Black's Cliff Resort's Birch Bark Blog

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


Late February and early March mean one thing.  Time to go ice fishing!  The snow on the lake has melted down a little and it is easier to get around right now and the slushy layer has frozen up.  Time to get the tip ups out. 


Fritz who I usually photograph sitting on a bucket has upgraded this year to a chair.  He had gone up and added another layer and was perfectly happy with his lake view


Mack has a short list of people he no question about it when they are at the resort he is their buddy.  Fritz is one of those people


Ok where are the Sausages? Hmmmm…… I ran out on this cold lake to say his where are the sausages?


Fritz is the best says Mack.  He ranks with Barb Moore, Ruth Grady, Gloria, Chris Moran, Kelsey, and Barb Ellis to name a few of his buddies


Fritz and Jimmy with their lake house


Catch so far plus a tip up that popped but got away


Tools of the trade


Back up the steps for me.  Stay tuned for more fish pics



Winter is still in the Northwoods


Lots of beautiful frozen fog in the trees



Hillside with frost in the trees


We had a family up enjoying their first time in the snow and ice.  Their first trip out on a frozen lake


Hogwarts came to the resort this weekend.  Kaubashine became platform 9 3/4


Bella’s 10th birthday complete with wands and potions


Floating candles


Witches Brew


Magical trips to the septic system


Beware of visitors in the bathroom


After the birthday we headed off to the Photo Gala for the Wildlife Center


We made a few entries in the gala.  Mack made a splash


Along with Penny for your Thoughts


Katie made this entry with her dog Macy peaking at her through the trees


It was fun knowing many of the entries.  My friend Linda had a picture of her Springer right next to Mack.


It was a fun night with lots of people out and tons of great photographs.  Later in the week we will hear the results.  Mack and Penny are not writing their Oscar speeches.  



Getting to the end of winter the snow is still high.  The path to the beach still under the white stuff


The lake is still frozen solid cause it has Mack’s approval.  Some good ice fishing days are ahead


We took time away from the resort to head over to a new trail we had never skied before.  Nose Lake Trail is 15 minutes from the resort and is gently rolling hills.  Dogs are allowed on this trail year round.  If you like to ski or hike with your dog this is a great trail.  We left ours home by the woodstove


Down the trail we went



Always fun to find a new adventure in the Northwoods


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Baby it is cold outside!  We hit -30 last night.  It is supposed to warm up for the weekend but it sure was cold turning on cabins this morning


How do you know it is cold outside?  Penny has a jacket and booties on


She is officially styling.  Mack on the other hand has plenty of fur but Penny was sure enjoying her winter coat this morning


We have plenty of snow and conditions are great!.  


However I am just happy staying inside and making socks


Troy and I got out on a trail this week.  The weather was great and snow conditions were fast for skiing

We headed to Woodruff to the Madeline Lake Trail 15 minutes from the resort


Down the trail we went.  I did not take pictures of Troy going downhills happy to report except for one big hill all was good


Scenery along the trail


Our roofs are having trouble with ice build up at the edges from a big rain we had back in December.  We are getting ice jams


Jake came up to help us get the edges free of snow so they melt


It was quite a job


Escaping the city of Green Bay it was nice to spend some time at the woodshed too.  He and Sarah can claim 2 or 3 piles in the shed as their work


Troy filling up the bins to get ready for the weekend.  We have more snow in the forecast.  Winter is far from over



I had another sock machine find its way to my door.  This 1902 Gearhart is the 5th machine I have paired up with a new owner who is thrilled to learn the craft of sock making

With the 5 machines that I have found homes for and the 8 that that have found a home at the resort and one other that went as parts to a sock machine mechanic brings the total machines to 14 that have come across my door step

It is fun to bring them back to life and introduce the craft to more people.  


Make is just happy it involves laying on the floor by the wood stove and watching.

Did someone say the words “Bacon”

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Roofs in the Northwoods are feeling the weight of snow early this year.  Due to a bad rain storm on top of a lot of snow in mid December roofs have an ice build up that is preventing melting no the roofs and a build up of ice.  I have heard from several people about roofs or sheds collapsing in the area.  We started roof clearing.  Our new boat shed roof is supposed to not need shoveling being a metal roof it is supposed to slide off.  

The guys tried an experiment with the truck and a rope looped up through the snow


Will it work?  Lots of mumbling and debating


Answer is yes, but not as effective as we hoped.  It only calved off the lighter stuff on top leaving the heavy ice layer intact


Mack was not impressed


Back to old school


With a little time on his hands in the afternoon Troy took on my 1890 flat knitting machine.  He was working on the slots the needles go through getting the slots cleared out.  We hope to have this old machine working soon


He is using a jewlers file I traded to Basset Jewelers downtown for a pair of socks

This will be cool old machine when it is up and working

This next week I am traveling to Green Bay to pick up a 1920’s sock machine that I will be restoring and selling.  If you might be interested let me know it will come with a sock making lesson or 2.  I have 3 machines I use at the house and 5 in retirement in the Sock Shop on display.  There is no room for a 9th sock machine Troy says so I have promised to sell it.  


