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.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Ducks, Geese and Duchesses on the Lake of Bays

 Our docks, as you can see, are slowly reappearing.  The water is going down a few inches every day now. And the sun is hot. HOT. Really Hot.  It was 25 degrees today.  

David dipped the thermometer off the end of the (submerged) dock, and the lake is 15 degrees. Chilly still... but it did not deter someone from being out there on waterskiis. That's too risky for us -- there is a lot of debris in the lake still, and 15 degrees is still cold when you land in the middle of it.

With no docks, we make do.  Brian had the boat "beached" at Anchor cottage.  Dave and I took it for a spin -- we wanted to check the bay for debris, logs that float just below the surface. Brian wanted to go flying, and while he spends most of the time in the air when he flies, there is that pesky bit at both ends of the flight when he is on the water, and the water needs to be open.

We were also on a mission -- which will unfold.

Taffy came along (yes, she wears a life jacket, or as she calls it a PFD: poodle flotation device).  We found a pair of mallard drakes...

Taffy was in heaven - she can smell Summer on the breeze and made the most of it.

The colours in the sky and the lake were lovely.  Dave took me along the shoreline as well to look at the damage to some of the docks in Haystack Bay from the ice.  On the whole, the bay survived pretty well. The ice moved to the northwest side of the bay (along Port Cunnington Road) and that's where the damage seems to be.

Every year I make a point of snooping about in certain areas, trying to track the elusive goose to her nest.  More often than not, the goose succeeds in keeping it hidden from me.  But today -- oh wow -- we found the gander standing guard...

Looking up, we saw the goose up on the shoreline.  A goose on land is quite possibly a goose on a nest...

We snuck ashore, very carefully, very quietly...  and found this nest.  And no, we are not telling you where it is. The property belongs to friends of ours, and we have snooped about on that bit of terrain since we were small kids.  Admire how beautifully she has crafted the nest, and lined it with breast feathers.

And admire the geese. We all get annoyed with them, when they foul the beaches and docks, and with very good reason. Don't feed them, folks. Don't encourage them to stick around your docks.   But you have to admit they are a strikingly beautiful bird.

One of the boathouses that got hit hard by the ice this year made me especially sad.  This boathouse, once upon a time, belonged to Major James Halliday Rattray. Those of you who live near the Credit Valley Conservation Area will be familiar with the Rattray Marsh Conservation Area, located on his former estate.  Up here, he vacationed at his beloved cottage until his death in 1959.  My father, Paul, was the caretaker for the property for Major Rattray, and they were good friends.  I have a faint for fond memory of being at his estate in Mississauga, and getting to ride a pony there... but I digress.  This cottage was the summer home for the Major, and his guests. 
 A great supporter of the arts and politics, he frequently had intereesting vistors.  Shortly after World War Two, the cottage hosted Grand Duchess Olga Alexandrov of Russia for a summer season.  When Major Rattray was unexpectly called back to the city, it was felt 'improper' for the Grand Duchess to remain in the empty house with just the cook and houseboy... so Major Rattray asked Paul if she could stay with him at Bondi Farm for a week.  Also in residence at Bondi at that time was Paul's mother, Elizabeth, and his new fiance, Rosemary Hannah Buck. 

My mom told us of the Duchess going out for the day with her paints and coming back at the end of the day for dinner with lovely paintings of flowers.  The Last Duchess, as she was known, was famous for her artwork, and some of her paintings hang in very esteemed collection, including with the Queen of England. They are very valuable, and for years I used to comb through our attic, hoping I would find, squirreled away, a sheet of watercolour with flowers splashed across it. No such luck.

My mother also confided, many years later, that when the Duchess came to stay in the farmhouse, there weren't enough bedrooms. She of course had to have the grandest room... which meant everyone else had to swap about.  "and that," my beloved and very proper English mother told me, when she was 81, "is when I moved in with your Father."    So I have a truly soft spot for the Grand Duchess, and for Major Rattray (who is interred on the property in a columbarium, along with his dog Sam). And for this old iconic boathouse.

1 comment:

  1. A lot of history to that place.

    And Taffy looks deliriously happy.