Black's Cliff Resort's Birch Bark Blog

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


Beautiful weekend in the 20’s it was perfect for ice skating.  These kids were headed to the rink for a day of skating with their family


So much different than summer with beach towels.  It was a great January day at the lake


Some of the McGrath family had beaten them to the lake.  They helped us get it shoveled off from the light snow fall Saturday morning.  By the end of the day they were all better skaters and no screen time!  The ice is still in good shape.  We will keep the rink open as long as mother nature cooperates.  


Great views


Meanwhile out on the playground we had to do a bit of a rescue.  Our old BBQ looked like a great place to hide from grandma, until he got stuck. Troy to the rescue.  


Who knew extracting kids out of a chimney would be part of the job requirement of running a resort.  


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The sock machine has been working overtime on scrap socks. I have put a bunch of new ones on the website  They are fun and unique.  

We had a couple of Summer 2021 cancelations

Kaubashine and Holiday June 5 – 12, Red Pine June 25 – July 2nd and Bear Den August 20th to 27th

Keep an eye on the Facebook page for the resort I announce them there as well

Winter Specials:  I put Kaubashine on special for next weekend January 23rd at 180/night Fri and Sat and 165/night mid week.  Our 2 bdrs are booking up fast this winter but larger groups are harder to find so you will notice specials throughout the winter


Winter in the woods


The boats sleeping green giants slumbering away dreaming of warm July days floating in Lower Kaubashine


Time to not sleep but do a few projects while we have time between guests.  Bayview was next on the list for new bedrooms floors


Look good Steve!  Nobody will miss carpet


Jake, Ben and Grant helped Steve and Troy make their way through the pile of wood in front of the shed.  This will sit til Spring when we pile it in the shed for summer and fall use


January is crazy sock month for me.  I start the year out with the resolution of emptying out my yarn bins…..  it works for awhile…. but each year the yarn issue gets bigger and bigger.  My yarn storage now looks like I might own a yarn store.  But I am determined to get the bin that says yarn left overs emptied by the end of January


I have a lot to work with as you can see.  Which is good as over Christmas every pair of my crazy socks headed out the door.  All will be fresh and new for 2021


With the lower snow totals, ice fisherman and skaters have been happy being able to get around the lake.  Jake was out skate skiing across the lake yesterday. He reported good lake skiing.  The ski trails in the area are in ok shape but definitely would do better with some snow.  We hope to have that in the forecast the next couple of days




It was a beautiful start to the new year with frost in the pines.  It was hard to take a bad picture today




We have had lots of guests out enjoying out ice skating rink  It has been a good holiday season for that.  Steve reports the ski trails are in good condition a little thin but enjoyable.  Jake was out on Madeline trail yesterday and had a great time


Hey Kim your house made the blog


Raft makes a great spot to put on your skates in the winter


As the sun came out the pictures just got better.  



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Please keep taking tree pictures and do not bother me please.  I will not perk up and look pretty when you say treat to get my attention and don’t have one


The first stocking of 2021 headed out the door this week.  I make dog and cat stockings along with the regular ones.  If you want one preordering is best as I only make a few a year.  

We have put a few January specials out on our availability chart on the website.  Check it out.

Summer 2021 confirmation letters are going out in the mail on Monday.  If you are holding a reservation for summer deposits are due by January 20th.  Anyone looking for Summer 2021 openings keep an eye on our Facebook page we will announce them there.  Currently we are booked June 5 – August 20th.  Bear Den is open August 20 – 27th


We had a Merry Christmas at the Cliff.  IT was different, we never thought we would make it outside in the cold but we did for over 2 hours.  Hot Toddies, warm fire and Kubb on ice were the high lights of a surprisingly nice Christmas outside



Kubb was the hit in more ways than one.  Troy was the master Kubb thrower but Grant above did his best to beat his dad


Just try to take down dad


King or Queen of the ice


Time to work off some Christmas cookies at the woodshed


Grant showing off his splitting skills


Jake happily using the wood splitter.  Where is Ben…..  dominating the world in a game of Argent Saga online.

