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. www.bondi-village-resort.com
Winter moons, while playing havoc with stargazing, are superb. Their light reflects back off the snow with such brilliance that we all broke out in a chorus of Cat Steven's "Moonshadow" (well, not all of us... but those of us who were outside looking at the moon and the stars and lucky enough to hear the wolfpack howl up on the Lookout hill!)
"I'm being followed by a moon shadow... moon shadow, moon shadow."
It's one of the very best arguments for TURNING OFF THE OUTDOOR LIGHTS! You can see so well out there in the night. We cannot call it the dark, because moon on snow creates such a different luminesence, but it is certainly not 'dark'.
This moon is a very special moon. The glowing light in the night sky right now is a Blue Moon Rising. It pops up in mid-afternoon, so you can get a good look at it without having to come out after bedtime. It will be full on December 31st... right in sync with the New Year's celebrations.
What do we mean, it's a Blue Moon? Well, that is the name given to the second full moon within a month. The normal state of the union is that we only get one full moon every month. That's just the way the calendar and the lunar cycle mesh. But every now and then, rarely... seldom... once in a blue moon you might say... we get a second full moon. That second moon in the month is termed a Blue Moon.
And here she is. So, for all those of you who have been putting things off because you figured you'd only get to them once in a blue moon, now is your chance!
At the very least, you should pop outside and look at the moon. There will be partial lunar eclipse on New Year's eve as well, but very little of it will be visible from this part of the world.
Still... a lunar eclipse on top of a blue moon? Now THAT only happens once in a blue moon...
One of the best things about this holiday season is that it brings out the creativity in folks.
Judy, she of the rather rotund pony Squeegee, put together a pair of lovely wreaths for us, crafted on a cardboard base with birchbark gleaned from firewood (never, never peel a living birch tree folks... Years ago we even posted in the cottages a short poem about discouraging that: " Men there be that kill their women, push them overboard at sea; Wives there be that slay their husbands, putting poison in their tea; but the meanest of the wretches, though through all the world you search; is that lout devoid of feeling who would peel a silver birch.") There is never a shortage of birchbark to be found in the firewood pile, however, and that is fair game for craftspersons!
Meanwhile, in the kitchen at their cottage, Katie and Kathy were whipping up Christmas cookies. Katie brought Nancy a snowman, and a Christmas pony. Sadly, we must report that the cookies did not last nearly as long as the wreath... but on the other hand, the cookies were delicious!
Kevin wasn't our only Irish connection this week. Tom hails from Wicklow. When he heard that Dublin airport had been snowed in, he could hardly believe it. It was almost as strange as explaining to his Irish friends why he'd chosen to spend Christmas week in the middle of a Muskoka winter.
He and Janet took a break from skiing yesterday, to give snowshoes a whirl. Here they both demonstrate fine form for those snowbound in Ireland. This is how you PLAY with the snow! A set of these snowshoes, and you will never be snowed in... although we make no guarantees that the planes will be operating at the airport!
Kevin's working in Ireland these days, in Carlaw. He had a touch of Irish trouble trying to get home for Christmas -- the airport in Dublin was closed because of snow!
Now, snow obviously doesn't stop Kevin, a hardy Canadian type who scorns even the wearing of a winter hat... And as soon as the airport re-opened, he was on his way.
He dropped by to say hello, a few days later than expected, and he got a very warm welcome -- and not just from the people! The doe and twins were hanging out near the stable, wistfully hoping that some chicken grain would be put outside (doesn't happen much now it's cold -- the chickens prefer to be indoors) The littlest one was pretty sure Kevin would have something in those deep pockets, however...
Meanwhile, across the road, there was a big herd of deer. Come winter, the deer will often gather together. In total there were fourteen! They didn't come across the road to join the trio. Instead, they wandered idly up the middle of the road, stopping traffic in both directions. Some of them stayed across the road, borrowing the ski trails and coming down to the road a little farther along. We walked up to watch them from the Resort gate, expecting them to head back into the fields and forests across the road. Not so. Right past us they marched... and on down the middle of the road.
