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.

Monday, May 31, 2010

There is no DIS in ABIILITY

Sunday I was able to sneak away to WindReach farm, near Whitby, to watch the musical freestyle portion of the International Paralympic Equestrian event. This was a CPEDI*... a lot of letters that signify it is an international competition, and a qualifying event for the World Equestrian Games coming up in September.

Sandy Mitchell, owner of WindReach, is an inspiration. He is seen here schooling with his own horse, Guinness Maskell. While struggling with a disability, he is in no way Handicapped -- and he has developed two WindReach farms to enrich the lives of people with disabilities of all kinds. One is in his native Bermuda, the other is here, just outside Whitby. Sandy has been very focused on this competition, held at his own farm, with the big goal of getting a qualifying score so he can ride at the WEGs. Delighted to report: Mission Accomplished, on both his horses.

I spent five years as National Coach of the Paralympic Team, and am still involved in coaching clinics with riders. And this event brought in folks from overseas, people I haven't seen in a couple of years, who were working on the event as officials or coaches, so it was a great little chance to reconnect.

Canada has a depth of talent in our Paralympic riders, and quite a bit of it was on display this weekend.
Lauren Barwick (who's wheelchair I slugged around in Portugal through ankle deep mud!!!) won both Silver and Gold medals in Beijing. She has matured into the most confident, graceful young lady, and she rides as well as you would expect a gold medalist to ride. She had her Beijing partner, Maile, along, as well as a younger horse. Lauren was disabled after a 100 lb. hay bale toppled off a pile and hit her in the back. The injury was both immediate and irreversible. But if you think being confined to a wheelchair slows her down, guess again. Not only was she riding two horses at this Qualifier, she drives the big horse-trailer rig herself -- fitted out with hand controls -- and when they are done in Ontario, she'll be heading to Colorado... She works with Pat Parelli, and tells me that she has an office with a window and a desk waiting for her at the Colorado ranch.

Here's a close up of some of the adaptive equipment she needs on her saddle -- the velcro straps and knee rolls prevent her leg from flopping and damaging the joints. The high cantle supports her lower back. The handle, well, that's there for emergencies!

These athletes truly define sport -- the obstacles they overcome on a daily basis and the dedication they bring to the competition - that is inspiring,

Riders at the Paralympics are graded by International Classifiers, with Physio backgrounds, following a very technical procedure. They are placed into one of 4 categories, with Grade IV being the most abled. Grade I and Grade II, for example, ride at the walk, and the trot -- but don't let that fool you into thinking they are riding walk and trot the way a novice rider rides it. Lauren is a Grade II, and if you take a look at her video from Sunday, you'll see how high the standard is!

It was wonderful to reconnect with my friend Mary Longden. She jets between Australia and the rest of the world, and quite literally wrote the book, on Riding for the Disabled, in her book Coach with Courage. Now she's got a set of three DVD's, Ride Towards Excellence, so of course, we had to have those! She posed with Valentine and the DVD's...
Congratulations to WindReach, for hosting the venue for this competition, and to all the people who worked so hard to make it happen. Great weather, and fantastic competition, made for an outstanding show. On the Worlds for those lucky selected riders, and another international competition under the belts of those up and coming riders hoping to go the Paralympics in London in 2014! Ride Strong.

Spinning the Lakes

Sunday morning saw a lot of bike traffic. The annual Spin the Lakes Bike Tour, hosted by the Muskoka Cycling Club, draws over 200 people to tackle three different distances.
That offers something for everyone, including families.
I snapped these "drive by" shootings of some of the participants near Grandview Delta on my way south on Sunday. There were plenty of bikes on the roads -- and plenty of signs advising people that Spin the Lakes was taking place, and drivers needed to remember to Share the Road.
Not a race, it is a tour, so a more relaxed occasion, and it runs around Lake of Bays. Just one more great reason to be here!

Seahorses in the Lake of Bays

The weather has been incredible. The lake is 23 degrees.

So after the horses schooled Saturday, it just seemed like a great idea to let them cool off their legs by splashing in the lake.

