Bondi Resort Blog

Come on into our Blog for a look at the wonderful world we've got to share! With over 240 hectares (600 acres) of wilderness woodlands surrounding the resort, just ten minutes from Algonquin Park, we feature over 400 metres (1200’) of waterfront and beach; boat rentals; summer hiking trails winding through fields and woods; 20 km. of groomed cross country ski trails and snowshoeing in winter; access to nearby snowmobile trails for sledders, and a toboggan hill for the young at heart.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Make Mine from Tamarack...

Tuesday morning, under our umbrellas, Jackie and I 'test-walked' Dorset. In our hands was the brochure the Lake of Bays Heritage Advisory Committee has been working on, taking us on a self-conducted Heritage Walk through this charming Village.

Jackie came because she's not familiar with Dorset. She was our "fresh eyes." Our reputation ran along ahead of us, on this rainy morning. When we stopped in Robinson's General Store, one of the clerks greeted us with a cheery, "So YOU'RE the ones walking through town with umbrellas!" Not a lot of tourists were out mid-week in September, so with our big umbrellas, we stood out.

Zachariah Cole was one of the first settlers into Dorset. He arrived as one of the surveyors on the Bobcaygeon Road, and saw such promise here that he became the first settler, clearing 17 acres. When the logging boom hit, Zac Cole built a hotel and trading post on the site of an old French Trading post, complete with a whiskey still in the backyard next to a brick kiln. A driving force in developing the young village, Zac used to claim he wanted his coffin made from tamarack, because it burned with loud cracks and noises, sparking and spitting, so everyone in Hell would know he had arrived. Today a great many people consider the village that Zachariah Cole promoted to be a little piece of heaven.

One purpose of our jaunt was to time the walk. It takes about an hour and a half, with some pauses to chat to the gentleman bailing out the S.S. Bigwin, Jackie buying a sweatshirt in Robinsons, a short conversation with another committee member bumped into along the way. We didn't have the luxury of enough time to stop in one of the restaurants for even a cup of coffee... and the Museum was closed. But next time, Jackie wants to spend the entire day there. And why not?

From the lovely little church, with the stone wall built to keep out cows and the cheerful attitude that if it rained on Sunday, services would be held on another day; past the Marine Museum by the arched bridge built in 1914 to replace the old wooden bridge that collapsed under a team and wagon loaded with lumber (horses and wagon were fine, bridge -- not so much), out past Kissing Rock, where lovers' could hide from view under the arching trees along the road, to the Museum and the view up to the Fire Tower, this is one heck of a community, one delightful destination, and this Heritage Walking Tour brochure will be just one more great reason to spend some time there.

Rabbits Bay, Fall Leaves, Trout

These photos were taken at Rabbit's Bay landing on Tuesday, in light drizzle that didn't stop us from being out and about.

The good thing about dull weather is that the colours in the trees really "pop" against the background, and the wet leaves shine.

There is really no such thing as bad weather here, just the wrong wardrobe. We were well prepared with light jackets and huge umbrellas, but only needed them occasionally.

Rabbit's Bay is a public access point/parkette in Lake of Bays. Recently, the Andrew Daniels' Stewardship Memorial Fund went to work in this park. Andrew grew up on the lake during his summers. Loved it. Loved fishing it. Andrew knew where all the trout went to hide. Where the bass could be found. If you wanted to know about fishing, he was your Go-To Guy. This Fund was created to honour his memory.

The creek at Rabbit's Bay has been identified by the Ministry of Natural Resources Fish Biologist Steve Scholten as a trout spawning stream, so last summer the Fund volunteers set to work to clean it up. Some encroachment over the years by contractors pushing gravel back into the streambed to create a larger parking space needed to be addressed. The damage along the shoreline from certain boats landing also needed work. The streambed needed cleaning up for the fish.

Trees were planted, rocks were placed to limit the parking lot, debris was removed from the waterway. You'd think by now people would know better than to leave junk in waterways but you'd not always be right.

This summer the project was completed. There are new rock picnic tables, new trees along the shoreline, better defined parking areas. The place looks lovely. The stream looks lovely. The fish are happy.

A neighbouring property owner, Mr. Edgar, generously donated a portion of land to expand this park, Fowler Construction is donating some of the concrete dividers that graced our roads during the G8 to reinforce the shoreline where the barge lands and drops it's bow ramp. This will not only help steady the barge to make loading safer, it will protect the fragile shoreline. B.O.R. Aggregates was very generous in providing rip-rap stone and dimensional stone for the site. Dwight Garden Centre stepped up (as Linda always does) with plants and trees. Deb Cummings, representing LOBA (from whom she acquired financial assistance for the project), oversaw the site design.

