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.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Changing our Colours

 Autumn is winding down, making way for the next Season, just off stage.

This first picture was taken just a few weeks ago, at Thanksgiving.

The leaves are mostly down now. The blaze of autumn's reds and golds has moved into the realm of the deep greens of the evergreens. The blue of the lake remains -- although the tone shifts.

Early in the morning, as the mist burns away, it leaves a sheen of silver along the shore.  

We are moving into Frost Country.  Crisp, sharp mornings.   Colours changing daily.

Some of the trees are determined, however. On the rock cut, a poplar tree clings to its golden leaves, not yet ready to let Winter's palette reign.

Moon on his Wings

Sue Ion sent us this wonderful Wow Moment photo of Brian returning from a flight in the early evening, while the moon was already hung in the sky.

We think it is truly beautiful.

And it's a great way to illustrate whether a moon is waxing. Or waning.

Connect the tips of the moon's silhouette (in this case it's very easy, because there is already a lovely straight line there). Extend that line.

It will produce either a small-caps letter "p"  or a "d".  In this case, it will obviously create the letter P.  

P stands for Premier. D stands for Denier.  So, first and last... so if it is the letter P, the moon is in the beginning of the phase, the first phase, and is waxing full.  If it's the letter D, it is past its full moon and is waning.

Either way, Brian has the best of it, being in the sky with that gorgeous moon alongside!  Thanks for Sharing this Sue and Jim!

Monday, October 28, 2013


The gray jay is one of our favourite birds of all time, although they aren't common here at Bondi any longer. 

Our good friend and Algonquin Park researcher Dan Strickland has studied these birds for decades.  For thirteen and a half years, there was a nesting pair in our Hidden Lake Bog who were part of that study.  I didn't know they could live that long, but yes, they can! 

Amazing little birds, these don't migrate. While the technique of staying home lets them avoid the perils of migration (most migratory birds rarely survive for more than five years and there is a 40 to50% mortality rate during migration. No wonder we are losing our song birds...) it brings other problems. The biggie is, what to eat come winter time?  The answer comes from the birds habit of stashing food during the months of plenty to get them through the months of lean.   Carefully coating each piece of food with saliva so it will stick in their hiding sites, the birds squirrel (jay?) away food in a wide variety of locations.  It's amazing that they can find them again!  Do you think YOU have that good a memory? I doubt it. So do the researchers.  You can give it a try if you like, with this interactive Gray Jay Game, courtesy of the wonderful site, The Science Behind Algonquin Animals.

Jim and Sue sent along this beautiful photo, taken last week. One of this bird's most endearing traits is its willingness to come right to your hand, curious and unafraid and utterly charming.  They are commonly called Whiskeyjacks, which was an adaptation given them by the early loggers of the Indian name for the birds:  "Wisakajack,"  which means a mischevious spirit of the woods.

I'm trying to learn which bird this is -- when our bird was being studied here at Bondi, the birds were 'named' by the bands on their legs -- in this instance it is Pink over Orange Right, and Red over Silver  Left, so it might be called POOR ROSL... I'll keep you posted if I'm close (or even, shock and awe, right!)

These birds nest in February and March, relying on their hidden food sources to raise the young.  Which works well if the winters are cold.  Global warming bringing warmer winters brings with it the risk of the food spoiling in the cache, and being of no use (even being toxic) to the birds.  As we all know, if the fridge goes down, the food goes bad...

It's not all fun and games being a gray jay however. These birds need a very large territory to provide for a single pair -- about 150 hectares.  That means that as the babies grow up, they have to find new territory, and a rather deadly harrassment game begins where the strongest bird tries to drive away the siblings so they must find new territory. Sadly, this often results in up to 80% mortality as the young birds try to find their way.

Algonquin Park is well-known among Ontario naturalists as being one of the best and most convenient places to see Gray Jays in the province but it is less certain how long this will be true in the future. Starting in the 1970s, Gray Jays have been slowly declining in Algonquin Park, with one or two territories going vacant almost every year. Originally, we think that virtually all the land along Highway 60 was occupied by Gray Jays but now very little is. The stretch of highway between Smoke Lake and the Hemlock Bluff Trail, for example, once cut through nine different Gray Jay territories but, in 1994, the last of them went vacant. Overall, fewer than half of the territories occupied in the 1970s are still occupied today. The worst losses have been in areas dominated by hardwood forests of Sugar Maple and the least attrition has occurred in boggy, lowland areas covered with Black Spruce.

It will be a great tragedy if we lose these cheerful and amazing birds from our Park, and our lives.  We are all touched by the changes in the environment, even seemingly small changes have enormous and far reaching and long lasting repercussions.

