Construction — Day 35 to Day 40

It was sad to leave the cottage but exciting to return to Pye Acres. Tonight’s blog is a synopsis of all of the progress made between Day 35 and Day 40 of our new home construction. While the Pye family enjoyed a week preoccupied with fishing and swimming, a team of skilled trades professionals worked hard on our roof construction, chimney installation, basement plumbing, framing, shingling, and most notably, the assembly of stunning timber frame accent pieces. Cathy and I are very pleased with these timber frame touches. I think they really make the home unique and they accurately reflect our country style characters. After spending a sunny Sunday afternoon on an electrical walk-thru with our GC, we’re now on a mission to find the perfect lighting. While my fishing habit gets some rest, it’s time for new home décor shopping!

Wait. Did I just enthusiastically say, “décor shopping”?

Shut up. I know.

A promise to Bert

A house is not a Home without the love of a dog. We have three.

A house is not a Home without the love of a dog. We have three.

While our cottage week vacation is a great place to untangle our minds, it’s also a place to remember a very special friend.

It was on this vacation week last year that the sudden and devastating onset of a brain tumor took the life of Bert, our amazing 8 year old English Setter.

Bert has a powerful connection to the life of this Blog… you see him every time you visit this site because he’s the joyful dog pictured in the Pye Acres masthead.

A favorite photo is a favorite memory, and the one of Bert hunting our property will always be mine. I’m glad that Cathy snapped that photo of Bert as it demonstrates that no one will ever enjoy hunting and exploring our property better than our English Setters, especially Bert.

When we set Bert to rest on July 28, 2011 on Pye Acres, we made him a promise that we would not leave him on the property alone for very long. With tears in our eyes at Bert’s grave site, we looked up the hill to our proposed building site and instantly decided that it was time to put our long range dream home plans into higher gear.

Our promise to Bert was a motivation to go full speed ahead on every home selling and home building preparation we could think of. Here we are today, back at the cottage with an empty space still in our hearts for Bert but at the half-way point on a family home that will forever overlook him.

We miss our dog dearly. We can’t wait to open the sliding doors of our dining room, walk out onto the deck, look down and say “Good morning Bert. We didn’t leave you alone. Your family is right here on the hill.”

We love you Bert.

Cottage Life

A 5-pounder to start the cottage vaction week off right

A 5-pounder to start the cottage vaction week off right

No bass was harmed in the production of this blog!

this is how hectic our cottage week will be

this is how hectic our cottage week will be

Construction – Day 34

I missed my daily construction site visit on Day 33 and damn near ran out of daylight on Day 34. Better late than never is my motto. Although had I been there earlier and gone before dark, I would have missed this mostly cool, partly freaky photo shoot. It was a strange experience to walk the floor plan with skeleton walls and darkness around me. The sheathing will continue to make its way across the rafters tomorrow after which will be the point in the Pye Acres blog that will see a skip in the record. Starting tomorrow it is cottage week vacation time for this Blogger and his family. It won’t be hard to disconnect from the office but it will be hard to stay away from the progress of shingling and timber frame installations. Forgive me if I get my blogging fix next week by posting about beer and bass. Vacation starts in 14 more hours.

What I learned at camp. I’m still a kid.

Just a few of the amazing staff and volunteers that make OFAH summer camp a success.

OFAH Get Outdoors Summer Leadership Camp! Welcome to a place where kids can be outdoor-fanatical-kids, and so can OFAH camp staff and volunteers who enjoy every minute of camp with them. Here, camper’s get loud and proud about their hunting and fishing fascination. Over three, four day long programs, campers get hands-on experiences in 3-D archery and .22 caliber target shooting, night hikes and wolf howls, kayaking and canoeing, flying tying and bass fishing as well as the highly popular moose, deer and turkey calling contest.

