Black's Cliff Resort's Birch Bark Blog

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


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

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The resort has gotten quieter this week.  We have had a few visitors.  This ermine/weasel was having quite a time out at the woodshed


There was a face off between it and Penny.  Penny was very interested in where the weasel was.  I believe they are called ermine when white and weasel when dark?  Not completely sure but it was fun to see


Meanwhile Troy and Steve were busy keeping the shed full.  We had a very busy fall and a lot of our wood disappeared.  These guys work hard keeping the shed full  If you are ever bored when here they always accept help.  We have several guests who enjoy an afternoon splitting a little wood or piling.  Piling wood can sooth the soul.  In the pic they are cutting wood ends for kindling

If you have extra newspapers at home and room in the car feel free to bring along and add to the newspaper supply in the shed


Lots of leaf blowing this week

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Someone else picking up leaves and hauling them away

We were just happy the snow disappeared for a little while so we could get it done


Lots of organizing of things to the shed.  All the blankets and pillows we had stored in our attic from the cabins are headed to deep winter storage.  I am sure hoping we can put them all back where they belong by late spring or summer.  Lets keep our fingers crossed COVID goes away!


There was a lot of betting on if our little travel trailer would fit in our storage shed for winter.  Lots of backing, a few swear words and it made it in with 6 inches to spare on the roof


Troy and I did escape for a quick bike ride to town down the Bearskin.  


Nice lunch from Great Northern Coffee Traders at the park.  Great Northern has been great through the whole pandemic.  They have been curbside only with gloves and masks on.  I always feel safe picking up food from them

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I have been busy keeping my online store full of socks.  If you need Christmas presents check out  You can shop right from the website and do local pick up or I will ship.  I have been adjusting the shipping costs.  If I can ship it cheaper than what my online store says I will reinburse the shipping charges.   I have socks with no wool, 75% super wash wool and nylon and super wash merino wool like you see in the picture.  The socks in the picture are one of a kind hand dyed by my friend Hilly Jacklin in Missoiri

I have Christmas socks pictured on the site.  I have 2 more Christmas colors arriving this week that I will be knitting up and adding to the site next week.  Email any questions to me at


Its been a beautiful much warmer few days.  We have been taking advantage of that to get the rest of the resort ready for winter  Steve decided to take a few minutes to take the last boat for a spin and run through some ice at 30 mph.  I have fun videos of this on our Facebook and Instagram page


He is plowing through the thin ice back to the dock with a big smile


While he was playing Troy was taking out the beach steps from the lake and scrubbing them off


Ok Ok I will quit playing and do some work


Last of the docks and boat lift out and ready for the cold


Headed to winter storage


Troy and I took a quick lunch to a park and a walk out on the tresses bridge over MinocquaIMG_4390

Minocqua tressel ready for snowmobiles to run across it.  They put up extra wood across the bridge to protect it from snowmobiles crossing it

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Back to work after lunch raking the resort


And the sun goes down and a quiet time at the cabin enjoying being unplugged from the world



We keep waiting for the snow to melt and the snow to go away so we can rake and finish up closing up the beach….  but it has not been happening


No ice yet but it is cold!


We have remained busy with folks getting away from election commercials and virus.  The cabins are slowing down a little and there are openings on weekends now if you are looking at getting away.  Thanksgiving though only has 2 cabins left so do not snooze.  As soon as the election is over next week I know the phone is going to start ringing 


Leaves mostly down


Back up the stairs I go with someone wondering why in the world I went down the steps in the first place


We are like everyone else connecting with family by Zoom  We had a great game of Cards Against Humanity with all these crazy folks this weekend.  All Bad Cards is a great website for free way of having fun with family if you are up for Cards Against Humanity.  Next week they want us to play Among Us… if you don’t know what Among Us is you don’t have someone in your family from 12 – 25


Back to sock making.  I have been adding socks to the shop.  I just configured my online store to have shipping options which I hope lower the shipping prices on socks.  If the site charges too much shipping I will reimburse shipping charges.  Check out  Wednesday I will be adding in the new Christmas Socks I just started making.  They will go fast once I post them.  They are great colors!  Want a preview of them to order send me an email to and I will send a picture of the socks and gloves before I put them on the website


This is what happened yesterday.  It is pretty but a little early….


This is what we are more used to this time of year.  This was taken more than a couple of days ago


Nice to have a few more days like this…


and like this….


Before we get to this

We have a few openings for the October 31st weekend and I have moved the remaining cabins to a 2 night minimum

Starting November 1st our late fall rate drop happens with cabins starting at 140/night all week long.  If you need to destress after the election give a call or book on line.  Starting November 1st we are doing a guaranteed 24 hour hold on the cabins between reservations for the safety of our cleaning crew and guests.  We will be continuing our double sanitation of the cabins between disinfectant and wiping and dunking things in bleach.  We will be continuing to have guests bring blankets and pillows through the winter season.  We do have some at the office to check out if you don’t have room, just ask 


We have had some beautiful fall days!  Colors have been amazing


We had Northwoods Art Tour at the resort this weekend.  1/2 of the 40 artists on the tour that goes through the Northwoods to Art studios like mine, did not participate due to the virus.  We took everything outside along with masks and hand sanitizer and had some fun