   This link will take you to the research on these beautiful birds in the Park.

Good Night Moon

Another beautiful photo, taken by Sue and Jim while they were here on their annual autumn retreat in Lantern cottage.

What makes this for me are the two Muskoka chairs on Lantern's dock!

Good night moon...

Coming Soon to a Season near You

 At this time of year it is not uncommon to experience each one of Canada's wonderful seasons -- all in the same day.

Guests Jim and Sue were hiking in Algonquin last week. 

Some days it was t-shirt hot and sunny. Some days it was gray, with rain coming through.  Some days it was cool, clear, crisp, with a huge moon.

And then there was this day... when they realized they should have taken the snowshoes with them...   Thanks, Sue, for sending along the photo!

Whatever the season, whatever the weather, getting outdoors into the natural environment for a hike is always a great idea.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Berry Nice October

 Raspberries! In late October!

Yeah, yeah, we get it, it's been raining. (the deer are coming past two by two, it's either rainfall of Biblical proportions or it's the breeding season... but I digress)

What a treat to discover that the raspberry canes are still bearing delicious fruit.

Which goes very nicely with the apples we are still picking from our apple trees up on the hill. At least, the ones that those self-same deer have not yet managed to eat!

Thank you, Peggy!

One of the amazing cakes made
by Rebecca Bell, of Cakewalk Catering
This one was carrot... and incredible!
It has been said that if you only ever say one prayer, Thank you will serve nicely. That's how powerful those two little words can be.  It is a reminder that we should be grateful for a great many things, and a great many people who come into our lives.

So here's a huge THANK YOU to Peggy Hurley, who retired from the Dwight Public Library after 28 fantabulous years. There was a standing room only party for Peggy at the Community Centre on Saturday, and what a party it was.

"Miss Peggy" -- on the hot seat!
packed house! We had to stop the speeches to
set up more chairs!
But that is as it should be for the lady who took the Dwight library from a small trailer, to a room in the back of the old municipal office, to it's current location. Who brought us from hand-written library cards to computers and kobos and all sorts of electronic magic. She enchanted generations of children with her story-telling. She opened universes...

the walls were lined with memories...
Jack... enough said...
Books let us travel, in time, in space, in imagination. They let us learn, and create, and come together, and be apart, and so much more. And Peggy's library was always the warmest, most welcoming place in the community. Her vision of a small fireplace and two wing-back chairs for patrons to curl up in and read, next to a state-of-the-art computer cafe, and a huge friendly childrens' section and everything in between made this the very heart of our little community. She welcomed artists and raised funds for just about any cause you could imagine.

Deb Bradley took pictures of everyone wearing
some 'fun props' from Peggy's collection!
What a great looking family! Leah provided the floral
centrepieces and they were gorgeous.
And she never stopped smiling. 

So here's to you Peggy, and your next adventure. Thanks for the ride! 

Thanks for the years and the dreams and the doors you opened.  And don't think you're getting away all that easily -- Story hour with the children, Trivia Night... all sorts of functions are going to lure you in.


Get Stuffed

Hulene sent us this recipe -- she made it on Thanksgiving while here at Bondi, with one of our massive King Stropharia mushrooms (yes... ONE.  They can each weigh well over a pound, and were very very popular with our guests this autumn!)

BONDI STUFFING with Nancy's Amazing Mushrooms

 2- 3 sauteed onions with poultry seasoning
mushroom, sauteed in a separate pan
1 chopped apple (from a Bondi tree)
1 handful of raisins

Mix all of above, add good chicken stock (not from a Bondi chicken... please!)

Stir in one loaf of dried Gluten free bread, that has been dried in the oven. (Beat the Wheat, in Huntsville is our best local source of gluten free goodies)

Add one handful or roasted walnuts

Put all together, and bake @350 degrees for 30 to 40 minutes.  GREAT!

(it truly was - she brought me a taste of it!)  

Christmas is coming, and the turkey feast will be back, so keep this in mind.  Portobello mushrooms will serve, if you can't get your hands on one of ours.

If it Rains Tomorrow

If it rains tomorrow

I will sort through paperwork

Clean up the office

Or the back room

Or the tack room

Or just the broom closet.

I will find five more ways to cook mushrooms

Those huge ones that just keep growing in this weather

I will cook with wine. Some of which I’ll put in the food.

I will make an enormous pot of soup

And sit with the dog on the couch to eat it

While watching Downton Abbey re-runs

I will speculate on the new season, without Matthew as the heir

I will share crackers and cheese with my dog while watching Duck Dynasty, and admit to it.

