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.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Fawns and Bluebirds, all in One Day

Sue and John are visiting us from England. Today, amidst hail and snow, they headed off to Algonquin Park, hoping to see moose and other Muskoka wildlife.

While they were gone, right by their cottage, this doe came silently out of the woods, with her new baby at her side. Not as big as a moose, but so rare, so precious, on long wobbly legs. Fawns this young, with their camoflaging spots, have no scent. Mom can hide them in the tall grass, and if they stay very still (and they do) you can walk right past them and never know.

She didn't want to pose for me very long -- this is I think the baby's first time out in the greater world -- so the pictures were snapped quickly! I wouldn't have seen her at all, just outside my window, if the phone hadn't run, and I rushed into the living room to pick it up!

What a precious gift! Fawns, and bluebirds... even with a bit of hail and snow thrown into the sunshine, this was a fantastic day!

Bluebirds and Happiness

Look who's back! These bluebirds may well be my favourite bird. I look forward every year to the flash of their wings -- that deep indescribably blue blue, and their friendly 'cheery cheery cheep' song.
Drop into this website, and listen to the second song in the listing.

We build boxes for them with great care, ensuring that the entrance holes are just right, and that there are plenty to choose from. These birds love the garden, and the open lawns, but they also like to be close to the trees, so our garden is a great location for them. Their diet of bugs and fruits are readily available from these nest boxes, and it's easy to spot them swooping down from their high perch on the wire fence!

We have at least two pair here -- they arrived day before yesterday, but they're not so easy to photograph, and it was just today, after the sun came back out, that I was able to snap these photos!

Changing the Weather!

What's that old saw, if you don't like the weather, just wait a few minutes, it will change? Never more true than today!

David and I were helping Brian bring in wood, with no jackets in sight, when a dark cloud hove into view, and with it HAIL!

Hard hail. Holly and Achmed both came into the woodshed seeking shelter. The tomato vine did not make it through unscathed, but the rest of us did...

Then it cleared. Bright, sunny, but with a good snap in the air. Not bad weather for stacking woodpiles, really.

Until the next dark cloud, which brought in a freak spring snowstorm and had David shaking his fist at the heavens! Short in duration, but impressive while it lasted! (both the snowstorm, and David's anti-snow-in-May rant)

Then the sun returned, and the air was so bright you could practically touch it, drenched in sun. No flies to be found. Just a gorgeous spring day in Muskoka...

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Blackflies, and Senior Moments

The blossoms are falling from the apple trees. The lilacs are just about to open.
Yes, the hum of mosquitoes is heard in the land. And blackflies. Although because we have so much open space, and always a good breeze from the lake, they are far less of an issue here than they are if you go back in the bush, for example! We're experimenting with that latest craze, spraying listerine about to keep them away. A Bounce sheet fastened to the back of your hat is also helpful... the little darlin's don't like to be fluffy and soft, apparently.
Everyone asks what the blackfly is good for. Well, hummingbirds would give them a thumbs up, if they only had thumbs. They eat them.

The photo with this is a picture Jordy created last summer, drawing on an Artist's fungus. She was here when the blueberries were ripe.
Blueberries are always happy to see blackflies zip by... blackflies pollinate the blueberries. And while a friend of mine has offered to do it for the blueberries, by hand, with a very small paintbrush, I think the chances are really good he'd miss one. Or two.
Our swallows are thrilled... so are frogs, and a host of other creatures that can snack off the blackflies that snack on us.

Deet, citronella and a good stiff breeze are still your best friends!

They'll be gone with two weeks of hot weather, anyway.
Which is a good segue for summer -- which is only a few short weeks away now!

We still have vacancies scattered through the summer.
We still offer affordable vacations for families, as well as for couples, and small groups. We've even got a company in the area that is offering a new service -- if you've brought grandma or grandpa with you, and you'd like a day away, they'll come and stay with the cherished senior member of the family, taking them places, fixing meals, etc. It sounds like an interesting idea!

