Author Archives: JH

August 24, 2015 – PEI Earthship House

I am a little late writing about the PEI Earthship house but we did go to the Open House on August 8th and I have to say that I was quite impressed with the unique structure. Jordan Cameron, the owner and builder, built the house out of recycled materials and it was designed for sustainable living. This is the CBC interview:

Here are some pictures of the house. It was very spacious inside and had lots of interesting features. For example, one wall was built with cement and bottles – it looks really neat! I liked the inside garden. It is intended to act as a greenhouse throughout the winter. Jordan also used a lot of glass pieces in his floor and on his countertop, so the whole place looks like a piece of artwork. It was definitely worth the trip to go and see it!

Here are a few pictures of it:





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Posted by on August 24, 2015 in Sailing in the Northumberland Strait



August 17th, 2015 – William Jones – Licensed Carpenter

Our house is done! The final inspection passed and it is all because of William Jones, the licensed carpenter that did most of the work on it. William started working in February. Dennis had arrived in Summerside to start the demolition and William started working with Dennis two weeks after that. The two of them got along really well. Dennis realized very quickly how lucky he was to work with a guy like William. He is very efficient and does meticulous work but also had some great stories to tell Dennis during the long, cold month of February.

Because we didn’t know much about Summerside and the contractors and everything that has to do with building a house, William basically took over and got us through the entire process. He hired most of the subcontractors. The people that he hired were all excellent and did their best to help make the house as nice as it is. We were very grateful because it made it a lot easier for us, especially being so far away for a lot of the construction.

William got his carpentry license in a very interesting way. He did not go to school for carpentry at all. He went to Holland College in Charlottetown for electrical engineering but according to him, he spent quite a bit of the year socializing as it was his first year away from home. He finished the year but then switched courses to construction technology. He got a job right away in an office reading blueprints and working on projects but only lasted four days. His boss noticed that he didn’t really like what he was doing and asked him if would rather work downstairs in the construction area. He did and never looked back. He worked for a number of different places and eventually decided to apply for his carpentry license. He challenged the license board because he didn’t want to go back to school as he had a lot of practical experience (and probably knew more than the instructors). The board told him that he needed 10,000 hours of construction work and had to write an exam. He fulfilled both of those requirements and got 85% on the exam.

William now works independently – he owns his own business – William’s Woodworking. We were lucky to get him because as I said earlier, he does excellent work. His favourite part of a job though, is the finishing work and that was a good thing for us as both of our previous houses had no trim until two weeks before we moved out. He is able though, to do everything and quite often suggested options for finishing a particular part of the job. We almost always agreed with his suggestions.

William also had a few stories to tell and often during a break, he would tell them to Dennis who got quite a PEI education! He learned a lot from William – things such as lobster fishing which was important to learn especially when navigating a sailboat through the lobster pots. He also told us that we could go clam digging by using a plunger (we still think he’s pulling our leg on that) and how a fisherman would pull a trick on his buddies by putting a fork in his boot. Apparently, you can’t pull your foot out without jamming the fork into it so you have to cut the boot (we have not tested this and most likely won’t!).

William is married to Carla who is nurse at the hospital. She works in the nursery. William told me the other day that he traded in his motorcycle for an engagement ring – which was a very good decision. William and Carla have three little boys and a dog. I think their life is very, very busy. I was riding my bike one day past their house and William had all three boys working outside. Owen, who is going into grade 4, was mowing the lawn and the two younger boys (Iain and Thomas) were scraping the driveway. They seemed very happy to be working with their dad.

We have thoroughly enjoyed working with William over the past six months. He not only is a good carpenter, but is also a good person and was always thoughtful and considerate. What I really liked was that he kind of kept his eye on Dennis to make sure that he was ok. He is trying to give him the nickname Skipper (with mixed results) and the two of them had good talks  about boats, wood and other important parts of life. If William lived elsewhere in Canada, say Muskoka for example, he would be able to be paid twice the amount of money and there would most likely be a long waiting list to hire him but I think he enjoys his life on the island (who wouldn’t?) We are very fortunate to work with him. He’s made this place into a home and as you can see by the pictures below, it was no easy task!


Here are a few pictures of William working:


So the house is done and as I said earlier, it is because of William. He has done a fantastic job. I hope he enjoyed working on the house, I’m sure it was a challenge!


