Black's Cliff Resort's Birch Bark Blog

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



Great time of year to come up.  We start out lower spring rates this coming weekend starting at 125/night.  The snow is still here and more on the way on Tuesday.  Ski trails in good shape.  We skied the Madeline trail on Saturday, great conditions!



We had other folks up snowmobiling.  This crew is snowmobiling all week and reporting the trails in good shape.  Warmer temps and snow covered trails = happy people



Stopped to see the Cikowski crew on the ice


Mack was very interested in their holes…



Fish were biting.  Jimmy spotted a bunch of perch on this camera just before I got out on the ice



Somebody in the group was wearing a Wisconsin hat….. but I am not saying who….



So come on up and enjoy the trails at the lower spring rates



Or just come up for a good back scratch in the snow



Before too long the snow will be gone and the boats in the water….



But til then time to enjoy the trails and snow covered lake





Last weekend in February is the traditional Cikowski Family weekend on ice.  Mack and I headed out on the lake to see how the fish were biting.  So far only half of the family was on the ice



Mack found his buddy Fritz.  Fritz and Mack had a meeting of the minds on what day was going to be ice out this year.  Right now it is far off.  The guys are reporting 24 inches of ice yet on the lake



Hang out for the weekend



Tommy, Fritz and Jimmy outfitted for a weekend of fun on the ice.



Mack hinting to me that he is cold and time to go up



Tip up sprung while we were out on the ice, but nothing so far.  Put another minnow on



Views from the lake







Mack beating me up the steps.  He is headed straight to his spot by the woodstove

Saturday we are planning on going to the Apostle Islands to see the sea caves.  Pictures to come

Check out the above link for article about the ice caves on the Apostle Islands possibly opening up this weekend.  They are deciding today if they are opening.  They only open for a short period of time when it is completely safe to go out to them.  Last year was one of the longest years they were open.  Before that it was 5 years since they had been opened up for viewing.  This maybe it for 5 years.  Come on up, cabins are open.  It is a 2 hour drive to Bayfield where the caves are.  No reason to sit home this weekend staring at 4 walls, time to head up and see the ice caves.



It was a beautiful weekend in the woods with fresh snow.  Saturday warmed up enough to enjoy the outside



Even Mack pried himself away from the woodstove to head to the lake



Troy headed to the lake for I think his final time snowblowing the rink off.  After this we might let it go to nature



Mack agrees



The day we roll the boats in the water and drag the raft out is getting closer and closer



With snowflakes in the air, today is not the day



A big congrats to Jake and all the other Birkie skiers who trained for the race at the resort this winter.  Saturday was a picture perfect day for the 55km race in Hayward.  Jake made it all 55 k and is talking about next year.  Congrats to all who did the race



Winter is getting a little long and this weekend I made some neat socks out of scrapes on the sock maker.  This pair was made from all the green scrapes I had size 7 – 8



Later in the day the blue scrap sock size 9 – 10.  Tomorrow the scrapes sock made from all of the wildest yarns I can find.  Stay tuned to see that one

Scrap socks are some of the quickest to go.  I make a few here and there during the year.  If you are interested in a pair ask to see my scrap bag and pick out the wild colors to go into a sock



Time to feed the chickadees and get through the last of the cold winter



Cold sunrise at minus 20 and a minus 30 wind chill but we still had school.  Just had to remind teens that you let a car warm up before taking off in this cold.



Mack is set for the cold.  Always cracks me up how thick of fur he grows about this time of the winter.  His paws look like something a sled dog would be proud of



I don’t have as much hair between my toes and prefer to stay inside during this cold weather with 2 woodstoves in the house burning.  Time to get the sock maker cleaned.  Taking it apart and getting all the old oil cleaned off and re greased.  Just hoping to get it all back together and working the way it was before I took it apart.  Should be good to go for another 6 months.



Burr…  Looks pretty and is a great time to enjoy a warm fireplace.  It is supposed to be warmer today with less wind.  I am holding out til Saturday when we have a heat wave going up to 20 degrees.

One cabin left for this weekend if you would like to come up and enjoy a fireplace and this view.



It was a cold, but fun weekend in the Northwoods.  Jake brought the Lawrence University x-country ski team to the resort for their 2nd year of skiing Winter Park.  This group will all be skiing the Birkie next weekend in Hayward.  Good luck to all and see you next year!



They skied til they dropped at Winter Park.



But still had energy to chase Mack through the snow drifts



There was lots of laughter coming from the sauna this weekend.  It was so cold frost appeared around the door and the spider webs left from summer above the door






Still others ventured out on the snowmobile trails.



I also got to make the biggest pair of socks I have made yet.  A size 14 D.  Those are some big feet.  They are now toasty warm in a new pair of wool socks.  Very happy owner who has a hard time finding socks big enough for his feet

Looks like temps will be recovering for next weekend.  We only have 2 cabins left.  Snooze and you loose.  Give a call if thinking about coming up.  Winter is slowly ticking away



My brother in law, Bryon took this picture of wind across Lake Minocqua this morning at -27 wind chill  Burrrr…..  I borrowed his picture so my fingers would not have to suffer going out and taking a pic.  Thanks Bryon!

