Black's Cliff Resort's Birch Bark Blog

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

Browsing Posts tagged Minocqua


Few days of rain this week had us busy keeping the boats bailed out of water.  Our german exchange student Elias helped us out learning what the word bailing ment.  If you are fluent in German stop and say hi to him.  He will be with us til Thanksgiving


We stopped into a small restaurant in Hazelhurst just 2 miles from the resort.  Church Street is close to Charlie’s Cheese and that is where if you look closely you will find Vince’s place.  It is not big and only open Wednesday to Sunday from 11 – 5.  Food is great!  Vince is a one man operation so go and enjoy and don’t be in a hurry


He is located in this old neat cabin.  Look at the sign on the door and if it says open stop on in


His menu is not huge but it is very good!.  We have not had anything we don’t like and desert is always divine.  Carrot cake was what we had and it could not be moister and the frosting was……. amazing


The kitchen.  Vince uses as much local and organic produce as he can.



Stop in pull up a chair and enjoy a quiet lunch or dinner away from the noise of town.  Vince has a true small oasis in the Northwoods


Then come back to the resort and work on building a river like little Charlotte


I had to share Craig’s new improvement to our dock.  He installed a 9 foot bench.  I think the dock has a lot more leg room and the ability for folks to sit and talk better.  This will be the new hang out this summer.  The bench needs a coat of stain but other than that it is ready to go for summer


The last remaining projects are being completed as summer creeps closer.  Steve was determined to keep Donna Pyfer dry this summer and make her happy with a new roof on her porch.  Kaubashine’s roof has had a notorious leak over the swinging bed that had been patched and patched and patched some more.  Happily this is the last porch roof that needed shingles and Steve got it done this week.  No fears Donna, you can sleep on the swinging bed and listen to the rain with out being plopped on with rain drops


Painting, painting, painting…..


Can’t wait to see more and more folks out on the dock enjoying a sunset like Ben and Grant

I have a little something for everyone today.  The ice has been slowly creeping across the lake.  I caught this sunrise yesterday (this morning there was a 50 foot section left in the middle but missed a picture of that).  I worked yesterday on the 2013 calendar for the resort and got it done.  This is the featured picture for November on the calendar.  Tomorrow, Wednesday I will be taking orders on the calendar that get made directly at your own Walgreens store.  They are 19.99 each.  I am waiting for tomorrow to see what the coupon is for the calendars to save people more money.  I will announce on the blog tomorrow what the offer is and you can contact me tomorrow to order.  I will also unveil the cover photo for the calendar, one of my favorite pics from 2012

This is a different set of pics I took down at Bear Den of the lake freezing over the same day, Monday but later in the day

Not everyone knows it but my brother in law Bryon is an artist and graphic designer.  He made all the totem poles around the resort including designing and building out gate.  He also designed out previous website.  I his spare time he is an amazing artist and had a show at the Vine downtown last weekend which we got a chance to go to

One of his featured pieces.  Made his nephews blush a little…

This is one of my favorites of Bryon’s.  It is based off a picture his grandma who taught him to paint started but died before finishing.  It is an amazing piece.  Bryon finished it as a tribute to his grandma.  It is one of a few paintings he owns that is not for sale.  I think he has prints of this one for sale though

This one was hard to photograph with my iphone.  I love the colors

A little abstract for me but I know many out there like the abstract.  I believe the one on the right is supposed to be looking in a lake

Of his abstract art this is my favorite piece.  I love the movement of it

This piece is I think part of the permanent collection at the Vine.  Bryon did it a few years ago and the owner of the Vine bought it

This year at the art show, Scott the owner of the Vine added this painting of Bryon’s to the permanent collection at the store.  Another amazing piece

This one has a funny story.  It was displayed at the Great Northern Coffee shop, but to many customers complained that it made them feel depressed.  Greg had Bryon take it out of the shop.  Bryon considered it a compliment as it did what art is supposed to do, make you feel

Another one that makes you feel something

I love Bryon’s art as it is so varied, from the previous 2 pictures to this one, which I like for the subject and all the colors

Bryon was selling prints of his works for 15 dollars, very reasonable.  Orginals are also for sale but for 15 a print was a nice option

His main website if you are interested in his art work is

(For those of you trying to figure out how he is my brother in law with the last name Black and not my brother, when Katie and Bryon got married his last name was Blazkowski.  Katie was going to be a teacher and said she could not teach with a cow, and a ski in her last name.  Bryon nicely made her very happy and changed his last name instead.  Hence he is my Brother In Law)

It was a beautiful Christmas Eve and we all headed to the ice, even Chicken Little on a leash.  We discovered Mack has a talent as a sled dog or what x country skiers call ski journing with your dog or skate journing as we were doing

After a little discussion about not grabbing the leash that he never has on and is not used to

He got the hang of it and all you had to do was hang on yep the new sport of skate journing has been born

Hold on and steer cause here we go

Everyone else was enjoying some lake hockey

Or catching a ride with dad on ice this would be Dad Journing

Intense comptetion

Then there were others like Conner who were just learning to stand up on skates.  He has an intense desire to keep up with his skating cousins

There are others who took falls….. brought on by older sons who get in the way of a 40 year old mom in motion…

