Black's Cliff Resort's Birch Bark Blog

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


Troy was out at the woodshed and saw a rabbit fly out of the shed.  Right behind it was a flash of white.  Look close at the bottom of the wood pile for the white ermine in the picture.  The rabbit was not going to be dinner to the ermine

IMG_4355The ermine was neat to see.  I just know the teeth it has in its mouth and will keep my distance


Troy and Steve were busy at the lake getting the ice skating rink ready to go.  With the cold and then warm temps the ice got a mushy crusty top

We decided to flood the rink and went to rent a pump to put in the lake to flood the rink. I came down as they were wrapping things up

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They chiseled a hole in the lake.  I was ready to get them an ice auger but both of them wanted to smash a hole instead…  Standing on new ice and smashing a hole through it with a pick is not my idea of safe or fun but Troy and Steve made it work and neither was wet when I came down so nobody went through the ice

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Rink is looking better.  Cold temps and more layers of water on top of it and I think we will have it in a couple of days

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My friend Sue and I have been spending a few afternoons making gnomes.  Stop by the gift shop to see what we have come up with.  Sue has all sorts of gnome ideas for us to make so the collection will be getting bigger and bigger every week

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This gnome we call the love gnome.  Sue had some heart buttons we found in a button jar.  

Each of our gnomes we have found has a personality.  They will be for sale all year as long as Sue keeps coming up with good ideas.  

Right now we are full December 28, 29, 30, 31st and 1st.  Give a call to see what is open around those dates.  The snow is here and it is time to come play in it during the holidays


We have had some beautiful snow come in 

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It was time to get the ice rink going.  Major problem was the build up of slush on the lake.  You have to understand lake ice to realize how this forms and the problems it causes for rinks.   The snow acts as an insulator and creates a warm area between it and the ice that causes the slush.  So stepping out no the lake right now you step into 6 inches of slush water.  

The other thing you have to understand about ice is the lake is not completely flat.  With the shifting and heaving of the ice the edges of the lake are lower than the middle and the water then runs to the low point at the edges.  We tried a rink close to shore and that did not work.  We headed our farther and found better ice with less slush.  Cold temps next week should freeze up the slush.  We are planning on flooding the outer rink with lake water from a hole in the lake to make it smoother.  Today it was all about just getting it cleared off and started

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Someone was totally unimpressed with trudging out through the slush.  His feet are happiest on the ground.  It takes awhile to coax him out on to the ice.  Missing picture was Penny having fun on the ice and that was the coaxing he needed to get over his slush issue

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Home from college and time to help dad with the rink

Nice break from finals

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Eventually we got it cleared off.  Now to wait for more snow and then the cold to flood it to make it great for Christmas hockey game

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Meanwhile the raft is not buried yet

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Boats hibernating under snow

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Our openings for the Holidays are now up to the 28th, one open for New Years and many opening up starting January 2nd

Remember if coming up and you want bacon, maple links, eggs, sausage delivered to your cabin get your order in to Jenny at 


The snow is slowly piling up and the cold temps have hit the Northwoods.  Our first Christmas families have started to arrive

It is looking more and more like Christmas around the resort

For anyone coming up in the next 2 weeks we partnered up with a local farmer who has Berkshire Pigs in Hazelhurst who raises them and treats them well and makes delicious meats

If you would like meat delivered to your cabin you can order a head to make sure I have what you want on hand and I will put in your fridge before you arrive

Bacon (the best tasting!) 9.00 per lb
Maple sausage links 6.00lb
Brats regular and JalapeƱo 8.00 per package of 6
package of 2 pork chops 7.00
Sausage Patties 6.00
Ground Pork Sausage 6.00 lb
Ham steak 8.00
Eggs 5.00 a dozen free range eggs from happy chickens

I will have stuff on hand extra but to insure I have what you want you can order ahead for a guarantee that I order enough from Farmer Ann

Email with your meat and egg order



Mack’s snow report this morning


Snow was slowly adding up and now with 5 inches of snow coming in last night and today it is time to enjoy the snow

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For some of us enjoying the snow means shoveling off the gator and plowing

Don’t let him fool you that he only works in the snow.  He is known to roll a mean snowball and rip it through the air at his wife and kids when they are not looking


Here is a good representation of what we have built up with more coming today

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If you are sitting in brown Christmas it is time to get out the sleigh and go over the river and through the woods to Black’s Cliff

December 30th so far is our only booked out night.  We have 5 cabins open over the Christmas weekend.  Give a call and jump in the sleigh


Snow is starting too fly in the Northwoods.  We look to have a slow and steady build up of the white stuff before Christmas.  