I will put the raincoat on that dog, take the umbrella and we will walk by the lake

To find the muskrats, just the two of us.

I will rough out the Christmas newsletter, a month too early

Or sort through a closet and get rid of at least 55 shirts

I will stand in the porch, my fingers tangled in the dog’s wool

And grieve for my friend’s lost dog, that torn-away shadow of herself

I will remember my own lost dogs, and cats, with sweet sorrow

I will say a prayer for my friend in surgery in Toronto, but I won’t call

She won’t be home anyway.

I will curl by the fire with the cat in my lap and watch the rain slide down the window

While drinking hot tea. Me, that would be, not the rain. Rain rarely drinks tea, hot or cold.

I will read Pride and Prejudice. Or George R.R. Martin. Or both.

I will not be able to tell the difference.

I will dream of the summer just past, and the winter still to come

Of sunshine and snow and sunshine again.

I will watch the deer in the rain stretch tall on ridiculously thin legs

To steal the apples from the tree in my yard

If it rains tomorrow, I will do all of these things. Or none of them

Because rain in late October brings this great gift with it.

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Monday, October 21, 2013

Howl-o ween in the park!

As if you need another reason to come to Algonquin Park!
Not mentioned here? Curling up at the day's end in one of our comfortable cottages next to a fireplace, with deer on the lawn and our local wolf pack singing on the hill.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Early Moon

An early moon in a mackerel sky.  Yesterday, taken on top of the hill behind the resort, not long before it was time for the chickens to come home to roost.

The One that Didn't Get Away

 The sign is hard to read in this picture.  It warns: "No Fishing. Sea Serpents Seen in Lake of Bays. Caution is Advised."

Our little scarecrow paid no attention, and is now in the midst of landing a "Big One!"

This is our entry for the local scarecrow contest.  We won last year, for a scare-horse and rider entirely made from cornstalks. There are some super entries scattered through Dwight this year, though, so we don't expect that lightning will strike twice.

Still, it was fun to create, and makes people stop on the road and smile!  Judging takes place later today, so fingers crossed.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Two crows joy

One crow sorrow,
two crows joy,
three crows a girl child,
four crows a boy.
Five crows silver,
Six crows gold,
Seven crows a secret, never to be told.

Well, okay, it's ravens, not crows. But they made a handsome and rather joyous pair in the back field in the mist.  And we're happy to take Joy, in whatever form it presents itself.

Chicken Whisperers, and Hair Stylists

 Imogen and Viyan spent a little time on a drizzly Sunday putting braids into Taffy's ears...

She was a very good dog to submit to all this attention!

She looked pretty 'spiffy', too!

When not attending to Taffy's hairdo, the girls were busy chatting up the hens.

Chicken whisperers, both of them...

Wolf Song

A song in the night.

Last night, this lone wolf was howling on the hill past Springside cottage.

Give a little listen...

Friday, October 11, 2013

Never Enough

Pilots of small planes like our Piper PA11 Cub will tell you that they NEVER get enough time in the air.  I think they'd just stay up there if they could figure out how.

So when we get days like this, in the autumn when we're a bit less busy at the Resort, who can possibly resist? Especially when the autumn colours are calling.

So, with the sun on his wings, Brian took to the sky.

He's been able to get a few days flying in.  It won't last -- November is coming. Freeze up won't be far behind.  But for now, it IS enough.

He dipped his wings 'hello' as he overflew me at the stable, then headed off to check out the carpet of colour laid out below.


Whirligig beetles have the most marvellous -- and the most fitting -- of names.

Technically, these metallic black water beetles are known as Gyrinidae. That's Latin for circle. That's what they do.   Gathering in large numbers, they spin in endless circles on the surface of the water.  Swimming is easy -- their orange legs (at least the middle and back pair) are flat and wide, like boat oars.

These were hanging out in the rushes at the beach near Springside cottage. Taffy was the one who waded out into the rushes and let me know there was something totally cool going on out there. I had to lean precipitously out from the dry portion of the shore to get a few pictures of them.

While they like the surface, these beetles can and do dive, especially if alarmed. When they do, the water seems to boil with beetles.  They can stay under quite some time, too, since they carry their own air supply with them in the form of a tiny bubble of air at the tip of their abdomen.

They have interesting eyes. Compound eyes (which are not unusual in insects), but these are divided in two so the beetle  can see both above and below the surface of the water at the same time. Although, spinning as they do, I don't know how they can possibly focus on anything! I'd be dizzy!

You'll get an idea of just how dizzying their whirligig lifestyle is by watching this little video I took!

Monday, October 7, 2013

Muskoka Adventures!