So great thanks and congratulations to all, including District Councillor Ben Boivin, who sits on the Andrew Daniels' Memorial Fund Board, all the members of the Fund, George Daniels (Andrew's father), the volunteers and sponsors who came together to make this one of the prettiest places you can go for a picnic, especially right now, with the leaves all in colour, and the stream babbling over its rocks.

We think Andrew would be proud. We most certainly are.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Probus Comes to Play

Monday morning I was lucky enough to go hiking with a group from Probus. They're not easy to keep up with -- ten of them arrived, complete with walking poles and cameras and a history of hiking every Monday! Good thing there are so many wonderful trails around here! Next week they are off to the Limberlost Forest Reserve; last week, they were on Track and Tower in Algonquin Park!

I took them to the Lookout, which offers a wonderful view at any time of year but especially when the fall colours are coming on so strong. From there, we wound through North Ridge, Slalom, parts of Sugarbush and the back fields before coming back to the resort for a picnic lunch.

It's been a wet autumn, which is good for fungi. Mushrooms were everywhere, cool fungi, vivid colours, even a slime mold that got everyone excited (they don't last very long, so finding them can be tricky!)
We even found an inukshuk of sorts, growing along the trailside!

Probus offers an enormously varied selection of activities -- a few weeks ago, I was invited to speak to them about local history. (that will teach them to give me a microphone and ask about the early days! I have a zillion tales, facts, fables... it's all good fun!) One of their activities includes a photo contest, and from the interest shown out in the bush, fungi are going to be a featured item!

We also found woodpecker trees, bear claw marks on the beech trees, this stump that the bear was busy tearing apart, wild sage, and all the other wonderful things the woods and fields have to offer!
A great day, the mist was no detriment and soon blew clear, and everyone enjoyed the hike. Now that they know we're here, and have a Frisbee Golf Course as well as ski and snowshoe trails that are uncrowded and varied, they tell us they'll be back!

Sunday, September 26, 2010

A Moveable Lap

Patti and Sue had come out by the stable to visit the chickens. It didn't take long for Achmed to show up. The very definition of the curious cat, he's usually in the midst of anything that's going on around here.

It didn't take him long, given his delight in riding on the roof of the car, or on the seat of the golfcart, to decide that this was an opportunity not to be missed. A moveable lap! How perfect!

Up he hopped, much to Sue's delight. And there he stayed, a ginger lapwarmer making himself very much at home. He graciously permitted himself to be driven along the driveway...
Now that, the cat seemed to say, is Style!!!

Who Does That?

This is Woody, a Parson Russell terrier friend of ours. He's usually a bright, friendly little chap, stuck close to his person, quiet and happy.

He came to visit today, however, and he was in quite a state. Yesterday, while walking on-leash along Echo Bay Road, down Fox Point, he was attacked by an off-leash dog. That dog, walking with his two people, was described as big, thick-coated, brown, and perhaps a Shepherd/Husky type of cross. It was a bit of a blur for Woody's 'Mom', who was in a panic trying to get Woody away from his attacker. In doing so, she finally managed to yank him up by the leash, into her arms. She is lucky -- the dog attacking did not continue to attack while she was holding her wounded dog.

We love dogs. No, let me correct that, because it isn't true. We love well-behaved, well-trained dogs with responsible owners. Sadly, over many years, we have been forced to adopt a No Pets policy at the resort, because we can't 'interview' the dogs and their owners before hand. While many are wonderful, both the dog and the people, it only takes one incident... and if we are going to permit one dog to come, then we really have to permit everyone's dog to come... so that is why we recommend putting dogs in a kennel while you vacation.

Woody visited Dr. Stock, who spent considerable time stitching him back together, inserting a drainage tube, and venting his anger that anyone would allow that to happen. The vet's opinion was that this was an attack by a dog intending to kill. The injury was big, ripping up over the terrier's shoulder, leaving a gaping hole in his side. Woody was still scared today, still shaking, definitely still hurting. We sat on the floor together and listened to what he had to say, and it took me immediately back to some years ago when my beloved poodle Holly was attacked by a pack of Cairn terriers who were visiting at the next door property. She had innocently wandered down by their cottage -- which was not surprising, since we had been managing that cottage for the owners for three years by then and were over there ourselves all the time. The dogs ripped her up very badly.

