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
John was demonstrating some of the training exercises he's going through right now with the Team Trainer. No, it's not just so he's fit enough to outrun the bear during a late night game of Manhunt... He's got fingers crossed that he'll make the cut for the Huntsville Otters, the local OJHL team. That would be a big deal...actually, that would be a huge deal, because the slots on this team are hotly contested. We're pulling for him...
All the same, being able to take out the bear during Manhunt, well, that would be a big deal too...
Oh the Slithergardee has come out of the sea... He may catch all the others, but he won't catch me! No, you won't catch me, you old Slithergardee... You may catch all the others, but you won't (chomp)
Good thing this chap didn't show up on Thursday when we had eleven swimmers on the Island swim, and a host of support boats!
Mermaids, forts, and monsters all suddenly appeared on the beach... with a little assistance from Bre, Zach, Bryce, Hugh, Eamon, Sasha and no doubt a few others. I'd name Lloyd, but he tells me that while he started one, the kids soon shifted him off to one side, so he settled into a deck chair and just let them get on.
We always emphasize that the Marathon Swim is NOT a race, that people should swim at their own pace. Jane, in one of the support canoes, commented that her brother can 'swim forever' -- All the same, we're wondering if the sea monster had put in an appearance, would any of the swimmers have picked up the pace???
The M.N.R. have issued an official Bear Alert for all of this area, which means exactly that -- people should be alert. We have bears in the area.
This one was trying to get up to a bird feeder at the Oxtongue Craft Cabin. Good idea to stop feeding the birds just now, because it does attract bears and that's not a great plan. This feeder was already empty, but the bear was still hopeful. The Oxtongue Craft Cabin is a fabulous place to drop by. You can strike off all your Christmas shopping, any wedding or anniversary or special occasion gifts all in one place. Jim's got a wonderful selection of area artisans and artists that ensures you'll find items here that you won't find in every craft shop across the country, and that is special. There is even a line of jewellery that is unique to the Craft Cabin.
The bear trotted across the road in front of my car as I drove past the Craft Cabin this week. He's not as big as the bear Bryce and Zach captured on film here at Bondi -- a slightly shaky video (we can excuse the photographer, who was a bit excited at the time!)
Our bear left his calling card, and then took the supposedly bear-proof dumpster, rolled it on its side, and pried the corner of the lid up with his teeth. If CSI Dwight ever needs his dental records, we've got 'em.
We've handed out information on Bear Awareness, What to Do and how not to attract one, and we've fixed the dumpster so it is even more bear-proof (we think). He didn't come back last night, and if he does return, he won't find anything -- we are in serious Garbage Lock Down Mode!
Anyway, he's got over 300 hectares of our wilderness area to go off in, hunting down mushrooms, and berries, and things bears are SUPPOSED to eat!
A loon joined us this morning to supervise the official measuring of the Clams. The ducks had done good work, however -- the course was undisturbed and all clams were present and accounted for. With Brian away jet-boating in Niagara, Fred added to his engineer's degree with certification in Clamology, gradually taking over the measuring task.
And the winner? The very small, sleek and trim clam Mussel Man, Charles' entry. This young man was delighted with the showing of his first ever racing Clam. A credible distance, too, at 6'!
And in second? Well... now... For several years now the Muskoka Music Men have come to the Clam Race, quite literally through the worst the weather could throw. They've sung through high winds, torrential downpours and power outages (not necessarily all at once, but sometimes the fates collided) This year, for the first time, their entry, Wild Racing Clam, scooted off the start line and made a serious run for the roses. At 5'9 it was good enough for the Silver Medal position.
We give the credit to Roy, who lovingly held the clam up to the microphone for the quartet to serenade before it went to the start line. (We think we saw the Clam lip-synching...) Whatever, the music must have inspired this clam to great effort.
In third place was Clammarama Ding Dong, closely followed by the Dutch entry, Clambrandt.