Going to studios the artists on the tour were supposed to demo how they create.  My sock machine came outside along with my furry buddy


I had older machines as well on display from 1890 to 1904.  My machine is not much different than the old ones 


Erik Peterson was up with his wood working displaying and selling his cutting boards and other awesome wood products.  Swedish Butter Knives and Lefsa sticks were also on his table


Erik’s wife Heather and kids enjoying a fire while Erik was busy 



Ali and Ben our newly engaged couple stopped by as well.  They were helping clean cabins while Amy and I were selling socks and soaps


Even Aunt Debbie stopped by 


Olav and Anita Meserschmidt enjoying time with their family playing tether ball.  They are on their 30 plus year at the resort


Aaron and Jessica taking on the ball


Followed by a rousing game between Anita and Jessica


Some though like balls closer to the ground like Sammy



Our big news first.  Ben and Ali announced their engagement this weekend.  We are thrilled to be adding another member to the family officially.  7 years of dating through high school and college we are excited to see them enter their next chapter in life.  They are living in Stevens Point while Ali finishes up her Bachelors’s Degree and applying for her masters in speech pathology.  Ben has entered the working world in the middle of COVID19 and is thrilled after months of looking to be starting with Jackson Hewitt doing taxes later this year.  We are excited to see them heading into the world together and coming back to visit us and help at the resort when needed


The colors have been phenomenal



Troy has been busy making trees for my shop.  The Northwoods Art Tour is this weekend and we expect hundreds of people through the sock shop.  We also have 2 other artists coming Amy Jones and Erik Peterson who will be demoing their art along with the socks Friday, Saturday and Sunday.  It will be a fun weekend.  Troy will be busy churning out trees


Each tree has its own unique look 


Nothing says fall like helping put the storm windows on the house.  Jake and Sarah were also home and got the job of helping with those along with cleaning a few cabins before heading back to Green Bay to teach Biology and Spanish


We have been moving things around in our shut down rec room.  Since the resort rec room is closed until COVID is over we decided to move some of the games to cabins,  The foosball game headed out to Bear Den’s basement for the winter.  Centipede went to Red Pine.  Pacman and Rampage are headed I think to Holiday and Kaubashine.  We will bring them back to the rec room when we can


Back to enjoying pretty pictures




Keep an eye out for specials in the 2nd half of October.  I have posted a few.  We have been extremely busy in September and October with everyone trying to get away and social distance.  We expect this to continue into late fall and early winter so get your reservations in,.  Starting November 1st we will be guaranteeing 24 hours between reservations for cabins to air out with the furnaces on.  Until then we are opening the windows and doors and enjoying the fresh air in the cabins



Its been an absolutely beautiful fall in the Northwoods.  The colors are headed to peak




We have had a lot of regular guests through our doors.  Howard and Jean Berchtold have not let corona slow them down or rob them of their visits to the Northwoods.  They may be cooking in more and sticking close to the resort but they love every moment in the woods together


Mike and Michelle Tungett had not been to the resort in a couple of years.  It was nice to see them.  They enjoyed some great drives around the woods and a fantastic hike on the Fallison Lake Trail 15 min from the resort.  Michelle took a ton of pictures.  Fallison is a photographers paradise especially in the fall


We have had some visitors that are  not as welcome.  Red squirrels are the enemy of our family .  They have crossed a line with Troy in the past week sneaking in our basement and taking paper towel out for nests.  He can tolerate their chattering from the trees, and throwing pine cones from the trees but when you enter the house it is war.  They are not shy and seem to get joy out of laughing at us from the trees.  The live trap is set and the squirrel relocation program is in full swing.  They may look cute but they are diabolical


I have been busy making fingerless gloves.  The cool temps have had the gloves flying out of the shop.  I just switched from PayPal to taking all credit cards.  It you want to order you can pick local pick up and save shipping or I can ship.  You can even shop from the cabin if you want or shop ahead to save stuff that you want.  I have Art Tour coming through starting October 9th so the selection is best before the tour starts.  Last year the tour wiped out a lot of my stock.  Good thing I make my own stuff and don’t need to wait for shipments from China.  Made in Hazelhurst is my motto!


We are quite booked up now the first half of October.  I have put a few specials up on some midweek stuff in October and Shamrock is on special at 160/night November 1 – November 18

Get your reservations in, if you are thinking of coming up.  Bring your food and enjoy quiet time at the cabin away from politics and virus

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The trail was calling out name on a warm fall day.  This is the paved bike trail that runs through the Raven Trail in Woodruff.  The trail starts at Indian Mounds in Tomahawk and runs through this beautiful part of the Raven Trail through old growth forests.  My sister is not a fan of the destruction to parts of the Raven Trail to make this paved trail…. but Troy and I sure enjoyed biking down it.  You can’t beat the scenery.  The Raven Trail portion is hilly but it flows nicely with down hills before uphills most of the time.  We biked 2 miles both ways  and it flew by


The colors were amazing on the trail


There was this blurry guy behind me chasing me down the trail LOL


We parked the bikes at the Clear Lake Boat landing


Clear Lake


Can’t beat the colors!

I just added some specials through the end of October if you check out the availability chart at