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.

Thursday, March 31, 2016

Come High Water

stay tuned... we can track the water rise by the level it reaches
on the dock timbers
Heavy rain falling into the snowpack that remains in the woods is now producing flood conditions at our end of the universe.  The Oxtongue River is impressive, and I'm hoping to get some photos there tomorrow.

Stay. Off. My. Dock.
The BMD have put barrels full of water on our docks -- the weight of that holds the decking down if you get high water and high winds, protecting the docks from damage.

the geese are not impressed by Taffy
The geese don't seem to mind the rain that is still falling as of 11 p.m., complete with thunder and lightning.  March is leaving with a roar

mist coming up off the ice

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Starter Kit for Crazy Cat Lady

Indigo, named for her regal demeanor and blue blue eyes

Last July, we lost our wonderful artist kitty, Napster, at the age of 17 1/2.  It was a dark day, even though when you own an old pet, you know that the day will arrive. There is a difference, though, between 'the day will come' and 'the day is now', so it was with tremendous sadness that we said good-bye.  He lives on through the wonderful artwork he created, and sold for charities.  But that artwork, wonderful as it is, does not make up for not having a cat snoozing in a sunbeam in the living room.

Usually, the Universe delivers me a cat.  That is how the last several came to live with me over the years -- they appeared. As strays, gifts, or rescues.  So I thought that by late autumn at the latest there would be cat back in the household. Taffy was also optimistic -- she missed having her personal cat.  No cats appeared.

The Dustbunnies, who spent the first week mostly under
the couch...
So in early March I stopped by the Animal Shelter in Bracebridge.  Now, this is something I should never be permitted to do. Apparently I have a bad track record when it comes to leaving animals in shelters. I have a bad record at saying "one is enough."    So although we had done some research, and discovered that a cat had recently arrived at the Shelter who looked like she would be the perfect fit in my house, it all went sideways.

Phoebe got right to work, helping me with office chores
The cat in question was all I had thought she might be -- only bigger. At a hefty (and dense) 14 pounds.  David wanted to name her "Tank" because she was so solid.  When that name was rejected as not suiting her sweet and regal nature, he tried "Gravitas", which fit, but sounded like 'Gravy-Train" which is something she does not currently need...   Half siamese, half tortoiseshell, she is calm, unfazed by Taffy, sweet natured.
And now named INDIGO.

She loves being here.

The problem arose with the knowledge that two very tiny kittens had just been dropped at the Shelter. Maybe 8 weeks old... but looked actually younger than that... very fuzzy, and very much not wanting to live in a pen at the Shelter.  Well, one more, I thought. What could be the problem with two cats? We used to have two cats...   But... they are so small, I couldn't bear to separate them. They would need each other for comfort, in a household with a big bouncy and pouncy poodle in residence... And they were very little....

So I came home with Three Cats.  This qualifies as the Starter Kit for Crazy Cat Lady, so I am hoping the Universe does not deliver any more to my doorstep, at least for a while.

Right out of the box -- their first horrified look at Taffy!
Bondi now has cats, currently in my house, but by summer no doubt they will be in the yard, and playing with our guests.  The kittens came home, took a horrified look at Taffy, and dove under the couch.  We called them the Dustbunnies...   They are as different as cats can be.  The calico, PHOEBE, is sweet, gentle, but fierce enough to stand her ground and hiss at Taffy - who will immediately back off from this ball of fluff when she gets told.

The black and white, PEMBERLEY, well, he is going to be Taffy's BFF.  He happily gets mauled, dragged about, licked and nibbled by Taffy, all the while purring like an engine. Occasionally one tiny paw comes up and taps her on the nose...

Indigo has adopted both kittens, snuggles with them, bathes them, and intervenes if Taffy gets too rambunctious.

The house is a home again.

Indigo has adopted both the tinies

Phoebe feeling safe with David

Indigo, laughing her head off that I went to get one cat
and came home with three????

very lovely, is Indigo...
Chillin' in the cat hammock

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Springing About

When the snow starts to 'let go' of the land, it leaves in a sporadic fashion.  On the north slopes, in the woods, it hangs on. And on.  On the westerly slopes where the sun comes in, it leaves fast.

Here are some random shots today, from my hike with Taffy.

The very back field, where it drops to the black spruce bog, is about half open. Which means there are lots of very interesting smells to be explored.  We have been told that there are pair of young wolves hanging out on the manure compost this winter, because it is warm -- it is at the neighbour's gravel pit until we can get the trucks into our own fields, happily rotting down so he can mix it with topsoil.    But that is not very far away, so no doubt the wolves have been prowling through here, too. At least, Taffy said they had been...

 My students will be delighted to know that the cross country fences are emerging nicely.
 Grass! Grass starting to show up everywhere!
 and Spring smells....  She came home a tired, happy dog.
 Brian and David are working in the woods now, logging. Removing diseased trees, or dead wood to keep the bush healthy as part of our Managed Forest agreement. This also provides us with firewood for our cottages.

These tracks were left by the bulldozer, making quite an interesting pattern.

