Black's Cliff Resort's Birch Bark Blog

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


Spring is springing around the resort.  Snow is all gone and it is slowly starting to look green here and there

Spring clean up of leaves has been in the last week and we are slowly shaking the shaggy leafy look of early spring


The Day Lillies sprouting up in front of Birchwood


Chives I planted in Birchwood garden are also sprouting up


I think this is the first Lilly of the Valley poking through or it is a stray Day Lilly


Lots of dock work is going on getting all the docks straight.  The ice broke off some of the supports so we have a bit more work than usual a the lake this year


Boats floating and waiting to head in to the docks


Slowly repairs are being made and docks are ready for summer


Mack looking for his friends the bluegills in the shallows.  Last summer they nipped him in the legs when he was wading and he took to dog fishing for the first time.  He would wade in the shallows and dive head first after them when they were swimming between his legs taunting him.  For a couple more weeks the bluegills are not in the shoreline until the lake turns back over and the warmer water is in the shallows and not in the deeper water.  He will have to wait to go fishing for a couple more weeks


Meanwhile his younger and not as smart counter part Penny seems to have a problem.  She got out to the raft but can’t figure out how to get back to shore

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Spring has sprung along with all the spring dock work.  Time to get to straightening the docks


First things first, finding the best wadders that do not leak.  Then rounding up the docks


They like to wander away when not anchored down


Getting all the boats out of the way is a must


And the work starts.  I think Troy will tell you this is his least favorite job to do.  Steve made it easier the last couple of years renting a really good sprayer that makes the job much easier than before.  It is a cold wet job to work on


If you missed these pictures on Facebook the other day, we lost one of our big pines in a heavy wet snow by the lake  It landed right in Kaubashine’s boat parking area.  Time to move it a little down the shoreline but how to do that?  First cut off all branches that you can


Attach a rope.  Just another day at the office


Start pulling with the winch and cutting off branches as you go


Down the shoreline you go


This will make a great fish habitat just not in Kaubashine’s boat parking area.  I can imagine the lures caught in this tree in the next years


They tucked it into the shoreline a bit and the fish will love it



For the 2nd morning in a row we woke up to no electricity.  Sunday night we had 70 degrees and a big wind storm go through which knocked out the power and last night 6 plus inches of heavy wet snow and yet again no power.  This is a sight that makes you pull the covers up in April and go back to sleep except for no heat and no power means get out of bed and start a fire


So far from the snow storm we have only found one tree down so far.  The big pine by Kaubashine’s dock.  Not sure how we are going to get this cleaned up….


That was a lot of weight on those limbs to crack that tree all the way up the trunk




This definitely gets in the way of dropping off water skiers at the dock..  Something will have to be figured out


Another tree thinking about taking the plunge but will have to wait for another storm



Except for the month of April it would be a pretty view



The wind storm Sunday night took out this spruce in the back of Wigwam.  We are waiting on the tree service to come take it down.  If we try Wigwam will get hit so we are leaving this one to the professionals


Thankfully this one is caught up in an oak tree over the cabin.  It is not going anywhere.  The tree service has been too busy the last 2 days with trees hanging in much worse spots.  Til they come this one is not going anywhere we hope.

Enough with the storms!

If you did not notice I added June 17 – 24th in Norway to our openings for Summer 2017.  Our list is quickly shrinking.  If interested give a call 715 356 3018



Steve arrived at the resort with 2 of his winter projects that he finished.  This canoe is a 1934 Saint Louis Mermarc canoe.  It has been sitting in our boat shed since 1978 when Craig and Trudy bought it from the Semmelmeyer and Geracke families just down the road from the resort.  The canoe needed lots of work and Craig thought it would be a fun winter project some time.  Well this winter was finally the time and Steve put a lot of TLC into the old canoe and it is actually capable of going back in the lake.  However we decided it would have a different home


Steve also spent a few hours restoring the old resort sign that hangs from the porch.  This is our old gate sign from back in the 70’s and 80’s that found a new home at the perch when the new totem pole gate came in.  Weather the elements had this sign looking pretty shaggy and in need of a facelift


