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
All our cottages come with propane BBQs... but for some people, that is not enough.
As Tom says, once you've tasted charcoil broiled steaks... it's hard to go anywhere else.
Tom's family is here for two weeks, but the 'other half' of the family were only able to manage one week this summer. For their last dinner together, Blair and Tom brought the Ultra Special Charcoal BBQ over to Clover cottage. Their Devious Plan was that if they provided the BBQ, someone else would provide the steaks to go on it!
Topped off with some fresh corn from our gardens, the dinner was a smash hit. As was the BBQ.
With the BMD (Bondi Maintenance Dept.) back at full strength now that David is done at College, we saw the BBQ Barge come out for the Marathon Swim.
'Tis a thing of rare beauty, paddled with two broken oars, bedecked with two slightly wobbly lawn chairs, and resplendent with one securely fastened bbq and a cooler full of whipped cream, maple syrup and waffles.
It may offer some incentive to the swimmers, given that the recent thunderstorm dropped the lake temperature somewhat. It's still lovely in there -- we did not get any hail to really put a chill on things.
Our intrepid swimmers took on the Island Swim, as well as the Point Swim. Aaron was our youngest this week, 11 years old, who swam both ways to the big rock at the Point. Well done! He most certainly earned his waffle!!
Harry got a big hug from his grand-daughter Jordi when he returned to the dock.
Jamie got out of the lake all shivery, but warmed up fast with a waffle and a sweatshirt.
The pirate flag flew boldly over the lake... and what would be a pirate ship without a resident parrot???
"Ribeye" the parrot kept careful watch over the Bay while the boys whipped up the waffles.
We went up through the back fields. She said she'd never been across the road, in all the years she's come to Bondi. Usually, she's to be found at the beach.
We followed along the frisbee golf course until we came to the old cedar snake fence. That's the one that has been there for well over a hundred years, once marking the boundary between our fields and those of Hyram Wilder's.
We found apples. The deer had been all around the tree. We could see where the bear had broken some branches. And we found some bear scat.
We found flowers that were taller than Victoria. Strawberry plants, but with all the strawberries gone at this time of the summer. Blackberries, lots of them, but not quite ripe. We found blueberries -- and those we picked and brought home for Grandma and Grandpa.
We looked at a tree the woodpecker had carved into big hollows.
There were monarch butterflies, too. Not so many this year -- it has been a difficult year for them, with the spring being wet and cold. Those we have are very precious.
There were plenty of mushrooms, all different sizes, shapes and colours.
Some were perfect umbrellas for fairies, or, like this one, ideal for a smurf. The ideal place to sit and dream about summer for those little creatures.
We sat on one of the horse jumps and watched two deer grazing in the field. They watched us watch them for awhile, before moving over to a different field. Taffy didn't bother them at all. She was happy to lie down under the jump in the shade for a short rest!
We brought home blueberries, apples, some acorns and a coloured leaf. Not to mention great memories, and tales to tell!
With David home, the construction of the bonfire took on 'epic' proportions. Perhaps this is the building skills he has been honing at Georgian coming into play.
It produced an impressive column of flame, that was for sure. Brian was standing by with buckets of water. The suggestion was made that a fire hose might be more helpful.
As the flames died down (quickly) to something more appropriate for marshmallow roasting and s'mores making, the Seed Spitting extravaganza got underway.
This week we had an international flavour. Phil and Astrid flew the flag for Holland. Leeane struck a seed for South Africa.
And, with some coaching help from their friend Hulene, with whom they worked in the Mennonite Central Committee a few years back, Leontine and Levy stepped to the line to represent Chad. C'est formidable!
Snakes get a really bad rap. A lot of people are truly afraid of snakes, even small ones, like Reginald, who showed up at the Lodge this week.
A common garter snake, this little reptile is nobody to worry about. Garter, or grass, snakes, eat earthworms, small beetles, small frogs... occasionally -- if you are a big snake -- a mouse falls prey. Their mouths are much too small, however, to inflict a bite on people, they are not poisonous, and serve a valuable role in the natural balance.