I just added a special for New Years on the availability page for Bear Den and a few after New Years specials on other cabins.  With leaving a night open between reservations we have changed some of the nighty minimums during winter.  

Lets all ring in 2021 and say good bye to 2020


We had some beautiful snow come down last night.  We do not have a ton of snow but what we have is making it look more and more like Christmas

We do have Wildflower open during Christmas from now till the 26th and Kaubashine opened up for the nights of the 24, 25 and 26th with 2 night minimum.  Kaubashine I am running a hot deal on for smaller groups that book all 3 nights for up to 4 people.  Otherwise it can be booked at 3 bdr rate for 2 night minimum up to 7 people


View down the driveway this morning with no tracks yet in the driveway


We have had the Chu girls up enjoying some pre Christmas fun with their mom Jen

Ice skating was number one on their list.  They usually swim in the lake this was their first visit during the winter


Instead of doing cannon balls off the raft into the lake it becomes the spot to put skates on


Those are some big smiles enjoying time at the resort in the winter for the first time.  I have a feeling it won’t be their last time in the winter



Between Thanksgiving and Christmas we always take on a project.  This year it was Wigwam’s bedrooms.  Steve, Chris and Troy installed new windows and took out the carpet in the bedrooms.  We will be slowly taking the carpet out of our bedrooms all winter when they cabins have a little down time allowing us to do it.  The new windows really brightened up these bedrooms.  They also got new beds.  Done just in time as Wigwam is booked today until January 10th.  I have a special going on Wigwam starting January 11 if you would like to book in.

Wigwam will be off line from January 20th until May 1st for a very special guest.  More on that in other blog entries


What happens when the guys invade a cabin for a little remodeling


The summer reservation letters have started.  Having a little Baileys and writing out the letters takes a few days.  They will all be in the mail after the New Year

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View from our creek trail a couple of days ago




We finally got some snow last night.  It is starting to look a little more like Christmas around here.  We could sure use more snow but we are happy the ground is white for now


One thing we have a lot of is ice.  I believe this picture is of Lake Minocqua taken by Steve.  We have great ice skating conditions right now and when that happens everyone sharpens their skates and head to the lakes gently testing out the new ice and daring the other to go first


When the ice has been checked it is time to skate!.  40 racers gathered on Lake Minocqua for a 20K skate race around lake Minocqua.  They try to do this every year in memory of Bob Pace.  Most years they pull it off.  This year was the best conditions!


Steve dressed  for the occasion ready to race on the lake


Part of the race zooming under Highway 51 bridge.  I believe they had the lane for skaters due to thin ice under the other parts of the bridge.  

Lakes do not freeze uniformly.  Depending on currents some areas take longer than others to freeze and likewise unthaw at different spots quicker too

Under highway 51 seems to be a delicate spot


Skating so fast he could not take pics along the way, here is Steve at the end of the race finishing 3rd with his buddy Adam Redman getting 4th


In other big resort news we had a new toy arrive for Troy


Our old gator was about 20 years old and showing signs of needing retirement.  This new one arrived this week.  Our old one went to Katie’s house where she has a retirement home for old horses and old gators.  Her boys have loved the old gator for years sneaking drives in it when Uncle Troy was not looking.  Troy is still getting used to it.  It has a few more working horses than the old gator


At the sock shop the last 2 stockings are headed out the door for 2020.  If you want any in 2021 let me know I do about 10 patterns.  I only make about 12 – 15 stockings a year and usually they all find a home by Christmas.

There are still socks, gloves and scarves if you need last minute Christmas gifts.  I having been shipping packages each day


Mack would like everyone to know that if Christmas is making you feel like this or the relatives grab you and put something like this on your head, there is an answer

Wildflower is open up to December 26th.  Get out while you can before they do this to you and alcohol gets involved


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The ice skating is going to be epic this year if the snow holds off.  Steve has already been skating around the edges a bit.  I will wait till there is more ice.  Some of our best Christmas’s have been spent skating all over the lake with the family.  It is magical when you are not stopped by the size of a rink and can skate everywhere

We had some cabins shifting 

Wildflower2 bdr  is open up through Dec 26th checking out the 26th.  Perfect size for a family or couple looking to spend a little smaller Christmas this year.

