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.

Friday, August 29, 2014

How Lucky Am I?

Earlier this summer, Gill Young was here with the Palette Packers, a great group of artists who visited Bondi to paint plein air, taking inspiration from our many gardens.

Gill recently gifted me with this absolutely delightful study of our hollyhocks and delphiniums!

How very lucky I am to have this brightening my wall! 

Thank you very much Gill!

Tuesday, August 26, 2014


Jane and Jay spent two weeks with us this summer. Jay brought a separate vehicle just to carry his fishing gear.  Jane brought everything from special dog and cat treats for her " Bondi buddies" Taffy and Napster to a fantastic centrepiece for the dining room table.
And they left us this absolutely beautiful poem, hand crafted onto birch bark.  That's a keeper, for sure!
Thanks so much!  We can't wait to see you back here next summer!


'are there any sticky buns?'

Taffy was coming with me to the cottages to get information for our Resort Newsletter when she vanished from view.

This is where I found her, one cottage farther along, schmoozing with Evelyn on the deck.  Honestly, she loves to climb so much, I think she must be part mountain goat!

A Fishing Lesson from a young Master


Frederick, 8, has fishing down to a science.

This, he announced to his mom Karen, was his first "eating fish."  She assumes that means it was the first one he caught worth keeping.

He told her that to catch a big fish, they needed to go to the deep water.  If someone wtned to catch a bigger fish than his, they would have to go to even deeper waters.  So now we understand how fishing works.

He caught this three lb. small mouth bass trolling by canoe, about 2/3 of the way to the island.

Sunset Canoe

I'm giving this photo its very own post, because I love the lighting and the mood in it.

Gavin and Adrianna (with a little help from Jackie) set out into the sunset from Farside's dock.


 Gavin and Adrianna both go for the "Big
Air"  at the lake.

Summer Kids, the best

 We are always so pleased when guests send us photos from their holiday with us, and never more than with pictures like these of Adrianna and Gavin having the time of their lives!

teetering... or tottering?... at one of the playgrounds we
have around the resort

crafting the perfect marshmallow to make the
perfect s'more at the Cookout

learning how to 'spit' a popcorn kernel.
The trick is to try to blow out a distant candle (maybe)

I see you Munching

Frederick went for a hike, and on the way found a monarch caterpillar on a milkweed.  Very carefully, he brought home the entire plant to show me.

To be sure the caterpillar stayed safe from the hungry hens, we moved it to the world's tallest milkweed (maybe -- it is over six feet tall, almost seven feet in fact, and hanging out with the asparagus ferns).   Frederick came next day to make sure it was doing just fine.   Glad to report, the answer is absolutely. 

Thanks for taking care of this little miracle for us, Frederick!

I Gave My Love a... King Stropharia

Flowers are so last year as gifts...

Dave presented his lady love Nancy with a lovely King Stropharia mushroom, straight from our own 'shroom Farm' near the stables.  Fabulous mushrooms, these. Delicious in a light sautee with a hint of butter and onion...
We think he scored some big points with Nancy for the presentation...

A sag in the Road

There was a small issue with the road at the junction of Hwy 60 and Canal Road leading in to Deerhurst last week.

A sink hole made itself apparent, and there was, as they say, a sag in the Road...

Traffic detoured, and a great amount of digging took place.
It's open again...

But it is the season for the Ironman 70.5 and other cycle races, so if you are out there, Share the Road.

Sunflower Finch and an Absence of Swallows

Take a look at who is enjoying the sunflowers in the garden these days.

These lovely goldfinches can brighten any day, and lift spirits sky high.

Our swallows have all left us now -- they usually take off about mid-August.  With

a tiny exception -- the late hatching barn swallows (hatched August 4th) are still with us, clustered on the wires and practicing flight manoeuvres. They need strong wings and good hunting skills before following their cousins South.

I thought they had left on Sunday -- but Monday evening, all six of them (Mom, Dad and the four kids) came swooping back into the stable, cheerfully chirping.

We wish them the safest of travels, and look forward to seeing them return next summer.

The goldfinches will stay with us through the autumn, joining our blue jays, chickadees, nuthatches and woodpeckers at the bird feeders, which we'll be starting to fill again when the weather dictates.