Luckily, with 2000' of waterfront, we have a couple of spots where we can take the horses that are well away from any swimmers.

Oakley had never met a lake. He had no idea he was a Seahorse... but with a little bit of a lead from Bailey and Sache, he was willing to give it a try. And loved it! He particularly the part where he discovered he could splash hard enough to get his rider wet. Not that Steph seemed to mind!

Sache preferred to pretend he was a submarine. Perhaps he's been hearing the rumours of a submarine patrolling Pen Lake during the G8.

And Marianne, who played with Squeegee, reported that she hasn't enjoyed a ride that much in 30 years!

Squeegee reported that he had a wonderful time being bathed, so he didn't mind not getting to go for a wade in the lake with the big horses.

Keeping the FUN in Fundraising

The Baysville Library held it's Silent Auction and Fundraising dinner Saturday evening.
The Friends of the Library did a wonderful job of decorating, in a Hawaiian theme -- from the eensy beensy pokadot bikinis and grass skirts on the walls, to the orchid and sandal centerpieces, and the welcome at the door with the flower leias, the upstairs of the Community Centre was transformed.
Dinner was catered by Chef Randy and his team from Tall Trees, so how can you go wrong? And the entire evening was MC'd by Roger Abbot, of Air Farce fame. Again, how could you go wrong? Roger was a delight, and as it turns out, he is a slap dab auctioneer as well... The live auction featured such goodies as a day at the new Lake of Bays Brewery, being Brewmaster for a Day; a catered dinner for 8 at your cottage; a basket of treats and VIP tickets from Air Farce... Tremendously generous sponsors ensured that there were almost endless door prizes and two huge tables of silent auction items.
But in truth, we don't go for the goodies -- although I am not considered safe at any auction -- we go for the camaraderie, and to support our Libraries.
So here's to good fun, good friends, good food, and great books... And to (who knows???) maybe being able to lure Roger to the Bondi Clam Race this summer. Would that be fun? Ya got that right!!! Oh Yah!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Blue for Sky, and Sunshine

Strange noises emanating from the field across the road for the past few days indicated that the solar panels were being installed.
They aren't black -- which is what I had pictured in my mind. They are blue, and rather prettily patterned. Who knew?
They are still extremely Star Trek, very very "Calling the Mother Ship".
And they are soon to be connected to the grid. There has certainly been no shortage of sunshine to welcome them.
And they are most definitely something that our parents and grandparents would never have expected to see growing on top of the hill, where once sheep grazed and peas grew...
The times, they are a changing.

Fam Tours and Summer Stays

Kate, from the Huntsville/Lake of Bays Chamber of Commerce, dropped by today. With her, she brought the bright minds and smiling faces who will be staffing the Chamber Tourism offices this summer.
These are the front line -- the ones who get to field all the questions, from "where are the washrooms?" to "where's a good place to stay?"
To ensure they have a good understanding of what is in the area, the Chamber ensures that the students all undertake these "Fam Tours", and Achmed had a lovely time escorting them about the property. He even got a little snuggle from Kate!
We got a photo of them down by our main dock. with Brian. As Kate pointed out, there's no other resort that has such an extensive waterfont area as Bondi, so we wanted to be sure they got a good look at it -- all 2000' of it!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Call Wading

Those new phones... they've thought of almost everything!

Here's Brian, using the Call Wading app...
It was another gloriously record breaking heatwave day today. On the news they said the only day hotter than this on the same date happened way back in 1944. Can't say any of us remember that, but there's no argument that today was a hot one.
That heat is bad news for the blackflies, who had their little hearts set on chomping down on the world leaders here for the G8. A few weeks of hot dry weather usually puts the brakes on them. In the woods, they are fierce and hungry, but as soon as you get out in the open, especially where there is a breeze, they are hardly noticeable. We've been outside all week working on a variety of tasks that would normally leave us open to the predations of the blackflies. Lawns and gardens, putting screen windows on the stable, standing in the sand ring coaching riders, in the back field with the solar array. So far I have not needed to reach for the fly spray. Mosquitoes come out about 9.10 p.m. (you can almost set your watch by them) and at that time, most of us are heading home to roost, so they've not been a problem here either.
We give a lot of credit to the size of our open space, and the almost constant lake breeze. We know the bugs are biting in the bush!
On the other hand, they are also pollinating the blueberries and raspberries, so it's never all bad.

