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.

Monday, January 1, 2018

So Very Welcome to the World -- Piper Tapley

And here she is -- Piper Tapley.   David and Megan are thrilled to welcome this new soul into their hearts and their family.  She arrived at 5.15 a.m. on Dec. 31st -- after a long delivery.  All are well.

We cannot wait to watch this fifth generation baby at Bondi grow!

Happy New Everything and our Christmas greetings

I'm behind in updating the blog -- very soon you'll find out why
1  and to my chagrin I have recently discovered that when I copy posts over from the Facebook page, the pictures don't actually come -- you have to double click. sorry about that. I wish I had the time to go back and fix them all, but must ask forebearance.

It's been a busy year -- so much so that I'm simply going to attach our Christmas recap letter here.
To all our friends, Christmas, 2017

Snow came early, dragging cold weather with it. Our bay is frozen (but still not safe to travel!)  Ski trails are packed. We are White Christmas Ready.  Last year we were joined by the Surry/Caveney/Rosati reunion  that comes alternate years. It is such fun to watch these families grow together.  Action everywhere – including snow forts, igloos, and Jake, who saw one of the Algonquin wolves while skiing solo on a trail.  (I asked if he was scared, he replied no, he just banged his ski pole on a tree, like you do to scare away a bear…)
 This year we are only partially open for the Christmas season, as we are expecting the EVENT OF THE YEAR. Megan and David are expecting a baby. We’ve decided we want to be available to enjoy that occasion – and the babe is due about Jan. 1st (we’re still taking bets -If you are on our email list, you’ll be among the first to know.).  It will be a different Christmas for us – we’re all on pins and needles with excitement, and Sarah is coming to stay for the week as well. This will be generation #5 for the Tapley family at Bondi.
So, other than THAT news, what happened? Last December Nancy’s mare Abby contracted life-threatening cellulitis in one hind leg, which put her on the intensive care list, and ended up with three weeks during January at the Large Animal Hospital in Guelph. No cause was found. Gratefully, she returned to full soundness. Fingers crossed we get no recurrence.
The big project during the winter was the renovation of the old “Mink Ranch” property, where Bev Payne lived since the early 1970s. There was a lot of freshening up that needed to be done. Sadly, Bev passed away this past year, as did our other neighbour Muriel Boothby. There have been some other shakeups in the neighbourhood too – in January Foxwood Resort, one of the oldest on the lake, sold to a private corporation to become a private retreat.   Beauview Cottage Resort  has also just sold – to provide access to the development of Langmaid’s Island.  We are one of the few family-oriented, family-run cottage resorts left!  We’re proud that we still provide an authentic cottage experience that creates memories lasting over generations.
February began with a bang.  That was the sound of Nancy’s indoor riding arena collapsing.  It was a terrifying experience. There was just enough notice that it was failing that no horses or riders were in the building when it went down.  This was something we definitely did not need, and the clean up of the site occupied far too much of the guys’ time and energy.   The rebuilding of a new arena was slated to start on Labour Day, finished by Thanksgiving. As I write this, we are about 5 weeks away from getting it completed, as they didn’t begin until into December, just a ‘little’ late.  Probably not a conversation you want to have with Nancy.
In other building news, we are still working through the slow process of getting a permit to renovate Cedars cottage – three years in, maybe this year will be the charm. 
The Lodge stays very busy with groups and reunions all through the winter, but the cottages could use a little more occupancy, so don’t give up on a winter weekend folks.  Family Day is the only weekend when we are fully booked.  Mind, if you can stay an extra night on any two day booking, we’ll give you that for just an extra $25.00. You should come.  Winter is a wonderful season here. Mind you, so are Spring and Autumn, and Summer simply rules.
David and Mike went skiing in Collingwood to celebrate Dave’s 28th birthday at the end of February – not quite a reprise of their trip to Whistler last year, but still a great time shredding the hill. 
Other than skiing, they have built some fish-huts that they are offering for rental – including a fancy new one that will be available this winter.  A huge windstorm that blew through in March tipped one over, leaving, in David’s words, “the fish victorious.” Other than soot everywhere, it wasn’t damaged.  Huts however, were removed from the ice forthwith. Replacing fishing lures with golf carts and golf clubs, the lads stepped up to the annual Golf the Bay extravaganza. Brian claims he won. David disputes this.
We were also lucky with a windstorm in August that felled a huge limb from the cherry tree at Wheelhouse – missing the cottage.  Pruning, and tying the remaining branches together will hopefully allow us to keep this tree, a source of beauty, and food for so much of our wildlife. This tree is well over 100 years old, and like an aging relative, we don’t want to give up on it! Along with Carol’s constant improvements to beds, furnishings and curtains (they need to be modified to fit in most cases – good thing she’s wonderful with a sewing machine), Megan researched an on-line reservation program that should help us streamline invoices and confirmations once we get the bugs out of it.  Longside and Blackberry got new siding, Blackberry and the Lodge got new windows, Red Pine got renovated.
