Black's Cliff Resort's Birch Bark Blog

The projects, chores, and life of a family-owned, Northern Wisconsin resort.


2 days of 60 degree temps did a lot of melting.  Cliff still has a long way to go, but atleast the ice is changing colors


Between snowbanks we have started raking.  There is still snow on the ground but time to get to cleaning up


Piles appearing along the hillside


Maple trees are still running but have slowed down.  We did not cook the last 2 days and have sap stored in every container we could find.  The fridges in Birchwood, Muskie, Bayview and Restawhile are chucked full of sap waiting to be cooked.  We are trying to cook it cleaner this year, not on an open fire.  When we use an open fire outside we get ash in our syrup, so we are back to peculating it slowly on our woodstove inside.  We get 2 uses from the fire, warming the house and cooking down the syrup.  It cooks slowly so the steam is not a problem in the house.  When you live in 100 year old house, you do not have to worry about ventilation.



Steve has been working on his own project a map of the trails across the road.  He almost has it ready to publish.  We will be framing one of these in the office and have them in the resort info books in the cabins.  Nobody should get lost this year.  We are also adding our little wildlife/birding look out spot down by Kitty Creek on the otherside of the road from our trail system.  If you have not taken the time to walk down to the creek and sit and listen to the birds or admire the beavers work damming the stream you have missed out.  Now with the map you can hit all the great spots we have over our 80 acre trail system and our 40 acre creek area

IMG_4290 IMG_4289

Rain and warmer temps have taken a toll on the snow.  Hard to believe we had 15 inches of snow just a few days ago.  Melting away


The hillside is clearing out but still a lot of ice out there





I was not going out far but did put my feet on the ice and it is still holding firm


Cliff keeps tilting farther and farther back.  Ice Out is getting closer and closer


The maple trees have been flowing freely.  Bucket after bucket of sap has gone in to the big sap bucket.  The snowbank keeping the sap cool is getting smaller and smaller.  Soon I will have to move our remaining sap into all the fridges in the resort while we work on cooking it down on the woodstove



Kids in Muskie Inn had fun drinking sap from the trees.  I think their parents felt the sugar buzz they got off the trees.  Good thing the trees were shut down for most of the time they were here.  The trees only woke up and ran their last day.

Looks like a good year for sapping.  We are collecting it by the bucketful at the moment



We received about 15 inches of HEAVY wet snow.  School called off for the 5th day of the winter.  Kids will be going to school until the 4th of July at this rate.  Now the question is who got stuck today?



First off all the truck got stuck.  Someone…. put the plow all the way down in 15 inches of heavy wet snow and paused half way around the circle to talk to someone and could not get the truck going again….  Not saying who… that would be self incrimination.  The first round of ashes and shoveling occurred to get the truck out



Then there was a snow ball fight.  Who threw the first snowball?  That would be the guy in the brown jacket who is always ready with a snowball



Then the gator got stuck..



THen another snowball fight.  Grant scored a point on Ben here



Steve enjoying the challenge of 15 inches of wet snow.  Someone else happy to let him plow



Then Ben gives Grant pay backs for the face wash he got



More pushing of vehicles out of the driveway..



Ok it is pretty..  but we are done with it.  60′s in the forecast for next week and we can not wait.  Especially because Steve did not plow out Kaubashine, Shamrock, Holiday or Norway.  We are going to let them melt away


uncle dave boat painting


What should be happening at the resort right now..  Getting ready for summer.  Boat painting… raking.. working outside.

This pic is from the 50′s showing my grandfather Maynard and Uncle Dave painting boats.  I am not sure who the 2 people are on the left side of the pic.  Uncle Dave is there so it is probably a girl watching him work.  Looks like Shamrock is in the back ground out by the dumpster area before it was moved to where it is today



Instead this is what is going on…. lots of ice and 8 – 10 inches of snow predicted over night.  No boat painting….



Lots of remodeling going on.  Restawhile cleaned up with it’s new floor.  What would Maynard say about this.  Probably that the floor was to expensive and not bought on clearence… or is that what Craig is going to say when he comes home from Arizona.



