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.

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Talking Turkey in the Morning, with Audio :)

The wild turkeys have been calling all week. Sunday, early morning, they were up on the hill by the Lookout, gobbling their hearts out.

The males are in full mating display 'mode' -- they trail the tips of the wings on the ground, fluff up their magnificent tail feathers, and 'sing' to the ladies.  You will also hear the 'chuck' noise that they make.

They are pretty cool to have around.  Quite secretive, we don't see them all that frequently, but we do see the signs of their presence, and we get to hear them this time of year.  

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Come Listen to the Radio

So this is what we're doing next...  If you are up in the Dwight area, you should come. You get tea, coffee, desserts and two short radio plays, all for $15/ticket.   All proceeds go to our amazing Dwight Public Library.

BMD and the B-Dazzler

 The Bondi Maintenance Dept. in action, in the 3 car garage, repairing and repainting canoes, ready for our summer guests.

And Megan, our B-Dazzler, helping get the gardens into shape!

No shortage of stuff to do... at least for us. You, you get to just come and hang out in a lawn chair, in the lake, by the fire...

You might be making us jealous... :)

Garden, Grow!

 Brian had a harrowing morning on Saturday...

But, trooper that he is, he just plowed on with the day.  Ha Ha Ha!

We have a large garden. A really large garden... It takes a ton of work...   That tractor, that dates to 1954... and she is still the best machine for the job.  That drag that is setting the lines for planting, that is almost as old.  If you take care of things, they tend to last.  That is the way we feel about Bondi Village Resort... take care of it.

Thanks to Carol, we get the most beautiful flower displays in the gardens. She is the mastermind.

After Brian tilled the garden, David planted the corn (12 rows of the tasty stuff). Give it a couple months and our guests will be enjoying fresh corn on the cob! #BondiVillageResort #farming#northmuskoka #explorersedge #Muskoka#summerexperiences

Back Roads and Unsung Treasures

Wandering about, enjoying a day trip around Lake of Bays?

 Try meandering down the Paint Lake Road, off Hwy 117 just south of Dorset. 

Pause to read the plaque about the Tramway... 

check out the old schoolhouse at the Paint Lake Cemetery -- students over the years wrote their names on the back wall... 

and then keep going until you find the little lending library... Here you'll also find an incredible collection of wind sculptures, that are a great addition to any lawn. Just one of the 'finds' tucked away in this great Lake of Bays area.

Commemorating the Gilmour Tramway

On Saturday, Nancy had the honour of helping to unveil an historic plaque near Dorset, on the Paint Lake Road.

The plaque celebrates the Gilmour Lumber Company Tramway -- and is located on Tramway Creek.   While the actual spot where we put the plaque is not exactly where the tramway ran, if we had put it at the actual site, you'd have been hiking some several kilometres into the woods... 

The tramway started on the Lake of Bays, in Trading Bay, and logs were lifted by a jackladder to a long mainly level flume that floated them to Tramway Creek.  The top end of Tramway Creek, where it bubbled and leapt down the hillside, was dammed, and that created Tramway Pond.  This provided not only the water needed to float the logs along the flume, but also backed up enough water that logs could be floated directly into  Raven Lake, and then on to the long 445 km. trek to the Gilmour Mills in Trenton, Ontario.

The plaque was initiated by the Paint Lake Cottage Association
members, who came out on a Saturday morning to celebrate. (along
with dog Stanley)
It was an extraordinary construction, and undertaking.  The jackladders ran up beside Tramway Creek -- the lift was too great for just one engine, so there were several along the way.  Over a million logs moved over the tramway in the 1890s, during the three years of operation. They had floated down from Algonquin Park on the Oxtongue River... and then were rafted or boomed to Dorset (softwood will float, and can be boomed. Hardwood will sink, and needs to be rafted onto cribs made out of softwood and towed by an amphibious steam tug called an alligator Now you know.)

To learn about the Tramway, you should visit the Dorset Heritage Museum, where there is a scale model of the creation.  Or read one of the books written about it --  Gary Long's "Gilmour Tramway, A Lumber Baron's Desperate Scheme" is one such, specific to the tramway..

When it was built, there was nothing like it anywhere in the world. It is a sparkling little historic gem, that many people are not aware of.  The level flume section crossed what is now Hwy 117 right by Paint Lake Road... now, looking at the woods, you'd never know.

What a Weekend

It was truly a  spectacular Long Weekend this year.  Hot, sunny, and the breeze off the lake kept the blackflies away. 

Our guests were out enjoying time together on our big lawn with a variety of games, and then took to the canoes -- and yes, also to the lawn chairs....

There are lots of great weekends left in May and June -- you should come and spend one of them here at Bondi Village Resort, on the edge of Algonquin Park...