46 Clams ran. Some of our favourite names? Percy Bisque Shelley. Coquille Monster. Hippopus Hippopus (which means Bear Claw Clam)(in Latin)(you knew that), Claminigans, Hanna MontClamma... People are so creative!
Now it's all up to Jim, at Treasures and Trophies, to get the medals engraved. (We can't give him much notice, and he does just a wonderful job for us -- probably missing his dinner to get the awards done, for which we thank him!)
It was very hands-on this year, since Brian, Dave and Mike were away jet boating at Niagara, but we had plenty of experienced help getting clams to the start line. Ben Boivin represented the District of Muskoka. Kerri MacDonald came as our token papparazzi. And the Muskoka Music Men, in the quartet form of Ken, Mans, Roy and Bob showed up in fine voice to entertain. This was the first year the weather was really wonderful for this quartet -- god bless 'em, they've sung for us through hurricane winds, torrential storms that shut off the lights, and scattered showers. Undaunted, and always in tune, they truly help make this a great occasion.
This year, they are racing "My Wild Racing Clam", in the #38 Post Position.
Everybody gets into the act, with almost 50 Clams coming to the start for our 25th Anniversary Race. Achmed the cat has an entry... a wild card, 'Leader of IsClam'
The grand finale is tomorrow morning, 8.30, just before we hit the lake for the Marathon Swim.
It's been good news and bad news for Squeegee the pony this week.
The bad news was that a bear came down to the dumpster who was almost twice the pony's size! Pony is kept in a very safe place, but he was still not impressed with the news bulletin. He expects better from his staff... Good news -- he had lots of little people to brush him and feed him carrots and apples. He got so much attention he thought for a while there that his coat would all get brushed away... but all it did was shine up like a new penny instead. He even got to wear a fancy hair scrunchy in his forelock. He did gently suggest however, that while he is very careful with his feet, sandals might not be the best footwear for his freinds.
And once he'd got Dave trained about how to lead him, Squeegee was more than happy to take the whole gang along...
Chanterelle mushrooms are among the most highly prized of all the mushrooms. Known to the Italians as Girolle, and in German as Pfifferling, they are known to Fred as his Favourite Mushroom, and he knows how to recognize them... has the patience to track them down... and jealously guards his knowledge.
I had to be sworn to secrecy after taking this photo of them growing in the wild. They only grow in the wild. All efforts to cultivate them have been less than successful.
It is imperative that anyone collecting wild mushrooms educate themselves, and be sure that the mushroom you have is indeed the mushroom you think it is.
Chanterelles have thick stalks, with flutes on the underside, and a delightfully apricot scent to them.
Fred also harvested some Bolette -- both King Bolete and Birch Bolete. These are also popular with mushroom hunters. The Italians call them Porcini mushrooms, because you have to get to them before the pigs find them. The pigs like them even more than you do. Boletes are different from other mushrooms, with pores rather than gills on the underside of the cap. Spores are released by the thousands from the inner walls of hundreds of tiny round tubes, making up the lower cap surface. This spore-bearing area resembles and acts like a sponge. They look like small hamburger buns, to be unromantic about the whole thing. Avoid any that have red spores on the underside, however. And be sure you've got someone along who -- like Fred our resident Hunter/Gatherer KNOWS mushrooms.
Our second pair of nesting barn swallows now have their nestlings -- FIVE hungry mouths to fill! The swallows are hunting hard, storming through the stable in a figure eight flight pattern that is as fast and intricate as anything the Snowbirds perform.
On some of her passes by, the swallow just about cuts you off at the knees, so low and so fast is she travelling!
The first pair have their babies out flying, learning how to catch their own mosquitoes and insects. When everybody comes back into the barn, it's a happy, noisy place.
Until the cats show up -- there is a very distinct swallow word for CAT!!!!!! which cannot be translated in a family friendly forum. The adult birds practically strike the cat with their wings as they swoop and dive to drive them away.