OFAH campers come from all parts of the province and from all walks of life. One year we asked a camper to tell us about his favourite part of the OFAH Get Outdoors experience. Expecting to hear bass fishing or archery, he said his favorite part was the first night. He said it was the first time he’d gone to bed without falling asleep to the sounds of sirens from the streets of his downtown Toronto home. Although no one has ever directly said it, I’m confident that, for some campers, the best part of OFAH Get Outdoors Summer Leadership Camp is spending time with adults who listen. We have the world’s greatest staff and volunteers!

In between casting lilly pads and reaching for a net, it’s amazing how many insightful questions and heartfelt stories a young person is prepared to share aboard an aluminum fishing boat. Perhaps that’s the key to the OFAH camp’s success… we only let meaningful distractions (such as the shout of “fish-on”) get in the way of quality time.  OFAH Get Outdoors Summer Leadership Camp is a place where the terms Play Station III, Facebook, texting and “I’m bored” never enter our 160 camper’s minds let alone exit their vocabulary. I guess they are far too distracted with activities called fun.


PS.  We have the world’s greatest staff and volunteers! Camp coordinator, Alesha Caldwell, and Camp Cook, Vanessa Vidler, would agree that there are too many “shout-outs” required to fairly acknowledge years of staff and volunteer service. You know who you are and how much we appreciate your support.

PPS   It’s Day 32 and I’m home from camp. Looking forward to seeing (and blogging about) the framing progress at Pye Acres.

Photo credit:


Construction — Day 30

11 summers ago we started building our 1st dream

11 summers ago we started building our 1st dream

As exciting as it is to witness a roof raising, there’s another important event now calling my name. It’s called OFAH Get Outdoors Summer Leadership Camp and it holds a special place in my heart.

“Special” because it has helped shape the lives of hundreds of young people. And, “special” because the genesis of OFAH Get Outdoors Summer Leadership Camp traces back to ideas scribbled on the back of a Pizza Factory napkin during my first date with Cathy.

We were an awesome camp delivery duo in the founding years of OFAH Get Outdoors Summer Leadership Camp. On our first camp we struggled to fill 30 spots; 11 years later, 160 spots filled up in 19 minutes after registration opened. Amazing!

Indeed, I’m proud to say that the back-of-the napkin Get Outdoors concept has significantly expanded over the past 11 years thanks to great staff, dedicated volunteers and a world-class organization ( that works hard to support fishing, hunting and conservation experiences for kids.

I’m a just a kid too when I get a few days out of the office to spend time taking Get Outdoors campers bass, pike and walleye fishing. I’m headed up north to OFAH Get Outdoors Summer Leadership Camp today.


To learn more about this camp, visit

Construction — Day 29

Superstitions be damned! It’s Friday 13th and it’s going to be an amazing day. Here’s a quick photo update from yesterday (Day 29 of Pye/Symons-home construction).  The roof trusses are making their way across the house and will soon meet in the middle at the great room’s cathedral ceiling. In other news, I have date with my little fishing boat tonight…. I’ll blog about Day 30 progress after I satisify this fishing twitch.


Construction — Day 28

“Never pull all the way into a new driveway of an unfinnished home.” — R. Pye

I’m not very proud of it but on Day 1 of Construction I authored a new, self-imposed superstitious belief: never pull all the way into the new driveway of an unfinished home.  For me, this one is right up there with making a wish on the first robin of spring and staying away from the undersides of ladders. I admit that being superstitious is a royal pain in the ass. Those meaningless ideas are totally unfounded and completely unnecessary mental blocks to otherwise clear thinking. But, on the other hand, why risk good fate when it only takes a few seconds to humor ol’ lady folklore. At the end of the day, superstitions make us slow down to think about the important things in life, like the successful construction of a new family home. On Day 28, the newly erected roof line of the double car garage made it tempting to pull my car right up to it. Superstition stopped me. It’s amazing how a few rafters really help make the home take shape. The Prinston Homes team is doing a great job and they should have most of the trusses up before the weekend. Knock on wood.