Take care of them, all you southern living folks... look after their habitat, and their food supply...   cherish them. 

Follow Your Bliss (and Lesley's Clues)

 Two teams were created by drawing names out of a bag... and then the fun began for Clan Dalgarno/Ellyatt at the Lodge...

Lesley had clues stashed everywhere. And we do mean everywhere... all around the property, at the nearby Firehall, at Henrietta's and Monarach antiques (with drivers ready for each time in the cars, so nobody could cheat by speeding)

The winning team came racing down the lawn to the flag, where Lesley waited with the Loot.  Happy Dance happened...

And a lot of family fun happened too!

 It is a tradition for their last day with us, and it's a good one.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Birling down the White Water

We were talking about wedding dances today.   We were watching folks out on the lake on the Stand Up Paddleboards.

Somewhere along the way, the two merged in memory, and I had to go pull this back out of the archives... 

One of my very favourites, from the vaults of the National Film Board. 

Wade Hemsworth has connections to the Lake of Bays, with relatives living along the Seabreeze road.

The lyrics are often misheard as "whirling" or "twirling" instead of "birling". "Birl" is an old Scots verb meaning "to revolve or cause to revolve", and in modern English means "to cause a floating log to rotate by treading".

So, as you paddle about the bay on the SUPs, you should ponder these original 'stand up boards'.  And when you take to the dance floor, you should keep in mind that it is best to step lightly.

Just sayin'...

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Busy Day, and a Poem

 Frederick has had quite a week. He won his division in the Seed Spitting at the Cook Out.

He came out after dark and helped us call the wolves.

And today, he came to the barn to gather eggs.

He told me a poem, while we walked there...
"I had a rubber chicken,
it laid a rubber egg,
I cooked it for my dinner
It was so hard to chew
And if it lays another
I'll cook that one for you."
Later in the afternoon, with Mom sprinting along in attendance, he was honing his skills on the bicycle.
We're not sure about Frederick's ability to leave the assistance behind just yet, but gosh, Karen is in wonderful shape!!!

Hats Off to our Knitters

 Ou friends Gunnar and Margaret are here from Iceland. They knit. They knit a lot!   And they brought Taffy a pretty funny 'hat' for the winter.

Which meant I had to go dig out the funny hat another friend had made for me...

So between us, we look like a Christmas pudding, and a reindog...

Such fun!  Thanks guys! Winter is Coming, they say, but we will be warm, Taffy and I.

Not to mention, stylish...

A Fine Art

 Jordi helps Aaron get that sticky marshmallow off the stick and onto the chocolate on the cracker...

There is a technique to S'mores.

Our guests get to perfect it every week.

Coming Home

Time to spare? Go by air...

That was one of my Dad's quotes from his days as a bush pilot flying his Piper Cub about the Muskoka region.

This summer hasn't provided the best of weather for small aircraft, but this past week, Brian and Dave were able to get a morning and take off in the Piper PA11...

An interesting sky makes the backdrop to this something I quite like.

One for the Family Album

Since the first year they stayed with us, the Dalgarno family have crafted a tradition of taking a photo of the kids, on the launch dock at the airplane hangar, near the cookout beach.  We have noticed, over time, that they get taller...
 It is a bit akin to herding cats to get the photo 'set up' -- there is always a bit of direction from Brad... but this year, they added another great shot to the Family Album.

We think this is ultra cool, and a wonderful Family "Thing."  We're glad to be a small part of it!

Sun, Water, Beach... Just Add Kids... (of all ages)

Dave and Mike have an enviable record of success in helping our young guests learn to waterski.  Mike spends the winters teaching alpine skiing... his biggest issue with waterskiing is trying to find a lake with hills (joking!)


Taffy was on duty checking out Logan's form just before he yelled "Hit It" for David, driving the boat...

Everything was 'perfect', and Logan was up and away, just like that.  Natalie was in the boat, resting up after kneeboarding...

Ours wasn't the only boat.  Henry had his 'Boychik' boat out tubing with the grand-kids; and Brad had rented this luxurious craft for the day.

What would a warm sunny day be without Dave bobbing about in the waters of the Lake of Bays??? He comes to visit us every summer, and warms the place up with his presence.

