1 and to my chagrin I have recently discovered that when I copy posts over from the Facebook page, the pictures don't actually come -- you have to double click. sorry about that. I wish I had the time to go back and fix them all, but must ask forebearance.
To all our friends, Christmas, 2017
Snow came early, dragging cold weather
with it. Our bay is frozen (but still not safe to travel!) Ski trails are packed. We are White Christmas
Ready. Last year we were joined by the
Surry/Caveney/Rosati reunion that comes
alternate years. It is such fun to watch these families grow together. Action everywhere – including snow forts,
igloos, and Jake, who saw one of the Algonquin wolves while skiing solo on a
trail. (I asked if he was scared, he
replied no, he just banged his ski pole on a tree, like you do to scare away a
On just about the only full sun day in
June, one of Nancy’s students, Christine, held her wedding here, in the back
field. In flowing white gown, she rode in on Abby, while the groomsmen came on
dirt bikes. There was a small wardrobe malfunction when the zipper broke on her
dress. Chris was in danger of ‘busting
out all over’ the sweetheart neckline until Mike had a brilliant idea, and
laced the zipper into the dress with the twist tie from a garbage bag. She was
able to gallop in to the wedding, something she has dreamt of all her life.
Carol took care of the set-up at the resort, and the bouquets, Brian had the
venue carefully mown, David and Mike co-ordinated the arrival of the
participants, while Nancy, Megan and the barn girls all helped have the horses
looking lovely. Bondi is a wonderful
venue for a small wedding party – about 30 to 40 is the most we can handle
We love welcoming back the growing
families and future generations, that are part of our wonderful and sprawling
Bondi Family. This Christmas as we await the miracle of birth here in our own family, we look ahead
to the future with hope. May
the coming year bring light, peace, faith, health and strength to all of
us. This coming year, let your gift be Joy.
It's been a busy year -- so much so that I'm simply going to attach our Christmas recap letter here.
This year we are only partially open for the Christmas season, as we are expecting the EVENT OF THE YEAR. Megan and David are expecting a baby. We’ve decided we want to be available to enjoy that occasion – and the babe is due about Jan. 1st (we’re still taking bets -If you are on our email list, you’ll be among the first to know.). It will be a different Christmas for us – we’re all on pins and needles with excitement, and Sarah is coming to stay for the week as well. This will be generation #5 for the Tapley family at Bondi.
So, other than THAT news, what happened? Last December Nancy’s mare Abby contracted life-threatening cellulitis in one hind leg, which put her on the intensive care list, and ended up with three weeks during January at the Large Animal Hospital in Guelph. No cause was found. Gratefully, she returned to full soundness. Fingers crossed we get no recurrence.
The big project during the winter was the renovation of the old “Mink Ranch” property, where Bev Payne lived since the early 1970s. There was a lot of freshening up that needed to be done. Sadly, Bev passed away this past year, as did our other neighbour Muriel Boothby. There have been some other shakeups in the neighbourhood too – in January Foxwood Resort, one of the oldest on the lake, sold to a private corporation to become a private retreat. Beauview Cottage Resort has also just sold – to provide access to the development of Langmaid’s Island. We are one of the few family-oriented, family-run cottage resorts left! We’re proud that we still provide an authentic cottage experience that creates memories lasting over generations.
February began with a bang. That was the sound of Nancy’s indoor riding arena collapsing. It was a terrifying experience. There was just enough notice that it was failing that no horses or riders were in the building when it went down. This was something we definitely did not need, and the clean up of the site occupied far too much of the guys’ time and energy. The rebuilding of a new arena was slated to start on Labour Day, finished by Thanksgiving. As I write this, we are about 5 weeks away from getting it completed, as they didn’t begin until into December, just a ‘little’ late. Probably not a conversation you want to have with Nancy.
In other building news, we are still working through the slow process of getting a permit to renovate Cedars cottage – three years in, maybe this year will be the charm.
The Lodge stays very busy with groups and reunions all through the winter, but the cottages could use a little more occupancy, so don’t give up on a winter weekend folks. Family Day is the only weekend when we are fully booked. Mind, if you can stay an extra night on any two day booking, we’ll give you that for just an extra $25.00. You should come. Winter is a wonderful season here. Mind you, so are Spring and Autumn, and Summer simply rules.
David and Mike went skiing in Collingwood to celebrate Dave’s 28th birthday at the end of February – not quite a reprise of their trip to Whistler last year, but still a great time shredding the hill.