Holiday  also had a cancelation and is open 3 night minimum checking out anytime up to the 29th

We are doing the 24 hour holds on cabins so these reservations are not back to back with another group.  There will always be atleast 24 hours between groups that the cabin stays open


We have been busy getting the kindling pile built up for winter.  Steve and Troy buzzed all this up this week


Mack got the first Christmas present of the year from his buddy Barb Moore.  He has sensors for when his special friends arrive the resort and he makes a bee line for their cabins.  He knows Barb always has a pigs ear for him


With some nights open between now and Christmas, Steve started looking around for a project.  Wigwam is always up for some sprucing up.  It will be getting some new windows in the bedrooms and we are going to take start taking the carpet out of all the bedrooms in the resort this year and replacing it with hard wood flooring


These windows are original to the cabin.  We put storms on them years ago.  Guests have gotten used to propping them open with sticks of kindling


View from the inside.  They are neat old windows…. but they are a pain to clean and sorry to say I will not miss them


New windows ready to go in


New flooring for the bedrooms


While we were shopping could not resist getting a couple of new beds.  I get reports once in awhile of a bed that needs to be replaced.  I appreciate the heads up as we do not lay on them.  Wildflower also got a new couch.  The furniture store guy was happy to have us in the store


The sock machine continues to whirl around every afternoon filling orders.  I have shipped socks from Florida to California this year.  The color on the machine in the picture is a beautiful Superwash Merino Wool and Nylon blend that was hand dyed by my friend Hilly Jacklin.  This yarn is like butter on your feet!  Yummy

If Santa needs a little help filling stockings, everyone needs socks


We had almost a full resort for Deer Hunting Weekend and Thanksgiving.  Sadly a lack of pictures I usually do.  Usually I go around and take pictures of the guys before deer camp and all the families enjoying a Thanksgiving meal at the cabin.  This year everyone stayed to themselves, us included.  It was a special time for everyone who visited with smaller groups and sticking pretty close to the cabins, except for the deer hunters.  Our hunters across the road, The Evans Guy, missed a 8 point buck but saw a lot of doe and a spike buck they left alone. 


We had our dinner outside by the campfire with just our family.  We have had some of them recovered from COVID and immune, a college student and then the rest of us.  We figured it was best if we kept things outside and the college student in his own cabin


Cedar swing was a little cold but we were just all happy to be together and not relying on zoom to communicate


Jake working away at the summer fire pit wood pile.  Steve wanted it cleared out for plowing and he is getting through it slowly


Steve took care of our toilet paper shortage.  We should be good through winter now


The sock shop went outside for the weekend.  No craft fair to go to for the first time ever after Thanksgiving so it all went outside and shoppers showed up to get Christmas presents

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This is my new favorite Christmas yarn.  I call it Elf on a Shelf.  It has matching gloves, socks and ankle socks.  I have built up quite a variety of Christmas designs in the shop


I was also busy making a special order of crazy socks.  These are sold but if you have a crazy person in your life who needs something a little different for Christmas let me know.  I have a bowl full of left overs to make a few more crazy socks.  I just need a size and the colors preferred.  This guy wanted mainly blues in his sock.