The lake temperature -- taken with our trusty and ancient Fahrenheit thermometer that has lived in the boathouse since more or less the date of the last temperature record in 1944 -- is 80 degrees. Put in perspective, that is hotter than it was for most of last summer.
Given the air temperature, that felt a little chilly upon first impression, but it is truly glorious. Swimming, May 26th, in 80 degree fresh lake water... Bliss.
You know the lake is warm when you see Carol bobbing about in it. She has a threshold temperature below which she stays on shore.
We were all in the lake today. And the telephones, well, we left them behind. For cooling off and recharging the soul and spirit, lake water is the ticket. None of the phones have an app for that...
If you're considering getting out of the city during this spell of seriously summery spring weather, don't forget we're offering Super Spring Deals. The lake is included in all of 'em...

Grandfather Bear brings a Gift

This is my friend Big John. He lives in Dwight now, but he comes complete with a colourful past. You can sometimes track him down at the Dwight Trading Post, and if you do, be sure to chat with him. He has a wealth of information to share. In this photo, he's wearing a ceremonial ribbon shirt, and carrying a talking stick and the red turtle case holder which contains his two treasured eagle feathers.

At a recent meeting, although Big John wasn't quite so impressively dressed, he was wearing his beads and medicine bag. That lead us into conversation.

That comment was enough for Big John. (a bit like in Olde England, when the Royal family mentioned they liked something, and immediately it was provided... back then, Royals had to be very careful about comments casually made... but I digress...) A few days later, Big John called to tell me he had left a little package for me at the Trading Post.

In that little packet was a beautiful piece of purple agate, and an Ojibway medicine wheel button. Agates are also known as chalcedony -- the name coming from the ancient city of Chalcedon in Asia Minor where it was first used as a gemstone. Here in Ontario, most of our agates come from the northern shores of the Great Lakes.

It wasn't enough for John to gift me with an agate, he felt the urge to educate as well (bless him!) He explains that a Native American medicine bag is a small leather bag or pouch that contains various healing objects. They are often painted or beaded with designs specific for the wearer. This is done to entice or invoke the spirit of the animal, figure or symbol. Big John still works extensively with Native Elders, and provides Healing Circles.

The Indian Name given to Big John by one of his Elders is Mishomis Mukwa, Ojibwa for Grandfather Bear. The Bear is one of his totems and is a protector of the community. John wears a bear totem on his medicine bag with a bear claw given to him by one of his spiritual elders.

What's inside the medicine bag is another story. A medicine bag can contain innumerable objects, as unique as the person wearing it. Many people add their own "medicine" or healing objects. Common medicine bag objects are stones, ash from a ceremony fire, herbs, feathers, or the 4 sacred medicines.

Big John has two eagle feathers given to him from Elders John Pierre and Andy and Geraldine Spruce. (to use in his healing circles work). He had the opportunity to partake in a pre-treatment aboriginal circle in 1997 at the Thunder Bay Correctional Centre. He spent the next two years learning about various native teachings and was honoured for his work. He later created his own aboriginal circle course called Our Way with the Ministry of Correctional Services and worked closely with Reverend Evelyn White Eye. It was on his last course in Thunder Bay that he received his second eagle feather.

This is one of the highest honours that can be bestowed to a native person, so he is quite fortunate to receive this honour.

Many people like their medicine bags very ornate and fancy, but in reality the bag should be downplayed. This is especially true when a medicine bag is made for protection, for instance, protection from jealousy, enemies, negativity, bad spirits, illness and the list goes on and on. You keep it handy, but you don't wave it around or threaten folks with it. It is not meant to be touched or handled by other people.

Chevron beads are special glass beads. The first specimens of this type were created by glass bead makers in Venice and Murano, Italy towards the end of the 15th century. They may also be referred to as rosetta or star beads. The white settlers to North American used these as trading beads with the native people. John tells me he wears his beads mostly for decoration and to encourage questions such as the ones I asked him. See? It works!

