Black's Cliff Resort's Birch Bark Blog

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


Our 80’s video games we added to the office we are using as a fund raiser for the Northwoods Wildlife Center.  We ask guests who use Pac Man, Centipede and Rampage in the community room to put a donation in the box for the center.  I asked the Wildlife Center if we could donate the money to something they need.  They have decided to put it towards a new fence for the orphan fawns who come in.  The Center raises them until they are ready to go back to the wild.  The fence is badly in need of repair


A storm last year blew trees over on to the fence and thy are keeping it together but as you can see it needs repair.  The cost estimate is 1,000.  We think it is a perfect use of the video game money



Here are some of the patients in the fenced area right now.  So stop and play Pac Man and make a donation

Thanks from the Wildlife Center


We have had some smores experts stop by and learn how to play Pac Man along with having some smores


End of another great week at the resort.  Mike Frisch doing the sad walk up the hill with the empty gas tanks after a great week at the lake

Til next year Mike!



Its been a beautiful hazy warm week on Lower Kaubashine


We had some amazing fairy house designers stop in.  Fairy houses were popping up all over the playground


There will either be some happy fairies or chipmunks with a new fancy home




Katie put out the call for help to load up some hay bales for her horses.  She goes through about 30 bales a month and it was hay cutting time at a local farm.  We just had to show up and load up the new bales.  Troy grew up working on a neighbors farm and felt right at home in a hay wagon


Bryon and Troy throwing off the bales


Grant learning why wearing pants instead of shorts is important when doing hay


All the bales made it to Katie’s barn in on piece


The new hat machine was cranking out hats one right after another


One of the first hats headed to the shop.


After working hard all week it is understandable that falling in the lake while cleaning out paddle boats may be refreshing and entertaining for the picture taker who was dry on shore with Mack laughing



Beautiful July days at the lake


Lots of fun paddling around the lake


Catching fish like Megan here who is knows how to take her fish off her own hook!  Yeah Megan!


Sitting back like John and Lillian in the background enjoying some rays while the kids have fun


Learning how to drive skiers for the first time and spending more time with a rope behind the boat than a line in the water with Mark and Charles


Lauren and Abigail living it up keeping Mark and Charles on their toes pulling them around the lake and taking them horseback riding

Dad’s and uncles are the best!


Paddle boarders having fun!


Keeping the trampoline inflated 


Catching some rays on a leaf



In other news this crazy hat making machine has found its way to our house. It is electric and goes around a little faster than I am comfortable with.  Steve tried to slow it down with a Rheostat switch.  Basically it slowed it 15 percent…. kinda like going from 50 to 40 miles an hour.  What is the difference between 40 or 50 when your fingers are involved.  So I am slowly and carefully learning how to make it work

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Here is the first hat off the machine.  I am going to go find fleece and line the hats with fleece for softness.  Stay tuned to see more coming off Gertie the Hat Machine



Mack loves anyone with bacon to offer him but he has a special place in his heart for a few people who I swear each year he recognizes even though they have not been to the resort in a year.  Kelsey is one of those.  They formed a special bond the year we got him and each year all he has to do is hear her voice when she arrives and he sprints for Kaubashine and his Kelsey girl


What does Kelsey love more movies or Mack…. I know what he loves more 


We had a special night out on the lake for the annual fireworks show provided by our neighbors across the lake.  Everyone piled on to our 4 pontoons and off we went for a fireworks cruise


Pulling boats together as a flotilla


Little Peyton did not stay awake for it all in Grannie Linda’s lap


Across the lake they set up an island to shoot everything off of and it works great.  The lake fills with neighbors from all over the lake and we enjoy the show

Thank you to the Cole Family from all of us at the Cliff for the great show every year it has become a tradition to watch


Boom!  Happy 4th


Back at the resort we had a catastrophe.  Big wake boats on the the lake over the weekend caused huge waves to come into shore.  Our little 1956 ski boat somehow got overcome by the waves and went down.  Some ask why I don’t allow big ski boats and this is the reason.  The waves into our shoreline cause so many problems.  This is just a visible result.  Our shoreline has taken a beating as well the last few years that we do our best to repair.  My heart broke finding  this at the dock.  We had no idea how to raise it with the motor on the back


Thankfully neighbors responded to the call and with the help of many they lifted the back of the boat while a bunch of us bailed as fast as we could.  