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Welcome Back Barn Swallows

The swallows return every year, almost to the day -- they were a little early this year, April 15 (they were about a week early last summer, too. It caused great commotion in the nest-box building department!)

While the tree swallows show up in mid-April, the barn swallows are a little later making their appearance. Perhaps that's because they don't pop into the stable to say 'hello' until they are ready to nest, but it's only been the past few weeks that our pair has been flitting in and out of the stable, making themselves at home.

Last year, they wisely relocated their nest -- until then, they nested over the light near the cat-staircase, so Achmed could climb up and launch himself out from the base-camp platform about four feet away from the nest. He never got even close to them, but it was not good for anyone's nerves -- not the swallows, for sure. Not mine. Probably not Achmed's, as he had that "Sylvester and Tweety" look when he discovered that he was in mid-air, paws snatching at nothing, just before falling 8' to the floor. Even the horses snorted in alarm.

It's a lot calmer now. The pair have relocated to the top of a different light, well away from lurking Achmeds.

Barn swallows are hard to tell from their tree swallow cousins when in flight, but at rest it's easy to see the difference. With their buff coloured heads and necklaces, they are quite distinctive from the creamy white necks of the tree swallows.

Both have those lovely long forked tails -- and just how long those tails are is evident when Mom is hunkered into her nest!
We love having them in the barn. Their almost endless swallow-talk cheers up the place. And they put away more mosquitoes and blackflies than you can possibly count!

A blog post about Blogging, from The Muskokan

Kerri MacDonald, writing for the magazine The Muskokan, has done an article on Blogging in Muskoka. I spent a great afternoon here with Kerri, scrolling about in the Bondi Blog, and laughing a lot -- although I am still sad that I have no readers in Mongolia. On a good month, we get over 1000 people visiting the Blog, averaging 2 pages, and spending a long period of time there. We do hope our readers enjoy the Blog...

The photo with this post is of Joseph Tapley,whose diaries still intrique and entertain me. He's seen golfing at the old Britannia Inn golf course. A diary aside -- in 1926, the weather was so unusually warm that he managed to squeak in a game of golf on January 16th. Definitely something worthy of a Blog Post!

We hope you enjoy Kerri's article, attached below.

From the Muskoka cottage to the blogosphere
May 27, 2009 - by Kerri MacDonald

Picture a writer in Muskoka and you’ll probably conjure up the image of a quiet evening on the dock, a weatherworn journal and what William Wordsworth famously called “emotion recollected in tranquility.” But as pages turn to computer monitors, tech-savvy wordsmiths are sharing their thoughts on Muskoka with the world, one blog post at a time.
Nancy Tapley, a blogger at Bondi Village Resort on Lake of Bays, sees her blog as a continuation of a long history of writing. Her grandfather, Joseph Tapley, kept detailed diaries about daily life on the farm-turned-resort, a tradition her father continued.

“The blog has basically replaced the diaries,” Tapley says as she sits in her office scrolling through the blog she created last July. “It was very interesting; they’d record what mattered. So they’d record the weather, and they’d record crops — what was planted, what was harvested, who owed you money, how much something cost.”

But what really got Tapley started was marketing.

“The blog was forced upon me,” says Tapley, who owns the resort with her brother, Brian. “I couldn’t even spell ‘blog’ and suddenly I was (writing) one.”

Before she started blogging, the energetic writer used to send “e-mail blasts” to a mailing list. She also wrote a weekly newsletter for guests, something she continues to do. When she began blogging, she was worried she wouldn’t have enough to write about.

“If you’re going to have a blog and you want people to come and read it, it has to change all the time,” she says. “I think that’s a problem with some of them.”

But she hasn’t had any difficulties finding material — or readers. Over the past month, Tapley’s blog has had more than 550 visitors and 1,000 page views. Readers come from countries all over the world, including Chile, China, Bolivia, France, the Philippines and Iraq.

“I had no idea what I was doing,” she says as she scrolls the first couple of blogs she wrote last summer. Tapley’s subjects range from nature — such as an incident she calls “the flying squirrel adventure” — to events happening in the community. Looking at a post about Bondi Village’s “annual clam races,” she laughs.