Above them, crowding in the nest, with their beautiful yellow beaks held wide, our nestlings look like they are about to burst into a Broadway musical production of The Sound of Music.
Shelley, who scoops up all our seed spitting data each summer and sweeps it off to use in her Statistics Course at University, ran a little experiment at the Wiener Roast...
What flies farther? A watermelon seed, or a popcorn kernel?
Since genetics took most of the seeds out of the watermelon, for convenience sake, thereby depriving countless children the classic opportunity to spit the seeds, we've been struggling with keeping tradition alive. We tried other seeds, but all failed the criteria... popcorn kernels finally made the cut, being clean, easily available and rarely allergenic.
True aficionados seek distance from a seed...
So Shelley spat three watermelon seeds, three popcorn kernels. A controlled experiment, as Science would demand -- same mouth, same wind direction and weather conditions, etc. etc.
And the result? Well, that would be telling... but since that's what we're here for: Watermelon seed: 21'7" Popcorn kernel: 19'8
Back in May, we enjoyed a close encounter with Mama Snapping Turtle, en route to dig her nest and lay her eggs. She was just the vanguard of the snapping turtle expeditionary forces seeking soft places to dig their nests. The fruits of those labours -- so to speak -- showed up at the Wiener Roast on Tuesday. No, calm down... we weren't serving up Turtle Soup!!! Far from it!
The Martin/Suits Collective found a tiny baby snapping turtle working his way across the hill above the cookout beach. Glad to be saved the long walk, he hitch-hiked down with the family, and was much admired by all at the beach.
After we'd all made our introductions to young Wilberforce the Snapping Turtle, explaining about how old and unchanged these turtles are (they date back to the dinosaurs, but are FAR more fun than a T-Rex), how cars are one of their greatest 'predators', and how their sex is determined by the temperature in the nest. Given it's been a cool start to the summer, we're guessing he's a young male turtle.
The mortality rate is huge for these little guys. Up to 40 eggs are laid by the female, who then just goes away and does whatever adult turtles do. About 100 days later, the tiny turtles chip their way out of the egg, using a little knob on their beaks, and try to figure out the shortest path to water. On the way, they need to dodge lots of other animals that would like to add turtle soup to their own menu: crows, hawks, herons, bullfrogs, large fish and snakes.
We released Wilberforce into the security of the stand of bullrushes and cattails at the water's edge, giving him the best shot we could, and wishing him lots of luck.
Turtle Fact: When the turtle catches a cold it floats at an angle and cannot dive!
Why? In the turtle, because the ribs are fused to the carapace, the lungs cannot be expanded by rib muscles. Instead, turtles have special paired lung muscles, attached to a "diaphragm", which force the air out of the lungs when they contract. In the relaxed state, the lungs of turtles - in contrast to other animals - are maximally filled with air. Turtles can shift air from one lung to another, thereby displacing their centre of gravity at will, so that the lungs act like the swim bladder of a fish. When the lung is diseased, this ability is impaired.
It isn't whether you win or lose... oh, wait, yes it is... this is Paintball we're talking here...
Despite coming home with some bruises, and a slightly sketchy record of wins and losses, TEAM BONDI had a rockin' day at MJD Paintball last week.
Located on the airstrip at Deerhurst Resort, this course is rapidly developing into quite the scene for the Paintball team. You can drop in for a game, mix-and-match team members, and find a scenario for everyone from the timid newbie to the seasoned commando.
Rob, Alex, Kyle, Scott, Mark, Laura, Mike, Shahira and Dave had a blast, upheld TEAM BONDI's honour. Won a game... and most certainly looked the part.
Fred always arrives armed with sheets of paper from Heavens Above detailing when and where we can have the chance to see both Iridium Flares and the International Space Station overhead.