Then there are those that forgo skates altogether as foreign form of torture and stick to boots but still manage to score 1/2 of the goals

Ice fisherman returning from his favorite fishing hole to see what the commotion was on the ice

It was a beautiful Christmas Eve on Ice

Billy Borger has been coming up to Lower Kaubashine more years than he would like me to broadcast.  Every year he manages to get a nice muskie like this and always looks like a kid in the candy shop.  Congrats Billy.  Sure made a rainy cold week worth while.  Billy Borger, Muskie Hunter of Lower Kaubashine

Wicker furniture is a wonderful thing except for when it comes to cleaning it or painting it.  After 18 years of running the resort with Troy and trying a few different things I think we finally have it figured out.  We used to get the scrub brushes out and wash and scrub them outside but never could you get all the dirt and dust out of the cracks that develops after being out on a porch year round.  My upholstery friend asked me, why don’t you use an air compressor and blow it out with the tip.  We tried it and IT WORKS!  I cleaned these chairs for painting doing just that.  You do have to be careful if you only want to clean the chairs and not paint that you do not get it so intense that you knock paint off with the dirt

After cleaning, time for paint and I use paint in the cans, as it is so much easier than cleaning a paint gun.  I also put the gun attachment on to save my finger from getting a blister

half painted and drying

Put the cushions in and they have a new life and are headed to Holiday’s porch.  So if you have wicker don’t be afraid to clean it or paint it to give it a new life

You can see Jaws floating in the middle of the swimming area.  Everyone cleared out and took pictures.  Early summer is fun to see the big Muskie’s and other fish come into the shallows to spawn.  This guy has hung out for a few days attracting a few other big ones to come in.  Call him Don Juan of the swimming area

I got close enough to catch this picture.  He was not very intimidated or skittish of people on the dock

As well as Muskie’s we have the carp coming into the boat docks to spawn as well.  Jake netted these two in one scoop.  They are headed to a smoker of his best friend to be smoked before eating

It is not everyday that you can scoop out fish like this right out of the lake, and that is perhaps a good thing or none of the little kids would get in the water

Cliff was not looking to excited when we pulled in the driveway.  If anything he looks slightly depressed at how spring is turning out so far.  Tomorrow we have 13 inches of snow in the forecast.  Will the Northern schools finally call a snow day on Wednesday or atleast cancel track practice?

The edges of the lake were showing some signs of melting but not much

As usual someone else found scratchy ice too much of a temptation to resist a good roll and back scratch.  No quavering so far on heading out on the ice

I think I am ready to see water instead of ice around the docks

There is a lot of ice out there for now.  We saw a truck still out on Lake Katherine on our way into town yesterday

Most of the snow is now gone from the ground

We found our maple sap bags fuller than when we left.  It has been a slow season so far for maple syrup.  We need temps in the 40 – 50’s and nights to go below freezing.  The forecast of the rest of the week is not going to help get it flowing.  13 inches of snow and temps with highs of 33 all week.  I think we are going back to spring break

Coming next…  What was Steve up to while we were gone… and publishing the official ice out list (as soon as I go through 6 days worth of mail)

This is spring?

Cliff ready to hibernate

As long as there is snow on the lake I LOVE IT

Folks in Muskie Inn using the outside as their freezer

You may not being enjoying the March snow but I have a fur coat and am LOVING IT!

Here is the problem…  See the size of the door…  how to get a shower through this door?

Answer to the problem..  go through the screen.  Will it work?

Heave Ho, I hope you made room for it.  Did Craig think of how to get this in the cabin when finding the “Good Deal” on it this summer….

Just enough room.  Missing pic was me moving the swinging bed over a bit to make more room and loosing balance of the swinging bed as it crashed into the side of the shower.  Shhh…. don’t tell Craig

Ok nice big sliding door..  things are going smoothly no problem!

Uhhh ohhhh can’t make the corner….

ummm this is not going to work

Dad said it would fit.. it is not my fault

Calling Arizona..  you know that “Great Deal” shower you bought…. and want in Wigam…..  we have a small problem…..  which of the walls in Wigwam and weight bearing and which ones can we knock the &*^* out of.

I have a plan and it is going to work….. not sure what Arizona would say about it but I am putting it into action..  Insurance companies do not look

Measurements taken by my LOVELY assistant

Always important to be safe and put wires back in place before starting the operation

Time to smash, no trying to save, just smash into kindling…  What do you suppose dad paid per foot…  I don’t know just keep smashing


Ok now it will fit I am sure…

Anyone know where the chain saw is?

No but we have the handy dandy Saw Zaw that has helped us out of many scrapes before.  Are those wires live?  Umm be careful… Did anyone pay the Workman’s Comp this month?

It made it in minus a few boards, a few swear words and a handy dandy Saw Zaw.  Now to get it installed… but that is a tale for another day with these 2

This blog entry brought to you by me *(&(&( point and shoot camera as my good Cannon Rebel is still MIA being repaired by Best Buy.  I did get a progress report that they are now waiting for parts for the camera they busted when they were cleaning it.  Hopefully it makes it back this week…  I have had enough of the old point and shoot and the graininess of the pictures