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.

Friday, December 27, 2013

Brightest. Darkest. An Eclipse for Solstice night.

David has a 'never fail' weather forecast:  Light in the morning, darkening through the evening, dark at night.  
He's never missed yet, but today and tonight he's on fire with that forecast. 
After a fluffy sparkly day, we're headed into the Darkest Night. Really.
A Lunar Eclipse, on top of the Solstice -- how often does that happen? How often do you score out a lunar eclipse on the longest night of the year?  Well, it's been 500 years, so if you missed the last one, you have a good excuse for it.
The Earth's shadow will begin to blot out the moon at 1:32 a.m. EST (10:32 p.m. PST). During totality, when the Earth is directly between the moon and the sun, the moon will turn a rusty orange-red for 72 minutes from 2:41 a.m. to 3:53 a.m. EST (11:41 p.m. to 12:53 a.m. PST).
Set your alarm and climb out of bed -- why not? How often do you get to see this stuff???
Tongue firmly in cheek, NYU science journalist Prof. John Rennie outlines what you can expect :
1. Faint penumbral dimming of the moon's disk.
2. Pervasive creeping sensations of unease.
3. Howling of wolves.
4. Unclean things walk the earth; Dick Cheney rises from the grave.
5. Contortion of the zodiac.
6. Intrusion of strange dimensions.
7. Universal gibbering madness.
8. Cthulhu.
9. A glimmer of sanity in the chaos.
10. Restoration of Euclidean geometry.
11. Fungal Mi-go from Yuggoth return captive brains to their rightful owners.
12. Applause, followed by waffles for breakfast.

 While we think this list a tad 'over the top', we look forward to the appluase, and waffles for breakfast, and we would not be the least surprised to encounter the owling of wolves.  Possibly even a glide-by from the Snowy Owl that has been spotted in Algonquin Park.


Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Christmas Squirrel

 In the early afternoon, a flying squirrel presented itself to Brian, just outside the office. Ran over, in fact, and hopped up on his boot.

That's a bit peculiar.  But what's a man to do?  When a critter comes over and says, "hey, can you help?", well... you have to act.   Brian (who said it looked cold) set out a huge feast of corn and nuts and seeds at the base of the Pine tree.  The squirrel came back, and tucked in to his Christmas dinner.

Hopefully, a full tummy will help him with these cold temperatures! And we are happy to share.

Christmas Day, in the Morning

If you overlooked the -30 part, it was just so incredibly lovely. 
The day warmed up, outside. Inside, it was always warm and full of family.

Deep and Crisp and Even

We were lucky enough to dodge the ice storm that hit Toronto.

What fell up this way was snow. Lots of it. As the Christmas carol says, deep and crisp and even.

And our hydro stayed on. I think it is actually easier to deal with power outages here in the country. We are more used to getting them, for one thing. Virtually every house has an alternate form of heat -- wood stove, or propane fireplace. Everybody has a bbq in the back yard.  Many of us have generators.  None of that works well in the city, so Blessings on those still struggling with a lack of hydro.

For the Hydro-deprived, we still have space up here. We can help save Christmas (and New Years). We'll even give you a great deal. Not to mention a warm place to be.

Good to Go

 You could hear the girls giggling a mile away.  Grandma Sharon had the "Watch" while the parents were madly trying to become Christmas ready.

"Can we come and see the Pony?" was the first question. But of course...

"Can they collect the eggs from the hens?"   Please do...

"Is there somewhere they can toboggan?" Well.... yes, as a matter of fact.

Now, Brian hadn't had a chance to pack in the tubing run, but that didn't matter. Jorga did a good job of smoothing off the edges before Island hit the slope. 

Sharon? She mostly provided the muscle.  The Great Outdoors provided the fun.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Our Christmas Letter for all our Friends

Merry Christmas, to all our Friends.... December, 2013

Another busy year seems to have flown by. We welcomed the year in with long time guests the Surry/Caveney/Rosati clan who take over the resort every other Christmas for their bi-annual reunion. Like so many of our long time guests, they are now firmly part of our Bondi Family and it is always a joy to host them.