Irene and Simon opted for a calmer mode of transport. The paddle-boat is free for any of our guests to use, and it gets a lot of mileage.  It's a great way to get a bit closer to the family of loons with three chicks who were calling in the bay today.
Just NOT TOO CLOSE as we always tell our guests.

A sure sign of summer is shoes off and kids in the lake....

 Albert found he simply couldn't put down the book he was reading, not even to go for a swim.

Shallow water warms up really quickly, making it ideal for Emily, who is seen here gearing up to splash her Grandma thoroughly.

Danzi and Gina were off and hollering in the two person tube. Hang on!

Lots of folk were just enjoying the sun, stretched out along our beachfront.

They weren't the only sun-worshippers on the property, though.  Up at the stables, the hens were enjoying a little tanning time too!

Dolbear's Law and the Crickets of August

Dani and Gina just stopped me on the way to the lake for their swim.  They wanted to know about crickets...  Their grandpa was out with us last night for the Wolf Howl, and other Nature "Stuff" that we talk about, and they wanted to know if it was true that if you count the number of times a cricket chirps in 13 seconds and add 40 that it would be the temperature.

They had tried it, and had come up with 57 degrees. Could that possibly be correct?  We consulted the Fahrenheit thermometer, and it was sitting there at just below 60 degrees.  It is most likely that they were counting a Field Cricket, who are notoriously sloppy compared to Snowy Tree Crickets, in their thermal calculations.  Perhaps it was a little cooler down in the grass where the cricket was chirping. Or perhaps they missed a critical chirp... or were out a half second in the time. Whatever, it was pretty dang close.

So how does that work?  Thank Professor Dolbear.

field cricket
Here's the scoop:

   You have no doubt heard crickets chirping away in the grass and bushes. The male cricket chirps at regular intervals in order to attract female crickets, ward off predators, or establish territory. He creates the cricket chirping sound by rubbing one of his wings on a hard rigid structure located on its other wing.
   You can use these cricket chirps as a way to determine the temperature. But first, a little lesson on why this works:

snowy tree cricket

Cricket Metabolism
   Like all insects, crickets are cold blooded. This means that unlike you and me (warm blooded creatures) a cricket produces little or no body heat of its own. Instead, a cricket’s body temperature tends to match the temperature of its surroundings
   Because the metabolism of an insect is proportional to its body temperature, if it is too cold the cricket cannot even move. As the temperature of its environment warms, the cricket's body also becomes warmer. Its metabolism increases and the insect can move faster.
   You have probably witnessed this increase in insect metabolism as the temperature increases. For example, ants will run must faster when on a hot sunny sidewalk as compared to when it is cool.


Calculating Cricket Temperature
    What does all this cold-blooded-temperature-of-the-environment stuff have to do with finding the temperature using crickets? Plenty. You see, the warmer the ambient temperature of the crickets surroundings, the warmer the cricket. And the warmer crickets increased metabolism allows it to chirp faster.

   In 1898 Amos Dolbear noticed that warmer crickets seemed to chirp faster. Dolbear made a detailed study of cricket chirp rates based on the temperature of the crickets environment and came up with the cricket chirping temperature formula known as Dolbears Law:

T = 50 + (N - 40) / 4

T = temperature in degrees Fahrenheit.
N = number of chirps per minute.

For those of you who cannot remember your elementary school math, here is the wordy version of the same cricket temperature formula:

Count the number of chirps the cricket makes in 1 minute (60 seconds)
Subtract 40 from this number.
Divide the result by 4
Add 50.

The result of this calculation is close to the temperature of the environment the cricket is in. For example, if the cricket chirps 120 times in one minute then the temperature is about 50 + (120 - 40)/4 = 70 degrees.

If you are working in degrees Celsius here is the Dolbears Law formula for degrees C:
T = 10 + (N - 40) / 7

A simplification of Dolbears Law can sometimes be found listed as something like:

Fahrenheit Temperature = Number of chirps in 13 seconds + 40


   Which seems to closely agree with the more complicated formula Amos Dolbear came up with.
When Determining Temperature Using Crickets
    It is important to note that the cricket chirp temperature formula is based on the temperature of the cricket, which is not necessarily the temperature of where you are. Be aware that the temperature of the grass or bushes close to the ground where the cricket is may be quite different than the temperature several feet off the ground.