Brian and David reported that, on their way down to visit a neighbour they ended up 'herding' those same deer all the way to Lumina Resort... still in the middle of the road, still just sauntering along.
It's a good reminder to everyone on winter country roads that you need to slow down. Who knows what (or who?) is around the next corner? And fourteen deer out taking the morning air and enjoying the view... well, nobody wants to run into that at speed!
They always talk on the news about "driving according to conditions". Well, they're not just blathering about the snow covered roads, the possibility of black ice or white outs... they're also talking about the fact that deer have never truly understood the concepts of trajectory, stopping distances, and the concept that two objects cannot occupy the same space at the same time. Deep snowbanks and easy walking on plowed roads mean that deer will frequently choose the path of least resistance. They're not clever about walking single file, facing traffic, etc. And if they panic (which, being deer of very little courage is all too common) all bets are off... So slow down on country roads. Take the time to enjoy the scenery. Sure, it may take a few more minutes to get where you're going... but having to stop and sort out a car-deer accident scene will take you a lot longer.... believe us...
When one of the chains on the big snowblower came apart this week, Brian and David had to dust off not only engineering and metalworking skills, but they also had to get creative, so they could repair it without having to remove the entire chain from the tire.
You can always tell when the fine-tuning is happening. Out come the hammers...
Of course, fixing that in the great outdoors, in the midst of the snow, was a chilly job, so the BMD (Bondi Maintenance Dept.) moved indoors for their next act. They are remodeling Carol's kitchen. That involved removing an old dishwasher that had almost grown roots and didn't really want to be removed. The pair of them really 'got into' this task... and yes, they emerged triumphant.
We are told the Innuit have 27 different words for snow. Probably more.
There is the wet, packy snow that is ideal for creating snowmen, snowballs, and forts.
There is the soft powder snow that is perfect for the cross country skiers and snowshoe enthusiasts.
And there is the crusty snow that works so well for making an "igloo".
Now, Kent hasn't built one of these (he claims) since he was a lad in Saskatchewan. Kathy points out that while you can take the boy out of Saskatchewan, you can never take Saskatchewan out of the boy -- and who would want to?
While his daughter Katie was carving out the floor plan for her Snow Fort Extraordinaire, Kent immediately realized that the snow yesterday was perfect for his purposes... He began carving out blocks. And stacking them with care.
The whole family got into the act. Even Grandma, at 86, came out to inspect!
Today we're getting a different kind of snow again, falling in enormous flakes. Kent is smiling... he's going to use the new snow to fine-tune the walls, smooth out the construction. And turn this into a true work of art, where Katie (and probably Achmed the Cat) can shelter and play!
Katie didn't take much time after she arrived to connect with the Bondi wildlife!
Her first stop was the stable, (not wildlife, as such, but definitely a "party sort of place") to say hello to the horses and check out the chicken nests for eggs. She was our first guest to find some of the funky green eggs provided by the "Sams", our Americauna chickens. Not only were the eggs green coloured, they were still warm on this chilly day!
Her next stop was at the cottage, where the doe and twin fawns were hanging about. A little later, she found a deer bed, the place under the trees at the cottage where the deer curl up for the night. When we hiked up to find the big toboggan hill, she found three more beds grouped together under one of the big spruce trees beside the trail.
She got some sunflower seeds out on the deck railing for the bluejays (and probably the squirrels). Then she and her Dad started building a Snow Fort. Achmed the cat dropped by to check it out.
And then, later still, in front of her cottage, we found Katie playing with a new-found (newly created?) friend. We didn't catch the Snowman's name... and we're a little worried that the carrot nose may not survive a visitation from the fawns, but he's certainly a handsome chap!
Everyone has family traditions at this time of year... some very old, perhaps the angel on top of the tree... some rather new... (all traditions start somewhere!)
