Black's Cliff Resort's Birch Bark Blog

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

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Mack is getting the hang of this social distancing thing.  His ice fishing buddies Jimmy and Fritz went floating by in their boat and Mack I swear knew them from a distance. He misses nosing Fritz’s pocket for sausages.  Social distancing is hard on a 10 year old resort dog but he is doing it


Sharon and Tom in Bear Den shared this pic of the baby deer daycare center that got opened for one day.  Momma deer for some reason thought leaving her new born under a green chair for 8 hours was a good idea.  Tom and Sharon watched over the fawn from a distance all day hoping momma was coming back.  Baby deer are typically like this hidden among ferns in the woods by moms during the day while they eat.  Moms come back do not touch fawns like this or they become orphans.  Kudos to Tom and Sharon for letting nature take its course


Mom came back about 7pm 



We have been getting a lot of work done around the resort yet.  Ben and Ali painting the green boats.  Ali likes to paint them and Ben has informed me this is his last year painting them.  We shall see LOL


Troy getting the oars ready to go


My COVID19 update does not say it but we are basically sanitizing twice once with the disinfectant spray and once more with bleach water as we dust and wipe things down

We are this week reducing the number of utensils in the cabins.  If you are missing anything I will have things over at my office building.  When we are sanitizing everything and a cabin has 10 spatulas, 2 can openers, 2 ice cream scoops and 8 pancake flippers it is time to reduce the number of items in the kitchen  No worries you will have everything in your kitchen just not duplicates of everything.  We are making it easier for us and you to keep everything clean with less to worry about.  


We had this amazing cupcake platter brought as a treat for us by Lori Bowers.  It was quickly eaten


Social distancing cup cake appreciation!  Thanks Lori and Holly!


Back to work painting the playground for Grant.  He is eyeing up getting the red boat in but we told him no red boat till the big pontoon is sprayed and cleaned.  We have kept our 28 foot pontoon that we were thinking about selling at least for now.  Steve is itching though to do some trading in of pontoons…. he is eyeing up deals and as long as the resort is doing ok in a few weeks we just may buy one if the deal is right stay tuned


The phones have been extremely busy filling up our few cancelations that have happened. .  My desk has fallen a bit behind with time on the phone and sanitizing cabins.  Time to get to it!

We still have a few nightly openings up to June 13th,   Bear Den 4 bdr June 23, 24 and 25 and Norway 3 bdr June 27 – July 4th.  After that we are currently booked out till August 21.  People are feeling pretty good coming to a resort vs. a motel with shared hallways and common areas.  

Back to my bleach bucket no desk work today

In the past I have been flexible with our check in and check out times in the summer as long as we could be. This summer due to needing to have as much time between groups to let the cabins air out, be disinfected with spray, cleaned and sanitized a 2nd time with bleach water we will have to stick to 3pm check ins and 9am check outs. This allows us to get the cabins cleaned properly and safely for our cleaning crew and guests. We are also spending extra time sanitizing common areas and need to have the extra time to do this without guests arriving. We hope everyone understands and see you at 3 pm


We had visitor again at the resort.  It was not a raccoon.  We will be asking everyone to not leave any food out at night in garbage cans or around camp fires.  We need to make our visitor with her cubs not feel to welcome.  We will be asking everyone to bring their garbage directly to the dumpster and not leave in cans by cabin until our hairy neighbor moves on to greener pastures.

We have had a couple of families call us that are just not comfortable traveling at the moment even with precautions taken so we have had a few cancelations pop up. Here is the list at the moment

Nightly rentals open up to June 13th check website for details or call 3 night minimum

June 19 – 26th Bear Den 4 bdr home 400/night or 2780/week. We will consider nightly rentals for this week with a 4 night minimum

June 26 – July 3rd Red Pine 4 bdr home 2780/week

June 27 – July 4th Norway 3 bdr 1880/week

July 11 – 18 Wigwam 3bdr 1765/week

Give a call with any questions on the cabins 715 356 3018. Our cabins are double sanitized and ready to go!