Iridium Flares are produced by the sun reflecting off the panels of the Iridium Communications Satellites. No, they are not made of iridium, but take their name from the company that makes them, much as the Saturn rocket had little to do with Saturn. When the sun hits them just right, if you are in just the right place, and your timing is just right -- this is, after all one of those events that require rocket science to produce and so demands precision from its followers -- you will get to see one of these phenomena.
We gathered on the lawn, in the dark, at the ready with Fred's co-ordinates and times, we argued over what 51 degrees would really look like without a protractor, and Stuart started the countdown when the minute hand hit 12... For many of our group, this was their first glimpse of one of these flares. Doubt was tangible.
But not for Fred, who knows about these things... Bang on the appointed time, and heaven knows bang at the appointed elevation (so THAT's 51 degrees!) there was the most amazing point of light, starting small, then opening up into by far the brightest object up there. Way brighter than Venus, or Jupiter... we're talking BRIGHT!
It is exactly as described -- a flare. They don't last long. It's essentially like catching the sun's rays with a mirror to send a signal, one bright flash.
Worth staying up late to see, however. Definitely. It certainly made believers out of us!
Late in the day, the intrepid BBQ BARGE was ceremoniously carried to the lake for her first Sea Trial. This is the Huck Finn creation of Mike and Dave, patched together from an old catamaran with leaky pontoons. The leaky pontoon issue was addressed by lovingly filling the pontoons with empty plastic bottles. The rotted fabric was replaced with manly planks of wood, sufficient to support the planned BBQ and lawn chairs. Bets were taken over whether she'd be a SINKER or a FLOATER when she took to the water... so there was a bit of a crowd on hand at the main dock for the maiden voyage. And SHE FLOATS! Well, low in the water, with the pontoons awash, but floating all the same, with the BBQ deck high and dry. Seems there were some issues with the rudder system, (which Brian did his best to master) and there are design specs still to be completed, so stay tuned, but we are drawing closer to the dream of Dave and Mike, floating in mid-bay, kickin' back, flipping burgers... And -- enterprising as they are -- probably selling them to passing boaters. Perhaps the Lake version of a hot-dog cart?
Maddelin got taken for her first bike ride, along with her buddy Nico. John and Garth provided the pedal power, and away they went across the lawns.
It seemed like such an excellent idea, until it was discovered that Maddelin enjoyed it so much she wouldn't get out. The drivers changed... and changed again... and still she was cruisin', a smile a mile wide, with both Bina and Garth beginning to look like they could use a tiny rest!
Our blog didn't permit the comment to be logged on, so these guests sent us an email instead, and we're delighted to add it to the Posts We, too, are waiting for their arrival, with smiles.
The Heron/Suits Collective is breathlessly looking forward to our second year at Bondi. Our girls Naedine, Alex and Breanna will be joined by their cousin Madison this year. Thanks for blogging us into Bondi current events. We look forward to seeing all of you soon. We hope the girls can help Nancy collect eggs again this year so we can eat them for breakfast. Take care and see you this Saturday. WooooHoooo
Brooke and Samantha love the chickens, especially the quiet, older chicken. They didn't want her to be uncomfortable in the rain, so the girls got their umbrella, and made sure Quiet the Chicken wasn't as mad as a wet hen.
Shahira has swum competitively for eleven years, and in her family's travels has represented Saudi nationally, Belgium and England at her school levels. All that was merely prelude... This fall, she's tackling Queen's University, and angling for a spot on the swim team.
Her father gently reminds us of this fact every time we chat. Phrases like "training program" and "be sure she keeps working at her swimming" keep popping up.
Sam has nothing to fear. Even in the rain this morning the Marathon Swim left the dock. Because of the weather, we stayed within the bay, swimming to the Point and back. Twice for those who wanted more distance (that's 2 km) Shahira had no choice, she had to go the distance... And go is the operative word. A medley of strokes were on display, breast stroke, crawl and -- the one she's been trying to teach to David (who can now do 6 in a row before sinking), BUTTERFLY! (that's her, right in the middle of that beautiful splash!)