One of ours, of quite long standing, is that David and I prepare the Christmas breakfast. This has evolved into an extravaganza of Eggs Benedict. David is very accomplished now at whipping up an outstanding hollandaise!
This afternoon, after Brian and Dave climbed the mountain (another of our traditions - and they usually don't bother to use the trail for this venture!) Dave helped me prepare a Walnut Cake.
Now, there's a reason we don't whip up walnut cake very often. First, it has no flour, instead relying on ground walnuts. Second, it takes a whole dozen eggs. Thank goodness the Bobs and Sams are hard at work! Let us not even mention the butter and sugar that go into the icing...
We'd be happy to provide you the recipe. We'll even sell you a dozen eggs...
It's the little things (like the very tiny slices of this cake we ate while playing Starfarers of Catan in the evening) that make Christmas traditions so special.
Twelve short months – that’s all since last Christmas – but what a far place we’re in! There has been such a change in our society in that time, in how people think, spend, and travel...
Weather wise, winter of 2009 was messy. Lots of early snow fell, but so wet and heavy it collapsed trees and tore down power lines.
The cold weather in January was broken by a very mushy thaw. Skiers, snowshoers and outdoor enthusiasts could keep going, but the snowmobilers really had to wait for February and March. Both those months provided lovely weather – March was spectacular. You could skate almost the whole bay. Dave and Brian broke out the golf clubs and coloured balls for their ‘Golf the Bay’ extravaganza (we think this year it should become a larger, more open event). March break celebrated every season, with guests skating, skiing, sunbathing – and some of the kids pulling off their boots to play in the sandpile and paddle along the shore in the shallows!
In late March, Brian, Carol and David took an excursion to Bermuda. Last time they were there was 20 years ago, and while the island is still wonderful the traffic and congestion was bad – much worse than back then. Dave thought the mopeds were fabulous – except when he found huge transport trucks looming large behind him. Jellyfish on the beach limited swimming opportunities, but they had a great time all the same, and played a lot of beach Frisbee.
May and June were lovely months. Algonquin was over-run with moose and the hiking is unparalleled at that time. At the end of June Nancy reported on the Resort Blog the lake was 80 degrees F. Then the rains came, and while there was always enough sun to provide suntans and swimming, July certainly had more than its share of rain. August to mid-September was dry – in fact we were just about to lament the lack of rain, when back it came. One of the best months of the year from a sunshine perspective turned out to be November. We don’t get many guests then, which is a shame – it was lovely up here!
Mike and Shahira were both back with us this summer, and what a joy they are as staff! The BMD (Bondi Maintenance Dept., Local 4) was in full swing, with the boys painting, raking, moving wood, clearing trails, building chairs and more. Sue, our long-time housekeeper, and Shahira helped Carol keep her sanity through the busiest of the housekeeping seasons. Carol as always never stops upgrading the furnishings, appliances and decor of all our cottages. But it should never be all work: the boys ‘destroyed the competition’ at the local paintball range, and in August survived a wild ride on the Niagara Jet boats. Mike pointed out, as they dove into yet another monster wave, “That windshield is useless.” Those cute waves you see from the gorge look a lot different from the inside! We enjoyed having Sarah, Carol’s grand-daughter here for two weeks early in the summer. She spent lots of time at the stable, learning to ride the little pony and big Bailey, then picked up Nancy’s camera and took some amazing photos for the Blog. Nancy took out lots of groups for star gazing, but fewer for wolf howls this year – our pack had moved back closer to the Craft Cabin, and were out of range for much of the summer, although we did find wolf tracks on the beaches, and had several successful howls towards the summer’s end.