These guys were loving the fishing during spawning season.  They both did really well fishing
Nice big bluegill
Amy and Katie learning how to sanitize a kitchen COVID 19 style.  All silverware is being run through bleach water including cooking utensils.  All cupboards wiped sprayed with disinfectant before crew comes in plus wiped with bleach water as well.  Double sanitation.  We do not have time to wash the dishes, glasses and pots and pans.  We are leaving behind bleach with instructions on cap full of bleach to a gallon of water for guests to sanitize what they are using
We are bleaching our microwave, stove, coffee maker, dustpan, dish drainer, ice cube trays, cutting boards, toaster, grates on the stove….  I am developing a list of this stuff that is done that will go on your fridge so when you come in you know what was sterilized 
WE CAN DO THIS!  Safely and carefully
Getting the blue dock in before Memorial Weekend
They even got me out on the dock to help.  There were comments about pushing me in
Ben took on a little water going too deep
Hard to get out of the water when your pants have 100 lbs of water in them
I stayed dry is the quote from Steve!
New screen door at Muskie up and ready to go for the weekend
Mack is probably the biggest disliker of COVID19 due to having his roaming curtailed.  He is surviving and going on walks around the circle
He has managed to sneak out a few times.  I have apprecaited everyone working with me not touching him no matter how pathetic his looks are



Our exciting news.  Our middle son Ben graduated from Saint Norbet College this weekend.  We tried to make it as special as we could for him graduating from home


Insert Pomp and Circumstance.  

His graduation walk has been delayed to August 29th but we were taking the pictures now

He graduates with an accounting degree and minor in finance.  Now to find a job!


Graduating Northwoods style with mom and dad.  How many socks equals 4 years at Saint Norbert?  A lot


Getting congrats from his brothers.  Jake is teaching Biology in Green Bay at Preble High School.  Grant is home for the summer and headed back to Saint Norbert in the fall for his Junior year.  I still have socks to make this summer.  Now though with just one in college part of every sock sale is being donated to The Lake Land Food Pantry along with getting Grant though school


We had fun with the neighbors on the road with honks all afternoon


Now that graduation is over time to get to work.  Getting the docks in


Who got the leaky waders?


Grant sporting his Corona hair.  No asking mom yet for a buzz cut.  


Two heads are better than one


I picked up our first batch of hand sanitizer at the distillery.  It is 30 dollars a gallon but well work it.  We will be putting a container in each cabin and in a few spots around the resort.  Keeping the cooties away!


My new friend is also a bucket of bleach water and my gloves.  You will see these with me a lot this summer as we work hard to keep the surfaces around the resort germ free


We had a visitor this weekend.  Momma bear and her cub.  She was stopping by for our bird feeder.  We have put the bird seed away but I ask everyone to be careful leaving any food outside over night for awhile.  She and her cub got into our dumpsters as well.  


Baby bear had scampered up the big white pine while momma had a stand off with Troy and his flashlight





COVID 19 Update 

Our family’s commitment to provide a safe and clean environment for families to travel to has never been higher. Our phones have been ringing as we hear from our regular guests and new ones. We realize everyone needs their time in the woods and at the lake even more now. We are determined to continue to provide a special place for everyone, even during COVID 19.

We are licensed as an essential business in the state of Wisconsin. Throughout this pandemic, we have been open and welcoming guests. As such, we have made many  changes to adjust to this crisis. And, we will continue to change things as needed for the health of our guests, our family, and our friends who help us run the resort.

As we head into the summer season and beyond, we have made the following adjustments:

Cleaning Procedures at the Resort

Cleaning and sanitizing cabins for the safety of our guests and cleaning crew is our top priority. Our cabins are cleaned by our family and friends, so keeping them safe and healthy along with our guests is our goal. Many of our cleaners have been with us 10 to 20 years. They care as much as we do about keeping the cabins safe and ready for guests. Here are a few of the things we are doing:

  1. We acquired a hospital-grade disinfectant that we will be misting around the cabin on the furniture, doors and floors before our cleaning crew goes into the cabins.  We also have hydrogen peroxide which we will be misting in food areas, including the kitchens and tables.
  2. We will provide sheets for the beds, but ask guests to bring their own blankets and pillows. We will have a supply of blankets and pillows to check out, if you don’t have room to pack them in your car. 
  1. Remember to bring along basic essentials, like spices, salt, pepper, sugar and  coffee. We are no longer permitted to leave these items in the cabin.
  2. We will be sanitizing the silverware when we clean the kitchen. However, time restraints do not allow us to sanitize all the dish ware, pots and pans. A gallon of bleach will be provided in each cabin for guests to sanitize these items.  
  3. We will provide hand sanitizer in the cabins, along with the usual hand and dish soap.
  4. Bring along your kitchen and bathroom towels, as usual. 
  5. We have removed all extra rugs from the cabins, so bring some along if you want this extra comfort.
  6. We will be asking guests to remove the sheets before they leave and put them in a bin outside the cabin, along with the bath mats and shower curtains.

