Black's Cliff Resort's Birch Bark Blog

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


Lots going on at the resort as usual.  Lots of fishing and lots of crappies. Thankfully no bear sitings.  We are being very careful cleaning fish remains in freezers only put in the dumpster day before it is picked up.  So far so good!


The old red boat got a fresh paint job from Grant.  He is home till July 1st when he heads off to California on an adventure including San Fransico and Yosemite.  Til then he is enjoying helping us get projects done around the resort


Rule is you paint it, clean it, gas it up, you get to take the first ride in it


Grant and Bex have been working on their own business a sticker store.  We have a selection of their stickers in our shop featuring the resort.  They can do personalized stickers as well of a favorite picture you have or one with your family.  Great for sticking on water bottles, computers…   They have had a fun time developing their own store.  On Etsy they are called Bloomingdesignstickers  


Out at the sock shop another machine arrived.  This one is a 1914 Gearhart.  I think it has found a new home with one of our guests I will be showing how to make socks.  I might have other machines for sale just ask me if interested.  I seem to be a machine magnet for anyone who has one in their attic or basement on a shelf for 20 – 50 years.  Around 15 or so machines have wandered to the resort.  Some have stayed and some have found new owners


Steve bought some new chairs for the beach for loungers.  


With the warm weather Mack can attest to the fact that the water is just right for swimming in the afternoons.  He also objects to anyone saying he is smelly after bathing, just pass the bacon or watermelon


Troy and Steve have been busy fixing a few things on the list.  Picnic tables getting new boards


Steve is working on a new teeter totter


Everyone else has been fishing… lots of fishing


It has been a busy week getting ready for Memorial Weekend.  We got our final dock in with the help of Grant.  They gave up on the waders as they had sprung leaks and the water was warmer
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From doing finals at Saint Norbert to figuring out what screws go in which hole.  Grant was thankful for the change of pace from studying to frigid water bonding time with dad


Rob Schulz was up again for some spring fishing.  His smile says it all.  Three weeks of paradise ahead for him as family and friends flow through his cabin


Panfish are biting.  This batch was from the Hodes/Buhot crew at the resort

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Lots of stores closing in town so it is nice to see one opening in the Boardwalk shops.  Great antique and craft store.  Stop by and check it out. 

Store closings I know of in town.  Paul Bunyans (open only for gift shop and dounut sales, restaurant is closed this year), The Vine, Jacobi’s are a few I have heard of.  Lots of things long waits for like our new boat motors for the beach, couches, fridges….  I saw an administrator at Marshfield Clinic helping out his cleaning crew vacuuming because of shortage of cleaning staff.  Many places are at half staff but doing the best that they can


I have expanded my shop into the community room with some cabinets.  The middle one I found at The Found it store.  It is a 1930’s sock display that I love!.  The pie safe on the left came from Gaslight Square.  I also found a jelly shelf not pictured at Ages Past on Hwy 47


The gift shop is restocked with new shirts and t-shirts.  Sweatpants are coming soon


New long sleeve T I think will be a fast seller.  I have more coming with hoods

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Really cool sunset pictures shared from the Adamietz family



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This is the Moore family campfire I snagged from them


Peace and quiet on the lake

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We have had a new visitor at the resort.  A small black bear.  We assume it is a year or two old that mom has kicked out.  We have not seen momma bear anywhere near just this little guy who has taken a liking to our dumpster.  Troy got the surprise of his life when opening the dumpster to see a bear in it.  The bear went out the back of the dumpster as Troy gave his heart a work out.  


It is small and at the moment easily chased off.  We have a new dumpster with a lock bar coming and have called the DNR about relocating our friend.  Every guest in the resort has gotten a view of our friend.  Everyone is just aware right now and keeping food inside.  The dumpster was emptied and we are leaving it that way until the new one arrives


I think it thinks the dumpster is its den.

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Chris and Amanda demonstrating the best way to walk around resort at the moment.  Pot banging and a barking dog are the best bear deterrent we have at the moment


Big stick banging on a tree and growling at it work as well

Reminds me of the Walking Dead TV show with the guy with a club


Meanwhile work goes on.  Amanda wanted to clean up our woodshed and got to work splitting kindling.  Kindling we ask folks to use sparingly.  A lot of work goes in to keeping a pile high.  Thanks Amanda!

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We ordered a load of road gravel delivered.  They delivered it right in the middle of the driveway to Kaubashine, Shamrock and Eagles Nest……  Not sure why you would pick this spot to drop gravel……  


Gave the guys a reason to go rent a skid steer.  

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The final dock got fixed at Eagles Nest


Chris and Steve sanding and painting new screen doors for Bayview and Wildflower at Steve’s house


Its been a busy week but time to enjoy the quiet moments on the lake

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It is spring and time is short.  I took a lot of pictures working the last few days.   Painting to straightening docks from the ice damage.  Big thank you to Chris and Amanda Moran who came up to help for 2 weeks.  Enjoy the pictures

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This last picture makes me laugh.  At the end of the day Troy was sitting down and the red squirrels started taunting him from the trees.  There is a squirrel in the tree right above his head.  The squirrel war is upon us as the red squirrels went in the basement and ate his butternuts he was cracking.  Stay tuned to see how it goes.  Several have been relocated


This was our wake up view on Mo day.  It was hard to get going.  Thankfully 60’s are in the forecast later in the week.  


So what do you do when it is snowing out on a Monday morning?  Get in the lake and put in docks of course.  Notice that is Chris Moran and Troy in the water.  Steve is on shore in the background without waders on.  Chris and Troy will tell you the ice has not been off the lake long.  

