Black's Cliff Resort's Birch Bark Blog

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

Browsing Posts published by Jennifer Gibson

Its been an interesting weather week. We go beautiful 70’s for 5 days that allowed some of the snow to melt and the ice to start turning colors.

Mike Grady joined Troy at the beach for a few days rebuilding out dock tops for our boat docks. Mike is a retired carpenter and now only works when he has a great view. We had to break it to Mike we do not start working at 6 am like he did for 30 plus years. Sleep in and slow down is retirement carpentry

First dock done. A new high powered nail gun was a must for this job. Mike helped Troy learn to adjust the power of this new gun

In the middle of the assembly, Purl got to learn that the lake is no longer stable. Living in a barn for 4 years with the Amish as a puppy mill mom she never experienced ice and to be careful in spring. She took a plunge in the swimming area and I got to fish her out, which meant jumping in and hauling her off he ice edge she was trying to climb and get her headed to the beach wall and push her out. Purl and I can both attest to the fact that the lake is cold

Oogie, who had been tied up thinking he would be the one to take the plunge, looked down from his perch as if to say, was not me!

You were worried about the wrong golden taking the plunge

Back to work. They got all the docks built. I wish I had taken a picture of their completed docks because…..

This happened and Mike wisely decided it was time to head back to Madison. We may see him again for our raft project

What do you do when there is a foot of snow outside? If you are Steve you say home and work on a new screen door for Norway

After that you shovel off a work area at Shamorck

What could they be up to?

I know Steve is missing his building buddy Chris Moran for this one. A new pagoda over Shamrock’s door is in production. Steve has Kevin Carr, Eric Berchtold and a return of Chris Moran coming up,. This project has been talked about for years and with a little help is getting crossed off the list

In the meantime, Muskie’s right side of its roof has been added to the list. Before May 5th, Muskie will be getting half of its roof replaced. The ice dams this winter, sprang a few leaks on the right side of the cabin. Ceiling tiles and insulation along with the roof will be replaced. Muskie already was on the list for a new bath tub which was installed this week. Nothing like a leak to get things moving along to be replaced

In other dog news, Oogie decided our suet feeder was his mid morning snack. Purl looked on letting us know, nope she did not do this one

Please know Oogie will devour anything left outside. Someone recently threw bacon grease outside on the ground. Oogie devoured it and threw up on our carpet. Please be aware of what you leave outside. Garbage needs to be in the cans or taken to the dumpster. These 2 can sniff anything rotten or in their minds delicious. That includes garbage in plastic bags, it has to be in the garbage cans or the guy above (not Troy) will rip into it, not to mention attracting bears and coons. Thanks for helping us with this!

Back to melting snow…..

Anyone interested in trading helping us with spring work for cabin to stay in please let us know. Between now and May 12th we have lots to do. Leaf clean up and painting will be starting as soon as the snow leaves. We are hoping for next Monday April 24th to start if mother nature cooperates. We are almost full May 5 and 6th so we can not do it those dates but any others are open especially during the week if anyone wants to come up get ahold of us. We ask folks to help from 9 to 2 and the rest of the day is free.

Spring will come….

We are finally seeing some brown ground. We are hoping to get to some raking finally next week

Troy has started organizing boards for replacing the tops of our boat docks. Lots of cutting

The shoreline is showing signs of ice loosening its grip

Not too long these steps will be full of kids running down them to go swimming

I am told spring is here… not sure I believe it but we did set up our 43 taps around the resort. So far the trees know there is a spring joke as well and have been slow to get flowing. We have one pot on our wood stove slowly peculating away boiling down

There is a ridiculous amount of snow in the forecast for Thursday and Friday I will not even type about

When spring is slow it is time to enjoy and break out the snow shoes. Steve, Chris Moran, Eric, Heather, Kids and dogs all headed out on the trail with the snow shoes. Troy and I came behind in our boots as they knocked down the trail That worked until they headed across the swamp and we took a drier trail

Down the trail we go

All returned safely with the kids asking to go again. Time to get to work. There have been some projects going on at Red Pine and Bear Den A little tree removal. Trees were used for a secret project at Bear Den, but I can say Red Pine’s kitchen and upstairs bathroom are looking great! More pictures to come

Steve went shopping for Troy.

You are looking at the replacement boards on our small docks at the beach. I am hearing they might be used on rebuilding the raft as well.

Stay tuned. It needs to stop snowing for many of our projects to take off. When will that be?

