Black's Cliff Resort's Birch Bark Blog

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



It was maybe 60 degrees yesterday.  Linda is our most die hard sun bather and has perfected goose pimple sunbathing.  It the sun so much as peaks out she enjoys it.  Otherwise she sits back wrapped up and enjoys the view



Other people were getting real goose pimples.  Jake, Troy and Grant got in the water to raise the dock up.  60 degree days are good for finding no one on the dock to make this task easier to do, but getting in the water was hard



You know  you can put the camera down and come in and help us……



Nope I am perfectly  happy to watch from the side lines.  You know it is only 60 degrees…..



Meanwhile Tom and Rich were out fishing and found a nice bass down in the bay by Hilltop



At the Saint Germain Flea Market I found this new fun game for the office, yard Yahtzee.  Stop into the office and borrow the game if you want



Today is a new day and the sun is out and I hear 70′s are back in the forecast.  No more goose pimples I am hoping



Calm before the storm.  Minocqua is building up and getting ready for the chaos of the 4th of July.  The roads are getting busier, lake busier and the grocery store definitely busier.  But it still has its quiet moments



Mack manages to find those moments for a nap.  The ruff life of a resort dog



The grills have been starting up, and campfires at night



Looking more and more like the 4th of July.  We went over to  Saint Germiane yesterday to enjoy their early fireworks, always the Sunday before the 4th.  Half of the resort came with us.  Great pre show music.  Rich and Gloria polkaing in the back



Just glad to resort calls came in telling us there was a problem with a septic or someone did not know how to use their DVD player






Boom and more Booms



Happy early 4th everyone!

1958 Mr. Blum, Dick and T


From a 4th of July years ago 1958… anyone recognize the chair in the middle?  T Taylor, Dick Buring and Mr Blum.



Craig is having a fun week!  It started with a deal he could not pass up on a new bowling alley for the office.  He has spent 2 years trying to get our old 50′s bowling alley to fully work.  Many folks have seen it in the office sadly sitting quiet.  After sitting for 20 years not used our old bowling alley’s list of issues was too long.  When Craig heard about a deal on this bowling alley he could not pass it up



Wow is all I can say.  This new bowling alley is awesome.  It comes from the same manufacturer as our old one.  It plays 5 different variety of bowling games.  All 6 players work on it.  This is going to become a favorite of our guests next to our 50′s pinball game.  It does cost a quarter per player so save up your quarters.  The pinball will still remain a favorite at 8 balls for a dime

1961 Gordon and Grant clowning


Here are some old pics of the rec room in our basement you might enjoy

1961 Janet Andersch in rec room





It was quite the hopping place.  With the new bowling alley I hope the community room becomes hopping as well.  Now about that juke box…… that is another story……  and will have to wait for another day……

1958 Craig in boat


Now on to the rest of what is making Craig’s week a good one.  Back in 1957, Maynard bought a new Shell Lake ski boat.  One of the few new things he ever brought besides the old bowling game.  Craig is driving the boat in the pic above and having the time of his life.  Everyone in our family has loved this boat ever since.  The boat took skiers at the resort until the 80′s when insurance drove up the price of liability insurance too much for us to continue to offer skiing every afternoon.  The boat went into storage…… and we were sad

1958 Craig driving boat

Nobody in the family forgot how much fun it was to drive the old boat and for brief periods the boat would come out and we would all have fun driving it again



Here is my son Jake in 2011 when the boat came out of storage having a great time discovering how much fun it is to drive



Reliving my teenage years teaching the boys all how to ski behind the old boat in 2011 and 2012.  Everyone was falling back in love with the boat until….. the motor died…..  and it went back into storage….. and we were all sad again…



Dreaming of the day we could get it back on the lake again flying across Lower Kaubashine…. that brings us to yesterday…



Craig drove 3 hours away to pick up this old boat we heard about on Craig’s List with a 1970 short shaft electric start 40 horse for 800 dollars.  Could this be the answer to the problem of the ski boat…..  We took a gamble and bought it yesterday and he was all smiles when he got back to the resort



So guess what came out of storage….