“It’s totally silly. It’s got nothing to do with anything and it means nothing. It’s just fun.”

Jennifer Jilks is another blogger who started out for marketing purposes. After her father passed away, Jilks wrote a memoir and started a blog to spread the word. Today, the retired teacher calls herself a “confessed blogaholic.” The five blogs she writes are a testament to that addiction.

Jilks, who also follows about 100 blogs worldwide, says running different blogs lets her keep her thoughts organized. Ranging in topic from palliative care to poetry, her blogs have had about 5,000 hits each. One of them, My Muskoka, is intended to be a celebration of the region.

“I love Muskoka and I want to honour it,” says Jilks, who moved to Bala in 2006. She doesn’t know if she has local readers, although posts about the proposed power generator at Bala Falls sparked some reaction.

But Jilks isn’t writing to ruffle feathers — for her, blogging has become therapeutic.

“I’ve found writing my memories, to illuminate them for somebody else, very interesting. And I’ve found that a lot of people will say, ‘Oh yeah, I’ve been through that, too.’”

That ability to communicate with other readers is key for artist Michelle Basic Hendry. Since she created her blog, Artscapes, in late 2007, it has become an important part of creativity for the local painter.

“The creative process for me it isn’t entirely right-brained. It’s left-brained as well; it’s a combination of creativity and intellect, and I need both,” she says. “I think that’s another thing the blog does for me: it allows me to take an analytical view of the things that inspire me.”

Basic Hendry has followers worldwide and has gained recognition as a leader in the artistic blogosphere. The artist says blogging helped her realize she has a need to communicate. Still, at the root of that need is business.

“In the very beginning, a lot of people talked about whether or not your blog and your website should be essentially one thing,” says the artist, who’s quick to point out that she doesn’t actively sell her paintings on the blog.

“People can use it as they want,” she says. “We can talk about it or not, but it’s out there. I like to think that people will talk about it. I like to think that it’ll be something that people bring up at the dinner table.”

Thelma Jarvis and Ed Boutilier are two more Muskoka bloggers who have a taste for the blogosphere.

Jarvis, a real estate agent whose blog is linked to her website, started blogging because she has a diverse set of interests.

“I just thought that in terms of how I put my business together that I would allow people to see my knowledge and expertise before they become clients,” she says.

Jarvis’s blog includes a series of “special reports,” about which she receives e-mails from readers worldwide. On its busiest day, the blog had 143 visitors. Last month there were 1,798. Jarvis says her most poplar post has seen 1,948 hits in its lifetime.

She believes cottagers use her blog to get their “Muskoka fix” when they’re away from the lakes. Along with photos, Jarvis includes information on issues such as water levels, bylaw changes and the real estate market.

“People go on my blog everyday when it’s close to ice out time,” she says. “That’s why during that time I try to be responsible in getting the information out accurately and quickly.”

Boutilier, who runs a photography blog, is one of Jarvis’s readers. The two became friends when they started talking via e-mail, though they’ve never met in person.

A Toronto-based technology expert who has a cottage inMuskoka, Boutilier writes blogs for work, as well. He uses Google Alerts to keep tabs on the keyword “Muskoka,” which comes up between ten and 15 times every day.

The self-taught photographer uses his blog to display high dynamic range photographs.

The result? A collection of photos that has garnered attention from the Globe and Mail, various Muskoka publications and web wanderers worldwide.

“Now I am feeling some pressure because there’s thousands of people from all over the world coming to this blog,” Boutilier says. “If there isn’t something up every two days, or at least once a week, people are saying, ‘Hey, what’s going on?’”

Boutilier says he would spend more time on his blog if he could.

“I find a lot of people come up here and they leave with no understanding of what this area’s about, so that’s why I put that up,” he says of the blog, which kicked off in February, 2008.

“Not everybody reads or retains information properly, but visually there’s a lot of rich images to offer people, from a historic standpoint and from the natural and the environmental.”

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Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Royal LePage Garage Sale is a Great Experience!