Weather is always a Canadian topic – January seemed to stutter with several inconvenient thaws short of duration but messy of snow. Still, guests enjoyed plenty of time on our trails and when the conditions were less than ideal, they got creative with snow forts and inventive play. There is always good news – if it’s too icy on the trails, the rinks are in great shape! Arrowhead Park has a skating trail that is unique in the Province, letting you wind through woods on your blades. Brian’s ski grooming equipment helps us provide amazing experiences to our guests.

 Our big news – well, really, the ONLY news this year that is news is that David became engaged to Megan MacDonald in February. They will be married in September 2014 – we’re not sure that gives us enough time to be ready!
Since the new couple will need a place to live, David has designed and is building a house on property next to the resort. It’s Nancy’s lot, right on the water, but it is entirely David’s design and build. That project has kept David, Brian and Mike busy for much of the year since the shovels went into the ground in the spring. What an amazing experience that has been for the guys! They have had help from professionals for parts of the build, and of course Brian is on hand to offer expertise, but there is no substitute for hands-on! It looks wonderful, and is now weathertight – so we know where they’ll be for the winter: inside, working on the details!

Other news of note involved our long-time friend and head housekeeper Sue Baker, who welcomed her first grand-daughter, Willow, on Dec. 2
nd! Sue has been an important part of our Bondi Family for many years, and we are delighted to share this occasion with her.

Marsh's Falls in Full Flood!
Spring was moving along nicely, until on April 19 we got over 50 mm of rain all at once, falling into snow pack and ice filled lakes. The fast melt that ensued produced a Century Flood that made news across the country. You could stand back and watch the water rise in the lake – and this is a BIG lake. In just over two days, the lake had come up almost a metre, flooding over the docks. We had ours anchored down with barrels filled with water – but the issue wasn’t the water but rather the ice. When that started to move, there was millions of dollars of damage done around the lake to boat houses and docks. We were fortunate indeed that the water stopped just short of flooding Anchor’s boathouse, and all our docks survived with some engineered assistance from the Bondi Maintenance Dept. April 27
th saw the ice gone from the lake, and the water receding, but clean up continued well into the summer.

Carol’s grand-daughter Sarah spent much of the summer with us. She took Engagement Photos (including this one!) for the young couple, and will be back with us next summer helping with the wedding details. She’s very excited to be in the wedding party!

Nancy met Justin Trudeau in February– and he graciously autographed an old coffee mug she has that shows Pierre, rose in his teeth, proclaiming Fuddle Duddle. In March, gray horse Bailey featured in a photo shoot involving wedding dresses and lots of snow... and lots of work to make him sparkling white himself!

Napster, lost an eye to glaucoma last year just about Christmas time, but is doing well. Has now sold around the globe, most recently to Oman, and one of his prints was presented by M.P. Hon. Tony Clement to Mrs. Laureen Harper on board the
S.S.Segwun. Napster was not invited on the cruise... just sayin’...

Summer was busy, as always, but slow getting started – we had vacancies this year scattered where we’d least expect them, so if you are thinking of a Bondi getaway, be sure to call. In the tourism industry, those wonderful days when we’d be booked fully by the end of March are now just a happy memory and people seem to be far more ‘last minute’ in their planning. All the same, we welcome a
new cycle beginning at Bondi, as we welcomed home several families whose children grew up vacationing here, and are now coming back after a break bringing families of their own. It is magical to see the grandchildren here and watch the generations share the best of memories! In this strange new electronic world, it is more important than ever to spend time outdoors, letting kids just be kids. There is no better place for families to be families and for children to grow up than here.

Sadly, in early July, Achmed our beloved cat vanished out his cat flap one night and simply did not return. He is missed. Also missed this summer were Monarch butterflies. We are told that the population suffered an enormous setback last year – only a handful made it this far north to grace our milkweed flowers. We hope this incredible species is able to recover from climate change and habitat loss. Don’t pull milkweed from your gardens, please! Losing this species makes the world that much poorer.