In late October, while the rains continued to fall here, Brian, Carol, Dave and his girlfriend Megan went to Longboat Key, Florida for a week. They phoned home to complain the weather was “too hot” but generally it was great. Nancy, holding the fort in the cold rains, was unimpressed. David, in his second year at Georgian College’s Architectural Technology course, has made the Dean’s list throughout. We’re pretty darn proud of that. His first work term was spent here at Bondi – and as part of that he designed one bedroom cottages we’re hoping to build in the near future, as well as working on a kitchen reno plan for his mother. Other experiences ranged from shingling roofs, crafting lawn chairs and designing and assembling a small log cabin to go up on the hill. Dave reports it now begins to resemble a building, and not a heap of logs. His favourite project however was with Mike, bringing to completion the celebrated BBQ Barge. There was great disbelief that the boys would get this project afloat, so to speak, with all its scavenged parts, but they stuffed the leaky pontoons with empty bottles, got creative with construction, and by summer’s end were serving waffles and whipped cream to participants on the Marathon Swim. He is currently seeking a work placement for the winter term, and while he’s got lots of applications in, if you know any architects willing to hire, please let us know.
Nancy endured a year of farewells. Her beloved 17 year old wonder poodle, Holly, passed away in mid-July. Call Me Madam, Kate’s mare who has been working with Nancy for 20 years, left for heaven’s pastures in October... and was followed in November by Bacon. At the age of 31, he had been her constant partner for 28 years. She reduced the number of students she trains as well, opening up time for her to work with Abby, now four and ready to play, and she continues to enjoy judging at as many shows as she can manage. The rest of the horses, and the cats, are well. The chickens continue to delight our guests. Nancy is still on local Council – and that has not been an easy task the past few years. She’s taking a week’s vacation in Florida this December, with a friend, hoping to recharge her own batteries. Our Bondi Resort Blog has been very popular. In fact, we were nominated for both an e-tourism and a Canadian Blog Award. It is wonderful to receive feedback on this, and it’s proving to be a good way for people to stay in touch with Bondi all year long. All the same, blogging can’t replace reality, so we hope you’ll still come and visit us!
Carol’s days are crammed with the practical side of resort operations and providing spiritual guidance to her family. Her gardens, despite the deer, continue to thrive, thanks to the hard work she invests in them. We recently awarded her a hat that reads “Plant Manager” to honour this. Following a long illness, her mother Jean passed on to be with her Lord this autumn – a joyous event for her, for which Carol maintains there can be no sadness, but only a celebration of a life.
Brian’s health has continued well, for which we are all grateful. He’s never at a loss for projects – in fact sometimes we are left gasping for breath at the amount of jobs he’s contemplating. We are taking Bondi Green in 2010, with plans underway for both a solar water heating system and a series of solar panels to sell electricity back to the grid. Brian cleared a new ski trail loop this year, and he’s working on a new trail groomer, so our ski system will be better than ever. Winter is wonderful here – we get the kind of snow you can play with!
We are bracing for the G8 in 2010, scheduled to roll into Deerhurst and the area June 25 – 27. This event is tying up essentially all accommodation in the area, and forcing us to struggle with the Reservation Board. Security measures extend on both sides of the function itself, meaning we must shift guests who usually come at that time – with everyone’s schedules so busy these days, that’s proving difficult, so we’re hoping folks will be understanding and willing to work with us this year! Expect a lot of road closures and commotion, along with an enormous influx of people that may somewhat reduce the quiet relaxed atmosphere that normally attracts guests! All should be ‘back to normal’ before the July 1st weekend – we hope!
The late arrival of snow has held down the number of phone calls for people thinking of winter getaways, so we have vacancies. Mind, the lagging economy certainly impacted tourism this year. For the first time in a long time we had vacancies throughout the summer. We do need to fill those, so please tell your friends about us!
There’s nothing like a Global Economic Crisis to bring people back to the basics of what is really important. We’ve come through a period of a lot of greed and overspending, living too much on credit. Now perhaps we can get back to the true values of family and faith. Amidst all the commotion, Bondi continues to provide a bubble in which our friends and guests heal from the stresses of their struggles and hectic schedules. A place to recover their centre, find their families again, and gain strength for whatever the future holds. The tourism industry is a tough one – hospitality magazines often run humour articles on the sanity of those of us in the business – “Inn-sanity”, they call it. Despite often being hampered by government policies, and battered by the economy, there are great rewards when we witness families and groups strengthening their bonds and relationships. We’re delighted to be part of that, and to count all of you among our extended “Bondi Family”.