Congratulations to Jay and her team at Royal Lepage in Dwight. They held a garage sale on the weekend, raising funds for Chrysalis, Interval House and the Roayl LePage Shelter Foundation. Worthy causes all... AND a great chance to rearrange the treasures and trinkets in the house at the same time.

They raised almost $2000 for the cause. Which we think is darn good. The food ran out at the BBQ -- always a good sign! And everyone was enjoying the antique fire truck on display.

This office is well located in a little node of browsing heaven -- right next door is Hero's Antiques and the newly opened Northart Gallery of Ron Murdoch. Across the street is the Coffee Shop, with it's own new gift store, adjacent to the Langford Canoe/Kayak store.

and just down the street is the Palmer House, with a true treasure trove of unusual gifts. Past that is the Trading Post... All within a short walk of this office, you can shop till you drop. And then, if you are feeling hungry, you can check out the Dwight Market (where Keeley still reigns supreme as one of the best butchers anywhere in Muskoka)

Well done team!!!

Blossom Time

It's blossom time -- the apple trees and the wild plums are in full bloom.
This makes the bees very happy, and that is a good thing, since bees have been struggling of late.
It also thrills the hummingbird beyond all logical reason.

The next tree to flower will be the lilacs.

It's so wonderful to step outside and smell the fragrance. No car exhaust or smog to cancel out the lake breeze and flowers -- heaven!!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

DOORS OPEN Lake of Bays 2009

JUNE 13th, Lake of Bays is hosting a DOORS OPEN event.
Details on the fabulous houses being opened up for public viewing can be found on the Doors Open site. It's an exciting line-up, including (but certainly not limited to!) historic Limberlost Lodge, now a Forest and Nature Reserve; Vesle Skaugum, a replica of the Norwegian summer palace built during WWII at the R&R site for the Norwegian airmen (seen in the top photo!); Broomhill Farm, once the Moffat's Wonderview, and still an icon on Peninsula Lake; and Sunset Cottage, the first building in Lake of Bays to come under Heritage Designation and qualify for Heritage Tax Relief.
The Tour runs from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., and there is no charge for participants.

To help support this project, the Heritage Committee is holding a Silent Auction at the Dwight Public Library.

Items on offer include a framed Folkins print of the Portage Flyer train, with steamships at the South Portage dock, various original artwork items, some pottery, garden baskets and other interesting items.

Of special note for history buffs, a piece of the Lake of Bays' iconic past is on offer -- there are three windows, all different sizes, from historic Bigwin Inn, a landmark destination since it's opening in 1920, and also a nine foot long section of the curved ballustrade railing from the Bigwin Rotunda. Carey Grant, Carole Lombard, Princess Juliana of the Netherlands, John D. Rockefeller, and a host of other luminaries once leaned over this bannister rail to chat with their companions in the Rotunda foyer. These would be excellent accent pieces in a cottage, and a rare chance to own a tiny part of Bigwin's glory days.

The auction will be open until 4 p.m on JUNE 13th.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

A New Leaf!

You wouldn't think we'd get all that excited over a single bud opening up into a leaf. After all, at this time of year, we have zillions of them popping on the trees every day.

But this one is special. This is a leaf on the old broken limb of the Century Apple tree that broke off last fall. (See post Tuesday, Sept. 2, The Century Apple Tree)
Rebecca, from Bark Nursery suggested that we simply bury the branch, with fingers crossed that it might start to root and rise again like the phoenix from the ashes. After all, this apple tree was bearing fruit when my grandmother stepped off the steamer S.S. Iroquois at Port Cunnington in 1905. The apples have remained unsurpassed for making pies and applesauce ever since.

Well, dance in the streets with us, because this leaf is on one of the branches on the buried apple branch.

Is it silly to be thrilled with something this small? We don't think so. Once upon a time there were 7000 different species of apples in the world. Check out the grocery store, and if you're lucky, you'll find about ten... This apple tree is one of the missing 6990, and we think that is both worth saving, and worth cheering!