Perhaps what is so alarming is their rapid movement -- that uncanny ability to slide and slither and twist... Combined with their camoflage, snakes often aren't spotted until they do move, and they are usually moving fast. It's a startle reflex to jump away, and it serves a useful purpose for the snake as well. Best to just leave them be, out there. If you do need to relocate (as we did with Reginald, because he was frightening guests), pick them up gently. Support the middle of the body, and if necessary, gently lead the head away from a direction you don't want them to go.
David had a little chat with this fellow before releasing him into our huge garden, where he will be able to find slugs, grubs, earthworms and other tasty treats.
Snakes feel quite amazing. They are dry, not slimy, and they heat their bodies by basking in the sun. In winter, the garter snakes gather together into dens, called hibernaculums, and all spend the winter tangled together -- a technique that provides sufficient heat to keep them all comfortable.
Lucas found this little guy hanging out in one of the crab apple trees. (In the back field, apparently, we have a bear hanging out in one of the old wild apple trees, so a caterpillar is preferable, at least on the property near the cottages!)
This is the caterpillar who will turn into the lovely swallowtail butterflies that flit about on our lilacs every spring.
These butterflies are two generational in this part of the country -- which means we see the first ones in May, and then the second go-round starting in late August.
Crabapples are among their preferred habitats -- and since we have several of those trees on the property, they like us.
This has been a poor year for our lovely \Monarch butterflies. A cool wet spring has held their population are almost record lows here. It is now a matter of exclamation to see one flitting from flower to flower. Hopefully they are doing better to the south -- although there are horrible heat waves in parts of their southern range that don't bode well for anything or anyone. Our best advise to help these lovely butterflies is to be sure leave Milkweed in your gardens and along fencelines. It is their only habitat... the only thing the young caterpillars eat...
Our dad, Paul, used to insist that the water be boiling on the stove before the corn was picked from the field. That way, he taught us, it is at its very sweetest.
And that is how we prepare it for our August cookouts on the beach.
He had a valid point. Everyone tells us how incredibly sweet and tender our corn is -- and that is because it is so very very fresh.
Lesley was determined to give it the full attention it deserved!
Our organic gardens provide the freshest, tastiest veggies ever, and produce is in great demand among our guests. Last week, Carol taught young Eric how to harvest beans... and we are usually very open to those who'd like to learn how to weed as well!
Paul celebrated his 21st birthday with us last week. Paul has been celebrating birthdays at Bondi since, well, since before he was born actually
His family have been staying with us every summer for the past 25 years. We have had the great privilege of watching |Paul, and older brother Tim, grow up at Bondi. We have had the great honour of freindship with their parents, Janet and David.
At the Cookout, we presented them with a carved wooden bowl, a small token of appreciation from us to them. We look forward to spending our next 25 summers with this fabulous family.
Our expanse of lawn provides a great platform for lots of activities. There are often Kites hanging against the blue sky overhead.
Sometimes there are airplanes. Or in this case, more correctly, helicopters.
Wayne, James, Nora and Vivian were having a blast flying the remote control helicopter.
It did need rescue one or two times, but young legs looked after that!
Once the electronic toys were put away for the day, the boomerang came out.
This is not just any boomerang, but a very special one. That's Nora's boomerang. It was made just for her. A few years back, it got itself tangled up in a tree, and there was quite an adventure retrieving it.
No worries this summer, mate, that boomerang just kept coming back.
Which is a good thing. After all, a boomerang that won't come back is really just a stick.
We teach a lot of guests how to waterski, as well as taking out those who are already quite proficient.
It starts on the dock, with Brian taking the guest through a 'dryland' simulation of what is going to happen, and what they need to do to help the process.
Water is a wonderful thing -- but waterskiers soon learn that if they stand up too early, the boat will take the "above water" part of their anatomy forward very fast. It takes some strength, and a willingness to try, but given those ingredients, our success rate is very very high.
Matthew and Harriet, and their Dad Dave (demonstrating beautiful technique as he drops the rope to land) all enjoyed a day of skiing last week.
Thanks Leslie for providing me with these pictures!