The agate improves memory and concentration, increases stamina and encourages honesty. Its psychic associations are to help prevent one from absorbing other’s negativity. In Native teachings, purple represents a healing colour, similar to pink adopted for breast cancer activities.
The medicine wheel button symbolizes a cross within a circle. It is the basis for all teaching wheels. The Power of the Four Directions is implied whenever a wheel or circle is drawn. Since traditional Native American cultures view life as a continuous cycle, life mirrors the cycling of the seasons, the daily rising of the sun, and the phases of the moon. They also hold the view that all things are interrelated. The Medicine Wheel incorporates the Powers of the Four Directions and the interrelatedness of all things.The teachings of the Medicine Wheel were originally explained orally with the circle being drawn in the earth and a gradual overlaying of symbols, as meanings were explained by an elder. The elder would begin with an explanation of the Four Directions and the center of the wheel which represents the Sacred Mystery. Four is a powerful number. The Four Aspects of Human Personality-the physical, mental,emotional, and spiritual; The four Seasons, four Stages of Life-childhood, adolescence, adulthood, and elders; The Races-red, white, black and yellow; The Four Elements-water, air, fire, and earth.
It is an incredibly beautiful concept. I have pinned the button to my Sweetgrass braid. Sweetgrass grows in one of our fields -- the scent of it is magical on an evening breeze.
Thanks Big John, for sharing so much with me!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Pooched and Poured

It's 30 degrees outside, with a lovely soft breeze off the lake. The lake is 23 degrees.... which is as warm as it was last August.

This was among the hottest 24th of May weekends on record, and there is more in the forecast. This weekend would be a good time to get out of town, and spend a weekend at the Lake of Bays. Under the trees by the lakeshore, the temperature drops significantly, and there is nowhere better than the lake in hot weather!

Achmed, in his long fur coat, found the heat a little more than he could deal with... He settled into his tower for a little cat nap, but the heat caused him to pour out like a puddle of fur on the floor... utterly, totally pooched...

If you can say that about a cat...

The Cute Factor

Being cute and friendly will get you a long way in life.

Just as the eastern chipmunk. We have plenty of these little chaps at Bondi. One has set up housekeeping underneath the chicken coop, and can frequently be found sharing their grain ration.

Chippy Chip hangs out at the Office. He waits for Carol to sit down (a relatively rare occurence!) and then makes his move. A few cheery "chip chips" and Carol goes back in the house, to return with his special "stash" of treats. Peanuts are high on the list. So are pine nuts... this is probably the most spoiled chipmunk in history...

Half the fun is watching the intense concentration with which the little chap packs those cheek pouches.

When not a single morsel more can be added, it's off through the garden to the den to store the bounty, before coming back for another little visit and chat.

Even the Canadian Hinterland Who's Who mentions that chipmunks are entertaining to humans... which is a coldly scientific way of acknowledging their charm and cute factor.

They do no harm to houses or crops, and they are a joy to have around. So, let us all raise a peanut to Chippy Chip and his clan.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Spa Day for the Pony

Squeegee has his Game On. Now that his cart has arrived, he's been out with Judy, his person, pretending to be a Smarter than Smart Car.

He looks very dapper in his harness, and is all business with his new set of wheels.

But it's important that it not be all work.

Today was his spa day. Having been thoroughly brushed over the weekend by some of our young guests -- Olivia, Avery and Evan -- until his coat shone and his dapples showed, today Squeeg relaxed in the May 24 sun.

At least until his farrier came. Rodd has an apprentice with him this year, and to Carmen fell the task of giving the pony his pedicure. The pony was very interested in the work, and in Carmen, and the two of them got along splendidly under Rodd's watchful eye. The hoof grows steadily, and every six weeks requires trimming and filing, just like a really big fingernail. Which is in essence what it is.