Nancy’s Heritage committee produced an
Historic Walking Tour of Dwight, to go with the one already done on Dorset. Township matters keep her busy. This is an election year, so she’ll have to decide if she’s up for one more cycle! Taffy is her ‘shadow’ – anyone finding Taffy has found Nancy! She continues busy with horses, judging and coaching.

David and Mike took gun and hunting courses last year. This year ventured out into the woods. They learned a lot, enjoyed the time in the woods, and did fill the freezer with venison – although the wild turkey continues to elude them. We can report that they know how to cook venison as well, and do a splendid job of putting a meal on the table. Mike Bechtel is staying with us this winter, while studying at Georgian College in Bracebridge. He’s building a fish hut that we will be offering to our guests this winter (it’s a breeze after the lessons learned house building!) Having him here is a boon and a blessing.

Carol grows something new and unusual every year in her gardens – this year, it was molly berries, also known as ground cherries. Our climate is markedly different from the Toronto area – while they endured a very wet spring, Carol was pouring water to our gardens. There are less deer around, which is good news for the forest. We still enjoy seeing them on our lawns every day, but the enormous flocks seem to have dissipated, no doubt aided by the activities of the local wolf pack who sang for our guests every week this summer. That is one of the benefits (and for gardeners, downsides!) of living here – the closeness of the wildlife!

Brian’s health check-ups continue to be positive, although he must make regular trips to the hospital for monitoring. He continues to fly his Piper PA-11, and continues to lament that he doesn’t get enough time to do that. In early December, Brian, Carol, David and Megan enjoyed a two week cruise from Los Angeles through the Panama Canal to Miami. A highlight, if we judge from the mouse-ear hats brought home, was a side-trip to Disneyland! It is quite the engineering accomplishment and a sight to behold. Nancy would have tagged along, but couldn’t find anyone willing to house-sit the horses, cat and dog!

With the changes coming to Canada Post, this may well be the last year we send our Christmas letter other than by electronic means. We’d invite you to please send us your email addresses, and to
follow Bondi – on our Blog, on our Facebook page, because we do want to stay in touch with you. If you prefer to hear from us by Mail, please do let us know. We want to stay in touch with our extended Bondi Family – you are all precious to us. Wishing all of you the best this Blessed Season has to bring, we are again reminded that it is not about what is under the tree, but who is around the table with you.

"Lead us to the light, let us hear the voice of reason singing in the night, let us run from anger, and catch us when we fall, teach us in our dreams, and please, yes, please, bless us one and all. Bless us all with playful years, with noisy games, with joyful tears. We reach for You, and we stand tall, and in our prayers and dreams, we ask You Bless Us All."

Winter Strategies

Outside, snow is lying deep and crisp and even.  The deer are nuzzling and snuffling down through the white stuff in search of grass that will soon be beyond their reach. At that point, they'll switch over to nibbling on tree buds and cedar twigs. Their coats are so dense now that the snow won't melt on their backs. All that body heat is retained close to the deer.
In the stable, there is a heat lamp, and hay. Which serves quite nicely for the Egg Production Brigade. The ladies don't like going out in the snow. Cold on the feet and all that malarkey...  Fluffed up feathers don't help with chilly toes.

But He Who Rules has the system figured.  Napster has a spot by the fire.  You can hear him, purring away under his breath, to the tune of 'Let it Snow, Let it Snow, Let it Snow.'

Christmas. Cookies. Fridays. Fishy.

 Finding yourself a little late with the Christmas baking? Wondering what to take as a gift to that Seasonal get-together?  Short on time, but long on best wishes?

Don't hit the panic button. Instead, get yourself to Baysville to Humble Pie and the Buttertart Factory.