It began with a star shining brightly in the East, this season, so while we take this opportunity to reconnect with our friends at this Blessed time of the year, we wish for you strong, healthy families and friends, and hope that we will have the opportunity to welcome you home to Bondi. It’s been a little dark out there in the world this past year... but be of good cheer, and remember two great truths: Your Word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path. (Psalm 119:105).
You are the light of the world...let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven. (Matthew 4: 14, 16)
It’s true – we are the light of the world, if we can just stay lit. We wish for you a year in which you shine.
Nancy snuck away for a week, with her friend Sue, to clear out cobwebs and recharge batteries and, as it transpired, to take far too many photographs of birds...
Longboat Key, Florida has a lot of memories for us -- it was where we used to go as kids with our parents, and it was the first place we saw an ocean... so much more than our lake, so different.
Driving down the day after the huge blizzard hit Bracebridge and Gravenhurst, closing all the roads, was an adventure. Not as much as an adventure as David had, driving home from Barrie on Friday evening. With Hwy 11 closed, he took the scenic route through Minden, Norland and Carnaervon, where snowbanks were higher than his car. His secret weapon was to follow closely behind the blue flashing light of a passing snowplow, and he came home without incident.
It took Nancy a day to just unclench her knuckles after the drive, but after that it was time to relax. Everybody needs a vacation. This current trend of cutting down to 2 or 3 days just isn't going to cut the mustard, folks. I can tell you that even one week is just not long enough.
It was great to go. It was also great to come home again. Everything up here is clean and white, the air is sharp and lacks the faint smell of gasoline that seems to vie with the smell of the ocean as soon as you leave the beach down south.
These are perhaps my favourite pictures from the trip...
The deer point out that at least Squeegee gets to go inside at night... they on the other pointed hoof must sleep outside in all weather. This snowfall has left them high-stepping and bounding to get through the snow that all of a sudden is up to the fawn's bellies. Those long slender legs sink into that pristine fluffy white stuff, and getting around is hard. They are grateful to Brian for not only plowing out driveways, but grooming ski trails through the bush. The deer use these trails as highways. Skiers can follow their tracks, and find under the shelter of the trees where the deer have created their own tramped down 'pathways' (called runs). Later in the winter the wolves will also take advantage of packed trails to ease their travel. These really are multi-use trails!
While the depth of the snow can be a challenge, keeping warm is not such an issue. Deer have long winter coats, and each hair is hollow, providing them with fantastic thermal blankets. They are so well insulated, in fact, that the snow landing on them often doesn't melt because not enough body heat escapes that far. Snow itself can be a wonderful insulation for those with coats like this who can hunker down in it for a nap.
On the whole, the deer would doubtless prefer that it remained snowless, with lots of grass and tree buds to eat, and nothing to impede their graceful progress. At least this one looks suitable 'put out' to find herself up to her eyeballs in a good old-fashioned Muskoka winter!
When the comment was made that we needed snow, that we wanted snow, that we were all up here in the northern lands waiting for the snow, what we did not expect was that it would all arrive in one day.
50 cm of snow translates to snow that is deeper than my winter boots. Deeper than the small snowblower (but thankfully not Brian's BIG snowblower!) Deeper than a pony's tummy...
It looks lovely. Provided you can pause in the shovelling long enough to admire it.
The birds were grateful that the feeders were loaded with sunflower seeds and suet. And while Squeegee did express his thanks that the hay floating on top of the snow was high enough that he didn't need to stretch his neck, there was some grumbling heard when he discovered that the same snow almost kept his little hooves off the ground beneath. He's okay as long as he trails along after the big horses and lets them break trail...