Posted by on August 20, 2015 in Summerside


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July 24th – 26th, 2015 – Summerside

We have spent the last week or so moving into our new house here in Summerside, PEI. I do have to say that it is really nice and I am enjoying the view from where I am writing this. Here is a picture of what I see right now:


There is quite a bit of traffic around where we are – not necessarily cars going by but lots of people wandering past, jogging, walking their dogs and on a regular basis, the Segways buzz past our house. Everyone we’ve met has been very nice and very curious too as to what in the world we are doing with this building, so we often have them come in for a quick tour to satisfy their curiousity.

The other day though, a young couple from a small town near Goderich, ON stopped at our place. They were looking for the bike rental shop and it used to be located right beside us. They were so disappointed that they couldn’t rent bikes as they wanted to try the Confederation trail which is about 100 metres away from the house. Dennis decided to lend them our bikes (they’ve just been sitting in the workshop gathering dust – literally) and that made them pretty happy. Of course, I had to get a picture of them for the blog, so here are Andrea and Jordan getting ready to ride the trail!

Jordan and Andrea

The other things that we’ve been doing are going to a lot of music venues. Last week during Lobsterfest, Jimmy Flynn was playing and since we used to go and see him in Halifax many, many years ago, we thought we’d go here in Summerside. He’s got a few new jokes but pretty much the same songs that were lots of fun while hanging out at the Split Crow tavern in Halifax! Here is my Youtube video of him at the Marine Terminal in Summerside.


We also got to see Nathan Wiley play too on July 30th. He is a man of many talents as he was one of the workers who tiled our bathroom and entrance floors as well as put the stonework on our fireplace. Here is a video of him playing:

Finally, we also saw some Acadian fiddling music on July 31st. Peter, Albert and Helen Arsenault and Gary Gallant gave quite a concert! Peter, by the way, also worked on our house for a couple of days – he did some painting and verathaning. Here is a video of them.


So, that’s all the news for today. It’s hard to believe that it is August already – this summer is going way too fast!

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Posted by on August 2, 2015 in Sailing in the Northumberland Strait


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July 22nd, 2015 – Summerside Sidewalk Sale

We applied to be vendors at the Summerside Sidewalk Sale. It was a part of the Lobster Festival and the sale was on Tuesday, July 21st and Wednesday, July 22nd in the downtown area on Water Street.

We met a lot of interesting people throughout the two days but the most interesting were the kids because of the Young Millionaires Program. According to Stephanie, one of the Downtown Summerside employees, kids can apply to receive a $100 grant to start their own business.

The Young Millionaires Program is here to introduce youth to the world of business and entrepreneurship.  We help participants develop basic business and life skills, such as record keeping, customer service, and public speaking.  Successful participants will even receive grant money to start up their very own business!”

There were about 30 kids at the sidewalk sale with their business ideas. My favourite were the boys who made the stilts. I think they were successful because they advertised well by walking up and down the street on the stilts. By the end of the day though, they were looking pretty tired because of the workout! Another good idea one kid had were “Candy Kabobs”. These were very successful and I would have had a picture but we ate ours! Basically, they put soft candies like gummy worms and jujubes on a skewer. Not only did they look attractive but they were easy to eat. Great idea!

I also took a few pictures of a “field springer spaniel” because of Louise in Parry Sound who has one that looks very similar. We had a good laugh over the dog’s smile. Looks quite a bit like Harry!

Here are some pics of the day:

Sidewalk Sale

The other interesting thing was that the lobster trap challenge was cancelled at the marina because of the huge boat that had come in. I happened to walk by at about 4:00 and saw it. Wow! It looked brand new and was very shiny. It was from the Caymen Islands. Sadly, I startled the heron who was fishing for his dinner on the dock but I did manage to get a pretty good shot of him beside the boat.

Big boat and heron

That’s about it for today. We have started moving furniture into the house and the kitchen people will be arriving sometime today to finish the countertop. Then, hopefully the plumber will arrive to set up the sink. The house looks great! (A bit messy right now, but by next week, it should be pretty much in order.)

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Posted by on July 23, 2015 in Sailing in the Northumberland Strait


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July 16th, 2015 – Bike Friday

Dennis often reads a blog called Crazy Guy On A Bike. It is written by hundreds of different cyclists from around the world telling their adventures. Quite often, there are cyclists who ride these folding bikes which are high end but will fit into a suitcase (which then turns into a bike trailer!). There are many different brands but the most popular one is Bike Friday. There are several different places to buy the bikes but sadly there is nothing in Canada. The closest is in New York.

Dennis talks about them a lot and I was curious about them. The other day, a lady drove by on the trail in front of our house and she happened to be riding one, so I stopped her and asked her all about it. She was from Montreal and loves her bike because she rides all over the city and if she needs to take her bike on the bus or keep it in her workspace, she just folds it up and puts it in an Ikea bag.