Since the balance in the foot is crucial -- no foot, no horse -- it is a long process to really understand the job of the farrier. Squeegee isn't wearing shoes: if he starts to work on harder ground that would wear his foot away faster than he can grow it out, he would require the protection of a tiny little pony shoe. The very thought of that makes Rodd cringe -- you can see how low Carmen has to bend to file his toes, and Rodd is a very tall chap.

With his pedicure complete, the pony went into his stall to munch some hay and lounge by the fan... it's a wonderful life.

39, with Experience

Birthdays are a good day to spend with family, so we were absolutely delighted to welcome Corrie and Henry here to celebrate Henry's birthday today.

Birthday wishes flowed across the internet from their family in Holland, and we topped it up with some maple syrup, asparagus and fresh organic eggs. They splurged by taking a dip in the lake. And why not? It is 73 degrees F, plenty warm enough for a swim.

Henry and Corrie have been deeply valued members of the Bondi family for close to forty years. We are deeply honoured that they think of Bondi, and the Tapley family, as part of their very own. We treasure the time they spend with us.

Happy Birthday Henry! Here's to life, and to friends like you!

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Tiger Tiger Burning Bright

William Blake had a different tiger in mind when he penned his immortal words, but it could equally apply to this more delicate tiger currently sipping nectar from the lilacs.

The tiger swallowtail takes it's name from it's tiger-like stripes, and the long forked swallow-like tail, so no surprises there. They overwinter in Canada as pupae, emerging in May. The female will have only one brood. She lays her eggs on poplars, birch trees, apple trees: there is no shortage of host sites in Canada!

Avoiding becoming a bird's breakfast is always high on a butterfly's list of things to do. The caterpillars, bless them, are large green creatures. They do their best to look like a small snake. And, to add to the illusion, they possess a nifty little device, called an Osmeterium. This is located just at the back of the head, and when threatened it comes into action, pushing out a ‘Y’ shaped organ that resembles a snake’s tongue.

What it is really is a fleshy glandular sac, orange colored and when extended measures about quarter of an inch. It unloads some nasty smelling substances, and usually the predator backs off at that stage. The organ is unique to Swallow Tails.

From snake to tiger, the metamorphosis of this butterfly is truly amazing. Had Blake known about these astonishing Swallowtail butterflies, perhaps he would have dedicated his poem to them.

TIGER, tiger, burning bright
In the forests of the night,
What immortal hand or eye
Could frame thy fearful symmetry?

In what distant deeps or skies
Burnt the fire of thine eyes?
On what wings dare he aspire?
What the hand dare seize the fire?

And what shoulder and what art
Could twist the sinews of thy heart?
And when thy heart began to beat,
What dread hand and what dread feet?

What the hammer? what the chain?
In what furnace was thy brain?
What the anvil? What dread grasp
Dare its deadly terrors clasp?

When the stars threw down their spears,
And water'd heaven with their tears,
Did He smile His work to see?
Did He who made the lamb make thee?

Tiger, tiger, burning bright
In the forests of the night,
What immortal hand or eye
Dare frame thy fearful symmetry?

Face to Face with the Past

They've been around since the dinosaurs stomped through the primordial swamps. And they have pretty much remained as they began. When you look into the eyes of a snapping turtle (something that is not so easy to do, actually) you are looking into a time machine.
When David found this little chap hanging out near one of the woodpiles, he did the neighbourly thing: he scooped the little guy up and transported him to the lake. The snapper was very grateful. These turtles are happiest in freshwater lakes, and the corners of our bays are ideal for them. They like the cat-tails and bullrushes, and the muddy bottom of the lake in those areas.
As their Latin name suggests -- Chelydra serpentina -- snapping turtles can strike like a snake. They are unique in that aspect among turtles. They will defend themselves by striking viciously and they are so fast it's hard to see them coming, so it is best to give them their space. An adult snapper can weight up to 40 pounds and be about 14" long in their rough carapace.
But, we hasten to add, you have to aggravate them first. Turtles do not lie in wait in the trees planning to jump on you. People are not their first choice of a meal -- and while they are savage and efficient hunters, when in the water, they are quite unaggressive towards people and will usually just slip away from you.
On land, however, where they feel vulnerable, they can be quite fierce. It is best to give them their space. Often at this time of year you will see females on the edge of the road, digging their nests into the soft gravel shoulders. Don't ever mess with a female about to lay her eggs! But do take care -- car kills are the leading cause of death among these ancient and amazing creatures, and have been extensive enough to put them on the endangered list. Turtles don't move all that fast -- you should be able to avoid them while driving. Really...
David wisely wore gloves to handle this fellow. Even a small snapper like this can give you a nasty bite if you are foolish enough to stick a finger in his beak. It's a good chance to see their fat fleshy tail, their five clawed feet and that signature sharp beaked face, however!
He - or she? - is back in the lake now, and we wish our snapping turtle well. Even though, no doubt, later in the year we will be heartbroken when one of the wild ducklings vanishes, yanked down from beneath the water by a snapping turtle. Everybody has to eat. Every species has a place. We have to let Nature work. Fluffy ducklings score high on the Cute Factor, but take another look at the face of this snapping turtle. The species has survived for some 230 million years. you have to respect that, too.