First things first.  The canoe headed to its new home


Steve had researched how to hang canoes safely and he ordered this sling online and installed it.  Now to get it up and in place


A few pulls on the ropes and up it goes.  The boat has been dubbed the Semmelmeyer in honor of its original owners and looks good in its new spot.  Much better than dust covered and in the boat shed


Now what could Steve be thinking of next for his next project that would match the boat theme…..  Stay tuned to find out next winter…  because no time now for basement projects


Down the stairs he goes with project number 2


In place and looking good.  Now on to working outside


When Norway was remodeled years ago the stairway from the old Norway was put by the new door as a temporary stairway til we had time to make a new one.  Time went by…. and the stairway that was temporary stayed and stayed until today..  The guys have plans for it that will be much better


After destroying the old stairway at Norway time to do some tree trimming at Holiday.  Holiday and Norway are getting some outside grounds keeping work done on them this spring.  Holiday is also slatted for a new entrance but time might push that off til fall.  It will be interesting to see how far they get in their sprucing up of the grounds around Holiday and Norway


The lake this afternoon getting blacker and blacker and ready to go out

Right now we are set to have no guests yet in the cabins this weekend.  If you want peace and quiet this might be the weekend to come up.


We are cooking down the final maple syrup.  The trees are slowing down so that means green leaves are not far behind.  Our cooker has gotten a grade of a B this year.  It is slower than an open campfire put uses a lot less wood and attention


Snow is just about gone except for snowbanks


Kaubashine and Shamrocks dock area.  The ice did a number on our docks and Troy and Steve are going to be busy this spring fixing and straightening docks


Still a lot of ice on the lake and a lot of damage that can still happen to the docks



More fun dock work this spring


Nice to see it melting and wondering when the first ducks will be floating around


The lake is slowly melting.  Temps getting to the mid 50’s took out a bit of ice today



It will be nice to see open water here soon and before you know it the slide will be going back in the lake


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Along with the commercials that the state of Wisconsin filmed at the resort they took a lot of pictures to use in their summer advertising campaign.  We were not told where they would end up being used.  Jake was driving back from spring break through Chicago and looked up to see Grant, Uncle Steve, Ali and his cousins jumping in the water along I90 in Chicago.  I am not sure where all these billboards are  but Jake counted 3 in Chicago.  If you see others take pictures and send to us so we know how far Lower Kaubashine and the raft reach.  You might see pictures like this in advertising for the state as well.  Cut them out and bring along on next trip to the resort.  Thanks!   Kind of fun to see where they end up


We still have some snow in the woods but it is melting fast.  The maple trees are dripping like mad and I am thinking this week will be the big sap run when we get into the 50’s


Troy has been busy getting the new windows framed in, in Birchwood.  I think they look great


New bathroom window.  No more banging into the old french window getting out of the shower



Back to watching the lake melt and thinking of summer

We have plenty of openings in April if you want to come up and watch spring, spring.  Only Fools Run at Midnight is the first weekend in April if you are looking for a fun running event in ‘April.  The water falls an hour north of us are best seen during spring melt and April is the time.  Give a call cabins start at 130/night.  We run our lowest rates of the year mid week and weekends


We were home one day from spring break and next thing you know there are projects going.  Birchwood is getting a few new windows.  I will miss the old french window in the bathroom, but when I pay the heating bill in the winter I will not


Here it is with the new window in




After.  These hard to clean and hard to open windows I don’t think many will miss.  I know I will not


Finishing them on the inside


Being able to easily slide the windows to open will be a novel thing instead of propping them open with a piece of kindling


We got our maple syrup cooker going.  We found this old kitchen stove from the cabins hidden in the back of the shed.  It is working again as a maple syrup stove.