2 inches is coming down tonight with more on the way


No it is not fireworks.  I pointed my iPhone up to the falling snow to see what it would catch



Right now we do still have openings through the holidays but we are quickly filling in.  I am offering some Christmas weekend specials.  Give a call for details 715 356 3018   We are now full however for the 30th.  Restawhile is our only cabin open for New Years night only.  Bayview is our only cabin open for January 1st.  On January 2nd we have a few cabins opening up call for details.  


Guy have been busy out in the woods with the warm temps we had.  I followed the truck in to see what they were up to

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Steve and Troy have been trail blazing.  They decided to make an extension to our red trail.  The Valley of Darkness was their destination for the trail.  


Following Steve between the trees



The new red trail goes past another of the deer hunting stands that we have out in the woods


The new trail goes past a small boggy lake


This small spit of land that we think was an old rail road spur from the logging days around the 1900’s juts out into the boggy lake


The tail goes past this area and will be a neat place to watch through he seasons 


Heading into the Valley of Darkness


It does have a spooky feel to it



Following Steve out of the Valley to Ridgewood road where the tail pops out at the edge of Timber Ridge


Popping out of the valley to the paved road.  This trail will be a nice addition to our trail system.  Hope you take the time to enjoy it on your next stop in to the resort


Back at the resort the lake is frozen over and not thick enough to skate on but it sure looks like fun




The dogs and I took a walk in the woods to see what Troy and Steve were up to with chain saws.

The woodpile has been growing by the wood shed with what they are up to


We ran into Steve first who was looking up and analyzing the look of his new trail at the back of our property by Timber Ridge road at the end of the Red Trail we have already


Troy and the Gator were at the top of the hill on the old farm road that runs through our 4 Timber Ridge properties from the days when Timber Ridge was a field for cows


The guys were cleaning up the old road and seeing where they can connect things to our trails we already have.  A wind storm blew over these popple a few years ago and they are destined for the wood shed

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Making plans how to get he gator back to this pile of trees.  Maybe someday a cedar swing will be sitting here looking out at the small valley at the back of our property.

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Chain saw out of gas and headed back to the wood shed


Side Note:  If you are walking past the old green boats you might spot an old green mercury motor if you look closely.  We lost Troy’s dad this year and this old motor has wandered to our house and may make it on an old boat one of these days.  It still works.  It was used by both his dad and grandpa on their fishing adventures


Old Mercury motors that still work from your dad…. priceless memories. 

The old motor has found a spot to land in honor of a good man, Marvin Gibson, a good fisherman, father, father in law and grandpa.

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Happy Thanksgiving from our family to yours

Thanksgiving at the Cliff is lots of food, fires, games and laughs.

We had a full house at the resort enjoying the holiday

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The Robinson Family was up enjoying there 3rd Thanksgiving in Birchwood

Parchesse ws the name of the game in their cabin


The Walstad guys got done deer hunting for the day and football was on the agenda with them. They were grilling steaks later in the day and doing a double header of football.  I think the deer are safe today


The Rudatt family was all about comfy pj’s and doing puzzles

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Doing a puzzle by the fireplace how could Thanksgiving be better than that


Next stop was the Evans DeerCamp


These guys have spent 19 years in the woods across from the resort hunting and celebrating Thansksgiving together at the Cliff

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The Sveda family was keeping Bear Den rocking with games and food.  It has been 2 years since we have had the whole crew at the resort

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The owners of Blackwood the Zaremba family were up enjoying their 2nd Thanksgiving in their own cabin.

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I could not catch all of the Becksmith Family together in the cabin but I caught half of them at the playground before the turkey was cooked

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The Ring family enjoying their first Thanksgiving in Shamrock

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Cooking with a hungry dog was going on in Restawhile with the Hynes’

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Betsy and Marybeth enjoying their 19th year the Cliff with their 3rd dog since I have known them.  

Happy Thanksgiving from The Northwoods

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It was a gray week and the black and white photos matched the weather


Everything closed up and ice creeping across the lake


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The beginning of the holiday season at the resort brightened up the cabins.  We had several groups of deer hunters at the resort.  

The blaze orange after a gray week was welcome.  The deer have hit the bushes and are hiding pretty good so far I heard.

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The Evans crew up hunting for their 15th plus year.  They keep the deer stands in our woods going that you see along our hiking trail

Day 1 was slow but they have many more days of hunting ahead of them

The rest of our hunters were either asleep or out to eat and eluded my camera


Anyone need Christmas Stockings I have a few left.  Email me at I have a bear, cat, cabin, 2 snowman, santa, a full pattern santa, angel  and Peace and Joy stockings left.  I am making a few more before Christmas in the moose, tree and snowflake patterns.  They are 50 dollars each and that includes the name back stitched on.  I will only make a few more before Christmas before I start making them for 2018