We, however, knew where to find the owners. We knew where to take the vet bill. The property owner paid for half the costs. The owners of the dogs refused. They were professional dog trainers from Toronto, according to the sign on their car, and they felt that our dog was entirely to blame for her injuries. "What," my brother asked, "if that had been a child who wandered onto your property?"

Woody's vet bill, by the way, was close to $650.00. (That could easily be a cost that would be out of reach of many people, leaving a chocie between vet care and rent payments...) But it isn't about the cost of the vet bill, it's about the trauma Woody suffered, the trauma his owners underwent, the principal of the incident -- you MUST have your dog under control. When you see another dog approaching, you MUST take full responsibility for having your own dog in safe custody. You are responsible for the actions your dog takes -- be that as minor as scooping up poop, or as major as this, where the dog attacked with deadly intention.

Mind you, if you know who belonged to that dog, to that car... and they would like to do the right thing, they can get in touch with me, and I'll put them in touch with Woody's family.

What, we ask, if the dog attacking Woody had continued to attack when he was in his owner's arms? What if Woody had been walking with a small child instead of an adult? Why ask that? Because the owners of the attacking dog didn't stop. Didn't offer to help. Didn't take the time to check if Woody was alright. Didn't have a leash to put on their dog...

It's possible that they belonged to the white BMW parked near the junction of Sugarbush and Echo Bay. That car was gone when Woody's owner got home. Maybe they'd just come to walk along the lovely backroad, enjoy the fall colours, walk the Ronville Path... but they give dog owners a bad rap. Worse, they give dogs a bad rap.
We're extremely upset about this. Not just because it happened to a lovely little dog who is a personal friend, but because of the What Ifs? That is a quiet road. A lot of people walk it. Children ride bikes on it. There is a wildlife everywhere. There's a whole lot of things that can go wrong with an uncontrolled dog that is proven willing to attack another dog...
So who does that? Who just 'hits and runs' from an incident like this?

Tiny Little Turtle

While I was working on accounts today in the office, David brought me an assistant.
This tiny, but extremely active, little chap is a baby snapping turtle. Brian found him in the grass. After his visit in the office to check up on the math, he (or she?) was lovingly taken down to the pond where there is lots of food but not lots of predators for little turtles.
After all, this is a Time Machine. A member of a species that considered T-Rex to be a flash in the pan. Snapping turtles should be treated with great reverence, since there are very few creatures still around that can trace their ancestry back 215 million years. (Just try it -- get on one of those geneology websites and just see how far back you get!)
They can live for 75 years or longer, so we hope this little fellow enjoys a long and happy life in the Lake of Bays. We don't know if it was a boy or a girl -- that would have been determined by where the egg was in the nest, and how warm it was. The sex of these turtles is determined by temperature (chicks are hot, dudes are cool). We hope global warming doesn't toss a spanner into that.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Crossing the Country

With rain showers and a pervasive mist in the air, we took to the back fields to play on the cross country course today. A large group of riders, with a wide range in ages and experience, we played over logs, stone walls, ditches and banks. We dabbled in riding lines and connecting courses. Ewan worked on the steering with his lovely pony Ginny, who doesn't see why she should jump anything if she is not kept on the line to do so. And when they got it right, they were -- as you can see -- just great.
We gasped when Abby decided she had the power and scope to do without intervening strides coming up the double set of banks, and then cheered when she corrected herself next time through. This was the first time she's ever been asked a question like that, and perhaps Chris rode in a bit too firmly the first time through, but it's all about educating the horses and riders, producing happy, confident athletes. Mission accomplished.

We coped with one very naughty and opinionated pony who gave Morgan a hard time, but Morgan triumphed. He'll be wonderful when he gets some more miles on him, and understands that No means "NO" and go means "GO."
We dealt with sun, and mist, and the occasional passing rain shower. We learned about riding in company, with horses that were keen and happy to be outside, not in an enclosed ring. We went up hill, down hill and learned about keeping the horses in balance through all of that. Bailey came along to give a lead over the ditch for the less experienced horses, and in the process taught Kate about riding over them herself.
In short, we had a blast at Fox Point Farm, and the weather could do nothing to dampen the spirits and enthusiasm of horses or people. There are almost fifty different obstacles up in those fields, suitable for a lot of different levels of riders and horses. We've produced three horse/rider combinations that have won medals at the North American Young Riders' Championships in that field, as well as countless other horses who have gone on to great and successful careers. It's a fun place to be, and a wonderful way to spend a day.

