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
We're leading with the best photo moment -- last weekend was the annual Oakhurst Farm "Bondi Babes" Getaway.
Every year, there is a theme, and costumes, games, challenges. Usually there's a nature hike, but the rain pushing in from Hurricane Sandy put a literal damper on that.
Friday night saw the glam and weird come out for the Rocky Horror evening -- complete with cupcakes decorated with top hats and red lips. It's a strange movie, that doesn't actually get better with time, but then it really wasn't about the movie.
Saturday was 'Arlo Day', which kicked off with an Arlo Trivia quiz and ended at the Algonquin Theatre in Huntsville for the Arlo Guthrie Concert. Now, we're mightily impressed that Arlo came to our little town -- he himself made the wonderful comment that it is hard for him to find a place he's never been and here he wasn't sure where he was. By the way -- if you ever find yourself in the position to get to one of Arlo's concerts, drop everything and GO! He is wonderful, even if he rarely if ever performs Alice's Restaurant (the full 18 minutes) in concert. He is fun, wise, musical, sharp and gentle all at once. He's a true icon and a musical treasure.
Ruth, from Oakhurst, is a huge Arlo fan. After the concert, she scurried round the corner of the theatre, hoping to get a picture of herself in front of Arlo's Tour Bus. Really, that was all she expected to achiever. The bus was dark, and she merrily posed in front of it. Whereupon the lights came on, Arlo came out and most graciously not only chatted, but posed with the girls.
As one wrote on her FB wall, "Arlo Concert: $65 Bondi weekend away with the girls: $200 Ruth getting to meet Arlo: PRICELESS!!!!!!"
The BMD were spook-tacular dressed as essential Muskoka Contractor's Tools -- WD-40 and DuckTape. The lads prove that you can grow older without that messy nonsense of growing up...
Pumpkin carving always displays a wide range of artistic vision...
From our howling wolf, experimenting with the 'shadowed look' ... to the exotic and wonderfully scary creations at the main office...
Out here we don't get a lot of trick or treat visitors, but we do get some, and it's always a treat to see these little ones (and some big ones) who have put some effort into their costumes.
Few if any of them know that they are 'guising' (costumed, disguised) as part of centuries long tradition. Samhain -- which means Summer's End, marked the end of the harvest season and the beginning of the dark winter season in old Celtic traditions. It was the time when cattle were brought back down from the summer pastures and when livestock were slaughtered for the winter. In much of the Gaelic world, bonfires were lit and there were rituals involving them, as at Beltane, the beginning of summer. People and their livestock would often walk between two bonfires as a cleansing ritual. Tradition held that Samhain (like Beltane) was seen as a time when the "door" to the "otherworld" opened enough for the souls of the dead, and other beings, to come into our world. Feasts were had, at which the souls of dead kin were beckoned to attend and a place set at the table for them. Anyone who came to the door received food -- now it's candy. People also took steps to protect themselves from harmful spirits, which is thought to have led to the custom of wearing costumes, or disguises, so that they could not easily be recognized by any harmful spirit. The fierce faces on the pumpkins were also a way to ward off anything harmful.
This is the sort of stuff that I find fascinating. This is Rocky, one of my student's horses. He's a fabulous boy, a true gentleman and really tries his heart out for his person. Back in the summer he started to do something rather odd, stretching and twisting his head and neck up to one side and going lame in front during his schooling sessions. Kate spent time and dollars trying to figure out what was the problem. Farrier, vet, chiropractor... even coach. Now, these things can be complex -- we all know that our own ahes and pains and twinges may not be related to just one thing. Gradually the list of possibilities got reduced.
Today he went to see an equine dental specialist, our good friend and hero Kevin Rundle. Now, with Kevin it isn't just a question of climbing inside the mouth and starting to file. He watched a video of the horse in work, that showed the problem. And he then reached to a spot on the front of Rocky's neck and squeezed. The horse almost went through the roof. You see, there is a ligament that runs from the hyoid process, at the base of the tongue. It comes down the jugular groove, divides at the chest and connects into the leg apparatus. It's purpose is to ensure that as the horse's leg moves, the tongue pulls down keeping the airway open. Horses, after all, run on air. They have to breathe in the rhythm of their stride, and they have to be able to get that precious air in and out smoothly. I could tell you horror stories.... but they aren't Rocky's.
Kevin -- who always work in conjunction and under the supervision of a veterinarian who handles the medication, injections and the like -- worked on the horse with pressure points and massage before he ever opened the mouth.
One of the ways Kevin could tell where to look for trouble was on the face. And this is what I find so totally cool! Even the vet commented that although she knew about these ligaments, she had never seen them so defined. That's because they aren't really supposed to be defined.