Nor did the rain deter the folks who came out to be support boats -- Kyle, making a definite fashion statement in a garbage bag with matching lifejacket, stayed on point with Shahira the whole distance, and she made sure he had to keep paddling!
While Nancy was struggling with knowledge gap at the Trivia Night, Brian and Carol were kicked back at the SOLD OUT concert at the Algonquin Theatre in Huntsville.
On stage? Natalie MacMaster, and her husband Donnel Leahy. Oh... and we should mention it was the debut performance of their three year old daughter on stage as well.
And what a performance they gave. Brian is still shaking his head over the fiddle performances, particularly when Donnell Leahy gets into high gear. With the light behind him, you could see smoke coming off the bow... strings breaking and flapping about. From time to time he'd pause to snap those broken strings away before diving right back in.
Natalie is always a joy as an entertainer, and there is something completely endearing about the fact that she would occasionally leave the stage to care for their new baby.
Between them, this couple has two children and fifteen fiddles. We're told there is a story behind each one of them.
If you've been living out past Jupiter lately, and have not been privileged to listen to their music, be sure to drop by both Natalie's website, and the Leahy family site, and give a little listen.
I am told that as a general rule 90% of the fish are in 10% of the lake, and 90% of the fishermen are in the other part...
That didn't damp the enthusiasm when Ben took his grandson Ethan out in the rowboat to try their luck along the far shore. Perhaps the other corner of the bay, with more lily pads and cat tails would have been the water of choice, or perhaps the fish were -- like Stuart -- just floating and chilling out on this spectacular summer day. Either way, even when the fishing is better than the catching, time spent with your grandson fishing is better than time spent just about any other way we can imagine.
The dip of the oars into the still waters, the sun sparkling on the surface, the worms -- and putting them on the hook by yourself, the chance (always that hopeful excitement) that there MIGHT be a big one down there, just under the boat, where the lake bottom suddenly drops into deep water...
Bondi had two teams at the Dwight Library Trivia Night fundraiser. Pizza, popcorn, unanswerable questions... it's all good!
We knew some, we guessed some, and some (what DO you call a baby cod?) we just let float right by us.
One team finished 5th, one finished 3rd, just a few points ahead. Competition in the five round competition was fierce.
This year, the coveted Cup went to a new team, beating back the powerhouse MasterMinds who have 'owned' Trivia night for the past few years. Congratulations to the 2009 winners, the Mint Patties, from Sunset Bay, Lake of Bays. They proved a formidable force, and we'll all need to pull up our socks to take them on next summer!
These are the folks who actually knew what 'google' meant; were confident in naming Shakespeare's first play; scoffed at how long it takes blood to circulate in the human body; what does M&M stand for; and knew what you call a collection of owls (a parliament - we got that one!!!).
It's a great evening out, lots of fun, with 6 players to a team, so plenty of opportunity to confer, disagree, scribble down an answer with fingers crossed. While there may be the occasional disagreement on the answers -- for example, is it true that eagles mate in flight, or in the back of a classic corvette? -- but it's all in fun, and good spirits, and it goes toward the library. Could there be a better cause?
Great job, Ron, Peggy and all the Friends of the Library for putting on such an excellent evening. Three cheers for the Bondi Trivialities, and the Bondi Google-ites (who, yes, did know the meaning of the word google)
And kudos to the Mint Patties. Enjoy the trophy. We're coming after it next summer...
The weather has not always be conducive to getting the Piper Cub airborne so far this summer, but Brian finally found a window of opportunity this week. And a passenger!
Shahira jumped at the chance to be our Spy in the Sky, equipped with Brian's camera. The plane is Piper PA-11 float plane, a classic of the northern Canadian wilderness. They were built in the late 1940's, replacing the Piper J-3 (we had one of those, not much larger than a dragonfly, but the most delightful little plane) Only 1500 PA-11s were produced before Piper moved on to the larger, faster SuperCub.