It is officially spring and we have tapped our 43 trees. Waiting for warmer temps to get the trees flowing this week. We have had some minor runs of a couple of gallons but the weather looks much better starting today for sap running

The dogs were intrigued by the Martin family ice fishing last week

The snow on the lake has gotten quite thick. Raft has disappeared under 2 feet of snow

Dogs wanted me to hike out in this much snow…..

Quit taking pictures lets see what they are doing out there please says Purl and Oogie

So then this happened. I walked over an area they had fished a few days ago and accidentally put my foot into one of their ice holes. I sunk though 2 feet of snow into slushy water the ice hole had kicked up

It was a surprise to have my foot go down suddenly 2 feet. I knew the ice was safe but I sure got a wet foot and said a few choice words as my knee recovered from the fall. Purl was trying to figure out what was wrong while Oogie was happy to go exploring. Martin’s came over with a snowmobile to help but I was ok just very wet

Time to follow safe steps back to shore and change clothes

Oogie looking down trying to figure out what my problem was, I was not bounding up the steps looking for squirrels

How many goldens have looked at me in the same lacation on the steps.

The Martin’s shared pics of their catch I missed getting. Perch were definitely biting

Back at the top anyone want to try dunking basketball from a snow bank?

I had Birchwood open June 24 – July 1 if anyone is interested. It is for up to 5 people

June 2 – 10h we have several cabins open. I will consider nightly rentals with a 3 – 4 night minimum get ahold of me with nights you would like I will see if it fits in.

May reservations have been coming in steady. If you are interested don’t wait. May 6th and May 13th weekends have cabins open May 20th weekend we have Bear Den open. Memorial weekend have Kaubashine open. After Memorial cabins open starting that Monday

June 10- 17 we have Norway 3 bdr

August 12 – 19 Bayview 2 bdr

August 18 – 25th Red Pine 4 bdr

They say it is spring….. but we had 3 inches of snow come down last night. The snow piles grew as Steve plowed around the resort

Icicles hanging everywhere. Spring is somewhere but not here right now

It was warmer Wednesday and Thursday and Troy and I got 30 taps hung up on the trees. We have 10 more to hang when it warms up again. The taps were flowing so the trees have confidence spring is coming

Highs not above 35 for a few days so the taps have shut off again until it warms.

Amy sells her syrup at the resort, and says her trees were all running as well. She and her son got a reverse osmosis system to take out most of the water in the sap this year to make the cooking time much less. Troy and I will cook ours as usual on our wood stove long and slow.

Purl and Oogie update is they are learning to share and Purl is slowly settling in. She is a picky eater and loves anything meat that is not he dog food. Hoping she learns I am not disappearing and she can relax a bit without her eye on me all the time.

A few updates.. I do not put much on the blog about my health but wanted everyone to know all is well I finished chemo Feb 3rd and start radiation next week In between the two we took a trip to Tucson to see our middle son Ben and his wife Ali in Tucson. Our youngest son Grant and his girlfriend Bex came along as well It was a great trip. The resort was in good hands with Amy, Steve and Jen and Chris and Amanda Moran. Meanwhile we enjoyed a week and a half away exploring the country. Now we are back for the last hurdle hopefully 6 weeks of radiation ending April 26th.

It was a great trip but we were ready to head home for more than medical appointments

We came home to a resort buried in snow. While we were gone it just kept falling. If you need a little more winter we will have it for awhile

Before we left, while doing errands in town, a golden retriever emerged from under a desk at our electricians office. She was being fostered by Maggie the front desk lady. She informed me she was a foster and had been rescued from an Amish puppy mill. Purl spent the first 4 years of her life living in a cage in a barn with lots of other dogs in other cages having puppies She came with sawdust encrusted in her hair from the bedding. She never played with toys, been in a house or had much love. I was the first person she ever came out from Maggies desk to meet. She looked me in the eye, leaned on me and gave me her paw. That was it, I headed home to talk to Troy. Troy being a smart husband knew when your wife is recovering from chemo is not the time to say no. Thankfully he agreed and Purl stayed with her foster mom until we got back from Arizona. Oogie is showing her the ropes and she is slowly emerging and learning to enjoy life as dogs should. Her days locked in a cage in a barn are over. I hope everyone loves Purl and hears her story and learns to never, never buy a dog you do not meet the parents. Amish puppy mills supply about 25 percent of puppy mill dogs in America. Their puppies are in stores and many are sold on Puppy Finder and some through puppy brokers who buy litters from Amish and sell them. Rescues will tell you all breeds and designer dogs can be found in puppy mills like this. Please do your research before buying a puppy, meet the parents! Oogie came from a kennel I researched and I meet his parents.