Friday, September 24, 2010

A Mighty Wind

We had a huge storm up here last week. It hit late Tuesday, and lasated longer than you'd think. Our Hydro was out for 24 hours -- in some places we are told it is still out. There are Hydro crews here from all over Ontario, God Bless Them. We love those guys, the ones who go out in the worst of the weather, so that we can stay inside warm and dry. It's hard, and dangerous work, mucking about in thunderstorms with high voltage wires, and the crews work hard.

We were very lucky here at Bondi -- there was no tree damage to speak of. No doubt, we'll find limbs and trees down on some of our hiking trails. With 600 acres and a 20 km. network of trails, that is to be expected. Brian and David have been improving our system of generators, so our guests were not unduly inconvenienced for very long. Personally, I find if I can make coffee and the water is working, I can pretty much face anything...

But Dorset... Well Dorset got clobbered. The village made the front page of the Weekender. The damage extended all along the southern shore to Baysville, with Norway Point (Old Hwy 117) and Glenmount Road taking a big hit. That's where these photos were taken.
The Lake of Bays Director of Public Works, Tom Brown, estimates three weeks and $15,000 for the clean-up. Folks should have firewood enough to last them for several years.
While there was a lot of property damage to buildings and cars, there were no injuries reported, with one horrible exception. A hydro worker lost his life out there, for us.
It's a grim reminder of the power Nature holds, the unstoppable vagaries of climate, what weather can do. It's also a reminder that everyone should have an emergency kit available, to help them ride out the times like these when our 'modern' world suddenly reminds us of how we lived without electricity.
Be careful, be prepared. Be safe.

Who Let the Dogs In???

Lynda Yielding, from the Muskoka Agility Dogs dropped by this week. Lynda and Dan offer agility classes May through October, and they've got quite a following. The sport becomes more popular every year. And we are all for that -- agility dogs are usually well socialized, well trained. So are their handlers. It's a sport, and both dogs and people work hard to be good.

Come November, the weather starts to be an issue, and being outdoors with the dogs for this sport becomes harder. But there's a core of students who don't want to stop running with the dogs, so to speak.

Up we went to the indoor arena. It's a huge space, safe, secure, bright... and the horses are not in there 24/7... Might it suit them? They've been in other facilities, and found them dusty, the footing too deep or too hard, too 'decorated' with manure... Well, now, let me tell you this... I cannot stand dust, so the arena is maintained in a fashion that eliminates that issue. Along with that, and because it is also a safety issue in the winter, all manure is removed immediately. You really must -- a horse landing on a frozen 'horse puck' might as well land on a stone. Since the only reason one would build an indoor riding arena is to provide optimum footing for the horses, it's an on-going mystery to me why so many have inadequate footing: too deep and you put strain on those treasured tendons and ligaments. Too hard and you pound joints and feet... We've worked hard and done our homework. The folks who erected the arena -- who do almost nothing other than put up indoor riding arenas -- commented that it's some of the best footing they've ever seen. For horses.
Still, you really have to ask the dogs. They have the same issues with footing that is too soft, or too hard. And the handlers have to be able to get around as well. So in they went, with jumps and tunnels and weave poles. Cathy and Hogan ran end to end. Janet and Bandit checked out some of the fill from the horse jumps that can serve as benches and tables. Lynda gathered the troops to explain the rules of behaviour. Bandit was all ears...
It looks like we'll be able to welcome the Muskoka Agility Dogs here during the winter months! We're sure some of our guests would enjoy the chance to go up to the arena and watch them train. It's far enough away that it is quiet, and won't disturb our guests, it's big enough that the dogs can rip and run... it sounds like a lot of fun.
Sadly, we can't permit dogs in our cottages -- we have found over the years that having too many dogs leads to too many problems at the resort, but we have excellent kennels, such as Happy Tails, close by that look after our guests' dogs. There are also too many limitations on what you can do and where you can go with dogs now -- particularly in an area of so much wildlife. Since dogs aren't welcome on public beaches, or on most of the trails in the Park (because of wildlife), can't go to attractions and hate being left stuck in the car or a dog-crate in a strange place, they are very often happiest left at home with a dog-sitter or in a qualified kennel where they can be kept entertained.
That said, we love dogs, so perhaps by having some agility action here (the Muskoka Agility Dogs slogan is "Get Over It") we can have the best of all worlds. We'll keep you posted!