It is just calling that it wants to fly across Lower Kaubashine once again.  Looking at the red top you can see this boat is half wood and half fiberglass.  It was manufactured during the transition from wood to fiberglass and is both.  The top of the boat that is wood has been replaced many times and is nearing its next replacement



Craig figuring out how to get one motor off one boat and hooked up to another boat

1958 Craig in boat

Because he can’t forget how much fun this is when he was a few years younger


Getting Troy in the action cutting the old lock off the new motor



Step one was removing the old motor.  This old motor has done its work for many years and had lots of great times…. but to be honest….. it is a 40 horse and a number of its horses are dead and it is time to put it out to pasture



Now the real work begins, stay tuned to see what happens next



Hopefully a happy ending and back in the lake



Just like 1957 before the red boat was red and it was shinny and new….






It has been a busy few days at the beach.  You would not know it looking at this heron on the raft.



Summer fun has gotten going.  Lots of laughs and screams from the beach

1958 Raft floating


Not much different than summers gone by

1958 Guests on dock


The bathing suits have changed a little and the dock is an L now and not a T.  The caption on this picture said, “Mrs Taylor, Rocky and Mr Meyer”  I know who Mrs Taylor is not sure who Rocky and Mr Meyer are.



Little Ferdinand enjoying his first summer at the beach.  His Grandma, Linda did the same thing when she was young



Kayak fun for all ages!  Everyone in the kayak

1958 Seaplane Mrs Taylor, Rocky and Mr Myer


Here was the favorite beach activity in the 50′s, 60′s and 70′s getting a seaplane ride.  If I remember right it was 5 dollars a person and up you went.  These were the days before insurance companies having issues with sea planes and  propellers next to a swimming dock.  Get in a line and he would take everyone up til the line went down



Oh those were the days at the beach….. now there are no more seaplanes…. except the ones that fly over head.  Once in awhile one lands on the lake and freaks everyone out as it comes in for a landing and takes off again.  Nothing like ski boats and sea planes dodging each other



More fun this week has been the bass fishing.  I believe they told me this was a 3 lb bass



Lots and lots of bass



You know everyone is having fun when the drinks spill out to the porch



And the days end with a quiet kayak across the lake.


Once in awhile we get to play tourist and have some fun in downtown Minocqua.  We stopped in at Minocqua Popcorn Company as someone in our family knows someone working at Minocqua Popcorn


And here is our favorite Popcorn lady Michele on the right who is responsible for making our family addicted to cheese and carmel popcorn combo.  There are always friendly folks working at the store and the best popcorn around


They have also added a Jelly Belly line.  We had to sample and try out a few varieties.  There is now a beer flavored bean and Troy can attest to the fact that it does taste like beer



They just added a new jelly bean game.  You spin the dial to see what flavor you get to eat



I am afraid to play……. but it would be entertaining


Back at the resort Steve is hard at work at some Fish House improvements.  It is slowly looking better


It just takes some good whacks with the wrench

1960 Platform for fishhouse


Lets look back to yesteryear 1960 when the fish house was built

1960 Fish house-2


Gasp, are those straight and new boards that Maynard used to built it?  It must be, and the reason the fish house has lasted this long and is celebrating 55 years this summer.  I think that calls for a party…. just not at the fish house please



Back to fish house repair.  See Steve for any changes you might want out there

1958 pushing raft out


While looking for the fish house pics I ran into this fun one from 1958 launching the raft.  Launching the raft has been an event every spring and little has changed.  It still gathers the family together to see what could possibly go wrong



Only change is now it just takes one person to do it and the rest on shore shouting out directions.

