Black's Cliff Resort's Birch Bark Blog

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


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We had some snow and unfortunately some rain on top of it.  Jake decided it was time to ice fish.  He headed out in drizzle and did not last too long but had fun doing it


He fishes as his Grandpa Gibson taught him a comfy chair and watching the traffic.  You don’t know what moments are important in life until the person who creates them is no longer with you.  Always remembered, never forgotten.  This picture makes me think of him and making sure to not miss those important moments in a busy life.  


Watching for the orange flag to go up


While Jake was busy fishing other boys were creating their own moments helping Troy clear the ice skating rink from the slush with their friend Michael


When it freezes it should be in good shape for skating again


You learn to appreciate a good big rink when you shovel it off 


Snow was too heavy for the snow blower


Good job Michael, Ben and Grant!  Moments of friendship


Now to do a good freeze



Katie and Bryon have tried to get us to go out fat tire biking with them the last couple of years.  Last night was perfect to try it out.  Temps where in the upper 20’s and the snow was perfect.  Candles lighting up the trail along with all the lights on bikes and helmets made it fun


This is a fat tire bike.  The wheels are extra big.  Katie uses hers all year round going through sand and snow.  


Ready to head off on the zipline mountain bike trail.  Bryon and the Lakeland Area Mountain Bike Association keep this trail along with a couple of others in tip top shape year round.  Want to know about the trails just ask Bryon.

Who’s finger is in the picture?  That would be George Callis’s finger who used to own Horhay’s coffee shop in Minocqua who was taking the pic for us


Down the trail we went.  It is a 2 way trail at times so headlights of on coming bikes along with the candles made it a magical experience.  I took no more pics on the tail as I was spending my time negotiating the winding trail and avoiding trees.  We all said we would love to do it again


Happily made it back to the trail head.  Bikers were taking breaks and heading right back out on the mile long trail


And of course a great fire to keep everyone warm


This is what Weather Channel has for Thursday.  Lets hope they are right!  Wednesday night also had snow in forecast and Friday


In the meantime we are out playing on the lake.  Steve has developed his own loop around the lake.  He is skate skiing and says the lake rocks right now for skate skiing.  We have patchy snow around the resort but the lake is pretty good right now for skiing and skating.  



Steve has also marked a temporary winter trail across our swamp.  He recommends snow shoes even in low snow right now as the bog is a little swampy yet but some cold nights should firm it up more.  Cutting across the bog to the orange trail is a beautiful hike or snow shoe.  His dream is to make it year round with a board walk of some sort but has not figured out how to make it yet.  

Hope your Christmas plans are good.  If you need a dose of cold and snow wander up north.  We still have a couple of openings during the week.  I have to date availability now year round on our website and am offering some hot deals over the next couple of weeks.  You can not book online but you can send me an enquiry.  My reservation system does not put the dates you are looking at so please include that in your enquiry message.  



Christmas is right around the corner according to Mack.  Time to get the resort ready for all the guests we have coming.  


Time to head to the lake to get the ice skating rink ready.  Our hillside has turned brown from the warmer days but the ice is ok.  We still have snow on the ground on top of the resort by the cabins the ground is white except for the hillside


Troy and Steve making the outline for the rink we will keep cleared off


One blows and the other shovels


The rink will be ready!


Lets hope for some fresh snow in the forecast.  We hear there is a little in Wednesday and Saturday’s forecast


Fish were biting this weekend.  I had some ice fishermen share a pic of their catch of perch

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Usually we call red squirrels public enemy number 1 for being bad neighbors.  They like to break in cabins when they can and chew on windows, they chatter from the trees and have been known to drop pinecones on people not expecting it.   This little squirrel though we have started to feel sorry for.  We watched him all summer gather up hundreds pinecones in the front yard for his winter food


Here is the pile he made.  However he has had some interloping free loaders stopping in

The usually nicer and friendlier gray squirrel.  Sneaking in while the little red squirrel was up a tree


Getting closer


Making a dash for the pile


In comes the little red chasing off the free loaders.  This goes on for hours until a big golden chases them all off

The little red has been running from the pile to the stairwell at Kaubashine we think he is relocating his stash… that is til the grays catch on


Steve headed out on Lake Katherine with his buddy Darby and the dogs for some ice skating before the snow gets too thick.  These are the islands of Lake Katherine


Lake Katherine is just 5 minutes from the resort and beautiful any time of the year



Three dog skate pull.  Darby did teach them how to stop which is important


This is the life of happy dogs



Penny telling Bella what she missed while at school.  