It's a lot of snow to get all at once, and they tell us it's not over yet (although Nancy really hopes there will be a lull, since she must drive to the city Saturday morning!) There were a lot of road closures this morning up here, Huntsville declared a Snow Emergency (we didn't get the army, however...!)
So, for all of you dreaming of a White Christmas... IT'S HERE!
The first big storm of the season came rolling in -- and Nancy got to drive through it. We're always surprised when we hear the media advising drivers to 'drive according to conditions' -- you'd think that would be a no-brainer, but apparently not. As one wag points out, for every mile of road, there's two miles of ditch, and lots of folks feel compelled to tour them. The thing about winter driving -- it is winter driving. You need snow tires, not all season... because it is just NOT all seasons. It's winter. It happens every year, right about this time, so it should not be a huge surprise for anyone when the snow starts to fall. The other thing about winter driving is that momentum is both your friend and your enemy... you need more space around you. Visibility may not be so hot in the cold. Getting there late is better than waiting in the ditch for CAA... Four wheel drive means you slide more gracefully into the ditch, with all four wheels. It may help get you back out, but it won't necessarily avoid you being there, unless you (newsflash!) drive according to the conditions!
We're winter ready. Brian's got the parking lots and driveways plowed (and he'll be at that again. And again. And again.)
Teddy's been playing in the snow, dreaming of getting out his cross country skis. All the horses are clean.
And posts here may be limited for the next few days -- there's something very wrong with Nancy's wireless connection just now... but we're working on that. And it has nothing to do with the snow!
The snow is here! Overnight we went from autumn to winter. It's always wonderful to wake up to the first snow. Everything is sparkly, white, clean. The sun casts blue shadows. The horses gallop and roll just for the fun of it. The chickens congregate at the stable door and mutter under their breath.
The lake changes colour. The sun comes back at you, reflecting so brightly you need to reach for the sunglasses you haven't needed in a while. You can see your breath hang in the air.
And the deer trail their footprints across the lawn, like strands of pearls.
People start to think about skis, and skates, toboggans and snowball fights.
Snowmobilers head out to pick up their trail permits -- which reminds me, our guests can now rent snowmobiles in Dwight, just minutes away.
We still have vacancies for Christmas -- you should come. Bring the kids and let them actually use the outdoor toys they found under the tree! Cut your own Christmas tree on our property. Go for a horse drawn sleigh ride -- or for something different, go for a sleigh ride with Andrews' Oxen! The huskies are in heaven, having waited all year for snow so they can get out with the sleds and run as only dog sled dogs can run. The tubing park in Huntsville is lining up the tubes, checking all their equipment...
Snowplows grumble along the roads, and those who have been delaying getting their winter tires are goaded into action. The ski hill operators start to smile again, and begin to tune up the snow guns.
And over at Beauview, our good friend Gord can finally stop going squirrely waiting for the snow...
Back in August, we found a small tear in the roof of the Cover-All indoor riding arena. This set into motion a whole string of events that happen out of sight, but which culminate in a new roof being installed on that building. That's a BIG building... that's a BIG roof... You'd think you'd need a BIG crew to work on the repair. But all you really need is a Crew of Two.
Hubert and Serge rolled in this week, just the two of them. They have this down to a fine science... the only small glitch came when they were removing the old roof. With all the tie-downs released, they stopped for a well-earned lunch. A gust of wind picked up the cover, and just like that the roof was essentially removed. It was quick... and it's the reason you never pause for anything else when the new roof is being put up! It's also why you don't try to work on these if there's much wind!
It's an astonishingly fast process, once it gets going. Preparation is the key. They spent a lot of time getting the new fabric organized, but once it started to go up, it was all over before I could get there with the camera. These guys are speedy!
Their timing was fabulous, as well. The following morning, when they returned to finish up the details and clean up the worksite, the arena was coated with snow. In fact, at times the snow was so thick you could hardly see through it. That would have prevented them from getting the work done at all! In fact, the snow made it hard to gather up and remove the old fabric -- which wanted to just sail away in the wind. The men just kept smiling throughout -- they know what they're doing -- and before long, it was all done. The arena is as good as new, clean and tidy. Everything is put away.