Warming up later in the week, but today it is time to stay home and sit by the woodstove



Big flakes came down blanketing the resort in a fresh layer of snow.  Cold is to follow.  It got us to go to town and do some shopping



At one of the antique stores I found this nice pair of green oars.  I am always looking for fresh oars to add into out large supply of oars.  Oars last for years if treated properly and we have some that have been around for 50 years still being used.  I thought about picking up this nice pair of oars… until I saw the price…. 138 dollars.  I did a double take, started to count up all the old oars we have in storage and are using on boats and decided I am in the wrong business if these oars sell for 138.  What would my grandfather say if he knew his oars were 138 dollars…

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Highway robbery that is what he would say..  As he grabbed the entire collection and went to town to sell them.

He thought they were expensive in 1960 at 5 dollars a pair and they were not even painted and it was highway robbery

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Yep he would be off to town trying to find the fools that would pay him 138 dollars for a pair of oars.  He might even thrown in a fresh coat of paint on them… he might


He would be very happy to see his grandson and Troy using crooked boards out of storage on a project in the basement.  We might even straighten a few nails and reuse them just for fun on this project

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Maynard would say “yep I taught them right,  nobody in my family is paying 138 for a pair of oars, we will cut down a tree and make our own before spending 138 on a pair of oars”

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Hey your guys better be careful with those oars they have to last til 2015 when my great grandkids can sell them to pay for college

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I declare that nobody, nobody in my family now or in the future pay 138 for a pair of oars! or my ghost will haunt them causing the oars to forever pull to the left or mystery leaks to suddenly appear in boats



Pretty quiet at the resort today.  This Pileated Wood Pecker came to visit us at lunch. They are the biggest woodpecker we have.  You can usually hear them drumming on the trees.  They are not around the resort much when guests are around.  We usually only see them when it is quiet.

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There is more snow on the way today about 2 – 4 inches.  So it was time to head into the file of yester year

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Thinking of sitting on the dock…

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Eating a few bratwurst  like Millie and Maynard above

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Sitting by a cabin and hearing the screen doors slam shut.  Yep not too far away…



Perfect for Valentines if you are tired of giving candy and flowers, how about socks.  I can ship a pair for 3 dollars and anything over that for usually 5 dollars for what will fit in a priority bag at the post office.

Above picture is my shoe size 6 – 7 no wools.  The bright pink pair and the pair to the left are 100 % acrylic.  The other 3 are acrylic/bamboo blends very soft.  All 18 dollars a pair



SHow size 7 – 8 acrylic and acrylic bamboo blends all 18 dollars a pair



Show size 9 – 10 acrylic and acrylic bamboo blends

All of the socks in the above pictures can be washed regular and dried although I recommend hang drying them to get them to last the longest



Shoe Size 6 – 7 all 18 dollars.  2 on the far left and super wash wool 75% and 25% nylon 22/pair.  Top 4 together are 50% super wash wool 25% bamboo and 25% nylon18/pair.  Bottom 4 are 75% wools 18/pair

Washing with these and the next 2 pictures are gentle cold or by hand hang to dry although if thrown in the drier have done ok with the super wash wools



Far left is the same as the last picture shoe size 7 – 8.  75% super wash wool with 25% nylon on the far left 22/pair.  Top row 50% super wash wool, 25% barmboo and 25% nuylon 18/pair.  Bottom 2 are 18/pair 75% wool 25% nylon 18/pair



Shoe size 9 – 10 same as last two pictures.  Far Left is 75% super wash wool 25/nylon.  Top row is the wool bamboo blends



These are show size 6 – 7  They are my heavier socks with more expensive yarns.  They are 75% wools and 25% nylon all are 27/pair

Washing these socks is gentle cold or by hand and hang to dry



Show size 7 -8.  Same wool content and price as above picture.  Except for the bright green yarn 3rd from the left and the first one on the left side they are 32/pair due to yarn price.


Shoe size 9 -= 10 same wool content as last two pictures.  All are 27/pair except for the bright green in the middle and the blue stripped sock 3rd from the left.  They are 32 due to yarn price



Shoe size 10 to 11 all 27/pair



Show size 11 – 12  All are 27/pair


Shoe Size 12 – 13 these are a little different they are 20/pair.  The one on the right is a wool/bamboo blend and the one on the left is a 75% wool, 25% nylon super wash.  These yarns are a little cheaper and are priced different than the other larger pairs.  I have more of the yarn on the right if you need it in a different size



Fingerless gloves size medium  Various yarn types.  All 25/pair



Large Fingerless gloves 25/pair

I have small gloves and forgot to get a pic of them and my Green Bay Packer socks and gloves as well.  Just ask for pics if interested

If you see something in a different size than you want just ask if I have the yarn I can make them up and ship them out

Email or call 715 356 3018 if interested