Black's Cliff Resort's Birch Bark Blog

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


Driving down the road I did a double take seeing this immature eagle on the ice edge


Very happy it stayed for a pic.  I heard there were two of them at one time sitting here but I just caught the one


Fishing on the waters edge


This one makes it look like they are sitting on water


Steve did some tree trimming at Norway taking out some of the trees to get a better view.  I would say he did well

Happy Thanksgiving everyone drive safe!


Each morning the ice creeps across the lake  It is slowly getting farther and farther across


Troy was at Bear Den and took these pics for me


I caught some fishermen fishing just past the ice at sunset.  You have to love fishing to be out there at ice time


Then again the view is amazing when out on the lake warm or cold


I spent my weekend at a 3 day craft show if anyone was wondering why no blog pics the last few days.  I heard a few deer were shot and folks heading home with a deer and Christmas tree on their roof


I have been busy working on special order NFL socks.  I have a source for hand dying sock yarn to any color.  This was for some Seattle Sea Hawks fans.  I have done Chicago Bears, Packers and have Iowa Hawkeye yellow and black on order.  They are not cheap 32/pair of socks or 25/fingerless gloves but they are awesome socks.  If anyone has a special order let me know. I am having the Iowa colors shipped in the next 2 days and she can ship more if asked for Iowa or any other team. for requests but don’t wait or you will miss out


Light snow on the bird house today.  The weather has definitely changed.  Just in time for deer hunting the temps are dipping.


Kaubashine and Shamrock with snow on the roof this morning


In other news, Red Pine continues to get worked on.  The guys are putting the finishing touches on the stairwell.  This used to be a root covered path that was hard to negotiate.  Not anymore!


Here is the lower part completed with a hand rail


Steve had a little help making these from some great guys who came up and helped but they shall remain nameless and secret.  Know you were appreciated, secret stairway elves


The last of the boards going in connecting the deck to the walkway.  In the future brick patio will connect the wood stairway to the porch.  Maybe in the spring depending on time


I have to show my latest acquisition.  I got a call from a local antique store that they had an old sock machine come in.  I ran off to town not expecting to buy it, but the rest is history and home it came for a great price.  The stand is from an Auto Knitter a different machine than my old 1924 Gearhart I have been working with the last few years.  I thought the whole machine was an Auto Knitter but was corrected by experts, it turns out the machine is a 1904 or 06 Gearhart.  An even older machine than the one I have been working with.  It needs a bunch of work to make it hum again.  Lots of cleaning, oiling, painting and a trip through the mail for part of the machine to visit the Gearhart guru of North America to get a spring repaired.  I hope to have this machine working again by summer.  This brings my sock machine collection to 3 machines, 1906 Gearhart, 1924 Gearhart and a 2015 Gearhart/Erlbacher Speedster.  When I have all three machines together I will take a picture to see the differences.  The 1924 machine is still visiting the Gearhart doctor in North Carolina getting its cams and spring repaired.  I heard the new cams were just put on and the new springs are in, it will be returning soon.  When it gets back I will be sending the 1906 off for hopefully just a new spring.


In the meantime, it is time for an oil bath for the old machine.  It was taken out of an attic in Rhinelander at an estate sale

I think I am going to name it “The Hodag” the symbol of Rhinelander


Now another project of getting the old treadle going to power the sock machines.  One of the possible parts that will be powering the gear system.  This is an egg beater drill.  This one was Maynards drill, painted orange of course.  Stay tuned to see if this idea works……  Meanwhile Craig is reading this in Arizona saying “Hey that is my drill, what are you doing with my drill?”  Stay tuned….  What would Maynard say to his drill powering a sock machine?

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The colors at Sunset were amazing.  Enjoy.  Pics taken at Bear Den





I went and stole this old treadle sewing table from Shamrock.  I am hoping over the next couple of months to hook it up to my sock machine to take the wear and tear off my arm.  It will be interesting to see how this old treadle works.  I have already learned a few words like the big wheel that goes around is the fly wheel.  There will be a leather piece that goes around the fly wheel that connects to a gear.  Looking forward to seeing the two work together.  Stay tuned.  I am waiting on the gear attachment which is being created by a lady as I write who is determined that it can happen


The first snows of the season are always the prettiest


We had a dusting come down.  This will melt but for now it is pretty


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Puts you in the moon for the holidays.  We are just about full for Thanksgiving.  I have one left waiting for Paul to call and confirm he is coming or not (give me a buzz Paul, hint, hint).  Christmas and Christmas week we still have lots of openings.  New Years is booking up.  Don’t wait to call.  IMG_2984

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I stopped in over at Red Pine where I heard saws and hammering coming from.  enjoyed the view of the lake minus all the leaves.  It sure opens up the views with the leaves gone


The guys were hard at work finishing the walk way they have been working on.  They did the stairway in the lake a couple of years ago and did the underneath of Red Pine last year.  Now they were connecting the two


Looking good!