If you look just below and above his eye, in the first photo, you will see three lines, like chicken toes. These are the ligaments that connect the insertion points into the TMJ (Tempormandibular Joint) -- which is one of the most critical joints in the body, be you horse or human, and the one most often overlooked. On Rocky they stood out vividly, because his TMJ was blocked, locked, stuck. His teeth, which in horses continue to grow endlessly, had developed hooks that were preventing him from moving his jaw from side to side. Now, Rocky gets regular attention from his regular vet, and I am not going into any of that, except to say that Kevin is so incredibly knowledgable that he is my 'Go To Guy' for dental issues. He always works with a vet present -- and a couple of times a year he comes to my barn, along with my vet, and a pile of horses.
This last picture was taken shortly after Kevin finished freeing up the TMJ, re-alligning the mouth, and adjusting some of the locked muscles and joints that had developed in response to that. With the TMJ relaxed, the chicken feet returned to the chickens. I have seen remarkable changes take place in the horse's exterior appearance when the teeth are properly balanced. I had never seen these ligaments (felt them yes, seen them no)
It's the kind of thing I find fascinating about working with the horses and riders. Getting to the root of problems, be they belonging to the horse or the rider, balancing the bodies of two separate athletes, understanding how the systems inter-connect.
Thanks for the anatomy lesson today Kevin! Thanks Rocky for being such a good model!
How about that? Our scarecrow was entered in the local Scarecrow competition, put on jointly by the District of Muskoka and our own wonderful Dwight Library. And we won! Now, we admit that we did remove David from the scene prior to the judging... but we are pretty sure that what clinched the deal was the animation aspect, as the chickens flocked around the scarecrow trying to steal the Scare-horse's grain!
Okay, so you got caught in the porch... Lots of windows, a little confusing for a bird, we get all that.
You might think that the bird in question would be happy to be rescued, but you would be way off the mark. I'm not sure who was more surpised -- the bird to find itself inside a human hand, or me to find myself holding a female cardinal!
While they are quite common not far to the south of us, they are not all that common right here.
She was undoubtedly beautiful, but she was not very gracious. She was, in fact, one Angry Bird. Let me tell you, those beaks, which are good at cracking open seeds, are not only sharp, but they can really clamp down! I still have a tiny bruise on my finger.
Cannot blame the girl, however. From her perspective, she had just been abducted by an alien, and had no intention of being beamed up quietly.
She is now flying free. For which I, at least, am grateful.
I'm not sure we ever get the gardens completely 'put to bed' for the winter. There is still a lot of mulch to go down, for example. Some of the deer fencing gets put away before the snow pulls it down to the ground.
The red onions are harvested, however. And the beets -- some of which are large enough to feed a small country, they, too are coming out of the ground.
The forecast for tomorrow indicates t-shirts and sandals will be in order, so we'll be in the gardens again!
Snuggled up with his best friend and personal dog
Taffy, we caught this touching moment where the two
of them are actually 'holding paws'.
I've been a little remiss with up-dating the Blog this month. It's been hectic. We must report that Napster, our world famous tail painting cat, is coping with some health issues. At 14, he has developed glaucoma in one eye, and is currently shuttling about the countryside to various specialists while we see if we can get a handle on treatment and ensure that he is comfortable.
Snoozing with Taffy. Holding paws... how sweet.
He certainly is not displaying any symptoms of discomfort, and is going about his usual routine. In fact, with the mild weather right now he's been particularly enjoying being outdoors. Who wouldn't? Coming toward the Christmas season, his paintings have begun to sell -- they do make a wonderful inexpensive and unique gift, and they are all available through on-line order through his Blog. While he has raised over $7000 for his various charities, he has not kept much money in the 'kitty', so we are currently directing his earnings to his own health care fund. Charity, after all, begins at home.
We will keep you posted on how he is doing. Napster has been sold around the globe, has a substantial fan-club and has been very supportive of several charities in the area. Most recently one of his works sold to aid Huntsville's The Table Food Bank.
Sue and Jim were here just prior to Thanksgiving. Sadly, Sue had to return to be at her father Walt Hadden's side as he passed on. They came back after the funeral, however, to find some renewal in one of their favourite places.
They spend a lot of time walking our secluded trails network, camera in hand.
When I saw them the other day, returning from a walk through the Spruce Bog, they asked me if I had seen the Snowy Owl. After I picked myself up, green with envy, I had to confess that no, I had not. Although now I go everywhere with one eye scanning for the bird.
They saw this magnificent creature on the Lookout hill, just before Sue had to go home. They've been watching for it again.
We do get Snowy Owls this far south, depending on the supply of available mice in the north. Right now, we've got what would seem to be a plethora of mice and voles -- Dave and Mike, moving some piles of weeds from the garden, started about twenty voles who dashed off in all directions.