We pulled the boat out and it is headed for a motor check at Ryden’s Marine before we try starting it to make sure no damage was done to the motor

We are now in the market for a small boat lift to keep this from ever happening again to the red boat

Hopefully it is back at the lake this week.  Grant has been learning to drive it and is ready to swing his cousins and brothers around the lake


Troy has been busy making trees to sell in the office.  These were his first and more to come.  They will be 3 for 20 dollars


We had the 2nd Smash Brothers Tournament on Sunday at the office with Ben and Grant.  


As one week comes to an end another starts at the playground with vacation friends meeting up and starting up friendships that they pick right up from where they ended last July .  Ready set time for a week of fun!



Happy 4th of July from all of us at the Cliff

Linda Hoadley and her grandson’s were on the Northwoods Wildlife Center Float along with lots of other resort guests Katie recruited


It was a fun day in Minocqua celebrating our country


Grant was on the float ahead of the Wildlife Center for the Northwoods Zipline where he works.  If you want to zip through the tree tops Grant is the one to do it with


Back at the resort it was fishing time


Rich Snodgrass, Will Flower, Tom Hixson, Gary Hoadley, Chris Moran and Eric Peterson had a lot of fun catching fish this week





Back at the resort we were having first bluegills caught by Holden and Payton with their parents Laura and Jason.  Avoiding catching a turtle was the first lesson


Nothing like catching your first fish with mom’s help


Right behind them in the fishing area were the bass creeping in for a quick morning swim


Shhh don’t tell the guys in the green boats we are here


Graham and Cash were catching other things in the woods


Friendly salamander  was released back under the log they found it at


Three new, old sock machines arrived at the cliff this week  I sold the 0ther 4 I had written about previously and this 1890 sock machine will soon be whirling and for sale if anyone wants to get addicted to making socks see Jenny

Happy 4th of July!


4th of July week means one thing, time to go pole dancing at Hilltop for the 2019 Roy Tungett Memorial Horseshoe Tournament.  Which means as usual everyone was debating how the scoring works.  Is a leaner an extra point and when do 2 shoes count as points


Our fearless master of ceremonies Tom Hixson thinking hard an analyzing scores


We had 20 teams this year.  Some come for the competition 


Some come for the pizza


Many come for the good times and laughs.   Ok they all do




Max and Sam have fun each year driving up Aunt Jenny’s bill at Hilltop with pizza fries and Ting sodas.  They love talking to their buddy Will Flower who has taken them on his ski boat whenever they are over with Katie


Little Miller was enjoying his first horseshoe experience with his mom Sarah.  His Grandpa Rich is one, in not the most wins in the tournament


Grandpa Rich catching all the moments to show Miller later what a shoe shark his grandpa is


Ladies in great form.  Amanda with a gleam in her eye for the pole


Katie when on is a great player.  We do think one Kaubashine Cooler before the tournament helps with getting loose and flinging the shoes


Kim was mastering the bounce into the pits


Alyssa was in her first tournament and started out well playing with Will


Cheering crowd


Steve, Bella and Penny analyzing from the side lines.  Penny with a reluctant leash on


In the final round it was once again Rich with his partner Amanda and Will with Alyssa.  Rich was just doing a friendly handshake with Will


Amanda was sporting the flowers of power with her cheering section


In the end Oh No, Made an appearance as he does every year with his assistant Graham


They presented to Will and Alyssa the 2nd place trophies 


Rich and Amanda will be enjoying coffee in their new pole dancing mugs and reliving their accomplishment as 2019 winers  (yes not a spelling mistake that I know i do quite often, winers not winners)


After the presentation of the the plaque there was one more thing to give out


From all who have enjoyed the tournament over the years a big thank you to Tom Hixson our official Horseshoe “Oh NO” for all his efforts to help Roy over the years when he organized it and now taking over and keeping the tradition alive in Roy’s name


Back at the resort it was time to pass the food and recount the day and years of coming together for this special day and good food!


Table was set and now time to fill it with good peeps


It did not take long for the table to fill up and the plates to pass


Yum!  Little Payton learning from grandma how to get a grape of that darn bowl with a spoon



Time to put the horseshoe plaque back up not the wall for another year compete with bagpipe music to honor Mr Tungett and….