The colour is known as Cub Yellow, and it, too is a classic. But then, Shahira deserves to fly in the best planes in the sky!! And Brian is happy with any excuse to get airborne.
Last November, one of the fawns who grew up on Bondi's lawn was left an orphan. Mom got swiped by a car near the Firehall. Nancy and her friend Sue were the next car in line, bearing witness to the event. The car was fine. The doe, not so good. And the fawn stood on the shoulder of the road, waiting for Mom to get up.
Enough to break your heart. There are a lot of deer in this area -- one of our guests, Jason, counted 30 while biking this week, just on one ride! It's a huge reminder to the folks that are in such a hurry to get to their cottages to SLOW DOWN. These are country roads, and deer (despite everything we do to educate them) don't look both ways. Hitting wildlife with a car is no joke, for either party. They move fast, and once they commit, they often don't or can't change their direction, and -- regretably -- they don't understand trajectory and velocity when it comes to cars.
The orphan showed up at the stable a day later, looking little, and lost. She stole the chicken feed, and she came into the paddock to eat the horses' hay. They didn't seem to mind, so she stayed, and hung out with the horses all winter. She'd be found in the morning, curled up in the round bale of hay, sound asleep.
She's made some deer friends now, and is hanging out mostly with the mother of the single fawn. She still shows up at the stable every day. And she traverses the lawn, chatting up our guests.
Manon sent us this charming photo of little 'Sweetie' by her cottage last week, enjoying the after-taste of a slice of apple.
Once upon a time, not so long ago, Paul Tapley would go to Huntsville by lake steamer. The trip began with getting over to Thompson's Portage, near Haystack Bay Marina now. You could go by rowboat, or on foot. Once there, you crossed to the Dwight Bay side of the Portage, and ran up the flag on Clinton's Dock. As the Steamship passed in the main bay, she'd see the flag, and toot the whistle. On her return pass, she'd come into the narrow bay, and collect passengers. Cows, Paul used to point out, had to ride on the deck. Passengers had it softer -- they could go inside, out of the rain, listen to the piano (or play it, as my grandfather enjoyed doing), have a cup of tea, maybe a sandwich... Rain or shine, it was a fabulous, restful and highly civilized way to travel.
When the steamer arrived at the South Portage terminal of the Portage Flyer Railway, it was everybody off the boat... onto the train... and then one short mile later... onto the waiting steamship S.S. Algonquin to complete the trip into town. More tea. Another sandwich. Watch the shore go by, pass through the Canal... Now we drive, and it's all kind of hectic. But... you CAN go back again. At least briefly.
Sunday Nancy got to go on the Royal Mail Ship SEGWUN, the last of the original steamers still plying Muskoka's waters. Built in 1887, and starting her life as a paddlewheeler, the Segwun will take you on a variety of cruises around the South Muskoka lakes.
Nancy can highly recommend the dinner cruise, from 6.30 to 9.30, watching the sun set on Lake Muskoka while enjoying an excellent meal and the beautiful backdrop of the old steamship. Easy to see why this ship, and her sister vessel The Wenonah were voted Ontario's best large outdoor attraction.
Don't think the kids would be interested in a dinner cruise? Well, on Sunday's, The Pirate Captain Corbin takes the Wenonah... and cordially invites pirates of all ages on board.
And you never know who you'll meet on board! Lou-Ann and Bratislav cottage just down Fox Point Road, past Bondi. Having dropped the kids at camp, they were enjoying a little 'together' time before heading back to the city.
Vic scanned the shoreline for his friend's cottage, and Nancy found herself in deep conversation with Jamie, who usually vacations at Nor'Loch Lodge! And no cruise on Muskoka Lake could be complete without the obligatory appearance of one of the classic wooden boats that wrote their own histories on these waters.
And the sun? Well, yes, indeed, it most obligingly set, putting on quite a display. And Captain Phil set that boat back at the dock with less commotion than it takes us to get the canoes out for the Marathon Swim!
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...