 While they enjoyed a lot of great experiences while visiting us from England, we're pretty sure that one of the highlights was when Jim got to take the wheel on the S.S. Segwun (Tilly hat firmly in place, as he said)

A lovely blue day, brightened by a lovely smile, on the deck of the Segwun -- I always love that phoenix, rising from the symbolic flames on the wheelhouse.  We think Pat could cheer up ANY day with that smile!

Bondi put on our very best, in the beaches and warm days department.  Just sitting on the chairs on the dock was worthy of a day all to itself. Very peaceful!

And no trip to the area is complete without a visit to Robinson's General Store in Dorset.  There's lots to do in the village.  Our guests managed to get one of the last cruises on the S.S. Bigwin too!

 Hiking up the mountain, they found an artists' fungus, looking particularly lovely all dressed in autumn reds!

 I never get tired of the view from our Lookout trail!

And who could ever get tired of visiting Algonquin Park -- and meeting this handsome fellow in the Visitor Centre?

Thanks so much for sharing your vacation pics!

Paddling their own canoes

 Some of our guests arrive knowing how to handle a canoe... 

That would be these young chaps, Emil and Finn, who took advantage of a lovely autumn day last week to canoe out to the Island. They looked completely Pro.

Others have never had the opportunity to be in one of these iconic vessels...

That would be this family. Mom, and all three of the children, spent a bit of time with Nancy on a cooler, overcast day when the lake was a flat calm, and all of them mastered the basic techniques.

Away they went, exploring along the shore.  While Helen and Anji were content to paddle a bit more sedately, the boys really dug in and got the canoe moving.

We think everyone should know how to handle a canoe. There is magic in being this close to the water, part of the lake, and yet able to chart your own course.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Blue Autumn

It's October -- and our guests are not only enjoying the reds, oranges, yellows and greens, they are totally enjoying the Blue -- as in Blue Lake!

Explorers' Edge says that the New colour for Autumn is Blue -- and apparently our guests could not agree more!

It's not as hot as it was back in July and August, of course, but it is still very 'swim-able'. 

Godzilla the Mushroom

 It's a long story about a big mushroom.

Back in the Spring, we read an article in Chicken Magazine (yes, the hot chicks have their own mag) about a mushroom that reportedly grows well in chicken coops.   It seemed like a do-able project.
Phone calls were made to the American company. Questions were asked about border crossings and importing. All seemed to be in order.  We decided Why Not? and placed an order for mushroom spawn.

The 'shroom in question is called a King Stropharia. Also known as a Wine Cap. Also known as the Godzilla mushroom, but we didn't know that one at the time. (although it has subsequently become clear to us)

An email promply arrived to let us know our 'shrooms were in transit. Another email came from UPS telling us that the package was with Border Control.  And then the trail went cold.  Nobody could locate our missing mushrooms.  If you have ever had the privilege of trying to contact Border Control, you'll understand that there is a chunk of your Life you will never recover. Nor will you actually get to speak to a real human.  Weeks passed. A month ticked by. No 'shrooms in sight.  Wondering how long our 'spawn' could sit in an overheated office and remain viable, fretting occurred.

Finally I decided it was time for a serious intervention.  I phoned The Rt. Honourable Tony Clement.  After all, this is his riding, and parliament being pro-roqued more often than not, it's always good to make him feel wanted. Now, I have to hand it to his assistant. She leapt (swung?) into action.  And apparently when the Minister of Finance picks up the phone, Border Control answers. Who knew?  Anyway, kudos to Tony's office -- they found the missing mushrooms.  Which were, as it turned out, off being tested to be sure they were not some weird halocinogenic variety. They were not.

with my cell phone to give it some scale, this is Godzilla
One on Tuesday, Oct. 1... 
It took over six weeks, but the little bag of mushroom spawn finally arrived, and was hurriedly placed in the garden I had prepared six weeks prior...  Nothing much happened. Spring turned into summer.  Nothing much happened.  Gardens got more mulch, and more water. Nothing...  

Until this week. When all of a sudden these things sprouted up like, well, like mushrooms. Almost overnight.  And let me tell you, once these start to grow, they don't know when to call it quits.  The King Stropharia can grow to 20 cm high and 30 cm across.

And THIS is Godzilla One on Wednesday, Oct. 2...
Well, gosh... they are tasty things.  And pretty. They look like there should be a fairy or an elf sitting under their little speckled umbrella tops.

But given the speed with which they are now fruiting, we are going to need some help consuming them!  I've got mushrooms drying in the dehydrator unit. Mushrooms in the process of becoming Mushroom and Curried Squash Soup. Mushrooms about to be tucked in the oven with a pork roast.  We are open to suggestions. And buyers...