Back to enjoying the view


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It is quiet in the Northwoods.  We have had our first couple of days without anyone staying in the resort since early May.  Hard to get used to but it does not last too long.  By Thursday folks will be arriving again.  By the way Birchwood pictured above is open this weekend so far.  One of the few weekends we have had it open


THe reason for no blog entries the last few days.  My high school friends were up and Linnea and Heidi helped me pull off a big craft fair selling a ton of socks.  When up at 5:30 and packed back up by 4pm it takes a few days to recover from that.  I call it fair hang over.


Back to the quiet lake


Mack followed me down and wanted to swim out and bark at the thing in the middle of the lake.  I will let you wonder for awhile what that floating thing is…


The last chairs at the lake.  I will give a hint to the floating thing, the raft is now in…


The canoe is on shore


Yep the Northwoods are quiet.  If you need this view and the quiet just give a call


I took this picture yesterday and shared it on the Black’s Cliff Facebook page.  Most of my pictures get 200 to 300 views.  For some reason this picture took off and was viewed by over 5600 people and 27 shares.  I hope you enjoy it as much as everyone on Facebook yesterday.  A warm November day to enjoy the lake


That is unless you live at a large family run resort.  Then you get to scrub algae off of the swim ladders off the raft.

People can never believe Troy and Steve do not fish or hunt living where they do.  I will just refer to this picture from now on when I am asked that question or the following pictures


A warm November morning to take out the final pieces of the old dock that was 61 years old.  I was corrected by Craig


Hey Troy, I am keeping my eye out for big muskies that we are going to go fishing for when we are done working


Troy’s comment, “yeah, after being in this cold water all morning, I would love to get in a cold metal boat with you and go muskie fishing, let me know when you are ready.”


Penny’s comment “Ummm can I chase the fish, I am tired of chasing Mack, fish sound interesting”


How about muskie fishing after the wood is piled?


Or after the leaves are raked?


Or maybe at the end of the day instead of muskie fishing we can just sit down and enjoy the view like we are good at doing


Yep the perks of the job, not muskie fishing, no time for that, but sitting back and enjoying the views


We have decided it is time after over 50 years to make a new dock at the beach.  So it was time for the last time to take the old white dock out and haul it down to Hilltop to get it out of the lake.  This has not been done in over 50 years…  How do you get one heavy old dock out of the lake?


Answer, in pieces.  The idea was to tow these two pieces down to Hilltop and load them up on the pontoon trailer.  What could possibly go wrong?


Lining up the pieces behind the boat, roped together


Starting to head out, all seems to be working well


Hmmm pieces do not seem to let the boat turn….  and they are headed in the wrong direction


Time to rethink this idea


Penny in back of Steve trying to help


Penny decided to check out the problem herself


Ummmm….. don’t forget the dog please


All seems to be working headed now in the right direction


Troy and I a few minutes later notice that Steve appears to be headed to the middle of the lake.  The steering of the 2 dock pieces does not seem to be working


Time to send out a 2nd boat to help with power


Two boats pulling was the answer and of course the help of Penny who I am sure was wondering how to jump in my boat to help me.  Thankfully she stayed with Steve.  We all know Mack’s aversion to boats, he was happily at the top of the hill watching the fiasco with his 4 paws safely on the ground


Off we go to Hilltop


Loaded up on the pontoon boat trailer and that is enough for one day.  Got to be an easier way to get the other 3 sections….


Here is their answer to the other 3 sections.  Loading them up in a boat instead of dragging them


Now how do you get a heavy overloaded boat out of the water?


Ughh… the boat is wider than the trailer


Lets just crank it up and see what happens


Almost there…..


And out of the water it goes


Do you see a problem here?  Boat is suspended above the trailer.  Luckily we were not going far

Missing pic was the guys denailing the old boards because Craig has plans for them.  Stay tuned

Speaking of Craig, I mentioned he went on a shopping trip to town the other day.  He has left for Arizona so I had to go sign some papers and pick up his purchase


It is fitting that Black’s Cliff have a black truck.  Steve is just happy it has heated mirrors for plowing.  Question is who is going to put the first dent in the truck….  Stay tuned.  This bad boy has a lot of snow to plow this winter.  Our last truck had no frills.  IT was roll up windows, no carpet or stereo system.  Steve and Penny will be plowing in style with the stereo blaring and windows going up and down.  I can see it now

Next question is what will replace the old white dock…..  that is up for debate…  and it is being debated all winter long



It is late fall and the leaves have fallen and time to get some work done before winter



Boats are slowly being piled up



Coming home from college always means helping getting the storm windows on the house



Filling the woodshed.  They have worked all summer at pecking away at a pile of wood splitting it and now got to spend time getting it in the shed



Coming home from school to get their wadders on to take out docks with dad



Learning the important things in life like what is a crescent wrench



And the proper colorful word to say when you drop a nut in the lake.  The things you learn growing up at a resort

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Taught at an early age the importance of digging large circular holes and what frozen air bubbles are in the septic tank

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How to have fun with your little brother while fighting galactic storm troopers hidden in the brush pile you are cleaning up.

Resort 1968 Millie and Alma raking-2

Helping out with the raking



All the fun joys of fall growing up at a resort.

Text to Ben and Grant this morning “Moving winter wood over to the house after school.  See you there”

Those thinking about Thanksgiving at the resort we still have some openings Birchwood, Wigwam, Norway and Red Pine.  Give a call if interested