Garage Sale... Treasure Chest!

Dave has an expression... 'there's three kinds of people in this world... those who CAN count, and those who CAN'T'

But we think the 3rd type is the person who haunts garage sales and auctions, sniffing out the unique, the underappreciated, the bargains of the century.

For those folks, there's a Garage Sale being held in Dwight on SATURDAY MAY 23, from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Royal Lepage Office. All kinds of cool stuff is there (and, bonus, it's right next door to the Hero's Antique Store... you can check off two of your favourite shopping experiences with just one parking stop)
There's balloons, an antique fire engine on display, and of course, a BBQ lunch.

Proceeds go to the Chrysalis House, Interval House and the Royal LePage Shelter Foundation. Good cause. Good stuff. (we know... we donated some of it!!!)

Check it out!

Burning with Olympic Fever

the Royal Bank of Canada in Huntsville had the honour of being one of the first locations where the 2010 Olympic Torch was on display recently.

Brian, Dave and Mike (recovered from his long weekend chilly camping trip) were there to check it out, and now that the photos have been sent to us, we can share them with you.

Dave commented that the torch was lighter than he expected... but then, Dave, it has to be a racy sort of thing, doesn't it???

We're all about that Olympic spirit. Huntsville is hosting the Olympic Torch as it crosses Canada next year enroute to the Games in Vancouver. It will stop for a Celebration in Huntsville at the end of December.

You could be the person carrying it... The Royal Bank has a contest on the go. Tell them how you'd create a better Canada, and you could be selected to carry the torch.

And that's a bright, burning idea that just doesn't happen very often.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Summer's almost here!

We're winding up a May long weekend that was, in a word, cold...

If you spent it camping, next time you might reconsider that plan, and consider a cottage instead. It was great weather for hiking, and moose spotting, but it wasn't beach weather.

That weather, however, is on the way. Summer is almost on us. We still have vacancies this summer at BONDI We're a great place to reconnect with your family, and find time to relocate your self. 2000' of beach acts as a magnet for the children and adults alike, but we're so much more than that. Housekeeping cottage resorts like ours are also an affordable option for a vacation. You get your own private cottage, with all the amenities of the resort added in.

Check us out! If you have your own cottage on the Lake, and company's coming, remember that we can provide you with enough space that you can enjoy your company, without having to have the kids sleep on your floors...

gone with the wind

This follows on the last post, about the trees tilted over by the lake.

We can get some big storms here, and if the winds are high enough, trees will fall. Their leaves act like gigantic sails to hold the wind, and sometimes they simply cannot bend enough to let the power of the air pass through.

Last year, about this time of year, we lost a huge white pine at Cedars cottage. Luckily, it fell out onto the lawn, and there was no damage, just plenty of cleaning up and splitting of firewood to be done.

We replant trees, but it takes a long long time to grow them to anything like a replacement height for these forest monarchs, so when we lose one, it is a time of grief.

About ten years ago, a small tornado hit Dwight, ripping up a lot of trees. Some of the damage is still visible as you drive along the Boyne River flats on Hwy 60, but most of it has been cleaned up, and the new trees are growing well. A little whirlwind twister split off from that tornado came through Haystack Bay, touched down near the Cook-out beach, and skipped up through our maple sugar bush. En route, it took trees and literally twisted them off their trunks.

One of those that fell was a giant hemlock, near where the airplane hangar is. Brian saved a slice out of this tree, which was about 200 years old. He dried it, polished it up, and it now hangs over the fireplace in TAMARACK cottage.

On a dull day, you can entertain yourself for hours by counting the rings to get the actual age. And then you can consider what was going on in the world at the time of the various rings. This beautiful old tree saw the timelines for a whole lot of history...

There is a stand of old hemlocks on one of our hiking trails, the kind of trees you cannot get your arms around the trunks, and you cannot see all the way to the tops. They are beautiful things, and hopefully will survive the windstorms for years to come!

Friday, May 15, 2009

Of wind and tides

The big thunderstorm that blew threw this week brought with it plenty of wind. In fact, a lot of folks found themselves without hydro for quite some time.