Its been a beautiful week it the northwoods.  A little new snow everyday has kept the woods looking fresh and the trees full of snow


We started shoveling off the fronts of a few of the cabins


Grant got in to it before leaving for college.  If you give him a choice between cleaning cabins or shoveling roofs he happily puts his snow gear on and goes up a ladder.  Back to studying economics at Saint Norbert and Ben is finishing his final semester of accounting.  Ben will be graduating in May and then heading into CPA exams


Before Grant left he finished work on his first Sequence game.  He created this game board out of Pabst caps.  It was his first major wood working project and he did it on his own.  This game will be for sale in the office.


Sequence is a great family game.  Our family has spent hours playing it



Everyone was out on the trails this weekend enjoying the snow


Mack was enjoying the snow in a more leisurely fashion


Snow banks are getting high as Troy carves out sidewalks


Picnic table sums up the depth of the snow off trail




Squirrel update we dropped off flying squirrels number 6, 7 and 8 at the Northwoods Wildlife Hospital who will winter them until spring when they will be released far away from the resort and any attic they may want to find as a home

February 1st weekend we have several cabins open 2, 3 and 4 bedrooms.  I am putting a special on Shamrock for smaller groups.  Give a call or check out the availability page on the resort website

Summer 2020 is filling fast I had 2 cancelations come in

Shamrock June 20 – 27 and Red Pine June 26 – July 3rd 

Again the website has the summer openings posted on it and any new cancelations I will put an post on our Facebook page.  Summer 2020 deposits were due on the 20th and I am about to make some phone calls to folks who do not have theirs in.  Keep your eye out for cancelations this week as I make those calls


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We had a snowbird from UW Madison stop by for a visit.  He is officially from a famous hill on the campus and visits us each year


Snow was off and on all weekend piling up in the trees


Piling up means shoveling


Snowmobilers out enjoying the trails part of which are our road


We decided to head off on a trail of our own


Snow shoes was the way to go in the thick snow before the Packer game



Out on the red trail



We have 2 cabins left for January 24th weekend Norway and Wigwam.  We are doing a special on them for up to 4 people at our larger 2 bdr rate or regular rate for up to 7.  Muskie opens on Saturday and we are doing the same special on it as well and allowing 1 night rental on it for Saturday or more nights.

I will be updating our flying squirrel situation later in the week.  So far 5 of them have a new residence at The Northwoods Wildlife Center





The snow has been piling up and we have been busy cleaning cabins and getting summer deposits in.  

We are full this coming weekend but have openings the rest of the winter weekends and mid weeks.  Call if you need to escape to winter paradise


Highlight of our week was the guys heading over to a little game we were having in Green Bay.  Can you tell how much fun they were having

It was fun for them to escape from the woods for a little while and do some cheering with a few of their green and gold friends


We have discovered a few flying squirrel friends who though winter in the attic of one of the cabins would be fun.  We are live trapping them from the cabin and taking them up to The Northwoods Wildlife Center where they will spend the rest of the winter until they are released in the spring.  Flying squirrels do not do well in the middle of winter if you relocate and release them.  Never fear these guys are not flying on any guests they are being relocated as fast as we can trap them

The Wildlife Center has about 10 of the from all over the area so far wintering at the center.  If you would like to help the center out with winter feeding bills for these little guys send a check to The Northwoods Wildlife Center 8683 S Blumenstend Rd Minocqua, WI 54548   Send a note for the squirrels or other wintering wildlife.  The Center cares for animals year round and ends up wintering quite a few through the winter for spring release.  They told me a squirrel costs them about 5 dollars a day to feed and care for.  Along with a donation we dropped some fruits and veggies to help feed these guys


Courtney is the director of the center and is always welcoming to every animal big and small that comes through the doors of the wildlife center




Mack and Penny were ready for a morning trip to the lake.  Wonderful temps and fresh snow to the lake we go


Come on lets go!  No beach towel and flip flops needed today


The joys of winter…. the closest Mack gets to going on the raft


Time for a run!


Beautiful this morning!


The smart dog is the one that is beating the other to the wood stove in the house


One of them in this picture learned how to break in the others food tub and snarf down 3 days of food when nobody was looking.  Which looks the guiltiest?

Penny is eagerly awaiting her family returning.  We have been watching her for the past week while Steve, Jen and Bella went to New York to move our Aunt Debbie to Minocqua.  Especially in the summer many will meet her as she is over for visits.  


Welcome to the Northwoods Debbie!  A new adventure with your family begins

They love you in Wisconsin