 Taffy was more than happy to take the opportunity to cool her paws in the lake.

 ‪#‎bondivillageresort‬ ‪#‎northmuskoka‬ ‪#‎explorersedge‬


Megan has a new camera -- she is playing around with it, to get to know it, and was able to grab this shot of one of our merganser ducks swimming along the shore at Bondi Village Resort.

The mallards are much less reticent around people, coming right up to us at the stable to steal the chicken feed, but these mergansers are more elusive.  I love the quality of the water.  Makes me want to go jump right on in!

And why not? We are being told this is going to be one very hot summer -- wouldn't it be better to spend at least one week of it here at the Lake of Bays, at Bondi Village Resort?  We think so. And the merganser agrees...

Talking Turkey in the Morning

The wild turkeys at this time of year would but e-Harmony or to shame.  The big toms are in full mating plumage, dropping their wings and upping their tails and in general just plain strutting their stuff, hoping to impress the ladies.  (this particular hen looks at bit ho-hum, but the boys are 'working it')

We frequently see them along the side of the road, or on our hiking trails, and just now every morning we can hear the big gobblers calling in the Sugarbush woods.   It is a curious gobbling sound...  and it carries a long way on the quiet morning air.

I can sit on my deck with my morning coffee and listen to the boys singing to the girls. It is their vesrsion of a rooster's crow -- a loud, shrill descending and throaty jumble of sound that lasts about one second.   The males will often gobble from their treetop roosts, where the sound carries better than on the ground.  One male's call can lead to a group of others joining in -- in fact, a loud noise, or a crow's caw can trigger what is called 'shock gobbling' wherein a whole bunch of turkeys choir up  Every now and then I test that theory... it's rather fun to get the turkeys to call back.

The gobble is not their only call.  Both males and females cackle as they fly down from their roost trees, give short, soft purring calls while travelling on foot, and a long series of yelps to reassemble a flock after it has been scattered.  Young turkeys (called poults)  whistle three or four times to their flockmates when they are lost.. 

It is pretty marvellous to know who is doing the talking out there in our woods here at Bondi Village Resort.

Thank you to our friend Steve Dunsford for this beautiful photo.


 Busted! That moment when the beaver signals that you are seen, and should move along... 

Robin Tapley captures Beav right at the peak of the elusive Tail Slap. The colours in this photo are exceptional. So, of course, is the beaver.   When that tail hits, it sounds like a gunshot! 

They are out and about now, repairing their dams and getting ready for a lazy summer on the lake, enjoying themselves and raising their kits, until the colder shorter days of autumn trigger a frenzy of activity as they get ready for winter. 

But first, summer.... time to swim, and chill... We should take a leaf from that book -- have you booked your week at the lake yet? We still have a few vacancies at Bondi Village Resort. Give us a call. 705 635 2261

Monday, May 16, 2016

Flying Our Colours

We are flying our colours at the entrance to Bondi Village Resort.   

We fly these particular flags for a reason.

Canada -- well, that's a no-brainer. We could not be more proud to be Canadian.

Union Jack - that is for our grandparents, Joseph and Elizabeth, who came here from London in 1905; and for my Mom, Rosemary, raised in Windsor, England

Stars and Stripes -- that is for our good neighbours just to the south, and also for Carol, who holds citizenship in both countries (and yes, it is flying, just not quite in the frame in this photo!)

Brazil -- Carol grew up in Brazil...

Australia -- Joseph Tapley made three tours to Australia and New Zealand in the 1890s, with the Williamson and Musgrave theatre company. He named the farm Bondi, after the beach in Sydney, so we have to fly that flag, mate.

And the Ontario standard, because, well, because Ontario...

Stuff in Gardens

 We seem to be 'growing' canoes on the lawn.

Most of them are already out on the racks, ready for our guests at Bondi Village Resort this year.

But there's always that tiny number that need some repair and restoration work, and they are now in the garage, with repairs underway.

Flowers are springing up along the fenceline in the garden, adding pops of colour.

We're not sure if we planted 'chicken seeds' last year, but we seem to have a healthy crop of them dust-bathing in the asparagus bed...

And, speaking of asparagus, it is always the first crop up in the garden. And just so darn delicious!

 No better pairing for fresh asparagus than fresh free range eggs.  Thanks to these lovely ladies, we've got that too! Lucky us.

Visits from the Neighbours

Felonius Munk, or resident stable chipmunk, enjoyed a snack of squash. This is one of the hens favourite vegetables, so there was lots to go around.

We also have a mallard duck who has taken up residence in the large rain puddle by the chicken coop. She shares grain with the hens, and snoozes peacefully in the tall grasses, while her mate just hangs out and looks showy and impressive.