Thanks, Leisure Farms, for your attention to this, and for sending us such a great Crew of Two. And thanks to Cover-All for such a great structure, and for working with us so co-operatively to get this repaired.
"Did you know your blog has been nominated in the Canadian blog awards? I found you there when I went to vote for another blog in a different category, and voted for you, too. If your readers want to go vote for you, they can find the ballots at http://cdnba.wordpress.com/vote-2009/ "
Of course I zipped over right away to look, and there we are, under the category of Overall...
Mind you, we're not near the top of the list... not yet... but if you all surfed out there and ranked us top of YOUR list, we might be... we just might be! And if you tell your friends and relations, and they surf out and vote... well it works on the Reality Shows!!!
We had no idea, but we're pretty darn excited! We just hope there's no "blog for your lives" finale that requires acrobatic typing skills :)
Native peoples attributed spirits to the animals, trees, the water, the rocks... everything in fact that shared their world. Considering how interconnected we are with everything in Nature, that's not really surprising.
Last weekend one of our guests, Suzanne, was meditating on the Main Dock. Later she took me there, to show me something on the Lookout. You have to be down on the dock, or on the lake -- you can't see this well from up on the lawn. The leaves must be off the trees...
But there is a face up there. Two in fact, if you look carefully...
Suzanne felt it was a benevolent spirit, watching over Bondi. We like that. Perhaps it is Paul, our father, who loved and cared for this piece of earth... Perhaps Rosemary is beside him. Perhaps...
Old stories tell us that this bay was a favourite of the local Indian tribes -- with its southwest facing orientation and it's long sandy beach, coupled with outcrops of rich clay at the water's edge, it was one of the first places to open up in the spring. It was a place to come, to apply mud-packs and lie in the sun to get rid of winter's aches and pains. A place to heal. Perhaps it's no surprise there are spirit watchers in the hills...
They are called Mimetoliths, these formations that resemble faces. Some of them are famous.
Whatever you choose to believe about them -- that they are simply a trick of the light, a random grouping of rocks, or the spirits that inhabit the land, we find them quite fascinating. The pair on the mountain seem benevolent, content, watching over Bondi.
The one out by the Point, however, where our Marathon Swim goes every week in the summer, that one seems to be expressing pretty much how we feel (tongue in cheek) when we have to look at the square box of a boathouse that is now located there...
Mike hunts a section of our property during deer season. He'll tell you that a lot of the experience is about getting out into the woods all day, rather than about the actual hunt -- although venison is a popular menu choice at his household.
Spending quiet time in the woods lets you see all sorts of things you would otherwise miss. Deer have spectacular hearing, with those huge ears of theirs... and while it is fairly easy to see them in the forest, it is almost impossible to see them in a position for a clean shot, so if you think that hunting is easy, think again.
The comments this year from all the hunt camps near us balanced on the question, "where are the bucks?" We can back that up -- we'd have up to fourteen does and fawns on the lawn alone, and not a single buck. Quite a few hunters who had buck tags went home empty handed despite counting plenty of deer.
Mike sets up a stealth camera along one of the deer runs, however, a few weeks prior to the hunt -- I think it just gives them some encouragement that there are deer in the woods (sort of like Vic who likes to take a fish finder along when he goes trolling for trout)
Mike sent along a couple of his photos from this year's camera. One shows a lovely little pine marten, busily digging up acorns in the carpet of leaves.
And one of the night shots shows the big buck. Still there, by the way. Mike captured at least seven different bucks on camera, but interestingly, they are only visible in the night pictures. All the daytime shots showed the does wandering along!
Mark comes up on weekends, sets up his radio station in the cottage, and broadcasts his very own program. Radio WMRK. You can find him Saturday and Sunday, at 104.7 FM, if you are within range. (he reports pretty good reception as far away as Dwight, and across the bay, as well as beyond Lumina, so have a go and tune him in!)