Have they got your Christmas baking? You bet.   Gorgeous (and delicious) these cookies, rum balls, mince pies and so much more will make your table shine and your tummy smile. 

Helpful hint: do not leave any of these in the car with Taffy the Dog Burglar...

Wondering what to have on the table as a centrepiece? How about a Christmas Tree that you don't have to store when the day is done? These are made out of shortbread or gingerbread and probably won't last through to the end of dessert!

And if Christmas dinner is more than enough cooking for you when company drops by, and you're looking for great food you didn't have to create yourself, while you're at Humble Pie, turn to your left and you'll be face to face with the Fork in the Road. Great food -- and plenty you can bring home for the bbq or grill.  In additon to the wonderful artisanal sausages made right on site (with a magic ingredient provided from the Lake of Bays Brewing Co. right across the road) Terry has lots of tasty treats in the freezers, and is always cooking up great lunches and dinners you can take home with you.  Don't forget that ALL Fridays are Fishy Fridays at Fork in the Road. Best fish and chips in the Township!

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Old Man Winter Hits the Trails

 Sometimes, you are just in the right place, at the right time. Not my photo... thanks to Paul Rae for sharing this.

Old Man Winter showed up...

And he is just in time.

Algonquin Park reports that they have opened their cross country ski trails (they are a touch ahead of us -- ours are packed, and dragged, but not yet track set!)

Fen Lake... calling your name
With over 70 km. of ski trails, inclduing Award winning Leaf Lake, Algonquin has plenty on offer.  Trails are reported to be  packed, groomed, and trackset with good conditions reported.
Minnesing Ski Trail offering adventurous backcountry wilderness skiing opportunities is never groomed or trackset during the winter months.
Check the latest conditions plus trail maps, directions, and more at 

Monday, December 16, 2013

Letters from Heaven

 If you have a camera (and a balcony) and a piece of glass, a flashlight, some woolen fabric... apparently you can capture images such as these. 

Woolly hats off to Russian photographer Alexey Kljatov  who taped a lens to his camera, set it up on the balcony and took these shots.

Which are breathtaking not only in their detail and clarity, but in their subject matter.

As we slowly sink in Ontario under the weight of the current snowstorms, it is all too easy to lose sight of the trees for the forest. Or more accurately, the flakes for the fall...

Individual snowflakes are among the most intricate and beautiful things on the planet. Each has six sides, and the conventional wisdom is that no two are alike (now, that may be in slight dispute, but finding two alike, well that would require several lifetimes).

Recognizing that snowflakes are six-sided is only the beginning. The bigger question is, why?  What force can produce millions of flakes out of frozen water that -- whether they be flat plates, columns, or spikey stars, all have six sides, and all are different.

Nature likes hexagons. Look at honeycombs, heck out the seeds of pomegranates... but snowflakes seem to take this to a whole new level.

The architecture of snoflakes depends first ont he water molecule itself -- that good old combination of two hydrogens and one oxygen molecules. When water is liquid, those molecules are vibrating and sliding past each other, colliding, recoiling and leaving no space between.  Get the mercury down low enough, however, and that jostling is overcome by electrical forces acting among the molecules, snapping them into fixed positons relative to each other. We call it 'freezing.'

That causes the water molecules to move apart and take a molecules-length position with regard to each other. X-rays of such ice crystals revel a remarkable repeating pattern of hexagons, in turn bonded to other water molecules above, beside, and below.   At the micro level, a mass of ice crystals looks a lot like a honeycomb. 

Under the right atmospheric conditions, a crystal will start to grow (usually by latching onto a microscopic dust particle), adding wter molecules to its edges, but always preserving the underlying hexagonal organization. By the time it is big enough to see, you have a snowflake.

Their actual shape reflects their histories -- if a flake is forming in fairly dry air at -15 C, it will be plate-shaped, but at 10 degrees less than that it will form a solid column.  Feathery Christmas card flakes form in very wet air, at around -14 C.  Add to this the fact that flakes are bounced about -- winds carry them up into colder air, down into warmer, moving them quickly, slowly... with each change, the growing flake will alter its ongoing pattern while preserving what is already there. Tiny differences in temperature or number of available molecules will impact the shape of the growing flake.  You could read the history of that flake by its shape.