White Woods and Science

Come spring, the woods transform into a carpet of wildflowers. Tiny star shaped May flowers, little purple wood violets, the yellow of adder's tongue.

And trilliums. Being in Ontario, we're particularly fond of the Trillium, which is our Provincial flower.

The blooming time is brief -- limited to the month of May -- but while they are out, the woods turn white - and pink, and red - with their signature 3-petals.

We've all heard the admonishment, 'don't pick the trilliums.' Don't dig them up, either. Enjoy them where they belong instead. These plants are more vulnerable than people might imagine. They do not transplant well, often dying in the process. They take 5 to 7 years to grow enough to begin seed production. They are not cultivated in nurseries -- any you see for sale have been harvested in the wild, causing habitat destruction and putting pressure on the species. So it is best to just let them be.

They possess a number of unique features. One example is that these are plants whose seeds are spread through myrmecochory, or ant-mediated dispersal, which is effective in increasing the plant's ability to outcross, but ineffective in bringing the plant very far. As you can imagine, ants don't drag seeds over mountain ranges as a general rule. Yellow-jacket wasps and harvestmen spiders (which are better known as Daddy Long-legs, and aren't true spiders) also help with the seed dispersal of the trillium. Again, this is a short-haul system of transportation. Which led ecologists to question how it and similar plants were able to survive glaciation events during, oh, say an ice age.

And that is where deer enter the picture. For better, or for worse. The height of the trilliums is an effective index of how intense foraging by deer is in a particular area. Deer love the taste of trilliums. Given a choice, they will select a trillium over any other available browse. Which is perhaps not great news if you are a trillium quietly blooming in a secluded patch of forest. In the course of normal browsing, deer munch up the larger flowers, leaving shorter ones behind. Scientists, who are a crafty bunch, use this information to assess deer density and its effect on understory growth in general.

When foraging intensity increases, individuals become shorter each growing season due to the reduction in energy reserves from less photosynthetic production. One study determined that the ideal deer density, based on trilliums (T. grandiflorum in the study, which leans towards the Latin names) as an indicator of overall understory health, is 4 to 6 animals per square kilometer. This is based on a 12 to 14 cm stem height as an acceptable healthy height.

In practice, deer densities as high as 30 deer per square kilometers are known to occur in restricted or fractured habitat where natural control mechanisms such as wolves and other predators are lacking. Such densities, if maintained over more than a few years, can be very damaging to the understory and lead to extinction of some local understory plant populations.

Now, riding the horses last fall, it wasn't unusual to spot up to 24 deer in a one hour hack -- which would indicate our deer population is too high. The wolf pack is working on that, and while we do think the deer are beautiful creatures, and we have our personal favourites, we would encourage you to cheer the wolves on. It's better for everyone if the deer population is under control.

It's not all bad news for the trillium, however. The same deer that munches off the big blossoms also contributes to the survival of the species, by carrying away the seeds. An ant may get your seeds only about a metre, but a whitetail deer will prance off through the forest for about a kilometre before, well, before defecating the seed to be be delicate in terminology.

