Black's Cliff Resort's Birch Bark Blog

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

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




The fog and snow of March.  Some don’t like this time of year.  Personally I love the foggy woods and misty lake as the snow melts


Driveway is the main issue getting mucky

The water falls in Ironwood and Hurley are calling our names.  This is the best time of year to see them full of spring melting water


When the snow came our Troy and Steve took the tools to Shamrock.  So far 2 bedrooms got new flooring and touch up varnish on doors and windows was done


Bedrooms will be so much cleaner without carpet.  Very excited about the change.  We are almost at the end of our flooring upgrade for spring

I just heard Steve was on the way to Menards to pick up new dinning room and kitchen windows for Bear Den.  I think that is the next big project between people renting it.


Back to the misty lake

Our skating rink has seen the end of its days


New boat motors are arriving by the end of May beginning of June.  Our old ones will be for sale that are 4 years old.  Any one interested in a motor to buy let us know.  5 new motors will be at the beach this summer.  Steve has been hard at work repairing the upholstery on our black pontoon boat we got last year.  It is looking good!  


Summer 2021 is looking up!  Troy and I have received our first vaccines and Steve is not far behind we hope,  We are discussing opening the community room for summer if things still keep improving with the virus.  Blankets and pillows…. are still an issue for us until everyone on the crew is vaccinated and we feel comfortable fluffing and folding.  Keep an eye on our COVID 19 update on our website we will be updating it this next week a little

Cancelations for summer 2021

Kaubashine 3 bdr June 19 – 26, Bear Den August 13 – 20th



It was a beautiful weekend at the resort.  This picture from Larry and Sue Sveda


Sunrise taken by Sue much earlier than I was up


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The Kurtz family was up enjoying the possibly last day of ice skating on our rink

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They were all smiles skating in the spot they will be swimming in this summer

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Troy and I got outside to hang up our 40 maple taps around the resort.  40’s for the next week the trees should be flowing 

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Someone stole my phone to take pictures of me tapping instead of him this year.  We had one tree running so far. Spring is on the way!

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Of course the day after beautiful temps we get a bunch of snow.  

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Sunset in the pines.  Snow will not last long

2 cabins left this weekend.  Get in your spring reservations.  Summer right now is booked June 12 – August 27th



Late winter the wood pile gets smaller and smaller


But the sun feels warmer and warm each day


Imagining a dock and raft floating out from shore


But for a little while longer this is where the raft shall be. 

Openings up to June 12th and starting August 20th.  

Come up for spring break and watch the lake melt with us