While we never lost power, we did lose trees. These two, just in front of CEDARS cottage, lost their grip on the soil with the waves pounding in on their roots and the wind shoving hard on their branches. While they are only tilted at present, it is virtually impossible to right trees when this happens, and the next storm will take them down.

David and Achmed discovered that you could stand on the base of the tree (well, in Achmed's case, you could cling to the trunk) and ride the wind up and down as the trees swayed in the big gusts of wind.

Snapping Turtles

We have a fondness for snapping turtles. Not, mind, when they are snapping at your fingers -- which they might just do if you confront them on dry land. They are usually non-aggressive, and will just quietly swim away from you, but on land, they do feel threatened, and can move surprisingly fast.
As Nancy discovered one spring, riding her horse 'Bacon' across a narrow bridge. A mother snapper was busy laying her eggs, and Nancy figured she could just sneak past on the far side of the track. Luckily, Bacon was faster than any of them, and leapt out of the way. He did, however, view rocks with deep suspicion after that, not having realized they could come to life and chase him.

This snapper was over by Farside cottage. She was probably up from the lake looking for a place to lay her eggs. This is the time of year! Snappers lay eggs in a soft, well-drained soil, in a flask-shaped nest she digs out with her front legs. About 40 eggs get laid in the nest, and then Mom heads back to the lake.

It's hard to get ahead if you're a turtle. First of all, lots of critters like to find and dig up the nests -- the picture shows all that was left of one last year. If you do make it through the egg phase, dig your way out of the nest and find your way to the lake, there are still critters that will eat you.

The sex of the snapping turtle is determined by the temperature in the nest -- at 25 degrees C, you will be a boy turtle. 30 degrees C or more, you'll be painting the nursery pink. Global warming could throw quite a spanner into this system...

Mom turtle wasn't too pleased with the camera. She cannot pull her head all the way into her shell, as some turtles do, because there's just too much turtle in there already. She did pull her head back as far as she could, bending her spine into an S-shape to do that, and I'm sure she was happy when we left her to continue her search for a nice nest site, partly sunny, partly shaded...

The greatest predator of the snapping turtle is the automobile. These creatures have been around, pretty much unchanged, since the dinosaurs roamed the swamps, but they are now threatened, simply because so many get killed by cars. Slow down, we say... take your cue from this great bumper sticker!

Fiddling on the Roof

This spring, it was Sunflower cottage's turn to get new shingles. Now, instead of a red roof, it has gone green, and we think it looks great.

Dave was showing off blisters after spending a day working on the roof -- whenever he put his hand down on the tarpaper to steady the work, he found out just how hot tarpaper can get in the sunshine!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Sam and Tom got married!

Sam and Tom got married

Sam Ion is a close friend of ours, and a grand-daughter of one of Lake of Bays' first settlers, Tommy Salmon. Tommy was world famous for his abilities in crafting snowshoes and canoes. Sam is world famous for her travel writing. And, yes, over the years she has featured Bondi Village in her column!

So we're happy to share one of the great moments of Sam Ion's life with our readers. Congratulations, Sam and Tom! We look forward to seeing you here soon, for first-hand hugs and congrats.

Sam Ion weds first husband for the second time at Sandals
Anita Draycott

Son-in-law & daughter Nick & Jayne, Tom & Sam Ion, Anita Draycott, Joan Haines

13 MAY 2009: Here’s a destination wedding with a difference. On Friday May 8 Sam Ion, who has been writing about travel, with a specialty in all-inclusives, for more than 15 years, vowed “I do” at Sandals Whitehouse Resort in Jamaica. The twist in this love story is that Sam married her first husband, Tom Ion.

They first wed as childhood sweethearts in 1962. Shortly after they had two children, Russ and Jayne. By the time they were both 40 they had drifted apart. They divorced but always remained friends. Both remarried: Sam once; Tom twice.