We had to get the blue docks going early so we can move the boats to them.   We have to do repairs on the little boat docks that the ice sheared off.  Lots of dock work to do.  Mother Nature needs to make it easier 


Not cold at all come on in….  Notice Troy’s red hands from being in the cold water

They both headed up to fireplaces after they were done

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The weather has slowly been getting better and we have been starting the getting the place going for summer.  The raft is still jammed up on one of the little docks from ice out but we can pretend it is floating out on the lake and it is 80 degrees out


We had a special delivery of new signs that Eric Peterson made for us.  Eric’s wood work is amazing.  You will see his signs popping up all over the resort


The questions of what side of the shed is try and which is wet wood has been solved.  


Signs says it all  The guys put a lot of time into keeping things stocked including kindling.  I grew up with the idea that 7 pieces of kindling is all you need to get a fire going.  


The latest pile of kindling ready to be cut apart and piled in shed


Chris and Amanda Moran arrived to enjoy the quiet woods and help out with the opening for a couple of weeks.  First thing to do was get the cedar chairs out of the shed and around campfires


Amanda found her new calling, hammering down loose nails in seats


After the chairs got out of the shed there was room to pull the black pontoon out.  It is headed up for some welding fix for a week or so before going in the lake.  Steve also repaired some of the upholstery in March


Back down at the lake the resort boat lift was the first thing put back in the lake.  The little blue docks will be next followed by lots of repairs to our permanent docks.  Lots of 4 by 4 treated were purchased to replace sheared off legs of the docks from the ice


Back to dreaming of summer

We are in the process of getting the blankets and pillows back in the cabins.  As of right now they are headed back  into the cabins over the next 2 weeks.  As long as things remain safe with variants we will leave them in the cabins and beds will be made up.  Our entire cleaning crew is now vaccinated we feel safe putting them back in.  Keep an eye out on our COVID 19 update on the website for changes before you come.  We also now send out packing list 4 days before you come by email.  Changes will be announced there



There has not been a blog entry in over a week because Troy and I headed off down the road to travel some trails. I get asked all the time when do we get away and to where.  This time it was to Southern Illinois to Giant City State Park.  The wildflowers and trails were amazing along with the amazing rock formations around the area


Mack went along for the ride and thoroughly enjoyed the idea of food being outside all the time


Things learned… Always look behind you when taking picture so you don’t trip over a rock and end up in a stream looking up at the sky while your dog laughs at you


Good time away with our feet up.  Shocked to pay 20 dollars for a small pile of wood


Back to the wet northwoods


We heard the loons were back stay tuned for more spring things as we unpack


Ice out started out looking good.  We saw this Monday morning and thought it would be a good ice out no problems…

Then the wind started in the afternoon…..


This was the first indication we were in trouble.  The ice moved in when crazy winds came in blowing it right into our shore.  We broke up what we could and headed down to see what happened down at Holiday’s docks


The docks at Holiday were already destroyed.  Once every 20 years or so we have a bad ice out like this that takes out the docks we leave in.  This is the year we paid for it…  The larger dock in this group broke completely in half.

We take out about 1/2 of our docks but leave 1/2 in along with the raft and they are usually just fine in the spring


Time to go back to the main docks and save what we can


By the time we got back over to the docks and raft the ice had already moved in again.  Out in a boat we do hacking the ice before it hits the docks


For an hour and a half guests joined in with us battling the ice as it slowly crept in with each wind gust


We even had the power of Batman


We fought the good fight…


But at some point it became more than we could do


One dock down and raft on top of it.  Somewhere under the raft and dock is the barrels squished by ice


We raised the white flag exhausted and took our chances that the worst was done


Thankfully or ski dock and Kaubashine and Shamrock’s docks were spared.  Above is Eagles Nest dock we had hoped had made it through……  Lots of dock work to do this spring


The snow has just about completely melted.  We have snow banks left but that is about it

We are keeping cabins open for guests who we have had a steady trickle of all month.  Spring break at a cabin for many beats the crowds in Florida.

We are working on a few projects and keeping the furniture store in business.  Steve has been replacing beds right and left.


As this one went in Birchwood he informed me that the store was out of queen beds for now


Our larger snowbank has kept or maple sap cool the last few days.  We were out of town and Steve filled the entire garbage can with sap for us to cook off while we were gone


The lake is getting darker and darker


Edges are going to.  I am are the ducks will be on the lake soon


I am old and I do not want to go down all those steps in Mack’s comment

He is much more interested in the fire in the house and cooking down the maple sap

We still have a few cabins open this weekend and Easter.  Come on up and watch the lake melt with us

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The lake is slowly melting away changing color from white to gray to eventually black


Some people run to Florida this time of year.  No thanks, keep your crowded beaches


No traffic here


Just a golden retriever waiting at the top of the steps

Mack wants back next to the wood stove



Firepits quiet for now and time to start raking soon


The maple trees have been flowing all week


Our fancy filtration system getting rid of any junk in the sap

A friend of mine just started tapping her trees for the first time a week ago.  She cold not believe she had not done this before.  It really is not that complicated and you only need a few maple trees.  If you have a maple tree or 2 in your yard or more, you can give it a try.  She thought she needed special sugar maple trees.  Nope any old maple will do.  All you need is a drill, some spouts, bags, cheese cloth and a few big pots and you are off and going.  It keeps us off the Florida beaches in March and that is a good thing

Resort is currently back to being booked out June 12 – August 28th.  Keep an eye on Facebook for any changes I announce them there first