 The field closer to the Fire Hall, which is the northern end, a little lower and more sheltered, now that field hasn't let go of the snow yet, at all!  You could ski circuits here quite nicely for several days to come I think.

 Hiking along the bulldozer tracks up to the toboggan hill, again, on the northern side of the hill and sheltered by trees, there's LOTS of snow in the woods.  That is good for those making maple syrup -- which needs a good snowpack in order for the sap to run well.
 Tobogganing anyone?  The bottom half of our huge toboggan hill is thick with snow.  It's a little icy on top, so it would faster than fast, but a ton of fun!
 But when we turn around and look up at the top of the toboggan hill, well, that is another story! Spring arrives up high!
 The neighbours are coming out of their long winter nap, too.  Mr. Raccoon had been checking out the toboggan hill, but there was no indication that he had a flying saucer or magic carpet to slide down on!

 Technically, you have until the end of March to remove fish huts. If you were even a little smart, you've already done that.  That gray that is showing up on the ice surface? That indicates that the ice is both thin and rotting, and not safe.  It's already opening up along the shoreline.
 That melting along the shoreline, that requires careful examination...

There is heat in the sun -- as soon as you get out of the wind, it is very warm and wonderful.  The water levels are coming up already, but we hope that there will be enough of a melt /freeze cycle that we don't get flooding this year!  If it gets cold at night, it is not only good for the syrup producers, but it allows the melt water to move through the system without causing problems.

Fire on the Ice

Sunrise on the Lake of Bays -- the snow has melted down to a roughly pebbled ice surface, and is starting to break up along the shorelines.

My friend Jacqueline has a house facing east on Little Whiskey Bay -- this means she gets to see amazing sunrises across the lake, while we here at Bondi Village specialize more in the spectacular sunsets in the west.

She took this photo this week -- Fire on the Ice.

The bottom photo is mine -- our sunrises tend to be more gentle, as the sun rises behind the resort, and tints the lake, rather than blazes across it.

Pump it!

This Bike Park is located just up the road from us, about five minutes away, and is a great addition to the attractions here.    Dawn Huddlestone recently 'took a spin', and gave it a rave review!

"For cyclists seeking adventure in
 Ontario’s cottage country, a visit to the new Echo Valley Nature and Bike Trails  in Lake of Bays Township is a thrilling way to spend a day in the scenic woods of north Muskoka. Don’t let the serene name fool you – the 3.5 kilometres of trails are full of fun and challenging obstacles for riders of all abilities.
Pump Track Bliss
At Echo Valley, you’ll waste no time jumping into adventure.  Right at the trail head is a brand-new pump track – a looping route made of dirt mounds and berms that new riders and kids can ride (almost without pedalling) for easy skills development. More experienced riders can take it at a faster pace for leg-pumping, heart-pounding excitement.
echo valley mountain bike stairs resizedOnce you warm up, hit the wider-reaching trails for some woodland action. The main trail is 1.5 kilometres of scenic, all-abilities terrain.
If you want a challenge, veer off onto one of the side trails – they’re marked by difficulty level – to encounter a variety of obstacles like rocks, single-track bridges, hills and stairs. (Descending stairs was a first for me and – as an intermediate rider – an initially daunting but ultimately exhilarating experience.)
With fourteen trails that all loop back to the main artery, you could easily spend half a day or more exploring the woods without ever returning to the parking lot.
Whether you’re on foot or wheels, make sure you take the short trail to the observation deck (!) that overlooks the protected nature area. Watch quietly for a variety of local birds, deer, moose and other wildlife, both from the viewing platform and on the trails. We spooked a ruffed grouse on one trail and saw signs of deer activity on another. And if you’re a tree lover, the mixed-growth forest is a treat to explore.
Pump Track 3The trails are located a short drive off Highway 60 on Echo Hills Road, about 15 kilometres east of Huntsville, Muskoka.
There’s an honour box at the trail head to accept suggested donations of $2 per rider, to help cover the costs of trail development and maintenance.
And keep in mind that these are multi-purpose trails – if you’re biking, watch out for hikers on foot. Ditto the other way around.
What a fantastic day we had exploring this gem of a spot in cottage country on our bikes.(The best part is you can head to a number of great eating spots pre and post riding to refuel on delicious eats!) You can bet we will return again soon to Echo Valley Nature & Bike Trails in Lake of Bays Township. Check it out!"

For more information on the Echo Valley Nature & Bike Trails, click here.

Echo Valley Signage

Wondering Whether He Otter...

A friend of ours, Bob Hilscher,  was driving through the Park a few weeks back, and he spotted this River Otter on the Oxtongue River right at the Park's west boundary, at Park Lake.

 A little patience rewarded Bob with a view of the Otter coming to the surface with a fish. It was extremely warm and foggy today...  Perfect day for fishing, it would seem.  It is a great time of year, late March and early April, to see wildlife up here.  New birds are returning daily, the moose are coming out of the woods to the roadside looking for the salty grasses growing near the highway, deer are on the move after a long winter in the confinement of the yards, and the otters and beavers are stepping out, giving themselves a bit of a sunbath, and getting on with Spring.