In 2006, Sam’s second husband, Cam Norton, died suddenly of a heart attack while the couple were racing to make a connection at Vancouver Airport en route to visit Russ and Jayne, who now both live in Australia. Tom, who is an investment counsellor, seemed to know instinctively how to console Sam and help her with her grief and her finances.

A year later, their daughter Jayne, won a scholarship to the Mac World Expo in San Francisco. Both proud parents decided to fly down to celebrate the occasion. San Fran cast its magic spell and they fell in love again.

Unlike their first modest ceremony and honeymoon, the Sandals’ “WeddingMoons “ package delivered all the romantic bells and whistles the lovers could wish for, including 24-hour butler service, a couples’ massage at the Red Lane Spa, barefoot walks on the beach at sunset, flowers and cake by celebrity wedding planner Preston Bailey, champagne and dancing in a tropical garden and a torch-lit wedding feast under a full moon.

Daughter Jayne was the matron of honour and her husband Nick was the best man, The bridesmaids were Sam’s travel buddies: journalist Anita Draycott and Joan Haines, principal of Coastal International, who has handled public relations for Sandals in Canada for 18 years.

Sam, who writes a regular column for the Oakville Beaver, Peterborough This Week, Belleville Community Press and Winnipeg Lance, and who has slept at almost 200 resorts in the Caribbean, Mexico and Central America, can now personally attest to Sandals’ slogan: “Love is all you need. Everything else is included.”
Posted by Nancy Tapley at 9:36 AM 0 comments

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Oops... Wrong Number...

We recently changed phone providers, and somehow, during the switch, the lines got crossed.

Which means that our toll free number 1 888 300 2132, got exchanged with our fax number...

So, with great apology, if you have been trying to reach us last week on that number, you didn't have much success...

We apololgize, and we are working on the fix.

In the meantime, YES, we do still have vacancies for the May Long Weekend. The moose are out in the Park, the lake is beginning to warm up. It's wonderful out there.

Give us a call. 705 635 2261 will always get hold of us (or our trusty machine and we'll call you right back)

Or email us, through the Bondi website.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Just Ducky!

Every day, the chickens get their ration of scratch feed served up on the lawn near the stable.

And every day, they get visitors. Opportunistic blue jays. Adorably larcenous chipmunks. Sometimes the wild turkeys drop by (and all the chickens run for cover)

Our orphaned deer arrives every day. We get quite the "peaceable kingdom" happening, with cats, dogs, deer and chickens all hanging out together.

Yesterday, the mallards returned. We think it's the same pair, year after year. They arrive, spend some time hanging out in the lake, then come waddling up the lawn to the stable to see what's for lunch. They'll drop by the office, as well, to greet Carol, and see if she has anything tasty on offer. We think the drake looks very special in his very best feathers.

In it for the Long Run

Last Saturday Nancy was at WindReach stables, near Brooklin. She was conducting a clinic with therapeutic riding coaches, and riders with disabilities. After five years as National Coach of the Paralympic Dressage Team, she has one or two tricks up her sleeve in this department, and it was a great day. Kendra, the program manager at WindReach, one day past her pregnancy due date, traumatized Nancy by jogging with the horses, looking (and feeling) like she was up to a 5 km. run!

WindReach belongs to Sandy Mitchell, one of Bermuda's Paralympic athletes. It's a beautiful facility, completely accessible, with a large farm component in addition to the riding stables. Sandy has another facility in Bermuda. Both facilities strive to provide inclusive and accessible community facilities that enrich the quality of life for people of all abilities, ages and special needs. Nancy has visited the Bermuda facility as well, and been so impressed by both facilities, and Sandy's vision.

There are two donkeys, Bonnie and little gray Maybe, whose role in life is to let children groom and pet them. There's an apple orchard. Wagon rides. School programs. And, of course, the horses.

As part of their program, WindReach fosters horses for LongRun, an agency that takes thoroughbred racehorses and helps them find new careers. The track can be horrifyingly hard on horses. LongRun works hard to repair the damage, and find forever homes for these wonderful animals. With WindReach's lovely stable in the background, Celtic Knot and Bullet Tooth Tony enjoy some sunshine in their paddock. Both are LongRun horses, both are recovering from fractured bones. That's the kind of injury that means you no longer have a career as a racehorse. But you MIGHT have a career as someone's saddle horse... Several LongRun 'graduates', recovered and integrated back into polite society, currently work in the therapeutic riding program at WindReach.