The full moon has been playing havoc with our star-gazing programs and watching for the Perseid meteor shower this summer. On the other hand, the moon itself is spectacular. Bright enough you can almost read by its light, it throws enormous moon-shadows across the lawn and encourages the local wolf pack to howl.
I made a comment about how few stars there were "on view" this week, compared to the skies we usually enjoy, because of the moonlight. Mary pointed out that even with the moon washing out much of the sky, there were more stars there than they ever get to see living in Ottawa. "Elizabeth," (their daughter) she said, "has probably only seen about two stars in her life."
Light pollution is an increasing problem, and is linked to all sorts of health issues as well -- we need the dark. We are short changing ourselves -- we are missing out on the most wonderful vistas, the chance to gaze into the Milky Way, and to marvel at the universe around us. This week, even while the moon limited our views of the Andromeda Galaxy and the Milky Way, we saw the Big Dipper, Draco, Casseiopea, Antares in Scorpio, Sagittarius, Arcturus and all the stars in the Summer Triangle.
Nora is only 6, and stayed up well past her bedtime to look at the stars with us. She very kindly shared this wonderful card with me.
We go out on the lawn every week at Bondi to star-gaze. Recently we were joined by some folks from Baysville, who bid on the chance to come out with us at the local library fundraiser. They had a wonderful time, and now some of their friends have asked if they, too, may come and join. (yes, they can!) They have cottaged up here for many summers, lying on the dock looking at the stars, but didn't know which was which. It is a great experience to be able to recognize and "map" the sky above you, and something everyone should have the chance to do.
After all, if we only look down, there will never be stars!
For well over 50 years, the two big willows at the main dock have graced our beach area, providing shade, nurturing wildlife, adding beauty.
This summer, the one closest to Anchor cottage developed a large crack in one of its twin trunks during one of our big storms.
That wasn't good news.
Brian conferred with tree experts about possible treatments -- perhaps a bolt to lock the trunk together? The problem is that if you try something like that, and it does not work, the branch will fall at the worst possible opportunity. Can't have that... sorry.
So today Brian climbed up into the tree and removed a large portion of the damaged trunk. Blessedly, there is still the other, healthy trunk and the other big willow right next door still providing excellent shade and shelter.
It has slightly changed our view -- both looking back to shore, and looking down to the lake. This is the BEFORE photo...
And this is the after...
And this is the in-between. It is amazing how quickly Brian and Mike were able to take this down, cut it up, load it in the truck and remove it. They got it all done just after the Marathon Swim -- it was cool at the water, and there was nobody around (all inside warming up with coffee and treats from the Bakery!)
Anytime we change our landscape, it is a bit of a jar. One gets used to the view... one thinks it will last forever. Nature constantly changes. That deck along the front of Anchor cottage -- for instance -- began its existence as the main dock of Bondi. Broken loose by Hurricane Hazel (in, what? 1954? 1955?) it was retrieved as it drifted away and was fastened in front of the cottage. A new dock was constructed, and that old dock simply stayed where it had been anchored. It has been rebuilt over the years. So has the main dock. Things do change. We get used to it being one way... but we will adapt.
I am reminded of the old farmer from Saskatchewan, who retired to British Columbia. Asked how he liked living in the Okanagan, he replied, "well, it's not so bad. But those mountains, they sure do block the view."
After yesterday's rain, it was a chilly morning for the Marathon Swim.
Paul -- just a few days before his 21st birthday -- boldly took the plunge. Brother Tim and friend Brittany opted to stay on the dock, in sweatshirts, with a cup of coffee...
Margaret and Gunni took on the Island. The trip began in the outboard boat, well bundled against the chill -- but once in the water, which was 24 degrees C, the chill went away. The water was like silk, and they had a marvellous swim.
From Iceland, they enjoy distance swimming, so it was good fun to have them in our lake for a change!
David and Leigh-Anne opted to skip the swim, and go instead for the Marathon Float. It's a big lake, we say, to each his own!
Even on a gray morning -- which has turned into a day drenched with sunshine -- the lake was still the very best place to be!
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...