We are honoured by the arrival of this most magnificent of birds. Sue and Jim didn't manage to get a photo, but we have 'borrowed' one from the internet, above, and are adding one taken by our friend Gary Shultz, who got the capture shot of an owl in flight in Algonquin Park several years back.
We're also honoured that Sue and Jim were the ones to see this owl. Sue's dad, Walter, would have liked that...
It is with great sadness, and yet with joy for a life well-lived, that we report the passing of a cherished and beloved member of our extended Bondi Family, Walter Hadden
We are very grateful for the wonderful memories, for all the years Walter shared with us, and for the friendships we have formed with all his family. The summers won't be the same without you Walt.
Evelyn Hadden shared 50 summers with us at Bondi. Walter a few less than that, but we treasured every one of them. A great many of our Bondi Family will have known Walter, and will join us in extending condolences to the Williams and Hadden families.
Here's a small sampler of the joyous vivid colours that surround us at this time of year. If there was ever anything for which we should give Thanks, it would be this display. Think on it -- the colours come when the trees remove the chlorophyll from their leaves, moving the sugars and nutrients out of the leaf 'factories' and back down to the roots where they can be safely stored during the frozen winters. As the chlorophyll retreats, the vivid colours -- these stunning reds, oranges, yellows, burnt russet -- are revealed. The tree didn't need to do that. It could have simply let the leaves turn a dull brown and fall off.
We are grateful, thankful, that the trees don't just brown and fade. As summer ends, autumn comes into its own. There are not many places in the world where this incredible display of colour is on show.
I took these photos on Thursday, hiking in our back fields here at Bondi. Some of you will recognize the old settler's stone wall. Some will spot the frisbee golf targets.
Some will recognize Taffy, checking out the wolf scat left along this portion of the trail that many will recognize as part of the Hawk Lake Ski trail, just after it splits away from Toboggan Hill.
All our guests have driven past this tree -- it is right across from the Bell utility box, just before the junction to the Port Cunnington Road and Firehall. In its summer greens, most people just drive on by. This time of year, it will stop you in your tracks.
The colours blend beautifully, with the yellow leaves of the birch and the deep greens of the conifers accenting the maples' reds. This is just on top of the hill, not far from the solar panels.
This shot I just love, because of the way the sugar maple is entwined in the pine tree like a bouquet.
And this last shot was taken from the road, across from the Oxtongue Craft Cabin, looking downstream to one of the beaver dams. The dam is that line of green across the bottom third of the photo. The trees are reflecting in the pond caused by the dam.
When the Dorset Fire Tower was built, it's purpose was to watch for fires. Hence the name.
A series of these towers dotted the northern landscape. Rangers scanned the horizon for the telltale smoke from forest fires. Those were the days before cell phones, before satellite images, before all the doo-dads we have now that can let us know if there is something out there burning up the woods. The tower at Dorset was built in 1922. The original external ladder that lead to the top was 82 feet high. In 1967 a new Tower was constructed, complete with the current internal stairway. It should make you feel safer as you ascend...
Forest fires, often started by lightning, are a natural occurence. Forest fires started by the carelessness of humans, no so much. Did you know that under the Forest Fires Prevention Act, during a Fire Ban you can't smoke within 300 metres of a forest? Of course you didn't. And I'm willing to bet that most smokers wouldn't abide by that even if they did know. But I digress...
The point is that the Fire Tower at Dorset no longer serves to provide early warning for burning trees. It now provides a platform to witness the incredible blaze of colour that we enjoy up here at this time of year.
This was the view from the Tower this past week. It should make you say 'Wow'. It should also make you think you should be getting yourself up here to see it for yourself. The autumn colours in Muskoka are among the wonders of the world.
And when you are here, be sure to visit the Visitor Centre in Algonquin Park. There you will find the original Ranger's Tower from the Dorset Fire Tower, the place where the rangers spent their days scanning the horizon with binoculars. It's worth the trip.
The autumn colours are at their best right now. Even Rick Mercer commented on them, describing the show in Algonquin Park as "gobsmacking" in one of his Tweets. And it takes a lot to gobsmack our hero Rick.
Here at Bondi Village, our trees are going all out to Paint the Town.
The maple at Beaver cottage blazes with orange and yellows.
At Cedars, the maple is just turning its leaves into a crimson glory.
Red Pine has an oak tree by the maple that has joined the parade, providing an interesting mix of shades. Deer are coming in to clean up the windfalls from the crabapple tree that hasn't done anything about adding colour except for the bright red dots of the crabapples themselves.
Springside is tucked down in a valley of maples -- all in different shades of beautiful.
Last weekend we hosted a Photography group. While much of their time was spent in Algonquin Park, where the colours are right at their peak, they got their best 'close-ups' right here on the lawn. Our deer were happy to serve as models -- and they really 'worked it'.
Guests last week also saw a bull moose in the Park who posed for them.
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...