying to match the feel of the original homes is difficult. “I study a lot of the old houses and get a feeling for the detailing they did,” he said. “I also have some old carpentry books from the ’20s, and those were the standard when you were becoming a carpenter, and they tell you a lot of how to do things.” Many Townsite homes showcase the beauty of original old-growth Douglas Fir, but John said when doing modern renovations it is challenging to find old-growth lumber for use in built-in finishing and trim. “You can do the same style of trim, but if you’re going to leave the wood, you can’t just put a piece of spruce up there,” he said. “It has to be the old-growth fir or it doesn’t look right.” Despite the challenges, John joins many other Townsite residents who continue to fall in love with the beauty of the neighbourhood’s heritage homes.

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B6 Wednesday.March 30.2016 | Powell River Peak »

PREP WORK: Professional painter Jillian Amatt prepares an exterior wall for a new colour. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

GROWING CONCERN: Any sign of mildew needs to be removed before starting an exterior paint job. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

Do-it-yourself exterior house painting tips Professional house painter offers advice to homeowners JILLIAN AMATT Peak Contributor

Summer is right around the corner and it’s time to start thinking about tackling those outdoor house projects. Chief among them

is painting your home. Getting a contractor can be an expensive proposition. Here are some professional tips on painting your own house, the right way. By following these basic industry tips, you will get the longest life possible out of your paint, and will not have to repaint frequently.

Mildew As years go on, mildew is becoming a bigger and bigger problem. Global warming is creating an ul-

timate breeding ground for these microbes, and our damp climate definitely supports its growth. Mildew is living and breathing. You cannot just paint over it and hope it goes away. Mildew will continue to grow under a new paint job, eventually pushing its way to the surface and pushing the paint off with it. It will also stain and mottle a nice paint job, leaving a white coating stained with yellow-brown splotches. It is best to use an industry product such as 30 Seconds Outdoor

Cleaner, which is designed to not only remove mildew, but kill it as well. The same goes for removing dirt and grime. You must provide a very clean surface so the paint will bond with the base layer. Always follow the instructions on the cleaning product used to make sure the surface is prepped to the best possible standards.

Flaking/ peeling paint It is absolutely crucial to remove

any loose paint that exists on your structure. If the bottom layer is not bonded to the base, additional coats will not adhere, and will make the top coat heavier, essentially pulling the paint further away from the structure. This will create even worse blistering and peeling than what was there initially.

Dryness Do not paint a house if it is wet or damp. Paint will seal in the moisture while drying on top. The


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moisture will eventually push its way to the surface, causing the paint to blister and peel. Always wait for at least a week, once the sun starts shining, to let the house dry out completely after the winter rain. If you clean the house to remove mildew, do not power wash. Power washing penetrates deep into the surface and will take a long time to dry properly. Use a scrub brush and hose nozzle to wash problem areas. After this cleaning, the

house will need two full days of sun to dry completely.

Temperature All paints have a specific temperature range they perform ideally within. Read the paint can to determine the minimum application temperature. If you paint when it is too cold, the paint will take too long to dry properly, compromising the paint’s integrity, and will affect the bond with your base layer. Likewise, if you paint when the surface is too hot,

the paint will dry too quickly and will not have the appropriate time to bond with the base layer. It is always recommended to not paint in direct sunlight.

Quality of paint In general terms, you get what you pay for. If cheap paint is purchased, expect to repaint within four years. If good quality paint is purchased, colours will last longer. If the above steps are followed, the paint job will last for at least six years, and more likely nine or 10.

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Wednesday.March 30.2016 | Powell River Peak » B7

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B8 Wednesday.March 30.2016 | Powell River Peak »

Building an underground greenhouse Walipini dug into the earth maintains temperature year round JILLIAN AMATT Peak contributor

DIGGING IT: Drain rock, sand and manure was added to a seven-foot-deep hole dug by an excavator . CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

Walipini is a South American word derived from the Aymara-Indian language which means “place of warmth.” Essentially, it is a greenhouse dug down into the earth, allowing the planet’s natural heat to maintain a warmer temperature than greenhouses constructed at ground level. Initially, we learned about Walipinis from an online article and found more information through searching the Internet. A south-facing slope is the ideal location for a Walipini. If the hole is dug straight back into the soil, the sun will penetrate the entire structure year round. Unfortunately, we do not have a steep slope in our yard, but we do have great southern exposure, so we decided to try it anyway.