Little bit of shopping going on.  Steve found this neat lamp at Gas Light Square for a good price and it replaces…



Ugly lamps at Bear Den.  These have been on my list for awhile now looking for the right lamp to replace.  Anyone wants these beauties see St Matthias Thrift store.

Latest things on the guys list, repairing Red Pine’s woodwork in the bathrooms and new counter in Holiday has arrived for the one that got water damaged last year.  The list goes on and on….

Uncle Dave pictures_Page_01


More of what should be going on but is not…  Uncle Dave sliding across the waters of Lower Kaubshine in a much warmer spring gone by. Is that a girl I see on the dock watching Dave ski?


Think your Monday is bad with the weather, try being Cliff today.  He is knocked over by it



Definitely not a day to be sitting on Lower Kaubashine waiting for the ice to go out




Mack’s Comment for the day “You said spring is here what the ____ happened?”



We do have one visitor at the moment.  The Pileated Wood Pecker has been happily munching down our suet

Even the maple trees know better and have shut off the taps for a few days



Temps soaring to almost 60 have got Cliff taking a big tilt in his chair.



The lake shore is finally showing signs of water.



We still though still have plenty of snow around the resort, and someone I know likes to play king of the mountain



Mack makes sitting on a snow bank so regal



Road to Eagles Nest still full of snow.  I have to remember to quite thinking the maple trees over there are the best.  Trudging through this snow has not been my favorite to check the taps.  The trees over by Eagles Nest have been very slow to wake up



Mack found these remains in the snow.  I am thinking an owl had dinner here last night



Our big sap container is out.  We store the sap in this container as we collect it.  We are still in slow cook mode, just cooking on our woodstove in the house.  When things really get going we get the outside fire and the evaporation pan going.  I like the more relaxed mode. The sap has to stay cool or it starts to ferment.  We learned that the hard way a few years ago.  Usually the snowbanks last til the end of the sapping season



Walking around the driveway is a muddy endeavor at the moment



The deer cooperated again this morning on the way to school.  They were coming off the lake a group of atleast 4.  I caught just this one straggler who waited and posed for me



Appreciate the deer for waiting before taking off so the deer paparazzi could snap some pics


Spring is springing.  The raft is slowly emerging from hibernation, Cliff got a rope tied to him for when he plunges, maple trees are dripping and ground is being spotted



The lake has a long way to go but it is showing signs of melting



Not rolling the boats in anytime soon but at least they are not covered in snow any longer


It has taken a long time for the maple trees to wake up but they are slowly starting to drip.



In the meantime while we wait for the snow to disappear for taking and painting, I played around with the sock maker and got some smaller socks made.  Not quite sure how to size them so they are just coming out all different sizes and colors.  I will have a basket of them for sale in the Looney Bin.  Just don’t ask me what size they are.  Best to bring a small pair of feet along and try them on




Big congrats to Emilie and Phillip who got engaged this weekend on their first trip to the resort staying in Birchwood.  Congrats to you both and for many more memorable trips to the resort through your life together

Just before they arrived Bill and Anne Scully were up enjoying their 30th wedding anniversary in Birchwood where they spent their honeymoon many years ago.  I remember learning about short sheeting beds from my mom before Bill and Anne arrived.  I am not sure they noticed.

Congrats to both couples!  Birchwood works its magic




This is how we go biking in Minocqua right now.  Winter is slowly loosening its grip but for Katie’s husband Bryon it is not fast enough and he is making his own snow biking trails.  Hats off to Bryon for enjoying this spring even if it is slow in coming



This is the picture of the morning.  After a harrowing trip to town, on terrible roads, in the F 250 to get Ben and Grant to school this was the best pic of the morning.   We have already had 5 snow days and come hell or Winter Storm warnings they were having school today.  No snow days left.  I was just happy to have a 4 wheel vehicle, as Lower Kaubashine was not plowed.

Mack needed to be dusted off before coming in the house this morning.  You  know it is snowing hard when you have to get the duster out on the dog.  Mack is not a fan of being dusted off