You learn something every day. These horses, moving forward into their new careers, have something to teach us. And the riders, coaches and volunteers who participated in the clinic on the weekend, well, they have so much they teach us. It's a great privilege to work with them.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Robin Hood Goes High Tech

The Friends of the Library hosted a very innovative fund-raiser today. An Archery Tournament, held at Ross and Anne-Marie Tapley's Logging Chain Lodge drew in over 80 participants from as far afield as Burks Falls and Beaverton. All age groups were well represented. It was great to watch the youngsters taking part, enjoying being outside, in the woods, and obviously keen.

While there were targets set up near the Food Booth, the real action was across the road. Participants worked their way along a trail, with various targets set up. Some of the target lanes came with instant prizes -- Algonquin Highlands Trail Riding stables, for example, was handing out free trail ride vouchers to anyone who scored a bulls-eye at their target. By lunchtime, they'd handed out 22. Evidently the archers had steady hands and good eyes! Other prizes were handed out at the end of the second go-round.

The Friends were pleasantly surprized by the response to this fundraiser. "We'd have been really happy to get 45 people," Anne Marie told me. "To get over 80, that's amazing." Logging Chain Lodge offers an evening of archery every week during the summer to their registered guests, and it is a popular activity at the resort.

Young Max certainly has the knack -- during the lunch break, playing around with the targets, he knocked his own arrow. A true "Robin Hood" manoeuvre!

It was a great way to spend a day. Watching Lorne from Algonquin Archery cut arrows to customized lengths, fletch them, and send them on their way; checking out the high tech bows -- it was all an education for me.

Next year, I'll be out there, armed and dangerous, with more than my camera! Congratulations to all those involved. Great idea, and great response.

Give Peace a Chance

I love the internet... Risha Yorke is my "friend on Facebook." Yoko Ono is one of Risha's "friends." Which is very fitting, because Risha is a playwright, and her latest offering, through her company draft89 is the John/Yoko Bed Piece, about to open in Toronto.

Here's an excerpt from the press release:
"draft89 is thrilled to present John/Yoko Bed Piece by up and coming writer and director Risha Yorke. Based on John Lennon and Yoko Ono’s 1969 week long Bed-In for Peace for Peace in Montreal, this multi-disciplinary piece opens Wednesday, May 20, 2009 at the Theatre Centre.

John/Yoko Bed Piece takes the audience on psychedelic trip back to Montreal and rooms 1738 and 1742 at the Queen Elizabeth Hotel, where John Lennon and Yoko Ono held their historic Bed-In for Peace. Focusing on the political atmosphere of the time, the play features characters based on personalities such as Al Capp, Dick Gregory, Timothy Leary, Bobby Seale, Tommy Smothers, and Derek Taylor. Above all, John/Yoko Bed Piece is about two people using non-violent ways to protest wars and promote peace.

In keeping with draft89’s mandate to collaborate with artists in a variety of mediums, John/Yoko Bed Piece is an installation piece, which combines performance, film, music and visual arts. Part of the proceeds of the show will go towards Yoko Ono’s Dream Power Project.

Writer and Director Risha Yorke leads a cast of 20 plus actors in this ground breaking performance that follows draft89’s acclaimed 2007 production of FOE. With original music composed by Graham Porter and set and costume designs by Samantha Brown, John/Yoko Bed Piece is not to be missed!"

Pretty much sums it up, we figure. If you're in Toronto, you might like to check it out. We'd say if you are old enough to remember the Bed In for Peace, you should definitely be there... but some who might be old enough, might not have a clear memory of that period of their lives... In which case, you should most definitely be at this production.

And if you are too young to have any memory of this event, well... you truly should be at this show, just to find out what you missed. Those were the days!!!