WMRK plays 'all the oldies, all the times', the tunes from back in the days when the records spun, rather than the politicians. When summers were for the Beach Boys, and the British invasion was unopposed. It's all good stuff...
Mark has the ability to broadcast live as well, providing weather commentary, time checks, little snippets of information.
This afternoon he was at the stable checking up on the reception, and took a break to feed some carrots to the deer, who like to hang around, pilfering the chicken feed, and (we're pretty sure) listening to the radio.
email@example.com , if you've got a request, or a kind comment, will get you directly to the King of Spin himself!
Squeequee's person Judy has two of the local Junior A Hockey team players staying with her this winter. Jacob, when he gets the chance away from practice, workouts and work, likes to come with her to the stable and pitch in. (Today he learned about Her a'Laying, the Loft Chicken, and how to collect the eggs from her special nest) Today his mom and sister were here, too -- Jocelyn got introduced to Bailey and learned how to groom. Bailey loves attention -- his nose and tongue are always busy when someone is scratching those itchy places on his back, and from the look of this, Jocelyn hit the sweet spot for him!
Jacob had to leave early -- there was a game this afternoon, but Judy stayed on. She recently acquired a harness for Squeegee.
He is, sad to report, an in-between size when it comes to fitting: mini-pony tack is a tad too snug. The next size up is waaaay too big... Never mind, we've managed to make it work.
And Judy has begun to make him work. The plan here is to acquire a small cart, and get Judy off the gasoline merry-go-round. Squeegee's footprint on the planet is much smaller. We know... we've seen 'em along the driveway!
The Bondi Babes are back. The girls come over in November, from Oakhurst Farm, near Ashton. Oakhurst is one of Ontario's premiere eventing stables, and Ruth and Joan like to have this weekend to step away from all of that and have a Girls' Getaway.
Lots of games, challenges, chilling and good food is on the program. They vary the experience every year. This year Emilie, our on-call masseuse, set up in the library on Saturday to ensure those who arrived a little stressed soon were converted into being very mellow.
A nature hike is always on the agenda -- and this year we had lovely weather, with the sun breaking through, not very cold, and not too wet. The artists in the crowd - which was most of them - were quite taken with the abundance of the Artist's Fungus, and since there was so much in the forest, we brought home several. Nancy is looking forward to seeing what gets created on these!
There was a lot of lichen on display, too, including this lovely 'British Redcoat', and the plentiful 'Staghorn'. Both take their name from their appearance -- the British Redcoat is said to represent the British troops, in their bright red jackets, during the American Revolution, lining up in the green fields. The staghorn needs litte explanation - it looks like a tangled field of antlers.
Sunday the girls blitzed Huntsville - where they found great shopping, unique stores, and plenty of Christmas gift ideas.
We'd love to hear from you. The experiences our guests have are precious to us. If you have photos you took at Bondi, we'd love to have those as well. You can email them to Nancy at firstname.lastname@example.org
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We are very proud of Napster, our tail-painting cat, who uses his lovely artwork to raise money for charities. This lovely little creature passed away July 2015, but left a huge legacy, having raised over $12,000 for various charities through the sale of his artwork. That artwork, through prints and notecards, is still available. Click here to visit Napster's Blog and visit the gallery of his tail-paintings.
Now sold around the world, he was honoured to have his artwork sold around the globe -- he even has a print with the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.
Click on the following links to enjoy a 'virtual ski' round some of our 15 km. of groomed track set cross country ski trails. Thanks to Altitude and Attitude, North Muskoka gets the kind of winter you can really enjoy. Huge thanks to Eric Prince, the creative mind that made this videos happen!
Click here to enjoy seeing a variety of our trails.
And Click Here for another cross country ski adventure.
and this one, in 2014, just days before the snow vanished, from Hawke Lake on down. Click Here
And Click Here for just one more...