Come May, Mike started a new job with South Mary Lake Contractors, and moved into the Mink Ranch apartment.  Conveniently located close to David and Megan’s house, he is a frequent ‘drop-in’, often right about suppertime. He has also signed up as a volunteer firefighter in Lake of Bays. The training is the same as that required for full-time firefighters, so time consuming, but very worthwhile.
Our gardens struggled this year. A stalled weather pattern produced non-stop rain for much of May and large sections of June.  Carol got the planting done in between rain drops, but the weather wasn’t great– everything was late this year. The West Coast was burning, while we wondered just how much gopher wood might be required to build an ark.  Some of the crops didn’t fare well at all, a testament to the cool summer.
On June 4th, Dave and Megan announced their pregnancy.  Much partying, some tears, lots of hugging.  They are keeping the baby’s gender secret from the rest of us – we’ll keep you posted. 
Also on ‘baby watch’, one of the hens went broody in early June – which, as we have no rooster, did not bode well.  Nancy was able to source some eggs from a friend. Hen Solo successfully hatched six lovely little Americaunas.  Only one began to crow as they grew. Rooster went to live with friends so he wouldn’t wake up guests.
On just about the only full sun day in June, one of Nancy’s students, Christine, held her wedding here, in the back field. In flowing white gown, she rode in on Abby, while the groomsmen came on dirt bikes. There was a small wardrobe malfunction when the zipper broke on her dress.  Chris was in danger of ‘busting out all over’ the sweetheart neckline until Mike had a brilliant idea, and laced the zipper into the dress with the twist tie from a garbage bag. She was able to gallop in to the wedding, something she has dreamt of all her life. Carol took care of the set-up at the resort, and the bouquets, Brian had the venue carefully mown, David and Mike co-ordinated the arrival of the participants, while Nancy, Megan and the barn girls all helped have the horses looking lovely.  Bondi is a wonderful venue for a small wedding party – about 30 to 40 is the most we can handle though.
July and August kept us all on the run. We were fully booked. It is wonderful to welcome back familiar faces – and learn that next summer we are going to have a whole LOT of new babies here! Third and even fourth generation Bondi Babies!  The weather was best described as changeable – seemed like every day there was a good window of getting to the lake, but rain kept blowing through as well and it wasn’t as hot as it could have been – the lake was about 2 degrees cooler than usual.  In August Lake of Bays was hit by a tornado in the Limberlost area – Nancy, who was acting Mayor, had to step up to the ‘disaster emergency protocols’. This translates to making press statements while emergency crews did the heavy lifting, so don’t be too impressed   The winds associated with these flattened sections of our corn field.  Nothing daunted, but a bit ticked off, Brian and David set stakes, and tied the corn back up to save the crop.  David also got co-opted by the OPP to help with traffic control at Sommerzeit Road, where the wind had snapped a hydro line and it was live, jumping about on the road. Amazingly a lot of cars ignored the OPP orders not to pass.  In the fall, Nancy’s Heritage committee, along with the Ojibwes of Rama, and Heritage
Ontario unveiled plaques in Dorset celebrating the First Nations on Lake of Bays. It’s only taken five years…  Take a visit to admire them.
Right about Labour Day, the summer weather arrived with a vengeance, providing us with a long hot sunny September and October – the lake was 80 degrees F in early October, warmer than it was all summer.  September also brought a new grand-daughter, Iris Emily May, to our irreplaceable team member and friend Sue Baker. 
 Sadly, in October, Nancy lost her lovely Indigo cat who failed to come home.  Pemberley and Thistle continue to thrive, although Pem is a certified big game hunter (tackling geese) and a cat burglar (stealing everything including silverware). Taffy, 7, remains Nancy’s permanent shadow.  The horses are well – this summer, Squeegee got back-up in the form of a white pony (unicorn?) called Snowbird who helped with the pony rides.
We were lucky to have Sarah again for a week and a half at the end of August before she headed back to Buffalo and her nursing program.  Not long enough.
In November Brian and Carol headed to Florida for some very needed down time. There was little evidence of hurricane damage around Sarasota.   We love to welcome back our guests, - you feel like part of our family - but by the end of the season the tourism business can leave one craving for a bit of R&R of our own..
We love welcoming back the growing families and future generations, that are part of our wonderful and sprawling Bondi Family. This Christmas as we await the miracle of  birth here in our own family, we look ahead to the future with hope.  May the coming year bring light, peace, faith, health and strength to all of us.    This coming year, let your gift be Joy.

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

A change in the Weather

The daylight dwindled, the hens came running home to roost, the sunset caught fire ... and now the wind is howling, driving snow ahead of it and causing trees on the hill to abandon hope and crash in the dark Morning could be interesting. Doubt the hydro will survive. Batten the hatches me hearties... this just might be winter. Dec. 5.

Holidays -- four nights please.