Today, as we were walking back from the Farmers’ Market (by the way – we will be at the Farmers’ Market on Saturday as vendors) to see our space, we stopped at Samuel’s Coffee House to get coffee. Dennis noticed a tandem Bike Friday. The people were just getting up to leave so I went and talked to them. They were from Australia and had cycled from Montreal, along the Gaspe and were heading to Halifax. Today they were off to the north part of PEI. I think their destination was Alberton. They had ridden this bike quite a bit and really liked it. They said that they could go 60 km an hour down a hill!

They were very interesting people and we would loved to talk more but couldn’t. They mentioned that they had stayed at a Warm Showers  Community house last night.

“This is a free worldwide hospitality exchange for touring cyclists. People who are willing to host touring cyclists sign up and provide their contact information, and may occasionally have someone stay with them and share great stories and a drink. All members agree to host others either now or in the future, but for some members hosting may be in years or even decades in their future.”

Here is a picture of Ian and Lexie from Australia:

Bike Friday


That’s all the news for today!

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Posted by on July 16, 2015 in Sailing in the Northumberland Strait



July 10th, 2015 – Emerald Boxcar Pub and Grill

On Friday night, we went to our first PEI ceilidh at the Emerald Boxcar Pub and Grill. The reason we went was because of John Webster. He plays guitar in the band and we know him because of his day job. He works at Royalty Hardwoods and this is where we bought a lot of our wood. We bought the tamarack flooring as well as the white cedar siding and the butcher block top for the island.

When we first met John at Royalty Hardwoods, the first thing that happened was that Dennis tripped over a small pile of wood in the store. John told him that it was a trap so of course we all laughed. He then helped us pick out our wood and was very down to earth and friendly – just the kind of person you know you like immediately. He told us that he played in a band called Fiddlers’ Sons.  We went to the ceilidh where he was playing on Friday night and when I spoke to him during the intermission and told him how much we were enjoying the music he said, “We make quite a racket!”

The following pictures are of John Webster and of our wood that we bought from Royalty Hardwoods. The floor is looking great – just two more coats of varathane to go! The other shot is of the outside. William is putting up the siding and had to strap the exterior walls with lattice first. The big pile of lumber on the deck is the cedar siding we bought from Royalty Hardwoods.flooring

Here is an article on Fiddlers’ Sons from the Journal Pioneer (the local Summerside paper). The band is really good and we thoroughly enjoyed the ceilidh. The two girls step dancing were ages 8 and 12 – pretty amazing dancers!

I recorded some of the ceilidh on my phone – we were sitting near the back, so I didn’t get that great of a video, but you should get the gist of it – very impressive band and we’ll definitely go and listen to them again!


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July 5th, 2015 – Souris and Summerside

We went to the car show yesterday in Brudenell yesterday. It was very interesting with many, many beautiful cars. As compared to last year’s show, there were a lot more cars because there was no hurricane coming our way. Much better attended! Of course, with all the cars to look at, Dennis made a beeline for the only boat, so I had to take his picture!

Car show

After the car show, we went to Souris to the Village Feast. We went with Kim and John Laing who also have a boat in Souris. Kim and I lost a number of euchre games last year to John and Dennis while we were there last year, so we are hoping to get a few more games in this summer.

The Village Feast  “is a non-profit children’s charity based in Souris, Prince Edward Island. It supports local and global initiatives whose goals are to improve the lives of children in our world. Some of the beneficiaries are Farmers helping Farmers which builds school cookhouses in Kenya, Africa, on behalf of Village Feast, the Souris Food Bank, Coats for Kids, and Main Street Family Resource Centre’s Young Mothers cooking classes.”

Michael Smith, the famous chef who lives in PEI, does a lot of volunteer work for the Feast and he also initiated eleven honourary islanders on the stage. Those poor people had to dress up in an “Anne” hat, wear a potato bag, peel a potato, drink moonshine and cordial, shuck an oyster, take the rubber bands off of a lobster and apologize to their fellow inductee on the stage. For this, they each paid $100 that went to the Souris food bank. It was good fun watching them!

When we got back to the boat, we were just relaxing when we heard a series of bangs. It was exactly 10 pm and when we looked out, there were fireworks going off on the commercial dock. We assumed the fireworks were done by the Maritime Fire Chiefs as they were having a conference in Summerside.


That’s about all the news for now. The tilers are working on the bathrooms and William is working on the baseboards. Wilfred the plumber will be here tomorrow to install the baseboard heaters.