In Algonquin Park, our cousin Robin Tapley snapped this photo of moose, right along the side of Highway 60.

This morning, my friend Jacqueline, who lives on Little Whiskey Bay, Lake of Bays, had a visit from this beauty, right at her dock.  We've been hearing their beautiful and haunting call for about a week or so. Welcome back.

The deer were playing peekaboo outside my door with the cats -- neither species seemed to fully comprehend who the other was: there was great interest on both sides.   Deciding that the cats were, perhaps, predators, the deer retreated to the lake.

There is no shortage of wildlife on view here at Bondi Village Resort. And that is just the way we like it. 

We are all One Community in Canada

We had guests this past weekend from -- wait for it -- Fort MacMurray.  Anyone from Canada knows about the terrible forest fire that raged through that city, forcing the evacuation of close to 90,000 people. It is a credit to everyone out there that the evacuation of that many people was managed at all, let alone as smoothly as it was.  

Our guests were staying with relatives in the Toronto area, making the house there a bit crowded, so they came up here for the weekend. The weather was not the kindest, but they had a super time. On Saturday, all the kids played in the stable with the hens and the pony, and there were plenty of smiles to go around!

Towel Change?

Megan thinks it would be a good idea this summer if we put Squeegee to work on Wednesdays when we change towels at the cottages...   Instead of coming via golfcart, she feels it would be much more fun to come by pony cart.

She might be on to something there...

Grandfather Bear Hanging the Stars

This is a painting of the First Nations' legend of how Grandfather Bear created the constellations.  

It is lovely, and charming.  So many people now cannot see, or learn, about the constellations because the cities have so much ground light that the sky is drowned out by the lights. 

 We had a guest from Israel here two years ago. He was delightful, and 85 years old, and enjoying his first visit to Canada and Bondi Village Resort.   Out on the lawn, at one of the Star Search programs we offer on clear summer nights, he was just standing still, staring up, silent, while Nancy traced out the Big Dipper, the North Star, Bootes, the Summer Triangle.  Finally he said, very softly, and in a voice full of awe, "you know, in all my life, I have never seen the Milky Way."  It was arching overhead, in its fullest beauty.

We are happy to be able to take our guests out to learn about the night sky. We are honoured that our sky is dark enough to allow us to fully enjoy that wonder.

And speaking of Grandfather Bear, we are working with Mike McIntosh, of the Bear With Us bear rescue Sanctuary, to bring him here this summer to talk about bears, coyotes, wolves, and the wonderful creatures that they are! Excited to see how we can work this all out!

Canoeing, How She Are Done...

A friend sent us this video link to some very 'old school' canoe tricks and we wanted to pass it along.
After all, we have watched our guests do handstands,,. gunnel bob... canoe over canoe rescues...

All our cottage rentals at Bondi Village Resort  include the use of a canoe, because we feel everyone should know how to use these wonderful and iconically Canadian vessels.  

We would probably prefer, however, if you don't use our canoes to try some of the moves in the video!

Trilliums, Deer and Why Balance Matters

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.

Our woods at Bondi Village Resort are carpeted with them.

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

thanks to Bondi guest Mary Jaekl for this lovely photo!
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.

It is important that Nature be able to do her work, and keep populations in a proper balance.

It's not all bad news for the trilliums, though. The same deer that munch the big blossoms also contribute to the survival of the species, by carrying away the seeds. An ant may carry a seed only about a metre, but a whitetail deer will prance off through the forest like Bambi on caffeine for about a kilometre before, well, before planting the seed shall we say.

Everything has a balance, and Nature is better at it than we are, it seems.  We all need to learn to tread lightly on the planet.

Oxtongue Craft Cabin -- a short walk away

 Our guests at Bondi Village Resort love to walk up the road to one of the best gift and artisan studios in Muskoka, at the Oxtongue Craft Cabin.

This meticulously hand-painted Dancing Loon woodcarving by Robert Kelly stands a majestic 14" high and has a 31" wing span. It is absolutely glorious and the perfect keepsake or gift for loon lovers.

Just one of the reasons our guests love to browse through this eclectic and beautiful place.

The Eighth of May

 May brings flowers, and heat in the sunshine, and towering dark clouds, and sometimes even snow.

May brings the first blush of green onto the hillsides.   The first asparagus, pushing up from the dark earth.

May brings out the canoes, ready for our guests at Bondi Village Resort this summer.  It brings birds, chosing nest sites, getting ready for a busy busy season.

Above all May most definitively brings the promise that Winter is behind us. It's time to look forward to summer.  Have you booked your week with us yet?  We still have some spots open.

May brings colours, very bright, different from our Winter White