It's More Fun with Friends

Eleni was here last week with the Old Salts Canoe and Outing Club. She then stayed over another night to join up with the Waterloo Wellington Canoe Club, who are here this weekend.

That left her a bit at loose ends for a day. She asked if there was any gardening that needed doing, because she enjoys puttering about with plants.
Is there any gardening??? Well... where would you like to begin? What a wonderful question, since we are constantly trying just to keep up with the gardens, and Carol spends any spare moment she can find out there, garden tools in hand!
Eleni tackled the asparagus bed, but not alone. As soon as the chickens see someone turning over the dirt, they come to 'help'. They kept Eleni company all afternoon, chatting away to her about things of interest to chickens.
They were perhaps even happier than we were for her assistance, if that is possible... Thanks so much. The gardens you worked on look lovely!

Life Changes fit for a Monarch

Our guests send us the most wonderful photos. I couldn't resist posting these, which -- taken together -- walk us through the miracle of the Monarch butterflies. These lovely winged wonders have left now, heading south towards Mexico, and we wish them safe flight and calm winds.

Michelle and Eric found "Mr. J-Guy" hanging about in the back fields. (They also provided the lovely shot of the butterfly sipping nectar from a butterfly bush! See? They DO attract butterflies!)

This is where the transformation starts to get serious -- the caterpillars have been eating, shedding their skin, growing as fast as possible on those milkweeds, until all of a sudden, that's it... they hang themselves upside down, curl upwards in this typical "J" shape, and begin to weave their chrysalis.

Just before they are ready to emerge from their bejeweled green 'transformation station', you can see the butterfly within. That's because the chrysalis case is transparent. The gorgeous green you see in a new chrysalis is caterpillar. Interestingly, while you never see the yellow or black stripes of the caterpillar within the chrysalis, you can clearly see the orange and black of the butterfly's wings! It is extraordinary how tightly the wings are wrapped and folded to fit in such a small container! How small? Well, that's a nail in the wood just to the left of the chrysalis. Quinn took this shot. I'm jealous because I kept trying to get a good image of the butterfly within, and never really succeeded...
Finally, without any warning or celebration, the chrysalis splits, and the butterfly crawls out. Hanging to the empty casing, the monarch waits for the sun to warm her, for her wings to gradually unfold, fill with 'butterfly blood', and harden enough that she can fly.
That can take some time, especially if the day is cool. This one was lucky to be on the old choke cherry tree, directly in a friendly sunbeam.
Finally, the butterfly sets sail, taking to the air to seek out flowers. But also touching down on dirt, to sip up some needed minerals. Quinn caught this one at the beach, sunbathing...
Thanks for providing us with such lovely images of such a miracle.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Bee-Lieve it!

It has been a mild autumn. So far, no frost... (now in 1926, according to Joseph Tapley's diaries, there was a killing frost on June 30, and another on August 31st -- which doubtless rendered it a short growing season!) This has been a boon for some, and less of a boon for others. Brian is still hard at it, mowing the lawns.
Carol planted a new variety of raspberry, and the canes are currently bearing their second crop of fruit. There are blackberries on their vines as well, so we are still into berry picking mode.
The corn is finished for this year. All the stalks are cut, bundled, and stored in the dry to become decorations for the harvest festivals, fairs and thanksgiving celebrations.
The sunflowers are at their very best, with a wonderful array of colours on display. Carol plants a lot of different types, from the fuzzy "Teddy Bear" through to these striking red and orange flowers. They are a beacon for the bees, feasting on the flowers.
These bees, bless them, are moving slowly as the weather cools, and when I took these photos it was later in the day, the weather was chilly, and the bees were very sleepy. (you can actually pet them, very gently so as not to hurt them, when they are this dormant.) The first ray of sunshine will be enough to set them off again, hard at work. Bees too are into the autumn harvest, and working overtime to bring home nectar for the hive to turn into honey for the winter season.
This is the time of year the beavers also start to sit up and take notice of work that might need to be done on the dams. It's a good time of year to hike on down to Beavertown and see if anybody is swimming about surveying the dams.

Mr. Murphy, I Believe I Just Met Your LAW...

Nothing goes quite to plan. Eddie, the big chestnut horse who was here this summer, has headed off to Ashton, near Ottawa, so his person Elli can ride him in between her studies at Ottawa University.

The plan was so simple... we'd ship him up to Oakhurst Farm for her. After all, we know the way, the roads are great through the Park, the scenery is nice, and we've got great friends at Oakhurst we can visit while we're there.