All that being said. Welcome home Purl. You have won the lottery and deserve the new life you have earned at the resort with so many people to love you.

As soon as we got home Troy and Steve started ripping out some of the last carpet in the resort at Muskie

New floors going in Muskie’s bedrooms. So much better than carpet for us to keep clean. The last carpets are in Eagles Nest, 2 in Red pine and 2 in Bear Den

I am told Red Pine is on the list for floor like this in its upstairs bathroom.

I know there are several projects in the wheel house as the weather permits us to get to them. We have several groups who have contacted me to come up and help with our opening this spring. Winter has us in its grips for awhile before we can get to raking, painting, putting in boats and other projects. Stay tuned

Tapping trees for maple syrup is not the agenda soon but more snow needs to melt

Our spring rates are now in effect starting at 160/night of the 2 bedrooms. Give a call to come watch it all melt with us

Burr…. does a picture tell a thousand words?

Its been too cold to get my fingers out of my gloves to take pics the last week or so. Today is the turning point and is warmer so my fingers came out and I snapped a few

Oogie seems oblivious to the cold. He just likes a snowbank to climb on to stick his nose in to find a ball

I love the hats that come out in the winter. Mark and Ted Tempel were visiting from Virginia. They are usually here in July and enjoyed checking out all their summer haunts in the cold winter.

Little Bohemia, Island Cafe, Ottos and Dan’s for fudge were all on the list.

Steve and Troy smartly planned a few inside projects. Today was a new water heater for Norway. Fitting this water heater in the small room we have for it will be their challenge of the day

Steve has a 2nd one for Holiday going in next week. After that inside projects will be taking out some of our last remaining carpets in bedrooms in the resort and a couple of bathrooms I know Muskie’s bedrooms are on the replacement list

Underneath the pile of snow is the summer supple of fire pit wood

Need to wander through some snow piles? We have 4 cabins left this weekend. Other weekends in February are booking up

Spring rates start March 1st. If a beach in Mexico is not on your bucket list and instead watching a lake melt, and watching our maple trees drip to make sap is on your list give a call

Summer 2023 Openings

Before June 3rd check out our website for availability

 June 3 – 10th

2 bdrs Bayview and Wildflower 1475/wk

3 bdr Kaubashine JUne 6, 7, 8 and 9th at 295/night 

4 bdr Bear Den and Red Pine open up to June 9th at 463/night, 4 night minimum

June 10 – 17th

3 bdr Norway 2065/week

June 17 – 24th

3 bdr Norway 2065/week

August 12 – 19th

2 bdr Bayview 1475/week

August 19 – 26th

2 bdr Wildflower 1475/week

4 bdr Bear Den and Red Pine Friday to Friday August 18 – 25th 3050/week

August 26th – Labor Day

Restawhile 2bdr August 26 – Sept 2nd and is also open Labor Day weekend

Wigwam 3 bdr August 26th – August 31 5 nights

Holiday 4 bdr 5 nights August 26th – 31 5 nights

Red Pine 4 bdr August 25 – Sept 2nd and also open Labor Day weekend

Labor Day Weekend – October 31st check out our availability chart on the website.

I will be opening up November – December 20th soon online

We lost a great guest and friend this week, Dan Christian. After a long battle with cancer, Dan passed on Monday.

Dan started coming to the resort with his parents, Wills and Lou Christian. I looked back in our records and I can’t find their first year which means its far back. I remember as a child Wills and Lou arriving with all their kids whose names all started with D, Dennis, David, Dale, Dan, Dawn, Didi and Doug. A fruit basket arrived at our house from Lou, and lots of fun sounding noise as they all unpacked the car. The Christian family over every generation I have known, have known the art of laughter and love. Over the years the other siblings have returned here and there but Dan, and his family stayed regulars. The sound of laughter from his family echoes over the generations from Wills and Lou.

Dan was a Girl Dad, before they were a thing. He was surrounded by girls at all times and they kept him busy and he loved it.

I remember all the Cabbage Patch Dolls that got unpacked from the car with these three. The giggles, pink sand buckets, pink swimsuits, and lots of floaties. All unpacked, used and dragged up and down the beach steps each day by Dan and Steph.