A toast from his friends who miss him and carry on as he would want enjoying time with family and friends which is truly the best part of life


We followed that toast with a resort wide toast from Roy’s daughter Linda that she does every year.  We all cleaned out our sinus’s and I would show a pic but nobody took a picture as we all had our eyes watering from the shot but we all loved it as we do every year


Til we do this again in 2020




If you were under the age of 12 and a girl this was the week to be at the resort.  They took over the resort and had a lot of fun


From the Trampoline of the young girls to…


A trampoline full of over 50 women who proudly managed the feat of getting up the ladder on to the tramp together


In a high paced game of werewolf who were the wolves hunting down all the resort guests?


It was this innocent looking group that secretly had wolf teeth hunting down their parents and anyone who got in there way 


Just a relaxing week at Black’s Cliff

Did you hear the howl of a wolf?



We had some interesting neighbors stop in….  slightly famous….  


But much more fun than the originals


Two tables of neighbors being nice to one another in cards….  nobody would play a joker and make their neighbor draw 5 or possibly say a not so nice word as draw 2 is played.  They are all perfectly nice neighbors..


Troy caught between Linda and Gloria who had only nice cards to play…


Matt with only 4 points he was very proud… later in the game he was not smiling as much as he made a record score of 195 in one hand….  Tom might have had something to do with that


Tom definitely had something to do with Sarah’s long face


Rich was all smiles as he played a joker draw 5.  

In the end everyone was just as nice to their neighbor as their neighbor was to them


And then the sun came out and time to head to the lake!


2 days of rain and there was a little pent up need to swim and enjoy the sun


Waaaa Hooooo


Moms and sisters enjoying watching all the fun and debating if anyone cooks today or just let the kids soak in the sun


More swimming


Helping neighbor get up on the tramp


And best yet playing the ponies so you can write to the teacher 1st day of school essay what did I do on summer vacation?  I bet on the ponies and lost all my money 


Some piles of pennies got larger and some got smaller


Time to go back to the lake


See you at the lake with good neighbors who forget while laying in the sun that you put the 3rd draw 2 on top of the pile making you draw 6 


We kicked off our 2 weeks of our 4th of July crew at Otto’s Beer Garden.  18 of us came together at Otto’s to toast another year at the resort.  Good times with good people at a good place to eat


Finding a spot for 18 people on a Saturday night can be hard.  Otto’s outside Beer Garden we have always found room and it is a delightful spot when the weather is nice.  Big groups or small it is the place to be!  Week one of the Snodgrass/ Hixson/Tungett/Flower crew went off with stories of times gone by, looking forward to what the present has to offer when families and friends get together


After all that fun it was time for a nap on a cool rainy Sunday.  Who could it be under all those covers?


Here is our swinging bed co pilot keeping the recliner warm with a fire going and feet up


Breakfast was being had with Eleanore, Lyle, Julie and Bob.  Nothing better than a breakfast on Wildflower’s porch at the old round table.  Eleanore’s dad, Roy, loved this table for playing cards at and it shall always be in Wildflower awaiting a meal or a good game


Linda has her floatie ready for the minute the sun comes out


Danny spent his first night at the resort in a few years on the swinging bed.  He was recounting the story of strange noises heard during the night….

Ready set for Summer at the lake 2019!  Now all the is needed is some sun



For a week that was supposed to be rainy it turned out beautiful and we had happy people who were grateful for sunny skies


Little Hailey was happiest of all and so excited to be at the cabin with her mom and grandma.  Grantma Anne learned how to take fish off the hook for her eager first time fishing grand daughter.  How cute is this, pure happiness


Arwen the golden retriever was up enjoying her first week at the lake with Chris and Shelia who will be back at the resort next summer with another new addition I just heard about which I can’t wait to meet.


We had a great evening at the playground this week with the Kramp Family in a game of Werewolf.  The werewolves were hunting down the villagers at Black’s Cliff.  Who was a villager and who was a werewolf…. that was the question.  Many family members were slaughtered to find out the answer to that question


Grant did a great job being the moderator of the game telling the story of what happened to the villagers.  Judy and Penny joined in with the Kramps.  It was brother against sister….. mom against son….. in the end the wolves got sniffed out and the playground was safe again


Bella and Penny went around delivering the 5th edition of the Black Family magazine.  Editor and chief is Bella with assistants of Jen and Steve.  It is the best edition so far.  Make sure to take a moment and read it in your cabin



Machine news I took this 1890’s flat bed rusty machine and…


Cleaned up the needle bed to look like new.  It needs a lot of work yet but it was amazing to see what was under all that rust.  I used a gallon of evaporust and a 8 hour soak.  Stop by this summer to see this machine come to life again