Other than skiing, they have built some fish-huts that they are offering for rental – including a fancy new one that will be available this winter. A huge windstorm that blew through in March tipped one over, leaving, in David’s words, “the fish victorious.” Other than soot everywhere, it wasn’t damaged. Huts however, were removed from the ice forthwith. Replacing fishing lures with golf carts and golf clubs, the lads stepped up to the annual Golf the Bay extravaganza. Brian claims he won. David disputes this.
We were also lucky with a windstorm in August that felled a huge limb from the cherry tree at Wheelhouse – missing the cottage. Pruning, and tying the remaining branches together will hopefully allow us to keep this tree, a source of beauty, and food for so much of our wildlife. This tree is well over 100 years old, and like an aging relative, we don’t want to give up on it!
Along with Carol’s constant
improvements to beds, furnishings and curtains (they need to be modified to fit
in most cases – good thing she’s wonderful with a sewing machine), Megan
researched an on-line reservation program that should help us streamline
invoices and confirmations once we get the bugs out of it. Longside and Blackberry got new siding,
Blackberry and the Lodge got new windows, Red Pine got renovated.
Come May, Mike started a new job with South Mary Lake Contractors, and moved into the Mink Ranch apartment. Conveniently located close to David and Megan’s house, he is a frequent ‘drop-in’, often right about suppertime. He has also signed up as a volunteer firefighter in Lake of Bays. The training is the same as that required for full-time firefighters, so time consuming, but very worthwhile.
Our gardens struggled this year. A stalled weather pattern produced non-stop rain for much of May and large sections of June. Carol got the planting done in between rain drops, but the weather wasn’t great– everything was late this year. The West Coast was burning, while we wondered just how much gopher wood might be required to build an ark. Some of the crops didn’t fare well at all, a testament to the cool summer.
On June 4th, Dave and Megan announced their pregnancy. Much partying, some tears, lots of hugging. They are keeping the baby’s gender secret from the rest of us – we’ll keep you posted.
Also on ‘baby watch’, one of the hens went broody in early June – which, as we have no rooster, did not bode well. Nancy was able to source some eggs from a friend. Hen Solo successfully hatched six lovely little Americaunas. Only one began to crow as they grew. Rooster went to live with friends so he wouldn’t wake up guests.
July and August kept us all on the run. We were fully booked. It is wonderful to welcome back familiar faces – and learn that next summer we are going to have a whole LOT of new babies here! Third and even fourth generation Bondi Babies! The weather was best described as changeable – seemed like every day there was a good window of getting to the lake, but rain kept blowing through as well and it wasn’t as hot as it could have been – the lake was about 2 degrees cooler than usual. In August Lake of Bays was hit by a tornado in the Limberlost area – Nancy, who was acting Mayor, had to step up to the ‘disaster emergency protocols’. This translates to making press statements while emergency crews did the heavy lifting, so don’t be too impressed The winds associated with these flattened sections of our corn field. Nothing daunted, but a bit ticked off, Brian and David set stakes, and tied the corn back up to save the crop. David also got co-opted by the OPP to help with traffic control at Sommerzeit Road, where the wind had snapped a hydro line and it was live, jumping about on the road. Amazingly a lot of cars ignored the OPP orders not to pass. In the fall, Nancy’s Heritage committee, along with the Ojibwes of Rama, and HeritageOntario unveiled plaques in Dorset celebrating the First Nations on Lake of Bays. It’s only taken five years… Take a visit to admire them.
Right about Labour Day, the summer weather arrived with a vengeance, providing us with a long hot sunny September and October – the lake was 80 degrees F in early October, warmer than it was all summer. September also brought a new grand-daughter, Iris Emily May, to our irreplaceable team member and friend Sue Baker.
Sadly, in October, Nancy lost her lovely Indigo cat who failed to come home. Pemberley and Thistle continue to thrive, although Pem is a certified big game hunter (tackling geese) and a cat burglar (stealing everything including silverware). Taffy, 7, remains Nancy’s permanent shadow. The horses are well – this summer, Squeegee got back-up in the form of a white pony (unicorn?) called Snowbird who helped with the pony rides.
We were lucky to have Sarah again for a week and a half at the end of August before she headed back to Buffalo and her nursing program. Not long enough.
In November Brian and Carol headed to Florida for some very needed down time. There was little evidence of hurricane damage around Sarasota. We love to welcome back our guests, - you feel like part of our family - but by the end of the season the tourism business can leave one craving for a bit of R&R of our own..