Water is steaming off the sap and the fire is stoked

Maple trees are still running and should be running for the next week or more.  Lots of cooking will be going on


But it is still cold at night and we still have to collect frozen sap out of the  taps.  Hopefully this is the last frozen collection of sapsicles we will have this year


Steaming pots of sap outside on the cooker and inside on the woodstove.  Frozen sapsicles melting in the cooking sap

If you have not checked out the new commercials filmed at the resort last summer by the state of Wisconsin here they are.  Look for them on your TV coming soon all over the mid west


If you did not notice there have not been any new blog entries this week.  That is because Troy and I headed off on vacation and left Chris and Amanda Moran in charge of the resort and Mack.  Chris was ready to cook maple syrup for us if the trees went nuts while we were gone.  Thankfully it was a bit cool and the trees stayed mostly asleep while we were gone.  Big thanks to them for watching the place for us!

I get asked a lot where and how do we get away when we live at the resort.  Well this is the answer


Chris moved the office of the resort out on to the lake.  Who would not enjoy an office like this.  The commute almost required ice skates.

Where do you go when you live at most peoples idea of a great vacation spot…….  Vegas Baby…. Vegas!  We were not sure if we would like it as we do not gamble and are not huge drinkers.  Well here is how to thoroughly enjoy Vegas without gambling


We loved walking the strip and seeing all the craziness.  The environment was amazing.  People watching and walking the streets was something else.  We headed to see the free shows at the Billagio with the fountains and the Mirge with the volcano.


The best part was driving off away fro the strip each day.  We rented an economy car but they ran out of economy and offered us a Camaro and threw in a tank of gas for the poor fuel efficacy of the camaro.  How could anyone say no to a camaro in Vegas.  This was our slot machine win and we throughly enjoyed it.  Headed to Grand Canyon, Hoover Dam, Red Rock Canyon and Ring of Fire State Park.  Really wanted to take this car home and make it my new cleaning vehicle.


This was Troy’s favorite picture he took.  We were at the west rim of the Grand Canyon


One difference between west and the more popular south rim is NO GAURDRAILS!  People taking selfie pictures backing up and looking at the screen and not where they were going.  I can’t believe they don’t have people fall off every day.  It was some of the best people watching we have ever done with the best scenery


For those that only know Troy for working around the resort here he is at the Blue Man show.  We thorughly enjoyed 7 shows.  If you want a funny story ask Troy about going the see Marc Savard Hypnotist and sitting next to me with lack of sleep and one drink before the show.  Beware of combining those combination of a drink and lack of sleep before going to a hypnotist is all I will say and Troy will agree


Living at the resort I take lots of folks pictures in front of their cabins.  I love taking other peoples pictures on vacation for them.  These great guys from Mexico where amazed that this blonde lady offered to take their picture for them in her halting high school spanish.  They had been battling how to all fit in a selfie picture wit the Hoover Dam in the back ground.  Meeting people this way was so much fun I probably took 200 pictures for people over the 6 days and met people I never would have before asking “want me to take your picture for you”

Troy had fun taking pictures of me taking pictures of other people


Here is my favorite picture I took of him at Ring of Fire state park one hour from Vegas.  It has some straight roads with dips that are meant for a camaro to fly through.  I learned to warn my passenger before accelerating as Troy almost ate his sunglasses that were tangling from his mouth the first time I punched it


We will miss this little car and our adventure.  Vegas was a great place for two people who’s kids had deserted them for spring break.


Yes this penny came home with us as we could not figure out how to put it in the slot machine at the Luxor

While we were gone all the commercials that the state of Wisconsin filmed at the resort went out.  If you go on Travel Wisconsin right now you will find Black’s Cliff plastered all over the front page.  It is a little crazy.  I hear from those to the south that the commercials are playing on TV.  The orange and white raft and the red and white ski boat are front and center with the Thompson family on TV.  Get your reservations in now as I expect me phone to go slightly nuts this week


Our lake has been popping and snapping with the change in temps from melting to freezing. It has started to shift like plate tectonics.  The power of the ice to move and destroy docks is something we have not had happen in many years.  Usually our smaller docks get moved around a little and we jet them back into place.  This year dock work is going to be a bit more extensive.  Take a look at the pictures.  Kaubashine’s dock is the worst so far.  The ice has pushed it up quite a bit.

Listening to the lake bong and bing sounding like a bass drum at night is amazing to hear.  I just know though what that bonging and binging is damaging

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