The sock machines are whirling keeping up with orders right now.  Do not wait till last minute, as the elves may have had too much egg nog and you might end up with a sock with an extra toe if you wait till right before Christmas 


Mack and Penny would like everyone to know our family is doing ok so far through the pandemic.  So far one of our kids and one of Katie’s has had covid and recovered.  The rest of us are just doing the darnedest to not get it before the vaccine.  At the moment we have scaled back our Thanksgiving just like everyone else.  We have maybe one of our boys staying at our house (the one who shall go unnamed but recovered from COVID and we figure he is the safest one for us to be around).  Another one is social distancing from us in a cabin we will meet him on a cabin porch for Thanksgiving and number 3 is having Thanksgiving with significant others family.  Katie and Steve are also keeping their Thanksgivings low key and social distant from ours.  Katie’s horse barn has become a good semi warm spot in the hay with a blanket to meet.  It will sure be a different Thanksgiving for us not to have all of them in the house around the table… but it is a just a day and we will be ready to celebrate with all of them when this comes to an end just like everyone else

The resort is operating as usual with our cleaning protocols.  So far so good.  Having the 24 hours between rentals all winter and early spring we think is really going to make a difference for guests and us to travel safely.  We are very comfortable with how we are operating and how we do things now.  

Everyone stay safe out there and visit us and bring bacon for the 2 above if you feel ok about traveling up north for a few days away from thoughts of the world.  

We have had a bit of a Thanksgiving cabin shuffle.  The current opening is in Wigwam with a 2 night minimum 160/night up to 4 or 195/night up to 7


The lake did freeze the other morning





Steve and Troy have stayed busy splitting wood for next summer


They even got me out to run the lever.  This is fire pit wood also for next summer


I have been kept busy filling Christmas sock orders.  I just ordered more Christmas sock yarn.  Get your orders in before it is all gone.


Here is the knitting studio at the moment with 3 machines operating, each one has its special task.  2 of the machines are from the 1920’s and then my pedaling machine.  

We figure this is the best way to get through the pandemic making socks hidden up north.  Troy and I go to town for groceries and a couple of curbside restaurants.  Besides that we stay home cleaning cabins and filling orders  Most of the guests who arrive also stick pretty close to the resort enjoying time away from home and sitting by the fire.



It is starting to look more like the holidays around here.  We are getting booked up a bit.  With our 24 hour holds between reservations this winter it has limited our rentals, but that is ok if we call all vacation as safely as possible.  We are continuing the double sanitation on the cabins with hospital grade disinfectant, hydrogen peroxide in the kitchen, dipping most things in bleach water and wiping down behind the disinfectant with bleach water.  We clean with masks on as well.  All these precautions are for our cleaning staff (mainly us and a couple of others) and our guests.  So far so good..


Fire pits with light snow looking very quiet

We have a couple of cabins open for Thanksgiving, Bear Den and Wigwam with a 3 night minimum.  Mention Facebook special to get Wigwam at a deduced rate of 160/night for up to 4.  Otherwise it is 195/night.  Bear Den we will also put on special for smaller groups at 200/night for up to 4 people otherwise it is 275/night up to 10


My sock machine has been busy with my new Christmas yarn.  These are listed on my website as Holly Jolly Christmas.  I make them into socks, fingerless gloves and ankle socks.  Just message me shoe sizes or order online at   I believe I have more Christmas colors possibly coming in next week they are on back order.  Holly Jolly though is one of my favorite colors for Christmas I have gotten over the years


It makes a great ankle sock too

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Lots more colors to choose from on my website for Christmas gifts.  It been a lot of work to put the website together and get everything uploaded on the site but it has been a fun challenge.  I put new things I make on Instagram and Facebook just look up Jenny’s Sock Shop on both platforms if you want to see what is new on the site as I add it

Thanks to everyone over the years who has loved my socks and become loyal customers getting new socks when they visit the resort or see me at a craft fair.  It has truly been one of the joys in life turning a hobby I love into a small business that has put the boys through college.  Three more semesters to go and Grant will be out of school


Steve out at the woodshed chopping up pine for next summers fire pit wood supply.  Wood warms you twice once when you chop it and once when you burn it


Paddle boats in their winter storage spot


The road in looking cold but pretty.  If you need an escape from the world we live in just give a call.  We will be open welcoming visitors unless they tell us we can not.  We doing everything we can to be as safe as possible through the pandemic