The snows been piling up outside on the trees.  I have been definitely enjoying the camera on the iPhone 10.  The quality of the pics capturing winter and the trees shows it






Laughing in Birchwood I found this sign on a screw the guys must have sent through the wall.  One of our guests I don’t know who left some commentary on the wall.  Gave me a laugh as I was cleaning


Troy has started the fire pit wood pile for next summer.  Splitting wood in the cold is when the wood warms you twice once while making and then again when burning.  He works hard to make sure we have dry wood.  Make sure to know the work Troy puts in keeping the fires going.  


Steve and Darby putting the final touches on our new building this week.  Lots of screwing and hammering going on.  


If you are interested in one of Troy’s horse racing games give a call.  He sold all his games but has two new ones almost ready to go for Christmas they are 65 dollars and guaranteed to keep mother in laws, crazy uncles and high energy kids busy at Christmas playing instead of fighting.  


How do you celebrate the end of the week?  You grab the family and head to the lake


Bella and Steve ready to skate.  The conditions are perfect to skate all over the lake.  The snow is not too thick and the ice is safe.  Time to fly!


We use these lake skates.  They have a ski binding and attach to ski boots.  They are like a speedskate with the heel not attached.  Your feet and comfortable and warm and you can fly across the lake.


My binding was being a pain.  Yes I knit that hat a few years ago.  yes it took a long time and no I am not making them to sell


Off we go.  It was 4 pm so it was getting dark


You can see the pattern you leave behind it is long and swooping strides on the ice


Waaa hooo having fun



We checked in with an ice fishermen to confirm the ice conditions


Ok that was fun but I am ready to defrost

Perfect end to a Friday!


We had a very busy weekend with all of the boys home for Thanksgiving. We did not take the usual Thanksgiving pictures of all our groups as we were on the road to cook a turkey at the nursing home where Troy’s mom is.  It was a special Thanksgiving spending time with her.  If you ever wonder how to pull off a full home cooked Thanksgiving meal at a nursing home see Troy and I. That is what Thanksgiving is all about and one we will not forget.

We also spent our usual time playing games as a family.  We tried out an escape room game that comes in a box. We did solve it in time.  


I will have this to borrow out of the office, check with me to check it out.  It will not be in the main rec room but in my office to check out


Christmas lights went up around the resort.  Friday is always a tradition of getting the lights up.  

Ben and Grant enjoy the challenge


The Our Wisconsin December and January issue just came out.  If you get the magazine or pick one up at most stores in Wisconsin that sell magazines you will find on page 10 – 11….


The story of the sock machines that I have and the sock shop


My friend Linda Wrobel asked if she could write a story about my sock machines this summer.  She submitted the article and we got a call 2 days later from the magazine wanting to print the article.  The magazine is written by submitted articles from its readers.  All the photography is also submitted from readers.  Linda’s payment from the magazine is an amish pie baked by one of the monthly writers who is amish.  He writes a monthly article for the magazine about 2 weeks on his farm every issue along with baking a lot of pies to send out to all the selected story writers.  Big thank you to Linda for taking the time to write about the machines and socks


Back to work for Darby and Steve finishing up our boat barn.  


Troy was busy filling up the spaces with all the chairs and pontoon boats

Back to sock making as the phone has been ringing continuously for sock orders from the article.  If you are thinking of ordering any socks for Christmas don’t wait the supply gets less each day


Beautiful Thanksgiving week at the resort.  Snow seems to be sticking around


Home from college and time to have some fun behind the gator like the old days


Lets GO!


Such form!.  Using a water skiing knee board


Ha Ha I snagged a hat!




Trying out card board, a shovel and a garbage can lid.  Steve had to jump in too


The shovel was voted best



The true winner!


Time to bring in some wood and warm up by a fire

Happy Thanksgiving!