1958 Group watching


Maynard  Black in the red chair enjoying seeing the resort open and everyone having a good time



Here are Craig and his brother Dave Black doing the same thing as Maynard 50 years later.  They were in the first picture of the raft pushing it out into the water.  Times change but they stay the same


Want to join in on summer at the resort we have had a few cancellations the last couple of days for July.  Give a call for details

June 22 – 26th

Red Pine 4 bdr, this house is still open and we want it booked for groups up to 5 for 175/night,

up to 7 people 235/night and up to 9 people 265/night

July 10- 17 and July 17 – 24th

We just had a cancellation on Blackwood 2br. It runs Friday to Friday at 1400/week includes tax. Perfect for group that does not want to be in the middle of the resort, it is 1/2 mile from the resort on the lake with its own dock with row boat, canoe and paddle boat

July 17 – 24th

Red Pine 4bdr 2420/week up to 10 people 


July 18 – 25

Eagles Nest 2bdr just opened up 1180/week 


Thank you to the Pletcher family for sharing some of their great pics from last week.  Looks like a great week was had by all



They caught the new duck family at the lake.  Please remember I have duck food for sale this year to feed them.  White bread and crackers causes a deformity in their wings when growing.  Ducks need duck food to grow up not bread and crackers.  See the office for the best duck diet and the ducks will appreciate you for it


Everyone in the lake, 2 legged and 4 legged alike


Happy faces catching fish!



We had wonderful sunsets last week



Great end to vacation!



Til next year.

Thanks again to the Pletcher family for sharing!



The flowers along the roadside have been amazing lately.  Daisies are the main show right now



Indian Paint brushes are just getting in bloom



I do not remember the name of these yellow ones.  They are always with the Indian Paint Brushes



Honeysuckles are also in full bloom.  If you bit off the very tops of the crowns you will see how they got their name



Wintergreen is also in full bloom with their berries.  The leaves and berries are edible.  I munched on these berries before getting on my bike back to the resort.  The leaves make a great wintergreen tea and we had guests this week making tea from it



Here is my wintergreen tea lover Comella with her nephew.  They were having quite the pinball tournament on a rainy day.  The top score was 29,990, ten points shy of a free ball



In the rain Troy and Jake were getting some new boards to replace old ones on some of the picnic tables.  After getting through finals week at college, Jake was happy to do anything but study.  Picnic table maintenance was just what a blurry eyed college student needed



It was a peaceful morning at the lake.  Rain last night and storms but peaces and calm this morning.  Enjoy!



Raft floating in the morning.  I heard I missed a pic yesterday of the raft full of a few late July folks who are up enjoying a few June days



The story here was a catch and release morning of Northern and Bass




Last day of school and ready to take the plunge toward junior year for the girls Miranda and Alli, senior year for Ben and Michael and sophomore year for Grant



Taking the jump into the lake on the last day of school and the leap to being a senior in high school







Bring on Summer!



Someone else is ready for summer as well.  Mack is starting to blend in with the other goldens around the resort.  Question is which one is Mack?



Is this Mack for an impostor?



Or is this Mack?



From dogs to grown up, kids to seniors in high school.  Everyone is ready for a little summer!


I found kids swimming in the lake!  They were shivering a bit but their smiles say everything



No dad my teeth are not chattering I can swim all day, I am part fish



Meanwhile on the other docks there was a blog entry waiting to happen.  What are they up to?  Steve in one boat and Troy on the pontoon.  Both are dry….



I saw 2 great captions for this picture

Kevin Kane said “Hey Troy where is Paul and the raft”

Another said “Try again those are not muskies”



Steve jumping on



Off they go with Steve doing a solo impersonation of Titanic



Meanwhile I run up to hill to get the 2nd half of this endeavor



Down to Hilltop we go.  2 boats out for cleaning and the remaining beach chairs loaded up for delivery.  Bill Scully I ment to take a picture of your favorite chair on the pontoon boat.  It is there Bill and headed to your spot on the beach for another summer of book reading and bouncing in the lake breeze



Meanwhile Maynard and Squash made it back to the resort for some TLC.  Getting a good power wash and getting their names painted back on.  Big Bertha, Bismark and Marge are headed for the same treatment in the next week.  It is so much easier for everyone to find a boat when they have their names on.