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Wednesday.March 30.2016 | Powell River Peak » B9

PROJECT IN WORKS: This underground greenhouse, or Walipini, will be used to grow a variety of fruits and vegetables. CONTRIBUTED PHOTOS

By building a strong, tall structure in the middle, we hope to hang planters and have things grow at the top during the months when the sun’s light does not reach the bottom. Because a Walipini is meant to be as natural as possible, it is not necessary to strengthen the walls on the inside of the hole. We read that if you have at least a seven-inch grade from bottom to top, the soil will maintain its own structure. We also plan to plant strawberry and other plants

on the walls to help the structure strengthen itself and knit it all together. We had a seven-foot-deep hole dug by a friend with his mini excavator. To this, we added 18 inches of drain rock, a few inches of sand, and our composted manure on top. This allows us to plant directly in the bottom. To cover the pit, we used a pretty basic principal. We started by building a wooden frame, supported above ground, one to two feet from the edge at either end. We

drove four-foot sections of rebar into the ground, leaving two feet sticking out. After bending 20-foot lengths of one-inch polyvinyl chloride (PVC) pipe over the frame, we simply threaded the rebar into the pipes. At this stage, it is important to screw your PVC pipes to the wooden frame to prevent them from moving around and creating wear spots on your plastic covering. Next came the plastic. We used UV-grade quality plastic, meant

for this sort of use. We pulled it over the top of our tubes and wooden structure and secured it with one-by-four-inch strapping on the outside to the PVC pipes underneath. Again, this ties the structure all together and will help stop it from wearing out the plastic quickly. For this application, it is best to use hexagonal roofing screws. The overlapping plastic around the perimeter was weighted down with soil, which we will plant in. After adding a door and some

ventilation to the opposite end, our Walipini was complete. Opinions vary on what temperatures it will maintain, but by planting at four feet deep, we hope to maintain 60 to 70 degrees year round. The important thing to remember is gardening is always an experiment. It is by trial and error that we eventually figure out what works and what does not. Failure is part of the process. I urge everyone to not be afraid to try new things.

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B10 Wednesday.March 30.2016 | Powell River Peak »

Tree safety top of mind

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Does anyone really want to fell a tree on their own? It might tempting, but is it safe? Reality shows and YouTube videos cover a vast array of do-it-yourself (DIY) home and yard renovation and maintenance topics and subjects, including tree felling and/ or topping. Regardless of tree size and height, attempting a project of this magnitude or scope should be daunting for the average individual. DIY painting, okay; carpentry, maybe; tree felling, probably not the best idea, for a number of reasons. “The DIY insignia and expression is all over the place now,” said certified damage-tree assessor and danger-tree faller Mike Pirozek. “DIY is fine in some areas, but it isn’t always the right answer.” If ever a case existed where the presence of a professional should be mandatory, tree felling has to be it. First and foremost: safety. What if something goes wrong?

Improper actions and execution could lead to a larger issue, cause additional damage, affect neighbouring properties, or neighbours themselves. “What is more important, the tree or your life, or the life of your loved ones?” said Pirozek. If the tree hangs up or splits, a professional will know the correct course of action. “We know what to do and what not to do with a tree, and how to make sure it is safe with the surroundings,” said Pirozek. “Oftentimes people build because they like the greenery around them, but is that greenery and their house safe?” In cases where saving money is the motivation for a do-it-yourself approach, every possible outcome should be considered. If the DIY video training ends up with a poor or unexpected result, it might cost the homeowner even more after a specialist is called to come in and clean up the mess. “When it involves a tree, it is better to call a professional,” said Pirozek. At the very least, by calling a professional to evaluate, plan and manage the job or project, individuals should feel confident the work will be carried out in a safe, efficient and proper manner. “If you are going to fell a tree properly,

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Wednesday.March 30.2016 | Powell River Peak » B11

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TREE EXPERT: Mike Pirozek, owner of his own contracting business, advises residents to hire an expert to deal with tree trimming and felling. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

consider prior to evaluating and felling a tree. Considerations not only include the state of the tree itself, but also the ground surrounding the tree, conditions of other trees in the area, and any other work that has been done nearby that might affect the job. “It’s definitely an advantage to consider several things, your trees may not be as safe as they could be,” said

Priozek. “We’ve come up with 13 things to look at immediately when coming to a job.” Doing it yourself can be gratifying and cost-effective in many areas, but not all. Sometimes the smartest approach is to remove all possible consequences of a poorly done job and call a professional. Let them look after the issue and get the job done correctly.

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what are you taking into account?” said Pirozek. “Just pulling trees backwards with a truck doesn’t work, it’s not the right action to be taking. Attempting to do so is more than dangerous; it can be fatal and costly.” With over 27 years in the business, Pirozek and his company, Mike Pirozek Contracting, has developed a 13-point tree-hazard checklist of questions to


Wednesday.March 30.2016 | Powell River Peak » B12

Supporting Locally • PR Educational Services Society • PR Minor Hockey Association • Friends of the Patricia Theatre • PR and District SPCA • PR Minor Baseball Association • PR Kings Junior A Hockey Club • PR Film Festival • Townsite Heritage Society • Success By 6 • PRISMA • Pacific Salmon Foundation • Royal Canadian Legion Branch 164 • International Choral Kathaumixw and many more

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Spring Home and Garden 2016  
Spring Home and Garden 2016