The truck and trailer were just (that morning) back from being checked out and getting their Safety check. All was well. Squeegee the pony came with us to keep Eddie company. Squeege is a seasoned and mellow traveller. Eddie bites his nails and frets if he's on his own...

Barb came with me, so there would be a second person in the event of the unforeseen.

Which occured at Barry's Bay. We pulled over to refuel (the most fun feature of the truck is that you can simply watch the gas gauge drop... seriously. It never passes a gas station if it can avoid it.) All was hunky. Even dory. Until we tried to leave.

This was the chapter where we learned the starter had packed it in, and the truck would NOT move. Three cheers for Jim and Matt, who showed up almost immediately from Bay Auto, and then spent several hours lying on their backs in the pouring rain under the truck, in the bay of the gas station, while Eddie nibbled hay and nuzzled up to Squeegee, Barb went exploring Barry's Bay to find us a lunch, and I more or less sat and fumed.

With the unexpected hesitation, the trip took a lot longer than we'd hoped... but at last the mission was accomplished, Eddie was settled in his new "digs", and Squeegee was headed home again. Mr. Murphy seemed content that we had tested and proved his First Law, and the trip back was uneventful. And Elli was overjoyed that her horse was now within reach!
We're expecting both of them back here again in the spring, when classes finish. And we're expecting the truck to Start when the key is turned!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

A Picture to Dream Of

You'd have to pause to ask why Tom was out and about with his camera at 4.30 in the morning (although that's a good time to hear the wolf pack).

All the same, there he was. And there the moon was. And the mist on the lake.

Very kindly he sent the photo along to us, along with the following comment:

"Once again we had a marvelous time at Bondi. We consider ourselves very fortunate to not only experience the beauty and serenity of your place but maybe even more important to have met and established the friendships with the great people we have met during our annual two weeks. Time is flying but the good news it is only 48 weeks until our next visit!"

We've got those weeks marked on the calendar too... having our Bondi families 'come home' every summer is something we look forward to all year long.

A little later in the day, as the mist was burning off, Tom was able to get this photo from the end of the dock at Farside cottage. What a way to greet the day! Not a breath of wind for the sailboat, to be sure... but the ideal place to feed the soul.
Thanks so much for sharing your photos and memories!

"Well, Okay..."

Here's how Kelly tells of her engagement to Sylvain. He'd been waiting for the right day, the right place... He'd scooped the Algonquin Park Pass from the office, cocked an eye at the sky hoping the forecast was wrong and there would be sunshine, headed to one of their favourite trails following the Old Rail Trail in the Park.

Kelly had brought her binoculars. Syl had brought a small red box, hidden away.

Kelly tells it like this: "When we crossed the bridge over the stream, I thought I heard an interesting bird. I tried to pish it up and was about to get a good view of it when Sylvain called me over to where he was.
“Not now,” I said, “I think I have a good bird!”

He said something about having something good over his way, too. He sounded pretty sure of himself. I didn’t know how he could possibly know that his bird was more interesting than what I was about to get a look at, but I turned to look, saying, “Is your bird better than my bird?”

That’s when I noticed that his bird wasn’t a bird at all. It was a little red box."

Syl is quite positive that his was a better bird. Here's how he tells the same story:
"K: “Ok…where? Where’s your bird”
I turned to face her, showing her the little red box I had in my hands.
S: “Right here, in front of me.”
I had prepared some words. I had thought about this moment for the last few years. In the end, everything I had planned to say left me. I just said what was in my heart. When I was done, she said exactly what I would expect from my Kelly.
S: “Will you marry me?”
K: “Oh o.k.!”

We think it's just perfect. We think Syl's 'bird in the hand' is worth any number of birds in the bushes, and we think Kelly had the perfect reply. In short, we're thrilled that we could be part of their special special day.

Later, Kelly sent me a picture of the Caprese salad she made to help celebrate. It, too, looks perfect.

Catch of the Day!

Never mind the fish... Check out the 'catch of the day' on our dock!!!
We had a group of fishermen -- mostly firemen -- here last weekend. Their time on the Lake of Bays was productive -- trout after trout came to the party.

They left us our first calendar for 2011... Hamilton's Hottest Firefighters

We flipped through it, and there, "Mr. March", was James, who had organized the fishing trip, and who had been front and centre on the dock when the fishermen came home at the end of the day, happy with their catch of the day.
No, you cannot have our copy (thanks guys for leaving it for us!). Go buy your own. You can order them at their website.