Black's Cliff Resort's Birch Bark Blog

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


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


Mack and Penny would like to report a wonderful 8 inches of snow fell Monday.  They were throughly enjoying romps in the snow


It was a heavy wet snow that hung in the pines.  Enjoy the pics







The road to the resort was beautiful in the new snow


Interesting old picture of down town Minocqua.  I am guessing this is the street that runs from around Alexanders Pizza and the Minocqua Post office looking towards the tressle bridge on the Bear Skin where the train tracks used to run


We had our traditional hockey game at Christmas Eve.  Much fun was had by all and nobody ended up in the emergency room 


It was the Ho Ho Ho’s led by Steve 


Vs the Jingle Bells led by Katie


Watch out and land softly 


Christmas Day was much quieter.  Jake spent the afternoon in his new ice shanty keeping an eye on his tip ups


He was jigging for bluegills and listening to a wonderful Audible Book


Keep jigging and turkey will be done soon

Merry Christmas!


The first Christmas present of the year happened.  Jake was all smiles with his sled and box heading to the ice


Headed off with his sled to find the perfect spot.  


While he was finding his spot, Troy and Grant tried flooding the rink again.  We had a lot of air bubbles from the pump that w tried to break up and flood again.  It is gong down to 25 tonight.  Not sure if it will freeze by morning but worth a try


Meanwhile the search went on for the best spot


Mack trying to help


Hmm think this is it?


The drilling starts.  It did not take long to get through the ice.  It is about 6 inches thick.  It has Mack’s approval but I am still happy to stay closer to shore



Grant toting  the minnows out


Putting up the shanty.  How does this go together?


A little brotherly bonding while they channel their Grandpa Gibson’s comments on why and how to ice fish.  There were lots of good memories the boys had with Troy’s dad out on the ice.  Time to do it themselves



We got it!

Grandpa Gibson is cracking a beer somewhere and toasting his grandson’s carrying on the ice fishing tradition


Ice fishing is for the views and the peace and quiet regardless of what is biting.  That is something they will both say they learned from Grandpa


Merry Christmas from the Northwoods.  View of the trees out the french windows on a cold night.  


We have been busy working on the ice skating rink.  With the heavy early snow we got there was a layer of slush between the ice and the snow.  Troy and Ben shoveled it off the other day and now we are working on flooding it and getting the bumps out.  We are hoping the warmer temps this weekend melt the top and get more of the bumps out.  Right now it looks like boot hockey at Christmas Eve.  A bit too bumpy for ice skates




Meanwhile up at the house Grandma Millies Goldrush Brownies just came out of the oven a must for Christmas in our family

1 can sweet condensed milk, 2 cups graham crackers, 1/2 bag of chocolate chips and 1/2 cup nuts

Mixed together and cooked for 40 minutes.  Cut right away or they become hardened in the pan.  


Our furry neighbors stopped in to see if the birds dropped anything out of the bird feeders or crumbs from the Gold Rush Brownies


Its been cold out and lots of snow.  The lake should be good for ice skating right?  Ummm not so much.  The problem in this picture for an ice rink on the lake is the heavy snow pack.  It insulates the ice making a slushy wet layer between the ice and the snow.  Skating through slush is not fun…  What to do about it?


Here is the rink outlined.  The slush is a few inches thick on top of 4 inches of ice.  


Troy and Ben wadding through the slush trying to get the snow off so the slush will freeze into a nice rink.  What about a snowblower you ask?  This stuff is to wet and heavy for a snow blower the only way is to take it off one shovel at a time.  We can’t have Christmas without a rink for ice hockey.  Christmas Eve with all the boys, and Bella would not be the same.


This is so much better than taking an Auditing Accounting final.  One more semester to go before starting to work on the CPA tests to become a public accountant for Ben.  Till then shovel more snow and slush!  Tomorrow it is helping mom write out the summer confirmation letters and tell her all the ways you can think of to make the letters go more tech and easy


Meanwhile the dog is smarter than the accountant and is on land watching from above.  



Get a move on lady the fireplace and my dog bed are calling my name


Tools of the trade the auger for drilling ice holes later for flooding the rink if needed for smooth ice

Looking forward to testing out the rink after it sets and freezes solidly

We have a few openings during the Christmas week and after if you need to escape to the woods

Wigwam is still on special of 180/night up to December 26th for up to 5 people or 210/night up to 7.  We also have Muskie, Holiday, Bear Den and Red Pine open for Christmas up to Dec 26th.  I will adjust rates on those depending on the number of people if want to spend Christmas in the Northwoods call for details 715 356 3018


The snow is not going anywhere and it is starting to look a bit like Christmas around the resort.  Troy has about 12 trees lit up through the resort and it is getting more and more feeling like Christmas


We did play Scrooge with a squirrel . The squirrel is trying to get in to the feeder and our automatic squirrel spinner is taking it for quite a ride.  Squirrel ended being flung into a snow bank


We had Jake and Sarah up this weekend.  They were working on earning some extra Christmas money by filling the woodshed


They helped us get a start on next summer’s wood.  They earned a few Christmas cookies


We also had the Moore family up this weekend  They tried out snowshoes for the first time.  Vicki was having fun in the snow


Vicki, Rob and Barb had a few visitors down in the driveway by Holiday at night


Mack was not interested in the visitors but much happier to count down to Christmas in front of the fireplace

Our college students, Ben and Grant will be home this week for break and Christmas gets going as they are home for the holidays. 

We do have openings throughout the Christmas break if you are looking to sneak up to the woods.  I just put Wigwam on special for Christmas up to Dec 26th at 180/night for up to 5 people.   


As we clean up from 2 big snow storms over the holidays it is pretty to look at as long as you are not shoveling it

This morning with the early morning sun peaking through the pines


I was going to go to the lake and take some pictures but the beach steps were not shoveled and the is how much snow is covering them 


So enjoy the pics from the top of the hill


Late in the day over at Bear Den the views were as good





We have plenty of cabins open up to Christmas if you need a little trip to the woods give a call


We woke up to this view our our windows Wednesday.  We spend Wednesday shoveling out 12 inches of heavy wet snow before Thanksgiving 



Some of us had more fun than others trying out the new plow


Others got a good work out after spending too many hours studying at Saint Norbert


Peggy at Charles Fine Cheese said to say Happy Thanksgiving to all her favorite resort guests who who stop by for ice cream.  Peggy was fondly thinking back to warm summer afternoons while shoveling for the 3rd time Wednesday



It was pretty.  The casualty of the day was my back.  I ended the day in pain and begging my doctor for a script of predizone before she left for the day.  There are no pictures of families this year enjoying their Thanksgiving dinners as I was laying on the couch with an ice pack Thursday.  Thankful for a husband and sons who kicked in and got the turkey cooked and dinner on the table.  

More snow coming on Saturday