The really tough question (and I have no answer, but there is a career in science for you if you chose to go find it out) is how the snowflake knows how to grow at just the right speed that it always balances out and is symmetrical and six-sided.  Speaking of Science, back in 1989, researchers estimated the number of flakes that have fallen on the earth since the beginning of the planet. (No, I don't know how, so just don't ask me)  One estimate is 10 the the 35th -- that'a a one followed by 35 zeroes -- a weight of snow fifty times the mass of the earth, even though each flakes weighs only a millionth of a gram.  Since each of the flakes contains something like 10 to the 18th molecules of water, and those can be arranged in lots of different way (for instance, an individual flake could encounter a million occasions when water molecules have a choice of more than one place to attach as it swirls about before comign to land)  This means it is unlikely (improbable. Some might well say Impossible)  for two flakes to have exactly the same history and therefore
exactly the same shape.

So enjoy them, in their breath-taking beauty for what they really are. Letters from heaven, reminding us how fragile, yet how strong Nature is. We ignore it at our peril, and it is a good lesson to pause and look at the smallest part of winter much more closely.

Thank you very much to Alexey for sharing these incredible pictures.  If you'd like to see how he caught them, go read his blog.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Turkey Time

 Our wild turkeys may be unclear on the general meaning of Christmas Turkey...

But here they were, wandering up the driveway on Friday, having helped themselves to some of the bird seed near the office.

They are safe from becoming a dining accessory...  but they sure do add a festive touch to the decor!

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Snap. Frozen.

 Taffy just s'nose that winter is here!  She was helping me measure how much of the white stuff we got last week.  For three days it just kept falling. And falling.

We've now got close to two feet of snow -- that means it's up over your knees if you slog through it.

Who has seen the Wind? Well, anyone who has been out in a blizzard -- the flakes spin and swirl with every hint of the Winds' breath.  You need to be bundled up. You need layers. You need to cover your face. But you should keep your eyes open. It's astonishing.

Just a few days ago, right after the melt I posted about last week, the bay had refrozen, and was deep with snow. Out by the points, the lake was still open. The island was still encircled with water, as islands are.

But now, the lake is frozen all the way across, past the Island, all the way to the far shore.

Dave and Mike have snowmobiled the ski trails to start packing them in.  Brian has got the driveways and parking lots ploughed waaaaaaay back to allow for more snowfall. Which is coming.

Winter is here.  Hidden Valley Highlands is open on all hills. The Algonquin Snowmobile Club has got some trails already groomed and open (but the Lakes are NOT SAFE and not staked. Stick to marked and open trails)  Arrowhead Park has got skate-skiing trails open, and are about to open their Skating Trail in the woods.  The snow is laced with the tracks of deer on our lawns. The toboggan hill is just calling out for kids to come jump on board.

Christmas is right around the corner. What are you doing to work off the turkey? Why not come north, and spend some days with us.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

How Lakes Freeze

First came the cold, then the snow. Then ice crept across the bay.

Two days ago, we got a sudden mild incursion of air from the South. Down went the snow, and water  spread across the fragile new ice, catching clouds and shadows. Mirror of the sky...

Today it's rock hard again, cold, the ice is back, so too the snow. The ground beneath is now frozen, so the snow will stay.

Winter, step by step and snowflake by snowflake, this way comes.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Tow Plow

Today was the first time I was behind one of these 'new and improved' snowplows when it was actually deployed and plowing.


They do fill up the road!   It's a BIG piece of machinery, that's for sure!

When the second plow is deployed, the whole unit slews over to the right... when not plowing, it 'snaps' back into line behind the main truck.

Interesting to see these starting to appear this year. They will speed up the work and reduce the number of plows, I would think, on the right roads.