Around the Resort Changes

  1. Our rec/community room is currently shut down for games. We will leave the movie rental and bathroom open. Hand sanitizer will be provided, and we will be wiping these areas down each day.
  2. Jenny’s Sock Shop and resort gift shop will be open by request. We will allow one group at a time to shop. Just ask Jenny to open up the store.
  3. Our playground will be open as long as the health department says it is permissible.  We will make a bleach spray available to sanitize equipment.
  4. Most of our activities are outside. We ask that all guests respect the space of others, keeping a six-foot social distance between groups.
  5. Our beach area will be open, with the six-foot distance required between groups. We ask that the sand beach seating be prioritized to families with young children who want to play in the sand. We will be spacing out seating for everyone else on our docks and pontoon boats. We also encourage use of our outer docks, and have moved chairs over to these areas. We will also provide bleach spray at the beach for guests to spray chairs, paddles, boats or railings. We will be sanitizing each morning, as well.
  6. Our dog park will remain open, but only one group at a time will be allowed. Please bring your own dog toys. All dogs are required to be on leash through the resort. 
  7. Our golden retriever Mack usually wanders around the resort greeting guests. This summer we will be keeping him on a leash. We ask guests to love him from a distance, and to please not pet him.  

We hope these changes keep everyone safe and ready to enjoy their special time at the lake without worry.

The Gibson and Black Families


Mack says please pay no attention to number 7……..


It was nice to see families enjoying some stress free time in the Northwoods this weekend.  The Moisan clan was enjoying a fire and hot dogs around the fire.  Missing from the pic is Mack who I will not let carouse the resort like he usually does.  He was pouting by my side as I took the pic.  He wanted to be front and center with the hot dogs

Nice to see families enjoying time together 


Grandma was thrilled to stop by the shop and buy some of Aunt Debbie’s dish rags.  Aunt Debbie has been busy making them to sell while she has been at her apartment staying in.  They are 4 dollars each.  For atleast the beginning of the summer I am going to ask any shoppers to wear a mask in my shop while shopping.  My shop is so small and it will be just one group at a time in the shop.  I am opening up the windows to the shop and I will be in the community room or outside close by to answer any questions.  Bills for the cabins I will send a picture of the bill by text and do payments still be check or cash if people can or credit cards if needed.  Changes but trying to operate normally but safely.  We are always around just keeping the 6 foot rule and meeting people outside to take care of most things


On a happy note we celebrated Aunt Debbie’s birthday out at Katie’s horse barn


It was the first time Aunt Debbie had a birthday in a barn.  Missing pic is when one of the horses was behind Aunt Debbie and blew through its nose making her laugh


Tom at Hilltop was busy working on his landing this weekend.  He is installing these cement strips.  I think it will work wonders on making the boat landing better!  Kudos to Tom.  He did tell me for now the bar will be closed


I tried out our new misters this weekend with our disinfectant and another one with hydrogen peroxide.  I think they will work slick to mist the cabins


I also bought each cabin a bottle of bleach to use to sanitize things.  These bottles will go on top of the fridges.  I want to make sure to keep it out of reach of kids.

We are also changing our blanket policy again.  We will be pulling all of our blankets out of the cabins.  We are putting down the clean sheets.  We are asking folks to bring their own blankets and pillows.  We will have ours at the office.  We will put them out in cabins by request if needed to folks that can’t bring any.  They will then be taken out of the cabin after guests leave and returned to the office to go into a 7 day quarantine not to be used.  This rotation I think will work well.  I will be putting out an email a week before people arrive with updates and notes about blankets.  Atleast for the beginning of the summer that is the plan



It was a cold Sunday morning.  I am hearing record cold but as week goes on I see the 70’s in the forecast


Life goes on.  It was nice to see the first fishing boat tied up to our dock.



I am happy to announce our hospital grade disinfectant arrived this week.  I am so relieved.  I feel with these products we will be able to better provide a safe place for families to visit this year.  John has been our pest control guy for over 20 years.  He is a biologist who grew up in Minocqua and started his pest control business when he returned to the area after college.  I have always felt comfortable with John taking care of our pest needs.  He works with his crew spraying and making sure things are done properly.  John in March drove to Chicago to pick up cleaning supplies anticipating the need. He drove back with barrels of disinfectant and hydrogen peroxide.    He dropped off our first batch to use this week. 