     Another factor that must be considered is that Amos Dolbear came up with his revolutionary cricket temperature formula while experimenting with Snowy Tree Crickets. Other crickets may give varying results based on the cricket species and age.

   Estimating the temperature using cricket chirps is a good approximation of the temperature. Give it a try and amaze your friends!

Songs in the Night

art by David Beaucage Johnson:
Song for the Night Sun

It is August in North Muskoka. And in Algonquin Park. That means it is Wolf Howl Month – the time of year when the Park Rangers take out huge groups of eager enthusiasts into the dark wilderness night in the hopes of hearing wild wolves howling across the northern lakes.  Why August? Because that is the time of year that the wolf cubs are old enough to be left mostly on their own (every bunch of kids needs at least one babysitter, however) while the pack hunts.  And those puppies get left in an area known as a Rendezvous, where they can play at being big grown up wolves: hunting frogs, and squirrels, chasing a rabbit, splashing in the water, crawling through the bracken, doing all those fun things that kids like to do.  They will stay on that rendezvous area, and that means that if the Rangers can locate a site that is accessible for the number of cars and people they will need to get within earshot, there is an excellent chance that the Rangers’ howls will be answered by the puppies.  Wolf puppies, like kids, can’t do a lot of stuff yet, but they are learning to howl, and are darn proud of it.  The adult wolves will answer and sing along with the youngsters, and the end result means a really good chance to hear something absolutely magical.  Plus, people get to be outside, in the dark, away from ground light. You get to see the sky and the stars the way most of the so-called ‘civilized’ world will never see them because city lights drown out the sky.
The Algonquin Park staff put on one helluva program. They are superbly professional, and speak fluent "wolf." We bow down before them.  

I can remember one year in Algonquin, in the dark, mid-August, listening to the wolves in concert, while the Perseid meteor shower streaked overhead. And then there was a loon...    No wonder people come from around the globe to experience that kind of a moment.
diorama at the Park Visitor Centre
We go out every week with our guests -- in much smaller numbers! and in a less formalized program (we don't have the Rangers talking about the history of the Algonquin wolves, the research being done, the slides and video they show before taking people into the woods.  It's worth going to the Park just for that presentation alone!) 

We are very lucky this year, at Bondi Village, that we have a rendezvous site very close to the resort. Right along the adjacent creek in a narrow ravine. Ideal for a young wolf to explore, and close enough that when we stand on our lawn for our weekly Wolf Howl here, we’ve got a good chance of getting a response. 
Hannah made me this picture
years ago... I still have it on the fridge.

Like last night. Clouds came in to smother up the stars, although we were able to explore Altair, Vega and Deneb, the Summer Triangle stars that anchor the constellations of Aquila, Lyra and Cygnus.  I hooted for the barred owls: we have three hanging out on the northern hillside, who have usually been pretty good about hooting back. Last night, however, I was in danger of being an ‘utter fail’ in the Nature/Wildlife department:  no stars to speak of... no answer from the owls...    Nor did the wolves seem to want to say anything.   So all the kids and the adults joined me, and we tried a group “pack howl”.  I must say, the kids were outstanding... and the parents were nothing to sneeze at either.  We sounded ‘fierce.’    We must have made an impression, because there were a few minutes of silence, and then there was one long low howl from the east.  And then, along the western edge of the resort, along that self same creek in the ravine, we heard the pack sit up, take notice, tune their instruments and begin a fantastic, sustained howl.   In counterpoint, the older wolves answered them from another site to the east, so we had two howls on the go at the same time, and could listen to the voices going back and forth. 

One of the reasons wolves howl is to identify and bond the pack members – it is important that every member of the pack can recognize the voices of every other member of the pack.  I doubt that I could identify the various wolves by their song, but then, my ear is pretty feeble compared to theirs.  Which did not mean that we enjoyed their choir any the less.  It was a superb feeling, and the guests were so excited. Being able to hear wolves in the Canadian wilderness is an iconic experience, a lifelong memory. Being able to say, as these kids can, that THEY called the wolves, and the wolves answered THEM.... that’s magic.