They all know how great it is to be out of doors at this time of year. Do you?
Smoke Creek, smoking with the mist!

Third Time's a Charm

One of our young guests, bringing home dinner!

For three years straight, the Travel Editors at National Geographic has named Muskoka as the top travel destination.

In this most recent article, Top Ten Things to do in Northern Ontario, you'll find paddling Canoe Lake in Algonquin Park and staying at a cottage  in Muskoka as the TOP TWO.

Brian serving up fresh corn, grown right here, at our beach
Our organic garden
Who are we to argue with the National Geographic? A classic cottage in Muskoka, and a day spent  in Algonquin should be at the top of everyone's summer list.  We will, however, disagree with one thing...

We would suggest ditching the AirBnB route and instead come and stay at one of the Resorts of North Muskoka -- and with a little shameless self-promotion, stay with us at Bondi Village Resort. You know what you are getting, and there are so many more amenities when you stay at one of the smaller family-oriented cottage resorts. 

Making friends

 Our cottages are widely spaced for privacy on our large acreage -- in fact, there's more room between our cottages than there is with many private cottages around the lake.

Last one in!!!   This is a perfect way to enjoy family time!
We offer the classic Muskoka cottage holiday, with the benefit of on-site staff (so if there is a problem, be it with the fridge or the plumbing we are here to help fix it)  and we look after the linens, the garbage collection, and make sure you have potable water in the cottages, not to mention the opportunity to make lots of friends (just turn the kids loose at the water playground with all the toys) and make connections and memories for a lifetime.  

We have hiking trails, a frisbee golf course, water trampoline, climbing iceburg, playgrounds, swings, basketball, volleyball and badminton, ping pong, shuffleboard, horseshoe pitch -- not to mention actual horses standing in those horseshoes (and one wonderful little pony to make friends with the smallest members of your own family.)  We have an organic garden, free range chickens providing organic eggs to delight your menu.  Canoes, kayaks, paddleboats, fishing boats and more -- plus we are on site to help teach you to waterski or windsurf.

We'll host you on the beach with our get-together cookout and bonfire, take you out to learn about the Night Skies, teach you how to howl for the local wolf pack (and what to do when they howl back), introduce you to the local wildlife, and make sure you know the best places to go to shop for the unique, and the best the area has to offer.
Whether you canoe, kayak or prefer the SUP,
there is magic in being on the Lake of Bays

the cottage chipmunk

So this is the biggest difference between us and the AirBnB sites -- We do the work, and provide a long list of amenities. You bring the family...

Oh, and that 'thing' about putting in to canoe on Canoe Lake? We'll be happy to help you arrange a day trip with an outstanding outfitter, Algonquin Park Adventure Tours,  who will make sure that even if you have never been in a canoe in your life, you have the most amazingly wonderful day.

We still have some vacancies for the coming summer. Give us a call! 705 635 2261

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Pine Siskin Swarm!

feeding from the ground at the main office.
 We were joyfully invaded this week by a large flock of Pine Siskins

You usually hear them long before you see them. Their conversation is described as a wheezy twitter, but it's wonderful to hear after they have been absent.  In fact, their songs are varied, and lovely.  The males string together husky, whispering trills, slurs, and short ascending notes into songs lasting 3–13 seconds.

Admittedly, their songs are generally more nasal or wheezy than those of other finches. Song phrases are sometimes punctuated by "watch-winding" or "churry" notes.  You can listen to them here at this link.

This nomadic finch ranges widely and erratically across the continent each winter in response to seed crops.

Thank you Robin Tapley for this wonderful close up!
 Better suited to clinging to branch tips than to hopping along the ground, these brown-streaked acrobats flash yellow wing markings as they flutter while feeding or as they explode into flight.

Flocks are gregarious and when they sweep in, they can empty out the feeder pretty swiftly.

Off I went to purchase more nyger seed, although they are also quite happy with mixed seed, and even sunflowers.

our friend Sharon Stock Feren caught this image!

They suddenly seem to be everywhere -- all our neighbours are also reporting flocks of these cheerful and colourful little birds at their feed stations too.

Saturday, March 5, 2016

Over Achievers

People tell me that hens stop laying during the winter, but ours have never received that memo, and keep right on happily producing eggs throughout the cold months.  Of course, it helps that they are free-ranging in the stable, which is comparatively warm, and that they have a heated insulated coop to snuggle into at night.

But still...

We are grateful.

But hold the phone, gals! Two of them this week, on the same day, decided to Go for the Gusto...  (and they are making the rest of the hens feel a little inadequate...)

Hover Mink touches Down

 Down by the cookout beach we found these tracks in the snow --

that would be the mink, bouncing along in the deep snow!

Evidence that David's "hover mink" actually does touch down from time to time.

This is the photo of the famous Hover Mink -- captured in mid-stride by David down by the Main dock earlier this year.

Posted on our facebook page, it went global, with over 15 THOUSAND views!   (and that with the mink not even wearing a superhero cape!)

But he isn't always airborne... sometimes, like today, he gallumphs along using the land.