Everything has a balance. We should be taking care not to upset that. We all need to learn to tread lightly on the planet.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Signs of the Times

I was judging at the Will O Wind Horse Trials on the weekend. It was a fun getaway, a chance to visit with a lot of old friends, and to watch a lot of nice horses compete.

Ann and Geoff do a wonderful job on this competition -- their courses are among the very best in Canada. Magnificently built, and incredibly decorated. That's one of the reasons their site has been selected to host the cross country portion of the three day event when the Pan American Games roll into Toronto in a few years.
With so many people coming on the farm property, the owners go to extreme lengths to ensure the safety of their beloved dogs.
I had to share these signs. They take me back to years gone by when we had a sign at Bondi that read "Please drive carefully. BLIND CAT." That was Rosemary's beloved siamese Tia... and the sign would cause guests to park up by the road and walk in to the office. Tia got around very well... we think we must have used braille, because she still went outside, still hunted. Still caught mice. When my dog, at that time a miniature poodle named Amy, lost her hearing, we contemplated adding to the sign, "DEAF DOG."
Then, as my father pointed out, we would probably have to add another line: "LAME HORSE", so we relied on Tia's sign to slow traffic.
There was another sign on display in the stabling area. Dreamcrest always arrives with a lot of horses, in a big van. And one thing about Ian and Kelly -- they always call it as they see it! Those of us who transport horses are always set on edge when other drivers' tailgate. It is very important that the horses get a comfortable ride, so they don't become unwilling to get into the transports in the first place. And we are often on single lane roads that require driving with care. Most trailers carry the warning: Caution. Horses.
Dreamcrest goes a little farther in the explanation.

Spring in the Air

As soon as you step out the door now, the scent of the apple blossoms and the lilacs permeates the air. It's glorious.

The only downside to spring blossoms is that they don't last long enough. The hyacinths in the gardens are almost finished. You really have to be here to experience the freshness of the air, and the glorious perfume of the flowers.
And the lilacs, which are among my personal favourites. Wow.


Dave told me, at 11.30 p.m., that the incident was NOT bloggable...

All the same. His feelings have changed on the matter. He and Mike were coming home from Georgian College last Friday, when another car made an illegal turn in the intersection, and kissed Dave's car goodbye.

Dave and Mike were both fine and uninjured. They were shaken, but not stirred. The police charged the other guy - who was in a hurry to get to Tim's to pick up a coffee for his mother. As Dave pointed out, the other guy had a worse day: it was his birthday, he was in his Mom's car, getting her a coffee, and he totalled her car...

He also totalled Dave's. It was a learning experience. You can be doing everything right, and still get in an accident. You can drive as defensively as you can, and still get hit. Airbags deploying is an education in itself.
That experience continued on the weekend, while the boys went car shopping. That involved doing some math -- an 1999 Chevy van doesn't pull in a lot of replacement value insurance. What was needed was reliable wheels to get to and fro college. They ruled out the Chevy Impala... they drooled over a few unaffordable dream cars.

They found one. It comes with all the bells and whistles, including a sunroof that makes Achmed almost delerious with glee. We were more impressed by the safety features.
Drive on! But take care out there.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Top Models, All of Them!

Our guests take the most extraordinary photographs while they are visiting us. Of course, we do our best to provide wonderful subjects, with outstanding backdrops and interesting lighting effects. Our wildlife are all instructed to 'work it' for the camera (although not all of them are good at following instructions, and many of them just can't past their camera shyness)

Sue enters her local horticultural society photo contests every year, and every year she submits pictures taken at Bondi.

This year, she won Frist Place in the category of Still Life, with one of her hummingbird close ups. As she points out, it is Life... and at least briefly, it is still. We agree. You can see the tiny bird's tongue still protruding from her beak in this shot.

She also won an award for a picture she took of a bumblebee in the hollyhocks, completely covered with pollen. The bee is pushing the pollen in the pollen sacs on the abdomen, to help carry some of it back to the hive.

She didn't win an award for the chipmunk robbing the birdfeeder, but we don't know why... we think it's great! But the chipmunk harbours no hard feelings, and has offered to pose again for her, anytime!