My favorite memory was one day at the beach. Many times guests don’t know the last names of everyone at the resort. Steph was at the Perch and I think it was lunch time. She yelled “All Christian Girls Upstairs!” Quite a few people at the beach that day had a moment to analyze their relationship with god. Three little girls though knew mom meant business and up the steps they tromped with dad right behind

If you ask anyone who has vacationed with them over the years in the last week of July what they love about Dan and Steph the list will be long, On top of the list would be their devotion to one another. They always had arms around one another with Steph’s head tucked under Dan’s chin. They fit together like a puzzle. The love and laughter you heard from Dan and Steph, along with a sparkly in their eyes for each other was what we all want in life. Add in 3 giggly girls and eventually spouses and grandchildren and you can imagine the noise on Saturday when they arrived. It was always a good noise.

Dan and Steph were quick to call me when they heard about my own cancer battle. Over the last few months, Dan and I have exchanged chemo and cancer stories and support on our good and bad days the last few months. I told Steph last week as things were not looking good, to tell Dan I would promise to fight as hard as him to defeat the beast of cancer.

In his last few years, Dan would brew up a batch of Black’s Cliff beer he would bring on vacation. This batch was named after the bear we had to chase out of the resort a few years ago

Our condolences go out to the entire Christian Family over the loss of Dan from your entire Black’s Cliff family.

We had 10 inches of wonderful snow blanket the northwoods. It is so pretty in the pines!

Steve was quick to get everything plowed out while Troy and I got shoveling duty. I got a new plug in power shovel that is light, kind of a like a small snowblower I can do one handed

Folks ask how I am doing and I am getting to the end of chemo. My right arm though due to having 44 lymph nodes removed I will always have to be careful of for the rest of my life due to Lymphodema. So you will see me doing things a little different like with the small power blower. Thanks to everyone who has been so understanding and supportive during this time. You will also notice a small stutter in my speech or pauses. I am hoping that goes away with chemo brain fog

Wigwam after Steve almost plowed it in

Summer deposits are due by January 20th for returning guests. If you have not sent yours in or have to cancel please contact me

I had forgotten to put in our January letter. Our rate increase we spread over half into the cabin rate and half into a cleaning fee. The reason we charge a cleaning fee is to give our 2 week guests a break that we have not done before. Cleaning expenses were one thing that went through he roof between laundry and our cleaners. It was crazy how much things went up this year and we had to make a tough decision. I understand for some this is going to impact their reservation and vacation. It is the worst part of my job when we have to make choices like this but our goal is to keep this resort going into the future when so many others are condoing and selling. It is sad each year the number of people who stop into the resort to see it looking for a new place to go because their resort they go to is selling and they have lost their vacation home. We plan on not doing that thus tough choices

We are considering April opening up cabins for folks to stay for free, who would like to help us open the resort for a few days or a week…. We are up for ideas. We ask folks to put in from 9 ish to 2 ish and the rest of the day is theirs to do fun things. We have raking, painting, putting in docks, building projects with Steve, splitting wood….. If this might interest you get ahold of me by email.

This picture sums up why I enjoy living up north. We headed out with the family to enjoy a candle light fat tire bike trip through the woods on the zip line trails. The trails were beautiful at night gliding around the turns by candle light. Our local bike club organized the event. Just beautiful and great way to enjoy winter

We had some warmer weather that brought our snow pack down a little. Oogie and I headed down the trail before we got 3 – 5 inches of snow today. The woods were perfect to walk in thanks to our holiday snowshoers packing down the trail

The trees melted but are still all bent over from the Christmas snow. They all look like they are sleeping

Oogje was off chasing 2 does that ran across the swamp as we came up the trail. The deer laughed at the silly golden who had any ideas of sneaking up on them in the swamp

Over the holidays we had one day that 3 goldens were at the resort all from Harvest Time the breeder who I got Oogie from. The lady in the middle took one look at Oogie and knew he was a Harvest Time dog. Oogie and her dog are classic Harvest Time with their noses and Harvest Time smile. It was fun to see the 3 of the cousins play

Fresh snow is falling as I type. Summer confirmation letters went out in the mail today. Expect them in your mail box soon. Due day for deposits is January 20th. Please let me know your plans for summer as soon as possible. We start to get lots of calls after the holidays. Hope everyone can make it

Til then lots of winter fun to be had. Our skating rink and snow shoe trails are open, and fireplaces are blazing. We have lots of cabins open for January 7th weekend. Martin Luther King weekend we are booked out. After that the weekends are filling up. Time to enjoy winter!