John went through with me what to do with the products.  We will be misting the cabins with a pump mister like you use on plants before my cleaning crew even goes in the cabins.  Our cleaning crews will be smaller just 2 – 3 people on 3 crews this year same 3 groups for the summer.  My crews are family and friends so keeping them safe along with our guests and our family is my number one priority.  The hospital grade stuff will be sprayed on doors, floors, bathroom and furniture.  It needs to dry 10 minutes to do its thing and then it is done and ok for people to touch.  Tables and the kitchen where food is we will be using the 2nd product hydrogen peroxide.  When it dries it only leaves water behind.  Having a biologist go through these procedures with me and he uses the same products in his home with his kids I feel better.  Big thanks to John for helping us out!


This stuff is like gold at the moment!

We will also be using a bleach solution on outside chairs and tables the same way.  The bleach solution is 5 table spoons bleach to one gallon of water.  This will also be used I think at the beach on the chairs down there.  Stay tuned we are still developing our procedures at the beach.

I am planning on emailing out a week before reservations this summer updates on what we are doing and what stores are open or closed so guests can plan accordingly.


We had to break it to Mack that his days of carousing around the resort are over for this summer.  He will be closely monitored by us and on a leash.  We talked and due to not being completely sure if a virus can be on his fur going cabin to cabin we have decided to error on the side of caution.  If he does sneak around us and out of the house please do not pet him.  It is going to be hard on him but we will keep him going with bacon treats.  

Everyone with dogs coming to the resort will have to practice this as well.  We do sometimes have a few that wander around and we will be clamping down on that for everyones safety.

Everyone working together we can stay safe 


We got to doing a bunch of painting this week.  Our raft was top of the list  Grant and his girlfriend Bex took time our from studying to enjoy the sun along with a little work


Ben and Ali were not far behind they were staining the Perch, the upper deck, and Kaubashine’s stoop

It was nice to be outside and doing regular spring work


It is nice to see the resort slowly coming together.  We know it is going to be a different summer this year but hoping to make it a refuge for families that are ready to travel and be together as best they can.  Social Distancing at the resort we think we can do even though we don’t want to.  


The resort is slowly shaking off the winter look and looking more like summer.  The leaves need to pop our more but it is looking more green out

As we creep closer to summer lots of talking with guests on the phone.  I had a question about masks are we requiring them.  We will not require them but do ask folks to be respectful of others.   Some do and some do not wear them.  Out side we have enough space around the resort for social distancing and we ask everyone to respect others space.  We have a few common areas around the resort the stairways and dock areas are probably the biggest ones.  Carrying a mask in your pocket and slipping it on when encountering someone in those areas or just waiting for someone to pass to give them space would be what we ask.  We will be spreading out beach chairs to our other docks to give people options.  Our pontoon boats if not being used are nice to sit by.  Leaving the beach area seating for families with kids who want to play in the sand has always been a bit of a norm.  Our boats will be in as usual.  I will be leaving some hand sanitizer spray and a bucket with a bleach wipe for folks to wipe them off.  We will be wiping them off as regularly as we can as well.  These guidelines will change depending on what is going on in the world.  Most of it is common sense that people are doing already at home.  We will be keeping a vacation on Lower Kaubashine as safe and stress free as we can.  If there is a place you can social distance on vacation I think Black’s Cliff is it.  


The guys are starting to do dock work and get things straightened out.  The boat landing in the area are all open except for the Lac Du Flambeau Area.  The indian reservation has shut down most operations in their town for now.  The bait shops in town are all open.  Some are allowing a few people in the store or curb side pick up.  Rollie and Helens Muskie shop has a tent set up outside with the basics and then they go get what else you want from in the store.  I have seen most of the food and ice cream places open up for curbside including Hoggie Doggie’s, Minocqua Fudge and Minocqua Popcorn Shop.  I saw lights on at Charles Fine Cheese and I am assuming they are opening some how soon too.  Slowly things are opening up.

Paper products are starting to appear more at the stores but still buy one per customer.  For now when you come bring along a few rolls of toilet paper.  We have not been able to order cases of toilet paper yet for the cabins.  Hopefully soon we will be able to get some.   

I am pulling out our extra rugs in the cabins just to make cleaning easier.  So if you like area rugs bring a few along.  Beds are being made with clean sheets and blanket and comforter are piled up on the blanket rack in the bedrooms for guests to choose to use or bring their own

I think through these efforts we are making the resort as safe and stress free as we can for our guests and our family


The last snow banks are still melting


Leaves are getting picked up


My Aunt Debbie has been busy making dish rags to sell in the Sock Shop.


She does beautiful work.  They are 4 dollars each.  She may add in her fruit pot holders she likes to make as well.  If she is visiting for the afternoon on my deck stop and say hi to her.  She moved to Minocqua from New York and lives in senior apartment in town but likes to visit when she can

My shop will be open during the summer.  I will be allowing one group at a time to shop in it and I will be opening up the french windows in the shop when folks are shopping.  Learning to adjust….   The rec room is still being discussed…..  