We are accepting bookings over the Christmas / New Years holiday, but because we are also anticipating the imminent arrival of the newest member of the Tapley family,  we are not taking bookings of less than 4 nights. (sometimes family comes way out ahead of cleaning cottages   and we are all on Baby Watch!)

You can snuggle in by the fire, enjoy the ski trails, check out the skating trail, snowshoe through our wintery woods, or just kick back and relax. You can also join the 'pool' of what day the baby is going to arrive. ❣️

Algonquin Moose -- the Big Guns

The 'big guns' are out in Algonquin Park. Check out these photos -- taken on Nov. 26 and Nov. 28. Robin Tapley's up close and in your face portrait leaves me breathless. What a beauty! And Wayne King, who found this big fellow right along the Hwy 60 corridor -- Algonquin is awesome in every season.

The difference a Day makes...

Our friends from Dorset, the Botanigals (check out their great products in herbal teas, powders, plants, natural products)  sent us this great video this morning of their squirrel. 

Yesterday, he was happily stuffing himself on nuts left on a chair.   Then it snowed...


Image may contain: flower and text  It was my great honour to again speak at the Dwight Remembrance Day service this year.  Here is a copy of my text.

It’s been a century since men went to battle in the nightmare that was Ypres.  The ferocity of the fighting, the victory won at such great loss has seared it into history.  In 2015, on the centennial, over 800,000 visitors came to the war memorial site, to remember and think upon the horror of a place where combatants first saw the use of poison gas, the stagnation of trench warfare,  where constant shelling churned clay soil and drainage systems in the fields into mud so deep that men and horses drowned in it.   From August to December, the British forces alone lost 95,000 men.
The Canadians were moved into the line for the third battle, their first major appearance on a European battlefield. 
Through terrible fighting, withered with shrapnel and machine-gun fire, hampered by rifles which jammed, violently sick from the gas and gasping for air through soaked and muddy handkerchiefs, they held on until reinforcements arrived. In these 48 hours, 6,035 Canadians, one man in every three, became casualties of whom more than 2,000 died. They were heavy losses for Canada's little force whose men had been civilians only several months before
And that’s the thing – they had all been, short days before, just people. Not soldiers, not heroes, just people.
War tries hard to make us forget that.  War IS intolerance.  It creates “the other”.  It’s a form of sickness that makes us believe that the ‘other side’ needs to be destroyed.  In WWII the world stood up against the unspeakable horror that was the Holocaust. Elie Wiesel recounted in his memoir Night of being marched past open burning pits full of bodies, seeing soldiers throw in babies still alive. Because they were Jewish. They were different. They were other…
If war is fought to secure freedom, then it is fought to secure tolerance. Our freedom relies on the ability, the willingness to tolerate the existence of opinions or behaviour that one does not necessarily agree with.
I have a story, from right here in Dwight.  Beverly Payne, many of you will remember, lived here most of her life. She collected postcards, 20,000 of them. They came from the most unusual places. One of them – the one her son finds the most interesting – is from the Sino Japanese war.  Now there was a war that demonized the ‘other’, with all sides depicting their enemies as somehow less than human.
Bev had an uncle, and he flew with the legendary volunteer force known as the Flying Tigers, about 100 American pilots who fought for China in this conflict.  You’d know the planes, from the fierce fanged  faces painted on the cowling.  During one incident, the American killed a Japanese soldier – and in his pocket found a postcard.  Turned out it was from the soldier’s wife.
Bev’s uncle mailed it home to HIS wife, commenting, “it makes you think. They are people, just like us.”  .

People. Just like us.  Anne Frank was a girl with a diary.  John McCrae was  a young man who loved poetry. Tommy Prince was an Anishinaabeg hunter.
Sometimes we think that we have won the freedom, that we have made great strides forward.  But tolerance, well, that is a fragile thing. 
Rosa Parks couldn’t sit at the front of the bus until 1955 – ten years after WWII Until 1967 in England, men were jailed for being gay. In 1990 Ireland finally shut down the Catholic run homes for Illigimate babies who were taken from the mothers and many of whom died terribly young. It was 1991 when Switzerland finally gave all women the vote.  Canada didn’t shut down the shame of the residential schools until 1996.  There are still private clubs in America that won’t admit Jewish members.  We are perhaps neither as tolerant, nor as free, as we like to think.
As we pause to remember and thank those who have fought to secure our freedoms, perhaps we should pause to consider that as well. Promoting tolerance and protecting freedom is the best way we can honour them.
This year, in Suffolk, townspeople, people just like us, decorated the ancient church with 5500 hand knitted poppies.
At Ypres, this year, 430,000 people just like us came to pay homage. Harry Patch was seventeen when he survived the gas, the trenches, the shrapnel and the mud at Ypres. He died in 2009, at the age of 111. Every year on the anniversary, Harry would lock himself in a private vigil for his fallen friends. Young men, just like him, who paid the supreme price for the darkness and intolerance that swept the world into war.
Let’s never do that again.