The Northwoods is slowly coming to life with a few changes but for the most part it is about spending time with family and friends just some of them will be 6 feet away.  6 feet away is much better than a Zoom call where everyone gets caught trying to talk at once.  


Earlier this week the loons returned.  It was nice to see them.  They were fishing in front of the resort checking things out

Seeing the loons means things are picking up around here and thoughts of being busier than 1 – 3 cabins each weekend like we have been surfacing.  

We will be open and are planning on precautions we will be taking.  We are hearing rumblings that the governor’s stay at home will be moved to May 10th or earlier.  We know there are many eager to head to the woods and many that will not.  We will be ready either way as long as it is safe for our guests and our family operating the resort.  

As I have written before I have gotten my hands on a supply of hydrogen peroxide for inside the cabins and a hospital grade disinfectant for areas outside of where food is.  We are getting that supply at the end of next week.  We will be using that to clean our cabins.  We have not quite figured out what we will leave under the sink for guests to use.  It might be a bleach water solution or if we have enough of the hydrogen peroxide we will leave some in the cabins in a spray bottle.  Stay tuned to that

Hand sanitizer, Northern Distillery in Minocqua is supplying us with hand sanitizer.  We will have some in the cabins.  It is in a spray bottle it is watery without the aloe vera like in normal hand sanitizer.  We plan on putting it in a few areas around the resort as well like at the beach and playground.  I am not sure yet about our rec room.  The rec room may be closed for the summer or at least the first part of summer….  I will let guests shop in my shop but it will be just one group at a time and I will open my windows and answer any questions from the community room and do payments there or outside if it is nice out.  

Blankets and Pillows…  This has been a concern of mine due to the fact that I can not wash them all between groups.  We will be putting sheets on the beds and pillow cases on our pillows.  We will be folding up one blanket and comforter per bed on the closet rack in the bedroom for each bed.  We are recommending guests bring their own blankets and pillows.  Ours are there if you want to use them but will be folded up.  When you leave we will be asking you to strip the sheets off and put them in the red bin outside your cabin door.  This will help our cleaning crew and hopefully be safer for both guests and our cleaning crew 

I will be posting on our website and sending out an emails before you arrive,  as soon as we have things more set and we know more from  the governor and health department.  I just want guests to know what we are doing and thinking as summer creeps closer.  I will keep cabin rentals spaced apart between guests using the cabins as long as I can.


Walking down to the beach today the ice was off the lake completely


Putting in the little blue docks will happen this next week


Canoes sitting quietly waiting for passengers



Steve completed the over hang at Holiday this week.  It looks great!  Much nicer in the rain 


Steve’s to do list… getting shorter


Troy was down at Eagles Nest working on the walk way.  He was replacing some of the walkway with paving stones


Old rotted boards


New pavers going in



Back to thinking about summer and what it will hold…..  We will let you know as we start navigating how to do this


You did not get any blog entries last week due to the fact that we received 10 inches of snow and I was not taking pictures.  Stay at Home and 10 inches of snow is not a good combination for mental health.  Things are better now with most of the snow leaving and the lake is slowly opening up

We are just continuing to wait to see how the season plays out.  As long as we are allowed to be open we will be.  Spacing apart rentals and coming up with ways of keeping the resort as virus free as we can.  Right now our county is only reporting 6 cases some of which might be recovered.  I do now have a supplier of hospital grade disinfectant that I will be using to clean the cabins.  There will be changes but hoping to provide a respite for couples and families from the last month and a half.  


Raft is now ice free



Not quite ready to put them in the water but soon…


Steve, Chris and Troy spent the week working on new steps for Holiday


Cement was mixed and footings set


Logs were prepared


Most important getting the log straight up and down



Toward the end of the week it started to take shape as the weather did too


More sawing and banging


The roof went on Friday.  

Saturday we lost our buddy Chris Moran.  He headed home after being with us 5 weeks.  He and his wife Amanda arrived just as the pandemic was hitting.  Amanda had to return to her grocery store job and Chris decided to stay and not get exposed to the possible germs from Amanda’s job.  A hard choice for many couples in our country.  After 5 weeks and many projects done with Steve it was time for Chris to head home to Amanda.  Thanks Chris for you work and friendship being in our Black’s Cliff bubble.  See you this summer when you can give Amanda a tour of all your projects.  Thanks to Amanda for her steadfast advice and guidance she gives to the workers around her keeping them safe